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Old 01-18-2018, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default Aktiv vs. custom

First time buyer here, trying to decide between buying an Aktiv vs. a custom build that would be essentially the same except with diesel engine and heat, induction stove, no propane system. Thoughts?
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:58 AM   #2
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I have asked a few conversion shops about doing the same also. The reason I like the Aktiv is because of the two seats behind the driver with the raised floor. What I've been told is that they cannot offer the seating arrangement that Hymer does because they don't have the resources to certify the seating in that configuration. I became sidetracked with business stuff so I haven't researched further.
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:37 AM   #3
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You can come close to your desired configuration with Safari Condo. They offer their Flex on the Sprinter model.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rothskeller View Post
First time buyer here, trying to decide between buying an Aktiv vs. a custom build that would be essentially the same except with diesel engine and heat, induction stove, no propane system. Thoughts?

What do you like in the Aktiv that you want to duplicate in a custom?


What do you NOT like in the Aktiv that you DO NOT want to duplicate in a custom?
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:46 PM   #5
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What do you like in the Aktiv that you want to duplicate in a custom?


What do you NOT like in the Aktiv that you DO NOT want to duplicate in a custom?
Good questions.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
What do you like in the Aktiv that you want to duplicate in a custom?


What do you NOT like in the Aktiv that you DO NOT want to duplicate in a custom?
BBQ,

Just wondering - have you seen an Aktiv first hand yet?

I am compiling a short list of "B"s to consider and I had the Aktiv quite high on my list based on brochures - and especially from watching the "Russo's" youtube videos.

On Thursday however we had the chance at the Toronto RV show to go into an Aktiv 2.0 as well as a couple of other makes on the same Promaster
chassis (RT Zion and PW Lexor)

Of the three, the Aktiv seemed really claustrophobic inside, especially with its extremely narrow aisle that requires even small folk like us to walk sideways!

My "Better half" was dead set against it - and I more or less reluctantly had to agree - as much as I liked the concept of front dinette, I think that we will have to drop the Aktiv from our short list.

We were both really taken by the Lexor, and so far that is our preferred choice.

However I still want to look at a Travato 59k as well as a couple of the Roadtreks, Adventurous, 190, and 210. and also the Pleasureway Plateau FL.

With our driveway limitations we cannot go above about 23 ft - but anyway my feeling is that the more you go above that length, although the extra space may be nice, you are starting to reduce parking and manoeuvering convenience.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
BBQ,

Just wondering - have you seen an Aktiv first hand yet?

...

Yes I saw the Aktiv at an RV show last year,
and spent about half an hour scrutinizing every inch inside.

Your observations are spot on.



ps. unless you like to deal with the shxt every other day,
I would stay away from the cassette toilets. The tank is only 5 gallon. Not sure about the net useable volume. All I know is, 2 people can fill it up real quick. Then you have to find a way to get rid of the stuff or ...
Some people like it. Each to their own. YMMV.
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:20 PM   #8
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.

I would stay away from the Sprinters.

This is the last model year for the current Sprinter.
The new one is already announced,
and big changes are promised (ie better this better that)
If you buy the Sprinter, it will become obsolete immediately.



ps. Personal opinion: I don't like the diesel. The repair is expensive. Plus, it is difficult to find someone to service it when you are outside of the major centers. (note: not all the MB dealers are qualified to service the Sprinter.) When they work, they work great. When they don't work... big headache. Google "limp mode" for detail.

YMMV
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:23 PM   #9
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Yes I saw it at an RV show last year,
and spent about half an hour scrutinizing every inch inside.

Your observations are spot on.



ps. unless you like to deal with the shxt every other day,
I would stay away from the cassette toilets. The tank is only 5 gallon. Not sure about the net useable volume. All I know is, 2 people can fill it up real quick. Then you have to find a way to get rid of the stuff or ...
Some people like it. Each to their own. YMMV.
The cassette toilet is a tough decision for me - I can't decide if it is a pro or a con on our situation!

In 20 years of trailer travel I have always established a house rule that we only "pee" in the trailer toilet - I don't want (EVER) to deal with black tank problems!

So I think that especially since it is just the two of us, the cassette would last us at least a few days without problem. I don't think we ever are likely t be doing a lot of boondocking.

The cassete wold have the advantage that if we used the trailer just on day trips we could dump the cassette when we got home.

On balance though i think I would prefer the standard black tank - and also I would rather not have the added complication and possible failure of a macerator if i could - I'd be ok as long as it also had an alternate 3" gravity dump connection as I think might be an option.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
.

I would stay away from the Sprinters.

This is the last model year for the current Sprinter.
The new one is already announced,
and big changes are promised (ie better this better that)
If you buy the Sprinter, it will become obsolete immediately.



ps. Personal opinion: I don't like the diesel. The repair is expensive. Plus, it is difficult to find someone to service it when you are outside of the major centers. (note: not all the MB dealers are qualified to service the Sprinter.) When they work, they work great. When they don't work... big headache. Google "limp mode" for detail.

YMMV
I don't entirely rule out the diesel models but tend to agree. As well, I'm sure MB dealer network is no where near that of the big three in case of repairs - maybe more costly too?

Our 3/4 ton truck we use with the trailer is V8 diesel. We bought it new and it is now ten years old - had been very reliable, but it did go into "limp mode" once when towing our trailer at 70+ MPH on the interstate in the fast lane in heavy traffic - scary!

Pretty sure we had picked up a load of stale fuel at a small gas station in the mountains - didn't have much choice as we were low of fuel. Poor planning on my part.

As well, getting diesel fuel can still be a bt of a challenge at times finding a station that has it - and that I can get our truck and trailer to the right pump!


On the plus side - it sure drags that trailer up the mountains in the Western US
like a champ! (I sort of like the diesel sound too - maybe it is the 34 years I spent working for the railway!)

Brian.
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:34 PM   #11
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.

Diesel engines used to be the king of torque.
Diesel engines used to be more efficient than gas engines.
Diesel engines used to last much longer than gas engines.

But those are no longer true.

The gas engine has been refined and improved much in the past few years.
You can get just as much torque from a gas engine,
and they are just as fuel efficient.
It is not unusual to see gas engines make over 200k miles, with nothing more than basic maintenance and frequent oil change.

The diesel advantages are still there, but more applicable to big trucks than consumer vehicles.
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:42 PM   #12
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I'm sure you are correct about improvements in gas engine - I paid quite a premium for the diesel when we bought the truck and probably wouldn't do it again.

Not sure about the torque comparison though - I just checked on line and read that the latest GMC Duratec diesel (same model we have but I'm sure ours is lower) is rated 910 ft-lb at 1600rpm!

Brian
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
BBQ,

Just wondering - have you seen an Aktiv first hand yet?

I am compiling a short list of "B"s to consider and I had the Aktiv quite high on my list based on brochures - and especially from watching the "Russo's" youtube videos.

On Thursday however we had the chance at the Toronto RV show to go into an Aktiv 2.0 as well as a couple of other makes on the same Promaster
chassis (RT Zion and PW Lexor)

Of the three, the Aktiv seemed really claustrophobic inside, especially with its extremely narrow aisle that requires even small folk like us to walk sideways!

My "Better half" was dead set against it - and I more or less reluctantly had to agree - as much as I liked the concept of front dinette, I think that we will have to drop the Aktiv from our short list.

We were both really taken by the Lexor, and so far that is our preferred choice.

However I still want to look at a Travato 59k as well as a couple of the Roadtreks, Adventurous, 190, and 210. and also the Pleasureway Plateau FL.

With our driveway limitations we cannot go above about 23 ft - but anyway my feeling is that the more you go above that length, although the extra space may be nice, you are starting to reduce parking and manoeuvering convenience.

Brian
Count me in as someone that was very excited to see the AKtiv. Finally got a chance a couple weeks back at the Northern CA RV show. I had the exact experience. The quality of the Aktiv (I saw the both sizes) was there... and I truthfully like the euro designs and colors. But it was the most cramped of all makes we looked at.

I should say that we loved the ZION. I just feel a little anxious, as Roadtrek does NOT get much love around here. I thought Pleasure-way's products looked great. But I'm not interested in a generator. I was actually disappointed in the two Travatos that Winnebago was offering (59G and 59k)... the value was there, but honestly the build quality and interior pieces seemed a step down from RT, Hymer, and obviously Pleasureway... Oh, and I hate the reduced fresh water capacity on the Travatos when compared to RT. Just my two cents. Still searching and learning. That's half the fun, right?
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:47 PM   #14
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I should say that we loved the ZION. I just feel a little anxious, as Roadtrek does NOT get much love around here.
I don't really think you will see a whole lot of difference in the support or guts of the products between Hymer and Roadtrek, just in the accessories, trimmings, features, etc. More like different models of the same mfg than different company's models, because that is what it is. Support should also be similar.

The biggest issue with the Roadtreks is the battery and electrical things, and most of them are also shared with Hymer, but have 6 year warranty. I think Mumkin mentioned the possibility of getting the old school AGM battery setup in the offerings, and that does make sense.

One plus in the Zion is the macerator with backup gravity system, which IMO is a very nice feature to have.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:09 PM   #15
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Count me in as someone that was very excited to see the AKtiv. Finally got a chance a couple weeks back at the Northern CA RV show. I had the exact experience. The quality of the Aktiv (I saw the both sizes) was there... and I truthfully like the euro designs and colors. But it was the most cramped of all makes we looked at.

I should say that we loved the ZION.
My wife and I just saw a Zion SRT at the Tacoma RV. We previously viewed an Aktiv and it was our number on choice. We liked the front dining and the daughter could ride up front, but with the wide isle in the Zion the rear sofa didn't seem that far away.

The bathroom with the black tank and macerator pump seems would be better than the cassette toilet. I use a cassette toilet now so I'll say this from experience. It works way better if we use our van's toilet to urinate and emergency poop only.

Jon
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:39 PM   #16
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Jon, you have hit the nail on the head. I love the IDEA of the Aktiv. What I mean, is the front dinette/love seat seems like a great idea on paper.. But the world of class B's is all about give and take. Now that I've been inside, it's clear that you lose something when you gain that cramped dinette. However, as a solo and occasional adult couple camping, I'm not sure that front dinette space is worth the trade-off. If I had a child, I would be all over that set-up. There's just no right or wrong... only what's right for YOU. I'm still drooling over that Zion srt. But I'm hoping in the next year or two some of those electrical issues would be sorted out a little. Thanks again for your feedback. Glad to know I'm not on some island by myself. Good luck!
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:52 PM   #17
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On their websites, both the Aktiv and the Zion are listed as having standard AGM batteries, with lithium optional. It is the lithium setups that have been all the problems, so either of the two with AGM should not have the major issues you have heard about here and likely elsewhere. Most of the other quality issues are things you will be able to see on any given van, so you will be able to filter out the lesser versions if there is inconsistency.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:58 PM   #18
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Reading this thread with interest as I am also interested in the Hymer. I was in the 2.0 with power sofa this weekend and loved it. That aisle between bath and kitchen is VERY narrow. Sort of forces one to keep going to the gym... no room for a few extra

But I just couldn't get around the bathroom right behind the drivers seat on the Roadtrek's ...

I have kids (primarily my son who would be traveling with me). We are heavy into chess, Yahtzee, cards etc. -- that table means a lot! I guess I can live with the narrow aisle. I felt the sofa area opened up quite a bit and it felt really nice particularly with the doors open and screen pulled down. I set the bed up and layed on it both ways and felt it was super roomy.

Wish there wasn't this issue of glitchy electronics to deal with as I'd have pulled the trigger already.

I think we would be the emergency #2 only sort of people too. That seems doable for the way I'd use it.
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:07 PM   #19
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Unless you get the lithium batteries and/or voltstart, you are going to have tried and true old school AGM batteries and charging that is very similar to what other brands are still using, like Winnie. IMO, everyone seems to be missing that point. The glitchy has been with the lithium and voltstart equipped units.

Mumkin had the lithium setup taken out of here Roadtrek 170 and AGM batteries installed and has been very happy with the results. Perhaps she will jump in and explain more fully, as she has the most information about the differences.
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Old 01-22-2018, 07:19 PM   #20
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Good point... Mumkin had suggested that in another thread. So it's not necessarily a problematic company to purchase from if you take out the major source of problems?? People don't seem to care all that much for RT/Hymer and I guess in my head it went beyond the batteries and VS.

Eliminating those from an order descreases cost quite a bit as well as sales tax so that would be welcome as I had started out thinking about a TT, and find myself in B world... bring your checkbook, $$$$
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