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Old 09-13-2016, 10:53 PM   #1
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Default Young RVers Looking to Downsize

Hey All -

My name is Michael Boyink and together with my wife we run the DitchingSuburbia website. We've been fulltime RVers with kids for 6 years now.

But our oldest moved out, and our youngest is now 18 - so we are dreaming of downsizing to a Class B from our 34' Fifth Wheel.

I'm here to research the ins/outs of the different models and basically know what to shop for when the time is right.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:47 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

I encourage you to read some posts, and then ask some questions. We're usually a friendly bunch who like to help out.

One fear I have for you is that going to a B might feel small for you coming from a 34' fifth. I think layout is what you should be concentrating on, so you have something that feels roomy like the fifth wheel was.

One thing you'll enjoy about a B is the maneuverability. You can take a B almost anywhere a car can go
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:11 AM   #3
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yes, our advantages are always ease of driving, parking and mpg.

the downside is size, space and cost- B's cost more per square than other rv's- consider that on many builds every piece of wood has to be cut and passed in through a hole and assembled in place- wiring and plumbing done in place- so labour costs are high.

continually the 2 of us look at larger rv's and admire the features- once parked, but when we are moving we are very happy with our choice.

I found that looking at units and youtube videos helped my to figure out what we wanted...for us it turned out to be:

bed size

chassis- chev gas


less important was size of head ( larger head, smaller other spaces) or seating for others, just the 2 of us. models with extra seating may have large overhanging cabinetry or compromise ( my judgement) the bed using a sofa bed.

we did a rental in ireland which helped us figure out if we even wanted an rv at all.

read up on some posts- the recent paseo thread was interesting to me in that I commented on the bed and found that other owners had very different needs than I

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Old 09-14-2016, 06:04 PM   #4
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Thanks..

Don't fear on our behalf..

It's just a RV purchase. If we try it and don't like it we sell off and move on to the next thing.

We're both comfy with the size of a B and familiar with the maneuverability of them - it's what brought us here to research further.

I'm also considering a DIY build so that we get something perfectly suited for our needs and of better quality than the RV folks put out.

Lots to think about yet though.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:08 AM   #5
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If you have the skills, go for it.


I'm really very happy with the fit, finish and systems designed into my PW.

a 10 year old which has held up very well and 2 years ago wasn;t all that pricey...we had budgeted more than twice what we ended up spending

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Old 09-16-2016, 12:25 AM   #6
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I've love to build a Class B.

Given the shop, tools, and supplies I'd just about do it for free even if the end result wasn't mine. I've built Jeeps and restored old Bantam Jeep trailers - about the only thing I miss while being on the road is my shop.

One big reason to DIY for me is I'd love to build something not so "obviously-RV-looking". The earlier Sportsmobiles I've run across aren't bad, but some of the other brands & models seem visually overloaded for the size. We'd like to be more stealthy while exploring urban areas.

I'm investigating stepvans and small box trucks - but figure there's tricks to learn from the factory-built Class B world even if I go that route.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:32 AM   #7
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You will find lots of examples of DIY builds on the Sprinter Source, Transit USA, and Promaster forums on the web...
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyink View Post
One big reason to DIY for me is I'd love to build something not so "obviously-RV-looking".
It is quite possible to build a B-van that has almost zero hint of its RVness. Some tricks:

--Use a split DC-powered A/C, mounted under the vehicle.
--Use a compressor fridge with no outside venting
--Lose the awning--we never use ours anyway
--Use an Espar diesel-fired hydronic heat/hot-water system, which gets rid of the furnace vent and the hot-water heater panel
--Skip a TV antenna. Just add a small MiMo LTE antenna and stream your video from home using a SlingBox.
--Mount your water, shore power, and dump fixtures down low, behind fiberglass rocker panel doors.

About the only thing left is a solar panel. If you mount a smallish one centered on the roof, it would be barely visible. You want some solar for battery health--but beyond that, there is not much point in a larger one unless you are going whole-hog.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
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You will find lots of examples of DIY builds on the Sprinter Source, Transit USA, and Promaster forums on the web...
Except I wouldn't be building on any of those platforms..but thanks..
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:45 AM   #10
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Except I wouldn't be building on any of those platforms..but thanks..
Okey, Dokey...

What vehicle do you plan to use?
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:58 PM   #11
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Nothing set in stone yet - just all those options are too new & expensive for our budget.

My leading contenders for a build would be:

- Stepvan. Aluminum body. Cummings/Alison or Chevy 350 based drivetrains. 6.5' of interior height (I'm 6'3"). Different lengths available.

- Box truck. I like the single-rear-wheel smaller versions that U-Haul and Penske currently use. Overall footprint about the same size as a standard van but with flat walls and roof. This build is close to what I envision, we'd just keep it stealthier.

- Ambulance. I also prefer the SRW versions. Roof raise, cabinetry, 4WD versions findable.
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Old 09-16-2016, 03:20 PM   #12
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Nothing set in stone yet - just all those options are too new & expensive for our budget.

My leading contenders for a build would be:

- Stepvan. Aluminum body. Cummings/Alison or Chevy 350 based drivetrains. 6.5' of interior height (I'm 6'3"). Different lengths available.

- Box truck. I like the single-rear-wheel smaller versions that U-Haul and Penske currently use. Overall footprint about the same size as a standard van but with flat walls and roof. This build is close to what I envision, we'd just keep it stealthier.

- Ambulance. I also prefer the SRW versions. Roof raise, cabinetry, 4WD versions findable.
Very good, I like the box truck build you linked to...
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Old 11-04-2016, 02:00 AM   #13
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Except I wouldn't be building on any of those platforms..but thanks..
Do a YouTube search for DIY camper van or adventure van. I was going to do the same thing, but I just scored a pretty sweet PW for $6500. Inside looks/feels new. Very well kept. So instead of building, it was already done.

The biggest thing to consider with your DIY will be shower and toilet IMO.

I was going to have to get creative and this PW already had it done...so easy choice for me.

Best of luck and post pics.

Mark
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:20 PM   #14
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Another suggestion would be to search full time Class B camper on YouTube. Pretty cool seeing other people's experiences.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:37 PM   #15
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Except none of those are B-vans. I don't see that these box trucks can get you anyplace you can't get to in a small C-class. It won't have near the flexibility of a B van, but should be more comfortable to live in and probably an easier build with all the straight walls. You should save a ton of time by purchasing items like cabinets at a home center.

If you are seeking off-grid mostly, then I'd make this a platform about a large battery pack and design the RV interior around it.

I've found this idea of stealth to be somewhat of a delusion. Everyone can tell if it's a camper. The only person you are kidding is yourself. My view is if you aren't making a spectacle of yourself, 90% of people could care less what you are doing.

There are youtubers that are urban camping on city streets with full blown RV's without any real issues. They just know the ins and outs of it.
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