Airstream - Cold interior skin? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-12-2014, 09:34 AM   #1
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Airstream - Cold interior skin?

Apparently Airstreams have an aluminum frame with aluminum exterior/interior skins. Does this type of construction conduct more heat or cold than our molded fiberglass trailers? Does it make any difference as to the comfort inside?
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:19 AM   #2
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I am not sure what Airstream uses for insulation but its important to know that not all fiberglass trailers are built the same in regards to how they are insulated. Some have a simple one layer covering over the fiberglass and others have layers of different products covering the walls, ranging from foil wrap to insulation panels and others have a double hull plus wall coverings, many variances between trailer makes.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:35 AM   #3
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Traditionally, metal conducts cold and heat better than fiberglass. In an Airstream, it is like camping in a tin can.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:08 AM   #4
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Comparing Airstreams to FGRV's is sorta like comparing Apples to Alligators, not much in common except some of the shape.

Anyway, my late wife and I full timed in a 60's Airstream for almost a year and the walls did get cold or hot depending on the outside temp, so much so that we covered the bedroom area with tufted and padded leatherette upholstery material, exactly like found in Hunter Compact-II's. I don't recall any condensation issues, but trying to sleep in a rainstorm is like being in a shed with a tin roof
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SRD View Post
Apparently Airstreams have an aluminum frame with aluminum exterior/interior skins. Does this type of construction conduct more heat or cold than our molded fiberglass trailers? Does it make any difference as to the comfort inside?
Good day SRD..... There is a lot of insulation that goes into an Airstream as well as floor and roof section. They are one TT that is made to be used in below freezing weather. As an Airstream owner for over 10 years we can report that they are a very comfortable trailer even in the colder temps.

Here is a promo video that gives you a snapshot of the insulation being installed in the shell.
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:42 PM   #6
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Agree, a friend had one for years and very comfortable trailer even in the colder temps.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:19 PM   #7
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Good point Carol H, not all molded fiberglass trailers are created equal. Maybe a comparison with the Casita or Scamp would be a good starting comparison.

MCI - Thanks for the link to the Airstream promo video. It highlights what prompted my first question. It would seem to me that that outside temperatures would easily transfer to the interior aluminum skin by direct contact with the aluminum ribs despite the fiberglass insulation between the ribs. Having never owned an Airstream I was wondering what it is like inside during outside temperature extremes.

Another question - I recall in seeing Airstreams at RV shows that much of the underside plumbing is exposed. Does this create a problem in extreme freezing conditions? The plumbing including the holding tanks on our Bigfoot are totally enclosed and heated, which is probably what makes it a 4 season trailer. Does Airstream make the same claim? Sorry for the questions but now that Spring is soon upon us I find myself again entertaining the idea of owning an Airstream.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:34 PM   #8
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MCI - Thanks for the link to the Airstream promo video.
Another question - I recall in seeing Airstreams at RV shows that much of the underside plumbing is exposed. Does this create a problem in extreme freezing conditions? The plumbing including the holding tanks on our Bigfoot are totally enclosed and heated, which is probably what makes it a 4 season trailer. Does Airstream make the same claim? Sorry for the questions but now that Spring is soon upon us I find myself again entertaining the idea of owning an Airstream.
SRD, we are in the same boat. Bigfoots and Airstream top our favorite's list.

..... All the Airstreams I have ever seen had insulated, enclosed underbellys. Good to hear Bigfoots are doing the same thing. It has been a while since I checked out a Bigfoot.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:28 PM   #9
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SRD, we are in the same boat. Bigfoots and Airstream top our favorite's list.

..... All the Airstreams I have ever seen had insulated, enclosed underbellys. Good to hear Bigfoots are doing the same thing. It has been a while since I checked out a Bigfoot.
I read "S"'s post as related to the exposed outlet plumbing on Airstreams rather than the tanks themselves, "W".

Here quoting from an Airforums thread on the subject;
Quote:
The holding tank outlet pipes and valves are almost never heated or insulated and enclosed in Airstreams, so the "heated tank" may not freeze, but the outlet valves commonly freeze. Not pretty if they freeze solid and break something.
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"S"'s post appears to indicate that Bigfoot's plumbing is insulated as well as the tanks etc. Is that right, "S"?


Completely off topic side note
To "W" and "S" combined:

Here are two of you with first names consisting of a single letter. Did you have the same parents or what?
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:46 PM   #10
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Francesca - I don't know if the plumbing is insulated but on our Bigfoot all of the holding tanks and plumbing, dump valves included, are enclosed and heated with ductwork from the propane furnace.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:52 PM   #11
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Francesca - I don't know if the plumbing is insulated but on our Bigfoot all of the holding tanks and plumbing, dump valves included, are enclosed and heated with ductwork from the propane furnace.
Sorry I wasn't clearer- it was the exterior plumbing such as the waste valves I was referring to. Sounds like they're well protected on the Bigfoot!
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