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Old 06-17-2011, 06:55 AM   #1
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Help Needed With Upcoming Build

Hi guys,

I'm currently in Afghanistan but I will be getting back to the states in August and will immediately begin a Sprinter home build. I've been doing some research the last few months but it is really getting down to crunch time. I'm having a hard time finding answers to a few questions. In no particular order:

1. I will have a relatively "full" build... 20 gal water tank, 2 (to start, may add more later) AGM batteries, generator, roof AC, shower w/ toilet, gaucho, fridge/microwave, cabinets... well, the majority of everything that Sportsmobile offers. I would like to get the Sprinter 2500 170" WB (gross payload around ~3000 lbs), and I'm wondering whether that is sufficient, or whether I'll have to go with the Sprinter 3500 (payload closer to 4000 lbs). Sprinter guys - thoughts? Is the 2500 good enough?

2. I'm good with the electrical side of things, but I'm clueless as to the shower/toilet/water/plumbing system. Do you know where SMB sources their parts i.e. fresh/grey/black water tanks, everything in the shower/toilet combo (marine toilet, shower pan/surround, sink, flexible showerhead/wand, etc.), city hookup, dump valves, etc... pretty much everything in the system. Is there a place that I can go to order everything at once, and if not, is there a list of everything I need?

3. Water heater: I'd like to go tankless to save space and I just don't see the point of heating up more than I need at once (I take military showers so it's not much). I won't have a propane system, so that means I'll either have to go electrical or diesel (preferred). I've seen the Eemax electrical models and I'm worried about the heavy load on the batteries, and using diesel just seems like a much more efficient way to go. I've tried looking at diesel water heaters from Webasto/Espar, and they all seem to connect into the engine via coolant lines, which isn't what I want to do. I simply want a water heater that I put in diesel and get out hot water. Does such a model exist? I am admittedly confused as to how these things work.

4. Which 2000W inverter model is best, Triplite, Xantrax or other?

I apologize if the answers to these questions are readily available. Our internet over here is horrible - extremely slow when it works, and half the time it doesn't work at all. Things that would take a few minutes to find the answers to back home take hours or days here. Any help you guys can give me will be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Graydon
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:25 AM   #2
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

Wow,

That's a big home build for sure,

I have never really found anyone willing to sell all the stuff you need to do what you want. But that doesn't mean they aren't out there I just dont know of anyone.

I would start out simple with a plan to add as you go. You might change your mind about how much stuff you want to add and where to put it.

I say this because I have built a few of these in Fords and Chevy's and I never stick to my plan.

I know this wasn't much help,
I look forward to watching your HB come together.

Ron
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

For the parts, you can find all you need in the boating shops and it will be top quality. Also in the RV shops but would assume less parts available.$

Regarding hot water, you can go with the dualtop from webasto, it will give you hot air and water in one unit running with diesel.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:45 PM   #4
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

I heard about the Dual Top months ago and had checked off the need to find a furnace/water heater. However, I was just calling around and no one seemed to have it, so I called Webasto and they said it is not available in the US. Does anyone have a source for it?
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:35 PM   #5
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

i second the idea of looking in marine/boating shops. Our local shop here on the Oregon coast had nearly everything we needed for our build. . . but the products are high quality and with that comes high cost. But it is such a small area being outfitted we figured marine-grade would be worth it in the long run for us.

best wishes on your build : )
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:57 PM   #6
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

First off let me thank you for your service, we look forward to having you back state side. As for a source, check our RV Parts Nation. They seem to have everything you will need and are very nice people to work with and their prices are not bad. As an avid boat enthusiast, marine products tend to be very durable but pricey. When you get down to it, some of the products are generally made of the same material and some come of the same factory line as rv parts (I toured a factory who produced products for both, just different packaging). In the long run its all about personal preference. Good luck with the build and I look forward to watching it come to reality for you, just remember to have fun with it.

Michael
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:49 AM   #7
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graydon
I heard about the Dual Top months ago and had checked off the need to find a furnace/water heater. However, I was just calling around and no one seemed to have it, so I called Webasto and they said it is not available in the US. Does anyone have a source for it?
I bought mine in the States, check with Don Kanneth, Webasto national Sales manager, 800 860 7860
to get the actual list of partners selling the Dualtop.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:08 AM   #8
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

Im running the Espar Hydronics heater except I made it its own closed system i did not run though the coolant system It has its own holding tank for the the coolant. It also heats my water. And it runs though a heater core for heating boats. And i use the wall thermostat so it stays a consent temp.
It works great. I had a problem of running it to the motor because i want the coolant to be really clean so i don't have any way of debris getting in to the Espar system. And have the heat plates for heating my water. for showers and so

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graydon
Hi guys,

I'm currently in Afghanistan but I will be getting back to the states in August and will immediately begin a Sprinter home build. I've been doing some research the last few months but it is really getting down to crunch time. I'm having a hard time finding answers to a few questions. In no particular order:

1. I will have a relatively "full" build... 20 gal water tank, 2 (to start, may add more later) AGM batteries, generator, roof AC, shower w/ toilet, gaucho, fridge/microwave, cabinets... well, the majority of everything that Sportsmobile offers. I would like to get the Sprinter 2500 170" WB (gross payload around ~3000 lbs), and I'm wondering whether that is sufficient, or whether I'll have to go with the Sprinter 3500 (payload closer to 4000 lbs). Sprinter guys - thoughts? Is the 2500 good enough?

2. I'm good with the electrical side of things, but I'm clueless as to the shower/toilet/water/plumbing system. Do you know where SMB sources their parts i.e. fresh/grey/black water tanks, everything in the shower/toilet combo (marine toilet, shower pan/surround, sink, flexible showerhead/wand, etc.), city hookup, dump valves, etc... pretty much everything in the system. Is there a place that I can go to order everything at once, and if not, is there a list of everything I need?

3. Water heater: I'd like to go tankless to save space and I just don't see the point of heating up more than I need at once (I take military showers so it's not much). I won't have a propane system, so that means I'll either have to go electrical or diesel (preferred). I've seen the Eemax electrical models and I'm worried about the heavy load on the batteries, and using diesel just seems like a much more efficient way to go. I've tried looking at diesel water heaters from Webasto/Espar, and they all seem to connect into the engine via coolant lines, which isn't what I want to do. I simply want a water heater that I put in diesel and get out hot water. Does such a model exist? I am admittedly confused as to how these things work.

4. Which 2000W inverter model is best, Triplite, Xantrax or other?

I apologize if the answers to these questions are readily available. Our internet over here is horrible - extremely slow when it works, and half the time it doesn't work at all. Things that would take a few minutes to find the answers to back home take hours or days here. Any help you guys can give me will be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Graydon
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:53 AM   #9
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it.

I received a pm about someone who could provide consulting i.e. someone to call when I get in over my head with this build. That consultant is in San Diego and I'll be in New Jersey, so while I could get help over the phone (assuming I get the contact info), they wouldn't be able to physically help me out. So my question is, do you guys know of any consultants on the east coast (or anyone who is knowledgeable on Sportsmobiles and is willing to act as one)?

Also, is Sportsmobile willing to do consulting, or do they pretty much tell you that either they are building it or you're on your own?

I'm asking because consulting is something I'm definitely willing to pay for. For example, it has taken me months to figure out the best models of things to use (furnace, water heater, inverter, fridge, etc.), whereas Sportsmobile has been doing this for years and already has this information. I would be willing to pay for a list of make/models of everything they use.

@AndrewST: Thanks for the info. I just left a message for Don, we'll see if I get a different answer from him than I did the first time I called Webasto.

@Chimneyman: My apologies, but I'm confused by your post. What I am looking for is similar to a diesel furnace where it simply takes in diesel and puts out hot air, except I am looking for something that takes in diesel and gives me hot water, completely independent of the engine. I do not want to mess around with running coolant lines or only having hot water after the engine has been running. Can the Espar Hydronic do this? I called Espar but they never got back to me.

@rumbay01: Good call on rvpartsnation.com, they have a lot of what I was looking for.

Thanks for all the help everyone, and if anyone knows a good consultant on the east coast or if Sportsmobile will help me out without building the van themselves, I'd appreciate your input.

Cheers,
Graydon
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:15 AM   #10
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Re: Help Needed With Upcoming Build

hiya graydon,

im in jersey here as well. i empathize with you as i wrestled with the models, part numbers, specs, stats and everything for quite some time before i even bought my van. and i am still on the fence with some stuff. i expect a number of things to change as i build but thats ok. for me its part of the fun.

cyclevan in new jersey seem like a knowledgeable bunch. im not sure if they have done heater installs (diesel or otherwise) but other than an rv repair shop, thats who i would call.

they returned my call promptly when i asked for a ballpark on installing a topper. i wont be doing it as the cost is prohibitive but they were helpful.

as for hot water, i wrestled with all the options. im going to take a plunge with an on demand propane water heater. ill have to modify it to vent to the outside and caution will be necessary when using it at all times. but it will suit my needs for what im doing with my build. my van is gasoline so if i went with diesel route i would have to install a diesel tank. since i need propane for some light cooking it seemed like the easiest route.

im on the fence with where/how to install propane tank. i would love an under the van horizontal tank but i dont think i can swing the work. seems easier to put a standard 20lb tank in a vented locker under a cabinet. should make for a quick swap refill but i need to be sure the installation is safe. detectors are great and all but id rather not rely on them alone.

get back stateside safely and good luck on your build.
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