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Old 11-11-2017, 12:55 PM   #1
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Question Quality & Tech. vs. Cost

Maybe this is a particularly newbie concern, but I really haven't seen it addressed much.

Are there any brands of Class B RVs that combine truly good build quality and reasonably recent technology, but without eye-watering prices ? Certainly the first two requirements are covered quite well by Advanced RV - but I hear they're now going for around $300K, which is WAY beyond our price range (by roughly 3X). I thought Sportsmobile might do the trick, but after reading a very detailed diary of a build at their Fresno, CA facility documented here, I almost got PTSD from comparing it to the death march of mistakes and poor quality we went through building our first home. Ain't going through THAT again... (perhaps I'd have a different experience at the Texas or Indiana facilities ?)

So now I'm stuck. Am I doomed to mediocre construction quality and/or old fashioned tech to get something affordable ? (roughly $100K) That seems a lot to ask for spending that much money.
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Old 11-11-2017, 03:39 PM   #2
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I would suggest that the build thread you read documents the exception rather than the rule. Keep reading.
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Old 11-11-2017, 04:16 PM   #3
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How's it work though, usually, for almost any material item in life that you want to buy?

PICK ANY TWO:

- Inexpensive
- Good Quality / Well-built / Lasts a long time
- Looks Good and works well

Or it's something like that.
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Old 11-11-2017, 05:32 PM   #4
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Yep, the old "Engineering Triangle" - Quality, Speed, Low Cost, pick two
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhuff View Post
Maybe this is a particularly newbie concern, but I really haven't seen it addressed much.

Are there any brands of Class B RVs that combine truly good build quality and reasonably recent technology, but without eye-watering prices ? Certainly the first two requirements are covered quite well by Advanced RV - but I hear they're now going for around $300K, which is WAY beyond our price range (by roughly 3X). I thought Sportsmobile might do the trick, but after reading a very detailed diary of a build at their Fresno, CA facility documented here, I almost got PTSD from comparing it to the death march of mistakes and poor quality we went through building our first home. Ain't going through THAT again... (perhaps I'd have a different experience at the Texas or Indiana facilities ?)

So now I'm stuck. Am I doomed to mediocre construction quality and/or old fashioned tech to get something affordable ? (roughly $100K) That seems a lot to ask for spending that much money.
Is that a white Elephant in our room? Was on my front porch one day not long ago having a conversation with a really nice man passing by, he had a dog with him which towards the end of our visit relieved himself (#2)...the nice gentleman acted like nothing happened, and after the smell became quite apparent he made a parting comment and left...never addressed the pile next to my porch!
I'm sure your a real nice individual, and think you would find most people on the forum have great pride and a lot of confidence in their Rigs. Myself included.

Granted, financially a $100,000 investment is considerable - but don't believe that you could do better than a Sportsmobile for a vehicle that can deliver a well appointed all-terrain type adventure & more importantly the accompanying memories (other than some of the exceptional home builds - but dont believe most of those visionaries will be parting with their "mistresses" any time soon). I certainly didnt come across anything better in my year long search
I believe Fitz provided solid advise...keep reading.
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Old 11-11-2017, 08:49 PM   #6
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Roadtrek was my original dream rig, but I went with Sportsmobile because of the customization. Don't want to pay for a power leather sofa and flat screen TV? Don't put it in the build. You didn't mention what capabilities you're looking for, but there are plenty of well-appointed Sportsmobile models for <$100k. I would say 4x4 and off roading accessories/tires are the biggest cost drivers.

What kind of tech are you looking for? Sportsmobile won't have the iPad controlled lighting and power blinds that the other guys like to show off, but it's a lot less to go wrong in the backcountry and is easier to fix yourself. I am quite impressed with the build quality from Austin, and they were there for every step of the process.
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Old 11-11-2017, 09:44 PM   #7
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what we're looking for

My wife and I are looking for dual twin beds in the rear, full wet bath, galley, and a third, forward facing, seat belted captains chair (so our daughter can ride along with us). I like compressor fridges and would prefer to minimize propane usage (probably just for heating/hot water), so an induction cooktop in the galley. My wife is on the short side, so mounting the microwave down low is one of her requirements Good sound and temp insulation is a must (how does Sportsmobile generally handle that ?)

For power, a second "under hood generator" (i.e. second alternator). Don't want to mess with a separate propane powered generator. I like the characteristics of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, but willing to go with AGM if they're too expensive. 200W of solar on the roof, with hookups for more in the future. Also a pure sine wave inverter so I can plug in 110V stuff.

I like the Ram Promaster chassis for it's gas engine, extra interior width, front wheel drive, and avail of reasonably priced maint at many U.S. locations. But I'm willing to go with a MB Sprinter if it's necessary to get the interior space we'll need. With the MB, maybe we could get rid of propane entirely and use diesel for heating/hot water, too ? I can see pros/cons for both makes of vans...
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:46 PM   #8
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All that should be easy to do within your budget, especially sticking with an all-electric build. The Sportsmobile page says a second alternator is only an option with the Sprinter (and the Dodge.com building tool doesn't show an alternator option). But the single alternator has really been fine in my Sprinter and I don't have solar or a generator. A 2000W inverter is part of the standard build.

I think Sportsmobile puts in a modest amount of insulation, with the option for more if you have extreme weather requirements. I would minimize the number of windows if it's a big issue, since they are single pane and that's where most of the sound and temperature seeps in.

Heating and cooling are the trickiest decisions. Without a generator, a roof air conditioner can only run for an hour or so with batteries. So you have to either avoid hot weather camping, or plan on staying at campgrounds with electricity. As you saw, a fuel-fired furnace is only available with diesel engines. But I believe the "flat plate" water heater can run on either engine type and takes up minimal space underneath the chassis.

I don't have a diesel furnace or propane system, so we get creative in the winter. I use a 12volt heated mattress pad and a lot of blankets; or stay at an electric site and run a space heater. But I saved a bunch of money on the build
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:14 AM   #9
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Best Guess, if he makes it past 10 posts:
dhuff orders a MB chassis; Threads us to near exhaustion with the details; moans about wait times; but, ends up with a killer rig and takes on Fitz as one of the more prolific Threadsters and Devotees... a true Evangelical Forumite.
Chumley's nightmare be damned.

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Old 11-12-2017, 09:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmMay View Post
Best Guess, if he makes it past 10 posts:
dhuff orders a MB chassis; Threads us to near exhaustion with the details; moans about wait times; but, ends up with a killer rig and takes on Fitz as one of the more prolific Threadsters and Devotees... a true Evangelical Forumite.
Chumley's nightmare be damned.



OP, I think you're on the right track and doing your homework. I would mention that there are some truly sweet options out there that you might want to at least look in to. Outside Van comes to mind. Tiger RV does as well. Though this is the SMB forum we're not all brand loyal, probably more platform loyal. Many companies are improving SMB's old model.

Many of the newer big RV names are building some impressive stuff on the Transit chassis as well. Personally I'd steer clear of the Promaster. I haven't heard good things about durability.

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