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Old 12-14-2018, 12:37 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 52
Default Xplorer 230 XLW: Definitive answer as to how it is widened!!

After owning 3 Xplorer Class B's over the last 33 years, 2 years ago the search for my Unicorn, a 230XLW, was finally successful. Since then, on several occasions I had spent a considerable amount of time researching this model in an attempt to find out how it was widened. After completing two months of upgrades, modifications, scheduled maintenance and winterizing projects today on my baby, I was determined to do everything I could to answer this question for once and for all. After 2 hours or so of online research I was rewarded with the answer, courtesy of Mr. Joe Murray, a gentleman that after being associated with the brand for decades and at one point a co-owner of the company, coincidentally when this model was produced, graciously agreed to explain exactly how it was done. Now, previously I had heard what I felt was the most logical assumption that the body's floor just aft of the front seats was cut at the center, and a triangular section was added, resulting in the rear being 8" wider than stock, but for the life of me I could not find any indication from under the vehicle that this had been done. As it turns out, in actuality the floor of the van was cut on both sides, starting at the outside of the forward footwells and running all the way aft, stabilizing fixtures added, and two identical sections were welded in that tapered out to 4" (may have been only 3") wider at the back. This was easily accomplished with minimal force required to spread the body sides, because prior to this modification the roof had already been removed as well as the rear body section in preparation for the fiberglass roof and rear extensions. The gradual nature of the width addition presented no issues with front door sealing or sheet metal kinking, and in fact Joe told me that the body sides after the (unibody) floor was cut were literally flapping and just took one man to spread them to the fixtures widths for initial welding.

I realize that all of this means nothing to those of you that do not own one of these wonderful RVs, but I hope that the limited few of you that are fortunate enough to have one and wondered just how in the hell Xplorer managed to so eloquently produce a widebody Class B find this information interesting, and I want to thank Joe Murray for taking the time to finally answer what has been a question to many of us for years!

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Old 12-14-2018, 06:44 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 91

Wow, great info. I haven't got the history with Xplorers that you have - we just got lucky when we got our 1999 230xlwt.

We thought we might like a class B but we knew nothing about them and the first one we looked at in 2014 was a Pleasureway on a Ford chassis w/v10 that we really liked but the side entry door height was a problem for my back, easy to get in but I had to back out because I couldn't bend far enough to go out face first. I'm sure I would have worked it out if I had one and am not trying to bash any other vans, I just had difficulties.

By chance I went on-line looking for class Bs and saw a 230xlw (had never heard of them before). The first thing I noticed was the high entry door and that was it. We started searching for an Xplorer nationwide. Took about a month and we found one with only ~40k miles at a dealer in San Francisco that would deliver for cost of fuel, and if they sell out of state and we take delivery in Washington, there is no California sales tax. After reading lots of reviews about the dealer, we took a chance and bought it, sight unseen - absolutely the most terrifying purchase of my life but we got lucky and the dealer was fair and largely honest.

Anyway, I have come to feel about Xplorers as you obviously do, I too feel very lucky to have one. We are up to about 65K miles now. I just retired last month and we are looking forward to some extended tours in our very well built van - still no squeaks or rattles.

Thanks for the interesting info, I had not yet tried to figure out how they accomplished the 'wide body'. Sounds simple enough, but does explain the high cost to build these.

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Old 12-16-2018, 02:56 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 52

Hi Dave. Yup, I must agree that the entry door design is a very big plus. As far as I know, no other Class B manufacturer has ever gone to the trouble to try to design one similar. I don't think that it was easy to build one that works, but it does and is another example of the Xplorer build philosophy that I believe started from the get-go when the original owner, Mr Ray Frank, came up with the whole Class B concept in the first place back in 1967. You also mentioned the lack of rattles in your example and from my experience this is typical of their products as well, having owned a '72 224, a '95 Xtra van. and my current '98 XLW, all of which were extremely well built and also rattle and flex free, more on the lines of aircraft or quality boat construction than what is found elsewhere, in my opinion, based on other brand names that I have also owned that I will refrain from mentioning here. Their inherent build quality is apparent everywhere, including areas that are not visible, and this as well as their use of wood thicknesses that range from quite thin to beefy depending on the structural strengths required for a given panel I'm sure comes from the fact that for the majority of the time they were in production the owners also ran a furniture company as well.
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:16 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3

I have also owned 3 Xplorers, a 76, 86, and 2000XLW. All except the 86 were bought new. I have been thinking of going for a B+ just to get added space. I had the 2000 remodeled inside, by taking out the electric sofa which had become uncomfortable and replaced with twin beds. It eliminated some indoor space for inclement weather. However, it is hard to let go something that is so well built and has given me very little trouble in 18 years. I was so sorry when Frank Industries decided to stop producing them. I have taken across country twice and once across Canada. The Xplorer still surprises people when they find out how much it has inside. I will probably continue with this motorhome until we both can no longer RV.
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