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Old 01-17-2016, 06:10 AM   #1
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Default New and still just a wannabee

Hi, all! My name's Dave and I'm a schoolteacher from Seattle who's starting to think about a Class B for weekend/summer trips now, and a North American odyssey when I retire in a few years. I'm probably going to be lurking here for a while to learn from all of you, since I have no experience to share at this point - though I did grow up on boats, so I do have some basic understanding of close-quarters living and propane appliances!

My priority is definitely going to be a permanent full-width bed, not a Murphy bed or convertible sofa. I want to be able to keep the bed made up so I can just crawl into it at the end of a long day of driving, hiking, urban exploring, whatever. Also not interested in slide-outs, for reasons of weight, minimizing moving parts, and leaks. I'm a Mercedes fan, and I'm looking forward to learning which coach manufacturers you guys love, and which ones I should steer clear of.

Go Seahawks!
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Old 01-17-2016, 07:02 AM   #2
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Hi Dave,
we went thru this a while ago and I'll share what i can.

the MB's are awesome and drive great- but not all coaches are created budget was about $70K- we looked at a MB based 2010 winnebago era.
It drove great, I loved it. the quality of the coach build was shockingly poor- materials and workmanship ( if you could even call it that). also a motor sofa with the added weight complexity lumps and bumps and mechanism eating up the space underneath.

we kicked some tires - the older Rialta and chinooks were contenders we also looked at roadtreks and some other RV types at a couple of dealer lots.

we decided

1.) we NEED a lengthways sleeper- we are both tall

2.) a domestic chassis is an easier cheaper fix- I own GM's and already have the usual filters and some manuals & know the layout of the chassis- so leaned chev based.
( I don;t know my way around the ford- I often have ford rental vans for work and don;t much like them- the mpg is poor)

3.) ease of driving and parking- spouse does solo trips and will park in friend's driveways

4.) use of space/cabinets. just 2 of us so we don;t need 3rd or 4th seats. don;t like cabinet claustrophobia.

youtube videos from dealers were great at showing features, and I watched carefully how easily the sales guy moved around the coach

roadtrek has old brochures online- which are very helpful

so we kind of limited ourselves to Roadtrek popular models or pleasure-way lexors on a chev chassis- the wide body RT 210 and PW Excel she didn;t like for traffic lanes- and I realize wider isn't better on the narrow dirt roads we sometimes take.
I also did some measurements to see what would fit in our driveway with our other stuff, and the fit through a gate into the sideyard.
a widebody would fit tightly but I would of had to loose a storage shed which I use- I also have a bunch of old Caddys on the side so it's a games of inches sometimes

our budget gave us LOTS of options.

when it came down to it we spent about $30K for a 2006 pleasure way lexor w/ 80K. all service records from a private party ( which in AZ saves 9% sales tax).
I am very very happy with the quality of the coach conversion and the layout of the gas, water 120 vac and 12 vdc systems.

our model has a rear with 2 lengthways "twins" and the center section can be filled to make a "king" it works great for 2 and xl dog.
only 2 seats up front, which swivel, all the cabinetry is maple. we have good open sightlines from front to rear.

before we bought I contacted PW and they sent me pdfs of brochures and owner's manuals for the model we were looking at

Go look around.

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Old 01-17-2016, 03:44 PM   #3
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I'd encourage you to join my facebook group which will open up a diverse group of owners for you. Lots of pictures and even vans for sale.
2019 Winnebago Travato GL
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:49 PM   #4
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Off the shelf dealer sold RVs, the best bed as you describe (for a Sprinter) and the most bang for your buck, IMO, is the Winnebago ERA 70A model.

If you want exactly what you are looking for Advanced RV can build it and much more.
2021 Advanced RV 144 custom Sprinter
2015 Advanced RV Extended body Sprinter
2011 Great West Van Legend Sprinter
2005 Pleasure-way Plateau TS Sprinter
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Davydd View Post
If you want exactly what you are looking for Advanced RV can build it and much more.
Totally correct, and it is a wonderful thing. Note, though, that the "...and much more" part of that statement is important. What is missing from the market right now is a quality upfitter that lets you start with a cost-effective design and customize to suit. This is not at all a criticism of ARV. If you are shopping for "the best" regardless of cost, and if your definition of "best" matches theirs, they simply can't be beat. And, I am sure that ARV would work with a buyer on "value engineering". But, there is a lot of expense built into their approach that I don't think they would be able and willing to shed.

I agree that the Winnebago Era probably provides the best bang-for-the-buck on the market at the moment, but they err in the other direction wrt fit and finish, and will not customize, as far as I know.

There really seems to be no way to do what we did two years ago when we ordered our Legend, which is unfortunate. If I were doing it today, I suppose I would be forced to Sportsmobile or equivalent. The problem with that kind of full customization is that the results typically lack the integrity of a well-thought-out and proven basic design.
Now: 2022 Fully-custom buildout (Ford Transit EcoBoost AWD)
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
we looked at a MB based 2010 winnebago era.
.... the quality of the coach build was shockingly poor- materials and workmanship
I omitted that owners of newer era models say this has been corrected.

but look under cushions and inside cabinets with a flashlight

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