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Old 01-08-2015, 06:18 PM   #1
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Default Cargo boxes, back to the future?

With all the new models coming out, and more and more being rear bath, I wonder if we will see a return of the old MB Cruiser type storage box



As long as it is rear bath anyway, I don't really see much downside. It wouldn't have to be only 1/2 the height like the MB, as it could go all the way to the roof. You could gain floor to ceiling storage all the way out to the bumper line without any added length to the van. It would also allow the manufacturer to build in the support structure for bike, kayak, etc racks.

I think I would definitely consider it if I got a rear bath unit.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

This suggestion is a specific example of a more general B-van idea: Replacing factory doors with custom fiberglass panels. Another thing that you see sometimes in Europe but (to my knowledge) never in the US is to replace the sliding door with a panel that continues the body and contains a real screen door. The b-van pop-outs that we are starting to see are another example.
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

You may be on to something.

Really don't understand why you need to have the rear doors open on a rear bath model. I doubt many of us would want to sit on the commode with the door hanging open.

But this rear box would probably be a bit much for a 24' extended body van. For a standard length van, it would be a real plus.
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher
I doubt many of us would want to sit on the commode with the door hanging open.
Speak for yourself:

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Old 01-08-2015, 08:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

I have a b van because it does double duty as a musical equipment hauler. I figured that I have to have a van for gigs where I need P.A. , music stands etc... , then it might as well be liveable. The back doors are the easiest way to load and unload.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

There is a make of vans in the UK which replaces the sliding door with a typical RV entry door. Yes, it is narrower, but it allows for a better table by the passenger seat, and one doesn't have to worry about the sliding, slamming noise a van door does.

Alternatively, why not go back to the configuration I've seen with one older "B", which had no sliding doors, with the main door being in the back. Tossing the sliding doors give some interesting configuration possibilities, including a rear kitchen. Done right, the rear door could also have two tall compartments right by it, adding storage space as well.

I'm hoping someone gets around to doing this... not just for the Sprinter, but this would be quite useful for a Transit or a PM as well.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

I don't think the van manufacturers offer the clamshell side doors like they used to. But you could achieve the same result by just limiting the travel on the sliding door.

Actually, I'd like to have a power operated door like you'd find on the mini-vans these days. Would be very convenient.
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

I need that appendage on the rear of my van. Not for cargo .................... for my feet or head
I'd love to convert my van to a twin bed layout instead of across the van sleeping. I'm not knocking across the van sleeping for anyone who likes it. We all have our preferences. For us the twin/optional king is what we prefer.
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Old 01-09-2015, 02:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

The Forest River MB Cruiser lasted for about a couple of years before disappearing off the market. No one else bothered. Will it come back? Highly doubtful. You'll have to throw away two perfectly good doors for a custom fabrication that would give you little more than a Stowaway hitch mount carrier. A rear bathroom takes up anywhere from 20-30% of your total square foot area in a B vs. a wet bath of less than 8%. Also a rear bath causes exit problems and access for storage problems. Inside bike storage? Forget it. Outdoor toy storage (tents, screen porches, chairs, tables, grills)? forget it. You're left with a stowaway box capacity. Overall length? Well, you just blew a coveted feature by many. Don't you think the converters have looked at this?

Back to the rear bath. The LTV Free Spirit SS and the Winnebago ERA 70C have almost the same floor plan. The LTV is a regular body and the ERA is an extended body. To me they illustrate the limitations in B design based on the chassis. They have the same wheelbase and consequently from the rear wheels forward the plan is almost identical. Then from the rear wheels back the ERA does not appreciably improve with the added 16" other than fill the space with a larger bathroom that is functionally no better. Just more wasted precious floor space. All that for a tiny separate shower that is less convenient than a wet bath so you don't have to maybe squeegee and wipe down down walls. Is that really worth the major sacrifice of space? It's a B for chrissakes! Every square inch counts.

The Sprinter solved the problem with the NCV3 model over that T1N MB Cruiser. They simply came out with an extended body. One can store two inflatable kayaks inside as well as two full-size bikes with an overall 24 ft. without disturbing the bed makeup. Wincrasher showed us his setup with a stowaway box and one bike on the back hitch that extended his van out to an overall length of 24.5 feet. That to me just illustrates that it makes more sense to just get an extended van if you need that kind of space. Really, if you want space, you'll get way more bang for your buck with a small C. An 8 ft. wide shell gives you the creativity to locate a full bath with separate shower anywhere inside the shell.

The sliding door is not the greatest solution for a B. That I have to agree. The screen enclosures are making them more desirable in that they give a generous opening to your B to not only keep the bugs out but extend the outdoors in and keep your B cooler. Some B converters limit the length of the slide. It is also an easy DIY to do so yourself. Mercedes Benz does have a model that has narrower bifold doors and straight up frame that would be more ideal maybe for a B but they are only offered on their passenger van airport type shuttle model. I guess the B market is such a small pimple they see no need to offer that option on a B convertible cargo van. Now that is an area I am surprised no one has tried a custom infill insert to emulate that door opening with just a single door.

Maybe this just comes down to an extremely competitive market for a small percentage of RVs that are already considered too expensive by the masses and no one wants to gamble with the additional costs that might entail. The MB Cruiser did fail in the market place.
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Old 01-09-2015, 03:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
Outdoor toy storage (tents, screen porches, chairs, tables, grills)? forget it. You're left with a stowaway box capacity. Overall length? Well, you just blew a coveted feature by many. Don't you think the converters have looked at this?
I think I miss your point. It would be designed to carry the outdoor toy stuff. Since it would be ground up built, it could have any kind of bike or kayak mounts they wanted. Probably would get 35(?) cubic feet of storage (Stowaway is 16, I think). Where is the length increase penalty? It is flush with the bumper, so there is no increase. Buying a longer van to get more storage gives you a length penalty, not this. Have they looked at? I have no idea (and neither do any of us), but even if they have or haven't, does that make it a good idea or bad idea?
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Old 01-09-2015, 03:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

The MB Cruiser example is not "flush with the [original] bumper". It just pushes a bumper further back. It makes the B about another foot to a foot and a half longer. Bottom line is you may save a foot or two over a stowaway but at a considerable greater cost and no ability to leave it off.
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Old 01-10-2015, 02:41 AM   #12
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

I have the Gearspace 34 which mounts on my hitch, slides forward to open the doors and rolls off on its landing gear when I am parked. It holds two bicycles or a load of other stuff, including a freezer if you want. it has its own LED lighting system too.
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

That is a big box!



I considered one of those, but thought it was too big for the stuff I carry.

This one is nice too (posted back in 2007) as it maintains you receiver hitch connection:

http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...t=379&start=22
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

I have the Gearspace 20 (20 cf) of which I no longer use. I quickly found it almost too big if you try to fill it, so you have to selectively fill it to keep the contents below 150 lbs. or you would get front wheel wandering. The The Gearspace 34 is designed to carry two bicycles protected and locked under cover. The Gearspace 20 was big enough to carry two Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks, pump, paddles, accessories and life vests. I still have it but doubt I would ever use it again. Willing to take offers.

Here is the Gearspace 20 with landing gear dropped so one person can install and remove it. Last I looked it was no longer in their lineup of carriers.

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Old 01-10-2015, 05:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

A box needs to be low and wide to be useful in my view. You want to put items in there and not have to do much stacking of stuff, thereby digging for things you need. Swing away is also key and you still need to get in your doors. I'd certainly not opt for a built in.

I find it curious that you could see any handling issues with only a few hundred pounds in the box. I load mine heavy. With the bike, I believe the stuff, box, rack and the bike is around 350 lbs. I can't feel it on there at all, even over rough roads. Could be because my van has a 50/50 weight distribution, so I'm not unduly light up front. That is something you really need to watch on a van conversion - especially on a dually chassis, where so much of the load is expected over the rear wheels.

Another thing some seem to forget that part of the convenience of having an external, removable box is that you can remove it.
Yes, I'm at around 24 feet with my box and bike rack. But guess what? I'm not taking all that stuff every trip. I can take it off in about 5 mins. A day trip to the lake I may just throw the yak in the back and go down for the day. If I take the guys to a football game, if may come off too and we'll load up our cookout gear and extra flatscreen in the back. Many trips I won't even take the bicycle.

My van has a 36' turning radius. That means most times you can do a turn-around, and not a 3 point turn. A 24' van is a lot more (like 54.6' if the MB 170"wheelbase 2500). A 24' van is over 1 foot taller and 1000 lbs heavier (before you put in the interior). My short, light van gets the same mileage or better on regular gas than a 24' diesel van gets.

And my van was $30-40k less than a Sprinter conversion (one of the cheaper ones, not the crazy expensive ones like Interstate or ARV).

So saying all that, if you want to carry all your junk, all the time, drive and park a bigger van with a higher center of gravity, spend more on fuel and spend a lot more $ on the rig, then knock yourself out. Not everyone wants all that.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

The Chinook comes to mind when your post mentioned the rear door.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

Wincrasher,

You missed the point Fastpaddler and I both made. The Gearbox slides back so both rear doors open fully. You also must have missed the point that 20 cf and 34 cf can hold quite a bit more so you do need to be cognizant of how much weight you can add. My 150 lbs. was for contents only, not including the box. Technically per allowances I could load it more. Have you added up all the weight of your contents in your box?

BTW, I got rear ended in Louisiana and the only damage I had was a pushed in cover to my hitch electrical connection which I was able to pull back out with a crowbar. As hard as I was hit, you would be without a box and a bike if you received the same bump. That's another reason I no longer desire to have stuff hanging off the back.

As for comparing vans, that's another subject.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: Cargo boxes, back to the future?

I get his point. The box is still in the way, even slid back, for getting in the van. As far as collisions go, so what? A light hit the box frame will probably save the van , but if not, that's why you have insurance. More concerning is why you have handling issues with a box attached.


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