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Old 04-20-2017, 03:38 PM   #21
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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.
We've had a cassette toilet in our last 2 RV's since 2004. The latest cassette has wheels.

If there's a bath house or pit toilet nearby in the campground, we empty the cassette every day unless it's raining. Takes just a few minutes and rarely weighs more than a gallon milk jug. Don't know why some people think one should wait until it's full?

Much cleaner procedure than the typical dump station. We're 70 and 74.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:56 PM   #22
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We've had a cassette toilet in our last 2 RV's since 2004. The latest cassette has wheels.

If there's a bath house or pit toilet nearby in the campground, we empty the cassette every day unless it's raining. Takes just a few minutes and rarely weighs more than a gallon milk jug. Don't know why some people think one should wait until it's full?

Much cleaner procedure than the typical dump station. We're 70 and 74.
Thanks, good to know.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:22 PM   #23
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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.
The energy in your posts prompts me to recall the observation that the world is divided among three kinds of people:

1. The ones that make it happen.

2. The ones that watch it happen.

3. The ones who ask, what happened?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, you're clearly a member of Group 1.
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:02 AM   #24
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The energy in your posts prompts me to recall the observation that the world is divided among three kinds of people:

1. The ones that make it happen.

2. The ones that watch it happen.

3. The ones who ask, what happened?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, you're clearly a member of Group 1.
Happening all day every day whether I like it or not
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:14 AM   #25
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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.

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?
Ahhh... I think I see the problem. Most folks either go south for the winter, or store their mohos. The point of a 4WD Class B is to go into the backcountry, NOT to drive it snow.

I store my Super-C 32' moho all winter, but my Coachmen B-van gets all the winter travel duties. You cannot use your plumbing in sub-freezing weather. You winterize at the first sign of frost...and leave it winterized until after the last frost. I use my b-van coach extensively in the winter. I use bottled water, a plastic wash basin, heat water on the stove in a tea kettle, and use a Thetford port-potty that has no water in the top. I "flush" it with bottled water as necessary. If you fail to winterize, or you try to use your water systems, your toilet valve will freeze, break and leak; you'll likely freeze and rupture your water heater... and there will be all kinds of difficult-to-find broken lines and leaks throughout the plumbing system.

My Coachmen sat for the better part of 20 years in Oklahoma and wasn't winterized. When I bought it, there was a 5" jagged tear in the water heater tank from freezing, the sink p-trap was cracked and leaking, and there were several other plumbing issues I had to track down from freezing. They're all repaired now.

Additionally, your refrigerator will become a deep-freeze if you don't regulate it properly. Winter B-van use is fun, but it's not for the casual camper.

RVs in general (with the exception of Bigfoot and Arctic Fox) are only meant for three-seasons use, and B-vans are not an exception. I took the Coachmen on a 5,000 mile round trip from Iowa to SoCal the middle of last January. My first night in Wichita was 16* with 35mph winds. I had to run the genset to run an electric heater AND the propane furnace to stay comfortable. And that was with the drapes pulled, the privacy curtain over the windshield, and the dash vents off.

So... no... don't plan on sleeping in your B-van in sub-zero weather comfortably with all the conveniences you can expect in the summer. And likely, your genset may not even start in sub-freezing temps because they're old carburetor technology, not fuel injection like modern cars.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:24 AM   #26
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Our first week in our Advanced RV we picked up in January was in constant day and night sub freezing temperatures down to 0 degrees F. and we were not winterized and had water we used in the fresh water tank. It's possible if you have the right Class B designed for it. But true, very few Class Bs are capable and are not that well insulated.
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:04 AM   #27
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As far as I know there are 3 levels to camp in freezing temperatures with various comfort of water accessibility level:

1. Safest, contain all water in vessels which will not break as water expands during phase change to ice.
2. Keep all water containers and plumbing inside the heated van.
3. Have winterizing system for all external tanks and plumbing by:
a. Circulating hot air in contained airspace for external tanks and plumbing (most common, we had one on our Bigfoot trailer)
b. Use hydronic system like Rixen, or Eberspacher, or home brewed (like mine half finished) power by diesel or Alde powered by LPG.
Number 2 and 3 option must have sufficient energy input to work, loss of either diesel or LPG power will end with issues.

Breaking of the water system is only part of the potential winter camping problems, maintaining temperature for survivability is likely the absolute key for safe camping, which includes sufficient fuel, heaters reliability, heater sizing versus insulation, single or double pane windows etc.

George.
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:14 PM   #28
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I would reconsider 4WD. It adds complexity to the drive train, makes the cost of the vehicle significantly more and can reduce mileage.

I noticed your from Massachusetts, me too, and want to drive in the snow. Really think about how you will drive it in winter. Massachusetts and many other New England states do an excellent job of totally clearing snow down to the pavement by using road salt and chemicals. Also the interstates are usually in good shape. So, if you are actually going to drive when it is snowing or right after a storm when the snow is still deep, then 4WD may be useful. But 4WD without 4 dedicated snow tires is a compromise. Snow tires give a real benefit because the rubber compound is suited for cold temperatures and the thread pattern is made for traction in snow. However, once you get over approximelely 6 inches of snow and you attempt to drive, you are really in an extreme driving condition. In addition to the limited visibility and potential white-out conditions, do you really want to try to break tracks in unplowed snow that is deeper that 6 inches or deeper (now you have to worry about ground clearance)? RVs are top heavy and trying to steer an 8000 pound plus vehicle around a corner is both tricky and scary (this is one area that 4WD will help)

So evaluate how much you will drive in actual, deep snow. Otherwise, just get 4 snow tires. That is much cheaper that full time 4WD.

Remember, nature will always win. When there is a raging blizzard, stay home or park the RV and wait it out, after all it is a house on wheels, just don't use the wheels part during the storm!
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:21 PM   #29
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Regardless of 4 wheel drive, vans that are winter driven in salt areas are going to take a pretty bad beating. There are lots of things hanging under an RV that do not handle salt well, and will be severely corroded and damaged.
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:52 PM   #30
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I asked sportsmobile about lithium batteries once and they said no.

However the more i've learned is that lithium batteries although manageable in cold weather take a lot of care and need advance thinking and prep.

Davydd seems to handle it though in his arv-but it does require a little more advanced system.

However sportsmobile-other than lithium batteries-could handle what you want and probably have at some time
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