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Old 07-03-2019, 04:54 PM   #1
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Default Current state of RV manufacturing

Interesting video. Good points about being MB master outfitter. I like the tank attachment to the floor with steel prethreaded bars. Fiberglass molds done by trial and error without 3D CAD, it seems expensive. Definitely quality work using old manufacturing techniques. For wide bodies all steel framing, interesting answer.

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Old 07-03-2019, 05:22 PM   #2
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Pretty interesting. Pleasure-Way is one of the more conservative upfitters. I wonder how representative their construction techniques are of the industry overall.

One nit:
He claimed that if you are not a master-upfitter, the warranty will start when the upfitter takes possession of the vehicle. This is not true. Vehicle warranties (except for demo units) begin on the day that the initial title-holder takes possession of the vehicle. Normally an upfitter or dealer will not title the vehicle until it is purchased, at which point the warranty clock is reset to zero. They DO have to notify the OEM of this date, which is often neglected. But the retail purchaser has a right to the entire warranty period, no matter how long it sits in the lot. Master Upfitter status has nothing to do with this process.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:04 PM   #3
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I like a recent video from Advance RV that hints of the benefits of modern manufacturing practices. About :49 into he mentions the benefits of what I would call using a sub-assembly. Granted it appears that it was not their original plan but rather than sit and wait for a Sprinter, they built components to be added later. They found that it improved build time and I would bet, build quality.

Now if a boutique upfitter can find benefits from this approach, just imagine the impact on build quality, speed of build and resulting cost reduction if a large upfitter like Winnebago adopted the approach. There would be a Class B is every garage!
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MobileCabin View Post
I like a recent video from Advance RV that hints of the benefits of modern manufacturing practices. About :49 into he mentions the benefits of what I would call using a sub-assembly. Granted it appears that it was not their original plan but rather than sit and wait for a Sprinter, they built components to be added later. They found that it improved build time and I would bet, build quality.

Now if a boutique upfitter can find benefits from this approach, just imagine the impact on build quality, speed of build and resulting cost reduction if a large upfitter like Winnebago adopted the approach. There would be a Class B is every garage!
Based on low road clearance I can see why they had to change skirts for 2019.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
Interesting video. Good points about being MB master outfitter. I like the tank attachment to the floor with steel prethreaded bars. Fiberglass molds done by trial and error without 3D CAD, it seems expensive. Definitely quality work using old manufacturing techniques. For wide bodies all steel framing, interesting answer.
Good video - the under van mounts are unique, have not seen that approach before. Pleasure-Way is one of the few companies that has stayed with a 3-way propane refrigerator.

It wasn't clear if that steel framing on their Class-C models is painted of other wise treated to prevent rust. Rust could be an issue especially on the floor frame of the Class-C.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:52 PM   #6
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Good video - the under van mounts are unique, have not seen that approach before. Pleasure-Way is one of the few companies that has stayed with a 3-way propane refrigerator.

It wasn't clear if that steel framing on their Class-C models is painted of other wise treated to prevent rust. Rust could be an issue especially on the floor frame of the Class-C.
I would be more concerned about steel framing weight, rust prevention is reasonably easy to do. Aluminum framing is more expensive but lighter, it is used mostly in Europe. Not a critical choice as long they are within weight limits.

I used SS threaded struts mounted on subframes for my fresh/gray water tanks, easy to mount and to remove.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:44 PM   #7
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Based on low road clearance I can see why they had to change skirts for 2019.
GeorgeRa,

I believe the skirt clearance is the same as they alway had and if you look at other Sprinters in it is no more or less than just about any other upfitter that provides fiberglass skirts. There is no forgiveness in fiberglass if the attachment points change. They are about 8" clearance as I remember. On longer Sprinters they are a proportional optical illusion I think. You might want to measure some of them before you comment. They hide a lot of stuff like dump valves, macerator, water connections, shower hose and valves, macerator hose, and some storage. Steps are integrated. In effect a lot of stuff most DIYers can't do.

I know for a fact, the fiberglass skirts at ARV were designed with 3D CAD (Solidworks) before the first one was built in 2012. Everything is designed with 3D CAD and CNC cutouts. They have gone to ordering Sprinter vans with the window cutouts and primer done by Mercedes Benz for better quality I assume if MB can provide better.

As for the nerf bar skirts like I have, they have gone to standard I think on their 144 WB designs and their 4x4 EcoRanger models. I also know for a fact I got their first generation nerf bars and they have done at least two redesigns I know for sure since. That was a buyer choice. I think I had the second van with them and just thought they were bad ass.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by avanti View Post
Pretty interesting. Pleasure-Way is one of the more conservative upfitters. I wonder how representative their construction techniques are of the industry overall.

One nit:
He claimed that if you are not a master-upfitter, the warranty will start when the upfitter takes possession of the vehicle. This is not true. Vehicle warranties (except for demo units) begin on the day that the initial title-holder takes possession of the vehicle. Normally an upfitter or dealer will not title the vehicle until it is purchased, at which point the warranty clock is reset to zero. They DO have to notify the OEM of this date, which is often neglected. But the retail purchaser has a right to the entire warranty period, no matter how long it sits in the lot. Master Upfitter status has nothing to do with this process.
He could have mentioned the upfitters where you need to buy the van yourself for conversion for warranty purposes. It could have been a statement that needed more clarification. I wonder if Roadtrek, had it been a master upfitter, would not have the second row seat certification fiasco? Also, didn't I read here one time that MB had to remove Roadtrek installed equipment (water tank?) to get at the Nox censors or something to do with DEF under warranty and charged the owner for that portion of work?
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Old 07-04-2019, 12:04 AM   #9
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GeorgeRa,

I believe the skirt clearance is the same as they alway had and if you look at other Sprinters in it is no more or less than just about any other upfitter that provides fiberglass skirts. There is no forgiveness in fiberglass if the attachment points change. They are about 8" clearance as I remember. On longer Sprinters they are a proportional optical illusion I think. You might want to measure some of them before you comment. They hide a lot of stuff like dump valves, macerator, water connections, shower hose and valves, macerator hose, and some storage. Steps are integrated. In effect a lot of stuff most DIYers can't do.

I know for a fact, the fiberglass skirts at ARV were designed with 3D CAD (Solidworks) before the first one was built in 2012. Everything is designed with 3D CAD and CNC cutouts. They have gone to ordering Sprinter vans with the window cutouts and primer done by Mercedes Benz for better quality I assume if MB can provide better.

As for the nerf bar skirts like I have, they have gone to standard I think on their 144 WB designs and their 4x4 EcoRanger models. I also know for a fact I got their first generation nerf bars and they have done at least two redesigns I know for sure since. That was a buyer choice. I think I had the second van with them and just thought they were bad ass.
If I remember correctly 2019 Sprinters sit a little lower and what I derived from the video ARV had to make some adjustment to retain the same road clearance. I have seen a few videos from ARV folks and can tell that 3D CAD and 3D machining is not foreign to them, it would be difficult to get their level of fit and finish without these modern tools.

What is surprising from the previous video is doing fiberglass molds by shaving and re-shaving foam, it works but is very time consuming.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:58 PM   #10
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Second part of the earlier video.

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