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Old 05-12-2014, 01:59 AM   #21
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There was a Canadian couple from Calgary at Advanced Fest looking into buying from Advanced RV. They have been discussing that option on Facebook with the BEE Social Group.
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:12 AM   #22
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Good. Lots of oil money coming out of Calgary!

Looks like your new rig will be really high tech and obviate the problems Bers have with the usual limitations of one or two batteries, for example. We too dont like aircon and try to avoid using it. Looking forward to updates and pics as they are available,

AL
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:16 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by gerrym51
Roadtrek does have a dealer network-i'm sure they must have one in your vicinity
Very few dealers keep any in stock here. I would always want to visit the factory first and Winnipeg have two major manufacturers ie GWV(for now) and LTV. But buying Stateside might just be another option too--hadnt considered that seriously before.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:24 AM   #24
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Davydd,

Congratulations!!

After the Advanced Fest, my wife said she thought you would pull the trigger. I suppose we will need to wait until next years B-rally to see it.
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Old 05-12-2014, 05:22 PM   #25
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Inquiring minds want to know---

What does Advanced RV say about idling the Sprinters?
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:42 PM   #26
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The idling time question.

At the Advanced Fest we had that conversation with the MB representative in the room. The MB guy says 3 hours and then you need to drive long enough to clean out the systems. Mike of Advanced RV says they know of people who go up to 10 hours.

Advanced would like to say that it is 10 hours per day. Which would imply you can park for an extended dry camp and charge the batteries 10 hours per day for multiple days. But, what it really means that one can idle the engine for a total of 3 to 10 hours, depending on who you are listening to, before you need to drive the van under load.

To put that in perspective. Advanced installs a second 12 volt alternator that provides the battery charging current. I was told that at high idle it can produce about 200 amps. They also said that running the air conditioner compressor draws about 150 amps from the batteries. So one can run the air conditioner compressor 1.33 hours for every hour the engine is running. If you start out with full batteries, you get to run the AC compressor from the energy that is stored in the batteries for another few hours.
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:58 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by FredA
The idling time question.

At the Advanced Fest we had that conversation with the MB representative in the room. The MB guy says 3 hours and then you need to drive long enough to clean out the systems. Mike of Advanced RV says they know of people who go up to 10 hours.

Advanced would like to say that it is 10 hours per day. Which would imply you can park for an extended dry camp and charge the batteries 10 hours per day for multiple days. But, what it really means that one can idle the engine for a total of 3 to 10 hours, depending on who you are listening to, before you need to drive the van under load.

To put that in perspective. Advanced installs a second 12 volt alternator that provides the battery charging current. I was told that at high idle it can produce about 200 amps. They also said that running the air conditioner compressor draws about 150 amps from the batteries. So one can run the air conditioner compressor 1.33 hours for every hour the engine is running. If you start out with full batteries, you get to run the AC compressor from the energy that is stored in the batteries for another few hours.
Thanks, Fred, that is very interesting. The MB line is similar to what we heard before from them, but on the high end. Advanced is pretty high. I don't know if the fact that folks are successfully doing it is relevant or not. This could easily be one of the those cumulative things, where each too long cycle adds a little more to the plugging until it is too much. Or stated otherways, after 3 hours you get 100% of the crud out, after 10 hours you get 95% out, or something like that. The ones running that long would not see the problem for quite some time, if that is the case.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:40 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Fastpaddler1
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Originally Posted by Mike
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I am very happy for you. Advanced RV seem to make outstanding RVs. Would this be a similar layout to what you now have? I note you are having it custom made to your own liking which is an advantage of Advanced RV. No doubt you will have a lot more battery or solar power for dry camping and so on.

We are pretty much committed to buying here in Canada as the Canada/US dollar rate is a problem for us. I am going to visit GWV in WInnipeg and LTV in Winkler, Manitoba early this June while visiting my siblings and their entourage in Winnipeg.

Look forward to your updates.

Best regards,

Al
The difference is currently around 9% between us and them. A unit selling for C$100,000 here would be cheaper in the US at US$90,000 or less. I think you could probably find a US dealer or seller that would give you at least that much of a break or more on an identical unit to make a sale, and the import process isn't that difficult. It took us less than a month to complete the importation of a trailer purchased in the US last year and we saved about 30% over the best price we could find in Canada. The few Canadian RV dealers I've spoken to about price over the last 6 years, don't seem as flexible and ready to deal, as their American counterparts. US MSRP and list prices usually start lower than here, too. I think they know most Canadians won't try cross border shopping, and so they don't think they need to worry about it.
I know it's not for everyone, but we always compare our prices to theirs when we're looking at a big ticket purchase, because the savings can be on the same scale.
Just food for thought. You're close to Minnesota? Maybe Davydd knows where the deals are?
Actually, Mike, you make good points. I havent considered a US purchase before because I was under the impression that US models were not compliant for Canadian specs & I might have trouble registering here, but people are doing it ok. I was under the impression that a B made in Canada for US destination is different to meet US specs and the Canadian models for sale here are not the same. Is that correct?

I have noted way better asking prices from many US dealers which I could reach by plane or car from Vancouver,BC.
Thanks your info and any further extrapolation would be appreciated.
AL
As far as I know, US and Canadian safety standards are pretty much the same, and in some cases the US standards exceed Canadian ones. Many US RV dealers know the ins and outs of exporting a motorhome to Canada, and are probably the best choice to deal with, because they can help with the logistics and paperwork. We dealt with one such US dealer in Michigan and they were great to work with.
It's been over a year, and ours was a travel trailer, but many of the rules for importation can be found at the Registrar of Imported Vehicles and the Transport Canada websites, including a somewhat convoluted table which defines what can be imported and what may need modifications. I think motorhomes are different from trailers and fivers, but I can't recall the specifics. Have a look at the RIV website to get started.
https://www.riv.ca/VehicleAdmissibility.aspx
The RIV site has an "importation checklist" that can be of assistance before you get started to give you an idea of what they do and what you do and where and when. It's a bit of a read, but if you can save thousands of dollars for a few hours or days of planning, and a bit of legwork, I think it's worth it.
I believe for motorhomes (including class B vans) that after you complete the paperwork in the US, pay for it, get title, recall notice waiver, and other ownership related certificates, you have 72 hours to return to Canada with it at a preselected port of entry (you choose that in advance), and you have to go through US Customs to be checked for I'm not sure what, and Canada customs where they convert the price from US$ to C$ and you pay the GST on that number (paying the GST gives you a temporary plate equivalent so you can drive it to the inspection and get it home, and so on). Then there is an inspection by someone who confirms that what you said you bought is what you have, and then you go to get plates and then pay whatever PST you will have to pay. Since you'd pay PST/GST or HST if you bought in Canada anyway, might as well pay it on a lower starting price? That's how we saw it. We had ours delivered to a location just across the border, where we completed the purchase and took possession and then returned to Canada. I'm not sure, but I think you can drive yours back, but the US dealer will explain your options there. Your Canadian insurance company will usually give you temporary coverage - they'll need a description of the unit, total C$ cost, and the VIN - to get it home and inspected and the rest.
Anyway, see if it makes any sense to you, and you can also google US dealers that export to Canada to look for help getting started, and to see what they have for pricing on what they sell. They usually post it on their websites as "Canadian Customers Welcome" or something like that. I think most of them do it, because it's not that hard, and they like our money, too>
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:17 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
Quote:
Originally Posted by FredA
The idling time question.

At the Advanced Fest we had that conversation with the MB representative in the room. The MB guy says 3 hours and then you need to drive long enough to clean out the systems. Mike of Advanced RV says they know of people who go up to 10 hours.

Advanced would like to say that it is 10 hours per day. Which would imply you can park for an extended dry camp and charge the batteries 10 hours per day for multiple days. But, what it really means that one can idle the engine for a total of 3 to 10 hours, depending on who you are listening to, before you need to drive the van under load.

To put that in perspective. Advanced installs a second 12 volt alternator that provides the battery charging current. I was told that at high idle it can produce about 200 amps. They also said that running the air conditioner compressor draws about 150 amps from the batteries. So one can run the air conditioner compressor 1.33 hours for every hour the engine is running. If you start out with full batteries, you get to run the AC compressor from the energy that is stored in the batteries for another few hours.
Thanks, Fred, that is very interesting. The MB line is similar to what we heard before from them, but on the high end. Advanced is pretty high. I don't know if the fact that folks are successfully doing it is relevant or not. This could easily be one of the those cumulative things, where each too long cycle adds a little more to the plugging until it is too much. Or stated otherways, after 3 hours you get 100% of the crud out, after 10 hours you get 95% out, or something like that. The ones running that long would not see the problem for quite some time, if that is the case.
In addition to what Fred said, driving under load meant at least 40 minutes of driving. That was the consensus.
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:38 AM   #30
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40 minutes is a hefty amount of driving (highway speed I assume if the say under load) for possibly as little as 3 hours of charging. Not a problem if you move every day or two, but could be a pain if you wanted to just plant yourself for a while. IIRC, the earlier load driven time we had heard about was more like 20 minutes?
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:50 AM   #31
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Luckily, you won't need to do it very often, as you said you don't usually need to run your A/C very often, for example. Thinking about it for a minute or two, I find it interesting how similar the A-RV dilemma is to the E-Trek one we discussed a while back, when we had doubts about the whole Sprinter idling issue and the capability of the engine (with it's secret extra generator or whatever it turned out to be) to recharge a heavily used battery bank, and all the rest of the potential problems it presented. Among other things, I find it ironic that if you do choose to run your A/C off your battery bank that you have to idle a 3.0L V6 diesel engine for up to 3 hours, and then drive it for 40 minutes or more to purge the exhaust soot or suffer expensive engine damage, yet it's problematic for E-Trek or Advanced-RV owners to run a generator, gas, propane, or diesel, to the same end, that being to provide power for the A/C.
I just don't get all this modern and very expensive technology, I guess.
If it were me, I'd just get the quietest appropriately fueled generator available, and use it when necessary to charge or supplement my available battery power. Probably nice to have a larger battery bank than a typical class B RV, maybe 400 amp hours off of some matching AGMs - physical space and weight capacity permitting. Maybe a little bit of solar to help things along, too.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:07 AM   #32
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Yep, I think Roadtrek started all the "run the AC on batteries" thing, others have been a lot more practical about the actual limitations.

Mike's thoughts are in line with mine. 400AH of battery, if you need AC when away from shore power Honda 2000 with propane conversion to run off propane tank in van (which I would want for the grill), 400-500 watts of solar, diesel heat and hot water. Best of all worlds, I would think and you have the option of leaving the Honda home if you aren't going to where it will be hot.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:13 AM   #33
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We thought very carefully about this issue when ordering our new GWV Legend. Our van will have a diesel heat/demand hot water system, and Great West was able and willing to do any of the above-discussed options if we wanted. In the end, we concluded that what Mike says is probably right. Eliminating propane is great in the abstract, but a rational analysis seems to lead to keeping a propane tank and genset. There is little downside to having a propane system, even if it is rarely used--the propane will keep until it is needed. This approach is cheaper and simpler than huge exotic batteries and extra alternators; and it is a proven system with little technical risk. Plus, it is nice to have the option to keep a gas stove-top, which many people prefer. I guess if one planned to do a LOT of dry camping that involved extensive A/C in an areas where propane was scarce, it might be different. I am no luddite, and am generally an enthusiast for the latest technology, but I couldn't convince myself on this one.

We decided against an Advanced-RV for various reasons. But had we chosen to go that route, we would have had them put in propane.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:55 AM   #34
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I don't see it as a problem either. In a dry camping situation especially in wilderness situations I am never, based on my 120,000 miles B experience, going to ever run my air conditioner for any length of time let alone run 3 hours on engine idle between driving stints. The Silverlight controls if you set it will automatically start your engine if your batteries get too low. There are safeguards in that if you step on the brake to put it in gear it will shut off. You can recharge your batteries by driving, shore power, high idle, or solar. Lots of choices. I've tried to run all the scenarios and habits and feel we will have no problems. I've dry camped in national parks and forests up to 5 days straight on one battery with little driving. I dry camped in California 13 of 14 days mostly moving around park to park. What I will get is the ability to brew coffee anytime anywhere and run the microwave which is something we can only do now on shore power. Heat and hot water will be off the diesel. Refrigerator will be compressor type. There will be no propane stove top. Thus no generator and no propane. Having never run the air conditioner more than a couple of hours at one time even when on shore power I just don't see it as critical. We never ran it on our Alaska trip. We rarely run it on our spring and fall extended trips in the south and southwest and we have never run it in the Grand Marais, MN CG or national forests on the Gunflint Trail in the summer. Like I have always said before, if you really need air conditioning do as the big boys have to do and seek shore power.

BTW, IMO, there is no such thing as a quietest generator, AC for that matter or engine idling in a shared campground in a wilderness situation. Best to plan ahead and not do any of them. Ad-V RV's best screen enclosures in the B conversion business is the way to go. It works well with our Great West Van and will work as well with Ad-V RV.

With all this, our biggest concern about air conditioning is bringing along our cat that stays inside the van 100% of the time. We would have the ability to air condition the van those short periods of time, if needed, that we might be away during the day for up to 3 hours. I'm not sure we would do that much as we would again plan ahead as we had in the past. Bottom line is we all use our Bs to what they are capable of doing.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:12 AM   #35
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BTW, eliminating the generator on an extended Ad-V RV Sprinter van allows you to put as many as 7 batteries under the floor in the back of the van and have 3 separate "basement" storage compartments accessible under the floor right at the very back of the van - a large center one and two side ones that used to be battery compartments. I also plan to have a minimum height under the beds of 18" clear height (maybe more depending on final design). Right now my GWVan has a clearance of about 11-12".

If you use lithium-ion batteries in theory once installed you should never have to service them for 10 years if taken care of. That is a subject I would like to know more about. Lithium Ion batteries can be discharged down to 20% safely so you actually get more amp hours than AGMs. But I found out that you cannot bulk charge lithium ion batteries when below 32 deg. F. That doesn't seem to be widely known. Ad=V RV is working on that issue.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:27 AM   #36
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Good luck with it, then. You've obviously thought this one out, and have a plan and a lot of confidence. That has to count in your favor. 120,000 miles of experience should help in the planning and design of your off grid camper.
By contrast, Roadtrek doesn't seem to have been overly successful with their non-propane/non-generator E-Trek design, or I'm sure the industry rags would be touting it as a huge success, and the demand would be massive and beyond their production capabilities, and every one else would be jumping on the bandwagon to add it to their "stables" as an option. So far, based on what you've told us, only Advanced-RV seems to be headed in that direction, and offers an "E-Trek"-like option.
I hope Advanced-RV has a better design than Roadtrek to satisfy your class B dry camping desires, or that you have a better design in mind to do it. Either way, they will have built what you've asked for, and it will be your design that makes or breaks in that regard. As you've described the process, at least. Maximum battery count would give you extra duration off grid, or extra solar might also increase your dry camping longevity. Good electronic monitoring of the charging system and the battery bank status will be a must on a complex off grid system, too, I would think.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:07 AM   #37
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Mike,

Many thanks for the info re US purchase which i will copy for my file.

Davydd,

With all your experience especially dry camping you will undoubtedly have lots of power sources for your uses. I recall you had a Sprinter around the age of mine, with one battery and you managed. I do too and when on Gabriola Island with no services i ran the propane generator to charge up my measely one battery every morning. Worked fine. So, my only concern is how expensive your rig will be as it would be likely, outside my price range, Otherwise, wow. Look forward to pics and more info.

I am hoping for something new or almost and a lot more modest in features.

AL
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:30 PM   #38
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Mike,

Advanced RV was working on non-propane, no generator off grid Bs long before Roadtrek. They've never made grandiose comments like running air-conditioning for 9 hours on batteries.

For me it is a balance for what I want to achieve as I mentioned and right now it appears my battery capacity and solar capacity will be about half of what Advanced RV is capable of putting into their B.

The diesel powered hot water and heat systems first put into a Great West Van (2011) by Mike Neundorfer's request and every subsequent Advanced RV was probably the first step in eliminating propane in Sprinters. I am sure others have created systems but I am just as sure it was Neundorfer who did the butt kicking and has gotten some of the major B converters out of their cookie cutter thinking on this.

Keep in mind there is a lot more than a checklist of items to compare. I've had two quality built Sprinters of which I thought were the best I could buy at their respective times in Pleasure-way and Great West Vans. This time around the Advanced RV separates itself from all the others by a wide margin in quality in almost every respect under the skin and on top, and is the only converter who can accommodate my design desires. Size of RV and cost is not a factor. I can afford a big Class A if I desired but I still want only a B and not even a so called B+. Advanced RV is not for everyone obviously as everyone has different criteria. But I will tell you this. There is a reason manufacturers put a window and a light in a microwave oven and I am too old to have to bend down to accommodate that reason. Persistent design stupidity shows with some companies.
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:49 PM   #39
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My microwave is at eye level in my Roadtrek.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:49 PM   #40
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This appears to be a passion for Mike Neundorfer. So I see it as an opportunity to get something overseen by that drive and passion. You'll pay more for it but that is to be expected. It is not required to have fun and there are many good brands and choices out there. I look at it as more of a treat and an Advance RV unit would be at the top of my list if within my means.

I'm looking forward to reading about Alvar as the acquisition and build progresses
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