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Old 10-12-2016, 03:31 AM   #61
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Great that you're getting out there and using it! I live in AK so cold weather will be found for sure. I figure same as you that a good sleeping bag and it's got to be as good if not better than tent camping. None the less, have you discovered or read about anything like a heavier liner, window covers, or other tricks to make the rig warmer for cold weather camping (PH up or down - though I realize with it up the difference would be tremendous regarding letting the cold in).
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:10 AM   #62
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Great that you're getting out there and using it! I live in AK so cold weather will be found for sure. I figure same as you that a good sleeping bag and it's got to be as good if not better than tent camping. None the less, have you discovered or read about anything like a heavier liner, window covers, or other tricks to make the rig warmer for cold weather camping (PH up or down - though I realize with it up the difference would be tremendous regarding letting the cold in).
I chatted briefly with Paul at SMB about wool. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but my take away was that it was an effective and increasingly popular solution, BUT, he just doesn't have the years of experience with it to know it will hold up. In particular, he observed it is heavy, and may compress downwards over time, leaving the upper portions un-insulated.

When it comes to the windows, there are better insulated windows out there than the ones SMB uses by default including double-wall insulated, etc. Also, given that the fruit of improvement is so low hanging on these, even the most basic of inserts behind the built-in blinds would go a long way.

I highly recommend the sprinter conversion sourcebook (7th edition) as a reference. I had skimmed the older version before ordering with SMB and it armed me with questions ahead of time rather than after the fact. SMB seemed very open to accommodating specific requests, including insulation, cabinet material, etc.., but the reality is that they have put a lot of thought into their default design choices. None the less, that book armed me with pros/cons of certain preferences in the end, even if not deviations from their design.

Build Your Own Dream Camper Van | Sprinter RV

One thing I was considering but did not follow through on was to go with different cabinet material. I am not certain what they use (they told me and I forgot), but it is a thin form of veneer vs. a treated thin plywood. There is already a bubble from the sunlight/heat in one place on the table which was exposed to direct sunlight on a hot TX day. Had I had more time to research this, I might have gone with more of a marine-grade approach using a mahogany ply. Would be great if someone else researched details of what SMB uses and posts it here, along with following through on the research I did not complete on pros/cons of alternatives.

Snowy
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:40 PM   #63
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I

I highly recommend the sprinter conversion sourcebook (7th edition) as a reference. I had skimmed the older version before ordering with SMB and it armed me with questions ahead of time rather than after the fact. SMB seemed very open to accommodating specific requests, including insulation, cabinet material, etc.., but the reality is that they have put a lot of thought into their default design choices. None the less, that book armed me with pros/cons of certain preferences in the end, even if not deviations from their design.

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Snowy
Thanks for sharing, the, link and suggestion for the book.
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Old 10-13-2016, 12:24 AM   #64
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Snowy: (Response to #57 above)

A note on DEF: I was already down 3 gallons before the trip at about 3600 miles, as measured by how much I put in once I got the warning at full. It looks like I burned another 1.5ish on this 3,000 mile trip. Call it 4.5G of DEF for 5K miles. Quite a bit higher ratio than I was lead to believe. Not a problem per se, but something people should know. It is possible (probable) that my driving conditions (mountains), style (not gentle), and vehicle weight (pretty much maxed out) contribute to this. Would be curious what ratios others see. At 1200 miles per gallon, a 4 gallon capacity, and this available at many gas stations these days, I don’t see it as a problem. Just an observation.

3,400 miles on Flint, was told the DEF was filled by the dealer when we picked up the van (I have no reason not to believe this was the case), have not had any warning. Leaving for Nevada tomorrow, thus I filled up the DEF tank, it took just under a full 2.5 gallon container, call it 2.4 gallons for 3,400 miles.

Also bent up the Aluminess nerf bars, which I feel did help protect the grey water drain (at least).

I modified the drain. Got rid of the big 1-1/2" RV slide valve with reducer and replaced it with a 3/4" PVC valve attached to a rubber (flexible) fitting above. Tucked it up and away, hopefully where it will be better protected.


Really wishing I had the Aluminess rear bumper, spare tire mount, and large box. I expect to store the maxtrax on the tire, and the fuel cans / recovery gear / shore connections in the box.

You won't regret it! I can't imagine where I would put extra fuel, recovery gear, tools, leveling blocks, BBQ and etc. without the XL storage and the box. Go for it!
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:54 AM   #65
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WRT that Aluminess rear bumper, how much length does it add to the rig with the spare and box attached?
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:49 PM   #66
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^ If you already have the spare mounted on the door, the box extends about 3-4" past the spare IIRC. All told, I'd guestimate the bumper/tire/box extends the length about 1ft off the door.

Here's a pic I found from Fitz's thread.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...tml#post184226
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:17 PM   #67
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^ If you already have the spare mounted on the door, the box extends about 3-4" past the spare IIRC. All told, I'd guestimate the bumper/tire/box extends the length about 1ft off the door.

Here's a pic I found from Fitz's thread.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...tml#post184226
Measured from the face of the rear doors of the van, the bumper extends 7-1/2" and the box extends 21-1/2".
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:00 PM   #68
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Well then, my guestimation skills are less than stellar. Thanks for the info Tim.
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:34 PM   #69
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I chatted briefly with Paul at SMB about wool. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but my take away was that it was an effective and increasingly popular solution, BUT, he just doesn't have the years of experience with it to know it will hold up. In particular, he observed it is heavy, and may compress downwards over time, leaving the upper portions un-insulated.

When it comes to the windows, there are better insulated windows out there than the ones SMB uses by default including double-wall insulated, etc. Also, given that the fruit of improvement is so low hanging on these, even the most basic of inserts behind the built-in blinds would go a long way.

Snowy
Hi Snowy, great build thread. Thank you for sharing about your build. I've learned much from it. Do you know which insulation he observed as compressing downwards? Can you share any info to other window options than the CR Lawrence? Thank you.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:51 PM   #70
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Ordered the bumper setup (swingarms, big box, shelf, lights). Painful insofar as it was not an anticipated expense up front, but it is going to significantly affect livability. I am planning on putting my 4 2G Rotopax diesel cans inside the box, along with other recovery gear. Maxtrax will bind to spare, and folding chairs and possibly water jug (rare) in the upper rails of the box. Hoping to have installed in Dec., along with wiring for multi-mount winch at same time. I got the Warn 4500 with synthetic. I am pretty sure stresses beyond what this can do would threaten the unibody frame, and this is light enough for me to manage. Obviously not pulling myself out of quick-sand with it, but just looking for a little help if I get stuck in snow (or to remove trees from trail! - see my Medano trip report).

Snowy
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