Moving away from TT/TV. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-02-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
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Name: George
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Moving away from TT/TV.

Since the sale of our Bigfoot we were deliberating our next camping vehicle step and decided to move away from TT/TV camping towards the Sprinter Van. The logic said to go with a trailer but heart was pulling us toward our very positive past experience with 2 VW Westfalias. My choice for TT was clearly Trillium Outback but weak selection of a towing vehicle and past experience were at the culprit of the decision.

3 months of towing vehicle drooling exposure in Europe left me facing unexciting US TV offerings. I drove a couple of SVs (I think that U for utility is just lost) in US and found them boring. We took our daughter’s Toyota Highlander for the weekend trip with grandkids and I was appalled about 17 mpg average after 200 miles trip. Driving Subaru Outback with its dead-dish steering left me uninspiring. Then I found that Mazda CX5 diesel will likely join Honda Accord Diesel US fate, Ford Transit is pushing hard on their love child weak on Eco and strong on Boost EcoBoooo, and Fiat Dodge van is missing in action. I hit the boiling point finding out that the four cylinders Toyota Tacoma is not rated for towing, with 2.7 l engine, which is insane.

Before making the final decision I analyzed costs involved with conversion resulting with about $10-12K sum excluding my design and labor. During this exercise I found items in EU not available in US for example seat/bed in the “Rock N Roll” style. Shipping from UK is about $700 so I designed one. It has 13.5 SF space saving in night to day set-up. See attached.

My new project began, the van should arrive sometime in March and by that time I will have most of the conversion modules either designed or built. My plan is to start with the passenger 144" WB version, 80/20 aluminum frame structures, bamboo cabinetry, diesel power furnace and water heater, cassette toilet, electric fridge, no LPG +.

I enjoyed this forum a lot but it is time to move to also very active Sprinter forum.

See you on the road,

George.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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George
Which Sprinter Forum?

I troll mostly at Sprinter-Source.

Ed
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ed Harris View Post
George
Which Sprinter Forum?

I troll mostly at Sprinter-Source.

Ed
Yes, that is the one - Sprinter - Sprinter-Forum
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:23 PM   #4
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What have you heard about Ford? Are they no longer planning to bring a diesel Transit over here? I've been waiting.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:57 PM   #5
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What have you heard about Ford? Are they no longer planning to bring a diesel Transit over here? I've been waiting.
Ford is very tight lipped about Transit diesel coming while heavily promoting their love affair, the V6 EcoBoooooo for the new Transit. I hope that Ford can learn on Mercedes experience pushing gas Sprinter for about a year before dropping the idea. There were so many companies in the past promising diesels that I am not going to hold my hopes high for either Ford or Fiat/Dodge Vans diesel. In Europe Sprinter/Crafter is dominating the market except for RV conversions with Fiat/Renault/Citroen holding the first place. GM Opel/Renault and Ford are somewhere in the middle and practically they are all diesels.

Another aspect for me to get the Sprinter is their over 10 year old development of the RV conversion infrastructure in US. For example, it is possible to replace factory windows with RV type fitting the same openings.

Personally I believe that it will take the shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz to bring high mileage diesels to US, God forbid.

I picked the Canadian conversion company to model my conversion Safari Condo LC Sprinter My conversion will look similar with rounded Al frame but with bamboo filler panels.

George.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:15 AM   #6
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Hi: GeorgeR... Why not just buy a Roadtrek R S Adventurous ? Roadtrek Motorhome, RV Camper Van, Class B Motor HomesThey're made about an hour away from my place.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:47 AM   #7
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I hit the boiling point finding out that the four cylinders Toyota Tacoma is not rated for towing, with 2.7 l engine, which is insane.
My 2007 4 cyl 2.7 l Tacoma has a 3500 pound tow rating. I just looked at the Toyota web site and the 2013 4 cyl 2.7 l Tacoma still has the same 3500 pound tow rating. Too bad if you hit the boiling point and ruled it out based on incorrect information.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:30 AM   #8
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My 2007 4 cyl 2.7 l Tacoma has a 3500 pound tow rating. I just looked at the Toyota web site and the 2013 4 cyl 2.7 l Tacoma still has the same 3500 pound tow rating. Too bad if you hit the boiling point and ruled it out based on incorrect information.
Perhaps I am not reading it correctly but based on this Toyota site factory equipped towing capacity is listed and available for V6 only. Thank you for your comment, small pick-up TV was not my favored option anyway.
Toyota Tacoma Truck - 2013 Performance & Specifications

There were a lot of inputs to our decision process and TV offering was a major one but not the only one. If I could get Mercedes Vito, VW Caravelle or VW Passat Wagon TDI as a towing vehicle I would likely stay with the TT/TV combo, but, Vito is perhaps coming to our shores and Passat's towing capacity 1000lb.
George.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Toyota Tacoma

As I read the Toyota Specs their 2.7L four cylinder does have a 3500 lb capacity as long as you have the V6's towing package... radiator, hitch, Traction control, .....
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
Hi: GeorgeR... Why not just buy a Roadtrek R S Adventurous ? Roadtrek Motorhome, RV Camper Van, Class B Motor HomesThey're made about an hour away from my place.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
The simplest answers are $45K savings and getting what we want. Most of the Sprinter conversions are practically doubled in price if compared feature by feature with average US/Canada build small motorhomes. Perhaps the Mercedes logo does it. The hype of gas mileage is not really valid because most of the conversions are loaded to maximum and I would likely get a similar or close gas mileage with a V8. You can get a generic motorhome in US for $50K and for example Roadtreck 144” WB SS Agile is $100K. The old style VW Westfalias don’t exist here and that is what we want plus a toilet.

On the Sprinter forum someone recently reported a complete loss of their self-converted Sprinter, diesel power utilities, vacuum toilet type quality and to replace their RV decided to just buy a converted van from one of the major manufacturers. His opinion about his acquisition was – heavy in features low in quality. Based on what I have seen I concur.

My wife and I went to Portland RV show and looked at the Airstream Sprinter for $135K. After the tour I asked to help me understand what the $90K value added from Airstream was. The base Mercedes chassis is $45K.

Out of all conversions currently available in NA I like the most the Canadian Safari Condo LC Sprinter for simplicity and open space, you see the world through the windows. This company Westfalia Canada | is bringing Westfalia on Fiat chassis but it can take years and I don’t know about US availability. http://www.westfalia-canada.com/pdf/columbus_EN.pdf

Having skills to design and built conversion modules allowed me to stab the self-converting route. I am planning to complete the conversion the way I want for the total of $55K including the Van for $45K, about half of the Roadtreck.

George.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:40 AM   #11
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As I read the Toyota Specs their 2.7L four cylinder does have a 3500 lb capacity as long as you have the V6's towing package... radiator, hitch, Traction control, .....
But the towing package is not available from Toyota for L4, go figure.

George.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:59 AM   #12
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RIGHT ON ABOUT TOW VEHICLES! I hope my 01 Jeep Cherokee never gives up. ESCAPE ECOBOOST is front wheel drive necessitating a person to buy AWD, otherwise it would be nearly impossible to get traction to pull 2500# up a gravel grade from stop. The V6 Rav, same story plus a rear hatch that does not open fully while towing. These choices and all others will unlikely exceed my current 17mpg while towing, after 13 years for manufacturers to improve mpg! All come with useless extras that will undoubtedly result in expensive repairs in the long term. And, try to buy a manual transmission. The manufacturers say Americans don't buy them. No Kidding, you can't. I get discouraged every time I research a new model that I think may fit my needs.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:05 PM   #13
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The Jeep Grand Cherokee is supposed to have a diesel again soon. The one they put in the Europe models supposedly gets 33 mpg. Even upper 20s would make it a contender for me.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:37 PM   #14
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The Jeep Grand Cherokee is supposed to have a diesel again soon. The one they put in the Europe models supposedly gets 33 mpg. Even upper 20s would make it a contender for me.
I did talk to Jeep dealer who claimed 2014 year Grand Cherokee diesel availability, so the latter half of 2013 at dealerships. His belief was that it will be the high-end model around $40-45K. If this would be the case I could go with the 5000lbs towing capacity, low roof passenger Sprinter for $43K reasonable well equipped (no second air) without waiting. Regarding utility value Sprinter is unbeatable and 4WD is not critical for me.

George.
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