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Old 03-31-2019, 07:27 PM   #1
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Default Class B Gas Engine High Clearance with Luxery Interior

Hi All,

I'm planning for retirement and have decided on a Class B. I like the Pleasure -Way's interior layouts and craftsmanship, but it is not high enough off the ground. I like the Sportsmobile's high clearance (4x4) but the inside does not seem to meet the same look and feel of the Pleasure-Way. Is there an RV Manufacturer or conversion company that would fit my requirements? Thank you for any help on this.

Sunny
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Old 04-01-2019, 12:36 AM   #2
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Looks like you are about 10 years too late. Search for Roadtrek 190 4X4 and see if that is what you are after. Not that I would recommend an orphan but it may help to see what used to be available.

Ford Transits can be upgraded to four wheel drive so maybe look for a Transit based B.

Call Pleasure Way and see if they would start with a Mercedes 4X4. Roadtrek did and new ones are for sale. Search Roadtrek 4x4. I did and got several.

I would search for a 2005-2009 Roadtrek Popular and restore it to fill that need.

Just rambling, good luck.
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Old 04-01-2019, 12:47 AM   #3
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Looks like you are about 10 years too late. Search for Roadtrek 190 4X4 and see if that is what you are after. Not that I would recommend an orphan but it may help to see what used to be available.

Ford Transits can be upgraded to four wheel drive so maybe look for a Transit based B.

Call Pleasure Way and see if they would start with a Mercedes 4X4. Roadtrek did and new ones are for sale. Search Roadtrek 4x4. I did and got several.

I would search for a 2005-2009 Roadtrek Popular and restore it to fill that need.

Just rambling, good luck.

That could also be done with the other brands built on the Chevy from Pleasure-way, or Airstream. Fords like the Pleasure-way Excel or the Great West Ford small B could also be converted.
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Old 04-01-2019, 01:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by FindSunshine View Post
Hi All,

I'm planning for retirement and have decided on a Class B. I like the Pleasure -Way's interior layouts and craftsmanship, but it is not high enough off the ground. I like the Sportsmobile's high clearance (4x4) but the inside does not seem to meet the same look and feel of the Pleasure-Way. Is there an RV Manufacturer or conversion company that would fit my requirements? Thank you for any help on this.

Sunny
What sportsmobile 4x4 are you talking about. Sportsmobile california has an artificai shell that they put on e-350 base now that ford is not making them.

that to me would be the ultimate 4x4 B.
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:49 AM   #5
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Thank you to everyone who replied. I'll keep looking but as of now, I'm leaning towards Sportsmobile. I really want a gas engine. I plan on boondocking in the western part of the US quite a bit, so the ground clearance is important. Those two items take higher priority than having the inside looking like a Pleasure-Way or Leisure Travel. Thank you again!
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:26 AM   #6
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You can do a 2" lift kit on a Sprinter to raise it a little. It seems like a lot of work and expense for a couple inches but it is available.

https://agileoffroad.com/rip-kit-mercedes-sprinter/

My Sportsmobile Sprinter has a very high quality fit and finish. It certainly is built better than the Roadtrek and Winnebago vans I looked at. Pleasureways seem to be built pretty well but I don't think it is any better than the van I designed with Sportsmobile. You can get a higher end Class B from Advanced RV but it will cost you at least double the cost of a Sportsmobile. The main downside to Sportsmobile is the long wait time (1 year or more, probably longer for a 4x4).

I would have preferred a gas Class B myself but quickly learned that there aren't any other great gas options. I had no interest in a Fiat built Promaster. The only other option was a Ford Transit. There are several reasons that most of the Class B companies don't build on the Transit platform. The vast majority of Sportsmobiles are diesel Sprinters and not Transits. There will be a gas Sprinter soon but I think it will only be the 4 cylinder engine and without 4x4.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by FindSunshine View Post
Thank you to everyone who replied. I'll keep looking but as of now, I'm leaning towards Sportsmobile. I really want a gas engine. I plan on boondocking in the western part of the US quite a bit, so the ground clearance is important. Those two items take higher priority than having the inside looking like a Pleasure-Way or Leisure Travel. Thank you again!


this is what i was talking about

https://sportsmobile.com/sportsmobile-4x4/
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:39 PM   #8
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Before I had my Sportsmobile built, I rented a Tiger Bengel RV.

http://www.tigervehicles.com/tiger-models/bengal/

That was an interesting off-road, boondocking vehicle on a Ford F-350 platform. It was a very well made, comfortable camping RV. It was just too big for me and it rode like like a big, stiff, heavy duty truck. I preferred the more car-like drive of my Sprinter van but it would have gone places my van wonít go.
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:01 PM   #9
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Buy a van and tow a Jeep. Unless you're buying a true expedition-built motorhome, the places the 4WD will get you stuck in will only damage the underside of the van and make your towing charges a WHOLE lot more.

Tow the jeep to a place you can leave the van, and go explore in the Jeep. You'll likely pay enough for a 4WD motorhome to pay for a motorhome AND a 4WD anyway.

This is my Interstate and Jeep JKU.
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:25 PM   #10
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A Sprinter has the size to do nice layouts. I have 4x4 diesel Roadtrek CS and love it. We travel all over the west and do not pamper our van - it is very rugged, decent clearance and quite "luxurious". Not sure why you don't want diesel but we like the power (high torque at low rpm) economy and longevity.
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:37 PM   #11
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Hello, just wanted to chime that we love our Sportsmobile 4x4 Sprinter.
we first purchased a Roadtrek and sold it with in 6 months because we really wanted a higher quality interior build and we didn't want a lot of the bells and whistles that came in the stock design. It took a lot of thinking through the details to get the look and function we wanted with our Sportsmobile, and it was a long wait, but it's really well built and looks great (from our perspective). We have the larger Sprinter and weren't thrilled with the suspension so we recently upgraded the shocks and springs and it's also now 2 inches higher, and drives like a dream even on dirt roads. Good luck with your search. Some photos attached of our van.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by carlooliver View Post
Hello, just wanted to chime that we love our Sportsmobile 4x4 Sprinter.
we first purchased a Roadtrek and sold it with in 6 months because we really wanted a higher quality interior build and we didn't want a lot of the bells and whistles that came in the stock design. It took a lot of thinking through the details to get the look and function we wanted with our Sportsmobile, and it was a long wait, but it's really well built and looks great (from our perspective). We have the larger Sprinter and weren't thrilled with the suspension so we recently upgraded the shocks and springs and it's also now 2 inches higher, and drives like a dream even on dirt roads. Good luck with your search. Some photos attached of our van.
Awesome setup you have there! Where did you get the hitch rack for all the goodies? Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:27 PM   #13
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I wanted to add a little to the conversation. I have a 2007 Roadtrek 190P 4x4. I could not think of a more perfect vehicle to do adventure RV'ing in absolute luxury combined with tough as nails. It's on a Chevy 1 ton chassis with 4x4 conversion by Quigly. It came from Roadtrek this way factory fresh.

To say that this van is an ass kicker is an understatement. It has handled every backcountry situation I have thrown at it from thick slippery mud in Sedona to deep snow in Colorado to mud holes in Wyoming in which it is a beast. Cuts through it like butter. Sure, you are not going to take it rock crawling with it and why would you? But getting you into and most importantly out of some backwoods or desert challenging terrain it will do. On the highway, it is smooth to drive so best of both worlds.

Talk about luxury. How about king bed with memory foam, stand up shower, regular toilet, air conditioner, real sink, stove, fridge, microwave, wide screen flat panel TV, DVD, surround sound system, built in generator with beautiful cabinetry and countertops. It has a tremendous amount of storage especially with the bed permanently made and very large storage underneath. All that and it fits in a regular parking space.

We have had the Aluminess front and rear bumper systems installed which provides for a winch up front and swinging arms at the rear that hold the large spare tire and a storage box. On top of the storage box are mounted bike carriers with our mountain bikes. On the roof is a Yakima rack system with a large cargo box that holds even more stuff. Yes, the roof is very sturdy and able to handle the rack. If it can survive us, it can survive anyone.

All around consideration, this thing cannot be beat. I put alot of obsessive thought into how I was going to put everything I wanted together as far as capability and useability. This was the winner by far. It has served me well with not one issue except for the macerator system which I converted to good old reliable gravity dump. Took me a couple hours and about $30 of items from Home Depot. We get alot of folks who want to know about the rig and we are happy to show them. I think they are fascinated with the idea of being so free to go wherever you want to and do whatever you want to. Me too, but I want to do it in absolute comfort. I hope this helps with a different perspective.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:30 PM   #14
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I wanted to add a little to the conversation. I have a 2007 Roadtrek 190P 4x4. I could not think of a more perfect vehicle to do adventure RV'ing in absolute luxury combined with tough as nails. It's on a Chevy 1 ton chassis with 4x4 conversion by Quigly. It came from Roadtrek this way factory fresh.
That sounds like quite the setup! I'm a fan of expedition rig engineering... and I'd love to see what you've done. Got photos?
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:12 PM   #15
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The boxes are from Aluminess, so is the roof rack and ladder. The bike rack is from 1up-usa and Aluminess makes the set up so you can attach the bike rack on top of the box.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:23 PM   #16
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Default things we learned from 50,000 miles in a sprinter

We bought a 2016 airstream interstate grand tour used. We loved that it looked like a lear jet inside. The leather like seats looked and felt amazing. it had a generator and AC so we thought the dog would be safe if it got hot.. (after all who would install these and not have them come on if it got hot in the van). it was a Mercedes which to me said reliably and quality. the bed was huge ! bigger than a king. best of all it seems people buy class B's drive them for 6 months or so and determine they are not right for them. it worked out to be a great deal for us to buy it.



after 50,000 miles here are some things we learned.

1. all the glitz is annoying because its not functional and its very heavy
2. we need way better ground clearance
3. we need better cargo carrying capacity and better use of space
4. we have never ever had a vehicle break down so much and so often
5 we need a 4 season capable RV
6 we want a good bed that doesn't have to be made up daily
7 we can only use the sprinter in the US east coast and west coast.. not the corn belt and not Mexico (without voiding the warranty)

The way most class B's are designed they have used up most of the cargo carrying capacity with glitzy furniture. the airstream brochure said 1920lbs of cargo carrying, the sticker on the door says 1617lb, and taking it to a scale reveals only 1428lbs. That may seem like a lot until you start to add up passengers, bike racks, bikes, cooking etc. we Kiteboard, mtn bike and hike the result is to avoid being overweight we often take a trailer, or try to make the trip a single sport (thats hard when the trip is several months). check the CCC or OCCC before you buy. weigh ALL the stuff you want to bring so you have an idea.

clearance is hampered by tanks and generators hung underneath. Try to avoid a generator. the only thing worse than the sprinter's DEF system is an Onan generator. I had to drop ours from the chassis twice to redo the wiring that corrodes off (we live where there is salt in the winter). 4x4 gains you 3" in the front and 4" in the rear. this is a requirement, either that or a RIP kit from agile offload. or possibly both if you want to do anything offload, or dirt road. the standard tires are like rocks on anything other than smooth pavement. We just came back from a trip across the US and down to Baja then back. The roads in Baja are a test for any vehicle. you will be at crawling speed with the standard tires/shocks if you want to do any sort of washboard. you will need to put on BFgoodrich TA (they wear fast) and you likely need to install the RIP kit to get better shocks. you will also want the RIP kit because the builders don't change or upgrade the rear springs, as a result they are overloaded with most builds. SUMO bump stops help and they are a cheap fix but likely need agile RIP and new tires / Rims if you want to do any offload at other than a crawl. surprisingly the RWD is amazing for traction. we have driven thru many blizzards and never had any traction issue.. the issue is ride quality on rough roads. any build you get take it directly to a dealer and have the alignment done. the alignment changes after 2000-3000lbs are added and without the alignment both front tires will last 15,000 miles before you need to replace them (and get an alignment).

airstream is all about glitz. looks good but lipstick only. their design is such that if you turn both fridge and freezer on, and it happens to be cold enough you need to run the furnace then you will find that by 4am your batteries are at 50%, there will be no warning, nor will the generator start to recharge them. by early morning the batteries will be ruined. (AGM's can only be discharged to 50% before damaging them) airstreams design point is an RV park queen. as long as you are plugged in you are golden. be careful to check to see how long you last on batteries. we had to double the batteries (adds weight and cuts into CCC), 4x the solar (new wiring and new controller), we added an AGS so the generator would start if the van got too hot (keep dog alive) or if batteries were at 55% State of charge. doing this again we would go with lithium and sacrifice interior space for never having to worry about battery. cover the roof with solar. use the alternator to charge batteries not a generator. we would not install air conditioning. instead two roof fans, one pulling air in, the other pushing it out.

the Mercedes Sprinters DEF sensors are terrible for breaking if you don't drive it enough. you may want to take yours to a tuner who will eliminate the 75mph speed limiter and ensure it can't go into limp mode. the tuner will tell you as soon as its out of warranty to come back and delete the DEF system. it is the only thing that will break and it breaks often if you let the vehicle sit (we have replaced the same temp sensors ( just before the turbo charger) twice and I can see its failed again just not enough to create a permanent failure). we travel with a full diagnostic system to plug in. we had to use it in cape hatteras, Florida keys both places where you are a long ways from anywhere.. thankfully no codes in Baja. the short answer is drive the sprinter at highway speeds once a week. then it seems fine.

most of the designs are three seasons at best. while they may have tank heaters they don't have enough batteries to run them. the windows are all single pane. there is zero insulation in the front of the cabin. the answer is to build or buy an insulated wall you zip in between the cabin and the rear living area. you may also find yourself building or buying insulated window coverings to cut down on heat loss. as an aside get mechanical blinds.. airstreams are electric, they break almost instantly and are a total pain to fix. you have to take the walls apart to do so. and they rattle.. and rattle.. and rattle. go for mechanical blinds

if the bed is a couch that folds down into a bed.. or worse a couch and two seats (as in the airstream case) then be aware this isn't a bed you can sleep on. you will need to install a thick foam over the whole mess to smooth it out so you don't injure yourself on the folding mechanisms which stick up between the sections of seats. a better solution is a bed that is raised up or ideally raises up. this bed is flat with no seams and allows you to leave the bed made up as well as make use of the space under it. the rebel has this, as does safari condo. makes use of the space underneath AND most importantly a bed you can sleep on without having to deal with 2 inches of foam topper rolled up when not in use.

Mercedes manual says you need to run ULSD (ultra low sulphur diesel) with a max of B5. Failure to do so will result in the engine failing and it will not be covered under warranty. This was a shock to me that Mercedes would build a vehicle that you can't drive across the corn belt in the USA (canada is fine). the corn belt states mandated B20 biodiesel which you can't use. we try to be fill up before we cross these states but regardless we end up running B20 for some part of the tank. we are voiding the Mercedes warranty in doing so. If you want to go to Mexico then you are relatively safe in Baja as most Pemex stations have ULSD (not all but most). the same is not true of mainland Mexico. So be aware of your limitations on filling up with a sprinter. given I think your profile says midwest this may be really important to you.

forums are amazing and filled with knowledgable and helpful people. They will likely be far more help than your dealer or manufacture of the RV. Once you've settled in on a vehicle then create an account on the forum. ask lots of questions. Look for a thread called "upgrades" often these are mandatory depending on how you want to use your RV. in our case the forum (air forum) was amazing and gave incredible details on how to make an airstream interstate more capable of boon docking.

the discussion on RWD vs AWD is a heated one Note the sprinter in USA/Canada is NOT 4wheel drive... Australia gets a real 4x4 sprinter with lockers and 50/50 power distribution. our sprinter is AWD with 35/65 and no lockers. its better than a RWD. that being said we have taken our RWD in a lot of places and traction has never been the issue. rough ride from the tires is an issue. and clearance is most certainly an issue. To solve this you can go for a 144 wheel base. this will get you more usable clearance. if you go with the 170 and EXT then the back end drags more. for these getting the 4x4 version gets you more clearance and some peace of mind. if you get the 170 EXT then make sure you get a trailer hitch, it has skid plates that will drag before you start hitting the body panels. this will happen going in and out of gas stations, or on and off ferries . we learned to accept this..

hope this helps.. my goal was to share some learnings so you can avoid buying a vehicle that doesn't suit your needs.. ..Cameron
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:36 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by camerondsturgess View Post
We bought a 2016 airstream interstate grand tour used. We loved that it looked like a lear jet inside.

...after 50,000 miles here are some things we learned.

1. all the glitz is annoying because its not functional and its very heavy
2. we need way better ground clearance
3. we need better cargo carrying capacity and better use of space
4. we have never ever had a vehicle break down so much and so often
5 we need a 4 season capable RV
6 we want a good bed that doesn't have to be made up daily
7 we can only use the sprinter in the US east coast and west coast.. not the corn belt and not Mexico (without voiding the warranty)

... airstream is all about glitz. looks good but lipstick only...
LOL, that's useful real world feedback, and the Airstream lipstick evaluation seems consistent with other Airstream Interstate owners.

So out of curiosity, given your outdoor interests as a mountain biker and kiteboarder, what Class B RV would be on the top of your list if buying again?
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:09 PM   #18
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Before I had my Sportsmobile built, I rented a Tiger Bengel RV.

The Bengal - Tiger Adventure Vehicles

That was an interesting off-road, boondocking vehicle on a Ford F-350 platform. It was a very well made, comfortable camping RV. It was just too big for me and it rode like like a big, stiff, heavy duty truck. I preferred the more car-like drive of my Sprinter van but it would have gone places my van wonít go.

I have a regular cab Tiger...itís only about 18.5 feet long, and the very comfy ride on mine is nothing like what the above poster describes. Iíve found my Tiger very easy to drive, turn and park, and itís not longer and only a few inches wider than a full sized, regular cab pickup. My wife also loves to drive it and we both greatly prefer it to our former 21í B+.

Itís got great ground clearance too.

So, itís a great asset to get advice and opinions from others here based on their personal experiences, and to each his own, but Iíd say donít discourage yourself from getting a Tiger until youíve test driven one first and gotten your own first hand experience. It really seems to meet your needs and a used one isnít that much more than a 4x4 SMB (and....oh,yeah, and the Tiger also has a full, private bathroom!).

Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:14 PM   #19
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What sportsmobile 4x4 are you talking about. Sportsmobile california has an artificai shell that they put on e-350 base now that ford is not making them.

that to me would be the ultimate 4x4 B.
Just curious as to whether these would be a reasonable choice for this OP, so do you know how much are these classics are running, base price wise?
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by carlooliver View Post
Hello, just wanted to chime that we love our Sportsmobile 4x4 Sprinter.
we first purchased a Roadtrek and sold it with in 6 months because we really wanted a higher quality interior build and we didn't want a lot of the bells and whistles that came in the stock design. It took a lot of thinking through the details to get the look and function we wanted with our Sportsmobile, and it was a long wait, but it's really well built and looks great (from our perspective). We have the larger Sprinter and weren't thrilled with the suspension so we recently upgraded the shocks and springs and it's also now 2 inches higher, and drives like a dream even on dirt roads. Good luck with your search. Some photos attached of our van.

Refreshingly nice interior, congratulation!.
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