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Old 08-15-2015, 08:27 PM   #51
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Re: Name TBD: AWD Express / CCV Poptop

The HS2000 and the HS2280 have the same BTU rating (6500 Btu)
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2008 E350 RB passenger advanced 4WD SMB penthouse
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:55 PM   #52
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Re: Name TBD: AWD Express / CCV Poptop

Eric - is that an EB50 with an SMB poptop? How cold of weather conditions? I would like to think that it should be adequate. It dipped below freezing last night and we were just fine in the van. I had the thermostat set pretty low and down low was toasty warm - I'd guess 65-68ish, but up top was likely 10 degrees cooler just due to the way the air circulates. The heater was definitely cycling on and off, so it isn't like it was working hard to keep up either. Volume wise, I'd bet that that an EB SMB top is nearly the same as an RB CCV top so as long as the insulation is decent I would think the HS2000 or equivalent would be fine in an EB50 so long as you aren't in teens.

One thing I will need work on is getting better airflow up into the penthouse. I may just try running the fantastic fan next weekend to see how that works, but I think all it should take is a strategically mounted computer fan somewhere. The Espar D2 definitely put out more airflow than the Propex, but in the old van the D2 was mounted closer to the front of the van allowing better heating to the penthouse too.

I liked the idea of the undermount model - I just ran out of underbody real estate on the low slung Chevy so it was a no-go for me.
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:43 AM   #53
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Re: Name TBD: AWD Express / CCV Poptop

Yep, the same van and person probably. We see teens only a few times a year, usually our winters are in the 30's and she will use this more as a travel and work rig than camping and not all the time. I'll pass along the info and ultimately the choice will be hers. I'm certainly looking forward to the install and result though because it's definitely my next furnace. I absolutely hate the Suburban in my SMB. It's the loudest furnace I've ever heard!

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Old 08-16-2016, 11:37 AM   #54
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I haven't been around here much lately, but thought I'd give a quick update of the van now that we're well into our second season with it. I also wanted to update our experience with the CCV top since they've been getting a bit of negative press recently.

Here's a quick summary: We LOVE our van!

Our plan to consolidate vehicles has worked great. My wife splits her time between the Express and her cargo bike and doesn't mind daily driving the Express at all. This makes it great for road trips too, as I was the primary driver with with the old van.

The only complaint we have about the CCV top is that we've had a couple screens that have ripped a little where they were sewn into the PH fabric, but honestly it could have been user error too. No big deal. The top itself works great, seals great, and with the first 14" or so of removable penthouse section removed offers pretty great headroom and maneuverability in the van even while the top is down.



The general '50-ish' layout is still working great.

Since my wife is the main driver, I usually don't have the opportunity to hand calculate the mileage, but if the computer is remotely close then this is what I've found:
Average combined for about a year, mostly around town, trips from Bend to Mt. Bachelor, etc: 13.6 mpg (computer)
Recent trip from Bend to Ashland (highway, avg speed about 60): 18+ mpg (computer)
From Ashland over the Siskyou's, over some passes in Northern Cali including about 20 miles of mountain gravel roads, and then up the coast: 14.5 mpg (hand calc'd)
Average mpg for that 800 mile trip: 15.5 (computer)
Overall I'm pretty pleased with the economy considering we are 7000+ pounds rolling down the road.

One thing I am still on a quest to tinker with is the suspension setup. At 7000+ pounds, we are pretty much right at GVWR. I've added helper springs and a rear sway bar which leveled out the rear and also makes the van feel pretty planted. Bump absorption still feels a bit harsh, so I'm sure it is time to ditch the stock shocks and shell out for some Bilstein's or something similar. If I had the garage clearance I would get a set of torsion keys and 3/4 ton leafs to swap in, but not sure if it is worth the trouble if I can get the shocks dialed. Thinking to myself here, I may also look into the Z71 or Timbren bump stops. I didn't realize that the bump stops were such an integral part of this suspension design until after I had already installed the helper spring set; however, I probably needed the helpers anyway to level out the rear.

I hope everyone is getting out and having some excellent adventures!
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:25 PM   #55
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Looks great, have you looked into the Boulder Offroad suspension kits for those? Accrete likes his.
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