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Old 12-29-2016, 08:30 PM   #1
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Happy New Year everyone! I am semi-retired and live in BC, Canada. I am preparing to factory order a 2017 Sprinter (2500 170"WB 4-cyl). This will be our first RV ownership, but we have rented several in Europe over the years and have developed our own design priorities. I have built 3 boats and a couple houses so I have the basic skills and tools. However, I'll need some help with details, which is where you all come in

We are designing for just the 2 of us, and we'll mainly be boondocking. We have a rough design based on our two main priorities: a dedicated queen(ish) bed and a comfortable shower. There is a fixed, raised bed in the back with storage underneath; kitchen and dining are up front. Pretty normal so far, but the bathroom is wall-to-wall across the middle. Toilet is against one side and sink against the other, with a shower in the center for maximum head and shoulder room. Yep, the shower is in the hall, but that's a compromise we can accept and manage.

Before I post questions to the forum, I promise to use the search function first
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:41 PM   #2
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I recommend this source book.
Build Your Own Dream Camper Van | Sprinter RV

Before I bought my Airstream Interstate I was considering doing my own conversion again. It is a good source of information and Greg Keith has kept it current.
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:17 PM   #3
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I'd love to see more details on your design... a build is something that my husband and I are considering as a long-term project.

"Mainly boondocking" and "comfortable shower" are somewhat mutually exclusive, though. It's always going to be a military shower while boondocking, so the comfort question becomes moot to me. My "comfortable shower" goal in a Class B involves a nice state park or truck stop where I stop just long enough to use their shower.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:05 PM   #4
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"boondocking" and "comfortable shower" are somewhat mutually exclusive
It all depends on how you cut the pie based on your own priorities. Here in BC, we will frequently be boondocking far from public showers of any kind. Based on our previous Class-B experiences, a queen-ish bed and a comfortable, albeit military, shower are the keys to happiness at the end of each day. And, we are willing to make compromises and keep it simple.

Right now, our plans show a 2 x 2.5ft shower with a continuous 6ft of head room. Still pretty tiny, but definitely less cramped than anything we've ever experienced in a rented Class-B (or B+) before. Should work for us anyway.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:23 PM   #5
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we figure anywhere we are removed from a shower...is remote enough to use the outdoor shower.
( we prefer not to have to deal with the moisture in the van- and venting the humid air, I am ok with campground showers- I have flip flops)

many manufactured B's have an outside shower- also good for muddy boots, fish and dogs

if you use a queen at home you'll be good for bedsize.

ours is more like a king- is is 2 benches with a center aisle which fills in- we leave made up as a bed all the time. 72" w x 72" L on pass aide, 75 L on driver's side.


think about storage.



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Old 01-07-2017, 03:32 PM   #6
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It all depends on how you cut the pie based on your own priorities. Here in BC, we will frequently be boondocking far from public showers of any kind. Based on our previous Class-B experiences, a queen-ish bed and a comfortable, albeit military, shower are the keys to happiness at the end of each day.
I totally agree. Other than duration (which is not a big deal for us), there is no reason in the world why you can't have a great shower while boondocking. Our diesel-fired Espar keeps us very happy indeed. It is all a matter of priorities. For me, next to bed and toilet, having our own shower is one of the great luxuries of B-van travel. Tastes vary widely on this point, but the LAST thing I would do is use a public shower when I could use my own. (N.B.: this has nothing to do with germophobia--it is purely an aesthetic decision).
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:52 PM   #7
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Our diesel-fired Espar keeps us very happy indeed.
Is it a dual system (air/water)? I didn't think those were available in NAmerica.
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Old 01-07-2017, 06:16 PM   #8
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Is it a dual system (air/water)? I didn't think those were available in NAmerica.
It is the Rixen's Comfort-Hot system. I comprises an Espar D5 hydronic unit, heating a glycol loop servicing both a water-to-air heat exchanger and a flash-plate water-to-water exchanger that serves as a very good on-demand hot-water heater. It is awesome. This is basically a marine setup. It was first offered by GWV, and was retained in ARV's upscale replication of the Legend.
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Old 01-07-2017, 07:31 PM   #9
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It is the Rixen's Comfort-Hot system ... serves as a very good on-demand hot-water heater
That one is new to me. I knew about the diesel Truma and Wabasto dual units, but they aren't available in NAmerica. How long does your glycol loop have to pre-heat before it produces hot water on-demand?
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:17 PM   #10
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That one is new to me. I knew about the diesel Truma and Wabasto dual units, but they aren't available in NAmerica. How long does your glycol loop have to pre-heat before it produces hot water on-demand?
Maybe 5 minutes, depending on ambient. The D5 is a big hammer, and it is immediately upstream of the DHW exchanger.

We sometimes just leave it on while traveling. Fuel consumption is in the noise. Plus the Rixen's expansion tank has a 120VAC auxiliary coil that we use with shore power (and sometimes even through our inverter and second alternator when under way.

I also stole ARV's idea of bundling and insulating the glycol lines with the outdoor plumbing and tanks, for 4-season use.
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