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Old 04-01-2015, 05:57 PM   #1
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New member - some questions :)

Hi everyone,

I'm relatively new to the forums and this is my first post. I've researched different class B vans and have always been drawn to the Westy layout.

I've researched a lot, but have more questions and hope you won't mind helping me. Here they are, in no particular order :

If I get a PH top, would you also recommend a fan (fantastic fan) for airflow when camping?

Do any of the vans SMB use for conversions have rear air? If I don't get a rooftop AC, I'm assuming the dash AC will keep the van cool enough for passengers while driving. Am I wrong?

I've researched the Chevy 2500 and 3500 vans and can't quite get a handle on the differences, but I think the most important differences are heavier load capacity, and better engine cooling while driving under the load. Is that accurate?

Does anyone know what the typical weight of the RB50 layout is (without optionals)?

I want to stick with a gas engine, and from my research, the Chevy vans are wider than the new Transits, resulting in a roomier RB50 layout. I know that the Transit gets better gas mileage, but in your opinion, does that outweigh the benefit of the better length to width ratio and less sway in windy conditions with the Chevy vans? Or am I thinking like a girl (which I am - a girl, that is)?

Does anyone have pictures of the closets/pantry interiors of the standard RB50 layout. I've searched online, but haven't found any of the interiors. Would really like an idea of how they're set up.

If I go with the 4cf fridge, the top would go even with the counter, eliminating the drawer that's usually above the regular one, right? It won't extend farther than that? (I like the flat counter space that extends from behind the driver's seat all the way to the sink and wouldn't want to lose that.

Does anyone with a RB50 (or similar) layout live in the Charlotte NC area? I'd love to see one in person. If not, do you know if SMB goes to RV shows?

And finally I'm not stuck on a new build and am open to a good used RB50 if anyone is looking to sell.

Okay, I guess that's enough to bombard you with right now. I have more questions, though. Fair warning...

Journey
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:44 PM   #2
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New member - some questions :)

Welcome to the madness....
Chris at UJoint offroad is near Asheville, think he only deals with converting Fords to 4X4 though. Chevy vans and the transits are 2 different animals. I'm gathering you don't want/need 4X4?
Fantastic fan-I added one when I swapped from a SMB pop top to a CCV(Colorado campervan) top, comes in handy and does a nice job of keeping the flow sans rear airdo you want a pop top? Or fixed?
Rear air-we don't have it, haven't felt we needed it, but we live in CO. The side awning windows, while noisy if open while driving, draw enough air through when parked and the fan is running. Chevy vans I know are avail with (passenger) without (cargo) rear air
2500/3500-difference in load capacity, same as E/F-250/350
RB50 weight is typically 9500lbs.
I have an RB50, I can post up some pics.
4cf fridge, yes I think it creats a single level counter to the seat.
Some links:
http://www.ujointoffroad.com/home.html
http://coloradocampervan.com
http://boulderoffroadvans.com
http://agileoffroad.com
http://www.vanspecialties.com
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:10 PM   #3
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Re: New member - some questions :)

For Fords, the window vans (passenger wagons) typically have rear heat and A/C. There are dash controls for this. Occasionally Ford cargo vans have rear heat-A/C as an option, but not very common. The rear heat/air are only operational while operating the vehicle (well, they need the engine running anyway....).

The rear air blows out of vents in the headliner, and the heat blows out along the rear floor on the driver's side. If you chop off the top for a penthouse or other raised roof, the A/C vents get re-routed.
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:37 PM   #4
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Re: New member - some questions :)

The benefit of an EB is you can put a fantastic fan in the cab, and it's great- however somewhat mutually exclusive with the PH. The best use of the fantastic fan is to have one open window opposite the fan and use it to pull cool air across. The second is to have it blow directly on you in the front seats. If you open all the windows (or two, or use skreenz), the fan doesn't draw any air across anywhere and can only be used to blow.

The alternative is a fantastic box fan, which I had (also) for a while but the model was just a wee bit too big to store conveniently anywhere- I mean like 1/2" too big to go under the bed. Otherwise it was an excellent addition, and didn't require cutting a hole in the cab or top (not recommended, however LenS has done it).
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:29 AM   #5
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Re: New member - some questions :)

Implied in the posts above, but not outright stated, is that you can't put a Fantastic Fan or a roof AC on a SMB PH. Well, technically you can, but SMB says it's a big no-no due to their roof design. A Colorado Camper Van pop-up roof will allow it, though, so if you are stuck on doing that, look at CCV.

If you like the "50" layout and a pop-top, similar vans include the Pleasure-Way Traverse and the GTRV "Westy." Both were built on the Ford chassis and can be found used, although they are rare to see, and many of the ones I've seen advertised have the OEM Ford rear heat/ac setup.

I have an Endless Breeze portable 12v fan, which is great. Stores easily right behind my driver's seat.
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:14 AM   #6
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Re: New member - some questions :)

Journey, keep reading and asking, everything you've asked about is discussed here regularly. If you are in the early planning stages make sure you get to Expo East in Asheville this year. You will see lots of SMBs in person.

http://www.overlandexpo.com/east

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Old 04-02-2015, 09:58 AM   #7
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Re: New member - some questions :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyJourneys

If I go with the 4cf fridge, the top would go even with the counter, eliminating the drawer that's usually above the regular one, right? It won't extend farther than that? (I like the flat counter space that extends from behind the driver's seat all the way to the sink and wouldn't want to lose that.
There is still a "thin" counter over the 4cf fridge. The rest of the counter stays the same height. That means the sink is still the same height and you can sit on the bench seat to brush your teeth, etc. Note that the top of the counter is at the height of the bottom of the window on that side of the van. So the fridge will block some of the window but, we think, a bigger fridge is worth blocking some of the window.
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:44 AM   #8
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Re: New member - some questions :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by REF
I'm gathering you don't want/need 4X4?
Right - I don't think I'll need 4X4. I'd use it if I had it, but it's not needed for my goals.

Quote:
do you want a pop top? Or fixed?
I've been leaning toward the pop top due to the openness, airflow, and light. I worry about leaks, mildew, etc., but from what I've read on these forums, the tops are good quality and leaks/mildew is rare. Does anyone have bad experiences with the pop top?

Quote:
Chevy vans I know are avail with (passenger) without (cargo) rear air
But the passenger vans have less space and load capacity, right? (I know... a "girl" question.)

Quote:
I have an RB50, I can post up some pics.
I'd really appreciate some pics of storage areas/pantry open so I can see the set up, if you have time.

Thank you for your time in answering, and the links!
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:46 AM   #9
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Re: New member - some questions :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
For Fords, the window vans (passenger wagons) typically have rear heat and A/C. There are dash controls for this. Occasionally Ford cargo vans have rear heat-A/C as an option, but not very common. The rear heat/air are only operational while operating the vehicle (well, they need the engine running anyway....).

The rear air blows out of vents in the headliner, and the heat blows out along the rear floor on the driver's side. If you chop off the top for a penthouse or other raised roof, the A/C vents get re-routed.
Thanks for explaining this to me. I think I can deal without rear air, if I air it out before driving (after it's been sitting), and trying to follow the weather as much as possible.
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:48 AM   #10
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Re: New member - some questions :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
The benefit of an EB is you can put a fantastic fan in the cab, and it's great- however somewhat mutually exclusive with the PH. The best use of the fantastic fan is to have one open window opposite the fan and use it to pull cool air across. The second is to have it blow directly on you in the front seats. If you open all the windows (or two, or use skreenz), the fan doesn't draw any air across anywhere and can only be used to blow.

The alternative is a fantastic box fan, which I had (also) for a while but the model was just a wee bit too big to store conveniently anywhere- I mean like 1/2" too big to go under the bed. Otherwise it was an excellent addition, and didn't require cutting a hole in the cab or top (not recommended, however LenS has done it).
Thanks Jage. I was thinking I'd go with an RB for easier parking. I'd rather not cut a hole that's not necessary, though, so I'll skip the built-in fan.
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