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Old 04-07-2018, 10:37 PM   #1
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Default Have the itch again. Seek feedback

Hello, I'm new to the classbforum, but I have a bit of experience with the RV lifestyle, having been a full timer for 14 years (1998 to 2012 with 9 of those years as a couple, 5 solo). My rigs over those years were fifth wheels (a 22' Skyline non slide and 1/2 ton p/u, then an upgrade to a 29' Alpenlite with slide and quad cab dually). I'll be part time solo traveling this go around, and will stay mostly in forest service campgrounds, national and state parks. I'm through with towing and I'd like to be able to park the rig in my driveway when not traveling. I've looked seriously at small non slide Class C's and my #1 pick would be a 24' LazyDaze, but while it enjoys an enviable reputation for quality and is relatively compact, it just won't fit in the driveway. I've also looked hard at non slide truck campers, but the high profile/rock n rolla drive characteristic/dinette only seating is not very appealing (my #1 pick would be an Artic Fox 865 and 1 ton dually). That brings me to where my head is at today, which is, I think, probably my best all around option, the Class B. And that I've ratcheted down to what may just be absolutely ideal for me as a solo traveler: a Roadtrek 170 Versatile, optioned with drivers side permanent cabinet, passenger side interchangeable armoire, portable solar cell, screen package, tv, continental kit. Did lots of camping w/o hookups previously and never needed a generator, so don't think I'll need one now either. My experience has been that the holding tanks will be full before the batteries run low, so I'll be on the move charging anyway. If I find the need for a generator, then I'll pick up a small inverter gen, such as a Sportsman. I like the adjustable sofa for relaxing, the separate dinette up front, the ingenious aisle shower, the generous storage space, and I think my folding bicycle will fit under the sofa or in the cabover storage bin. It will easily fit in the driveway, the macerator pump will make for easy dumping in the sewer line cleanout at home, and the small V8 should give decent mpg, certainly better than the V10 in the LazyDaze, or a big V8 in a dually. All in all, it may be just the ticket. Wish there was one on a dealers lot nearby that I could look at. There is a 2013 190 Popular sitting on a consignment lot nearby and I took a look at it. Has an Onan with 22 hrs on it, I think 270 watts of solar on the roof, 35,000 miles on the chassis. Firm asking of 69 and change. Needs a serious cleaning top to bottom, inside and out. This look gave me an idea at least of build quality and livability, but my inclination is to purchase new as I prefer to break in an engine myself along with all the other goodies, and I keep my vehicles for a long time.
I'd appreciate any feedback, especially if you are a current or previous owner of an RT170 or an RT190. Some questions that come to mind, answers to which I haven't found yet: If I don't order the continental kit, does the spare go under the vehicle, inside under the sofa, or do I get an inflator kit? How well is a Roadtrek insulated, if at all?
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:51 PM   #2
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Hello, I'm new to the classbforum, but I have a bit of experience with the RV lifestyle, having been a full timer for 14 years (1998 to 2012 with 9 of those years as a couple, 5 solo). My rigs over those years were fifth wheels (a 22' Skyline non slide and 1/2 ton p/u, then an upgrade to a 29' Alpenlite with slide and quad cab dually). I'll be part time solo traveling this go around, and will stay mostly in forest service campgrounds, national and state parks. I'm through with towing and I'd like to be able to park the rig in my driveway when not traveling. I've looked seriously at small non slide Class C's and my #1 pick would be a 24' LazyDaze, but while it enjoys an enviable reputation for quality and is relatively compact, it just won't fit in the driveway. I've also looked hard at non slide truck campers, but the high profile/rock n rolla drive characteristic/dinette only seating is not very appealing (my #1 pick would be an Artic Fox 865 and 1 ton dually). That brings me to where my head is at today, which is, I think, probably my best all around option, the Class B. And that I've ratcheted down to what may just be absolutely ideal for me as a solo traveler: a Roadtrek 170 Versatile, optioned with drivers side permanent cabinet, passenger side interchangeable armoire, portable solar cell, screen package, tv, continental kit. Did lots of camping w/o hookups previously and never needed a generator, so don't think I'll need one now either. My experience has been that the holding tanks will be full before the batteries run low, so I'll be on the move charging anyway. If I find the need for a generator, then I'll pick up a small inverter gen, such as a Sportsman. I like the adjustable sofa for relaxing, the separate dinette up front, the ingenious aisle shower, the generous storage space, and I think my folding bicycle will fit under the sofa or in the cabover storage bin. It will easily fit in the driveway, the macerator pump will make for easy dumping in the sewer line cleanout at home, and the small V8 should give decent mpg, certainly better than the V10 in the LazyDaze, or a big V8 in a dually. All in all, it may be just the ticket. Wish there was one on a dealers lot nearby that I could look at. There is a 2013 190 Popular sitting on a consignment lot nearby and I took a look at it. Has an Onan with 22 hrs on it, I think 270 watts of solar on the roof, 35,000 miles on the chassis. Firm asking of 69 and change. Needs a serious cleaning top to bottom, inside and out. This look gave me an idea at least of build quality and livability, but my inclination is to purchase new as I prefer to break in an engine myself along with all the other goodies, and I keep my vehicles for a long time.
I'd appreciate any feedback, especially if you are a current or previous owner of an RT170 or an RT190. Some questions that come to mind, answers to which I haven't found yet: If I don't order the continental kit, does the spare go under the vehicle, inside under the sofa, or do I get an inflator kit? How well is a Roadtrek insulated, if at all?

I'd look at a Travato in the new L series .lithium and big inverter
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:07 AM   #3
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I have a 2012 Pleasureway Lexor that I purchased new. When shopping for my van, I do recall being told by a salesperson, if you buy an RT do not buy the 170. I recall he said something about the 6.0L engine in the 190 was much better than the 4.8L engine. Ultimately, I didn't buy the RT 190 with the 6.0L but instead the Pleasureway with the 6.0L. Now that I have the 6.0L, I cannot imagine my van with a 4.8L. Sometimes I feel I need even more engine than the 6.0.
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:42 PM   #4
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Hi, welcome to the Group. From a former 190P owner, I think you might be better served by the size of a 190 or equivalent in another model. I had the 6.0 in the 190 and have it in the 210 today....super engine - never needed any service I couldn't perform myself. I like your layout plans inside. You mentioned generators, you could pick up a Honda 2000i or a Clone for when you need it....only problem I see is the storage of the generator and the gas to operate it. Safe travels, Ron
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Old 04-08-2018, 08:28 PM   #5
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Hi, welcome to the Group. From a former 190P owner, I think you might be better served by the size of a 190 or equivalent in another model. I had the 6.0 in the 190 and have it in the 210 today....super engine - never needed any service I couldn't perform myself. I like your layout plans inside. You mentioned generators, you could pick up a Honda 2000i or a Clone for when you need it....only problem I see is the storage of the generator and the gas to operate it. Safe travels, Ron
You could look at a Carado Axion. They are not selling well and some dealers have asked as low as $60k for an optioned up 2017 model with lithium 400, 2000w inverter, TV, solar, underhood generator. Much less claustrophobic than a 170 and still only 17'9" long. On a recent 1000 mile trip I got 17.4mpg on mine with a lot of 70mph cruising. Bed is way more comfy than sleeping on a seating area. Want to relax? Just reverse the passenger seat and turn the drivers seat towards it and use it for a foot rest. You can adjust recline etc. Caveats, the heat/hot water doesn't work above 3300 ft. altitude without mods (I'm researching this right now), combined holding tank, no spare without buying the rear mount kit, fridge a little hard to get to, and its kinda tall, so some drive throughs are off limits. Also, I plan eventually to upgrade the shocks (gas Bilsteins or Monroes) to increase body motion damping over undulations. Ventilation limited and don't know if you can get screens for side and back doors. There is insulation.

I use plug-in electric appliances (hot pot, toaster, skillet) for cooking and have never needed the cooktop. Center aisle is open from the back so you could carry your bike, but then you might the have to go around to the back doors to get to the toilet. At night when you fold the bed out into the aisle, you could probably put the bike in front of the sliding door, but would block the fridge.

I got mine to keep the dog cool when I need to leave the vehicle in hot weather. AC runs about 3 hours on the batteries, and they recharge in about 90 min. once you start driving.

And, don't forget that for convenience, shortness is greatness. Same U-turn as Honda Accord.
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:45 PM   #6
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I'd look at a Travato in the new L series .lithium and big inverter
Thx for the feedback. I've looked at the Travato. Like the chassis, like the bathroom in both models, but that is where my interest ends. I didn't find the seating comfortable, and am still a fan of the versatility of a 3-way fridge over a compressor fridge. A small 3-way will avg less than .25 gal per 24 hrs propane usage, is 100% quiet, and will not put heat into the coach interior. I'm intrigued by lithium batteries, but not by the hefty price tag. Likewise I'm intrigued by the GU, but I've seen youtube videos of the vibration that can occur with a GU, which gives me cause for concern. My rv experience has been with tried and true technology, and while not the latest and greatest, it still gets the job done.
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pwlextex View Post
I have a 2012 Pleasureway Lexor that I purchased new. When shopping for my van, I do recall being told by a salesperson, if you buy an RT do not buy the 170. I recall he said something about the 6.0L engine in the 190 was much better than the 4.8L engine. Ultimately, I didn't buy the RT 190 with the 6.0L but instead the Pleasureway with the 6.0L. Now that I have the 6.0L, I cannot imagine my van with a 4.8L. Sometimes I feel I need even more engine than the 6.0.
Thx for the feedback. Both the 4.8 and the 6.0 are good engines. The 4.8 has been around a bit longer and there are many of them still on the road with 200,000+ miles on the odometer. Promaster and Transit both have V6 engines with similar HP/torque ratings as the GM 4.8, yet in heavier GVWR application than seen on the RT170, so I'm not worried about being under powered. Portable generator and fuel storage is easily handled with the addition of a receiver mount storage box, if it comes to that. Regards the 190 size vs the 170: IMO the permanent bath on the 190 is not user friendly, so I'd option into the temporary bath anyway, and the fore/aft sleeping arrangement of the 190 only gives one extra inch of room, so the compact 170 wins in a shootout with the 190. Which is all before even mentioning MSRP.
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:23 PM   #8
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You could look at a Carado Axion. They are not selling well and some dealers have asked as low as $60k for an optioned up 2017 model with lithium 400, 2000w inverter, TV, solar, underhood generator. Much less claustrophobic than a 170 and still only 17'9" long. On a recent 1000 mile trip I got 17.4mpg on mine with a lot of 70mph cruising. Bed is way more comfy than sleeping on a seating area. Want to relax? Just reverse the passenger seat and turn the drivers seat towards it and use it for a foot rest. You can adjust recline etc. Caveats, the heat/hot water doesn't work above 3300 ft. altitude without mods (I'm researching this right now), combined holding tank, no spare without buying the rear mount kit, fridge a little hard to get to, and its kinda tall, so some drive throughs are off limits. Also, I plan eventually to upgrade the shocks (gas Bilsteins or Monroes) to increase body motion damping over undulations. Ventilation limited and don't know if you can get screens for side and back doors. There is insulation.

I use plug-in electric appliances (hot pot, toaster, skillet) for cooking and have never needed the cooktop. Center aisle is open from the back so you could carry your bike, but then you might the have to go around to the back doors to get to the toilet. At night when you fold the bed out into the aisle, you could probably put the bike in front of the sliding door, but would block the fridge.

I got mine to keep the dog cool when I need to leave the vehicle in hot weather. AC runs about 3 hours on the batteries, and they recharge in about 90 min. once you start driving.

And, don't forget that for convenience, shortness is greatness. Same U-turn as Honda Accord.

I'm all for keeping the length down, as I wish to be able to park the rig in my driveway. Can't say I'm impressed by the Carrado. From what I've seen they are put together like crap. Kinda looks like Hymer has little faith in the longevity of these units themselves, as they are only offering a warranty equal to 1/3 that of an Activ or a RT.
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Old 04-09-2018, 01:15 AM   #9
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Just for your information, my 2015 170 will be up for sale in June when my new rig shows up. It has two group 31s, solar, underhood generator, both cabinets up front, TV, and will be under 25k miles by that time. Doesn't have a continental kit, but I have the spare in storage. Still has 3 years of RT warranty...

Send me a PM if you want to talk about it.
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Old 04-09-2018, 03:21 AM   #10
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I'm all for keeping the length down, as I wish to be able to park the rig in my driveway. Can't say I'm impressed by the Carrado. From what I've seen they are put together like crap. Kinda looks like Hymer has little faith in the longevity of these units themselves, as they are only offering a warranty equal to 1/3 that of an Activ or a RT.
It’s great that you can afford something more upscale. I drove and considered an Aktiv before buying the Axion.

It and the Axion share the same chassis—it differs only in length (both have chassis upgrade features). Same drivetrain.

The electrical systems are pretty much identical and most of the appliances are identical or pretty similar except for the heat/hot water is better on the Aktiv.

The main difference is the cabinetry (still not bad) and the fit and finish (poor). The Aktiv has formed coverings hiding all the fasteners and screws, and many form fit interior panels that look nicer. There’s no medicine cabinet in the Axion even though there is space for one. Nor are there door screens. And the more expensive Promaster Roadtreks and the Aktiv have some features of questionable or negative value that I didn’t want, like those silly power steps and Voltstart.

But the critical equipment which will cost the most to have fixed if it breaks, is the same. And if that stuff is bad, it’s nearly as likely to show up in 2 years as it is in 5.

When I drove the Aktiv it was just as creaky and felt ponderous by comparison. And it’s much heavier with only about half the load carrying and towing capacity. Plus that skylight roars at freeway speeds. Carrying more than 2 people is not important to me. I do prefer the cassette toilet, though.

In the last decade or so, Roadtrek has not shown any interest in making annual upgrades in response to customer experiences. The Aktiv is unique because it is mostly a design that was already perfected in Europe.

Contrast that with Winnebago whose Travato models have both had pretty significant upgrades every year. If it were a foot shorter and I had the cash, I’d love a 59KL. Fit and finish is exquisite. Lots of little “surprise & delight” features. It’s only $145k which should eventually be available with a typical 20% discount for $116k. Exactly twice what I paid. Twice.

Add to all that the fact that Hymer/Roadtrek’s warranty fulfillment is largely theoretical in many areas. Even though they sign up more skilled RV repair-only experts to deal with the complexities that stupefy their average dealers, the only one of those near me is hopelessly backed up so I will have to wait weeks for even small repairs. In some areas (e.g. Washington state) they have no such fulfillment at all.

Fit and finish issues aren’t likely to ruin a camping trip or leave you by the roadside.

So for me the Axion represents sufficiency and value. If you want a van worthy of worship, pay up (way up) for a loaded Travato. If you don’t fit the Promaster driving position, buy Mumkin’s 170!
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