RJ's Airstream B190 Page

My motorhome is a 1991 Airstream B190, built on a Ford Econoline 350 chassis with a 460 cu in (7.5 L) engine.

The first trip with it - 5/1/2005.

WBCCI Rallies


Groups & Links



Pioneer DEH-MP3800 with Sirius tuner. I rewired the radio to the camper battery so that I can use it any time, without needing the keys in the ignition. I also purchased the accessory remote control, which hangs by the fridge. When I'm camping, the Sirius tuner is usually the first thing I turn on in the morning and the last thing I turn off at night. Definitely a good investment.

The Sirius tuner is mounted in the cabinet above the door, and the antenna is just stuck to the top of the cabinet above the door using self-adhesive Velcro (the fiberglass top allows the signals to travel through unhindered).

The head unit also plays MP3s, so I encoded much of my CD collection as MP3s with a medium bitrate (let's face it, on the road, it's too loud in there to hear the difference) and have the burned CDs in a holder on the driver's visor for easy access.

Finally, I also got the auxiliary input option, which I have located in the same cabinet as the Sirius tuner. I use that when I'm watching a movie or playing MP3s on the laptop to fill the space better without blasting the laptop's speakers. It works pretty well, though I occasionally get a ground loop hum (it depends where the laptop is plugged in, etc.).

I have an old 8" subwoofer sitting at home that I'm not using for anything, so I've been kicking around the idea of putting it in the camper. I'd also eventually like to get new speakers.

Tow Dolly

Read about my experiences with my Stehl Tow Dolly.

Interior lighting

One of my reading lights over the couch was damaged beyond usability in a freak vegetable oil accident (even sealed bottles can leak...). My parents (owners of a late-80s 34' Airstream trailer) happened to have this little gem that they gave me! It's wired to allow three way control of the middle light, and it works even though I don't have a remote switch for it.

My reading lights and overhead lights (between the driver and passenger seats) were very dim. New 168 bulbs fixed that.


6/06 - I had Cummins install a new Microlite 2800 generator, after the original one stopped working and wasn't worth fixing.


7/22/06 - New transmission installed. New water pump installed at this time as well (the old one died while the shop was testing the new transmission). 111,000 miles.

Fog lights

When I bought the camper, I noticed that the fog light switch was messed up. I bought a new switch, and I installed it during the first camping trip. The day before I installed the new switch, I had the camper at a garage putting new brakes on it. As I was walking toward the garage, I saw the fog lights blinking on and off. When I went to replace the switch, I noticed that the wires going to the old switch were quite warm. Surprised, I started checking wires, and I discovered a couple things that owners of B190s should check:

  1. The fuse in the circuit was electrically after the switch, not before it.
  2. The switch, being a lighted switch, also had a ground wire going to it.
  3. The source of the power for the fog lights was the deep cycle battery, not the engine's accessory power, as one would expect.

What does all this mean? Well, when the switch broke, it shorted out, and thus connected by camper's battery to ground. With no fuse in that circuit to blow, it shorted out my camper's battery (albeit with a relatively low current draw since this is only 12 or 14 gauge wire), which is why the wiring was hot. The blinking lights was the deep cycle battery recovering after being discharged, only to be discharged again within a few moments. Vehicle fires aren't good. Vehicle fires in a vehicle you are meant to be sleeping in are much worse, and that's exactly what could have happened.

My fix: when I installed the radio I wired it to the coach 12 volt system instead of the engine's accessory power. That left the radio's original 12 volt accessory power wire, which is already fused in the fuse box. I used that wire to power the fog lights, so if the new switch were to short out, it'll just blow the fuse marked for the radio in the fuse box. The other advantage of this wiring scheme is that the lights now turn on and off with the ignition key, so there's no chance of leaving them on accidentally and running down the battery.

The original fog lights had to come off when I moved to Maryland because a bulb burned out and we couldn't get them open to change it during the safety inspection (the shop pulled them off so they could pass the vehicle). In addition, the gray plastic air dam was all cracked and broken, so I pulled it off. I couldn't find fog lights that I really liked, so I picked up these for $20 at Advance Auto and put them on. I'm not sure about the fogs, but I like the cleaner look without the trim piece. Here they are turned off and on.

Awning On a trip in August, 2007, I left the awning out and unfortunately it rained. Hard. Here are some pictures of the damage, and the repair.

States I've stayed in in the camper (click for larger version):

Produced using Visited States Map

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URL: http://rjmarq.org/airstream190/
Written by RJ Marquette on 7/28/06. Updated 11/3/13.
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