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Old 06-05-2014, 01:46 PM   #121
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Re: Full-time planning

stanw909: Always appreciate your advice. Somewhere on the blog, I mention that I'm getting (actually "have got" by now) an Endless Breeze 12V fan. It is made by the same company that makes the Fan-Tastic Fan vents, and comes highly recommended in many postings around the web for its quietness and the volume of air it moves. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but will soon. The FantasticVent website stopped listing it a while back so I bought one quick elsewhere in case the stock runs out.

Quick story: I received the Endless Breeze and gave it an inspection (technical term for played with my new toy). I was disappointed to see that the central nub on the 12V plug was missing. Great, now I'd have to deal with the hassle of returning it and hope they could ship me another of this apparently discontinued item. As I tilted the fan to slide it back into the box, there was a rattle. I shook the fan, and out through the grate dropped the missing nub.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:25 PM   #122
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Re: Full-time planning

Tape on that rascally nub. If you lose it,I think Radio shack has em. Those endless breezes are great but worthless without a place to plug in. I bought Cool Breeze from Walmart(I'm cheap) $18.00. Also runs on batteries. It came with a dc converter but no 12volt cable. I just happened to have one from something and it worked fine. I await the birth of your rig with much anticipation.
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:10 PM   #123
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Re: Full-time planning

I have an Endless Breeze and I like it. I did have to replace the cig lighter adapter - I think the nub fell out or something. I just ordered a cheap one from Amazon and spliced it on...fyi.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:16 PM   #124
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Re: Full-time planning

Fantastic Vent must have a problem, because the nub from my Endless Breeze also went MIA during our trip this summer. It has yet to resurface in the back of the van, but fortunately the weather stayed pretty cool. The company was nice enough to send me an entire new fan because it was within the one year warranty. Good to know it's an easy repair if it happens again.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:21 PM   #125
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Re: Full-time planning

Some news and photos from my ongoing build. I visited SMB West on July 25th. I knew that was a bit earlier than the "best" time to visit they recommended, but that's what my schedule allowed, and I needed to deliver a drawer unit for installation as the furniture is being built anyway. As a result, none of the furnishings were in yet, but the walls, floor, wiring, and plumbing were. Here's an overview photo:

My observations below are probably not new to most readers, but I had somehow missed the information in all my previous reading. The bulk of the wiring and the plumbing and wiring is run in the upper corners of the van where the walls meet the roof, except where they need to descend through a wall to reach a fixture. This makes a lot of sense, particularly inside upper cabinets where I assume you can simply remove a trim piece for maintenance or upgrades. The thick red and white tubes are, of course, hot and cold water. The pair at the lower left are for the galley, lower right are for the water heater, and further back on the right are for the shower. The single white tube near the wheel well on the left is where the water pump and tank will be.

Here's a closeup of some wiring and plumbing:

This is where the water lines descend for the water heater. I like the way everything is neatly zip tied together. If you look behind the wiring, you can see the gray batting SMB West uses to insulate the walls. Above the wiring is the gray foam rubber using in the ceiling.

Finally, here's a photo of the holes that have been cut in the roof.

The nearer one is for the Fantastic Fan and the one further back is for the interior part of the air conditioner. There's a lot more new photos in my gallery. They seem redundant, but you never know when one will contain some detail important to someone.
Attached Thumbnails
P1010023.jpg   P1010027.jpg   P1010036.jpg  
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Old 02-13-2015, 07:21 PM   #126
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Re: Full-time planning

I got curious so I emailes 100sqft. He sent me this reply with a link to his blog. I am posting this with his Oky Doke " Stan-
> > Thanks for checking up on me. The plain truth is I've been too busy having fun to take the time to write about it. I picked up my Sportsmobile at the end of September and have been on the road ever since. I've put 15K miles on it in 4.5 months. My first month was from San Diego to Banff and back to San Diego. A week later, I headed out across the Southwest. Right now I'm at the northeast corner of Florida ( Fort Clinch ), heading into Georgia tomorrow ( Cumberland Island ). I have plans to head up the East Coast as the weather warms up. There really is no planned end date for my travels.
> >
> > I've done a slightly better job of keeping up with my blog - it's only two months behind my actual location. You can find its website in the signature at the bottom of my forum posts, and here it is: http://itinerantguest.blogspot.com <http://itinerantguest.blogspot.com/>. On that website you can also find a link to a map that tracks my recent locations (via the SPOT device). I should get back to being active on the forum. I like the people there, and the forum was so helpful to me when I was getting started, I should definitely pay it forward. I'll try to post soon.
> >
> > The Sportsmobile has been wonderful for me. SMB West got the conversion about 95% right - that's been close enough. I've had only one problem, and that was my own dumb fault for letting the plumbing freeze. I got off easy on that one with just replacing the fresh water pump.
> >
> > Keep an eye on the forum, I'll post soon just to let people know I'm still around if nothing else.
> >
> > Regards,
> > -Clark "
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Old 02-13-2015, 07:25 PM   #127
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Re: Full-time planning

You can find pictures of the finished project in his October blog.Really nice.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:19 PM   #128
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Re: Full-time planning

I want to thank stanw909 for sharing my reply to his email, and for giving me a friendly nudge to get active on this forum again. I have been remiss. As my quoted email above says, I've got 4.5 months of full time experience with my Sportsmobile now, so it's high time I did a review. As a down payment on that, let me give what I like about the 2014 V-6 Sprinter 2500EB van itself, and the very few things I don't like. In a (not too distant) future post, I'll do the same for my build.

Pros:
* It drives like a dream. Very stable on the road, even though I didn't get the dualies. It loves going 70 to 75mph. I've been in 40 to 50 mph crosswinds; you have to pay attention to what you're doing, but I've never felt like it was out of control. (Crosswind assist wasn't offered for this year.)
* MPG as advertised. I'm getting about 19.6 with a fairly heavy build. On level straightaways at 55mph, I've seen as high as 22.
* Plenty of power. I've never had any trouble maintaining highway speed on any uphill I've encountered. Likewise for accelerating from an entrance ramp.
* Love the blindspot assist. It gives you that extra bit of confidence when changing lanes. That said, it's not perfect - nothing replaces checking and rechecking your mirrors. Proper adjustment of the convex portion of the side mirrors is essential.
* The driver's seat is very comfortable, reupholstered by SMB in Ultraleather. Swiveled around and reclined, the passenger seat serves as my easy chair.
* The rectangular orange message center in the middle of the instrument cluster. I love seeing a constantly updated mpg readout. Worth the time to learn all the ways it can be configured using the steering wheel controls. And on that latter subject, just being able to turn the radio volume up and down from the steering wheel is worth its cost to me.
* The stock radio (Audio 15). I resisted what I would call significant pressure to get an upgraded radio, but I like the stock one just fine. I did get (fairly expensive) after market speakers installed, which I would say is a must if you're any sort of music lover. The stock radio drives them just fine; the bass is very solid. The one thing the stock radio lacks is an equalizer beyond the rudimentary bass and treble settings. One caveat: I let the audio guy talk me into leaving the stock center speaker in place, to "raise the soundstage" in his words. I think this was a mistake. The upper midrange sometimes sounds harsh, and my number one suspect is that center speaker. I'm going to disconnect it when I get around to it.
* Everything just works. As you would expect from MBz, everything functions flawlessly, the controls are conveniently laid out (with one exception noted below), and there are lots of unexpectedly nice touches thrown in.
* The headroom. I'm 6'1" in my stocking feet and I can stand up straight anywhere in the van, even under the roof airconditioner.
* The ground clearance. Partly Sprinter and partly the way SMB builds, but I like knowing I can straddle debris in the road when I have to. Ditto for traveling down very rutted dirt roads.

Cons
* The position of the cruise control lever. It's right above the turn signal on the left side of the steering column. You'd think after 4.5 months, muscle memory would have me grabbing the correct one every time, but that hasn't happened. Why isn't it on the right side of the steering column?
* The MBz backup camera doesn't cover the entire width of the vehicle. I've got a couple small dings in the back doors that I blame on this. Also, its low-light sensitivity could be better. Likewise for high-contrast sun-and-shadow situations. That said, having some sort of backup camera is essential, and I don't know that third party models would be any better.
* After 4.5 months I still haven't found exactly the right touch to get the sliding side door latched every time without slamming it. It may have to do with compressing air in the van; I need to do a careful comparison with windows closed and windows open.
* The lane assist. It gives a shrill double beep if I get close to either side of my lane. Likewise if I change lanes without using the blinker. There is a control to turn it off, but I am too aware of its potential value to do that. That doesn't make it any less annoying, particularly on narrow roads.
* It took at least a couple thousand miles before I felt like the disc brakes were fully seated and gave me full stopping power. Now, they're just fine.
* The "Sprinter wobble". This really is just a fact of physics, not a design flaw, but I feel I ought to warn you. If you hit anything like a little drainage trough or a speed bump at an angle, one front wheel goes up and down, then the other goes up and down, then one rear wheel goes up and down, then the other goes up and down. Because the van is so tall, this can cause the top of the van to whip from side to side at truly breathtaking speeds. Anything unsecured on upper shelves will be ejected.

I'll mention one more thing that gave me a needless case of heartburn: my first DEF refill. Of course the Sprinter gives you a warning when DEF is running low, for me it was just a bit after 5000 miles. Somewhere I'd picked up the mistaken belief that you only get four more engine starts after this warning without a refill. No. You get about another 1000 miles (don't take my word for it, check your manual) before a really SERIOUS warning comes on. Then you get a display that counts down from 16 on your remaining restarts. I was worried about finding DEF. It's everywhere. Nearly every station that has diesel sells it, every auto parts store I've been in has it. It typically comes in a container that is close to a cubic foot in size. That looked like way too much and I obsessed about dribbling it in to avoid an overflow. Unnecessary. A (small) Sprinter DEF tank takes one standard sized container to refill. Just pour it in and don't worry about it.

That's all that comes to mind. Please chime in with your own likes, dislikes, or questions. I'm no expert, but that's never prevented me from having an opinion.
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:29 AM   #129
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Re: Full-time planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by 100sqft
* The "Sprinter wobble". This really is just a fact of physics, not a design flaw, but I feel I ought to warn you. If you hit anything like a little drainage trough or a speed bump at an angle, one front wheel goes up and down, then the other goes up and down, then one rear wheel goes up and down, then the other goes up and down. Because the van is so tall, this can cause the top of the van to whip from side to side at truly breathtaking speeds. Anything unsecured on upper shelves will be ejected.
I have a fix for that!
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:29 AM   #130
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Re: Full-time planning

G'day 100sqft,
Great story & journey. Like me, been in the dreaming, planning, building stage, for what looks like 14-18 months, agree? Great summary, with the pro's & con's and comment after.
But, would love to see some finished photo's. Looking forward to seeing interior finishes, appliances and your an exterior colour, please? Doug.
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