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Old 07-22-2014, 05:50 AM   #15
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Idling a MB diesel for fifty minutes a lot might be a problem. Check owners manual and or call dealer. Jim

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Old 07-22-2014, 06:32 AM   #16
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Sprinter Idling Info

My Frieghtliner-Sprinter service center told me yesterday it was not a good idea to idle for extended periods. But, idling for an hour now and then, maybe up to two hours infrequently, would be fine. He suggested driving the unit following the idling. Absolutely no overnight idling.

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Old 07-22-2014, 08:03 AM   #17
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The idling of a diesel, especially the new ones with the DEF catalytic systems is like asking which a person likes: Ford or Chevies. You will get differing answers from different Mercedes, Dodge and Freightliner dealers. I trust Roadtrek since they are promoting it and while their 6 year full bumper-bumper warranty does not include the Mercedes portion, they will have a BIG problem if idling causes engine problem. They didn't jump into this without testing it themselves. In fact if you follow Mike Wendland's blog, Homepage | Roadtreking.comRoadtreking | The small motorhome and RV lifestyle | Traveling North America in a Class B RV, the first owner of an E-trek, who has over 50,000 miles on his, he has had no problems.

I was an owner of many large diesel trucks with my past business: fuel oil home delivery. Our trucks idled half of their life. Driving slowly in cities and then parked with the engine at a not-too-fast idle pumping with the PTO operating. And they still do this today with the newer diesels. Just look at fire trucks at a fire.They sit and idle all the time. The same for rescue vehicles. Many of the newer emergency vehicles also have a second alternator to operate the cooling equipment in the back that has to run ALL THE TIME either with the engine or being plugged into 115volts for cooling and some drugs are refrigerated in the vans.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:48 AM   #18
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Yes, agree with you Bill, but with working vehicles you can accept the fact that running the engine has overheads such as fuel costs, noise, and possibly the clogging of the diesel DPF filter. With an RV, I'd much prefer the quieter convenience of a large battery bank and inverter. Here in Arizona, the heat lingers well into the night, so I'd like to be able to run the AC without starting any combustion engine. Neither would I feel safe running an engine while sleeping.

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Old 07-22-2014, 10:55 AM   #19
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Well I've followed Mike Wenland's blog for the past year. He's never had to run the engine while sleeping to my knowledge nor has he been in the hat you are in. Don't forget that the RT E-trek HAS a large battery bank. A large 5000 watt inverter. And I'm not afraid of running the engine at night. I've run a 17.5 KW generator all day and night for 3days twice in our prior bus at 2 "certified" campgrounds in PA during the heat of the summer. Both campgrounds could not supply over 105 volts so my PLM would not allow electric into the camper. The campground didn't want to do anything about it and would not refund my money so we camped with the diesel generator running steady. Of course on Prevost bus conversion the generators are quite quiet.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:10 PM   #20
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The Roadtrek brochure that I read said that you could recharge the batteries with the engine generator 3 times and then the fourth time you needed to do it by driving.
Glass half full or half empty to an engineer is the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

PM me for sale info on my 2011. SOLD!
Upfitted Transit 350 sitting in driveway.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:51 PM   #21
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I made my 1976 ARGOSY a Propane Free DIESEL POWERED trailer back in 2006 and have been enjoying the hydronic heating and diesel cooktop, plus the sophisticated LG Art Cool Split Unit air conditioning, ever since. So far as I know it may well be the Worlds’s First Diesel Powered Airstream trailer.

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If you are interested in the build-out you can follow my thread here:

It’s been a long time fascination for me to watch the dozens now of Sprinter upfitters and converters continuing to add propane systems to a diesel vehicle. Even Airstream, which supposedly prides itself on innovation, fails to exploit the opportunity to build a superior, ONE FUEL Interstate.

My God, I’ve been successfully running a Diesel TRAILER for 8 years now!

Now Roadtrek and a couple others in the Class B field have finally seen the light. Good.

There are no bold claims being made on the Roadtreck site about E-treck performance. It’s pretty wishy-washy stuff actually. So the first owners will unavoidably be the guinea pigs.

One of the short comings may prove to be the so-called Engine Mounted Generator.

In a more recent Forum thread you can see my own experience with a belt driven generator. Check posts #8 and # 14 in particular:

As told there I was going to install a belt driven generator. Looking at the Mike Wendland video I see that Roadteck is using the same Power Mite generator that I bought - and eventually donated, unused, to be sold at a Mennonite auction.

I ordered my SPRINTER with the High Idle Function, a Power Take-off and the big 200 amp alternator, thinking I would install an engine driven generator and a big battery pack.

That proved impossible. I could not find anyone in North America, including emergency vehicle builders as far away as Florida, who could do it. Even when showed photos of such an installation supposedly done in the UK, they insisted there was no room in the motor compartment and I think they were right. It’s mighty crowed down there.

But the puzzle remained: why did Mercedes offer the power take off option?

When I bought the vehicle there was no Mercedes support like there is now. The selling dealership in Michigan didn't even know what the power take off or high idle function were for. They only knew the price on the option list.

(The current Mercedes engine room might be different from mine, of course).

The Power Mite is not advanced technology by any means; it’s old-hat 1960’s stuff. You will have the High Idle function in the Sprinter and you’ll need to run the truck motor at a constant 2200 rpm to make current. You will also have an old fashioned choke -like knob and cable connection to engage the Power Mite when you want to make electricity.

The Sprinter is very quiet at regular idle but not when revved up to 2200 rpm. It’s NOISEY, louder than many inverter technology generators are nowadays.

In the end I didn’t feel it was a sensible idea to start with. Noise. Wear on the engine. Running a 5 cylinder engine to make 110v current to charge batteries. It all seemed wasteful to me.

There must surely be a better idea than the Power Mite out there, somewhere.

I am going to be very interested to see what happens as real builders adopt some of my renovation ideas. So far, I feel pleased and vindicated.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:48 PM   #22
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Well first it doesn't make sense to operate an engine mounted generator to make 115 volts only to down covert it to battery voltage which BTW is 24 volts on the Roadtrek E-trek. Why 24 volt you probably ask. Because inverter manufacturers need 24 volts once you hit like 4000 watt inverters and above. In fact some of the 10,000 watt inverters need 48 volts. RT does it by using 6 - 8 volt AGM batteries. And to the best of my knowledge they do not operate their engines at 2200 rpm. What they do is once you decide to recharge your batteries with the engine you merely start the diesel, blip the gas pedal once to rev it up to about 2200 rpm and then take your foot off the gas. The 24 volt generator that fits quite well on the engine PTO bracket is a one wire field generator that will then begin to produce about 3000+ watts @ 24 volts at IDLE and if you are driving the vehicle it could approach 5500 watts at highway speeds.

As far as cooking, no diesel cooktop. Instead an induction electric cooktop either recessed into the countertop or as we are having built, it will be a portable induction cooktop so we can place it outside in the camping area to cook outside if my wife wants to.

Yes there have been many stories running rampant since last spring of 2013 when it was first announced about the RT E-trek. I hesitated last fall on buying one and bought my Airstream but last week traded it on a 2015/14 Roadtrek CS Adventurous E-trek with Webasto diesel heat and hot water. I will have to wait probably 8 week now to get it as Webasto is getting scarce because of demand. But I think the wait is worth it.

Oh and did I fail to mention, RT is so convinced that the E-trek gets a 6 year full warranty from RT (not the Mercedes portion). Everything that RT installs is covered for 6 years, not prorated. Batteries, water pump, fridge, TV, stereo, generator, inverter, AC. Basically if they installed it, its covered for 6 years. They must be pretty confident about their product.
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:03 PM   #23
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Biker Bill, do you mind letting me know how much you paid for your Roadtrek and which options did you get? I am thinking of getting rid of my 2014.5 Interstate ext after I get it out of the shop. Thanks!
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:54 PM   #24
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I looked long and hard at the E-Trek before buying the AI EXT. In the end there were just too many new things on it, some of which didn't add up. The 8 batteries are 8 6V batteries, which ends up only being a 4X increase from the AI. And 240 W solar would do a worse job of charging them than does 100W at charging the 2 in the AI. Engine driven 3600W generator sounds good, but that many AGM's take about 1 hour to bulk charge then 2 hours on absorption, and idling 3 hours didn't sound quite so good. And I didn't see how the A/C could possible last 9 hours on batteries.

The one plus that did make a lot of sense was the Webasto diesel-fuelled coach heater and water heater.

None of the RT dealers had any experience with the E Trek and couldn't answer my questions - even if they had wanted to. Would like to hear your real experience on the above issues.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:55 PM   #25
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Our Roadtrek on order is a 21015 RT build on a 2014 Mercedes 3500 dual wheel Extended body chassis. Silver in color. E-trek package which includes 240 watt solar panel, total of 8 AGM 6 v batteries, engine generator, 5000 watt inverter, 6 year warranty; Mercedes Luxury Package which adds all the fancy MB options; power awning (but still has arms); the CS Adventurous model which includes 7 cu ft fridge/freezer with m-wave above it, power sofa; screens for rear door only; leather on power sofa; 22" flat screen on bracket; 4 chrome-2 steel wheels; silver paint; extended length body; shipping. The factory list on this is $150,278 since we placed the basic order we dropped the Alde propane radiant hot water+domestic hot water instead installing the Webasto diesel hot air+domestic hot water for an additional $700.

You can price this out from the RT webpage except the Webasto which is a special order. Dealers will sometimes discount up to 20% w/out a trade but I had my 2014/13 Airstream w 3 capt. chars and the long & short wardrobe and less than 8000 miles in 10 months.

My dealer is Fretz RV in Souderton, PA a long-time RT dealer. They are listing my trade in at I believe $107,400 last time I looked on their webpage. A big reason I rushed at this time was the NADA book will come out with new trade in values Aug 1st and we know my unit will drop in value. I had talked with Colonial RV, NJ as he is the dealer who sold me the Interstate and he is also a RT dealer but his trade was much lower.

If you have read my postings in this particular run on the Forum you will read of the differences I have noted that I do know of or will expect. The biggest is in the cabinetry I feel is not of the Aristream quality. I don't know where you are located but at the upcoming Hershey RV Show, Hershey, PA in Sept. it is expected that RT will debut its new TS model-Travel Series. From the pre-release pictures it looks a lot like the Interstate inside. 4 capts. chairs, laminate cabinetry, aluminum extrusions, etc. Not sure what E-trek kind of options may be available when it debuts. You might want to look at Facebook for "Roadtreking: The Group"; also on FB,, "Mike Wendland", other pages;; ‚ÄĘ Follow them, especially the Facebook and you will learn much, as I did.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:29 PM   #26
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The generator that I saw in the Wendland video looked exactly like the Power Mite that I bought for my failed experiment and I made the mistake of assuming that it was, without knowing for sure.

There arenít many specs on the Roadteck site, probably for the good reason that they wisely want to keep information away from their competitors.

If the system works the way you think it is set up to work it should be OK. The way that I was going to do it would have been unacceptable in the end.

Make sure you keep your old forum posted on your experience with the Roadteck.

Induction cooking is a great way to go. I have a portable one that I use, sometimes outside, sometimes in, sometimes with the Webasto diesel cooktop, sometimes instead of.

The heat for my hydronic system comes from a Webasto TSL 17.

The point that I really wanted to make was that it takes a long time for new, better ideas to creep into the conservative till now RV world. The Airstream INTERSTATE, which we Airstream types like to think is state of the art, continues to use propane when ONE FUEL, diesel, is so obvious.

There were some detractors here when I first mused about better ways to do things so I am glad to see ideas I once built out now starting to be used by others.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:05 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe View Post
The point that I really wanted to make was that it takes a long time for new, better ideas to creep into the conservative till now RV world. The Airstream INTERSTATE, which we Airstream types like to think is state of the art, continues to use propane when ONE FUEL, diesel, is so obvious.
To each his own. The yachting world has long offered diesel appliances, including stoves/ovens and water heaters. Yet even there, propane remains the fuel of choice for just about everything except spinning the propeller.

The biggest short-term drawback I see with the e-Trek is that someone who is out boondocking will drive to their campground, forget to refuel right before parking, and then drain their diesel tank keeping all of their appliances properly electrified, only to discover they're stranded in the boonies because they ran out of diesel before they drove home.

Even the old Airstream motorhomes with a built-in diesel generator in addition to the main engine had a separate fuel pickup that would have the generator start sucking air when the diesel tank was still at least 1/3 full, so there was always 1/3 of a tank left for driving away. You couldn't strand yourself by using all of your fuel for generating electricity. When you use the main engine to generate your electricity, you don't have that separate fuel pickup in the tank, and it does become possible for an inattentive user to drain their tank while generating electricity.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:21 AM   #28
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Good points, Protag!

We need the clarity of minds like yours here.


🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
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