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Old 09-14-2011, 12:39 PM   #21
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Re: Why a van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vlamgat
...Immediacy: The SMB set up is almost a load and go device. Other than the preparation one has to do for any camping trip, the van can be kept ready to leave. This does make the presumption that the van is by and large NOT a daily driver...
Not sure why it is assumed a daily driver wouldn't be ready to camp. We used our old camper van for a daily driver and it was ready at all times to camp. The only things we had to put in were perishable food, suitcases, and water jugs.

Another reason I like the van - it is more enjoyable to drive than a bigger vehicle. I didn't enjoy driving the Class C motorhome due to its size and weight.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:48 PM   #22
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Re: Why a van?

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Originally Posted by j.whitbread
I don't think his definition of a campervan is the same as mine. Everything he pictured and talked about was RV class, or custom (like the Unimogs)

Van is a de facto choice for most of us. Doing a class C is understandable, but if you're really torn by a slide-in vs. van, why not look at a Tiger? You get the side door, the over cab, the pass through, the pickup truck base- and really an 11,000lb van even with just a PH has to be put on the largest lift in the shop (a minor detail that cost me an extra 1.5 hours in the parking lot in Page AZ...)

http://www.tigermotorhomes.com/home.htm
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:26 PM   #23
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Re: Why a van?

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Originally Posted by vlamgat

Complexity: Getting the camper on and off the truck is a complex process with very precise height and alignment issues and then a complex attachment process.
If you have a good flat level spot, I don't think this is even much of an issue really after you get the learning curve down. My neighbor said he can load his up in less than 20 minutes with the remote control jacks. Pretty sweet setup, really. I still prefer just being able to jump in and turn the key though, especially if it were raining or snowing out.
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:46 PM   #24
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Re: Why a van?

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Lance seems to get a bad rap for over promising and under delivering but I am sure there are no Airstream Trailer equivalents
Ours is/was (we sold it last weekend to open the carport for the new arrival) 20 years old and solid, esp. compared to its then-competitors. About two years after we bought it, the dealership was booted by Lance because their volume was too low.The dealership owner told me Lance had been taken over by MBA-types who were more focused on revenue. I have no idea if that correlates to your concern or if it is legit.

(Full disclosure: I got my MBA in 82 IIRC)
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:20 PM   #25
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Re: Why a van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Quote:
Originally Posted by j.whitbread
I don't think his definition of a campervan is the same as mine. Everything he pictured and talked about was RV class, or custom (like the Unimogs)

Van is a de facto choice for most of us. Doing a class C is understandable, but if you're really torn by a slide-in vs. van, why not look at a Tiger? You get the side door, the over cab, the pass through, the pickup truck base- and really an 11,000lb van even with just a PH has to be put on the largest lift in the shop (a minor detail that cost me an extra 1.5 hours in the parking lot in Page AZ...)

http://www.tigermotorhomes.com/home.htm
And these but might be expensive:

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Old 09-14-2011, 08:28 PM   #26
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Re: Why a van?

Many thanks again to all. Some things have become clearer for me such as:

If I were to need to go off road the van has greater integrity than a camper truck combo. And although none of you have mentioned it presumably because of experience or size but the biggest trucks are non contenders in this role either. By those I mean the F450 or 3500 HD class as well.

Another thing, if the use is in temperate climates the use of pop tops is attractive. However for the winter sport or those of us in TX who have now had 70 days over 100 degrees, there is little value in pop tops. Actually I would contend that if the weather is going to be more volatile the value of any camper that does not offer reasonable comfort at both ends of the temperature spectrum is going to be increasingly diminished in utility terms.

No one has mentioned relative safety for all aboard where I think the 2 up front in a van are probably going to survive most events but unless they are in full passenger seats the remainder are relegated to 50s safety standards. Whereas the newer trucks are essentially as good as sedans.

Lastly not much talk about towing. I know many SMB owners go Bundu bashing and it's hard to do that with 9000 lbs behind you. But experience tells me that a 21000 lb CGVW is going to be a better tow vehicle than a lesser number unless the trailer and combo are at least 2000 lbs under the combined gross. Plus you gotta love the 600 lbs of torque that the bigger truck diesels can generate - if you are towing.

I wonder what those Expedition Trucks can tow? Their construction looks so heavy that I have to suspect that once loaded their Combined Gross is insufficient for a typical race trailer that I tow.

So I am going to look at some campers this weekend to see just how badly they are made relative to my SMB, and how livable they might be in the open at low and high temps.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:05 PM   #27
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Re: Why a van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Quote:
Originally Posted by j.whitbread


Van is a de facto choice for most of us. Doing a class C is understandable, but if you're really torn by a slide-in vs. van, why not look at a Tiger? You get the side door, the over cab, the pass through, the pickup truck base- and really an 11,000lb van even with just a PH has to be put on the largest lift in the shop (a minor detail that cost me an extra 1.5 hours in the parking lot in Page AZ...)

http://www.tigermotorhomes.com/home.htm
Now that looks just like the perfect compromise for mostly over the road use, heavy towing but yet getting the immediacy of the van.

And BTW all, I agree that an SMB can be a daily driver. Not ideal but quite useable. When I travel and do not live in the van because I cannot get access to water or a dump station every day, I travel back and forth in the van between track and hotel just like a commute. Go to dinner and sight see too. Works great for me at least.
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:27 AM   #28
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Re: Why a van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vlamgat
No one has mentioned relative safety for all aboard where I think the 2 up front in a van are probably going to survive most events but unless they are in full passenger seats the remainder are relegated to 50s safety standards. Whereas the newer trucks are essentially as good as sedans.
That kind of depends of the floorplan. Some floorplans have ample forward facing seating with 3-point seatbelts. I don't think seating in a truck camper has to meet any safety standards whatsoever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vlamgat
Lastly not much talk about towing. I know many SMB owners go Bundu bashing and it's hard to do that with 9000 lbs behind you. But experience tells me that a 21000 lb CGVW is going to be a better tow vehicle than a lesser number unless the trailer and combo are at least 2000 lbs under the combined gross. Plus you gotta love the 600 lbs of torque that the bigger truck diesels can generate - if you are towing.
The Ford E350 has a factory GCWR of 20,000 pounds and weighs ~10,000 or less. A pickup with truck camper weighs ~13,000 pounds, putting it at a disadvantage towing. Not to mention de-rating required when using truck camper hitch extensions.

I pull 15,000 pounds regularly and up to 18,000 on occasion. I also drive a Dodge Ram 4500 6.7L Cummins, and the van will out-pull it in the hills at the same combined weight. Granted, the van isn't stock, but it is cheaper to maintain, and much quieter than the 6.7L Cummins.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:28 AM   #29
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Re: Why a van?

In my opinion, and for my use, the biggest, (and only), advantage of a pickup/camper over a van is it allows you to have a GMC with a Duramax diesel and an Allison transmission!!! Why Ford continues to let GM beat them over the head with a power train combo that is light years ahead of the relative trash that Ford keeps foisting off on us is beyond comprehension. The only reason I got rid of my GMC was to go to the van platform which, for my use at least, is superior to the pickup/camper in every way except as noted.
As I said earlier, Just My opinion...
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:01 PM   #30
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Re: Why a van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlamgat
That kind of depends of the floor plan. Some floor plans have ample forward facing seating with 3-point seat belts. I don't think seating in a truck camper has to meet any safety standards whatsoever.

The Ford E350 has a factory GCWR of 20,000 pounds and weighs ~10,000 or less. A pickup with truck camper weighs ~13,000 pounds, putting it at a disadvantage towing. Not to mention de-rating required when using truck camper hitch extensions.

I pull 15,000 pounds regularly and up to 18,000 on occasion. I also drive a Dodge Ram 4500 6.7L Cummins, and the van will out-pull it in the hills at the same combined weight. Granted, the van isn't stock, but it is cheaper to maintain, and much quieter than the 6.7L Cummins.
Current production trucks have almost the same safety ratings for each seat as sedans. But I grant you if you have forward facing, space consuming passenger seats in your SMB, you more than likely also have a seat belt for them. I have one extra seat so equipped that I had to remove because it uses so much space.

The weight analysis I have done on the 3500 HD or F-350 using a loaded Lance Camper at ~5000 lbs brings my equivalent weights way below the ~13000 you are using. Much more like ~11,000 and that truck has a 21000 lb Combined limit leaving a tow capability of about 10000 lbs.

However this is the first I have heard/read of a hitch extension reduction in tow capacity. It stands to reason of course but none of the camper sites refers to this?
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