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Old 11-11-2016, 06:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Everything old is new again (again)

Titled as such because I'm recycling the title. The Bowlus Road Chief was the start of it all, or at least something; but was only on the market for 3 years. I saw one in a trailer court back when I was in college.

Electrified trailer glamps off-grid for days and charges your Tesla, too

It was reincarnated in 2013. The newest version includes a lithium power pack and some really nice skylights.

I'd include some pictures to drive traffic to their site, but they disallow hotlinking. Curiously, an IMG tag won't even display:

http://img-3.newatlas.com/bowlus-roa...lithium-15.png

http://img-3.newatlas.com/bowlus-roa...-lithium-3.jpg


You know you want to see it. With the awning tracks on both sides a U-shaped inflatable tent that included a mudroom/porch across the front would make this really liveable.

It does cost 1/5 million dollars.

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Old 11-11-2016, 06:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Blue - '93 Ford Tempo
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Want.

You are correct.
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Old 11-12-2016, 12:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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While we're waiting for someone else to chime in, here's Black Currant turning an 8.28 at Santa Pod.

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Old 11-12-2016, 11:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Reports on the Airstream website AIR by those who've seen it and bought it are that the fit and finish are outstanding (the trailer itself, not comments on Lithium package, per se).

But let's make the price irrelevant, and focus on utility. It won't get significantly better fuel mileage (the same to vehicle would be able to pull a far larger trailer by interior volume alone); it's no cutting edge thing to add an even larger LiON system to a larger trailer AND

- the larger trailer can carry more of everything in every category.

I was looking through the website of the largest Airstream dealer yesterday and reviewing video made by their famous salesman, Patrick Botticelli (?) on the Flying Cloud lineup. Specifically, the 2017 30' FB (front bedroom). With rear bunks and convertible seating, can sleep up to eight. Potentially heavy, but not outside what a high MPG turbodiesel SUV can handle.

The Bowles only carries 20-gls fresh water. The 30'FB carries 54. My 35' vintage kin Silver Streak carries 95. Etcetera.

One must run the list of capacities on fuel (propane), and water. Electricity is a distant concern for off grid camping. Huge penalties for it as well as a huge cost with tiny capacity. Not very useful. Sure as hell not needed.

As best as I can tell, all-aluminum travel trailers peaked in utility, reliability and longevity in the early 1970s. Streamline brand is my favorite example due to foamed in insulation, double hull bottom, aluminum cabinetry, tremendous storage and easy appliance accessibility. Change the subfloor to aircraft aluminum honeycomb and torsion axles (independent suspension) with anti lock disc brakes and you'd pretty much have something superior to what is on offer today.

Wood cabinetry is unacceptable. Period.

20-gls fresh water is unacceptable. Period

Etcetera.

If I pulled a Bowlus with my CTD Dodge I doubt I'd exceed what I got on two trips of 700-miles with a 6x6x12 U-Haul. 18-MPG loaded at about 3500-lbs. With my 9000-lb 9x9x35 travel trailer I average 15-mpg over the same terrain and under the same conditions. And still haven't fully sorted it for best MPG.

In my sig is a link to a previous Silver Streak I owned. Same MPG as with present. A bit shorter and lighter than the present one. Have a look at the pics, consider updating with a high zoot solar pkg, and compare the MPG again. Both of mine would sleep six easily.
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Old 11-12-2016, 03:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I always appreciate your input. Seriously. But less seriously, sometimes the requirement is for something that would tow behind a 1952 Hudson Hornet with a Tesla drive train and look right. Those are the people with lucky problems.

My own 35' R-license park model (Mobile Industrial, Santa Fe Springs, CA 1962) has been on the country tax rolls for decades, but I have a set of axles with electric brakes to replace the original hydraulic brakes — so anything is possible.

I could perch a Tesla Powerwall on the hitch where the propane tank used to be and still be well under $10K invested.

When I do the subfloor repairs I want to use truck van swing-door material. It's an aluminum skinned plywood. So it would be all plywood except skinned under the plumbing.
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What we call low power cars just don't exist any more. Today's four cylinder cars have unreal power. Their limiting factors are primarily chassis strength and cooling capacity. That said, the smallest brand new Airstream trailers are in reach of some (as you've seen me note, the problem isn't trailer weight, per se), and older lighter ones even more so.

The "problem" with the Bowles is simply price versus utility. The shape doesn't open up towing to a new class of vehicles. Shorn of price and fit/finish, it's quite low on storage. Limited.

For those in California where mountains, desert forest and seashore are all less than a day away, it may not matter. One can pack for a specific 2-3 day trip (not replenishing supplies, especially water).

Where a variety of seasons are to be encountered, and/or extended dry camping is contemplated, the Bowles is simply not in the running.

If utility means something, then an Oliver or Bigfoot makes as much of more sense than even an Airstream. Both need to be converted to independent suspension. Antilock disc brakes on every single brand. The O and B brands are where a removable fabric nosecone and some sort of tail treatment would Make sense (at least as I think it's the direction you want).

It's a thing of beauty, granted. The reviews I've read suggest that the buyers really do know what they're talking about (high end cars, airplanes, sailing yachts).

But best use of fuel still goes to doing the most with the least. And that's with 28-35' AS-style TTs behind a turbodiesel pickup. Or, 23-25' TT behind a Euro TD SUV. And 16-19' TT behind TD sedans.

See capacities. Propane, fresh water, and battery amp hours. Storage for food and clothing. Extrapolate use based on number of persons against nights aboard at a quite comfortable level of use. This really is what matters making comparisons across a class of design.

Then decide.

Folks say things like, "well, I'll never use AC". But that 100-lb roof unit won't change other capacities, and won't be measured against FE. And there are plenty of instances where AC is justified in any climate.

A change of 3-5/mph CAN make an FE difference. Obliterate EVERY attempt at added aero. It's almost universally ignored.

The Clippers of 1948-53 or so disappeared because they were space inefficient and labor intensive. . Not simply because high compression engines became available. The key to understanding the change is the Interstate Highway System. A Clipper is no longer justified.

Since then it is a given that fuel and ground rental are the major daily costs. Reducing the latter is by "dry camping" (be it a truck stop, Walmart or BLM land or other). The former by TV spec and TT design. Fiddling with details of the latter is only beneficial where capacities and occupancy is already settled. X people versus Y days. That's the important calculation in this subset. It has precedence over further aero refinement. Whatever cuts short dry camping is a penalty in fuel. Far greater than a few MPG otherwise.

I really don't disagree with any points you make. I almost always learn something. And I know you know more than me. But TT capacity is central
to discussion of them.

Last edited by slowmover; 11-22-2016 at 03:54 PM..
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Old 11-22-2016, 04:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
I always appreciate your input. Seriously. But less seriously, sometimes the requirement is for something that would tow behind a 1952 Hudson Hornet with a Tesla drive train and look right. Those are the people with lucky problems.

My own 35' R-license park model (Mobile Industrial, Santa Fe Springs, CA 1962) has been on the country tax rolls for decades, but I have a set of axles with electric brakes to replace the original hydraulic brakes — so anything is possible.

I could perch a Tesla Powerwall on the hitch where the propane tank used to be and still be well under $10K invested.

When I do the subfloor repairs I want to use truck van swing-door material. It's an aluminum skinned plywood. So it would be all plywood except skinned under the plumbing.
You may have already read the threads on AIR on using surplus Boeing honeycomb flooring. Curious about your choice (sounds good), maybe you'll start a daydream kind of thread on this trailer.

At this point I don't see anything which recommends any Tesla product. AM Solar is the place to start for portable power, IMO. "Lewster" on AIR is your friend, here.

As to axles, Dexter Torsion Flex such that the wheel face is congruent with the trailer walls is greatest stability. Huge leap from leaf. Come with complete
Brake assemblies. Dealer can consult on "starting angle" for 16" wheels with LT tires.

My real concern would be A-frame. Length and strength thereof. Past that, frame rot. Galvanic corrosion.

Would greatly enjoy any thread on that trailer if you started one herecor elsewhere. There's a thread on AIR with pics which indicates your trailer is actually an Airstream. See "Southern Pacific".

Last edited by slowmover; 11-22-2016 at 04:16 PM..
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Old 11-23-2016, 04:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
And I know you know more than me.
Ha! Let's start with what's AIR?

I saw a NOS Dexter axle at the hippy recyclers, but it was gone before their sale day. It had a part number but no capacity labeling. It looked to be about right for a teardrop.

Quote:
Would greatly enjoy any thread on that trailer if you started one herecor elsewhere. There's a thread on AIR with pics which indicates your trailer is actually an Airstream. See "Southern Pacific".
I wish. My brother bought (at auction) and resold 3 of those in the 1980s. He never offered me one. They had bunks and twin lavatories. Mine is a 35ft, with canted front and rear fiberglass end caps.

I might post a picture after I pressure wash it. But most of the changes would involve the steel kitchen cabinet to replace the plywood and chipboard one and a fiberglass shower stall to replace the aluminum box (it doesn't drain well).

The only reason I have the spare axles is that they were under a trailer that burnt. One of the advantages of living in a 'gated community'.

Edit: I reread you comments. I should be able to find AIR since it's a website.

Disk brakes would be nice but if it ever moves, it will probably be on a Lo-boy trailer. Best would be onto a log raft laid across aluminum pontoons with walkways on both sides.

I never get tired of rewatching the Black Currant hook up on the green.

2nd Edit:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f537...er-112376.html

Well, there you go.




It's like that except it's got a 4x24ft pipe and corrugated metal sun shade on the top. The ad said it was an Airstream but I hadn't believed it.

Last edited by freebeard; 11-23-2016 at 06:07 PM..
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/f492/vintage-airstream-built-for-southern-pacific-railroad-47602.html#post658346

My eyes aren't that good. Is that 29mpg? Behind a Buick Station Wagon?!?
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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143 miles (Santa Fe Springs to Oceanside, CA) and return, 11 gallons of gasoline = 13 mpg

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