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Old 12-29-2012, 02:54 PM   #31
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

I'll like to see how it preforms especially how much sound it puts out on high. Last night I was in 30* weather and on low the van was warm and you couldn'r hear the heater run except when it fired up for the first time.
Yes I've heard of problems related to low settings but so far the only problems I've had deals with dust/dirt. It did take me a while to figure out how to operte it correctly when I switched to the new timer controls. Sometimes it doesn't just start but if I just let it sit, it will start up. In the early days I kept turning it off and trying to restart it Also since I started using fuel treatment in my diesel I've had zero problems. One of the techs suggested installing a thermostat that forces the heater to cycle from off to high but the noise of the D-4 is on the loud side in the high mode. I want to look into a muffler and rig a large air filter to the intake. But my van still gets dusty and I wish the unit was mounted in an easier place for maintenance. Good luck on your build
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:01 PM   #32
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

My Espar D2 has been running on high most of the time the past few days with sub-30 degree weather. The noise seems no worse than the propane Suburban I had in my last rig. What I really like is that it ramps up and down slowly. I can say more about the sound after the dinette cushions are in, but we both need sound meters to compare objectively.

David
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:45 PM   #33
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

I brought Vanessa home for 10 days while SMB was on holiday break. The rear cabinet was all done so this was an opportunity for me to add my audio/video electronics. I worked every day including Christmas and enjoyed every minute of it!

Below shows the front of the rear cabinet. Besides the huge amount of storage space in this cabinet, having my A/V equipment next to the dinette is really nice. From upper left to lower right are the main power switch, stereo/DVD player (Jensen AWM975), in/out thermometer and humidity meter, left speaker, digital 12v alarm clock, TV (Jensen 22"), Sirius/XM docking station, right speaker. The TV angles down for watching in bed and swings out for watching from one side of the dinette. Storage cabinets are on each side of the TV.



Below shows the CB (Uniden PRO520XL) and 4G docking antenna amplifier for my iPhone 5 (Wilson Sleek 4G-A). The CB switches on with the ignition, and the signal amp has a power switch so it can be run for local hotspot use when parked. There is a bright LED indicator so we don't forget as it runs on the van battery. The hotspot allows us to use the internet on our laptop and iPad in or next to the van. A charging cable keeps the iPhone charged. We need a Bluetooth headset or Bluetooth radio to take phone calls using the 4G antenna since the iPhone needs to be in the cradle for it to work.



Below see how I installed an UltraGauge in front of the high end of the speedometer (I don't plan to drive over 100 mph). This location keeps it out of the sun. The UltraGauge monitors up to 55 functions from the van computer and displays 8 at a time. Some of these are duplicated on the Sprinter display but it is nice to see so many of them at once without using the steering wheel buttons. One of my favorites is the hours since start which automatically tells us when it is time to change drivers (turning off the engine resets this). The UltraGauge plugs into the OBDII port which is inside the fuse box below left of the steering wheel. I had to cut a hole in the lid so the lid would close with the UltraGauge plugged in.



Below see how I installed level indicators. For leveling blocks I have cut up a 0.75x40x60 inch rubber barn mat.



I had a couple of issues with Vanessa. I tried to run the Espar D2 heater 24 hours a day but it would shut down once or twice a day. SMB did not know why so I called their Espar supplier, Doug at Lubrication Specialist. He said they default to a 10-hour shutdown timer when new and the manual for the digi-controller explained how to reprogram for continuous operation. I found the manual on the Espar site here (SMB had not given me one).

The other issue that I have not solved is that the MBz fuel level gauge on the dash is far from accurate. The Furnace ran out of fuel when the gauge read 3/8 full, not 1/4 full as I expected. But when I filled the tank it took 20 gallons which is close to 3/4 of full (26 gallons). After filling (I stopped when the pump tripped off) the gauge read just over 3/4 full (see the photo above). I would expect a MBz gauge to be better than this. Could SMB have messed it up somehow? Defective part?

Thanks for reading.

David
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:09 PM   #34
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

Hi Dave, our 2012 2500 SMB with Espar 4 and currently 7K miles has a fuel gauge that seems pretty accurate on the computer on fuel remaining and shows full when we have had to fill it to almost 26 gallons on a few occasions. Have not had an opportunity to run the heater with less than about 30% fuel level to see when and if it cuts out. Possible problem with your fuel gauge accuracy might be: 1. SMB might have partially obstructed the float for the gauge with the Espar fuel tap or 2. perhaps your Scan gauge set up is messing with the fuel gauge signal?

Your build out with all the owner installed electronics is impressive.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:28 PM   #35
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

David,

The build looks like it is coming along really well. I also looks like a very custom build which you are really on top of. Looking at all of the stuff that goes into building a SMB Sprinter makes you appreciate where your dollars have gone.

I see some difference in design details between the Indiana shop and what happened in my build. Up front you have a nice detail where they extend the sides of the front storage space down to meet the top of the "B" pillar plastic trim, mine has a fabric wrapped filler there. Also you have the front storage door swinging down and it looks like the rest of the doors swing up on blum hinges. I assume you did that for a reason. Also, you have those fancy chrome catches, nice. I appreciate those details and the way my build was done too, they're just different.

I have not had a problem with the fuel guage myself. I do however find myself refueling when there is about a 1/3 tank left. Where I live there are only a couple of diesel carrying stations and when on the road "Gasbuddy" has been wrong often enough to teach me not to push it. When in the congested big city it is a pain to go chasing phantom diesel carrying stations through town.

All in all it really looks like you were very well prepared for your build and have really stayed on top of it. It also sounds like you have great communication with your build team at Indiana SMB. From the outset you had such great detail and good ideas in your plan and having good communication looks like it assures a well finished unique build.

Kudos!

Chumley
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:41 PM   #36
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

Hi Chumley,

I am not sure why they made the front storage pull down; my drawing has them all pull up. They changed some other details from my drawings without asking, but none seem to be a problem so far. The dinette seats are 38 wide instead of 40 which is ok since if we share at all it will be with kids. The total bed length to the rear doors in the center is about 82 which is more than we need. The space under the back of the bed is longer than the drawing which worked out really well for the plumbing and electrical back there.

The door and drawer pulls are really nice. They store flush with the door and extend out after you push them. You then have to turn them (either way) to unlatch them for opening. When using them frequently you don't have to push the handles back in. We will never have to worry about doors opening during travel.

I am going to Huntington again tomorrow to discuss the location of the dump valves. As I have mentioned before on this forum, I want to keep the dump hose connected and store it under the van. My experience with my former RV is that connecting and disconnecting that hose is the messiest part of the dumping routine. When done the way I want it, I will never have to touch anything that is dirty. I will just pull the free end of the slinky dump hose out of its storage tube, aim it down the hole, open the black valve, run some fresh water down the toilet, close the black valve, open the gray valve, run some water down the sink, close the gray valve, then shove the end of the dump hose back into its storage tube. If I want to do some extra cleaning of the hose, I can fill it with the outside faucet that is usually at the dump station while holding the end above the valves, then dump that.

Only 1 week left! Our plans are to pick up the van Thursday the 17th, spend the night in the SMB parking lot and test everything, decide on the dinette table size, wait for them to make the table in the morning and fix anything else, then drive home.

David
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:00 AM   #37
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

Dave, I just spent some time looking through your gallery at your build. I must say I'm quite impressed! It looks really great! I still want to find a Sprinter and convert someday and you've given me some great ideas. It's just unbelievable how much better you can use space with a factory built high roof.

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Old 01-22-2013, 10:28 PM   #38
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

We picked up our finished Vanessa last Thursday in Huntington, spent the night in their lot, talked to them in the morning, then brought her home. We are very happy with everything! We have been very busy with loading and organizing for a two week trip to Florida. I will post photos while on the trip.

Now I just want to comment on the water system in the very cold weather we are having in Indiana. The low here was 5 last night. I kept the van warm and slept in it to test the heating and water warming system. With the Espar D2 furnace and a small electric heater the temperature at ceiling level was 65. I still needed a warm down comforter because there is a cold draft from the windows. I ran the hot water recirculating system and the pipes did not freeze. I have not heard that anyone else has an RV with running water at 5 above zero, so I am really happy about the relatively simple changes that made this possible. I measured the temperature in the spaces under the bed and next to the bath and they had a low of about 25 degrees.

More later.

David
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:52 AM   #39
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by llamadave
The low here was 5 last night. I still needed a warm down comforter because there is a cold draft from the windows.
David - Congrats on getting the project this far!

About the windows - I am not far from you location wise and had a pretty stiff breeze last night. Is the cold from actual air infiltration or just "chill radiation"? Do you have any window insulation or special curtains.? I think 5 degrees would be about my worst case scenario.

Thanks for all of your posts.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:51 AM   #40
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Re: My SMB Indiana Sprinter building experience

Firetrux,

I felt a cold draft on my face near the window, but I am pretty sure the window was tight and the cold window cooled the air and it then fell down. The fabric pleated shades help insulate a little. I need to make sure the shade is down all the way so air doesn't flow behind it. We need to avoid the opposite of the chimney effect.

David
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