Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-25-2017, 02:05 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: SoCal Mountains
Posts: 12
Question Questions about bathrooms(!) and wide body vans

Hi everyone!
I am actively looking to purchase my first class B for solo travel and have some concerns/questions for which I could really use your experience and input. My plans are to travel 1-3 months at a stretch and I hope to boondock at least 50% of the time. I do plan on adding solar.

Background: As an older woman with some health issues, my need for the best possible bathroom set-up for ease of use, quick access and privacy is a top priority!! The shower itself is secondary. In the floorplan I would prefer twin beds so that I can leave one made up all the time as my bed and use the other as a couch - or make a second bed when I have friends visit. The power sofas are OK, but not my preference. I don't need any extra seating in the front as I prefer storage.

I would like it to be a gas model as diesel engines are not something I am familiar with - especially the required maintenance and expense - and I prefer the convenience of having easier access to fuel and to mechanics who can work on a Ford, Chevy or Dodge engine.

I have narrowed my search to mostly used Pleasure Ways as I appreciate their quality and found that the PW Excel TD has everything I want i.e. THE PERFECT ease of use bathroom .... and it even has drawers and a window(!) with a regular access door for privacy that you just open a single door and close it behind you - no extensions or fold outs or having to draw curtains (ease of use!). It also has the twin bed configuration and is about 20' long. Note, I so like Roadtreks overall, but darn it, none I've seen in my price range have the ease of use bathrooms as compared to the PW.

I am looking for used but well-maintained with reasonable mileage as the budget is about $40K - $50K. This likely puts me in the 2008 to 2010 model range for the Excel TDs from what I have seen.

However I was not looking for a wide body, so I have questions about it. Is it as easy to maneuver as a regular width van? Has anyone regretted buying the wide body, or anyone who can let my know if they appreciate it over the regular width? Does anyone have specific thoughts as to why they wouldn't get a wide body for themselves? The width would likely not be an issue for parking at home as I don't have an HOA and while traveling I don't think I plan on having to be stealth. Walmart and Cracker Barrel would be my in town options. Out of town I'm planning on staying at BLMs, National and State Parks. (I currently have a 1/2 ton crew cab 4 wheel drive truck as my daily driver so am already familiar with some of the limitations of parking larger vehicles and navigating smaller towns!)

The other options I've found with good floorplans have rear baths and twins, but just are not in my budget - the Coachman Arriva, the Travatos, the Banff etc. as they are newer and are too much $$. I did find the 2006-2007 Pleasure Way Plateau TD has THE perfect layout in a regular width Sprinter van, but it is 4 feet longer than the Excel and is a diesel. My initial thought is I really don't want to go longer as the length of the Excel is perfect for my needs, I am wanting to stay as small as possible but at the same time I still want to have the conveniences I am looking for.

I would love any suggestions for any models I might have missed that are in my price range under $50K used, or any thoughts you may have regarding the ones I am looking at.

Here's a pic of the PW Excel bath - which I find perfect! (it is almost identical to the older 24' PW Plateau diesel bathroom I mentioned)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Excel TS bathroom.jpg (6.9 KB, 246 views)
__________________

GettinHitchy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 02:40 AM   #2
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,905
Default

I don't think the wide body will be much of an issue, as they aren't all that much wider than the stock van, but you should definitely make sure you drive one typical places in your test drives.

Personally, I would be more concerned with being comfortable with the handling of the Ford chassis. Some people have found them to be scary to drive, while others say they are OK, as handling is very very subjective. Improvements can be made to the handling, but have costs involved. Be sure to drive it in traffic, around semis on the freeway with them passing from behind you or you passing them, and in windy conditions, as those are the conditions we all see much of the time we are traveling.
__________________

booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 02:59 AM   #3
BBQ
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: East
Posts: 2,484
Default

.

Winnebago Travato have pretty good size bathroom.



ps. Both Travato models (G & K) come with a bidet hose



__________________
BBQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 03:29 AM   #4
BBQ
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: East
Posts: 2,484
Default

.

Plan on getting a 24/7 gym membership.

The limit to boondocking is not food, but the amount of water you can carry with you.

Most of the fulltimers plan their trips around the gym, so that they can take a weekly unlimited hot shower.
__________________
BBQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 04:22 AM   #5
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: SoCal Mountains
Posts: 12
Default

Thank you, I do love those Travato floor plans - but even used they are $60K+ and the very top of my budget is $50K!!
GettinHitchy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 04:27 PM   #6
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,156
Default

If build quality is not an issue and you can do some of the fixes that pop up, you may be able to find a Camping World Sunlight Van One (same as Carado Banff) for very close to $50K if you are a good bargainer. Many have been on the lot for over a year. It would come with a 2 year warranty from Hymer.

It isn't the great Pleasureway bathroom though. I would also warn against the Ford drive. My first rig was a 2004 on a Ford E350 and it was a horror to drive except on 2 lane roads with no wind.
__________________
Mumkin
2019 Roadtrek Simplicity SRT (almost a Zion)
2015 Roadtrek 170
2011 LTV Libero
2004 GWV Classic Supreme
mumkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 06:24 PM   #7
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: SoCal Mountains
Posts: 12
Default

Hi Mumkin, thank you so much for responding. I had read so much about the build quality of the Sunlights at Camping World, but maybe I'll take the time to see one in person just to double check to determine if that is an option.

Second time in this thread I've been warned about the handling of PW Excels on a Ford 3500 Chassis esp. in the wind and with passing - I'll have to watch out for that for sure.

I've also heard about the older RTs on the Dodge chassis have a tendency to wander as well. Hmmm. I've already ruled out Diesel engines - so it looks like I should see out Chevy, GMC or maybe a ProMaster?

Anyone with "best" chassis recommendations? Maybe if I start at the bottom - literally(!) I can work my way up from there.

Merry Christmas all & thanks for your help
GettinHitchy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 06:44 PM   #8
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 190
Default

I wouldn't necessarily limit yourself to gas engines just because it is new to you. That eliminates a very large percentage of later model Class B's. Maybe there is a reason the big companies now use mostly diesels.

I never owned a diesel engine in my life before I bought a Sprinter Class B. It isn't much different. You just go to the diesel gas pump instead. There are Freightliner dealers and service centers in most areas. My local Freightliner dealer is cheaper for oil changes than the Honda and Toyota dealers that i use for my cars. In fact, the service intervals are longer on my Sprinter (every 20,000 miles although I go a little shorter). You may very well find that a Sprinter is more reliable than an older gas van.
jrobe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 09:59 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Phoebe3's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: California
Posts: 674
Default

GettinHitchy, I see you are CA. If you are willing to consider a diesel, here are three possibilities from the San Francisco area Craigslist:

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/rvs...437039807.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/rvs...432724704.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/rvs...421851387.html
__________________
2018 Coachmen Crossfit/Beyond
Phoebe3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 10:16 PM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: SoCal Mountains
Posts: 12
Default

jrobe - I appreciate the info on your experience regarding diesels, you make a good point - I may have written them off too soon so I will consider them as well. Thank you for the personal experience perspective!

Phoebe3 - great listings!! I've been having trouble finding anything in California (even though I am in So. Cal), these are much closer than all the Florida listings. Diesels may very well fit what I am looking for.

I appreciate both of you pointing out the possibilities!! Merry Christmas!!
GettinHitchy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2017, 11:18 PM   #11
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 51
Default

I would chime in that all three Bay area listings are the classic T1N 5 cylinder diesel known for their simplicity and longativity. Happy shopping.
sebtown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 01:05 AM   #12
Platinum Member
 
Davydd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4,630
Default

I had a Pleasure-way. They are the best of the dealer marketed Class Bs and they have the best designed bathroom, IMO. Your instincts are right. There are some female Pleasure-way Excel TD drivers. Barbara Lee is one I know but I don't know if she is on this forum. She can be found on Facebook and it a frequent contributor on the Pleasure-way group there. She's been to Alaska and back on the Alaskan Highway and has put numerous miles traveling the country. I'd seek her advise.
__________________
Davydd
2015 Advanced RV Ocean One Mercedes Benz Sprinter
Previous Class Bs:
2011 Great West Van Legend Sprinter
2005 Pleasure-way Plateau TS Sprinter
Davydd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 02:01 AM   #13
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 252
Default

GettinHitchy, I think you are certainly on the right track for what you want to accomplish with the PW model you are considering.

We have a 2007 Roadtrek 210P. I think you will find it has an adequate bathroom but not as large as the PW. The RT, best I find the specs for the TD is 23 inches shorter than the RT. The RT has incredible storage: 74 cubic feet without the armoire and 81 with it and the optional cupboard. The RT is about six inches less in height and is one inch wider compared to the TD.

We love our RT for boondocking because the fresh tank is 30 gallons and the grey is 23 vs 24 fresh and 16 gray on the TD (???). Best I could discover the black on the TD is 12 and it is 10 on our RT. Our refrig is large at five cubic feet which also works well out in the boonies.

Tank size becomes pretty important boondocking at times. I could not find any true spec sheets for an older TD to compare to our 210 but based on what I did find for the Ford chassis I think what I listed here is correct but please check them out for yourself.

I have had Ford, Chevy and Dodge RVs over the years and I truly find the Chevy 6 Liter in our 210 to be a wonderful motor. RT 210s in the 2005-8 range had either the couch bed or mostly the twins in some of those years. Ours are the twins and we love them because the storage accessible from the rear van doors under the beds is really large.

Roadtrek 210s generally can be found in the years indicated priced in the $40s. To many of us, these types of Bs are better judged by how they were stored and maintained as compared to the actual model year.

In any event, a PW is a marvelous RV of the utmost of quality. I think most would agree that RTs and PWs in those years (which is your price range approximately) were both very carefully built by two fine family owned Canadian manufacturers.

Paul
Doneworking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 02:41 AM   #14
Platinum Member
 
Bruceper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 644
Default

The Plwasure Way wide bodies are 4 inches wider on each side, for a total extra width of 8 inches.
Bruceper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 04:44 AM   #15
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: SoCal Mountains
Posts: 12
Default

Wow - you all are great. Just finished my Christmas dinner and came back to great information, advice, comments and suggestions. I can't thank you enough!

Sebtown - thank you for the info about the simplicity of those particular diesels. I'm still trying to get over the taller, boxier look of the Sprinters. Not really sure why I'm resisting!

Davydd - I really appreciate your vote and your confidence in the Pleasure Way! The referral to someone who drives an Excel TD is very helpful, I will check into that. Thank you!

Paul 'Donworking' - I was wondering about the Roadtrek 210s because they are available on the well-loved Chevy chassis. It looks like it will now be on my list as well since I'm thinking the wide body is a good option for me. The personal information regarding your own van, the storage and your enjoyment of it along with the comparisons to PW are very valuable to me. The bathroom certainly meets my needs just as well as the PW. Thank you for taking your time to share that important info!

So far no one has provided any reasons not to consider the wide body, and since they meet all my requirements I will continue to look at wide bodies PW and RT along with the Sprinter based models that come up in my searches. Thanks again for all of your help.
GettinHitchy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 04:47 AM   #16
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: SoCal Mountains
Posts: 12
Default

Bruceper - I appreciate you pointing out we are only talking about 8 inches. Some I look at I don't really notice the extra width, but others look pregnant to me! I'm assuming that might be due to the color. Regardless though it doesn't seem to make much difference in being able to park it where you would park a regular van so I won't rule them out.
Thank you!
GettinHitchy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 10:29 AM   #17
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Forest Hill, Maryland
Posts: 12
Default

When I decided to buy a class B, I did a lot of research and found the Pleasure-way Excel TS was the best choice for me. The 8" extra width inside is a major factor. While researching I had read many negative reviews about the handling problems. I also read many reports about it’s fix. I bought the Pleasure-way knowingly prepared for the adjustments and cost. When I first got it, I did have issues with the handling so I did the following and now it handles great, more like a pickup truck. I bought it 4 years ago and have driven it over 50K miles, across country and to Alaska.

1, Had a 4 wheel alignment done to Pleasure-way specs. Not Ford’s
2, Installed Bilstein comfort shock absorbers
3, Replaced tires with Michelin tires
(Total about $1300.00)

A Firestone rear air ride suspension with compressor was already installed at Pleasure-way. (It also comes in handy when leveling as it provides about 4” of travel)


Wandering Wes
2010 Pleasure-way Excel TS
Never a problem, Sometimes a challenge, Always an adventure
Wandering Wes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 01:19 PM   #18
Platinum Member
 
Phoebe3's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: California
Posts: 674
Default

Wes, is there anything behind the sofa in the TS that would prevent the OP from converting it to the TD (twin bed) configuration? There are a lot more TS's for sale and if converting would be possible, she would have a lot more choice regarding price and condition.

Also, does it have an absorption refrigerator?
__________________
2018 Coachmen Crossfit/Beyond
Phoebe3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 03:13 PM   #19
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 375
Default

GettinHitchy, now that your head is full of options, maybe consider another. For $50,000, you can start with a new gas Promaster and upfit it fairly luxuriously to your wants. I have about $40,000 in mine. With that kind of money, you can afford to have almost everything done by someone else if you can't do it yourself, though most surprise themselves at what they can do--this is not rocket science.

We have a number of women on promasterforum.com who are enjoying their self-builds. You would be welcome. Feel free to PM me with questions.

To address your original question, all versions of the PM are 80" wide. Fifteen minutes into the initial drive, the width will cease to be an issue.
MsNomer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 03:43 PM   #20
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Forest Hill, Maryland
Posts: 12
Default

I have not seen the inside of a TD so I really don’t know how much work it would be to convert a TD into TS…. I usually travel alone and just hit the button and drop the sofa to sleep. The wide body Pleasure way TS is wide enough to sleeping width wise. When I travel with someone else, I remove the back rests from the ottoman and store them in the house. This works well for a 2 single bed set up sleeping length wise…. My refrigerator is a Dometic 3 way (110Vac / 12Vdc / Propane). If my understanding of an absorption refrigerator is correct, then yes it is an absorption type.

Never a problem, Sometimes a challenge, Always an adventure

Wes

2010 Excel TS (Buttercup)
Sinking Spur, Giddyup Buttercup
__________________

Wandering Wes is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×