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Old 03-20-2011, 09:02 PM   #1
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Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

Hi

I'm new to the forum and we just put down our deposit on a new SMB RB in Fresno and are now in the planning stages. We've owned a Ford Sportsmobile and several VW Westfalia campers and have now decided to go with a Sprinter.

We are looking at the RB131S standard plan with the gaucho and the penthouse top. There will be three of us traveling my wife and I and our 11-year old son.

We are touring the factory in May. However, beforehand we'd like to get a feel for the interior space (it's tough to imagine off of just a piece of paper). Is there someone who would be will to show us their rig -- we are located on the San Francisco Peninsula in San Carlos. We'd be thankful if we could visit one.

I also have a few other questions as I reviewed posts on the forum.

1) Benefit of the Espar Diesel heater versus propane furnace?
2) If I put the spare tire on the back door can I use the original spare tire space for storage?
3) What's it like traveling for distances sitting on the gaucho (since this will be my son's spot)?
4) How important is it to have side windows that open if we have a pop top?
5) What other learnings do people have that we should keep in mind as we design?

Thanks for any thoughts,
Bernard
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:30 PM   #2
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Re: Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

Congrats on your Sprinter build!

Some really good advice that applies to question # 5 is here:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=70&hilit=initial+build+meetin g&start=45

Some people love the Espar furnace but you have to run them quite a bit and run them hot, otherwise they get cranky. The Espar furnace also takes a bit more care and feeding than does the propane furnace. If you do a search on the Espar furnace, you'll find plenty of information on it. The propane furnace is very reliable although the main complaint with it is that it is noisy.

As for sitting sideways on the gaucho, here's a brief discussion here:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2087&hilit=sitting+sideways

HTH!

Rick L
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:51 PM   #3
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Re: Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

Quote:
Originally Posted by bernardp
1) Benefit of the Espar Diesel heater versus propane furnace?
Size, single fuel, preheating engine.

Quote:
4) How important is it to have side windows that open if we have a pop top?
Very. There is no such thing as too much ventilation, and you won't always have the top up anyway.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:20 PM   #4
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Re: Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

just make an outline on the floor of whatever van you choose cargo space. put the aisle space in based on your design. you'll know soon enough
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:46 PM   #5
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Re: Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

Thanks folks. I've been scouring the various websites for information, pictures, etc to inform our choices. Looks like we also have the opportunity to view a completed RB before we head to Fresno -- thanks.

My wife and I have also drafted a few use scenarios and issues we've had with past RVs to help us make the design decisions.

Today, I researched the various options for ensuring Internet service while on the road. I have to admit its a lot of fun planning this thing.

I let my 11-year old used the Sportsmobile on-line design program to design his ideal version - . He had a blast.

Bernard
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:04 PM   #6
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Espar versus Propane

I've been reading a lot of posts regarding propane versus Espar, etc. Here is what I'm thinking. If I eliminate the entire propane system - no propane tank, no stove top, and no furnace the costs would almost match an Espar Diesel furnace.

I would have a lot more counter space. I would then use a basic butane or propane camping stove whenever we needed to cook. When driving I can store it in a drawer or cabinet. We could cook inside if the weather is bad or cook outside which happens 80% of the time anyway.

Yes I have to store the propane or butane bottles. But I wouldn't have carry two stoves since a lot of cooking is done outside and so the inside stove is only when weather is bad or we want a late night hot chocolate.

Does this affect the RV designation for insurance purposes?

Any thoughts about this set up? What am I missing?
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:35 AM   #7
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Re: Espar versus Propane

Quote:
Originally Posted by bernardp
Does this affect the RV designation for insurance purposes?
That's unclear and depends on your insurance co. designation, and even then not sure it matters.

I carry two stoves, one is packed away only for encamped use the other goes in the door pantry and is used inside, outside, on the pantry top, pantry door, counter, picnick tables, in other people's houses when needed, in our house occasionally... very versatile.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:49 PM   #8
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Re: Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

Sportsmobile's take on what constitutes an RV is under the Misc. Info section of this page:

http://sportsmobile.com/5_general-info.html

HTH

Rick L
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Old 03-26-2011, 01:44 PM   #9
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Re: Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

Our Sprinter build was started last week in Fresno. We selected the RB150S with the electric penthouse, which is similar to our last two Ford 4X4 SMBís.

As to your questions:
This time we chose the Espar D-5 furnace and flat plate water heater. As of last week SMB West has completed eight Espar D-5 builds. That makes me a little cautious due to the lack of D-5 setups in use. If you check out the Forum correspondence on Espar, you will see some folks have experiences operation difficulties. Propane has been fine with our other builds on the Ford chassis. We did not like the rear location of the 8-gallon propane tank on the Sprinter. Another option from SMB West was to use a 4-gallon tank mounted on the divers side next to the 4D battery. Our previous experience with the propane was all good.


I liked the under floor extra large storage box on our past SMBís. With the 150S setup the storage box location would not work. With the gaucho setup it may work for you.

I did like the rear bumper mounted tire carrier setup. I could stand on the tire while securing stuff that wasnít close to the ladder. We may select the Aluminess bumper with the tire carrier; we have a couple of weeks to make up our minds.

We like the opening windows, there are times that you canít have enough air movement, even with the pop-top windows open.

I have been able to see two Sprinter SMBís on the road and talk at length with the proud owners. We have gone to Fresno, twice to crawl around all the Sprinters in the factory to gain ideas for our build.

Good luck on your adventure.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:30 PM   #10
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Re: Need Help with New 2011 Sprinter - like to see one

RickL - interested to hear more about the Espar heater. We live in MN, so heater is important if we are going to use it in Spring/Fall. What do you mean it gets "cranky" if it's not used frequently or run "hot"? It's a lot of $$$, so don't want to get it if it's going to be a problem! thanks
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