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Old 10-16-2013, 04:25 AM   #1
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Default 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

I own a 2013 Leisure Travel Van Unity TB on MB Sprinter 3500 chassis. (Previously I owned a 31ft Winnebago Class A and a 39ft Monaco Class A.)

I like our LTV Unity. But I am surprised at some of the details.

We are already contemplating how to add more house batteries (it was built with two), and maybe a solar panel. These changes might lead to a larger inverter and maybe converter. LTV provides solar wiring, but they didn't provide a way to add batteries, which in my experience is the much bigger need. (Many people think solar gives them more dry-camping electricity, but solar is only a slow battery charger; the quantity and type of house batteries are what dictate how much electricity is available between recharges.) All of this is fixable, but the cost to me will be much more than if LTV had done it at the factory and added a few bucks to the price tag.

We don't care for the folding dining table LTV provided, a constant annoyance. I think the problem is because the table must also be the platform for converting the tiny dinette into a tiny bed. We have no need for that. But to do that the table is awkward in all respects. It's very difficult to squeeze past it to go fore-aft, the leafs hang down banging knees and taking up space, but flipped up their support boards are very difficult to adjust (my wife can't), and the driver-side leaf is up, that person is trapped, impossible to get in/out of the seat. So I've already prototyped a replacement using the folding table design on European trains.

LTV scrimped on the dinky bathroom fan, because actually it's the ventilation for the bedroom area, so we'll be buying the same robust type they put in the front area.

LTV goofed up wiring the ceiling lights. There's a door between living and bedroom areas, and separate light switches for each area -- two light circuits. But ONE light in the bedroom is wired to the living area circuit, so it's a real pain for one person to go to bed while the other works up-front -- there's a huge bright light on in the bedroom. My workaround for this is to disconnect the one bulb, but of course that creates an always-dark area.

Two shortcomings LTV told me are due to Mercedes restrictions:

The chassis battery is not charged from shore power. Apparently, Mercedes forbids this connection. So there's no boost button as is common in most motor homes. I managed to get a dead chassis battery simply by not driving the coach for 3.5 weeks; I think my GPS plugged into the dash 12vdc power killed the battery. I had to buy 24ft jumper cables to reach the long distance from the under-steps house battery to the under-hood chassis jumper posts. I'm contemplating how to add a solenoid and switch to provide a boost feature. Even if LTV can't install this due to Mercedes, I wish they provided the wiring to easily implement it.

The other Mercedes issue is the short rubber tire valves, apparently factory-standard. These make it impossible to check/fill tires without disassembling the fancy chrome tire liners. And being rubber, I think they are too fragile for an 11 thousand pound vehicle. I visited Tire-Man in Ridgecrest, California, where Chuck, the inventory of all-metal vale extenders for duallys (much copied, but Chuck invented them), refitted all six tires. Chuck also added safety straps to prevent loss of the wheel liners; I don't know if LTVs could be lost, but Chuck says to notice how many Sprinters no longer have them.

The Sprinter 3500 chassis is a tad stripped down. The provided MB book goes to great lengths to describe the features of the vehicle, including various vehicle monitoring features (distance to empty, MPG, etc, etc), stuff found on most cars, and on my much cheaper Winnebago, but the LTV chassis doesn't have these features. Alas.

Beware of the claimed 5,000 pound towing capability, because on my coach the actual difference between GVWR and GCWR is much lower.

It is wonderful to have a Sanicon macerator, but the watch the hose. It loops up from under the rear end and I caught it hanging low down where it could be damaged by the road pavement. That would be nasty!

The TV gear compartment is a tad smaller than desirable. I was able to install the Dish Network receiver recommended for RVs (211k) but the small space squishes up the back cables; I hope they hold up.

The dash Sony "radio" is frustrating. So many capabilities are loaded on it that none are satisfying. The volume knob (the only knob) controls several things, and almost every time I try to adjust volume, I bump it (bouncing down the road) and something else happens, usually changing from whatever I'm listening to. So I must then take my eyes well off the road to figure out how to get it back. The installed Tom-Tom GPS drives me nuts; maybe I don't "get" how they do things, but I added a Magellan GPS and ignore the Tom-Tom. There's SiriusXM too but I don't care to pay that much; local radio when traveling is more interesting and provides useful local info. The backup and side cameras also use the Sony screen, but there's a 3 to 4 second delay before the image appears, much too slow to be of any use while driving. Also, it's not possible to watch the rear camera continously because a button must be held in, and the Sony starts displaying warning messages. At least the rear camera switches on when in Reverse, but again after 3-4 seconds. It's really annoying.

To be clear: I like this motor home very much. I love to drive it, and that was the big reason for buying it. But it's frustrating to encounter shortcomings that seem unnecessary.

I hope this info is useful. Questions are welcome.
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

I can see one installing a "Trik-L-Start" which would allow charging from one battery bank to the other as a way to help remedy things. However, it does mean fishing wires from one bank to the other, and it won't pass that many amps through the tiny wires it has.

XM radio, I'd probably call them up, see about paying $800-$1000 so it has an unlimited life subscription. This way, the vehicle has satellite radio of worse comes to worst.

Those are interesting shortcomings. Mercedes is strict on what upfitters can do, and they will pull authorization in a heartbeat. This is why Sportsmobile doesn't sell 4x4 Sprinters.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

The 12v dash port is always on in our 2006 chassis motorhome. It is a double edged sword, wonderful if you need it, dangerous if you fail to remember to unplug. Having said that, the chassis battery on our Sprinter is awesome. The chassis was built over 7 years ago and the battery is still at 80%. I wouldn't dream of trying to add any circuit to mine. If and when the chassis battery dies I will ask for another just like the other.
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Old 10-21-2013, 03:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

I am amazed someone is not selling a 12 volt timer/switch. When the ignition is turned off, it starts a timer, and after the time expires, opens the relay to the 12 volt lighter plug. Bonus points if the timer is variable so it can run for 5-60 minutes before turning off.

Or even better, a switch that watches the battery's voltage, and when it starts getting below 90% SOC on the engine batteries, kills the power, similar to an EMS, but just for one outlet.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

Travelhawk,

Thanks for the heads up on the LTV Unity TB. We were looking at the MB model, but wanted to go with a true B so that we got the MB van body. We chose the Great West Legend SE. (The Great West factory is not too far from the LTV factory IIRC.) We love our rig, too.

Anyway, it is sad that many manufacturers will load a van with all sorts of conveniences, but will cheap out on some of the very basic features. We noticed some fit and trip issues with the LTVs when we were shopping. We loved the space and storage, and we wish we had it in our van, but we wouldn't trade off our rig's maneuverability and stealth for the extra size.

Anyway, I bet you really are comfortable in your "B+". I would really like more space, but we made our choice to get the GW Legend over a B+ because we wanted a smaller, more agile vehicle. Coming down from an A, your rig must feel absolutely tiny to you.

I was really interested to hear about your experiences.

Thanks again.

..........Rocky
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

Just picked up my new 2014 Unity TB (on a 2013 MB chassis) and it seems to be plagued by problems. Have had it less than a month and it's been in the shop most of that time. Took four attempts to fix the Kenwood head unit that is the entertainment system, GPS and (most importantly) monitor for rear-view & side view cameras. Had a solar panel that did not produce any charge and it took two visits for them to figure out that it was not connected. Wardrobe hanger rod screw heads sheared off and it fell down in wardrobe; air conditioning vent louvres broken; trim molding fell off cabinet door. All of these things occurred in the first two weeks of ownership and most of my 1000 miles are back and forth to the dealer. I went with Leisure because of reputation, features and what appeared to be good build quality. I am new to motorhome ownership and not sure what type of quality to expect but this is disappointing.

In addition, the wheel simulators seem like a really bad idea. I did not notice how difficult it was to get access to the stems until I picked up the unit. Wasn't something I thought to look at in my research. Seems like regular tire pressure checks are important. I have removed the simulators for now but you would think the manufacturer would do something to facilitate proper tire inflation for owners.

I would appreciate any feedback on other's experience with LTVs (and Unity) and whether I can expect more problems down the road....I was really excited to get out on the road with my family but now am a little nervous about what will break next. Thanks in advance for any insights.
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Old 03-01-2014, 04:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

Re chassis battery going flat after 2 1/2 weeks. I dont know if this helps but I have a small solar panel plugged into my 12v accessory on the dask of my 2006 Sprinter PW Plateau TS.It sits on the dash to catch sunlight. It trickle-charges the battery and I never have a problem starting the RV even after it sits for a month or so between my startups and airing out rv. They are available wherever auto parts/accessories are sold. I also take the solar panel with me on trips and just plug in the thing while camping as, it is true that your chassis battery IS NOT charged when you are plugged into shore power(or home 110V).
Al
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Old 03-01-2014, 01:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastpaddler1
Re chassis battery going flat after 2 1/2 weeks. I dont know if this helps but I have a small solar panel plugged into my 12v accessory on the dask of my 2006 Sprinter PW Plateau TS.It sits on the dash to catch sunlight. It trickle-charges the battery and I never have a problem starting the RV even after it sits for a month or so between my startups and airing out rv. They are available wherever auto parts/accessories are sold. I also take the solar panel with me on trips and just plug in the thing while camping as, it is true that your chassis battery IS NOT charged when you are plugged into shore power(or home 110V).
Al
It is interesting to see how many of the models don't charge the starter battery when on shore power. I assume the have an isolator in them, which is one way only, or a one way separator. Many models use a two way separator. I think all recent Roadtreks do, for instance.

If it were mine, I would be changing out the one way system for a two way separator. Ours has a Sure-power coil relay type, that works fine but gets hot and uses about 1.5 amps, but if I were going from scratch I would use one of the solid state, low draw ones like the units from Blue Sea, and others. Then you don't need any extra chargers or the hassles that go with them, and you get charged whenver you are plugged in. Of course, if you are stored where you can't plug in, this won't do you any good.
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2013 Leisure Travel Vans Unity TB

Yes. That is my problem as I have to park my RV in the RV yard where I have my own parking place but no 110v power source. I start the RV evey month during winter(if I am not going South) and the alternator charges my house battery fairly quickly although one cannot rely on the panel charge indicator which shows Full but isn't really so I run the RV for a good 1/2 hr or take it for a long drive. The Colman solar panel does the job when the engine is not running and keeps the truck mb battery charged up--I use it when camped somewhere for a week or more too.
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Old 11-14-2016, 05:24 PM   #10
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I own a 2014.5 Serenity. The cure for keeping the chassis battery charged when plugged into shore power is to install a TRIK-L-START. Very simple to install at the disconnect solinoid. Also, there is a way around starting with a low chassis battery. LTV uses a delay relay to engage the disconnect solenoid. To start with low chassis battery, simply turn on the ignition and wait a few seconds, you should hear the solenoid click, and then engage the starter.
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