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Old 04-19-2017, 05:42 AM   #11
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Assuming you listed your "must haves" in order of importance, you'll certainly get the most ground clearance with a Sportsmobile (SMB) on the Ford Econoline platform. You can buy a 4x2 and have it converted to 4x4 by a number of companies. I'm on my second SMB and can say they do quality work.

edit: just saw your last post. I guess if you bought a 4x2 Sportsmobile tomorrow, that could happen, but maybe not. If you could find and purchase a 4x4... all depends on your budget.
Thank you. I'm not sure I can envision buying a vehicle or a custom build sight-unseen from the other side of the country but I'm checking SMB out right now (waiting for their "Pre-Owned North" page to load).
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:51 AM   #12
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Thank you. I'm not sure I can envision buying a vehicle or a custom build sight-unseen from the other side of the country but I'm checking SMB out right now (waiting for their "Pre-Owned North" page to load).
I'd check again tomorrow. They're whole site has been having problems today.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:58 AM   #13
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I'd check again tomorrow. They're whole site has been having problems today.
Yes, will do. Lots to look at there. Thanks again
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:59 AM   #14
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(Being a New Englander, I'm not comfortable talking about money but it's safe to say I don't like to spend money.)
Unfortunately, without a target budget, it's really difficult to know where to steer you. Here's a used Quigley conversion '06 Sportsmobile with most of your requirements for about $65k. The 4WD is going to cost you dearly, and will up the price of any van you buy by $30k +/- new or used.

If you're just looking for better bad-weather/snow performance perhaps rather than a full-on 4WD solution that a Chevy AWD van would work as well? Here's a Roadtrek AWD Chevy, again with most of your "wants" for $36k.

There's a lot of traveling to be done for the $115k difference between a new 4WD b-van at $150k and a really nice ten year old AWD van at $36k.

There's a significant difference in what's available for a budget of $50k vs. $100k vs. $150k... and yet you can find 4WD vans that more or less meet your requirements in all three price ranges. Of course a new one will be the $150k van... so it would be good to at least know what kind of price range you're in. If your budget is $50k, there's no point in recommending new vans, and if you're absolutely fixed on a new one, there's not much point in sending you to Craigslist.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:58 PM   #15
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.

There are a few Sprinter 4x4 owners on this forum.
Most of them say they have never switched the RV to 4x4, even in bad weather or rough terrain.
One even say he wish he did not order the option.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:39 PM   #16
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Unfortunately, without a target budget, it's really difficult to know where to steer you. Here's a used Quigley conversion '06 Sportsmobile with most of your requirements for about $65k. The 4WD is going to cost you dearly, and will up the price of any van you buy by $30k +/- new or used.

If you're just looking for better bad-weather/snow performance perhaps rather than a full-on 4WD solution that a Chevy AWD van would work as well? Here's a Roadtrek AWD Chevy, again with most of your "wants" for $36k.

There's a lot of traveling to be done for the $115k difference between a new 4WD b-van at $150k and a really nice ten year old AWD van at $36k.

There's a significant difference in what's available for a budget of $50k vs. $100k vs. $150k... and yet you can find 4WD vans that more or less meet your requirements in all three price ranges. Of course a new one will be the $150k van... so it would be good to at least know what kind of price range you're in. If your budget is $50k, there's no point in recommending new vans, and if you're absolutely fixed on a new one, there's not much point in sending you to Craigslist.
I wonder how much moisture seeps through the pop top when 6-10" of ice/snow starts to thaw?
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:38 PM   #17
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4x4 Sprinter would be great. With at least 3/4 of its reasonable, useful lifespan still ahead of it. (Being a New Englander, I'm not comfortable talking about money but it's safe to say I don't like to spend money.)

Can anyone recommend an RV builder / retrofitter in MA or southern NH, someone who can (at least) remove the sofa and re-locate the heater and the inverter(s) that are underneath the power sofa in an SS Agile?
Try the RT FB group;
they are type-specific, which might get you the answer quicker.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1676694222568818
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:03 PM   #18
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Thanks, those names are new to me. Finally was able to access Advanced's website today; I sent a request for a reality check and ballpark estimate.

Possibly the biggest challenge is that I'd like to have this vehicle by the end of the school year (end of June). I teach and would love to spend this summer off RV-ing with my teenage daughter a) while she's still into the idea, and 2) before she graduates and goes off to college. (I'm done with grad school, PDPs etc.) This also might be my last summer off before getting a less stressful job.

What are the chances that a private Sprinter owner might be willing me to rent me their unused vehicle for a couple of months while my dream van's under construction...? Any ideas?
You want one by the end of June?

I doubt you can get a used RT Agile 4x4 in such a short time.
99.99% of the RVs are 2WD;
you are looking at a very narrow sigment of the market, it takes time to wait for one to come on the used market.

The sure way to get a 4x4 is to order a new one.
It takes 8 to 12 weeks to build one; that means you have to order it NOW.

Even if you order now, there is no guarrantee for June delivery -- you can get one built if and only if RT has a 4x4 chassis in stock. If RT has to order the chassis from Mercedes Benz, it will take additional time.


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Old 04-19-2017, 03:59 PM   #19
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I wonder how much moisture seeps through the pop top when 6-10" of ice/snow starts to thaw?
Well, in the closed, travel position as long as the seals are intact, none; at least no more than would leak through the door seals 'cause the seals are the same stuff. If that was going to happen, it'd happen in rainstorms at 60 mph too, and they wouldn't sell many units if that was the case. As long as the top is down in the travel position there won't be any leaks. Frankly, as long as the canvas isn't compromised, the pop top won't leak either when it's being used. Fantastic Fans don't leak either under those conditions.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:16 PM   #20
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If I had to put a dollar number on each item on our want list, having the RV before the end of the school year is probably the top item. Good in the snow is relatively less important. Each winter I find myself getting more anxious about snow driving. Maybe the solution to that is simply going where there's less snow.

About the pop top, we don't have a garage, so yes I get plenty of snow simply plopping down onto the drivers seat when I open the door in a hurry because sometimes I bet wrong on how sticky it is. In theory the upstairs bed is a neat design, but if I'm going to be sleeping in this vehicle in cold weather it would have to have comfortable downstairs sleeping arrangements anyway, making the pop tent top more of a novel liability.

Custom building... now having talked with a few custom co's, it's clear that that's not a practical option for our situation given their distance from us, the long waits (ranging from 4 mos to 18 months just to start) and (not least) the cost.

I was starting to think that the RT Agile SS seemed like the least worst option for a used purchase (even with the sofa that we dislike so much). Then yesterday I was talking with a local guy who's owned four class Bs over the last 15-20 yrs; he has some serious reservations about the Agile's cold weather / winter performance. Is it true that the tanks are on the underside / outside of the vehicle, and freeze solid at the first hint of cold weather? What's the point of 4wd on an RV that doesn't fully function in cold weather? For that matter, should I be re-thinking the practicality of even having a black water tank in the winter?

Soon I'll be test driving a used Airstream Interstate. The length and floorplan (read: sofa) aren't what we're looking for at all. But two out of the three tanks are inside and the third has a heating element. The fuel economy is said to be fantastic. It's 1) in better-than-new condition from what they tell me and 2) it's here, so.

In a little while I'm going on a trip to test drive a Hymer Aktiv and find out whether I'm physically strong enough to empty the cassette toilet.

I really appreciate all the information and your different perspectives. Thanks for being here.
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