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Old 08-13-2013, 11:49 AM   #11
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

Wow, thanks for all the great feedback.

Herb, the other day I was talking to someone who had been RVing for 40 years. He didn't like the whole class B idea for that same reason. Said it's a pain to have to "break camp" every time you wanted to drive and recommended a small travel trailer for that reason. Or at the very least setting up an outside shelter/screenroom for a kitchen. But he thought the TT would work better. Maybe I should rent a class B first before sinking all that money. If only I could find a place with reasonable rates.

Dogmobile, yep, 12v fridge would be one more thing to add. Dealing with ice gets old.

Brain W, Sportsmobile can put fans in their Penthouse tops now.

carring b, this would be my every day driver. So would get some mileage. I think the price difference between Sprinter 2500 and Ford e-250 is more like $4k not $20k. And the Sprinter has lower depreciation and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) according to Vincentric. Also, I like the Sprinter's drive experience and extra height. Most people get closer to 14mpg city/hwy averaged on there e-250s. E-Series make sense if someone wants a 4X4 conversion, needs to tow more than 5k lbs, wants a lower vehicle height, is buying used , or is worried about finding service or diesel in their area.

86Scotty, yep, that's a possiblity. I already added a 12v fridge. What's next ?

Jage, why the insulation? My tent doesn't have insulation and it hasn't been a problem.

yvrr, yep, would definitely check with SMB first. Thanks.

llamadave, Thanks. Would try both routes. If it's the new 2014, I don't know if dealerships will haggle right away though. They probably will want more than MSRP at first.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:03 PM   #12
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

I don't think your idea is sound. You are getting the worst of both worlds: bigger, more expensive vehicle but still something you can't live in and you'd need to break camp. I sorta did your idea with a pickup shell & it wasn't good.

A SMB is ideal for road trips where you don't camp in one spot for long or do so but don't need to drive anywhere from camp. Camping and daily driving from camp would work better for you with just a suitable trailer, and much cheaper.

If you do go SMB make it self contained so all you have to do is lower top and drive off. Re-stowing a lotta gear is tent camping minus only the tent.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:55 PM   #13
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogiyoda

carring b, this would be my every day driver. So would get some mileage. I think the price difference between Sprinter 2500 and Ford e-250 is more like $4k not $20k. And the Sprinter has lower depreciation and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) according to Vincentric.
I did not realize you would be using it as a daily driver, so that does make MPGs more important. I have not priced cargo versions, but I did build and price Wagons, and by the time options like rear HVAC and upgraded charging system are added to the Sprinter to make it comparably equipped, the price difference was close to $20k. Even at the 35,000 miles/year, the Sprinter numbers just didn't work out. And after running all the numbers I ended up deciding to stick with what I have (It still runs like new at nearly 360,000 miles, so I don't think its breaking anytime soon). Plus I can replace my entire drivetrain (engine, trans, and rear axle) for less than a Bosch CP4 fuel pump replacement that comes in all the new diesels.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:49 PM   #14
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

Your tent is not metal. I did an aluminum truck cap that was horrible in all weather because it wasn't insulated. And if you're laying on the floor, that's going to wick heat away- much worse than the ground, which is actually pretty cozy.
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:32 PM   #15
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

Why not do the van without penthouse for a while. Definitly aux batteries and isolator. Def. Fridge. Def portta potti. Insulate floor and plywood. Cook stove that you already have.There are solutions all over the web including the ground up build section. I 'm not sure what you meant about depreciation of the Sprinter being bad . Look on craigslist. Here in SoCal they command really high prices.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:07 AM   #16
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

Sounds like a great idea go for it. When I started looking to build my own van I spoke with Derek at Colorado Camper Van. He added the top and insulated the top, walls and floor then I completed the rest a little at a time. I think I saw that he recently added a pop top to a Sprinter.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:49 AM   #17
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

pjmjunior, oh missed your last post. Thanks for the luck! Not sure I want the second row of seats but will check out the other features offered on the crew.

rob, thanks for the feedback. The trailer is definitely something to consider. It has advantages for sure. But also has drawbacks too. Like finding storage when it's not needed. having to hitch and unhitch. Less options of the occasional stealth night. Makes parking and driving more difficult in cities etc. Worse mpg ...even when tow vehicle is unhitched. And not much savings considering I'd need to get both a tow vehicle and a trailer. I was thinking that the whole "break camp" problem might be good motivation to be really clean. IE. put everything back immediately after using. Wash dishes right away etc. Of course, it might not end up that way in reality. Also, I'm not sure how much time having a more "self-contained" van would really save. Still have to secure whatever you've used before traveling. Maybe I'll rent a Sprinter cargo van for a while for a test run. Guess I can run an extension cord through a cracked window.

carringb, your comparing a 13 year old vehicle to a new Sprinter. Looks like you've got a good thing going with your old van. From what I've heard, most e-series van's don't make it to that many miles without needing major repairs ...like new engines and transmissions. I was comparing new to new. You can see the vehicle prices on SMBs website. There are PDF price sheets. Sportsmobile's discounted price for the e-250 is $32,195. Their discounted price for the Sprinter 2500 is $35,445. But it looks like most people add the Options A package to the Sprinter for another $1,179. Still, that a difference of $4,429 even including the Options A package.

jage, good point about the metal. I'd sleep on a cot with an insulated camp air mattress on top. Not too worried about colder weather with a good sleeping bag and the occasional MR Buddy. But yes, mid-day I bet a un-insulated cargo van would be a big oven. My goal is to be outside during the day anyway though. And I imagine that without A/C it would still be too hot mid-day in the summer even with insulation. Without A/C do think the lack of insulation would be problem at night though? I'm guessing at night it wouldn't be too different than my tent.

stanw909, good idea about waiting on the penthouse. And I agree with you about the Sprinter holding it's value well. That's what I was trying to communicate by writing that the Sprinter has "low depreciation". IE. It doesn't depreciate much.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:04 AM   #18
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

yogiyoda,

Here are a few links for inspiration, of Sprinter vans with minimalist conversions.

Paul Jensen is a surfboard builder, woodworker, and brewer in Oregon, and he has some mad skills and why-didn't-I-think-of-that ideas for converting vehicles. There's lots inspiration here.
http://pauljensencustom.blogspot.ca/
his own 2006 Sprinter
a 2006 SWB conversion

Mike Hiscox on Expedition Portal has built a fully-loaded expedition Sprinter in the past, and just recently went the minimalist route with another one. (You may have to sign up to see photos on ExPo.)
INSTANT OVERLANDER: Mikey's Transitory Sprinter Camper

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Brent
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:33 PM   #19
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

Yodavan, thanks for the idea. I'd get a quote from CCV and SMB. I know CCV has some cool features, good customer service and competitive pricing; but I'm leaning towards Sportsmobile for the following reasons:

-shop is closer to me
-cut-out is bigger for more of an open area for walking
-long track record to show reliability and soundness of design
-larger, older, more well known company with a better web-site all add up to better resale
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:40 PM   #20
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Re: Why is this a crazy idea?

Brent, thank you. Very cool ideas and motivation for a more minimalist design. Appreciate it!
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