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Old 02-16-2018, 07:10 AM   #1
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Default Help me find a good class B or B+

Iíve been researching for about a month and Iím having a heck of a time finding a good solution. In fact if I follow all the advice there is no good solutionó so maybe thereís something out there I havenít heard about.

The most ideal right now seems to be the Pleasure Way XLMB ó but alas sprinters are high maintenance and add $30k to the MSRP.

There are no 2009 sprinter XLMBs from Pleasure Way (eg pre emissions)

I would prefer not to have a slide out, but I need to sleep with the slide in a lot if there is one.

I like radiant heat, Truma combi, compressor refrigeratoró preferably swing arm, so Engel. Which means building myself. This is what Iím considering- converting a promaster van.

I can do all of the conversion except for a heating system since that requires fuel and thatís outside my expertise (I have expertise with lithium batteries and chargers and can handle solar panels and doing the interior build.)

But I would rather not do the build myself.

I need under 24 feet, preferably 22 or 20 feet LIA.
Need to be able to set up a laptop and work and strongly want to not have to make the bed to then switch to sleep mode. (I like to lie down with phone while researching, then get up and go Back to workó donít want to be making/unmaking the bed 4-5 times a day.

And Iím a big guy. I will have trouble with a bathroom thatís less than 32x32, though I may just have to give up on that and leave the door open or something.

It will be just me. I need to carry a bike. I might get a folding bike.

And if Iím paying $100k for something it needs to be good enough to last ten years.

Also I will be living aboard full time, driving a fair bit and spending more time in cool temperatures than hot temps. Would love something capable of working below freezing but can compromise that as well.



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Old 02-16-2018, 07:11 AM   #2
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Oh forgot my question: is there a huge difference in driving a B and B+? Eg is a XLMB going to be much worse to drive than a plateau FL? Why did leisure travel get out of the class b market?

Does anyone make a good class B/b+ besides leisure vans and Pleasure Way?


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Old 02-16-2018, 10:32 AM   #3
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Also looking at the TRAVATO 59G. Every time I go to an RV show I intend to give the Hymer Activ a serious look... and then immediately walk out when I walk in. I think because it feels unmanageably small. The TRAVATO 59g I havenít had a chance to be in. Iím hopeful the bathroom is bigger than the Hymer. Iím willing to put up with a lot of compromises but I physically need to be able to fit in the bathroom. This may force me up to the Isata 3 or a B+ alone.

Any thoughts on build quality between Hymer and Winnebago?

I like Hymer using lithium and embracing technology, and the TRAVATO seems a bit behind even WBO standards (no multiplex wiring).


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Old 02-16-2018, 11:40 AM   #4
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Have you looked into the Coachmen Crossfit? It's a lot cheaper than Sprinters on a Ford Transit platform. I've seen them drop in price recently to less than $80K. 22ft, Truma Combi, multiplex wiring, Solar, dovetail joint cabinetry, etc....

Crossfit Class B Motorhomes by Coachmen RV
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:26 PM   #5
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As much as I love my Crossfit, I can't recommend it in this case - the bathroom is too small. And I can't recommend the Winnebago Paseo (also on the Ford Transit platform); the bigger bathroom in the Paseo comes at the expense of being able to move the Driver's seat back. Even the passenger seat is blocked by a permanent table behind it.

Coachmen says they are going to come up with a new floorplan for the Transit and you can call and ask what it will be: +1 574-825-8465

I think the bathroom requirement is going to limit you to a bath in the rear - side baths will be too narrow.

Of the ready-made vans, I suspect the Travato K will be closest to meeting your needs, but it's on a Promaster chassis and you need to spend some time driving one to see if you are happy with the seating position. Some people love it and others hate it, but not very many say they don't care.

Depending on your time constraints, you might consider getting Sportsmobile or some other upfitter to build you a van on the Ford Transit HD350 chassis. Knowing you want a Travato K clone, but perhaps with one extra-wide bed and storage on the other side, might make it pretty easy to design, but there will be a wait.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:05 PM   #6
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.

You are describing the Travato 59K.

It fits you to a T.

You can lie down, stretch out, and think all day on the lounge/bed,
then pop up and the table is right there with the computer
waiting for you to work.

The bathroom is huge.

Forget about lithium batteries.
You might think you need them.
You might not.
Even if you do, you can swap them out later.
Maybe 2~3 yrs later.
The technology will be changed again (we are looking at 48v systems now),
you will get a better system, and still save $20k.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:51 PM   #7
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Hi Phoebe3,

It appears that the Crossfit is a very good value. You some downsides for a large fellow, if ordinary in size what are the downsides? What's missing?

I suppose with a Large compressor refer another battery would be nice is.

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Old 02-16-2018, 04:18 PM   #8
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Why did leisure travel get out of the class b market?
The popularity of the small Class C's meant that they gradually stopped building their B's... first the Chevy disappeared and then the Sprinter. Very sad... but they realistically looked at their labor pool and expanding the factory wasn't in the cards. Made me very sad when I needed a smaller rig and had to trade my Libero for a Roadtrek 170. (major step down...)

Either the Serenity or the new twin bed Wonder would seem to fit your needs... and the price on the Wonder is a bit easier to swallow.

If you can wait for the year build time, Sportsmobile is probably your best option. You might take a look at these Promaster conversions at this company. They are quite luxurious for under $90K... check out their floor plans and options:

https://midwestautomotivedesigns.com...end-class-b-rv
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:43 PM   #9
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It appears that the Crossfit is a very good value. You some downsides for a large fellow, if ordinary in size what are the downsides? What's missing?

I suppose with a Large compressor refer another battery would be nice is.

Bud
I think the Crossfit is an excellent value, but the Coachmen Class B Division has been very responsive to user comments and there are upgrades in the works that may increase the price. For one thing, they are going to provide the 3.5 L Turbo engine (Ecoboost) which provides significantly more HP and torque than the standard 3.7 L engine. We have the 3.7 and think it's fine, but the vans with our engine are taking a price cut right now and here in CA, you can find a Crossfit for around $77K. I expect the newer versions will sell for mid-to-high $80's.

They come standard with 100W of solar and door screens for side and rear. Alloy wheels are optional, but I haven't seen one without them. The components are above average and moving into Pleasureway territory: beautiful solid wood cabinets, marine grade vinyl walls, fiberglass shower, 6.0 NovaKool fridge with separate freezer, 51 lb (12 gal) propane tank, Truma combi heater/water heater, etc.

The power tech has some plain vanilla components with a couple of modern upgrades - 210 AH of batteries (used to be flooded, but moving to AGM - our flooded are working fine), propane cooktop (induction optional). It has multiplex wiring and BMS by Precision Plex and the system seems to handle the batteries very well and they don't appear to be overcharging on float. Onan 2800 generator. More batteries might be nice, but we haven't needed them so far - batteries are charged by Transit engine, generator, shore power, or solar.

AC and microwave (no convection) require shore power or generator. There is no inverter but the electrical guy at coachmen has promised to provide advice and guidance should we decide to install one ourselves.

Compressor fridge uses 4.5 ah, but only runs about 33% of the time, so you can figure using 32 AH per day to keep your food cold, depending on ambient temp.

Coachmen orders the HD version of the Transit chassis, which has dual rear wheels, so you get better load support, but slightly lower mileage and more expense when you replace the tires. Unlike some of the Sprinter chassis-based vans we looked at, the Transit isn't stripped down. Coachmen orders them with Dual AGM batteries and a heavy-duty alternator. Currently, they come with Ford's Sync-3, but ours came with an aftermarket Kenwood - I can plug in my iPhone and it displays Google maps. Ours did NOT come with lane departure and I don't know if the new ones have it. We drive about 60mph and get about 16mpg.

What might you not like? Well, I padded the over-front-seat storage because everyone hits their head on it when moving from the front to the back. Ford stupidly put the parking brake between the seats so transferring from front to back is tight. If you are 6ft tall, you will also hit your head on the AC when you step up to the bench area (note that the power sofa version doesn't have a raised platform).

The twin beds (in the dinette version) are narrow and hard. I added a foam topper and we leave one of the two small tables in place between them at night. Wouldn't want them any wider because we use the center aisle to haul things, but if you are on the larger side, you will want to set up the bed at night.

There is plenty of cabinet and drawer space, but one bench seat covers the Truma and converter, the other houses the fresh water tank so storage of larger items is limited.

It's a gravity dump so if you need to dump uphill, you don't have a macerator (again, not a problem so far for us).

We are not big people, don't need to boondock for days, don't drive in the left lane, and don't have high electrical power needs so this has been the perfect van for us. YMMV

Would also like to note that I have received stellar support whenever I've called Coachmen, so there's that to consider, too.

Happy to answer any other questions to the best of my ability. You might also consider checking out the Crossfit FB site:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1366...?ref=bookmarks
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:42 PM   #10
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Thank for the response. You write:

"they are going to provide the 3.5 L Turbo engine (Ecoboost) which provides significantly more HP and torque than the standard 3.7 L engine"

I seldom use anywhere near full throttle, so the 3.7 would be fine and would run off and leave a Sprinter (trying to avoid one).

"What might you not like? Well, I padded the over-front-seat storage because everyone hits their head on it when moving from the front to the back."

That would be me as I got very close to knocking myself out when I put on a hat before trying to leave the 190P. It was padded so my forehead was ok after awhile.

Seems like all is there but the inverter, no big deal.

Concerning the twin beds, I would not want that narrow a bed. With my 190 I simply removed the cushion and placed a sheet of plywood cut to size = 6 inches wider and just about as comfortable as my home with 3 kinds of foam. The nightstand is still there. Some couples make each bed 3 inches wider. Or remove the nightstand and have a wider bed(s) yet. I only stand in the isle to walk the seat or bed, or use the overhead cabinets with not much room needed for that.

This seems to be maybe the best value in a class b if it meets one's needs, or one of the best values.

Thanks again.

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Old 02-16-2018, 05:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
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...Why did leisure travel get out of the class b market?
The reason is simple -- the ClassC market is 6 times larger than ClassB

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Old 02-16-2018, 09:12 PM   #12
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One problem with Ford Transit rigs is the tight space between the driver's seat and the doghouse. A big guy will bang his knee each time he turns to get out of his seat and go into the back.

Your style of travel should also be taken into consideration. Do you plan on moving often? or staying in one spot for a long time? If you stay anywhere for more than a few days I'd consider getting a bigger rig along with a dinghy, motorcycle, or scooter to get around without breaking camp.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:58 PM   #13
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One problem with Ford Transit rigs is the tight space between the driver's seat and the doghouse. A big guy will bang his knee each time he turns to get out of his seat and go into the back...
I agree. Recently climbed into a Ford Transit at local Auto Show. The tight space in cab area reminded me of my old Ford E-350 van.
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Old 02-17-2018, 07:37 PM   #14
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Technomadness, I disagree that you won't fit in the Paseo. I've been shopping with a friend who is 6'2" with very long legs, and he fit very well in the Paseo driver's seat. With the seat all the way back, he also had adequate room to get behind the transmission selector and move into the coach, something that isn't really true for me, with my 30" inseam. He also found the seat and the driving position to be very comfortable. He found the bathroom plenty roomy, and had good headroom everywhere (it specs at 6'6"). Importantly, the shower area actually feels like a shower. One can use the front passenger seat with the swivel and the table as a desk or dining table, and keep the bed made up if desired. It has no storage over the cab, so there is nothing to hit your head on. It has a large, compressor fridge with separate freezer. It comes with most tanks in the heated space, and is optionally all-season, though I don't know if it will tolerate severe cold. Also, it's a relative rocketship in the RV world, with a tested 0-60 time of 12 seconds, about as fast as today's slowest cars.

The bed is only 6' by 4 1/2 feet, but if you're alone, sleeping diagonally will fit almost anyone. With the bed made, there is also more storage under the bed. This coach does not have a lot of storage, which is a disadvantage ( a partial result of having the tanks within the heated space) It does seem to be well made, with quality close to the PleasureWay, and definitely better than the Travatos that I have seen.

The Crossfit was also a nice coach, but even I found the bath to be too cramped, and my friend could barely get in it. I haven't seen a full road-test, so I can't comment on the power with the base engine, but it's got to be a lot slower, with more than twice as much torque at lower RPM for the turbo.

The Travatos might also fit your needs, and they have been upgraded this year with more all-season capability, compressor fridge for the 59G, etc, but try as I might, I couldn't imagine full-timing in one either. Further, my friend cannot seem to get comfortable in the driver's seat in any Promaster, due either to lack of legroom, or leg support. Otherwise, he really liked the Pleasureway Lexor TS, as did I. I might like the new Lexor FL even better, but it still lacks all season capability, and still comes with a 3-way fridge, which I don't like. Don't know if my friend will fit in the driver's seat, either.

The Winnebago ERA 70M has a big dry bath with a 32" by 24" separate shower, and a 52 by 75" Murphy bed that can be left made up while stowed, and also has a compressor fridge, but it's 24 feet long, has no all season capability, and the slide has to be out to use the bed. It's a Sprinter diesel, which is a problem for some. It's also more expensive. It does have lots of storage, but at the expense of windows and view.

If you like the Paseo (or any other Winnebago), please note that they had an across the board 10% price increase for '18, so the '17s are about 10 grand cheaper in advertised quotes, and that wasn't due to a price drop for being a model year older. There are still plenty of '17s available.

Good luck!
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:21 PM   #15
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Hey all. Thanks for the responses! Somehow I didnít get notifications even though I subscribed to this thread.

I intend to live in full time, spend a lot of time boon docking and a lot of time traveling in the West. Eventually I would love to do a trip down to Panama.

I literally will not have a hoodie or apartment after I move into the van. This will be full time from day one.

RE: Fords: Iím not speculating that they wonít work for me, Iíve been in many of them. Both Transits and E series. Due to the slight hump from the driveshaft and the amount the center console sticks out, and the cup holders, I canít easily get my foot around to get out of the seat to get in the back. I could do it if I could rotate my foot 90 degrees, but alas, I cannot.

The Sprinter and ProMaster are trivial in this manner and I have no problems, but with the fords itís such a pain that if I bought one Iíd likely end up going out the driverís door and in the RV door. Did that at an RV show when I got trapped in one of those seats.

RE: Lithium- Iíve worked with these in the past and love them. But they are a bonus, rather than a requirement. I like that Roadtrek will sell some vans with 800AH. Lithium letís them do that but itís the amp hours rather than the chemistry thatís the plus there. You are right this is a rapidly evolving area and I can switch later, so this isnít a requirement.

A bathroom that works is, and for that reason Iíve looked at Travatos and the 59G and 59K are both on my short list as a result.

Iím leaning against Mercedes lately. Iím concerned about the lower reliability of new deisel emissions systems and the less common availability of repair locations and much higher cost of repairs.

I wonít have an easy or cheap place to live when the vehicle is in the shop so reliability is paramount for me.

Though the Pentastar is made by mack truck in America, and may be a lower overall quality engine, itís an ancient design and there are millions of them out there and a great deal of mechanics who can work in them. This is much different from the MB diesel whose emissions systems are less than a decade old.


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Old 02-17-2018, 10:32 PM   #16
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Hereís my canonical trip to give you an idea. Years ago in a truck camper I drove up thru British Columbia one summer up into Alaska, all the way to Prudhoe Bay, took the tour and stood in the Arctic Ocean. It seems wrong to spend $100k on a vehicle that canít replicate that trip (and I intend to replicate that trip!)

This means being able to go months between booking up in a campground (campgrounds are the ďchilling out from the road spotĒó expect to spend maybe 20 days a year with hookups, and maybe another 40 days in dry campgrounds like national parks.)

My current shortlist-
Winnebago Travatos
Pleasure Way Lexor
RoadTrek ProMasters
Hymer Activ 1 & 2

Coachman Galleria- is nice, if sprinter comes back in the table it goes on the shortlist.

Midwest Legend: looks interesting. I hate when the microwave or refrigerator are down low though. I assume that will be awkward to access, I wish those who did it adopted Airstreams design where the fridge or microwave are drawers when located there, so they just pull pour giving top access.


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Old 02-17-2018, 10:54 PM   #17
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This is interesting:

http://m.safaricondo.com/en/motorise...MX#anchor_page

Also curious: anyone have experience with the TRAVATO G? Wondering about the fact the shower needs to be pumped out... have heard some people had issues with it (like sink or shower but not both would drain). Thatís really my only concern about the TRAVATO right now.


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Old 02-18-2018, 02:41 AM   #18
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Technomadness, we have the XLMB and do love it. Like any there are some plusses and minus.

It drives great, really no different than the smaller "B's".
The bathroom, and mainly the shower are great!
We like that you can make up the bed and just close it in the wall not having to make it each day.
Also we like the amount of storage it has compared to the "B's", (technically they call it a B+. Its really though more like a small "C".
Also like that it has a huge propane tank.

We don't like our Girard tankless water heater or the Atwood furnace.

We did when it was new have an issue with the DEF and under warranty they reprogrammed it and changes some sensors of some sort and have had no issues since.

Currently we are pulling the furnace and water heater and installing hydronics.

We also have a large lithium battery setup on order for it.

We are hoping that with the large lithium setup and big propane tank we will be able to go all summer without needing anything but diesel.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:44 AM   #19
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It drives great, really no different than the smaller "B's".

The bathroom, and mainly the shower are great!

We like that you can make up the bed and just close it in the wall not having to make it each day.



We don't like our Girard tankless water heater or the Atwood furnace.





Currently we are pulling the furnace and water heater and installing hydronics.



We also have a large lithium battery setup on order for it.



We are hoping that with the large lithium setup and big propane tank we will be able to go all summer without needing anything but diesel.

Interesting. Do you feel that it has developed any rattles over the years? Iím assuming that a van body of welded steel will be more robust than the glued fiberglass to frame. I like PWs construction method for the XLMB, and was worrying about it lasting ten yearsó but earlier today I looked at a bunch of ten+ year old Pleasure ways online and they look great.

Where did you source the hydronics? The key thing keeping me from doing my own conversion is not being able to buy a Truma combi or Espar hydronics system from anyone (that I could find.)

Who is making your new battery pack?

Do you think there is any good way to mount large solar panels on a PWXL? I mean without drilling into the roof? One could secaflex a bunch of flexible ones down, I guess.

I think what you are building is my ideal.

The new furnace is supposed to be quieter and they have Truma comfort plus now instead of girard, so there is that.

I just wish they built more of them each month.



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Old 02-18-2018, 04:08 PM   #20
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Interesting. Do you feel that it has developed any rattles over the years? I’m assuming that a van body of welded steel will be more robust than the glued fiberglass to frame. I like PWs construction method for the XLMB, and was worrying about it lasting ten years— but earlier today I looked at a bunch of ten+ year old Pleasure ways online and they look great.

Where did you source the hydronics? The key thing keeping me from doing my own conversion is not being able to buy a Truma combi or Espar hydronics system from anyone (that I could find.)

Who is making your new battery pack?

Do you think there is any good way to mount large solar panels on a PWXL? I mean without drilling into the roof? One could secaflex a bunch of flexible ones down, I guess.

I think what you are building is my ideal.

The new furnace is supposed to be quieter and they have Truma comfort plus now instead of girard, so there is that.

I just wish they built more of them each month.



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Ours is a 2015 and as of yet has no rattles. When it was new we had quite a bit of wind noise but after reading about it on one of the forums I added more weather stripping around the coach door and skylights and the noise now is similar to the Coachman Galleria. It also drives very similar to the Coachman although I think because of the dual rear wheels we get less effect from wind gusts and passing semi's.

I like the sealed fibreglass body, would prefer a solid Mercedes metal body but the wide body gives sooooo much more space than the standard B van. So far no issues with leaks or creaks.

The inside quality is great! The only warranty issue we have had had to do with the electronic measurement of the tanks and battery when it was brand new, but Pleasure-Way quickly set me up with the vendor of the system Spyder Controls and Spyder told me it was a control board. They mailed me a new one and asked that I mail the old one back and all has worked great since.

My source for the hydronic is Rixens in Sandy Oregon. Jim Rixen and his son Mike have been amazing with helping me to design my system and explain how to install and simplify what I was planning. I like the Truma Combi plus, but of course they will not allow a retrofit, and the hydronics offered the ability to heat my holding tanks and lines. I am currently installing this and it looks like it will fit internally in less space than the current Atwood furnace and Girard water heater take.

The battery system is from Lithionics. I also can't say enough about them! They put together the entire system as plug and play and then shipped it to me. I still haven't decided if I am going to remove the Onan generator. I am going to use this system for a while before deciding.

I do plan to add the aux alternator. I spoke to Grant at Pleasure Way about this and he explained that they don't offer it because Mercedes is not ok with the idling of the diesel to charge batteries like Road Trek is doing. It is the major cause of diesel def problems. I also have a Ford 6.7 diesel truck and after having some issues they told me to never let it idle as it plugs the system. My Sprinter garage though did say that it was fine to install the alternator but charge while driving, not idling.

As far as the solar goes, ours came with (1) 95 watt panel and there is room for maybe (3) more. I have found though that an hour of driving is worth 200 hours of charging. (Maybe exaggerated but you get the point.)

To me I think I would look for a low miles unit from around 2015 as they have none of the new tech stuff. I feel as though when we get ours finished, (soon) there will be few comparable on the road.
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