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Old 03-11-2017, 02:56 PM   #91
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Chris, do you have a lift on your van? I just got an 07 Dodge 2500 144" WB and would like to add some ground clearance.

Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:16 PM   #92
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I just have the factory lift standard for the 4wd. I think it's about 4 inches. You might throw the question out to the forum and see if anyone has lifted a stock 2wd.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:26 PM   #93
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Van Compass has a 2" lift kit for a 2wd Sprinter. It is shown on their web site.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:56 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Christopher Thwaites View Post
I just have the factory lift standard for the 4wd. I think it's about 4 inches. You might throw the question out to the forum and see if anyone has lifted a stock 2wd.
Chris
Whitefeather has done a 4" lift as part of their 2WD to 4WR conversion, but all the reviews I have read stated that the road stability stuff was wacky and Whitefeather always gives up trying to fix it after several attempts and gives no refunds. But then the problems were not about the lift-only the conversion.

Van Compass is testing some reno features on a Sprinter 4x4. It's getting extra 2" lift, 34.6" dia. tires (Bumper and fenders both cut), step rails, a couple of extra leaf springs, upgraded shocks, and a few other things.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:20 AM   #95
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Snowy, saw your rig at SMB Austin yesterday - good to see one that's been working. How are you liking your side rails/steps...I think Brian said they were the Aluminess ones?
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:04 PM   #96
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This is how Craig at Whitefeather 4x4 Conversions did the lift on the rear of my 05 Sprinter.

To set the pinon angle, he just slipped a piece of 1/8"x 1" bar stock between the spacer block, which is also sliding around, and the mounting plate. I've had a lot of problems with my Whitefeather 4x4 Conversion. I'd take it back to his shop and have it corrected, but I just don't trust the quality of his work.

I never have been able to get low range 4x4 to operate correctly, it locks into 3rd gear limp home mode. The code 0730 reads "incorrect gear ratio". Craig tells me it's a problem with my Sprinter.
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Spacer Block & Shim.jpg   Spacer Block & Shim #2.jpg  
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Old 05-26-2017, 10:52 PM   #97
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Snowy, saw your rig at SMB Austin yesterday - good to see one that's been working. How are you liking your side rails/steps...I think Brian said they were the Aluminess ones?
Sorry guys. Been away for awhile. Will be posting some reflections and updates shortly. Regarding the side steps, yes, Aluminess. Wish they were more substantial, but they do the job. I am over 200lb and step carefully on them because they move a bit under my full weight with shove. They also got bent up pretty easily when climbing over rocks and trees. This is to be expected though. These are NOT sliders. They are step rails and work as such. No complaints. They are as advertised, and SMB did a fine job installing them. There was some question among the Aluminess guys beforehand if these were compatible with the factory diesel engine pre-heater. We went back and forth a few times sending each other pics (shout out to Aluminess for being great to work with!). No issues.
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Old 05-26-2017, 11:17 PM   #98
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~17K Mile check-in

Just got back from ~2week trip through CO, WY, and a bit of ID, and UT. Retrospective on various use cases and layouts now that we have ~17K miles and over 30 nights in Lola, including fall, winter, spring and summer conditions:

1. The sideways-facing couch seating intended for use when carrying 4-10 people causes most people to be car sick after any degree of bumps or twisties. Fail. The problem is, I still couldn’t go with the front-facing couch like Fitz did because I wanted both a) a sleep space for myself longer than the width of the van (which required a longer couch/bed running fore-aft rather than left-right), AND b) the kitchen option and bath option, which could only be accommodate by the shorter length couch on the passenger side. See early posts on this thread for picture of the asymmetric couch layout and various use cases described. In the end, given the intersection of our requirements, I wouldn’t change this. I just wanted to share with others the disappointing surprise that people can’t all be expected to sit facing sideways in a moving vehicle without getting car sick.

2. I had a lot of people tell me ahead of time that the bathroom option on such a small space would not be worth it. Maybe not for them, but for us, this has turned out to be space well spent. Particularly since we do a lot of ‘dry camping’ (no other restrooms for miles), AND we like the cooler weather (i.e., sub-freezing), this gets used a lot. Those pre-dawn calls from a toastie sleeping bag can happily be answered, and, to be a bit crass, there is not any ‘holding’ of bowels that often occurs when starting off on a trip and avoiding going to the bathroom because it is not pleasant. Regarding the benefits over a porta-potti under the couch, I couldn’t say for sure, but having the facility ‘at the ready’ works for us. We keep large laundry bags in there for dirty clothes too, that slide out when in use and stay out of the way the rest of the time.

3. The pop-top:
a. It is indeed nice for the extra headroom at camp. It has a very definite effect on perception of overall space too, making the 144” wheel base not feel nearly so cramped when the top is up even though it is a different axis. So far, we have not had any problems at all with the pop top, fabric, screens, motor, or anything else related to it.
b. Cold weather is a problem though. If up in temps below freezing and it snows, the snow packs in with the fabric making closing difficult, and it’s tough to sweep it out at the height of the sprinter. If below freezing and it rains, it can ice up on the outside. In our cases this has never been a real issue. If minor icing, it does not impact anything. If major icing, sharp slaps from the inside break it out as it casts away from the van. The fabric gets real stiff and requires a bit of care when collapsing, but it never stopped working. Something to consider though.
c. Regarding insulation, it clearly does little to retain heat in the van, but the only comparison in my mind would be with a high roof/no penthouse option and I can’t say just how much better it would be with hard top. I assume better, but don’t know how much. With the diesel heater, we have not had problems keeping it at 40' inside.
d. If it were only to be for the wife and I, and not including the daughter anymore, I would consider skipping the penthouse in favor of the high roof – BUT – see next observation on vehicle height first!
e. The lower roof option, free of roof racks, A/C units, vents, etc., has made the difference in our ability to do a trail on more than one occasion. The vehicle is pretty tall compared to an SUV or Jeep, and it is very square too, meaning that the full height protrudes up and out at the furthest possible reaches. On any angles (and trails seem to have zero flats so it is always an angle of some sort), we find we’re blazing new trail in the brush overhead. On the fresh cut fallen trees we seem to run across a lot in CO, they seem to be cut by local SUV and Jeep owners, not Sprinter owners, so they don’t bother clearing much higher than their own vehicles. May not matter to many, but sharing our real-world observations. A high roof Sprint could not have done two of the unpaved roads we just did in this past couple of weeks, let alone one with the A/C on top.

4. On a related note, we have been considering a permanent mount ladder on the side to facilitate roof access. No way we would do this now. The thing would just catch branches or be ripped off the van. Only place would be back of van, but that is pretty busy back there with the aluminess rear bumper, spare, and box. 

5. Got lots of questions on tires/wheels. Still very happy with my choices. I get a slight rub in the front when turning under compression, but I can usually avoid this and it does not appear to be doing any real damage when it happens so I am glad for the extra ground clearance. I will try to post pics of where it does rub though for those interested.

6. Engine. This is my first diesel. I am happy with the engine so far. We did two different 10% road grades in CO on this past trip, and, while I did have to have it floored, I was able to sustain speed limits when few others on the road could (even regular cars). Not sure we could pull a trailer(!), but we were heavily laden with water, canned foods, fuel, spare fuel, etc., and I found this quite acceptable. The one unhappy surprise was how remarkably little power the engine has when cold. Not rocket science and not a complaint, just sharing an observation for those as naïve as me. When the temp is 40’ outside (too warm for the factory engine pre-heater to kick on), the engine starts fine but could not even go up a driveway. We found ourselves in a very embarrassing situation one morning, rolling out of parking spot in the morning, only to be stuck in front of traffic utterly unable to move up a slight incline for nearly 5 excruciating minutes of revving the engine to about 2,500 RPM’s to get it warmed up. Not a failing, just a lesson on ‘how to’. Always warm your diesel up before trying to use it!

Getting about 16mpg over this last trip of ~3600 miles, including 3 engine-preheat cycles, and about 20hrs of the diesel heater drawing from the same source of fuel. I could see the mileage drop sharply when we got on the Interstates going 80mph though. I am guessing it is over 17mpg if you take out that 1,200 miles and just count speeds under 70 (but including mountains).


7. Awning. Much the same observations as above. Take it in at night if there is any chance of snow! PITA to brush off and won't pack up right until you thaw it out. Already broke one foot, and one knuckle at top. This is not really a complaint about the Fiama - rather a word of advice for others to treat it gently. We caught some branches (one comical discovery at gas station 100 miles away from where we would have picked it up), but it was mounted firmly to van and endured well. It was nice during day when snowing to keep snow from getting in sliding door as we went in/out, but we paid price later when realizing how hard it would be to close it later. Would consider not getting this option if you are going to be heavy into trails and run the risk of it catching on things, or are planning on it for snow. It has been great for rain and sun though, and personally I like having it so far. Just not quite as obvious a purchase as I thought up front.

Sorry if I already posted some of this. It was really the discovery of snow gumming up the ability to close penthouse and awning that we discovered on this past 2 week trip.

Ironically, I still haven't done trip with 3 people, or solo (the scenarios I thought would be most common). Planning on doing these in the next month or so though, at least for short trips.

Thanks,
Snowy
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Old 05-26-2017, 11:32 PM   #99
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Tneur mentioned a problem with Whitefeather 4wd conversion, which reminded me that I had read other concerns about getting in/out of factory 4wd or low range. I want to mention that I have never had any problem getting in/out of 4wd, nor low range. Set to N (not Park), push button, wait until flashing stops, and voila. There have been a few times when it would flash and then quit (not engaging), but just like with other 4wd vehicles I have driven, you just have to jiggle the alignment a bit. Drive forward an inch and try again. Not a problem in my mind. Just wanted to share that. Probably close to 200 miles in 4wd by this point, and at least 75 of that in low range. Fingers crossed I remain trouble free.
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Old 05-27-2017, 01:28 AM   #100
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Thanks for the updates, Snowy. We are getting the tall roof and will travel all over the 49 continental states as well as Canada. I am now a little worried about hitting foliage. You are in CO, right? Were most of these problems in the lower aspen groves or conifers a bit higher?
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