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Old 03-27-2011, 04:00 AM   #1
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Default Cinq Mars Industries First day/First impressions

http://www.imaginerv.com/Photos.aspx
I just picked up my 2010 Illusion model pop-up camper today and drove it home (approx. 450km.)
I should mention that I'm not into camping (weird, I know for this forum!)...I've been there, done that for years pulling a vintage Airstream trailer with the kids...and now I have no desire to load and unload a bunch of food and gear and go sit in a campsite where the neighbours kids are running through my site and they sit out with the football game blaring while I'm trying to soak up a bit of nature!...
I'm a musician and am planning on going to a few nearby festivals which only last a couple of days and where I can pop my top and have a place to sleep, so I can jam a bit through the night and not have to drive home... that, and occasionally have a place to crash if I'm at a party that may require some imbibing....and I don't do the driving after that....So...I'm not a "camper" but have very casual-use expectations and hence got such a small rv....That and the fact that I can use it as a utility van and it fits into my garage which has only a 7ft. clearance on the door....(I don't want to store it outdoors for months in the rainy season, which we have a long one here)

The bed size is only 42"X72"...Probably best for only one (or two if your still on your honeymoon and not large people)...I knew this going in and I'll usually be alone and I'm a small size...only 5'8" tall...

A few mixed first impressions...the good:
The van rides very nice with no squeaks or rattles other than a few poorly stowed parts like the table pillar...my fault...Not too bad power considering it's only got a small 3.3L...I'd prefer a 4L though...
I like the funky decor of the van with some nice features like the solar panel on the fiberglass roof, and the very nice custom carpeted floor mat. A million cubby holes and compartments, might be a challenge deciding what to put in some of them...nice big bins under the bed at the back too...for maybe sleeping bags and bedding etc? The gas heater works really nice and I like the numerous cabin spot lights.

Raising the roof is easy as the hydraulic pistons assist with the work....Lowering it is a bit dodgy...It seems to be a bit wobbly and you have to lean in to the right side harder to try and put that side down first or else the rear hinge on that side ends up not folding down all the way and leaving a gap at the right rear of the top. I also had to partially lower it and pull the canvas in all around so that it was sure to all fold under the top and not have any bits sticking out. I've never had a pop-up and they all seem to be engineered similarly with the two big hood hinges at the back and the gas pistons on the sides...are they all just a bit of a fussy thing?...I don't mind too much as it's still pretty simple over all to close it up.
The bed is much easier to fold down than to lift back up...It's tight to get my fingers in between the seat back and the rear stationary section when they're all level...I might just leave the bed all flat for convenience? (except in this limited-space rv, you can't open the fridge door with the bed folded down)

The bad:...I'm a bit disappointed with some of the build quality...they used fiber MDF for the cabinetry...we all know how that holds up to a bit of shaking...I think they probably would have been better off using plywood? I've already got a couple of minor repairs to do...the curved cupboard door under the sink has a poor friction-fit roller and metal clasp which doesn't hold well and it kept swinging open against my seat while driving...I'm thinking I might replace the clasp with a magnetic cupboard thingy?...either that or I considered drilling a small hole in the lip below the door outside and having a screw or dowel to put in the hole to prevent the door from opening while travelling....(I'm not a handyman, so I only have basic-type ideas here).
The carpeted hinged door under the bed is also only friction-fit and came open once too....maybe a butterfly thingy to hold it shut?
Worst thing is the roll top sliding doors they have particularily on the "bread-box" cabinet near the back...It's already got 3 cracked wooden dowels on it and the dealer said they've contacted the company to send them some more and they'll forward them to me....I think they're pretty flimsy and would just break again....Isn't there some sort of plastic sheets available at Home Depot etc. of a roll top material for cabinets?...I've seen some home entertainment ones and kitchen cupboard with this stuff...the trick would be how to get it in the tracks as I suspect the originals were put in when building the cabinets...
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cinq Mars Industries First day/First impressions

Well, we each have our own view on enjoyable uses of a camper. Me, I wold not enjoy being in a camper near festivals, with that loud music blasting at me into the wee hours, and likely the beer drinkers partying all night. Just give me the solitude of campsites. Kids running thru? Well, I was a kid once too. Anyway, we have respect each other's opinions.
I've never used a pop-up, but can imagine the take-down as you describe it. Regarding the build quality, I think that is common in most units, even luxury units. You have some good ideas for the friction-fit closures. It's always been a point of satisfaction for me that I can dispose of little irritants by retooling. Regarding the dowels, might it be possible that the supplier will come out with more sturdy dowels to replace the flimsy ones, especially once the complaints start coming in?
Enjoy your unit! And your festivals!
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cinq Mars Industries First day/First impressions

Yes, the dowels...I notice that they've already remedied this problem....the new 2011 models on the VW have the sliding doors divided into two parts that open left and right instead of a long door that opens up....Unfortunately they've replaced the under-sink curved solid door with one of these roll doors that still involves quite long dowels, so that may be a problem area still unless they've changed the materials as well...
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cinq Mars Industries First day/First impressions

I don't know how they built the sliding door with the dowels ( I can think of about 6 ways), but you may be able to use some craft skills, and replace all the wooden dowels with dowels made from fiberglass or carbon-fiber. Nifty custom touch, and no more broken dowels.

Or, maybe it does not lend its self to that type of modification.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cinq Mars Industries First day/First impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
I don't know how they built the sliding door with the dowels ( I can think of about 6 ways), but you may be ably to use some craft skills, and replace all the wooden dowels with dowels made from fiberglass or carbon-fiber. Nifty custom touch, and no more broken dowels.

Or, maybe it does not lend its self to that type of modification.
Yeah...the dowels are just glued on to a sheet of heavy vinyl or plastic which bends easily...the trick would be to remove the originals and find some sort of dowels with a flat back that you could glue back on without making it look like Heck....I don't think one could remove the roll-top and replace it as it's seated in a groove on either side of the cabinet....and pretty hard to work on while it's in place I'd think...
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cinq Mars Industries First day/First impressions

The roll-top desk door is an assembly called "Tambour". If you look it up on-line, you will find explanations on making it at home, or buying the stuff, already made up. It is usually made from 1/2's of dowels, glued or stapled to a durable fabric.

1/3 down this page is a helpful bit. Airstream trailers had these tambour doors too. http://www.vintageairstream.com/FAQ/FAQ_5.html
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