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Old 06-12-2011, 10:35 PM   #1
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New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

Hello all, I've admired your vehicles from afar for a long time, and thinking of joining the club soon...thanks in advance for your expertise! I want to change my current DD to a Sportsmobile or like vehicle and hoping you guys can give me some advice on plans and options.

Criteria, in order of priority:

- Usable as daily driver and able to be parked in a street space or in my standard height/20' length garage
- Safe for two elementary school kids; need a video system to keep them from squirming

- Able to tow my track car (2800lbs car+trailer) to day, or weekend events
- Table/desk area to set up and power a laptop for analyzing data/video between run sessions
- Nice to have accessory power for running a small air compressor (or have it built-in)
- Able to sleep in it the night before a track event; I'm 5'-11", my wife is 5'-2"

- Usable for family ski trips where 4x4 & snow tires or 2X4 & chains might be needed (Mammoth from LA)
- Able to seat 4 adults and 4 kids and mount a ski box on top or carry skis and snow boards for same

- Usable for very mild, novice camping trips for two adults and two kids (hook ups, showers, take-out)

- Subject of my tech-geek tinkering!
- Function over form (don't care about luxury)
- More solar is better!

Current thoughts:
- Regular body Chevy or Ford Van (which?)
- Pop-up top with bed for the kids
- Four swivel captain's chairs and removable table
- Bed/sofa in the back with storage behind and below
- Porta-potty and external shower capability
- No propane
- Small fridge and small microwave
- A/C; generator; as many solar panels as possible

What do you recommend? Which SM floor plan is best for me? Should I customize?

Thanks again!

John
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:29 AM   #2
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

As another newbie, I have found the Sportsmobile online design tool (www.sportsmobile.com) to be quite helpful when playing around with layout ideas. Also you can spend lots of time looking at their standard layout plans. I'm not an expert, but I think for " standard garagable" (83" height?), you are limited to Ford E250 with the penthouse-G top, no 4WD. Have fun. This website is a great resource.
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:34 AM   #3
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

We had a standard Ford RB passenger van with 4 captain's chairs and a rear bench that made into a bed. We were a family of 4 and did a lot of alpine skiing. The van was very spacious with the 4 of us as a daily driver. We could take 6 people skiing in luxury, although access to the roof rack was difficult with ski boots on. Usually we put the skis under the rear seat.

The problem with this layout is you can't change clothes inside the van. We took out the middle captains seats and then there was plenty of room to change inside. It only seats 5 max in that configuration. It was the same issue for camping - worked OK with middle seats out, very difficult with middle seats in.

We didn't have a frig, microwave, or generator. The frig and microwave would take the spot of one captain's chair. I don't know where a generator goes?

The porta-pottie is another issue. It wouldn't fit under the bench seat in our van, so it went in the back. At that time we were tent camping, so it stayed in the tent...
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:56 AM   #4
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

An EB van would come in under 20' if you skip the rear tire carrier / storage.

How much spare parts and tools do you bring with the track car? If there is a chance you will upgrade to an enclosed trailer, you will want the V10. It has the highest specs of any of the available power-trains in a van, other than a Powerstroke, which is no longer put into the vans. The Chevy Duramax vans come close, but still about 2000 pounds short on towing capacity (and it's about a $12,000 option).
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:46 PM   #5
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

Thanks for the info guys.

Are solar panels worth the cost?
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:48 PM   #6
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

chevy eb is 20 feet five inches with tire underneath. ford eb is 19 feet 7 inches with tire underneath. sprinter rb is 19 feet four inches with tire underneath
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:00 PM   #7
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

Thank you for the advice guys. I tried to reply earlier but it didn't post... so if this question shows up twice, sorry:

What are the opinions on the solar panels? Are they worth the money in So Cal?
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:26 PM   #8
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnamullins
Are solar panels worth the cost?
Based on one trip with, YES. I've always suffered power problems, now I go to bed with over 13v and the charging light gets up before I do.

Also, I'd go with an RB... my EB w/ Aluminess is 22' tip to tip and there is never quite enough room for a 20' rig to go in a 20' space.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:01 PM   #9
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

Thanks!

I figured solar made sense but wasn't sure if it was worth the cost. Dave B's blog helped to understand options as well.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:55 PM   #10
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Re: New here...floorplan ideas welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnamullins
Criteria, in order of priority:
- Usable as daily driver and able to be parked in a street space or in my standard height/20' length garage
- Safe for two elementary school kids; need a video system to keep them from squirming
- Able to tow my track car (2800lbs car+trailer) to day, or weekend events
- Table/desk area to set up and power a laptop for analyzing data/video between run sessions
- Nice to have accessory power for running a small air compressor (or have it built-in)
- Able to sleep in it the night before a track event; I'm 5'-11", my wife is 5'-2"
- Usable for family ski trips where 4x4 & snow tires or 2X4 & chains might be needed (Mammoth from LA)
- Able to seat 4 adults and 4 kids and mount a ski box on top or carry skis and snow boards for same
- Usable for very mild, novice camping trips for two adults and two kids (hook ups, showers, take-out)
- Subject of my tech-geek tinkering!
- Function over form (don't care about luxury)
- More solar is better!
Current thoughts:
- Regular body Chevy or Ford Van (which?)
- Pop-up top with bed for the kids
- Four swivel captain's chairs and removable table
- Bed/sofa in the back with storage behind and below
- Porta-potty and external shower capability
- No propane
- Small fridge and small microwave
- A/C; generator; as many solar panels as possible

What do you recommend? Which SM floor plan is best for me? Should I customize?

Thanks again!

John
An interesting set of design criteria, but achieveable. Standard floor plans RB 16 or RB 21 with the penthouse would be good starting plans.

Fords have heavier frames and would be better for towing. V-10 for towing. RB's are better for daily drivers. If you get 4wd, it will not fit in the garage unless you have a 10' tall door. My 2004 E-350 with penthouse is about 7'3" tall so will clear an 8' tall door. 2wd, snow tires and chains will get you up the hill to Mammoth reliable. You will need a ladder to get to the roof boxes for skiis and boards.

SMB can do many things with video but two hand-helds would be the simplest.

My suggested floorplan is a slight mod on RB-21. Driver/Passenger seats both swivel, with two captains chairs behind them for primary seating for 4. Centerfacing dinnette at rear for other 4 secondary seats (will have seatbelts) and table for eating, computer, etc. Also sleeping for kids; at 5'11" you will not be happy sleeping crosswise in van. Adults can sleep upstairs in penthouse. The PH bed platform can be hooked to ceiling for daytime standing.

Batteries under dinette and/or frame mounted. ExtremeAire compressor under body. Leave tire in stock under-body mount to minimize length. Solar panels will need to be coordinated with roof boxes, if any. Carry generator on car trailer on track days, on hitch mounted platform w/o trailer if you need it for A/C otherwise solar will be enough.

Consider hitch mount racks for skis and boards to avoid climbing on roof in winter. Also gets weight off of penthouse (always good) and solar panels do not have competition for space and sun. Solar mounting will affect garageability.

Cabinets - on driver's side, tall pantry in front of dinette, then modified "B" closet for porta-pot on floor with AC and fridge or microwave above. Low "C" cabinet on passenger side in front of dinette with fridge or microwave, move captain's chair back to clear side door. This will work for camping although a bit short on storage space; Hitch mounted platform could again help. Use a 2-burner propane stove that runs on 1 pound cylinders for cooking.

High or low, SMBs are all about tech-geek tinkering and customization, both before and after the sale!
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