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Old 06-28-2020, 01:56 AM   #1
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Default New to Class B - looking at 2 models and would like some opinions

My wife and I are looking for our first used Class B and have a couple of models we'd like some opinions on. We've seen a 2014 Winnebago ERA 70a with the Mercedes diesel and a 2010 PleasureWay Excel with the Ford V10. Both are in very good condition and are priced in the 55-65K price range (Winnebago diesel has 10-15K more miles on it). We'd be using this for short 2-3 day trips for the 2 of us and would be either staying in a campground or parking at friend's cabins, etc. We may take one longer road trip per year but we won't be living in it for long periods of time. Since we are completely new to this, I'd like any forum owners opinions on either of these models for our first Class B
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:06 AM   #2
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My wife and I are looking for our first used Class B and have a couple of models we'd like some opinions on. We've seen a 2014 Winnebago ERA 70a with the Mercedes diesel and a 2010 PleasureWay Excel with the Ford V10. Both are in very good condition and are priced in the 55-65K price range (Winnebago diesel has 10-15K more miles on it). We'd be using this for short 2-3 day trips for the 2 of us and would be either staying in a campground or parking at friend's cabins, etc. We may take one longer road trip per year but we won't be living in it for long periods of time. Since we are completely new to this, I'd like any forum owners opinions on either of these models for our first Class B

Welcome to the forum Stan!


Both are nice rigs. You'll probably find most debate about diesel -vs- gasoline chassis. Since I don't own a Sprinter or a Ford (my Airstream Avenue is on a Chevy Express chassis), I won't be of much help. Love the big gas engines and have had zero issues with mine in 2-1/2 years. The issues with the Airstream coach features is another story, but I think I've finally got them sorted out now.

You need to check out both and choose the one that's right for you.
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Old 06-28-2020, 04:24 AM   #3
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ERA for the headroom and for better ride
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Old 06-28-2020, 04:26 AM   #4
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welcome- I kinda give same advice over and over


watch videos on youtube showing sales people explaining the features of the RV- more importantly watch how easily ( or not) they move around


take this with a grain of salt:


was very hot on a 2010(?) era and loved the way it drove...the build quality was shoddy- lifting rear cushions showed a number of screws driven "blind" ( not into the wood behind) and poor cuts and ...well, it looked like something I would try to build.
Look for this with the winnie


The Excel is a wide body- look for any rust around the rear doors where steel meets fiberglass.
My neighbor has a 99 and did a self 4wd conversion- he loves his- rust is not much an issue in AZ


I have a 2006 PleasureWay Lexor on a Chev

I am more than happy with the build quality and the layout of the electrical, gas and plumbing systems.
I have solid maple cabinetry, built very well- even the stuff you don't normally see.
I converted our "armoire" into a pantry with a couple of shelves and slide out pot and pan unit on the bottom






in the gas/diesel debate - I can work on my own stuff and have a GMC pick up, so already familiar with layout & had manuals and tools etc. that pushed me to the Chev.


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Old 06-28-2020, 02:33 PM   #5
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I own a Mercedes Sprinter diesel RV and would buy one again but I do everything possible to avoid buying diesel fuel in Minnesota which is mandated to be 20% biodiesel in the summer months. Mercedes does not recommend using more than 5% biodiesel which is impossible in Minnesota. If I lived in Minnesota (as you have listed as your location) and planned to use it extensively in Minnesota, I would not buy a diesel Sprinter.
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Old 06-30-2020, 02:04 PM   #6
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Here we go again. Poppycock. I have 160,000 miles with two Sprinters using DEF in Minnesota.
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Old 06-30-2020, 02:47 PM   #7
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This is right out of my Sprinter Owner's Manual. This was the first thing my Sprinter dealer emphasized to me. You can't buy this diesel fuel in Minnesota and a few other states. My goal would be to get 160,000 miles on just one Sprinter so I avoid Minnesota 20% biodiesel. To each his own though.


Observe the following points to avoid damage and reducing the engine output:
# Fill up with fuels with bio-diesel content of 5% (ULSD) or less, whenever possi‐ ble.
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:16 PM   #8
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Observe the following points to avoid damage and reducing the engine output:
# Fill up with fuels with bio-diesel content of 5% (ULSD) or less, whenever possi‐ ble.

to me (neutral?) this looks more like a manufacturers attempt to weasel out of a warranty claim





I have similar notice in my Prius manual which says no more than 10% ethanol


Arizona where toyota sells these cars uses nominal 10% summer and 15% winter


The manufacturers are bound to either build to comply with market regs, or abandon the market


while the drivetrain & vehicle warranty to the owner are one thing the Federal Emissions Warranty is much longer and comprehensive





I don;t own diesel
in my RocknRoll touring life we run 15 or 20 trucks and buses and some tours are 100% biofuels, often including generators brought in for festivals


what the drivers report and experience is that conversion to bio will usually result in 2 filters full of sludge in rapid succession ( from the old/new fuel reacting and the new fuel cleaning out deposits in tanks and lines) and then normal operation


but that was last year....


Mike
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:24 PM   #9
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With the Sprinter in 4000-miles, you will have to do maintenance which will cost close to 1000-dollars, You will need to carry def. If your new to these type of vehicle the FORD may be a better way to go with less cost on maintenance.
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:07 PM   #10
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I'm a Sprinter guy, but if money is an consideration, I would lean toward the gas model. I think it is safe to say that the Sprinter is likely to be more expensive overall. Whatever you may save in mpg with the diesel you more than give back on diesel usually being more expensive. Many, many posts on what you might run into.

If the van builds are equally attractive to you, pick the one you love most, because like any long term relationship it takes care and feeding and it is easier if you are in love!
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:36 PM   #11
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There's no weaseling by MB. They warrant the emission system 100,000 miles and 5 years and they honor that warranty in Minnesota and diesel fuel below B20. They're still selling Sprinters in Minnesota. Little known fact. Refining capacity and supply has been such that they haven't sold anything higher that B10 the last time I checked. My experience in tracking mileage/gallon almost religiously that filling up in Illinois is the worst. They don't have to post biodiesel on anything below B5.

Now if you want to put recycled French fry oil in your diesel engine that's another story.
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:47 PM   #12
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The 2014 Era A pictures look like the same layout as our 2018. We leave the rear bed made up as one bed all the time. The bigger fridge is great there is lots of storage under the bed. We removed the sofa in favor of a cat condo and more storage. It does drive and ride really well and gets 17-18 mpg all the time.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:30 PM   #13
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This is not really a question anyone can answer for you. In my opinion both of these models are very good. The specific condition of the units you are looking at and your preference for their different strengths and weaknesses should be your main concern.

ERA - I know I have seen customer's of the early models complain about build quality, but this was probably fixed by the 2014 model year. I have owned both a Winnebago and and a Pleasureway and both of them have very high build quality in their own way. My Winnebago (not an ERA, but I think representative) is full of clever details, well routed wiring and plumbing in hidden areas, and is highly weight-optimized (e.g lightweight but strong construction). I personally appreciate this approach as it leaves you with a large safe cargo carrying capacity unlike some manufacturers. Obviously lightweight construction is not as durable as solid wood, so there is a tradeoff here.

As a personal preference that you should consider - The Sprinter chassis can be expensive to maintain and diesel fuel adds some additional inconveniences when it comes to finding gas stations and paying more for the fuel in most places (mostly offset by slightly better fuel mileage). The diesel engine might have a longer lifespan, but very few people end up driving their RV to the engine's end-of-life. I don't think the difference between a gas engine that will go 300k miles without rebuild and a diesel that will go 500k is relevant to most RVers.

The ERA is long, taller, and narrow. You can easily fit it in a standard parking space by width, and if you can hang the rear over the end of the space it will fit by length. The extra 8" of height is worth keeping an eye on, though neither will fit in most covered parking. I find the interior of Sprinter vans to feel a bit cramped due to the inward curving walls.

Excel - One item that seems to repeatedly come up over the years on the Excel (besides people loving them) is that some units have a driveability issue on the highway and are sensitive to crosswind. Again, this may be fixed on your unit, or may not be an issue, but something to be aware of and test out before purchasing. This issue could be related to the type of tires on the unit or to the use of spacers on the rear wheels.

My experience with Pleasureway is that they build a premium product. Their cabinetry is heavy, solid premium wood and impeccably crafted - the best I have seen on any van. We owned a PW class B for 13 years and never had an issue related to their build (some of the appliances needed repairs, but nothing PW built ever had an issue - compared to my Winnebago where I have already made woodwork repairs after 1 year).

Having driven both types of shapes, my personal preference would be for a slightly wider vehicle that is shorter in length and less tall. The length and height of the ERA feel like bigger limitations than the relatively small extra width of the Excel. At 20.5' long and 9' tall the Excel is able to park in places the ERA will not.

The Ford chassis is just OK. It is easy to get it worked on, pretty much any shop will be able to do some work, and every shop with a larger lift can do the chassis work. Mine was pretty reliable overall, with the exception of a.) eating batteries more than I would like - needed new starter battery every 2 years, and b.) eating brakes and requiring new front brakes about every 20k miles. Lots of people complain about the legroom for the passenger's side seat. It is quite cramped on that side due to the lopsided engine cover sticking into the passenger side footwell. My wife didn't have any problem with it however and I do most of the driving so it wasn't too much of an issue for us.
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Old 07-02-2020, 03:28 AM   #14
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Hey guys..
We're looking to buy a PleasureWay Ascent 19' .We live in No.Calif. bay area. Used or new 2017-2020. Any advice for a newbie? What's the best discount I can expect 10 or 15%?
None on rvtrader or craigslist looks like we have to travel just to test drive one in Ore/WA area.
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Old 07-02-2020, 03:14 PM   #15
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Hey guys..
We're looking to buy a PleasureWay Ascent 19' .We live in No.Calif. bay area. Used or new 2017-2020. Any advice for a newbie? What's the best discount I can expect 10 or 15%?
None on rvtrader or craigslist looks like we have to travel just to test drive one in Ore/WA area.

Welcome to the forum Letsgo!

Probably best if you start your own thread since this one is dedicated to other models or try this recent thread here: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...-0-a-9972.html
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:19 PM   #16
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Hello, we bought a new Winniebago Travato 59K and really like the gas Eco 6. It gets approx 17-19 mpg unless I lead foot the vehicle. I found gas at $1.85 in Costco vs diesel. Yes diesel pulls better in the mountains, but hey I am retired and have the time to go slower. We saw a newer ERA 70 and liked the dry bath vs wet bath and the dual real tires. We use our RV the same way with week to two week trips with stops at Hotels and relatives. One point and this is my opinion that newer electronics are better than older RV's. A 12 volt fridge works for us and does not need to be leveled. The Truma system has worked outstanding for water heat and coach heating. On AC's the Dometic seems better however the new NDQ Coleman has a remote and a little less noisy. AC Units can be replaced and upgraded. The Sumo suspension is a improvement on the Dodge RAM and now a standard. I think safety and comfort ranks high (bug screens, switch on systems) when buying. Class B is very easy to set up compared to other RV's. Good luck on your choice. Be ready to make adjustments and what works best for your method of setting up. Oh check out the Wonder which comes in gas or diesel . Love that B+ RV
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:20 PM   #17
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I am partial to the PW brand because I own one, but I can honestly say that I believe the quality is far superior in the PW. Knock on the cabinets and walls in each unit to hear and see the difference. Although gas is cheaper than diesel, in the long run you are better off with the Diesel engine of the Mercedes.
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Old 07-05-2020, 09:48 PM   #18
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I never carry DEF. You can get it anywhere, including truck stops. Walmart sells it, auto parts stores, there is no shortage of DEF. I only add to mine about every 5000 miles so it's not an issue for me.
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Old 07-05-2020, 11:02 PM   #19
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We have a 2008 Pleasure-way Excel and love it. We downsized from a Class C and found that the van had more liveable space. Comfy couch in back and swivel seats in front. One person can read while someone sleeps. That's better than sitting at an uncomfortable dinette. Also, set up as partial twin beds it is easy to get out of bed. The two trade-offs were a below counter fridge (crouching is harder as we get older) and a sit down shower instead of a separate shower stall. Both were worth it because of its length we can legally park it in front of our house. We take short trips and an occasional longer one but don't live in it so parked right there is very convenient. Plus we keep our earthquake/emergency supplies in it. (Vancouver BC)
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Old 07-07-2020, 02:25 PM   #20
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Hi stanmork,

Our last 2 motorhomes have been Pleasure Ways. Currently, we have Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based Plateau and before that we had a B+ (C for purists) Prestige on Ford V10 chassis. Previous to that we had a short 26' Itasca made by Winnebago Class A. There was a huge quality difference between Pleasure Way and the Winnebago Itasca. We also would never buy a Mercedes Benz Sprinter-based RV again because of cost, many mechanical issues and the aforementioned fuel issues.

Ray Brown
Ormond-by-the-Sea
Florida
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