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Old 04-26-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
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Default Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

As my husband and I get closer to making a decision as to what we would like to purchase, it has come time to openly join this forum in order to seek the advice and opinions of those who have far greater experience and knowledge in the matter of Class Bs than we do.

By way of Class B background, we owned a VW Westphalia camper van many years ago, (circa 197, that served us and two kids well, although it was underpowered and already showing its 10 years of age when we made the purchase. Fast forward to 2010 for our second Class B encounter, where we rented a Fiat Ducato caravan for a month as we travelled around New Zealand. We really loved the handling characteristics of the Ducato, which is essentially a Mercedes Benz Short Sprinter conversion, much like what we would imagine a Pleasure Way Ascent or a Roadtrek Agile would offer. It was quiet, responsive, easy to park, and although not as well appointed as the other models mentioned, it was almost perfect for the four weeks of touring we did. Another plus was the exceptional gas mileage it delivered, not only because it was a diesel, but also because it had a manual transmission. Downsides were that the front seats did not turn around to create a separate seating area, and the bed had to be made up each night. (Another downside, at least initially, was the fact that the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the vehicle and the stick shift on the left. Makes for an interesting adjustment. Of course we drove on the “other” side of the road too, so all in all it worked out just fine.)

We’ve done quite a bit of research over the past few months on the various models of Class B available, and although we would love to afford a new Sprinter, the 100K plus price tag is just a bit too far of a reach. Therefore we are looking to buy an older Sprinter model, or a newer non-diesel conversion. I should add that we have been fortunate enough to have toured the Roadtrek facility in Kitchener Ont, (June 2011), and most recently, the new Great West Van location in Winnipeg, Manitoba, (April 2012). All said and done, the front runners in our research are the Pleasure Way and the Great West Vans products, mostly due to build quality, layout preference, and the positive relationships customers appear to have with the manufacturers.

So far we are looking at a used, but extremely clean and well maintained 2005 Pleasure Way Plateau TS, with almost 60,000 miles/100,000km on the odometer; or a relatively new, 2010, very low mileage and well priced GWV Titan. Note that their is a possibility that a 2008 PW Lexor RL4 might fit into the mix.

A main detractor for the 2005 PW Plateau is that the engine noise seems very pronounced on any kind of acceleration. Also the the fixed position of the steering wheel in the “bus driver’s position” seems like it could be fatiguing on a long drive.

For the Titan, the main issue appears to be the fact that it is on a 139” Chevy Express chassis, which means its wheel base to length ratio is just under 54%, which does not bode well for highway control, although it does have dually’s. (Note that the brochure says it has a 159” WB, but according to the factory it has always been built on the 139” WB chassis.) Also, the lower gas mileage in relation to the diesel vans is a negative, particularly with the price of gasoline on the rise, but is not a show stopper. The increased width of the Titan is not as attractive as the narrower Sprinter, but does not appear to pose a major concern. We’d be interested to hear what other Titan owners have to say about their vans. As an aside, we were informed that GWV will not be making any more Titan’s.

For the 2008 PW Lexor RL4, the lack of storage and the relatively high price tag for the van are its downsides.

Finally, we have read Davydd’s comments on the GWV product with interest, and can attest to their build quality, but note that they have recently been sold to a new owner, although they have retained the same employees as the long standing original owner. Assuming that the new owner takes as much pride in the product as the original owner, the GWV track record of quality should continue.

Any comments/advice that may help us in making a decision are greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

Welcome to the forum!
You are very well educated on this subject and have experience. You might need to see a few more. If you compromise you may end up selling and buying again and losing some money in the process.
My B+ had had the same wheelbase as the Titan. The B+ was wider, higher and a little longer. It felt a little tippy on windy/curvy/hilly roads.

Are you in Canada? Out west? If so there are some B vans listed at these dealers:
http://www.trianglerv.com
http://www.arbutusrv.ca
http://www.oconnorrv.com
http://wwwa.autotrader.ca
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

The Titan is built on a cutaway and not a van so is technically a Class C. The Chevy Express cutaway comes in both 139" and 159" wheel base configurations. It looks to me like the longer wheel base. Simple thing to do is measure one. Great West went to a cutaway chassis because they considered building on a van chassis as unsafe for a wide body design. That was their experience. It seems Pleasure-way never got the hint and still tries building their wide body Excel on a van and it seems the main topic of discussion among those owners is correcting and improving handling. From reading their comments they get up to manageable but not comfortable.

Where were you looking at the 2005 Pleasure-way Plateau TS? That is what I traded in last year.

You can check it out here: http://web.mac.com/davydd/Site/Vacation ... e-Way.html

The newer Sprinters are considerably quieter than the older models. That I can attest from experience. The bus like steering wheel of the older model Sprinter was not tiring in the least. I could drive all day comfortably.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

Hello Markopolo and Davydd

Thanks for your quick and insightful responses.

To answer your questions, we are from Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and have become quite good friends with Triangle RV and have also paid personal visits to all three of the Arbutus RV locations on Vancouver Island at various times, as well as as to a couple of other dealers, both here on the Island and in the Vancouver area. We have also been following the vehicles for sale on Autotrader, RVT, kijiji and the various used forums. The 2005 PW Plateau is being sold by Triangle RV and has had only one owner, also from Vancouver Island, so not your old van Davydd. The Lexor is being sold by a fellow in Ottawa, and the Titan is leftover stock from the sale of GWV to the new owner having been used last as a demo at the Hershey RV show. Two of the three are not yet posted on the web.

We agree that we would be able to customize ourselves to the "bus like" steering wheel in the Plateau, particularly hearing your comments, but the engine noise remains an issue. Given that the new ones are better, what year the the quieter engine appear?

Would either of you have considered buying a Titan, since it has what appears to be an almost identical floor plan to the Plateau with the separate seating area up front, a trifold couch, and lots of cargo carrying capacity, even though it has the disadvantage of being more fuel thirsty?
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

I would have considered buying a Titan. I think the MSRP was high back when it was introduced.
My guess for MPG for it would be around 12 or 13. I think I got 14mpg with the 4.10 rear end in my '04 Roadtrek and 10mpg in the '05 B+ Chevy with on the same chassis as the Titan. Of course, it depends on how fast you go.
The build quality looks excellent. It is a good brand.
Do the front seats rotate? That extends the living space.

Looks like lots of exterior storage. Is there good interior storage also?

Edit: MPG matters more to me now than in the past. That is most of the reason I have the '97 diesel van now. So, it all depends on the price of the van - is it enough so that you are saving it up front?
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

MPG is supposed to be around 15 to the imperial gallon for the 2010 version we are looking at buying, but it would probably be closer to the 13 or 14 you've indicated. The front seats do rotate and provide for a good seating area with a table up front. There is also excellent interior storage, with a large wardrobe and as many cabinets and drawers as we've seen in any of the Class Bs. The bi-fold doors for the bathroom are bit of a space hog, but as seen in a previous post, that could perhaps be changed out before purchase. It also has a 2.8kw ONAN gas generator, the 13' awning, a second house battery, a rear view camera, and the sliding screen door.

Ref the price, I think the savings gained are worth accepting the lower gas mileage.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

The newest Great West Vans have converted over to double doors. My Legend was one of the last ones with the bi-fold door and I had the dealer convert it over to a double door using the same panels and most all the hardware. Just some small hardware additions were needed. They did it in an hour. Had they not done it, I would have done it myself. I think the idea of the bi-fold was it could be opened slightly to give yourself elbow room while showering. We have no problem showering with the doors completely closed.

The Titan definitely has a wider feel inside but less windows. It also has a great deal of storage. If I hadn't got a Sprinter I think the Titan would be my alternative choice now that I know more about them. It shares a lot of the features and design layout with the Legend. You won't lose that much in fuel mileage. The old Sprinters did get 22 mpg but the new Sprinters get about 18-19 mpg. I don't think you can go wrong with a Titan. There aren't very many of them so they are just less well known than Pleasure-way and Roadtrek.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Advice-Used Sprinter, Newer Titan, Lexor Or?

Thanks very much to both of you for your advice and comments. They have served to better inform us on the pros and cons of the different models and helped to solidify a decision on which direction to jump. Preliminary thoughts are that we will put an offer in on the Titan. We'll let you know how it goes.
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