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Old 05-31-2018, 12:33 AM   #1
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Default New member...seriously considering

My wife and I are looking at buying a new 144 class B RV. We have so many questions.

1). From what we read, we like the PW Ascent and Midwest Automotive Passage. Can’t see much difference between the two. We have a hard time finding a dealer that carries these to check them out. What do you think?

2). We have never owned an RV but our plan is to take probably two week trips with our dog staying at campgrounds, boondocking in parking lots, La Quintas and staying with friends. We don’t expect to stay in one place more than a day or two and driving every day to a restaurant, hike or sightsee.

3). Why are people hell bent on getting away from propane? Is it the hassle to fill, weight and storage of generator, hate the frig or something else?

4). What arethe biggest challenges on the small size? Battery? Space for stuff? Weight capacity? We are thinking of buying a carrier for the hitch to carry chairs, cooler, etc.

5). We want bathroom and a shower although I don’t know how much we will use the shower.

Thoughts on our plan?

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:07 AM   #2
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1. Only you can determine the Floorplan, features, quality level and price that meets your needs, and I have owned neither of these rigs, so I won't comment on your selections.
2. You will LOVE a B for this purpose, but probably wont end up staying at the LaQuintas too often.. Your plan to travel daily is basically what we do, it allows for your alternator to charge your batteries so you will probably not require generator use, or an expensive lithium battery system.
3.I don't know. We love our propane cooktop, fridge, furnace and water heater - lasts for weeks..
4. Our biggest challenge is getting enough time off to be on the road! If you find a floor plan with enough storage, you will not require a carrier for the hitch (which in my opinion, is a pain, and extends the length of your van) We carry everything you mentioned easily plus an oven, and other bulky items.
5. Good plan; we wanted the same, and got it, and don't use the shower often, but it is GREAT to have when you need it. The toilet needs the space anyways, might as well have a shower.
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Old 05-31-2018, 02:55 AM   #3
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Propane is not that bad, except for the refrigerator. One can live with an absorption fridge (we did for a decade), but once you have owned a compressor unit you would NEVER go back. The former is a constant science experiment. The latter is just like the fridge in your kitchen at home.

We have an Espar diesel unit for heat and hot water. It is really nice to have a furnace that uses the same fuel as your engine, but it isn't life-changing the way a compressor fridge is. Propane furnaces and hot water heaters are fine. But if you have diesel or petrol heat, a tank of propane can last for years.
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:37 AM   #4
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A good set of questions to be asking. The last two posts have good info that matches my experience.

I found that having a dealer nearby is pretty important during the first year or two so warranty work is easier. So you might want to look at other models that are nearby. These type of class B’s are fairly complicated and need some shakedown time and likely at least some warranty work. But worth it to get everything working right.

While my 2013 Roadtrek RS Sprinter has a propane system, the refrigerator is all electric and has worked well. Nothing like good food and cold drinks in the boonies.

One advantage to having both batteries and propane is that it gives you some redundancy in case that one or the other is having problems.

The shower may not be essential and I have only used it maybe once per year. But it has let me take care of some business visits while on the road but needed to be presentable.
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Old 06-02-2018, 02:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. For those of you with 144” sprinters, where do you keep camping chairs and do you use outdoor grills and if so do you connect to the propane or use the small bottles and where do you stow the grill? We don?t have an RV dealership within a couple hundred miles of us so that doesn’t help on the selection. If you guys get a chance, can you compare features and reputation on the PW Ascent and Midwest Automotive Passages and share your insights? I am concerned that there is so little written and discussed about Midwest Automotive.

Thanks,

Mike (DaBears)
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:41 PM   #6
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Default Think small in a Class B

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Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. For those of you with 144” sprinters, where do you keep camping chairs and do you use outdoor grills and if so do you connect to the propane or use the small bottles and where do you stow the grill? We don?t have an RV dealership within a couple hundred miles of us so that doesn’t help on the selection. If you guys get a chance, can you compare features and reputation on the PW Ascent and Midwest Automotive Passages and share your insights? I am concerned that there is so little written and discussed about Midwest Automotive.

Thanks,

Mike (DaBears)
The whole point of a Class B is a small footprint...so, we keep two chairs in the back... sometimes take an easy up canopy.... very small folding table...

Propane is never a problem... most truck stops have it along with diesel..and ours lasts about a month...we have a 12 gallon tank onboard..you need to find a technician usually during the day...not self service!

Outdoor grills... skip it and use the campground...psst... even if you had an outdoor grill...you can't use it at Walmart!

No RV dealership within 200 miles? Yes, that will make shopping for one with a competitive price harder...call someone in a larger Metro area....

Are you limiting your options to a 144 inch wheelbase? WHY?


Good luck.....
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:44 PM   #7
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A good set of questions to be asking. The last two posts have good info that matches my experience.

I found that having a dealer nearby is pretty important during the first year or two so warranty work is easier. So you might want to look at other models that are nearby. These type of class B’s are fairly complicated and need some shakedown time and likely at least some warranty work. But worth it to get everything working right.

While my 2013 Roadtrek RS Sprinter has a propane system, the refrigerator is all electric and has worked well. Nothing like good food and cold drinks in the boonies.

One advantage to having both batteries and propane is that it gives you some redundancy in case that one or the other is having problems.

The shower may not be essential and I have only used it maybe once per year. But it has let me take care of some business visits while on the road but needed to be presentable.
I have a 2012 RS Adventurous.... with 41,000 miles... purchased last year from original owners through a dealership..they were turning it in on a new model...

What's your experience been so far with the Roadtrek? Let's talk via email....

---MARK
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:37 PM   #8
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I really would like the 144” wheelbase to work. We have about 22’ on our driveway and I like the idea of fitting into a regular parking spot. As I said, our goal is to take it on two week vacations and it will be our primary form of transportation while traveling. We really would like to road trip to see baseball or football games and concerts. I think we can pack creatively to make it work and use the back hitch carrier when necessary. What do I really give up space or functionality-wise by going with the shorter B? Storing offsite is an option but not a preference.

We are retired and love to travel but the new dog is causing us to rethink how we travel. Looking at a new hobby as well. One of our neighbors has a 170” Advantage RV and they also were torn with getting the shorter wheelbase from PW. In the end, they just felt the smaller one would be cramped. After retiring we really downsized and prefer simplicity wherever possible. I get the sense there’s nothing simple about RVing but the Class B short body seems more manageable in visiting friends and driving in larger cities.

I appreciate all your thoughts on this and, again, advice on PW vs. Midwest Automotive is appreciated if anybody is familiar with the two models.

Thanks,

Mike (Da Bears)
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:04 PM   #9
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Default I would give some serious thought on the company's history

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I really would like the 144” wheelbase to work. We have about 22’ on our driveway and I like the idea of fitting into a regular parking spot. As I said, our goal is to take it on two week vacations and it will be our primary form of transportation while traveling. We really would like to road trip to see baseball or football games and concerts. I think we can pack creatively to make it work and use the back hitch carrier when necessary. What do I really give up space or functionality-wise by going with the shorter B? Storing offsite is an option but not a preference.

We are retired and love to travel but the new dog is causing us to rethink how we travel. Looking at a new hobby as well. One of our neighbors has a 170” Advantage RV and they also were torn with getting the shorter wheelbase from PW. In the end, they just felt the smaller one would be cramped. After retiring we really downsized and prefer simplicity wherever possible. I get the sense there’s nothing simple about RVing but the Class B short body seems more manageable in visiting friends and driving in larger cities.

I appreciate all your thoughts on this and, again, advice on PW vs. Midwest Automotive is appreciated if anybody is familiar with the two models.

Thanks,

Mike (Da Bears)

Mike, a lot depends on how close the dealership is to you .. another factor is the price, warranty and of course, how long have they been in business.


Don't know how long PW has been around... looks like 1986... that doesn't mean they are better than Midwest... just keep it in mind.


Also, for me.. it says a lot about a company where they focus on one thing and get it right.... for example, Roadtrek has been building Class B's exclusively since 1974... they don't do anything else


https://midwestautomotivedesigns.com/sprinter-vans

From what I see on the above website... Midwest Automotive, since 2001, has been focusing on just Class B's as well.. that's good.

Pleasure Way, while a fine choice is like Winnebago and builds a Class B+ as well.. they're really Class C's.... And, Midwest is an American company....

You'll have to evaluate all of these things. Best of luck.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:33 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. For those of you with 144” sprinters, where do you keep camping chairs and do you use outdoor grills and if so do you connect to the propane or use the small bottles and where do you stow the grill? We don?t have an RV dealership within a couple hundred miles of us so that doesn’t help on the selection. If you guys get a chance, can you compare features and reputation on the PW Ascent and Midwest Automotive Passages and share your insights? I am concerned that there is so little written and discussed about Midwest Automotive.

Thanks,

Mike (DaBears)
Hi Mike,

We have 2 "Larry" chairs that we store out back under the sofa. They are quite small and one needs to be "euro-sized" for them to work for you. They are very well made and small. You could fit larger but we have 6-plastic drawer storage containers out back too. We haven't brought a grill along yet.
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:13 PM   #11
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Hi Mike,

We have 2 "Larry" chairs that we store out back under the sofa. They are quite small and one needs to be "euro-sized" for them to work for you. They are very well made and small. You could fit larger but we have 6-plastic drawer storage containers out back too. We haven't brought a grill along yet.
OK... what exactly are they..... comfortable?? We just purchased new chairs from camping world.... first set were a frame and cushion...new ones are folding... pretty compact..

Could you please send a picture?
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:42 PM   #12
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I have an all-electric van...no propane. Diesel for heat, electric for everything else. Since I too drive almost every day, at least a little, I have plenty of battery power from my engine generator and battery bank. No need to plug in unless want to run ac all night. I like the simplicity of having one less system to maintain - I fill fuel tank, fill water tank and I'm off to the woods!
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:45 PM   #13
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OK... what exactly are they..... comfortable?? We just purchased new chairs from camping world.... first set were a frame and cushion...new ones are folding... pretty compact..



Could you please send a picture?


If you have a glass of water maybe not. Glass of wine and you prob think they okay. My wife loves them. They do fold up small and fit in a nice zippered bag.

https://www.amazon.com/TravelChair-1...2BL&ref=plSrch

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Old 06-04-2018, 05:37 PM   #14
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We just got our Ascent after changing from the Lexor to Ascent at time of delivery! So far the smaller size is working out just fine including town driving, short trips, week-long trips and such. Probably won’t use the shower but the toilet is a must and doing fine. We feel confident that by making the last minute switch, we did the right thing. One thing we don’t have is a dog, but just talked with another Ascent owner who has a Goldendoodle and they seem to love it.
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Old 06-04-2018, 07:48 PM   #15
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My wife and I are also early retired and wanting to travel more so than be campers. We'll not stay in one spot for more than a day or two while in the RV. After much research and comparisons, we bought a 2017 Ascent. The quality, use of current technology and then the Mercedes Sprinter were an overwhelming combination. With the Class B on the 144 wheelbase, we love the size and ability to get in and out of most any driving situation. My wife can drive it and feel comfortable, and that was an essential factor. A challenge is storage space. Where do you put a couple nice folding or bag chairs? We "think" we would also like a mattress cover but where do you put it? We plan to be gone for 60 to 90 days at a time, spending time in the RV and then using hotels or glamping for the other. I do the cooking so plan to use the cooktop in the RV. As an alternative plan, buying a hot plate would work out well. We're struggling with the storage and may buy a cargo box like a StowAway2, this would solve our issues with storage, but then we have this thing hanging off the back. We're leaving in the next week and figure we'll buy one on the road as we go on our adventure. We haven't found the LP or emptying black or grey water to be an issue at all. Hope that helps.
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Old 06-04-2018, 08:36 PM   #16
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A regular length Sprinter is about the same length as a short one with a storage box hitched onto the back, just less interior storage. Either one will work for most Class B lifestyles, unless you have an equipment-intensive hobby, such as kayaking or golfing. Then, the XL might work better.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:09 PM   #17
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Default The differences are the wheelbase, 144, 155 and 170

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A regular length Sprinter is about the same length as a short one with a storage box hitched onto the back, just less interior storage. Either one will work for most Class B lifestyles, unless you have an equipment-intensive hobby, such as kayaking or golfing. Then, the XL might work better.
In addition to the wheelbase is the single and dual rear wheels.... which can handle significantly more weight...it's not just the length....
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:11 PM   #18
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In addition to the wheelbase is the single and dual rear wheels.... which can handle significantly more weight...it's not just the length....
Really meaningless chiche...if you know what I mean.
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:35 AM   #19
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A regular length Sprinter is about the same length as a short one with a storage box hitched onto the back, just less interior storage. Either one will work for most Class B lifestyles, unless you have an equipment-intensive hobby, such as kayaking or golfing. Then, the XL might work better.
Here's a picture of my rig.... it's nearly 23 feet, 9 feet 7 and 80 inches wide...3.0 turbo diesel engine
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:45 AM   #20
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Mike, it seems like you’re not getting answers to the specific questions you’re asking, but I think it’s difficult to answer because picking the right class b, like everything else, is a personal choice. It’s really unfortunate that you can’t find one of these vans to test out, I understand cause we had a similar issue in Charlotte, but i’ll give my opinion.
Between the two vans you’re looking at, I personally think the PW Ascent is the better of the two. You really can’t beat PW when it comes to quality. Yes, ALL RVs have issues, but when it comes to the class b market, PW is one of the best in terms on fit and finish. No staples used when building, quality real wood, lithium batteries standard on all models, multiples wiring, etc. No i don’t work for them , i’ve done my research and tested A LOT of models before settling on a Lexor. The first PW we looked at, after testing a few other manufacturers vans, was an Ascent and my wife and I we stunned by the quality. The floor plan works very well also. The lounge in the back feels very open and spacious especially being surrounded by picture windows. They use the short wheel base very well. Another good thing is the entire passenger side has windows so changing lanes is easier than on other models.
So why did we not go with an Ascent? The Lexor’s extra space, though not much on paper, made a difference. We too have a dog, two actually. German Shepherds, and needed the extra space. Same quality, same floor plan, but more space and less expensive.
I will admit, the Ascents 1 foot shorter wheelbase makes it easier to park anywhere, but the Lexor is not too bad either. We also preferred the gas generator over the LP one on the Ascent, but that’s not really a big deal. Like someone else said, you can LP just about anywhere.
Ok so what are cons? Well, unlike something like the Winnebago Travato models, the PWs are short on space. Like most every class b, there’s no outside storage, but unlike some other models like the travato, there’s no storage under the beds, or the floor. For stuff like folding chairs and an outside grill, the Ascent only really has small space on the floor behind the couch. You will need to be smart in your packing. You could get some folding chairs that would fit in the overhead, but you really do travel light when in a class b. I wouldn’t worry there cause you’ll learn the cram a lot in your van with practice. The Travato, our option b, has great space in both the K and G floor plans, along with the good OCCC rating. But it just couldn’t touch the PW in quality.
Another con with the PW for us is the absorption fridge. Now, this is very personal thing. Absorption refrigerators are the default in the RV world, but when you’ve experienced a compressor version, like in the Travato, you realize quickly how ancient the absorption models are. It’s been a pain for us because, like you want to do, we use our van almost like a second car. We go to local parks, restaurants, go shopping and visit friends and family because the vehicle is easily maneuverable. The problem is you always need to be conscious of parking on level ground if you want your fridge to work. That’s not always easy when you use your RV that way. Sometimes we may need to park on a slope or something. This is not an issue with a compressor refrigerator.
So far these are the only issues we’ve had. again, these a very personal. You guys may be fine with them, but I will encourage you to find a way to test these vans for yourself. At least step inside them. Maybe you could visit an RV park and speak with an owner. We RV folks tend to be quite nice and don’t mind giving tours of our vans. Also take a look at the Ultramobility YouTube channel. Neil owns an Ascent and, though he’s biased to PW like I am, gives some good advice and does some comparison videos.
Hope this helps and happy shopping.
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