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Ohmman's Airstream Adventures

ohmman

Upright Member
Global Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,723
20,178
North Bay, CA
Today, after long last, my excruciatingly boring posts about potential Model X trailer dynamics are over. At this point, I will begin with a different variety of snoozers - data-driven Model X trailer dynamics posts from my own experience.

I drove over to Fairfield, CA this morning to pick up our Airstream 22' Sport. Please excuse the fact that the photos look identical to @JimVandegriff's awesome rig, but you can't help good taste. Delivery went relatively well. The fit and finish issues on the Airstream are worse than they are with Tesla. And Airstream has a very good reputation in the RV world.. so deduce from that what you will. In general, the coach looks great, though. We got our Equalizer weight distribution hitch installed without much issue, and after a walk-through, I was on my way.

The first data pieces - my drive to Fairfield was over hilly terrain in very gusty conditions. I didn't bother with curbing my speed and probably averaged 65mph while reaching as high as 75mph. 30.7 miles, 307Wh/mi. I didn't fudge those numbers to make them a multiple of ten. Also, those numbers clearly represent a tailwind based on my average consumption. That means headed home, I was trailering into a headwind. On that journey, I averaged about 55mph, with a max of about 62mph, and along the way I consumed 582Wh/mi. Generally speaking, that's just about what I expected since @JimVandegriff has consistently reported around 575Wh/mi at 55mph.

It was my first time towing anything, other than behind my compact tractor, and while it definitely felt different, it was comfortable. I set my brake controller at a very low level so that I could recapture as much regen as possible. I was really astounded by how much the regen could slow down the trailer/Model X combo without trailer brakes engaging. This is an area for definite attention, as I think it has some potential for extending stop-and-go range.

The X could accelerate without issue. I'm not surprised. I generally tried to drive like there was an egg on the pedal, but a few times I wanted to see how quickly I could get up to merge speed. It's absolutely not a problem - on the Model X, range is constraint when hauling an appropriately sized travel trailer.

There is more to come. I am intending to post to this thread when we have outings in the camper, and supply consumption numbers ad nauseum. Until then, here are some photos from today.
IMG_3103.JPG
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IMG_3108.JPG
IMG_3112.JPG
IMG_3116.JPG
 
Last edited:

ohmman

Upright Member
Global Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,723
20,178
North Bay, CA
One focal point for me today has been the hitch setup. In my research leading up to the purchase, I learned that minimizing the distance between the trailer and the towing vehicle is quite important for aerodynamics:


Untitled-6-2.jpg

As you can see in the following image, the standard hitch package includes a bit of unnecessary gap. I get the feeling I could eliminate at least the marked distance with a custom hitch, and potentially a bit more. I'm not sure how much impact that would have on the aerodynamic front, but dropping Cd by a few hundredths is no small matter when it comes to consumption. More to come on this.

IMG_3101.jpg
 

ohmman

Upright Member
Global Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,723
20,178
North Bay, CA
What did you do about the adapter/led lights issue? Did you do any mods to the dinette for kid sleeping?
No mods to the dinette. We put the kids head to toe in sleeping bags today as a test, and also tried putting my daughter on the floor on a sleeping pad between the entry door and the closet. The latter is an easier solution for me to step over her at night when going to the bathroom. The downside is I'd have to keep the door to the bathroom open because she'd be in the way of the swing. Privacy curtain? :)

For now, we're going to have them share the dinette bed. It's narrow but not terrible. I'll continue to consider solutions.

I have the 7 pin adapter for LEDs. They had them in stock there and everything works as desired. I discussed your issue with the plug falling out of the Tesla and the techs were surprised it was possible considering the latch on the spring door. I assured them it was, and that you had taken to bungee cords. I'm going to follow in your footsteps and not relearn your hard lessons.

Thanks for the inspiration, both of you.
 
Congrats! I've also been following (lurking?) on the many camper option threads for the X. So much so that "Tesla Campers" is a dedicated Favorites Bar item on the ol' iPad.

But your Airstream looks great behind the X. For our edification, could you expand on the "fit and finish" issues you saw with the Airstream? What did you see and were they as amenable to addressing them as Tesla?

I won't expect an Airstream Delivery Checkli...wait, yes, I do expect one. Get to work! :)
 
As you can see in the following image, the standard hitch package includes a bit of unnecessary gap. I get the feeling I could eliminate at least the marked distance with a custom hitch, and potentially a bit more. I'm not sure how much impact that would have on the aerodynamic front, but dropping Cd by a few hundredths is no small matter when it comes to consumption. More to come on this.
Before you start cutting - make sure that you can still fully turn with shortened hitch and that you won't hit your trailer with your car when fully articulated (especially in reverse)
 

ohmman

Upright Member
Global Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,723
20,178
North Bay, CA
Before you start cutting - make sure that you can still fully turn with shortened hitch and that you won't hit your trailer with your car when fully articulated (especially in reverse)
Yes, I have considered this. My plan is to minimize the space while still allowing for full articulation without contact.
For our edification, could you expand on the "fit and finish" issues you saw with the Airstream? What did you see and were they as amenable to addressing them as Tesla?
They were not nearly as amenable to addressing them as Tesla. They considered all of it to be within tolerances. Here are some photos of what I consider below-average work. Note the usual disclaimer, which is similar to what I said with my Model X: The rest of the coach looks excellent and pointing out a few issues doesn't reflect on how pleased I am overall with the Airstream.

Caulk around sink drain (both look like this):

IMG_3124.JPG


Note the bottom of the window trim, how it angles upward in the middle toward the split:
IMG_3127.JPG

Gap between window trim and frame - you can see the insulation in there:
IMG_3129.JPG

Their caulk work in some spots looks like mine, which is not a compliment:
IMG_3131.JPG

Linoleum edges are ragged cut in some spots:
IMG_3132.JPG


Hope this helps explain what I mean by fit and finish. My understanding is that the Sport is more likely to have these issues, as it is considered the entry level Airstream trim. Once you move up to Flying Cloud, Signature, and above, things would be potentially better.
 

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