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Old 05-01-2020, 02:45 PM   #1
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Default The latest Advanced RV 144 WB RV - Gayle

Advanced RV didn't build on the 144 WB Sprinter until about a year ago. Ever since no two have been remotely alike. Unlike their 170 WB models they haven't settled on a base plan to start from in customizing each van. This is the latest one named "Gayle" for a single traveler off-grid in any weather. It is a 4x4 built on a 2500 chassis. Note the unique manual self-leveling bed.

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Old 05-01-2020, 08:32 PM   #2
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I like it. Change to cassette and lighter bed, it could be my next b-van.
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Old 05-02-2020, 02:56 PM   #3
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I like it. Change to cassette and lighter bed, it could be my next b-van.
Yeah, except my wife would have to sleep outside in a tent!...

Resale with such a small bed will be a problem. Lots of good ideas and a few somewhat idiosyncratic ones.
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Old 05-02-2020, 05:34 PM   #4
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Nice and clean conversion. I was a little surprised with no solar panels on the roof, likely 300W would be possible. Portable panels could be just good enough to recover 4-5 amps parasitic losses.

Seems as an idea of mounting a power inlet on the side of the hitch is gaining traction.

Increasing the bed length wouldn’t be an easy task.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:39 PM   #5
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I was thinking more about the width of the bed, which appeared to be narrower than a double. But I had the sound turned off, so perhaps I misjudged from the angle.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:55 PM   #6
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If you are a single traveler with deep pockets, the possibilities really increase for personalization, be it mainstream, eclectic, or radical, I think.


No compromises to satisfy the travel mate as there is none, so whatever you want. Don't have to even have space for a second person at all, much less a full time one with you. Budget no real limit so all possibilities available.


That would be kind of fun exercise, but I don't know if I would like traveling alone for long periods of time, so won't likely ever happen for me. (plus the deep pockets thing, of course)
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Old 05-02-2020, 09:50 PM   #7
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This is a custom van for a specific client. Quite a few 144 ARVs have been designed for a single person with specific desires. I think Neuendorfer mentioned the side sleeping would not be for a tall person but evidently satisfies a shorter person. The width is generous for a single person too.

It appears to be Valence batteries with 864ah with with 690ah in play. Solar in that case would be emergency only or extend a desert stay as I am sure there is a second alternator to fast charge. Many, as I plan to, have been forgoing any solar on the roof as impractical with the ARV builds.

He is building on a 2500 chassis so ARV has to deliver the completed van under 7,400 lbs. That probably played into not putting solar on the roof among other decisions like putting up shelves without doors.

Every ARV since mine has had the power Smartplug installed under the back bumper. That's been since January, 2015. I had the first Smartplug installed by them but unfortunately they already cut the plug hole in the side before making the switch.

I'm intrigued by the awning windows in the back doors. I didn't think you could do that. That is now something for me to consider but my van has been ordered with standard back windows.

The composting toilet is definitely a user preference. ARV is not keen on them but I know of at least three ARVs that had them installed. My designed toilet is behind the rear axle so I have four choices, raise the floor of the bathroom if I want to get to an 18 gallon black tank forward of the axle, a composting toilet (not!), a cassette toilet with a 4.6 gallon cassette or a built-in macerating toilets known as an upflush toilet. It seems the latter is a marine solution that needs investigating. I'm not sure yet which solution is the lightest. I suspect the cassette toilet is but I like my current two weeks before dumping that enjoy now. When I mocked up my plan they had a macerating toilet to put in the mock up to check clearances.

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Old 05-03-2020, 02:53 AM   #8
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The composting toilet is definitely a user preference. ARV is not keen on them but I know of at least three ARVs that had them installed. My designed toilet is behind the rear axle so I have four choices, raise the floor of the bathroom if I want to get to an 18 gallon black tank forward of the axle, a composting toilet (not!), a cassette toilet with a 4.6 gallon cassette or a built-in macerating toilets known as an upflush toilet. It seems the latter is a marine solution that needs investigating. I'm not sure yet which solution is the lightest. I suspect the cassette toilet is but I like my current two weeks before dumping that enjoy now. When I mocked up my plan they had a macerating toilet to put in the mock up to check clearances.
The macerating porcelain toilet in my '2012 Airstream Avenue Suite works well (although I must premise by stating I have no experience with any other kind). It is listed on the Dometic (Sea Land) site under their Marine toilets.

The only reason AS didn't install a foot-flush gravity toilet in my unit; like other Avenues; is because they adopted a different floor plan for my Suite model. It required them to relocate the toilet and I guess they found it easier to pump the waste over to the black tank rather than relocate the tank under the new toilet location.
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Old 05-03-2020, 05:31 AM   #9
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This is a custom van for a specific client. Quite a few 144 ARVs have been designed for a single person with specific desires. I think Neuendorfer mentioned the side sleeping would not be for a tall person but evidently satisfies a shorter person. The width is generous for a single person too.

It appears to be Valence batteries with 864ah with with 690ah in play. Solar in that case would be emergency only or extend a desert stay as I am sure there is a second alternator to fast charge. Many, as I plan to, have been forgoing any solar on the roof as impractical with the ARV builds.

He is building on a 2500 chassis so ARV has to deliver the completed van under 7,400 lbs. That probably played into not putting solar on the roof among other decisions like putting up shelves without doors.

Every ARV since mine has had the power Smartplug installed under the back bumper. That's been since January, 2015. I had the first Smartplug installed by them but unfortunately they already cut the plug hole in the side before making the switch.

I'm intrigued by the awning windows in the back doors. I didn't think you could do that. That is now something for me to consider but my van has been ordered with standard back windows.

The composting toilet is definitely a user preference. ARV is not keen on them but I know of at least three ARVs that had them installed. My designed toilet is behind the rear axle so I have four choices, raise the floor of the bathroom if I want to get to an 18 gallon black tank forward of the axle, a composting toilet (not!), a cassette toilet with a 4.6 gallon cassette or a built-in macerating toilets known as an upflush toilet. It seems the latter is a marine solution that needs investigating. I'm not sure yet which solution is the lightest. I suspect the cassette toilet is but I like my current two weeks before dumping that enjoy now. When I mocked up my plan they had a macerating toilet to put in the mock up to check clearances.
..................
Objective states clearly Lithium battery pack and Solar, I am not sure portable solar will be able to fulfill it. Indeed, weight could be a limit, but I have 300W on 144” WB with all utilities except inside shower and am way below the weight limit. Desert and solar is a good couple, especially if you place a limit your energy need.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:37 AM   #10
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Objective states clearly Lithium battery pack and Solar, I am not sure portable solar will be able to fulfill it. Indeed, weight could be a limit, but I have 300W on 144” WB with all utilities except inside shower and am way below the weight limit. Desert and solar is a good couple, especially if you place a limit your energy need.
With a 864ah lithium battery pack and second alternator I can tell you solar is absolutely not needed regardless of the owner's objectives. I don't know how experienced the owner is but with high capacity lithium battery packs and second alternators that can put out 280 amps for an hour without diminishing and can restore the battery driving or idling 7 minutes in what a 100w solar panel can when the sun is out. That's just 20 minutes with 300w solar. The solar objective is a "feel good" objective and since it is portable it would maybe not count in the weight of the van that a permanent roof mounted solution is. Roof mounted flat panels are nearly worthless in the winter in places like Quartszite, AZ with a very low sun angle and short daylight duration.

ARV knows weights down to every item. That battery pack and inverter weighs 490 lbs. The Silverleaf control assembly is 20 lbs. The second alternator weighs about 30 lbs. An enclosed bathroom adds about another 200 lbs. It has a 38 gal. fresh water tank and a 28 gal. grey tank. No black tank but a composting toilet is heavier than a flush toilet. They put in 100 lbs. of Hushmat soundproofing in addition to 34 lbs. of thermal insulation. I can go on and on with items you probably don't have but you are comparing apples to oranges. I have an intimate knowledge with weight planning now and I can tell you 80/20 cabinets don't solve it with what I want.

I did note he doesn't have a rooftop air conditioner in lieu of two Maxxfans. I'm not a big user of my air conditioner but I question that decision especially if full timing in a nearly windowless van. It's rare for me but I feel necessary in high humidity areas regardless of the temperature.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:45 AM   #11
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The macerating porcelain toilet in my '2012 Airstream Avenue Suite works well (although I must premise by stating I have no experience with any other kind). It is listed on the Dometic (Sea Land) site under their Marine toilets.

The only reason AS didn't install a foot-flush gravity toilet in my unit; like other Avenues; is because they adopted a different floor plan for my Suite model. It required them to relocate the toilet and I guess they found it easier to pump the waste over to the black tank rather than relocate the tank under the new toilet location.
Rowie, How has that macerating toilet worked out? Any problems? Noise? Do you alter your flushing habits? Water use more or less? I haven't found much on the Internet about them and use for RVing. Maybe I should go on a sailboat forum.
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Old 05-03-2020, 01:17 PM   #12
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Rowie, How has that macerating toilet worked out? Any problems? Noise? Do you alter your flushing habits? Water use more or less? I haven't found much on the Internet about them and use for RVing. Maybe I should go on a sailboat forum.
No problems to date. Minimal noise, just a prominent hum and swoosh (macerator must run anytime you flush). At night, we just prefill with a little extra water and do not flush #1 until the morning so as to not distrurb the other's sleep.

With the two of us using it exclusively and never using public restrooms, we can usually only go two days (sometimes 3 days) without dumping. But that is limited by the 10 gal. black tank. My guess is that water use is perhaps a little more than a gravity toilet on certain occassions (after #2) in order to make sure the remaining water in the bowl is "clear" (just because the activity of the macerator needs that final rinse). Rarely is it necessary to rinse the sides of the bowl with the hand sprayer, but that is mostly dependent upon if you correctly anticipate the starting water level in the bowl which is easily adjustable from the wall panel selector switch.

I never thought I would get this detailed about my rv toilet, but I will say it can handle anything you can throw at it. Just takes more water on those occassions.
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Old 05-03-2020, 01:34 PM   #13
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This is a custom van for a specific client. Quite a few 144 ARVs have been designed for a single person with specific desires. I think Neuendorfer mentioned the side sleeping would not be for a tall person but evidently satisfies a shorter person. The width is generous for a single person too.]
Yes, I understood that. Certainly anybody with money can have whatever they want. If the buyer is young(-ish) and experienced, s/he may well use it until resale is irrelevant. And even if not, perhaps there are enough single travelers out there to create a niche market.

This was posted as a general interest topic. My remark about the bed was intended to point out a significant weakness in this design for generalization. A short wheelbase van with galley, enclosed wet bath and permanent bed seemed almost too good to be true...
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Old 05-03-2020, 01:58 PM   #14
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"I never thought I would get this detailed about my rv toilet, but I will say it can handle anything you can throw at it."

I'll bet even very expensive burritos.
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Old 05-03-2020, 02:18 PM   #15
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"I never thought I would get this detailed about my rv toilet, but I will say it can handle anything you can throw at it."

I'll bet even very expensive burritos.
A cross-thread tie-in. I see what you did there. Very clever (& most appropriate).
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Old 05-03-2020, 03:44 PM   #16
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A short wheelbase van with galley, enclosed wet bath and permanent bed seemed almost too good to be true...
Actually, it wouldn’t be difficult at all. In my 136” Promaster (10’ cargo length), I could easily sacrifice part of my 56” counter for a wet bath. The part of the galley that was sacrificed could then move to the slider, which is presently bare.
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Old 05-03-2020, 03:55 PM   #17
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Yes, I understood that. Certainly anybody with money can have whatever they want. If the buyer is young(-ish) and experienced, s/he may well use it until resale is irrelevant. And even if not, perhaps there are enough single travelers out there to create a niche market.

This was posted as a general interest topic. My remark about the bed was intended to point out a significant weakness in this design for generalization. A short wheelbase van with galley, enclosed wet bath and permanent bed seemed almost too good to be true...
Experienced or not, they got exactly what they wanted. Most ARV buyers have that one desire I think. I don't think many have their vans for life (so far with the ones I know of). Cost is not a factor in, if you have to ask, you can't afford it, as in a Lamborghini purchaser. Last I inquired about a year ago, ARV said they took trade in or buy backs when a person abandoned RVing and refurbished them. They said they knew of only one that was sold in the "wild" open market as they put it.

I'm planning my forth Class B, second ARV, and have radically changed my wants and desires. The first three were a progression and refinement from experience; and my desires for long-term trips, is a comfortable bathroom, two zone living and minimal conversion of spaces from one use to another has never wavered. My wife's desire was a complete kitchen with storage and appliances like a large refrigerator/freezer which is hard to do in a 144" WB Sprinter. That is my goal with an ARV named Mies, for Mies Van der Rohe, a 20th Century mordernist architect famous for the quote, "Less is more."
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Old 05-03-2020, 04:21 PM   #18
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No problems to date. Minimal noise, just a prominent hum and swoosh (macerator must run anytime you flush). At night, we just prefill with a little extra water and do not flush #1 until the morning so as to not distrurb the other's sleep.

With the two of us using it exclusively and never using public restrooms, we can usually only go two days (sometimes 3 days) without dumping. But that is limited by the 10 gal. black tank. My guess is that water use is perhaps a little more than a gravity toilet on certain occassions (after #2) in order to make sure the remaining water in the bowl is "clear" (just because the activity of the macerator needs that final rinse). Rarely is it necessary to rinse the sides of the bowl with the hand sprayer, but that is mostly dependent upon if you correctly anticipate the starting water level in the bowl which is easily adjustable from the wall panel selector switch.

I never thought I would get this detailed about my rv toilet, but I will say it can handle anything you can throw at it. Just takes more water on those occassions.
I found the manuals on my macerating toilet. I'm sure the product numbers have changed and they offer two heights I believe.

Some of the install diagram features marine specific add'l plumbing. To my knowledge, nothing additional is needed in my rv since the macerating toilet does nothing more that push waste a few feet over into the black tank.

The only recent issue that I forgot to mention is I had to remove the compressor fridge (4 screws) to access the fill valve and clean the filter. It is just a wire screen that slowly clogged with debris over the years causing the bowl to fill slowly. Brushing off the lose debris and soaking half an hour in CLR and it was good to go.
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Old 05-03-2020, 06:07 PM   #19
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With a 864ah lithium battery pack and second alternator I can tell you solar is absolutely not needed regardless of the owner's objectives. I don't know how experienced the owner is but with high capacity lithium battery packs and second alternators that can put out 280 amps for an hour without diminishing and can restore the battery driving or idling 7 minutes in what a 100w solar panel can when the sun is out. That's just 20 minutes with 300w solar. The solar objective is a "feel good" objective and since it is portable it would maybe not count in the weight of the van that a permanent roof mounted solution is. Roof mounted flat panels are nearly worthless in the winter in places like Quartszite, AZ with a very low sun angle and short daylight duration.

ARV knows weights down to every item. That battery pack and inverter weighs 490 lbs. The Silverleaf control assembly is 20 lbs. The second alternator weighs about 30 lbs. An enclosed bathroom adds about another 200 lbs. It has a 38 gal. fresh water tank and a 28 gal. grey tank. No black tank but a composting toilet is heavier than a flush toilet. They put in 100 lbs. of Hushmat soundproofing in addition to 34 lbs. of thermal insulation. I can go on and on with items you probably don't have but you are comparing apples to oranges. I have an intimate knowledge with weight planning now and I can tell you 80/20 cabinets don't solve it with what I want.

I did note he doesn't have a rooftop air conditioner in lieu of two Maxxfans. I'm not a big user of my air conditioner but I question that decision especially if full timing in a nearly windowless van. It's rare for me but I feel necessary in high humidity areas regardless of the temperature.
My 300W PV panels with rail brackets, 80/20 crossbars and hardware are exactly 77.95 lbs. plus cables. If I would do a conversion again on a 2500 144” WB I would increase PVs to 400W. Not often mentioned benefit of solar panels with air gap is double roof, IR thermal block function, it does keep our van cooler in hot and sunny days.

Different use pattern requires different designs, and mine is different than yours. For example, I wouldn’t use 100lbs of Hushmat or 490 lbs. of batteries and inverter on a 2500 Sprinter. This is not the first time we discuss PV benefits and very likely we will never agree.

I would like to know the new owner opinion if his portable panels will fulfill his original objectives after some use.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:24 PM   #20
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The Hushmat goes 100% on the outer skin including the cab area and the floor. I have that now and it makes a tremendous difference in boondocking in areas like Walmarts and Cracker Barrels. with total blackout curtains and Hushmat I have no trouble parking and sleeping on a busy main street as we do in La Crosse, WI frequently at our sons house.

I have 800ah lithium batteries and a 2800w inverter now with a Delta 330a second alternator and I have gone into my capabilities and reason why numerous times in this group. I also have 480w of solar panels and I can replenish what those are capable of in a day just by driving 1/2 hour. There is a rare day on a trip where I don't drive every day locally or just getting some place else. The only reason I can see now with experience is they may be good for long term storage outside with sun without shore power. I will never encounter that situation. Less than 300w of solar panels could keep my van's batteries charged and parasitic loss from 12V hardwired CO2 detector, chassis battery Trik-L-Start charger and all other standby 12v connections such as my Silverleaf controller or I can shut down the electrical entirely without solar and lithium batteries will withstand a winter storage in Minnesota. The AGM chassis battery won't.

I suspect the owner is like I said is in a "feel good" environmental mood, is just curious or thinks it is a belts and suspenders situation. He can go a full week minimum with that battery bank and use electrical liberally without care staying in one place and without driving or idling with his setup.
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