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Old 08-24-2021, 02:42 PM   #1
Jo3
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Default Comparing class B vans

Hello,
We are new to the forum and are looking to purchase a class B van; considering Thor Tellaro 20L, Travato 59K, Coachman Nova. Please give your experience with any of these.
We had a NuCamp T@B 400(excellent build and European plan in 2017) that we towed with a Buick Enclave for 4 yrs. 6-8 wk trips at a time all over US and into lower Canada. We also went carefully on forest roads and BLM lands and would like to still have this option with a Class B van, knowing lower ground clearance. (SUV and T@B 400 maybe 7”). We only had front wheel drive on SUV.
We had planned a road trip to Alaska but Covid spoiled that plan and we ended up with an 8 wk trip in lower 48. We would like to take the B van to Alaska, so we don’t want to go way high end because of the road conditions getting through Canada. (We do plan to use the “wrap” to help protect van on this trip)
Our concerns are quality issues, lower ground clearance.(plan to put on Sumo springs)
Our cabinets (made by Amish)held up beautifully even after 4 yrs and camper still looked new. I like the European cabinets, but wonder if US version is good quality? It was insulated well, not 4 seasons, but we made it through some teen temp (Texas big freeze 2021) and several low 30 temps. Would like same quality.
Thanks in advance for sharing knowledge and experience with B vans.
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Old 08-24-2021, 03:32 PM   #2
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Having never owned a trailer, I can only speak to class b's. And even then, only my own directly and others anecdotally through this and other forum posts.

I would say any class b can go through prolonged sub-freezing temps if "winterized". But this means the water system is limited or disabled. I would say less than 5% of class b's can go through sub-freezing temps without this requirement.

The degree to which the above is true is based on:

1) The van interior being heated to a least 50-60 degrees
2) The van having fresh water tank & water lines inside the van
3) Using rv antifreeze in gray and black tanks to avoid damage to drain valves

We camped in temps as low as 29 degrees where the freezing period lasts only 4-5 hours overnight and never even turned on our tank heaters. These brief periods were no worry since our water lines do run inside the van. I don't know how much the tank heaters would extend the temp range, but I suspect not by much since they are only on the bottom of the exposed tanks.

We were also in the Texas deep freeze. I drained all tanks and used rv antifreeze in the gray & black, plus kept the interior warmed during the worst of temps with no problem.
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Old 08-25-2021, 01:56 PM   #3
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My last van I considered all seasons. The first week I had the van we boondocked for 7 days constantly below freezing 24 hours traveling from Cleveland to Minneapolis to Gallup, NM until we got to Arizona down to a -5 degrees. We then had a couple of like episodes down to a morning temperature of -15 degrees. We traveled with at least a tank of water half full. The freshwater tank was heated by glycol heat waste return from our Espar heat and hot water system that was grooved into the tank. The grey and black tanks were uninsulated but as long as you didn’t dump it was no problem. We just dumped for the first time in Arizona on our first outing. So it can be done. In the winter coming from Minnesota it can sometimes take 3 days to get to warm weather when it gets cold over much of the nation.

Our current van actually has insulated and heated waste and black tanks. The fresh water tank is again heated by the glycol return which I believe is still on spent waste return of 160 degrees. Optionally people could just install electric heating pads to a fresh water tank.

You have a Promaster and I have a Sprinter so ground clearance is an apples and oranges discussion.
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Old 08-26-2021, 04:08 PM   #4
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Default ..White Bear winters ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd View Post
My last van I considered all seasons. The first week I had the van we boondocked for 7 days constantly below freezing 24 hours traveling from Cleveland to Minneapolis to Gallup, NM until we got to Arizona down to a -5 degrees. We then had a couple of like episodes down to a morning temperature of -15 degrees. We traveled with at least a tank of water half full. The freshwater tank was heated by glycol heat waste return from our Espar heat and hot water system that was grooved into the tank. The grey and black tanks were uninsulated but as long as you didn’t dump it was no problem. We just dumped for the first time in Arizona on our first outing. So it can be done. In the winter coming from Minnesota it can sometimes take 3 days to get to warm weather when it gets cold over much of the nation.

Our current van actually has insulated and heated waste and black tanks. The fresh water tank is again heated by the glycol return which I believe is still on spent waste return of 160 degrees. Optionally people could just install electric heating pads to a fresh water tank.

You have a Promaster and I have a Sprinter so ground clearance is an apples and oranges discussion.
Having wintered in White Bear, we feel your situation greatly.
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Old 08-26-2021, 04:55 PM   #5
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We have a Class B and an SUV/small trailer rig, so I can speak to both.

Biggest adjustment when the Class B came along was the ride and coach soundtrack (squeaks and rattles from the appliances, cabinets, and their contents). The Class B is reasonably smooth and quiet on good roads (with careful packing) but deteriorates quickly on bad roads. It is a heavy duty truck and everything you bring is inside the same space with you.

I rarely hear such good things about RV cabinetry (high-end custom builds excepted). Part of it could be you don't hear what goes on in the trailer when you're moving, but I suspect you may be disappointed in the build quality of the mass market units you're considering, with Coachman and Winnebago generally considered a cut above Thor. Pleasure-Way has a good reputation. My Roadtrek isn't terrible, but I've had some issues with cabinets separating and an ongoing assortment of annoying sounds I haven't been able to track down. For something well made but generally a bit more utilitarian, consider a used Sportsmobile conversion. Hard to find.

A Class B is convenient when you're moving daily and traveling a lot of miles, but if I were in your place I'd be inclined keep the T@B (unless it’s already sold; couldn’t tell for sure) and spend the money on a tow vehicle upgrade. My choice would be a used Lexus GX, with more ground clearance and 4WD capability, but there are domestic options as well. Raise the trailer suspension as needed.

At the least, test drive a few used Class B's and decide whether you're okay with the trade-offs. There's a bit of a cut-point around 20' in length, beyond which you get more livability at the expense of maneuverability and parking. Ours is right at 20', but its long wheelbase makes for a massive turning radius compared to our SUV/trailer combo.

Just one person's opinion (subject to change without notice) and probably the minority view on a Class B-specific forum.
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Old 08-29-2021, 11:17 PM   #6
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As a Canadian and currently in the Yukon having driven up from Southern BC, I am unsure where you get the"road conditions"misinformation.
Summer is roadworks time across Canada and Alaska and certainly small patches of gravel exist while paving crews lay down new tarmac, but the days of endless travel on the gravel of the old Alaska highway are long gone. The only thing to consider adding to your tool kit is a "sharkbite" 1/2" cap in case your water tank empty spigot gets broomed off by an errant curb or rock. I drive North to the Yukon every year in our Pleasure way plateau and prior to that in my Honda fit. I also lived North of 60 for 25 years.
As we are fond of saying about the fabulous drive North " it's no sweat in the Arctic"
Cheers Roger
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Old 08-30-2021, 01:15 AM   #7
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Thanks Roger for updated info. Reviews had said that rocks and debris fling during early spring for repairs. The drive back through in Later August was much better as road crews weren’t there. Just didn’t want to have body damage, but now you have me thinking that drive on the road to the Artic in Canada is a possibility? I don’t plan to do it in Alaska.
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Old 08-30-2021, 01:27 AM   #8
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Thanks for the heads up! I am concerned with the quality issues. Rattles bother both of us!
My husband would go with a B+ or C; I’m the one holding us back. We are thinking this will be a few years until I get some of my bucket list trips accomplished and travel abroad, while looking for where we will resettle. 6-8 week travel with 2 spaces.... SUV and camper to one 20ft area does seem a drastic change! plus full time! Hoping Alaska is doable this year, then i’d like to do Nova Scotia again.
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Old 08-30-2021, 03:46 AM   #9
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Hi again, the Dempster high way North is a different story as all gravel however most of the circle route to Dawson city etc is fine. I believe it's all gravel to Tuktoyaktuk however.
The StewartCassiar highway however up to the Alaska highway is great. I modified the exhaust from my generator which had a stupid loop groundward and changed my tires from 215 to 235 and now have 7 inches of clearance in my sprinter 3500.
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Old 08-30-2021, 03:56 AM   #10
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HI Folks , I am fairly new to this forum , I have an unrelated question - how do I create a post . Where on the forum page do I go to if I would like to create post ?
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Old 08-31-2021, 02:37 PM   #11
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Hi Roger,
With 7 in clearance do you find that is ok; of course being careful and watching for hazards? If we had driven with SUV last year, I was trying to talk my husband into driving without camper for that stretch. (110k on SUV then.... not a huge financial loss if dinged) It certainly looked beautiful up there!
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:55 PM   #12
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Maybe someone could help me. I have a 2022 Thor Tellaro KT, and I cannot get the radio to stay on while I am parked. Owners manual page 80,says to turn house batteries control to on position and the radio will stay on. Thor customer service says that the ignition must be on otherwise the radio will shut off after 10 minutes. So who is right, the Thor owners manual, or the Thor customer rep?
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