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Old 08-19-2019, 10:43 PM   #1
CDM
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Default Resale of RV Manufactured vs. Upfitted van conversion

Currently owners of a Lance Truck Camper and Dodge 4WD diesel truck. It has served us well but as we age, we are considering moving to a Class B for numerous reasons. There are so many choices today, buying a traditional Class B, i.e. Winnebago or looking to have a van conversion company make one custom.
Assuming all things are generally equal as to the price/options on both, I am a bit concerned about resale of a van conversion. While RV manufacturers do come and go, as a prospective buyer, the unknown surrounding a Van Conversion company gives me pause. I would love to hear the forum members thoughts as to resale comparing the two. I am a new member and loving this site, many thanks.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:19 PM   #2
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The deciding factor for me wasn't resale. I bought our class B to spend family time together and i know it's a terrible financial investment.
I chose to have a conversion shop build mine because there were no RV manufacturers that built the floorplan I wanted. I'm glad i did because I fit a dinette/bed in the front and a sofa/bed in the back with a shower and kitchen in the middle into a 20ft van.
You can visit the sportsmobile website to the design your own section and play around with different vans and options until you find exactly what you want.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:23 PM   #3
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Default Class B Resale

Thanks Jon, love the options and the work Sportsmobile does. As senior RVers, I am mindful that there will come a day when we will have to hang up our keys, hopefully not for many years. But the financial commitment is significant, hence my worry. I appreciate your response.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:46 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum CDM!
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:49 PM   #5
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A couple thoughts. Having one designed specifically for you is the advantage of a conversion. But the fact that you can't find one from a major manufacturer that meets your needs may indicate your needs aren't typical. So the used market for your unique features may not be very large.

Most of your resale value is going to be lost the day you drive it off the lot. So, while a major manufacture model may have some advantages in the resale market, you are probably talking about a marginal difference. If you decide to go the upfitter route, I would pay attention to the chassis and component manufacturers. Those become your "brand" when you are reselling.
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Old 08-20-2019, 01:02 AM   #6
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Thanks for the welcome and great perspective. I am leaning toward a Travato but then looking at the custom options, my head starts to spin with all the choices and great materials. Budget will likely result in buying something used unless I can convince my husband to get a part time job. Again, thanks for taking the time to respond.
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Old 08-20-2019, 01:30 AM   #7
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"Budget will likely result in buying something used"

In that case it probably doesn't matter. You should both pay less and re-sell for less. But I don't think a used upfitter will drop in price significantly faster than a used Travato.
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Old 08-20-2019, 01:46 AM   #8
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Default There's a lot of choices; no question

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Thanks for the welcome and great perspective. I am leaning toward a Travato but then looking at the custom options, my head starts to spin with all the choices and great materials. Budget will likely result in buying something used unless I can convince my husband to get a part time job. Again, thanks for taking the time to respond.
Be careful not to make any hasty decisions... and right now you're in a good place for negotiation.....RV sales are down and the Internet is littered with articles about this and the predicted recession.

My advice to you is purchase used and pay cash... there's a tremendous amount of money being made on the financing for RVs... and they are a huge depreciating asset.... just buying one and letting it sit or with very few annual miles... loses $5,000 or more per year....new ones can lose $10,000 per year...

Now.. the good news... they are a lot of fun... try to rent one first....

Here's the thing..... what do you want to do.....

We love to tour and when we take our rig we usually travel thousands of miles away.... therefore, if fuel efficiency is paramount, consider a diesel engine.....We recently returned from a trip and covered over 2,100 miles and only used $345 in fuel.....

You might not think about how much fuel you use on a daily basis, but, over the lifetime of ownership.. fuel is the most expensive thing you're going to see.....it adds up very quickly.....

And, I know, some people may say... yeah, but, the maintenance on the diesel is a lot.... it's more expensive, yes, but, the service intervals are longer.... and the engines are more long lasting..... again.. some people won't believe this... unfortunately...... I've known people who easily went 500,000 miles on their diesel......

And, the resale value is higher on the diesel......

All boils down to what you want..... test drive a lot of them, you'll figure out what you like.....

Good luck......
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:02 AM   #9
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Just what I was looking for- different perspectives to aid with this complex yet exciting purchase. As an owner of a diesel truck, my husband is a firm believer in that as a fuel option. Thanks again to all for your insight.
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:03 AM   #10
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Default Please remember this important point

Resale value is only important when you want to sell.

If you plan on keeping your RV long term....it doesn't matter what the price or depreciation schedule is...
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:09 AM   #11
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I was told to buy used, let someone else work out the bugs. I think there is some truth in that if you aren't someone who just prefers to have something new. RV's are like new houses, there is usually a punch list of things that need to be corrected if you aren't paying for a custom home.

On financing, interest rates are low and going lower. Financing part of it makes sense if you can get a low enough interest rate and your money is invested properly. That is particularly true if the cash has to come out of tax-preferenced retirement accounts.

Obviously you will have to pay some interest, but you should also be getting a return on your money. These things do depreciate and they are not investments, so you don't want to take out a 20 year loan and find yourself under water when you go to sell. If you figure it will depreciate at $5000 per year, then you want to be paying at least $5000 in principal on your loan every year. That way you are paying for what you use each year.
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:16 AM   #12
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Just what I was looking for- different perspectives to aid with this complex yet exciting purchase. As an owner of a diesel truck, my husband is a firm believer in that as a fuel option. Thanks again to all for your insight.
As the owner of a diesel truck, I'm sure you know the advantages.......

If you have not already experienced a 21st century diesel with the very quiet engines... you're in for a treat....

A lot of very uninformed people out there can't appreciate the fact that diesel engines have a tremendous amount of low end torque which is exactly what you need in an RV.....

My engine develops the full 325 foot pounds of torque at 1,400 RPM....and only red lines at 3,800... I don't see it going that high unless I'm stepping on it....

Gasoline engines are designed to rev high and they don't get full power until 4,000 RPMs.... driving in hills makes a difference....The diesel engine doesn't need to be spinning at higher RPMs in the mountains.... just a little over 2,200 RPMs....... gasoline engines need to spin a lot higher and consequently are frequently noiser.....

RVs....by nature, are going to be noiser than any car.... it's a big boxy van.... but, Class B's as a group seem to be better made, tighter fitting rig.....

Best of luck in your search....
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:40 AM   #13
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I can't stand it anymore,


Here is the tq and hp curve for the pre 2008 6.0L gas Chevy, non turbo. This is lower tq and hp than the current 6.0.






At 1400rpm, it looks to have about 310 ft-ft lb of torque and at your 3800rpm about 355 ft-lbs, plus it still has another 600 rpm before the hp peak and 1200 at least to redline.


It has your max of 325 before 2000 rpm and maxes at 360 ft-lb. The numbers don't lie, look at the curves.


And if you compare the 6.0 Chev to an Ecoboost turbo, it look like a wimp so you can imagine what it makes a Sprinter diesel look like, or most any other class b engine, plus it doesn't lose much at high altitude because it is a turbo.


Bottom line is that there is nothing magical about a diesel over a gas, and a gasser designed for low rpm torque and with a turbo will do at least as well as a diesel.


I see Sprinters on Craigslist with new engines before 200K regularly, just like most other engines, again no magic there. Some last longer some less, just like other engines. Just saw a Promaster at 70K with a new engine and transmission.


I think it was davydd that stated his 3.0 Sprinter would be at 3500 rpm or more when climbing, which is right where most 6.0 engines are also run, so no difference there, except the 6.0L gasser will be able to make a lot more power.


You have diesel, and you like it, we get that, but we don't have to accept all the wildishly exaggerated claims about superiority and how we are all stupid for not understanding that they are correct.
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:42 AM   #14
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As the owner of a diesel truck, I'm sure you know the advantages.......

If you have not already experienced a 21st century diesel with the very quiet engines... you're in for a treat....

A lot of very uninformed people out there can't appreciate the fact that diesel engines have a tremendous amount of low end torque which is exactly what you need in an RV.....

My engine develops the full 325 foot pounds of torque at 1,400 RPM....and only red lines at 3,800... I don't see it going that high unless I'm stepping on it....

Gasoline engines are designed to rev high and they don't get full power until 4,000 RPMs.... driving in hills makes a difference....The diesel engine doesn't need to be spinning at higher RPMs in the mountains.... just a little over 2,200 RPMs....... gasoline engines need to spin a lot higher and consequently are frequently noiser.....

RVs....by nature, are going to be noiser than any car.... it's a big boxy van.... but, Class B's as a group seem to be better made, tighter fitting rig.....

Best of luck in your search....
I don't want to start an argument but I sold my 2015 diesel Sprinter because of all my modern diesel emissions problems and bought a gas Ford Transit with the EcoBoost engine. This gasoline engine is phenomenal it makes 400 ft lbs of torque at 2000 rpm and it has 310HP which makes passing fun. Not that I drive my RV like that, but there are always slow drivers on two lane roads. As far as gas mileage goes it doesn't get that much worst than my diesel Sprinter. I'm just saying that gasoline engines have really improved in the last few years.

Then there is the issue of idling to charge batteries. I was told not to idle my diesel for extended periods.
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:51 AM   #15
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I was told to buy used, let someone else work out the bugs. I think there is some truth in that if you aren't someone who just prefers to have something new. RV's are like new houses, there is usually a punch list of things that need to be corrected if you aren't paying for a custom home.

On financing, interest rates are low and going lower. Financing part of it makes sense if you can get a low enough interest rate and your money is invested properly. That is particularly true if the cash has to come out of tax-preferenced retirement accounts.

Obviously you will have to pay some interest, but you should also be getting a return on your money. These things do depreciate and they are not investments, so you don't want to take out a 20 year loan and find yourself under water when you go to sell. If you figure it will depreciate at $5000 per year, then you want to be paying at least $5000 in principal on your loan every year. That way you are paying for what you use each year.
Ross, I purchased a 5 year old model... and got a decent price, but, with sales tax and insurance and registration...it adds up.....

I originally financed it for 20 years at 5.99 percent....it goes up and down...that was two years ago.....

Here's the bottom line....on an $87,000 purchase, the finance charges if I had stayed the course of the payments would have been an additional $57,000.... that's a lot of money...in interest.....

Do you think it's worth it.....? I don't.

Plus, there's a lot of extra expenses.... just maintenance, insurance, registration every year...yeah, my annual license and registration is over $600 per year... that's just the privilege of being able to drive it the road..... don't tell me it's just $5,000 per year..... it's not true.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:05 AM   #16
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Default 18 to 20 MPG.... really.. at 60 MPH...

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I don't want to start an argument but I sold my 2015 diesel Sprinter because of all my modern diesel emissions problems and bought a gas Ford Transit with the EcoBoost engine. This gasoline engine is phenomenal it makes 400 ft lbs of torque at 2000 rpm and it has 310HP which makes passing fun. Not that I drive my RV like that, but there are always slow drivers on two lane roads. As far as gas mileage goes it doesn't get that much worst than my diesel Sprinter. I'm just saying that gasoline engines have really improved in the last few years.

Then there is the issue of idling to charge batteries. I was told not to idle my diesel for extended periods.
I just returned from a trip and got as much as 20 MPG..... kudos to you if you can get this from a Ford Transit...

The Transit and the Sprinter are very different vehicles... the Ford Transit sits a little lower, I think.....

I don't drive fast in my Sprinter...60-62... I've found that the lower speed is more relaxing, better control for emergencies and better MPG.....

When I'm driving the RV... the journey is the destination....

If I want to go fast.... I might as well be driving my Subaru Outback.... that cruises at much higher speeds and you never even notice it....

I have a solar panel system... always charging my batteries. And, when I'm driving, the batteries charge too.

As per the diesel engine emissions system... it's a concern of mine... however, Mercedes Benz dealership replaced and updated my entire emissions system in 2018...we went across the USA, over 11,000 miles.... and when we got home the whole system failed.... replaced under warranty around 40,000 miles......I was extremely lucky and impressed by how they did that.....

What happened to your emissions system on your old 2015?

I'm not saying anything about the Mercedes Benz emissions system being perfect... it's a terribly complex system..

My vehicle is a 2012 ..so, I was just under the warranty for the emissions system.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:17 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=Roadtrek Adventuous RS1;98214]I just returned from a trip and got as much as 20 MPG..... kudos to you if you can get this from a Ford Transit...

The Transit and the Sprinter are very different vehicles... the Ford Transit sits a little lower, I think.....

I don't drive fast in my Sprinter...60-62... I've found that the lower speed is more relaxing, better control for emergencies and better MPG.....

When I'm driving the RV... the journey is the destination....

If I want to go fast.... I might as well be driving my Subaru Outback.... that cruises at much higher speeds and you never even notice it..../QUOTE]


So now all the torque at lower rpms you have bragging about being so great compared to gassers doesn't matter? just because you found out a non turbo Chevy has better specs?
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:33 AM   #18
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\If you have not already experienced a 21st century diesel with the very quiet engines... you're in for a treat....
If you have not already experienced a 21st century diesel emissions system... you're in for an ..ah.. experience.

Before you commit to a DEF-equipped diesel, please take the time to review folk's experience with them, both here and at Sprinter-Source. Everyone (myself included) falls in love with these wonderful engines until the find themselves stranded on the side of the road in the middle of a precious vacation with a limp-home condition or an emissions-related "10 starts remaining" indication. I personally have had THREE vacations ruined by such nonsense.

My MY2014 MB diesel I4 engine really is a wonderful powertrain when it is working. But these vehicles have reliability records that wouldn't impress in the mid 20th century.

Never again.
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A lot of very uninformed people out there can't appreciate the fact that diesel engines have a tremendous amount of low end torque which is exactly what you need in an RV.....

My engine develops the full 325 foot pounds of torque at 1,400 RPM....and only red lines at 3,800... I don't see it going that high unless I'm stepping on it....

Gasoline engines are designed to rev high and they don't get full power until 4,000 RPMs.... driving in hills makes a difference....The diesel engine doesn't need to be spinning at higher RPMs in the mountains.... just a little over 2,200 RPMs....... gasoline engines need to spin a lot higher and consequently are frequently noiser.....
The above is almost total nonsense. If you do an apples to apples comparison of modern engines, you might reach a rather different conclusion.

As I said above, I have the OM651 I4 diesel in a large, fully-equipped RV. It has more than enough power under all reasonable conditions. So, let's compare THAT engine with the new Sprinter I4 gasoline engine:

I4 diesel: 161 hp@3800
266 lb-ft⋅ft @ 1400–2400
transmission: 7-speed

Gasoline: HP: 188 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 2,500–3,500 rpm
transmission: 9-speed

So, the new Sprinter gasser has MORE HP, insignificantly less torque, and two extra gears to keep the engine in the sweet spot. And it develops that torque at 2,500 RPM, NOT 4000. And, if this engine is anything like all other modern gas engines, it will be quiet enough such that it is difficult to tell if it is running or not. And, no DEF nightmares.

It isn't torque that makes your van go, it is POWER. A transmission with enough gears can produce any torque you need if the horsepower is there, no matter what the engine's torque curve happens to be. The new Sprinter gas engine has NINE gears. These transmissions are game changers.

A lot of folks have some very 20th Century ideas about this topic.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:41 AM   #19
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I don't think a 20 year loan at 5.99% is worth it. But I also don't think paying cash is necessarily the best alternative. We bought used, paid about the same as you and paid a little over half in cash with the rest financed over five years. Part of the reason for that was the tax bill if we took that much cash out of a tax-deferred account. At this point our investment returns are probably a little ahead of the game on the loan. But if the market crashes, we will be ahead of the game on the cash side. Splitting the difference was hedge on market investment returns.

Yes, there are other costs that you have whether you pay cash or finance it. But as Uber has proved, its easy to budget those costs, but ignore the cost of the vehicle you are wearing out.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:39 AM   #20
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A lot of very uninformed people out there ....................................
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