Based on a lot of great info from this forum, we are starting to plan our build. We are aiming to place an order in late-winter 2018. I visited SM in Indiana was was impressed with the quality and thought. Also talking to Austin since they are doing lithium batteries and seem a little more flexible on AV.
I’m hoping to use this thread to document our process and gather insight from the community! Feedback wanted!
My wife and I plan to full-time (8-10 months at a time). We may have the occasional passenger or two.
- Keep passenger side windows as open/visible as possible.
- Expect 60%+ of our nights in campgrounds and the others boondocking, 2-4 nights at a time. (In legal camping areas, we’re not expecting much stealth camping.) We will go to rough roads and a little adventuring, but no rock crawling.
- We want it to be winter comfortable and able to overnight at ski areas (and store skis!) (Love that SM puts all the water and lines inside.)
- We plan to work part time, which requires a comfortable place to work on laptops.
Modifying from a standard LB110S.
- We will be in it a lot, so I’m thinking LB since space will count. Though I’m open to EB.
- Leaning towards 4x4 for winter use. (Not expecting rock crawling, but plan to be in mountains in seasons where snow is possible or likely.)
- Would prefer single rear wheels (simpler, easier for chains, efficiency etc.)
- Can we get 4x4 with single rear wheels (I think that limits us to 2500) and be under the GVWR limits and have a decent ride? (Not planning on aftermarket suspension upgrades.)
- 2nd alternator (and bracket) from factory in place of generator
- Spare underneath
- Long dinette/bed. Want sitting/working space in day and comfortable sleeping at night. I’ve heard that the dinettes make a more comfortable bed (and are more efficient with storage space) than a front-facing sofa and side seats.
- Small lavatory (33 in. if that’s viable) no sink with porta-potti. We only expect to use it at night(!) and when boondocking (When we can’t go outside). Medicine cabinet ?).
- (—really could use input here!—) Thinking about a cabinet at the rear doors. Full height on one side to store skis (maybe 12-14 inches wide) then door window height. Total 12-inches deep max. Gives storage out the rear door and acts as a headboard for the bed so we’re not sleeping right on the doors.
- One or two element induction stove. (We have induction at home and love it.) Convection microwave & 4 liter fridge.
- No propane.
- 2nd alternator in place of generator.
- Espar D-5 for diesel heat and (electric) hot water. (Is that the best choice? Airtronic?)
- Water filter.
- 2800 W inverter - don’t want to run out esp. if using the stove (short time) on batteries/alternator.
- Would prefer lithium batteries (Thinking that reduced weight, ability to draw them further down, quicker charging etc make up for the much higher cost.) Not yet sure on capacity - suggestions?
- Probably no solar panels. They don’t seem to add a lot over using the 2nd alternator.
- 20G (?) fresh water. (Do the tanks have baffles to reduce sloshing if we don’t keep it full?)
- Roof mounted AC. Probably won’t use a ton, but there will be nights (shore power)… (And for resale?)
- Roof fan
- Extra insulation package? (Worth it?)
- Planning aftermarket headunit with CarPlay
- Aftermarket backup camera (I’ve heard the stock just looks down, not back.)
- Decent speakers, no need to go crazy, but we value music throughout the van.
- TV with max screen/minimum bezel to use as computer monitor & TV
It would be great to get input on anything here, esp.
- The rear storage unit (or any thoughts on transporting skis. Trying to avoid a permanent rack on the back that has to be worried about.)
- Van itself. Will a 2500 work? Need heavy duty suspension? MB sure has a lot of configurations!
- is 36 inch lab viable for occasional shower, porta-potti?
- What am I missing/not thinking of?