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Old 07-27-2020, 08:16 PM   #21
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reconsider a production RV


for the most part the experience they have laying out 12VDC & 120VAC electrical, plumbing, gas and cabinetry/interior systems are well-established and the vehicle will retain some kind of re-sale value ( and be insurable for the added value, w/ certs & standards for the systems )

I've seen some self-converts which were very expensive ( in the end) and still had an aspect of head scratching when viewing the result of someone's hard work

if going forward suggest you rent a couple of RV's to experience the up& downsides of different layouts


cheers, Mike
As I'm looking at a Revel as our first RV, this comment makes a lot of sense. I've scoured the forums and just keep coming back to the Revel as it's very well thought out. Yes, I'd like a gasoline rv because of the current pricing and serviceability, but we already live on a 43' ketch, so the diesel Revel is quite familiar as far as systems
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:49 PM   #22
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As I'm looking at a Revel as our first RV, this comment makes a lot of sense. I've scoured the forums and just keep coming back to the Revel as it's very well thought out.

I found very helpful to watch youtube dealer videos, as they display the features, watch how easily ( or not) they move around the cabin.

now imagine it's raining and there is another person and shoes on the floor and the dog dish..


watch for things such as having to move this, to get to that.


like a boat, rounded corners and ways to stow items in rough seas


In our B the cover for the 2 burner becomes an extension to the counter( on pull out rails) - nice touch- watch for nice touches which make useful, rather than something which needs stowed


we rented in ireland before we started shopping- a RH Drive Citroen ( travato) diesel.
it showed us the cassette toilets are a bummer and sideways sleepers were not best for us- the middle of the night climb over for the head and the short bed left both of us less rested

my better choice was the chev gas, as I work on my own stuff and can handle the chev- it shares much with my pickup and I can get serviced anywhere by anyone with parts from napa
some vehicles have parts supply chains which reach across oceans and are only available at dealers


mike
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:48 PM   #23
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If maintenance costs are a factor in deciding between the two platforms go with the Ford. Parts cost less as are dealership / mechanic shop hours. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:12 PM   #24
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Transit. 2 biggest reasons:

More powerful engine.

More interior volume.
The Transit has a larger width dimension. Does anyone know how much greater?
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:23 PM   #25
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We have a Sprinter based Sportsmobile. we haven't had any problems with the Sprinter but I wouldn't necessarily mind having a gas based van. I would definitely hate not having the 2 most important features of our van though.

Th first of these is our second alternator. Sprinters can be factory ordered with the bracket that is designed for this and then it is a fairly easy installation. I don't know if this is similar for a Transit. The second alternator allows us to recharge our batteries with minimal daily driving. Solar panels are almost worthless compared to the power we can recover from the second alternator and minimal driving. I don't need a generator or solar panels for the way we use our van. I can carry the spare tire under the van because I don't need a loud and obnoxious generator mounted there.

Secondly, our Espar diesel furnace is worth its weight in gold. We have a very small Espar D2 heater mounted under the passenger seat that runs off the Sprinter diesel fuel tank and runs for about 24 hours on 1 gallon of diesel fuel. I never have to worry about heating fuel. We then have a propane tank for hot water and cooking but I have never yet had to refill the tank. A full propane tank probably will last me 3-4 years since I am not using it for heat. I spend about 15-20 minutes cleaning the Espar unit once a year and we get a prefect heating system with no fuel concerns.

Before I would buy a Transit I would need to know that I could add a second alternator and I would seriously consider adding a small diesel fuel tank just for the diesel heater. I think Webasto makes a gasoline heater but I don't think it is very reliable or readily available. Our Freightliner dealer (where we bought our Sprinter) installs the Espar D2 bunk heaters on all the semi-trucks they sell now for the truckers.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:39 PM   #26
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We have a Sprinter based Sportsmobile. we haven't had any problems with the Sprinter but I wouldn't necessarily mind having a gas based van. I would definitely hate not having the 2 most important features of our van though.

Th first of these is our second alternator. Sprinters can be factory ordered with the bracket that is designed for this and then it is a fairly easy installation. I don't know if this is similar for a Transit. The second alternator allows us to recharge our batteries with minimal daily driving. Solar panels are almost worthless compared to the power we can recover from the second alternator and minimal driving. I don't need a generator or solar panels for the way we use our van. I can carry the spare tire under the van because I don't need a loud and obnoxious generator mounted there.

Secondly, our Espar diesel furnace is worth its weight in gold. We have a very small Espar D2 heater mounted under the passenger seat that runs off the Sprinter diesel fuel tank and runs for about 24 hours on 1 gallon of diesel fuel. I never have to worry about heating fuel. We then have a propane tank for hot water and cooking but I have never yet had to refill the tank. A full propane tank probably will last me 3-4 years since I am not using it for heat. I spend about 15-20 minutes cleaning the Espar unit once a year and we get a prefect heating system with no fuel concerns.

Before I would buy a Transit I would need to know that I could add a second alternator and I would seriously consider adding a small diesel fuel tank just for the diesel heater. I think Webasto makes a gasoline heater but I don't think it is very reliable or readily available. Our Freightliner dealer (where we bought our Sprinter) installs the Espar D2 bunk heaters on all the semi-trucks they sell now for the truckers.
I totally agree with both of your requirements. I, too, would not do without both a second alternator and an Espar. However:

1) Not only can you add a second alternator on a Transit, starting in 2020, you can order the van with a second alternator from the factory.

2) Espars are available in gasoline versions, and are in common use. I have no reason to believe that they are unreliable.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:03 AM   #27
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The last time I talked to the Sportsmobile people, they would not install a gasoline furnace in their vans (Espar B4 and Webasto units are the gas versions I have heard of). On there other hands there are thousands of diesel heaters in semi trucks across the country. I would love to hear a first hand review of a gas unit from someone on this forum.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:30 AM   #28
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The last time I talked to the Sportsmobile people, they would not install a gasoline furnace in their vans (Espar B4 and Webasto units are the gas versions I have heard of). On there other hands there are thousands of diesel heaters in semi trucks across the country. I would love to hear a first hand review of a gas unit from someone on this forum.
Did the Sportsmobile people say WHY they feel that way?

People keep saying that the B* units are unreliable, and if it is true, I certainly want to know it, since I have every intention of putting one in my next van.

However, I can find little evidence that this is true. Certainly, there are lots of first-hand install reports over at the Transit fora, and people seem generally happy. Lots of Transit upfitters offer them. I infer from the fact that ThermoKing installs and services them that thousands of gas-driven trucks must have them as well.

Moreover, by all appearances, they seem nearly identical to their diesel brothers. Many of the Espar manuals apply to both models. It is really hard to imagine that there could be that big a difference in reliability.

I, too, would like more facts. But, I am kind of smelling Internet myth here.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:05 AM   #29
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Did the Sportsmobile people say WHY they feel that way?

People keep saying that the B* units are unreliable, and if it is true, I certainly want to know it, since I have every intention of putting one in my next van.

However, I can find little evidence that this is true. Certainly, there are lots of first-hand install reports over at the Transit fora, and people seem generally happy. Lots of Transit upfitters offer them. I infer from the fact that ThermoKing installs and services them that thousands of gas-driven trucks must have them as well.

Moreover, by all appearances, they seem nearly identical to their diesel brothers. Many of the Espar manuals apply to both models. It is really hard to imagine that there could be that big a difference in reliability.

I, too, would like more facts. But, I am kind of smelling Internet myth here.
In 1985 I had, I think a Webasto but it could be an Eberspacher, installed in our VW Westfalia. It was a gasoline unit and it was an unbelievable POS. Primary failure was no ignition. It used a glow/spark combination plug which I had to replace very often. Hopefully Eberspacher / Webasto have a new ignition technology, but I would check it in depth.

Diesel heaters are sold in much higher volume in the World than gasoline units.
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Old 07-28-2020, 04:17 AM   #30
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In 1985 I had, I think a Webasto but it could be an Eberspacher, installed in our VW Westfalia. It was a gasoline unit and it was an unbelievable POS. Primary failure was no ignition. It used a glow/spark combination plug which I had to replace very often. Hopefully Eberspacher / Webasto have a new ignition technology, but I would check it in depth.
Espar uses the same glow plug for the B5 as the D5:

https://www.heatso.com/espar-eberspa...-d5w-hydronic/

In fact, the maintenance manual uses the same parts diagram for both units.

espar.png

I don't see how there could be much difference between the two.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:54 AM   #31
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Espar uses the same glow plug for the B5 as the D5:

https://www.heatso.com/espar-eberspa...-d5w-hydronic/

In fact, the maintenance manual uses the same parts diagram for both units.

Attachment 9620

I don't see how there could be much difference between the two.
Look at Eberspacher NA (Espar) catalog, if I am correct B is not listed except the newest S3 (E10). This could have something to do with Sportsmobile’s decision of not using gasoline powered heaters. https://www.eberspaecher-na.com/prod...ommercial.html
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:17 PM   #32
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I would love to hear a first hand review of a gas unit from someone on this forum.
Here I am. My husband installed a gas Webasto in our Promaster in February, 2017. It has never been serviced and operates flawlessly.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:37 PM   #33
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The Transit has a larger width dimension. Does anyone know how much greater?
In laying out plans in 3D CAD, if it is an inch it is significant in a B. More importantly the side walls are more upright in a Transit. There is a significant curve in the Sprinter walls.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:59 PM   #34
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Not only can you add a second alternator on a Transit, starting in 2020, you can order the van with a second alternator from the factory.
There is a post over on Sprinter Source that claims that the two alternators on a Transit are permanently connected together and both controlled by the ECU. That's the bad news.

The good news is that, according to this poster, with the dual alternator (which also has dual batteries) you are allowed to take 175A continuous from the engine!

I'll take it.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:27 PM   #35
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There is a post over on Sprinter Source that claims that the two alternators on a Transit are permanently connected together and both controlled by the ECU. That's the bad news.

The good news is that, according to this poster, with the dual alternator (which also has dual batteries) you are allowed to take 175A continuous from the engine!

I'll take it.

Except for the ECU control, I like parallel alternators as they work a lot less hard to provide big power. 175 amps continuous, if it maintains hot, is actually probably a bit more than you net from a standalone 280 amp alternator on a thermal cycling Balmar. 175 amps is also about the max that 440ah of AGM will take on a deep recharge without getting to warm during charging, so a good fit that way.



I wonder if they actually limit the current, which would be good, or have breakers, which would be not so good.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:28 PM   #36
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The ford transit drivers seat does not rotate unless you purchase a rotating base. Not sure about the Sprinter.
The 2020 transit's drivers seat rotates. I have one.
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Old 07-31-2020, 09:37 PM   #37
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with roof mounted solar comes the requirement to park in the sun, not a shady spot. it will also degrade MPG. the panel will be at optimal angle a couple of hours a day

propane is dandy for my 2 burner top, furnace, hot water heater and 3 way fridge ( when parked)

Mike
I don't want the propane in my van. I may skip the solar panels and go all-electric with 500-1000 Ah LiFePo4 and dual alternator. I am not planning to park somewhere for weeks, or even days.

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If maintenance costs are a factor in deciding between the two platforms go with the Ford. Parts cost less as are dealership / mechanic shop hours. Just my 2 cents.
We are planning to go to Alaska. I am afraid there is not too many Mercedes service centers along that pathway. We will go with the Transit.

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Here I am. My husband installed a gas Webasto in our Promaster in February, 2017. It has never been serviced and operates flawlessly.
Thx

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Originally Posted by avanti View Post
There is a post over on Sprinter Source that claims that the two alternators on a Transit are permanently connected together and both controlled by the ECU. That's the bad news.

The good news is that, according to this poster, with the dual alternator (which also has dual batteries) you are allowed to take 175A continuous from the engine!

I'll take it.
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Originally Posted by booster View Post
Except for the ECU control, I like parallel alternators as they work a lot less hard to provide big power. 175 amps continuous, if it maintains hot, is actually probably a bit more than you net from a standalone 280 amp alternator on a thermal cycling Balmar. 175 amps is also about the max that 440ah of AGM will take on a deep recharge without getting to warm during charging, so a good fit that way.

I wonder if they actually limit the current, which would be good, or have breakers, which would be not so good.
I have to learn more about it. On the other forum I've got some advice but I still don't understand how to make it work, however I still have plenty of time to learn.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:35 PM   #38
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Default We switched our order to the Transit

I had an order in with Sportsmobile for a gas Sprinter for at least a year. I fell into the trap that "Sprinters are better". Finally did some digging and was pleasantly surprised to find that Transit was comparable and for us the better choice. Gas was very important to us to avoid all the diesel issues.

* Powerful gas engine (I'm concerned the Sprinter 4 is underpowered)
* Plenty of service options
* AWD (We don't plan to go serious off-roading, but dirt and snow happen)
* Dual alternative built-in (not a big deal)
* Slightly larger and interior with straighter walls. (We're getting the "EB" size - 19 feet, comparable to Sprinter RB size so every inch counts
* Sportsmobile supplies the Espar furnace in a gas version and has been doing so for a while. (Ours will be a no-propane build with an induction stove and portable small, gas grill.)

Cons:
* Rotating front seats only available with cloth manual. I'd have preferred the leather power seats
* Sprinter looks a little better (IMHO)
* Sprinter has better dash and might be more comfortable. Hard to tell, both were fine in my test drives.

Both support Car Play and Android Auto which I find valuable for driving. Both support the same uplift possibilities, so no real difference there.

The price of the two vans came out about the same when we switched from the (still mythical) Sprinter Gas to Transit and we went from "someday" to "your van has a production date if the factory stays open "
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:49 PM   #39
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I had an order in with Sportsmobile for a gas Sprinter for at least a year. I fell into the trap that "Sprinters are better". Finally did some digging and was pleasantly surprised to find that Transit was comparable and for us the better choice. Gas was very important to us to avoid all the diesel issues.

* Powerful gas engine (I'm concerned the Sprinter 4 is underpowered)
* Plenty of service options
* AWD (We don't plan to go serious off-roading, but dirt and snow happen)
* Dual alternative built-in (not a big deal)
* Slightly larger and interior with straighter walls. (We're getting the "EB" size - 19 feet, comparable to Sprinter RB size so every inch counts
* Sportsmobile supplies the Espar furnace in a gas version and has been doing so for a while. (Ours will be a no-propane build with an induction stove and portable small, gas grill.)

Cons:
* Rotating front seats only available with cloth manual. I'd have preferred the leather power seats
* Sprinter looks a little better (IMHO)
* Sprinter has better dash and might be more comfortable. Hard to tell, both were fine in my test drives.

Both support Car Play and Android Auto which I find valuable for driving. Both support the same uplift possibilities, so no real difference there.

The price of the two vans came out about the same when we switched from the (still mythical) Sprinter Gas to Transit and we went from "someday" to "your van has a production date if the factory stays open "
This analysis is completely consistent with how I see the situation. Excellent summary.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:30 PM   #40
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Regarding rotating seats in Transit only available in manual: We stopped by a dealer and looked at a Boldt KL with electric "leather" seats, which is in a Sprinter. When the seat is rotated, the electric controls, which are on the door, are very difficult to reach from the seat. To make matters worse, since the seat is turned around, everything is backwards. So, I gotta say, manual seats are a better choice if the manufacturer puts the seat controls on the door instead of on the seat.
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