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Old 07-27-2013, 04:39 PM   #61
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Re: Full-time planning

kmessinger - I've been back and forth on the "tire on the back door" idea. I got the impression from SMB-W I might have to do that anyway to provide a gray tank for the shower (drain behind the rear axel). I assume you're referring to the SMB trapdoor storage. Though it's a pittance compared to what the full conversion will cost, paying more than $100/cu.ft. is hard to swallow. (Yes, I appreciate the irony that the main living space in the van pencils out to about $160/cu.ft.)

I actually am feeling pretty good about storage space now. The volume under the platform bed seems vast, and should accommodate the items you mention. I actually do have egress through the back doors if I slide the shower curtain aside and push the potty under the bed. I kind of want to keep that option.

I'll take a second look at the diesel heating option. I do want a stove, and the diesel option there seemed less convenient and more expensive, but I hadn't considered using smaller propane bottles for the stove. I assume you wouldn't recommend the Espar if you'd had the odor or altitude problems I've read about elsewhere. How is the Espar system on battery drain? I intended to use a catalytic heater most the time to avoid that on the propane system.

Solar panels are probably something I'll wait on, though I will get the prewiring. I see the advantage of panels if you park some place and just stay put. I'm not sure yet that will be my style. As I calculate it, just a half hour excursion in the van, running the 220A alternator, is equivalent to a full day charge from two panels. Am I missing something?

I do hope to get my design right the first time, or at least close enough for less expensive modifications. I'm pretty sure my retirement income won't support a second fresh start. This need to get it right sends me off on wide orbits from time to time, either considering major modifications to my design or trying a different approach altogether. I keep coming back to the original plan, though sometimes with small improvements. Case in point, I recently invested a lot of energy into considering something like the Leisure Travel Vans Serenity. For a while, everything seemed roomier, more convenient, more integrated, without too high a price in mpg. Then I started noticing how little window area that design actually has. Now I'm back with SMB as my top choice, with a greater appreciation for their approach.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:22 PM   #62
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Re: Full-time planning

100sqft
Yeah, I cheaped out on the basement and just added a cage. I have used it mainly for firewood.

Putting off solar is good in the sense it keeps getting more efficient. My solar took an extra roof rail as the awning took one. You might want to add an extra rail in case you need to use the rails for anything.

Haven't had any problem with the Espar. I put it in myself with the high altitude kit. I have smelled diesel outside but not for any length of time. When it starts up and you are outside it sounds like a jet engine. I added a muffler that helped a little but after it get up to temp it throttles way back and uses very little power.

I never computed the battery charge time or drain. About as technical as I get with electricity is tuning the off/on switch. My AGM is 5+ years old now (knock on wood) - I keep the refrigerator on full time so maybe that helps in keeping the charge up on that.

But the heavy duty alternator is good. I didn't get that and it can't be retrofitted but I did get the fast-idle option which I have used on occasion for the cabin air. I am having SMB add an AC in the next few months - I put that off thinking I wouldn't really need it - wrong. I looked at the Leisure Travel vans and really liked the screen door they put on the Sprinter model. I sent SMB the link last year so they could maybe offer that.

One of the best times I have had is my Sprinter hobby. Design, watching the build, making modifications, taking trips. My 10 year old neighbor, Brendon, sees me in the driveway and says, "Are you playing with your Sprinter again, Mr. Keith?" Darn - he caught me.

Regards,
Keith
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #63
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Re: Full-time planning

The serenity is really nice.I met Dean ("I'm well over six feet tall"), their you tube sensation at the Pomona RV show last Fall and he was a hoot.I am a musician and have been around and worked with many celebrities but I was star struck by Dean.We called my daughter (14) and had him talk to her.My wife said Erica turned red.I really liked that corner bed/electric sofa.I think if I were fulltiming and the prices were similar I would be tempted.I do think the resale on the SMB will be higher because of it being a true Class B. My daughter calls him Geek Sheik. Enjoy. [youtube:18spnr2g]
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:46 PM   #64
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Re: Full-time planning

Great story, Stan. I've been known to watch LTV videos a second time just because Dean is so entertaining. For some reason, he seems like Rick Moranis doing his best over-the-top impression of a salesman, but that's just another way of saying Dean is very good at what he does.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:19 PM   #65
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Re: Full-time planning

I'm afraid that Dean has come to some sort of self realization about his own Deanisms and the video I chose is much calmer and controlled.I urge everyone to look at older videos to get the true Dean.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:49 PM   #66
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Re: Full-time planning

that video is very entertaining. thanks.
whatever that sales guy is taking I want some but will only try 1/2 a pill at first.

some nice features on that RV.
I like how the fore and aft sofas convert to bed space.
100sqf - that's what I had in mind for the two beds in my design.
the platform bed in the back would fold out and get wider for sleep time but the static part would still be wide enough for napping if needed. that way you get more shower space if needed and the aisle remains open. I know you were set on keeping the whole thing static.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:54 AM   #67
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Re: Full-time planning

Here is a used Freedom 2 Serenity .Seems kind of high but you be the judge. http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/classc/...esel-24677.htm
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:19 PM   #68
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Re: Full-time planning

I haven't posted in a while because, frankly, not much has been happening. The design has evolved very little since I posted some drawings back in July. I'm planning to have my build start in June of 2014, which means I'll be ordering the van in mid- to late January. While I feel fairly settled with the current 2500EB plan, I can't quite dismiss the thought that maybe I should choose a 3500LB instead. The plan would change little, moving the bed and bathroom back and throwing in a couple cabinets in front of them to fill the extra length. The last time I calculated, my plan was at least 400 lbs under the weight limit for a 2500 including all the possessions I intend to take plus a couple passengers, but having the extra load capacity of the 3500 would give me an extra comfort margin. I'm trading that against the loss of a couple mpg and some (perhaps imaginary) increase in the difficulty of maneuvering and parking.

Oh, and here's a detail that I've been brooding on: Upper cabinets, should the doors swing up or down? I've always been firmly in the "up" camp - it just seemed "cleaner" and more out-of-the-way to me. Then I recently saw an image where doors that swing down go the full 180 degrees and I thought "That's not so bad." It occurred to me that with a hook and a little bit of chain on each end of a door, I could, when I wanted to, turn it into a temporary horizontal shelf that might come in handy for a variety of purposes. Any opinions on up vs down? A related question is: for the doors that swing up, do the hinges or gas struts or whatever wear out allowing the open doors to sag?

Finally, what prompted me to post now is that, at the request of many friends, I've started a blog. Currently it covers my preparations but it will continue as a travelogue once I'm on the road. It's a more personal perspective than what I post here, and posts in the near future will cover other RV options I've seriously looked at and why I'm still with Sportsmobile. The link is in my signature below.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:23 AM   #69
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Re: Full-time planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by 100sqft
...

Oh, and here's a detail that I've been brooding on: Upper cabinets, should the doors swing up or down? I've always been firmly in the "up" camp - it just seemed "cleaner" and more out-of-the-way to me. Then I recently saw an image where doors that swing down go the full 180 degrees and I thought "That's not so bad." It occurred to me that with a hook and a little bit of chain on each end of a door, I could, when I wanted to, turn it into a temporary horizontal shelf that might come in handy for a variety of purposes. Any opinions on up vs down? A related question is: for the doors that swing up, do the hinges or gas struts or whatever wear out allowing the open doors to sag?
If we are taking votes put me in the "up camp." In a high roof sprinter, once the cabinets are up and open, they are not in the way and do not inhibit movement inside the van. Additionally, the underside of the cabinets are generally where extra light fixtures end up and under hanging doors could cut down on options. (My .02) Since my van is only a little over a year old now, I canít comment on the durability of the hinges other than they function exactly the same now as they did when I picked up the van. I do happen to have one cabinet door that opens down (the storage area above the front of the van and I would have preferred it open up.

tv
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:03 PM   #70
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Re: Full-time planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by 100sqft
I haven't posted in a while because, frankly, not much has been happening. The design has evolved very little since I posted some drawings back in July. I'm planning to have my build start in June of 2014, which means I'll be ordering the van in mid- to late January. While I feel fairly settled with the current 2500EB plan, I can't quite dismiss the thought that maybe I should choose a 3500LB instead. The plan would change little, moving the bed and bathroom back and throwing in a couple cabinets in front of them to fill the extra length. The last time I calculated, my plan was at least 400 lbs under the weight limit for a 2500 including all the possessions I intend to take plus a couple passengers, but having the extra load capacity of the 3500 would give me an extra comfort margin. I'm trading that against the loss of a couple mpg and some (perhaps imaginary) increase in the difficulty of maneuvering and parking.

.....cut.....
Did you calculate weights based on 2014 model? If so, did you find a published difference between the standard I4 and optional V6 engines? I'm wondering how much engine choice affects cargo capacity.

On the subject of van weight, I was surprised to see that for the 2500 model the extended van only adds about 132 pounds. That's not much weight for the space it provides, although I'm not sure how the extension would affect handling and ride on a 2500 SRW model. It may also affect driving in crosswinds more than with DRW -- don't really know. The 2014 models supposedly addressed that issue anyway.
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