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Old 07-26-2017, 07:12 PM   #1
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Well, we flew to Phoenix last week, picked up our new Crossfit and drove it home. We are VERY happy with it so far! I'll add to my review later, but here are the highlights:

Ford Transit chassis. Coachmen used the T350, high roof, extended length, dual rear wheels, gas 3.7L engine. They included the factory options for the towing package, side airbags, but removed the Ford Sync3 system and replaced it with Kenwood, which we are still learning (and will be learning, for the foreseeable future - it's complicated). It has a rearview camera and heated side mirrors. The coach is 22'2" long.

It handled incredibly well! I was concerned the engine would be under-powered, but it took on steep hills with a couple of automatic downshifts, used engine braking going down steep grades and stayed on track with some crosswinds. We got 14 mpg with an elevation increase of 3,000 ft, 108 temps and a headwind; then 16 mpg on level terrain at 102 degrees (increase AND decrease of 2,500 feet). I had a 1986 Mercury with an engine this size and it wasn't nearly as powerful (but I did get nearly 20 mpg.)

In comparison, Winnebago Paseo uses the 3.2L turbo charged engine, which goes like a bat out of...

With the tow package, it will tow 7,000 pounds, although that must be adjusted for the GCVW. At the moment, there is noting we would tow, but it's nice that was included from the factory. There is a tow/haul setting for the transmission.

Layout. Very early Crossfits had cross-coach sleeping like the Paseo, but there are only an handful of those. New versions are like ours, with two twin beds sleeping fore-and-aft, that can be converted into a single bed that is about 4" wider than a queen and about 4 inches shorter. In twin configuration, these beds are only 23" wide. Both DH and I found that to be wide enough, surprisingly, so we didn't have to set up the big bed every night. However, the floorplan of the Crossfit says those beds are 76" long and I don't believe it. Will measure them later, but they sure seemed shorter than that.

The main area is quite high inside, but the AC comes down from the ceiling and there is a 5" step-up in the dining/bed area so my 5'9" spouse barely clears the AC when he steps up to the dining area. You've been warned.

The bathroom is behind the driver's seat, but unlike some coaches, there is several inches of space between them so you can move the driver's seat back or recline it some without running into the bathroom wall. The bathroom is VERY small. In the FitRV video, there is a hinged strip between the doors so they can be held open slightly, but that was not available on my coach because they said it allowed the shower curtain to exceed the floor layout and pour water on the floor outside the shower. I have a better fix in mind than removing that panel, which makes it very difficult to maneuver in there. Will let you all know later if it works...

Next to the bathroom, there is a large AC/DC refrigerator with a freezer on the bottom and a microwave (no convection) above it. I like that I don't have to get down on the floor to access the appliances. Sink and two-burner propane cooktop are on the passenger side.

Storage is very limited because the fresh water tank is under one dinette seat and the Truma heater/water heater is under the other. That leaves the shallow under-floor of the dinette area, overhead cabinets and a short wardrobe, plus the drawers under the sink/stove.

The passenger seat swivels, but is difficult to use. Also, the distance between the front seats, along with the parking brake, built-in cupholder/trinket tray and overhead storage compartment, make it REALLY, REALLY difficult to transfer from the front to the back from inside the coach.

REALLY difficult.

Functionality/Comfort. Comes with 100w flexible solar panel and one more could be added. I think they chose flexible to reduce wind resistance, but these coaches only come in dark colors (unless you special order) so having rigid panels on a rack would have shaded the roof in addition to producing power. perhaps I am biased since we picked it up in July in Phoenix.

Comes with Fantastic rain-sensor fan. But since windows on the side aren't awning-like (as on the Sprinter) and the fan closes if it rains, you can't get much ventilation under those circumstances.

Generator is an Onan QG 2800. Ironically, QG stand for Quiet Gas. The gas part is true - it runs on the chassis tank. The AC is a Dometic, lowest setting is "Hurricane" and it goes up from there. Between the AC and the generator, I slept comfortably but had to wear earplugs.

Gravity dump with separate black and grey water tanks and a fitting on the side of the van for a tank flush.

Truma Combi worked very well. We used it with shore power, but it can also run off propane.

Cool extras. The Crossfit comes with retractable screens on the side and back doors, which we used and enjoyed. Also, it has dimmable LED lights in various zones (overhead, galley, dinette, under-cabinet, etc. And, in case you haven't seen this, the cabinets have frosted fronts and there are colored LED lights in there that you can set to blue, pink or yellow/green. I confess that when I first saw this feature on the FitRV video, I thought they were useless and, well, a bit juvenile. But they are way cool! It's nice to sit in the van in the evening with low-colored ambient light. Turns out it's really soothing and I like it way more than I thought I would. Sadly, they aren't dimmable, because that would be even better.

The fit and finish of the Crossfit is overall very good. The cabinets are mostly solid maple, with nice, heavy hinges and a simple pinch-lock mechanism that was used on my first kitchen cabinets. I think they will be far more durable than the type I have seen in Roadtrek and Winnebago coaches, but only time will tell.

Unfortunately, when looking behind the drawers of the galley, we could see that the walls of the chassis were insulated, but there was no insulation over the ribs, meaning there was significant heat transfer. We will be working on the areas that are accessible. The wheel wells did have sound-dampening.

The countertop is Corian, flooring is vinyl. The Ford seats are left untouched; the dinette seats are a cloth-textured vinyl. Easy to clean, but I'm going to want more padding for something I sleep on so will be adding more foam and a cloth cover.

Conclusion. It is always scary being an early-adopter of a new product, but I think we will be happy with this van for quite a while. It's not as big or as fancy as some that are out there, but it has all the basics and uses mostly tried-and-true components.

Let me know if you have any questions of if I left anything out.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:44 PM   #2
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.

+1

Sounds good.

Congratulations !


ps. somehow I also thought you were buying a diesel.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:56 PM   #3
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Well, we flew to Phoenix last week, picked up our new Crossfit and drove it home. We are VERY happy with it so far! I'll add to my review later, but here are the highlights:
Did Ford rework the hand brake to permit the driver seat to swivel?
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:07 PM   #4
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I understand that is coming in the 2018 Transits. Our chassis is a 2017.
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:13 PM   #5
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.


ps. somehow I also thought you were buying a diesel.
DH wanted a diesel because we have had such a great experience with our 1996 F350, but right now, unless you special order a Transit, diesels are only available in Sprinters and I argued successfully against another Mercedes. I once got bad fuel in my MB SLK and we had to rent a trailer, winch it up and drive 200 miles to the nearest dealer, then rent a car to get home and then take another car to go pick it up.

Since we want to travel the West, where MD dealers are very uncommon outside larger cities, it seemed prudent to get an American vehicle. He found the Promaster too uncomfortable (and, arguably, it isn't really a US product...)
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:56 PM   #6
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Checked out some videos. I like it!
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Old 07-27-2017, 01:43 AM   #7
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.... He found the Promaster too uncomfortable (and, arguably, it isn't really a US product...)

Well... the Transit is European as well.


Or should I say... they are all "International" now.
Both the Transit and the ProMaster have an European designed shell,
and North American engines.
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Old 07-27-2017, 03:31 AM   #8
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Congrats on your new home! That was an excellent road test - comments will be beneficial to others checking out the newer B's...especially with a gas engine - service anywhere.
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Old 07-27-2017, 04:08 AM   #9
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Well... the Transit is European as well.

Or should I say... they are all "International" now.

Both the Transit and the ProMaster have an European designed shell,

and North American engines.

A few years ago it was rumored that Chevy/GM would join the others and bring one of their European vans to the US market. But on March 6, 2017, General Motors (GM) and PSA Peugeot-CitroŽn announced their agreement that PSA would buy GM's Vauxhall and Opel subsidiaries in a deal worth £2.2 Billion. So now that GM has sold off the Vauxhall/Opel brand probably not going to happen. Maybe the will bring out a new American designed van?



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Old 07-27-2017, 01:44 PM   #10
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A few years ago it was rumored that Chevy/GM would join the others and bring one of their European vans to the US market. But on March 6, 2017, General Motors (GM) and PSA Peugeot-CitroŽn announced their agreement that PSA would buy GM's Vauxhall and Opel subsidiaries in a deal worth £2.2 Billion. So now that GM has sold off the Vauxhall/Opel brand probably not going to happen. Maybe the will bring out a new American designed van?

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GM has the Nissan small van.

If they partner with Toyota or any one of the Japanese manufacturers, that would be a better move than going European.


Oops I better stop here... we are hijacking OP's thread.
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Old 07-27-2017, 02:22 PM   #11
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Hijack away!

I'll be adding to the post as I discover new delights or dismays so we'll get back on track eventually. No worries.

Actually, I sort of like the way threads meander here - makes them feel like real conversations.
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Old 07-28-2017, 05:20 AM   #12
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Kudos to Forest River/Coachmen for making those changes so quickly to the interior. Really like that cabinetry!
I had wondered about the 3.7 vs the 3.5 EcoBoost. Like to hear more on that.

How was the pricing compared to the Paseo. Those are going for the mid-upper $80's.
Which color did you get? Again kudos for offering 2 colors....
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Old 07-28-2017, 06:24 AM   #13
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I test-drove a Paseo so can make some comparative statements, but these are only my opinion, YMMV, as they say.

Engine: The Ford Transit comes as a 3.7L, 3.5L twin turbo, or a 3.2L diesel. Right now Crossfit only comes in the 3.7L although they are considering other options. The Paseo only comes with the 3.5L twin turbo.

The twin turbo was incredibly powerful! I only took it for a test drive on flat land, but I have no doubt that it will climb mountains very well.

However, the 3.7L that came in the Crossfit carried us through steep inclines, 108 temps and headwinds and the temperature needle stayed right in the middle. I drove about 55-60 mph because I didn't know the vehicle well, but the transmission and engine pairing was impressive. The engine noise increased when it downshifted, but the van didn't slow or lug.

Having driven both, I would probably have preferred the 3.5 twin turbo engine, but have heard reports that it can have issues with the turbos so perhaps the 3.7L may prove more reliable in the long run.

Price: A dealer near me has a half-dozen 2017 Paseos for USD $87K, some with roof racks, solar, etc. The Crossfit doesn't offer a roof rack as an option, but 100W solar is standard. I think the fit and finish is nicer on the Crossfit and if they can develop a reputation, eventually they may sell for more than the Paseos. They certainly seem interested in customer feedback and improvement, which bodes well for their future.

We paid several thousand less for the Crossfit than a Paseo, but had to travel to get that price and accept that this particular dealer drives the vans rather than trucking them, so mine came with about 2,000 miles on it. The dealer had mixed Yelp reviews, which were probably deserved. DH and I decided that we would do the best we could with the pre-purchase inspection, but not expect any help from the dealer thereafter. It was a calculated risk.

We chose blue and it is really lovely! I asked the factory rep what the ratio was and she said dealers are ordering an equal number of the Magnetic grey and the Blue, but when I went looking online, I found twice as many grey vans for sale so I assume the blue versions are leaving the lots first. I did ask if they were going to offer a white or light silver (the dark colors are HOT) but the rep said they chose the blue and grey to minimize contrast with the black plastic panels that run the length of the van along the bottom edge. I don't mind the contrast when I see it on delivery vans, but must admit the darker colors look pretty nice.
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Old 07-28-2017, 05:22 PM   #14
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I've driven all the engine versions of the T350HD Transit, although I didn't spend much time in the 3.7. All had 3k lb loads in them. I relished the 3.5 EB and the diesel. Both had loads of low end torque. Puts a smile on your face..

From the pics of the insides I've seen, the finish on the Crossfit's cabinetry does look nicer and a lighter color which we like. That dovetail work in the drawers is really nice.

The Paseo and Crossfit are pretty much clones of each other inside, with the Paseo having the huge bathroom in comparison. We like the fold down sink idea to save space in there.

Not that you've had it very long, but how does the installation of the accessories inside look and feel? The fits of the solar readout, Truma control etc. Bathroom doors, fridge fit. I'd sure like to hear about your impressions of the workmanship behind the cabinetry, such as wire routing, water line routing. Is it just a big bundle of spaghetti, or neatly installed. Winnebago is very weak in this area.

We went on a tour of the Winnebago class B factory a couple weeks ago and there were no Paseos in the plant at all. He said they were taking some time off building them, (which tells me they ain't selling well maybe?) Ford's plant in Kansas City has been down for the last 3 weeks waiting for parts for their driveshaft recall, which may be part of the reason also. Although there's only so much room in WGO's plant and they are running full out building Travatos in a ratio of 4 or 5 T's to 1 or 2 ERAs/Paseos right now and have been for several months but getting further behind every day.

Anyway, how bout a couple pics if you can swing it?
Thanks for your info....
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Old 07-29-2017, 01:31 AM   #15
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I'll get pictures as soon as I can. DH and our youngest are leaving for the weekend. In the meantime, here are two videos.



At 10:05 of the FitRV video, James opens the bench seats to show the water tank on one side and the Truma combi on the other. Next to the Truma is the wiring for the converter, but I don't think you can see it very well. Our coach has those plywood seat tops screwed down so getting in there for pictures is more of an effort.



This video shows the configuration that we have.

Note that this floorplan is slightly misleading. Those bench seats are actually 67" long. You get to 75.5" once you flip up the extensions at the back and rotate the armrest down. You cannot have the full extension with the back door screen in place.

The differences in the layout are that the Paseo is a cross-sleeper, which was not acceptable for us. The front bathroom is bigger, but that aluminum tambor door rattles the whole time you are driving and we couldn't figure out a way to stop it. We speculated that door would be a future problem because of the way it slides in the track and the way aluminum corrodes, but others can comment better than I on such things since I don't actually have any experience with one. I do wish Coachmen had widened the bathroom, especially since it is across from the sliding door and there is room for a couple more inches.

IIRC, the Paseo bathroom is closer to the drivers seat and may impact the ability to recline the seat or push it back further for tall drivers. Not an issue for us.

We only looked at one Paseo, but the vinyl padding around the rear doors had come unglued from top to bottom, there were two loose screws rolling around the floor (which turned out to be missing from the hinge for the drop-down counter shelf - holes hadn't even been drilled) and the covers they made to go over the Transit driver and passenger seats had unfinished edges. Can't be too picky about that last one, though, since the Crossfit doesn't even bother to cover the Ford seats.

Will get more pictures when I can. I do have some of the undercarriage but I'm still sorting through them for what might be relevant.
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:35 AM   #16
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In other news, I might have some helpful information on the batteries...

For those who remember, I called four people at the Coachmen Class B division, the Western area sales rep, and three dealerships and NO ONE could tell me where the coach batteries were! Even when someone went away and asked the service department or if they worked in the service department, I got some wild answers, from "its under the driver's seat" to "there are a total of eight, four on each side" (obviously confused with the Galleria model with the electric beds). So here's the real scoop:

There are two CHASSIS batteries under a hatch under the driver's seat. These are from Ford and the second battery is an upgrade (thank you, Coachmen!) to the basic Transit package. There are points for jumpstarting under the hood - that is, you don't have to get under the driver's seat to jump the batteries.

The two COACH batteries are suspended underneath the chassis in the back - one on each side of the spare tire. They are 12V 105ah deep cycle, wet cell, Duracell batteries. They appear to be sealed so no maintenance required. (My concern with wet cell was how the heck I was going to get to them to check the fluid level, but that is not an issue, apparently.)

If we understand it correctly, the power management is automatically controlled by the GoPower Solar controller. After going around and testing with a voltmeter, and talking to GoPower, it APPEARS that what the controller refers to as "Battery 1" is actually the 2-battery bank for the chassis that is under the driver's seat and "Battery 2" is the 2-battery bank that operates the coach. The controller always fills Battery 1 before filling Battery 2.

Yesterday, we unplugged from shore power at 7am and let the refrigerator (and whatever else draws from the batteries) run. The display indicated that Battery Pack 1 (chassis batteries) fluctuated between 12.9 and 13.1 during daylight hours; at midnight, it was at 12.6. Battery Pack 2 (coach batteries) started at 13.3 and at midnight was at 12.1. We plugged back in at midnight since we didn't want to damage the batteries.

What I don't know is whether the "rule" of charging pack 1 first gets bypassed if pack 2 drops below a certain level. More testing is planned.
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Old 07-29-2017, 04:10 AM   #17
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.

Thanks for the update.

It is good to know you have 2 chassis batteries and 2 coach batteries.
Looks like you are all set to go.
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Old 07-29-2017, 06:12 AM   #18
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Great info! The second chassis battery is kinda overkill if you ask me with a gas engine. Having the solar connected also to the chassis battery to me is a super idea. Again kudos to Coachmen. Now just to figure out the charging sequence for sure.

I had seen the FitRV video last fall when it was new. Lots of small changes since then. Hadn't seen the other one which was very informative. Thanks!

Something else I just thought of, what brand is the converter and does it have the smart charging feature?
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:12 PM   #19
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Here are images from under the drivers side. First shows the grey and black tanks. Not sure if we have to worry about freezing or what to do about it.

Second is drain piping leading to dump.

Third is propane tank (won't need to get that filled anytime soon). The generator runs on gasoline from the engine and propane is used for the Truma and the cooktop. We will also be getting a portable gas grill. We hear the Magma is very good.

Fourth is the propane controls at the edge of the van.

The last photo is of the passenger side rear showing the battery housing, spare tire and generator.

Info about converter and pics of inside will have to wait until after the weekend.

Thanks for your interest!
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 20 DSCN3247.jpg (166.6 KB, 74 views)
File Type: jpg 21 DSCN3246.jpg (131.4 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg 22 DSCN3244.jpg (196.3 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg 10 DSCN3242.jpg (181.0 KB, 67 views)
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:08 PM   #20
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I've never heard of having two chassis batteries. Whyever would you want anything like that? It is basically only for starting... right? So why two?
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