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Old 10-05-2017, 09:46 PM   #51
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If you're in Colorado - check out my tourig's website for the bed idea. It's the Lazy R Ranch build. Custom Sprinter Van Conversions Built to Meet All Your Needs[/QUOTE]

Wrinkledpants, did you get an idea of what the cost to upfit a 144" to the Lazy R Ranch with Tourig would be? Also, any idea of what type of material they are building their cabinets out of?

Thanks,
Paul
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:54 PM   #52
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Again - I'm just giving my *opinion* based on our needs and usage. If we had kids, 3-season usage, and based out of Cali - we would like go a different route. Some of these points won't be applicable to someone who's on the fence. Fitz has a recent conversion with a penthouse top, and they love it. So, I'm sure he could come up with a list like this against a high-roof.
Great discussion! It seemed like I addressed this issue recently so I went looking. Finally found it in a response to a question in Post 460 of my own build thread. If you have read this already, sorry for the repeat, but this way it gets these comments gathered in one place.


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Fitz, If you had it to do over again would you do the pop-top or would you just do a high roof model? Of course, there are multiple trade offs - cost, travel height, garage height, insulation, upper cabinets, stealth, etc..


We have no regrets with choosing the powered penthouse and were we to do it again we would make the same decision.

With that said, there are typically only two of us and we travel without the penthouse bed. In this configuration my 6'-0" frame can easily move around inside the van with only a bit of a slouch, a very real benefit that we didn't consider when making the original decision. We like sleeping down and we love raising the penthouse for the additional room, light and ventilation when it is appropriate. When it is too cold or too windy outside or we are in stealth mode the penthouse stays down. When one of the grandsons wants to come with us it will be a simple matter to put the bed back in and away we will go!

Regarding height, with the penthouse down the top of the Thule load rails are at 8'-10", still high for loading long items but much easier then if Flint were a taller fixed high top. I have carried lumber, ladders, pipe and etc. up top, all very doable and having the ability to do so is very important to me.

We use the van off-road and the height that it is attracts enough pinstripes in the paint along the sides as adjacent trees "reach out to touch". Most brushy trails are trimmed for jeep height vehicles, adding more height with a high top only compounds the problem. In addition, there is the issue of lean angle and center of gravity, when these tall vans lean over you will take notice and the taller the van the more pronounced it will be.

I have mentioned in previous posts that weight will be an issue as you add after-market accessories. Personally, I would rather add the weight in the form of a skid plate protecting the underside of the vehicle then in the form of something put in a cabinet that we don't really need just because we have room for it. Added storage is great, it all depends on where you are going and what you want to carry with you. We honestly have more room than we need/use in Flint and we constantly are asking ourselves the question "do we really need that" when deciding about carrying something else.

You also mentioned garage height. Few garages will handle either the regular body or the high roof and I ended up building a carport configured to allow the penthouse to be raised when under cover. We are fortunate enough to have room for the carport, and only a couple of trees had to be trimmed or removed to make way for it!

We all need to go through this thought process as we make these individual decisions, one of the strengths of this forum is that so much quality information and input is available. If we needed a 2nd air conditioner, if we always stayed on pavement and in developed campgrounds, then our decision might very well be different. But for us and the way we use the van, the penthouse has been the right decision.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:57 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by akfiredude View Post
If you're in Colorado - check out my tourig's website for the bed idea. It's the Lazy R Ranch build. Custom Sprinter Van Conversions Built to Meet All Your Needs
Wrinkledpants, did you get an idea of what the cost to upfit a 144" to the Lazy R Ranch with Tourig would be? Also, any idea of what type of material they are building their cabinets out of?

Thanks,
Paul[/QUOTE]

Duh, sorry... it appears that you said that this was YOUR website! Maybe I should PM you?
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:46 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by akfiredude View Post
Wrinkledpants, did you get an idea of what the cost to upfit a 144" to the Lazy R Ranch with Tourig would be? Also, any idea of what type of material they are building their cabinets out of?

Thanks,
Paul
Duh, sorry... it appears that you said that this was YOUR website! Maybe I should PM you?[/QUOTE]

Ha - sorry. the website is TouRig Van Customizations | Sprinter Van Conversions near Denver, CO. Tourig is the company - so not my website.

The build quality is a bit higher than SMB, as are the materials and pricing. It's really difficult to beat SMB's value.

You have a number of options for materials with Tourig - both for cabinets and basically everything else.
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:14 AM   #55
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Brian....I checked out your Flickr photos. The new Sprinter van looks pretty awesome. Does it have a lift kit or is that the factory lift? And what size tires?
For now it's factory suspension at 265/70r17 tires. I'm hoping that agile will sell their fox strut/coil assist setup for the front soon and match it with progressive leaf springs and custom tuned shocks out back. Tire size will likely stay the same, the sprinter isn't exactly a hot rod as is, but it drives great so I don't think I'll mess with gearing by adding bigger tires any time soon.
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:51 AM   #56
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Fritz - I am curious, what is you inside height with the penthouse down? Is there insulation in the floor or the roof of the penthouse?
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:21 AM   #57
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IPT,

There is no additional insulation in the fiberglass roof. As for the floor, insulation strips were laid between the floor ribs, then plywood, then linoleum, then a fitted piece of carpet.

The coldest we have camped in was the low 20's. With the penthouse down the D5 easily kept the van at whatever temp we wanted.

The diagram below from the SMB website should answer your height question. As I said previously, I am 6'-0" and we typically travel without the penthouse bed. I can comfortably move around inside the van with the top down, with it up it's about 8'-0" to the ceiling.

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Old 10-06-2017, 09:26 AM   #58
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Fritz - I am curious, what is you inside height with the penthouse down? Is there insulation in the floor or the roof of the penthouse?
IPT, just in case you hadn't noticed elsewhere: An advantage of the SMB PH is that they take the entire roof out. This means that the standup height, with the top town, is for the entire van.

In contrast CCV only does a cutout to about the pillar next to the slider door.

For our build, with a factory crew seat, located about at the pillar next to the slider door, this was a non-issue. But coming from the SMB PH I was surprised. If you go for a walkthrough design you'll want to take this into account. (insulated bigger CCV or larger cutout with the PH).
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Old 10-06-2017, 03:51 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Pritikin View Post
IPT, just in case you hadn't noticed elsewhere: An advantage of the SMB PH is that they take the entire roof out. This means that the standup height, with the top town, is for the entire van. In contrast CCV only does a cutout to about the pillar next to the slider door.
Thanks, yes I was aware of that. Here is info I got from them a while back. I imagine it all still stands true but should be verified.

- how wide is the bed area?
49” wide mattress, 52 wide between the lift mechanism

- how long is the bed area?
78” long, but this can be modified if need be. The bed is in two sections, one 61” fixed section, and one 17” removable bed panel. I can make that panel longer if you need.

- is the bed suspended and thus making up the roof interior roof
?
No, our bed sits on top of the vehicle roof and is supported by our lift mechanism. The rear section is fixed in place and the front panel is removable. The fixed section is form the C pillar back.

- can the bed area be removed providing more of a hightop feel to the interior in a situation where you didn't want to raise the roof?
Yes from the C pillar froward.

- is the interior roof higher or lower than stock with the poptop down?
Yes it is, the interior adds 9” when closed

- if I hate it, can I take it off and convert to some sort of fixed high roof?

I suppose so, but I would recommend really deciding on one before we cut your roof out.

- I understand you do "insulated tops"....living in Alaska that would be helpful. Can you tell me more about that?
We add a 1/2 thermozite to the interior of the pop top, and a closed cell foam inside the canvas. I’ve camped in our vans down to -10 here in Colorado and although I was in a bag (and had a heater in the van) I was pretty cozy.

We see a couple things that need attention on occasion. Mostly little things like a sore pulling out, or an actuator login out. Actuator or screws replacement can be pretty easy id you’re mechanically inclined. Most folks from Alaska I have dealt with are very self sufficient, so I think you could handle it.

I hope this info helps.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:29 PM   #60
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Hi REB/Ralph
Im in Boulder with a 144 penthouse poptop and a walk through design - if you'd like to see it I'd be happy to show it. It's perfect for us
David
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