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Old 10-06-2015, 07:43 PM   #1
pgf
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Default remodeling a class B

hi -- as we look at typical small class B vehicles, i find that none of them really have a layout that we want. i'm put off by entering only to be met with the blank wall of a high wardrobe or shower/toilet stall. westy-style layouts work much better for us, except that the width of the bed is often compromised by having to share space with a cabinet. what we value is windows (the more the merrier) and long sight-lines within the van.

so i've been wondering: if we found a used roadtrek/pleasure way/vista cruiser or whatever that was "close", how hard would it be to convert it to what we want? is the cabinetry in a typical RV any harder to cut apart and reframe than than, say, typical kitchen cabinets? i realize there would be finishing issues, where unpaneled surfaces might be exposed. what about converting a shower/toilet stall to a low toilet enclosure? what about removing the toilet (and black water tank?) altogether?

we should probably buy a cargo sprinter, or promaster, and do our own buildout, but i confess that doing all of the electrical and heat and insulation and paneling just to get to the point where i can start building and mounting the furniture is fairly daunting. so i'm trying to figure out how to get what we want from what's available.

thoughts?
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:58 PM   #2
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Have you looked at Safari Condo. I think they may be the type of layout you might like.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:10 PM   #3
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Design your own through Sportsmobile.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:10 PM   #4
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on many models there is an armoire behind the driver's seat, that is easily moved...but storage space is always at a premium.

some models have large built up cabinetry which can be claustro...

we have a model which has well open lines of vision on the pass side. the driver's side has armoire behind the driver's seat ( microwave on top), then the head, and on the back side of that the TV/ent.
we have a small opening window over the galley ( pass side) , the side door window, 2 rear windows ( all std chev) and 2 large read side windows, with opening
( 2006 PW Lexor TD)

I am pretty ok with having the head enclosed.


the cabinetry often has plumbing ( vent stacks all the way to the roof) and electrical behind....possible to tear it all out and be staring at a whole bunch of stuff you need which is no longer ordered.



some guys are DIY- but few of these ( to my eye) come close to the fit finish and quality of a built RV


I'd suggest you look at rv's on youtube and look at the layout and sight lines- that really really helped us narrow down what we wanted, what we needed, what was commonly available
this is similar to ours- the cabinetry on the pass side behind the galley is an option we don;t have:





the models with an "aisle shower" do not dedicate alot of room to the head. it is used with the doors open

I am happy to say that with a budget of 70K, we found a great unit for less than 1/2 that.

Mike
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:11 PM   #5
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Have you looked at Safari Condo. I think they may be the type of layout you might like.
oh yes, i certainly have. lovely. i'm glad to hear that i've gotten our "vision" across -- it seems you knew exactly what it is we like!
if we were at the "buy new" stage yet, they'd be very high on our list, but we're still at the "sure would be nice to do it a lot cheaper than that" stage. i think we're still picturing some combination of used, do-it-yourself, or both.

paul
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:46 PM   #6
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You might want to look for a used Great West Vans Legend. I think we value the same things that you do, and we ended up choosing GWV, primarily on the basis of floorplan. The whole passenger side is all-windows, and many of them have a low chest of drawers behind the drivers seat with a window above it. Others have a higher closet that loses the window. We had ours built with a lower closet and kept half the window. It looks like this upon entry:

IMG_05.JPG

If you want to go upscale, Advanced-RV adopted this same basic layout, and you can customize to your heart's content.
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:05 PM   #7
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we're still at the "sure would be nice to do it a lot cheaper than that" stage. i think we're still picturing some combination of used, do-it-yourself, or both.

paul
It sounds like you don't need a bathroom...

Have you considered a Used conversion passenger Van?
You can pick up really nice used full size conventional (Ford, Chevy, Dodge) conversions (with low mileage) for next to nothing. (some with high tops)

Most of them have a couch in back that folds down to a bed. Windows all around, Walls, ceilings, flooring, extra outlets, all done professionally. Remove the second row of captains chairs, add cabinets of your choice, a cooler or DC fridge, and a tote full of cooking gear (including a propane camp stove) In the winter, take along a portable heater, even a Porta Potti if you need it. DONE.

I think I'll start calling mine a "B-" (as opposed to a "B+")
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:31 PM   #8
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thanks for the sportsmobile and great west legend pointers, folks. we've looked at sportsmobile, and somehow their suggested designs haven't clicked for us. i'll look again -- they sent me their design packet. the legend does look nice -- maybe they could put in a low fridge, to keep the driver side low the whole way.

as for a passenger conversion -- it actually seems to be hard to find one you can actually stand in. many just have "tv tops", which give a bit more headroom while finding your seat, and make room for a tv up front. but i've definitely been including them in my searches.
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:53 PM   #9
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the legend does look nice -- maybe they could put in a low fridge, to keep the driver side low the whole way.
Well, sadly Great West is currently not operating due to a financial imbroglio--they may be gone for good. I was thinking more that a used unit would be a good starting place for your mods.

You could certainly do a low fridge if a small one is OK for you. But you would still have the shower. I have fantasized about a shower with a window and glass walls.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:10 PM   #10
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....as for a passenger conversion -- it actually seems to be hard to find one you can actually stand in. many just have "tv tops", which give a bit more headroom while finding your seat, and make room for a tv up front. but i've definitely been including them in my searches.
Yes.
Headroom is definitely the big trade off
But heh, how many Class B's have..... DISCO LIGHTS??
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:22 PM   #11
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... No bathroom in the way on entry....
...Plenty of floor space to work with...
...Windows that open with screens and shades included...
...17 mpg on the highway...
... Drives like a couch...
... Very stealthy
... and the best part ? $3300.00 with 75000 miles!

...Makes it hard to part with that $75,000.00 for my new Travato...
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:33 PM   #12
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I was thinking more that a used unit would be a good starting place for your mods.
ah! yes, of course.. doh!

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You could certainly do a low fridge if a small one is OK for you. But you would still have the shower. I have fantasized about a shower with a window and glass walls.
i'm not sure i want to know too much about your shower fantasies. but you're right on track with my "more the merrier" windows theme.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
on many models there is an armoire behind the driver's seat, that is easily moved...but storage space is always at a premium.
thanks -- i was hoping that that armoire, especially would be removeable.


Quote:
we have a small opening window over the galley ( pass side) , the side door window, 2 rear windows ( all std chev) and 2 large read side windows, with opening
( 2006 PW Lexor TD)
do the standard chevy windows all open? it seems the trend on "standard" windows these days is to be fixed.

Quote:
the cabinetry often has plumbing ( vent stacks all the way to the roof) and electrical behind....possible to tear it all out and be staring at a whole bunch of stuff you need which is no longer ordered.
yeah, good point about the plumbing...

i looked at your linked video -- thanks!

paul
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:08 PM   #14
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the 3 chev windows crack open -the side door & the 2 rear door windows (were secured by a screw which I removed). stock chev hardware

however open windows means bug screens. the RV windows have screens

the big thing is light- light colored cabinetry and the mirrored doors on the can help

For ventilation a fantastic or similar roof mounted fan is imperative, esp if cooking with gas.

mike
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:17 AM   #15
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I bought a 136" WB high-roof Promaster. We installed maximum windows all around. Crosswise permanent bed with storage underneath. Tables pull out from under bed for use with folding chairs. Potty is a folding seat, only for night-time. Next step is cabinet for fridge and sink (jugs, not tanks) behind the driver.

Things about this you might like: full windows, no cabinetry above window line, 4.5' x 5' clear area--we can actually walk around.

I think starting from scratch would be easier than remodeling--just like with houses. When you tear into a used one, you'll probably find all sorts of stuff that needs fixing.
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Old 10-07-2015, 02:14 AM   #16
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some guys are DIY- but few of these ( to my eye) come close to the fit finish and quality of a built RV
Mike
The quality of a built RV is often questionable. Anything out-of-sight, like insulation is often neglected. And materials & construction haven't changed much over the years either.

I agree, few of these DIY'ers come close to a first class finished product. But do you measure yourself with the average or with the best?

My opinion is that nothing give more satisfaction than DIY and the result will fit your own lifestyle, even if the finish is not professional.

Van Williams
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