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Old 08-14-2017, 11:31 PM   #51
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Wrinkledpants, It does seem like I'm getting a lot of pushback from Brian, it will be interesting to see when I visit on 9/6 how it all pans out. To be fair, while at sea I work most of the day, and in my off time this tour it's all about the Sprinter. So I've been doing a lot of research and inundating Brian with information for our file. I also discovered this forum late in the game so have been doing a lot of catch-up. Now is the time to get it right, not 1/2 way through the build. Like you, our van is going to be in the neighborhood of $140-150K when all is said and done with conversion and after-conversion suspension, skid plate, aux fuel tank upgrades. It's going to be our home away from home.

I am selfishly glad your build is just ahead of us in production @ SMB West, purely from the lithium build perspective. I feel like I do when I flush out of the Suez Canal southbound and I tell the Mate on Watch to correct course/speed to follow the containership most closely making our speed. That ship pretty much clears the northbound traffic for us and makes vessel contact management easier... A seafarers analogy!

I received an interesting email from Van Compass on suspension upgrades. Their view differs from Agile Offroad. I'll forward that if you'd like.
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:29 AM   #52
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I received an interesting email from Van Compass on suspension upgrades. Their view differs from Agile Offroad. I'll forward that if you'd like.
I'd really like to see that. I've heard a few different viewpoints on VanCompass vs Agile...and need to make a decision on which suspension too. VanCompass adds Sumosprings to increase spring rate for the the front end where as Agile uses a coil over...that's about all I know.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:47 PM   #53
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I received an interesting email from Van Compass on suspension upgrades. Their view differs from Agile Offroad. I'll forward that if you'd like.
Yeah - would love to see that. My email is my screen name at gmail.
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:04 PM   #54
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My daughter is a senior at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, which is near Atascadero. On a trip to visit our daughter, we stopped by to visit VC and took a close look at their prototype conversion. I was impressed with their work. The suspension upgrades give a couple of inches lift, then the 315 tires add another inch to the clearance. The side rail sliders double as steps and the skid plates seemed beefy. They've since moved to WA, which is where I'll be by the time we get the van.

Forum member Ramsey worked at Agile Offroad. He was spearheading the RIP for Sprinters when he passed away. AO didn't pursue the Sprinter upgrades for awhile afterwards and the communications I had with them at the time didn't reveal much interest in pursuing it, while VC seemed quite enthusiastic. It sounds like AO may have recommitted themselves to the Sprinter RIP at this point, but I already have a place in the VC queue, and after seeing their work feel like theirs is the package I want to go with.
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:10 PM   #55
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I'd really like to see that. I've heard a few different viewpoints on VanCompass vs Agile...and need to make a decision on which suspension too. VanCompass adds Sumosprings to increase spring rate for the the front end where as Agile uses a coil over...that's about all I know.
I have the Van Compass package, happy to show it to anyone who wants to look at it, pictures are in my build thread.

Up front: Replace the factory bump stops with Sumo springs, leave the existing struts in place, add new tuned Fox shocks mounted on new VC brackets.

In Back: Add three to five leafs to the existing spring packs, replace the rear shocks with new tuned Fox shocks.

I am very happy with the result. The sag has been taken out of the back and the overall handling is much improved.
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Old 08-15-2017, 08:26 PM   #56
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More updates:

In regards to the lithium battery install - SMB will be installing the batteries in a custom enclosure (inside) and vented externally, just like the AGM installs. Their hands are tied by the RVIA regulations. If they wire up a battery compartment without a battery, and the RVIA folks come through for an inspection, they may potentially lose their credentials. So, we're just letting them roll with the custom enclosure. Someday, RVIA may update their regulations. We have the option of ripping out this custom enclosure once we're on possession of the van. It's probably a good plan B to have the enclosure in the event something odd does happen with the battery.

We ironed out our audio plans up front. Rob has been awesome to work, by the way.

- Kenwood DDX9904 (Apple and Android compatible)
- MBZ radio box / bracket (required for install)
- integrate to run off of house battery when parked (included with all installs)
- USB #1 relocation to factory location / drivers side (powered from head unit)
- USB #2 relocation to mirror factory location / passengers side (powered from head unit)
- Back up camera Rostra rear roof location 3BL
- Integrate factory steering wheel radio controls
- KENWOOD 184C frond door and dash speakers

Total price is around $2,500 installed.

USB plugs will be placed on each side of the dash cubbies (vertical surface next to the top dash vents). They'll both be powered off the head unit to give us the option of using them for power, or using them for Apple CarPlay (or android if you have that phone). Since we're off-grid a lot, we have all of Colorado saved offline with Google Maps, and we need to be able to use that for navigation. This way, I can plugin with my phone to charge, and we'll stream audio through BT. We really don't care much about using the head unit to control things as we're pretty dependent on doing all that through the phones.

We're not doing any audio in the rear as we'll just use a small BT speaker for stereo. We don't play music when we're camping anyway. That means we won't have an aux input in the rear. SMB wires up the stereo to be powered off the house batteries as part of their standard install. So, if we want to listen to music through the main stereo, we'll use that switch and stream through BT.

We could have also ordered a front camera, but we have the OEM parktronic option which is adequate for us.

We skipped the signal booster option. It's embedded in the roof, which means if new tech comes out, it's a huge pain to remove. If we want a signal booster, we'll do a portable unit.

We ordered our van with the radio delete option (350 credit) and no backup cam (costs about $600). If you order the van pre-wired for backup, then you need to use the OEM camera or splice in a different connector as the pre-wired harness has a proprietary connection MB connection.

We also elected to skip the flat plate connection using the factory coolant line extension. Something we never thought about until now is that we can use the 110v option on the Rixen setup when we're driving. Our second alternator has more than enough power for this, and we could even do it off the battery for a few hours. When we stop, we'll shut off the 110v option and switch to the D5. This way, we get to keep the rear glycol loop heated without using the D5 when driving. We have the option of connecting to the factory coolant extension later on if we want. If I were to do this all over again, I'd still order the H88 option just to have it in the event we do want to connect the rear glycol loop to the engine.

If you're doing a lithium build with a Rixen setup, this is the method I'd suggest (over a flat plate to the H88). An AGM setup without a second alternator likely wouldn't have the power to do this type of setup.

We have a few more details to iron out over the next few days, and then I'll post up the final plans. We're getting pretty excited!
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Old 08-15-2017, 09:52 PM   #57
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The D5 itself is actually an Espar product. Can someone please explain what Rixen adds &/or modifies to/on the D5 for their system? The Rixen system utilizes an Espar D5. In short, what is the difference between an Espar D5 and the Rixen D5?
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:09 PM   #58
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Wrinkledpants, do you have the exact brand/model number for the lithium battery you are using? I've sent Brian a few examples of what would work for us. We're inclined towards the Lithionics 450 Ah or even 600 Ah.

Is it installed underneath your settee on the aft port side of your build?
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:18 PM   #59
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I talked to Trail Tested Mfg. They were recommended by Van Compass and are located somewhat closer to the Fresno factory. They seemed willing to do the following upgrades:
1. Van Compass suspension upgrades
2. Van Compass skid plates
3. Aerotank aux fuel tank install.
4. Aluminess front bumper (although I may go with the Agile Offroad solution to mounting the Warn winch)

I believe I can get SMB to do the work required for gauge, transfer pump, etc. before the tank is installed off-site, but will know more once I visit the factory 9/6.

Looking forward to seeing Wrinkledpants build in progress and discussing the battery box/battery with Brian.
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:40 PM   #60
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The D5 itself is actually an Espar product. Can someone please explain what Rixen adds &/or modifies to/on the D5 for their system? The Rixen system utilizes an Espar D5. In short, what is the difference between an Espar D5 and the Rixen D5?
Rixen's is a heating system using a D5. It's an entire kit with the air handlers for heat, flat plate for hot water, and the control module. Check out the link to their site for a parts list and diagrams on how it works.

Sprinter and Class B & C RV System Information
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