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Old 03-15-2018, 01:09 AM   #1
qmo
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Default Converting to Vanlife

Hi all, i'm new here and hope to get some advice from you.

So, I am planning on converting into a full timer in the next 3 months. I live in the Silicon Valley and since it's way too expensive to live here, I'm thinking this might be my best option.

I'm thinking to get a Class B similar to PW Ascent where I can park in a regular parking space but the price point it too high but I just love the layout. However, the blinds is also an issue since it does not completely black out lights from inside the van (people can see lights leaking from outside of the van) and since I'll be parking on the street, I think this might be a huge minus.

Also, I read that short trips is bad for diesel. If I drive < 10mi per day during the weekdays and drive 30+ miles during weekend, would that still be an issue?

What do people recommend for a full timer (+ a dog)? A reliable van, either gas or diesel. What is the out the door price for the Ascent?

Thank you!
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Old 03-15-2018, 02:51 AM   #2
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Just an opinion but living on the street isn't gonna cut it. Either work remotely and move out of town or find a place to park for an affordable fee. The dog thing makes living on the street impossible

Also just an opinion but don't do diesel and buy used.
Harry
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Old 03-15-2018, 03:00 AM   #3
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Are you also planning on buying a gym membership for showers, etc? Your biggest problem will be dealing with dumping your grey and black tanks. If you get a van with a cassette toilet, you can remove the toilet tank and dump it in a bathroom. Sportsmobile also makes a unit with a toilet that burns waste and turns it to ash.

Diesels are more expensive to buy and maintain. You get better mileage, but if you are mostly going to be parked, a gasser would probably be a better fit. The only new short gas RVs are based on the Dodge Promaster chassis, but you can find used Chevies and Fords, as well.

You don't need much in the way of air conditioning in San Jose and since awnings and rooftop AC units are giveaways that you are in an RV, you might consider getting a custom build from Sportsmobile that deletes those items. Unfortunately, they have a long lead time.

Because of the noise, you won't be able to use a generator for your 120V needs so you will need a big battery bank and an inverter, an underhood generator and, possibly, solar.

The light leakage will still be an issue, but I don't know how much the police care - you aren't alone in your housing dilemma. Some homeowners may complain, though. I've heard some resentment from those who pay property taxes regarding people who live in the area but don't pay those taxes.

To be honest, I think your best bet is to rent space next to a house where you can plug into their shore power and be off the street. That would solve your battery/power/generator issue and the light problem. It might also be a place where you can leave your dog while you are at work - vans get hot.

A new Ascent is about $100K - you can look on RVT.com for current new and used prices. Without knowing what other issues may arise from your plans, you might want to buy an older, used RV and see how it goes for a few months before committing.
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Old 03-15-2018, 04:58 PM   #4
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Thank you both @hbn7hj and @Phoebe3.

I was hoping to find a van conversion company but like you said, they all have a long lead time, 1 year or more.

The only things I needed are lots of solar, big batteries, 2 vents/fans (no AC), a composting toilet, I do not need shower since I'm getting a gym membership. Furnace is nice to have for winter. Kitchen with fridge, microwave and stove. Of course a bed.

Do anyone know any good used camper van would fit my needs? Very much appreciate your help!
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Old 03-16-2018, 01:22 PM   #5
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I can't help since we have a regular toilet and that's all I ever considered. You might start by looking on RVT.com and RVTrader.
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Old 03-16-2018, 04:10 PM   #6
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What address will you use to register and insure the new camper?
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:11 PM   #7
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Fellow #vanlife guy here but in SoCal. I just purchased a 2017 Carado Axion so check that out as it might fit your budget. That one and the Banff are the cheapest new way into an RV, but still get the parent backing of large manufacturers Roadtrek and Hymer.
www.CaradoRV.com

Also check out this YouTube channel.
https://www.youtube.com/user/errolprowse
He does what you want to do in Silicon Valley. Very informative resource with daily vlogs.
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