Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-02-2013, 06:27 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: White Pigeon, Michigan
Posts: 3
Default To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum here and I hope to fit in as well as possible. I am really undecided about whether to buy or build my own class B right now. There are a lot of nice units out there on the market but they seem to be cookie cutter in their own way and there are some things I would do different or have to modify to my satisfaction.

I think cost wise I could save a TON of money since I would do most of the work myself, I have construction, plumbing, electrical (both 110 and 12 volt) skills from house remodeling, mechanical, and also my 12 volt knowledge as an amateur radio (ham) operator. The only parts of the work I would get help on or have it done would be installing the hi-top and the windows as I don't have the tools for that and thats a huge thing to make sure they don't leak.

Another reason I believe it would be more cost effective is because I grew up around Elkhart County Indiana (I live just north of there now in lower Michigan), SUPPLIERS GALORE around here. There are places to find everything you need to put into a campervan.

So again I'm up in the air about buying a class B and tearing into it or just build my own and be happy with my own creation.

Thanks for any input and advise. Jim
__________________

McJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2013, 06:48 PM   #2
Platinum Member
 
markopolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 7,808
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

Welcome to the forum Jim.
When you buy a new or used Class B you get all or most of the following:

Isolator separates house battery from engine battery to prevent a dead engine starting battery
House Battery(ies) provides 12v power to the coach
House Battery Disconnect Switch disconnects the house battery to prevent discharge
Converter provides 12 volt DC and charges house battery when plugged into grid
Inverter gives you 110 volt AC from a 12 volt DC source
Generator used to provide 110 volts AC
110 volt electrical panel with breakers
12v distribution panel with fuses
Transfer Relay - automatically switches from generator power to grid power
Fridge
Stove top
Furnace
Thermostat
Water Heater propane or combo propane and electric, can be DSI (lit automatically) or pilot light (manual)
Water Heater by-pass valve used when winterizing
Water Pump
City water connection lets you use campground water instead of onboard water
Fresh water tank
Fresh water tank fill
Fresh water tank drain
Waste Tanks
Waste Tank discharge valves black tank and grey tank dumping valves
Waste hose storage
Front seats may swivel to face rear of van extends the van living space
Propane detector 12v propane leak detector
C0 detector carbon monoxide detector
Smoke detector
Monitor panel showing propane, battery charge state, water and waste levels
Propane fill valve
Propane shutoff valve
Propane Tank
110 volt 30amp power inlet
Cable TV inlet
TV antenna
TV outlet
TV, stereo
Shower
Ventilation Fan
Air Conditioning (both for the coach and the cab)
Rear Hitch
Toilet
Sink(s)
Fitted cushions
Lighting
Exterior storage compartments
Curtains or blinds / shades

--------------------------------

I think the most difficult things to do would be:
1. cabinetry - the design, layout and construction.
2. shower
3. waste tanks

A good used Class B would be easier to start with and then you can customize it a bit.
__________________

__________________
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/m...icture206.html & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...vana-5864.html
markopolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2013, 08:39 PM   #3
Platinum Member
 
AmCruiser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Maine
Posts: 102
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

Jim,
I was thinking along the same lines as you until I stumbled on to a great deal on my used B and it became OBE. Prior to the B, we had a used high top Sherrod conversion van that I bought off Craig's list. We had it fixed up with a small electric cooler for a fridge, a Coleman propane camp stove, and a porta-potti. It was pretty basic but we had a blast with it and were talking about buying a used Sprinter or similar delivery van when I retire and doing our own conversion. I still think it would be a lot of fun to do and would give a real sense of accomplishment when complete. We are still trying to decide what to do when I retire as we tend to travel a lot. I'm now leaning toward picking up a B+ or small C but who knows, its still 3 years away and between now and then, I might change my mind and resurrect the "build my own" plan.
Randy
AmCruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2013, 10:35 PM   #4
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 792
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

I think I could build my own but my wifes patience would be an issue. I think a used B on a Chevy,Ford or Dodge could be bought used much cheaper than I could build myself,but a Sprinter would be a different matter. The cheapest class B on this chassis is still in the high $30k range. I have seen reasonably price used cargo van Sprinters that don't look too used up in the $15k range. One had a genny and a roof air with 115,000 miles. That would have been a great starter but alas, I must have a low van for my music. If you decide to DIY, please keep us informed. Sportsmobile website could give you lots of ideas and plans.
stanw909 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2013, 11:06 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sarnialabad, The Newly Elected People's Republic of Canuckistan
Posts: 3,214
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

Another thought might be if you could find a used ambulance or even some sort of limousine or commuter van (like airport limos use), a patient transfer vehicle, or something along those lines. You might consider a small used diesel school bus, as a subject to convert. Some of these vehicles will have some of the RV systems roughed in and might save you some of the tough stuff, like the raised roof, etc.
Unless your heart is set on starting from scratch, then the suggestion to see what Sportsmobile has to offer might be a good thought. They might even do the stuff you're leery of (for a price), and then turn the shell over to you to finish.

Oh yeah, welcome. There's a great group of people on here from all walks, and just about every level of expertise, and technical knowledge, you'll probably ever need as a class B RV reference tool. I'm just a couple hundred miles up the pike from you across from Port Huron. There, you've been warned.
__________________
It's not a sprint(er) (unless you make it one), it's (hopefully) a marathon.
RV - 2018 Navion 24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 04:59 AM   #6
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 792
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

I only suggested Sportsmobile for ideas and plans . It seems like the OP has the ability and knowhow to do it himself.
stanw909 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
Platinum Member
 
markopolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 7,808
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

Yes - Sportsmobile would be great to use either for just planning or for a basic finish-it-yourself at home campervan.
__________________
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/m...icture206.html & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...vana-5864.html
markopolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
Platinum Member
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sarnialabad, The Newly Elected People's Republic of Canuckistan
Posts: 3,214
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
I only suggested Sportsmobile for ideas and plans . It seems like the OP has the ability and knowhow to do it himself.
Sorry Stan, if this reply was intended for me. I was adding to your idea.
In the original post, he said, "The only parts of the work I would get help on or have it done would be installing the hi-top and the windows as I don't have the tools for that and thats a huge thing to make sure they don't leak. ". Like you, I was suggesting Sportsmobile as an option, because they could do those things, and then turn the shell over to him to finish.
Actually, if he lives near Elkhart, IN, there are probably shops near there that can do the same stuff, maybe cheaper.
__________________
It's not a sprint(er) (unless you make it one), it's (hopefully) a marathon.
RV - 2018 Navion 24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 09:07 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 792
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

Sorry. I misunderstood but you are correct. It is very common for people to have SMB do basic important systems and the have SMB add to it in piece meal fashion or even DIY. The tops installed by SMB seem a little on the expensive side but no doubt very good work.
stanw909 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2013, 11:54 AM   #10
Platinum Member
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sarnialabad, The Newly Elected People's Republic of Canuckistan
Posts: 3,214
Default Re: To Buy or Build your Class B Campervan

No problem.
A few years back, I looked into what would be involved in replacing a damaged raised roof for my Roadtrek, and asked the guys at Roadtrek Service. Their opinion (paraphrased) was that it would be a difficult task to replace one, and very expensive, based mostly on how much stuff is placed in, or run through, their raised roof, by design. I guess I'd have to decide whether it was worth it, if I ever needed to replace mine. I don't know if insurance would cover the cost, unless it was a result of truly accidental damage like a fallen tree, and not more of a self inflicted problem like driving through a posted height restricted obstacle, like a fast food drive thru.
So, beware the "low bridge" alerts when driving.
__________________

__________________
It's not a sprint(er) (unless you make it one), it's (hopefully) a marathon.
RV - 2018 Navion 24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU
Mike 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 04:16 AM.


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