Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-01-2014, 06:39 AM   #43
BikerBill
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Poconos of Pa , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 239
And while mass production MAY lower costs, what I have found and not posted online YET is that Roadtrek is also cutting some corners on fit and finish.

And my new RT has been at a Mercedes dealer since the 18th awaiting problem repairs with the DEF system. Some reports are that it involves the RT shop doing something to the DEF tank and or lines but we don't know that for sure yet.

As for repairs to custom ie: Advanced vs RT or AI. Basically the equipment they install is purchased and available to many in the RV industry. Once you are beyond warranty anyone can probably fix it. What I am awaiting to see is the RT E-trek that I bought comes with a 6 year warranty--excluding the Mercedes chassis. But its still not clear what that really means. Will RT replace any or all the batteries during the 6 years? They did say that things are "covered" for the 6 years and nothing says anything about pro-rated by the 6 years. As they say, the jury is out on this one.
__________________

__________________
Bikerbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2014, 07:29 AM   #44
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,319
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikerbill View Post
And my new RT has been at a Mercedes dealer since the 18th awaiting problem repairs with the DEF system. Some reports are that it involves the RT shop doing something to the DEF tank and or lines but we don't know that for sure yet.
That could have something to do with the eTrek using the engine as a de facto generator. Diesel generator engines are subject to a phenomenon called "wet stacking" when run for prolonged periods of time at low rpms (such as idling, even "fast" idling) to charge the batteries. Basically it is incomplete combustion of the diesel fuel. Wet stacking does unpleasant things to exhaust chemistry, which also can have an effect on your DEF system, which is basically a diesel version of the automotive catalytic converter.

Automotive diesel engines such as the Mercedes Benz turbo-diesel normally aren't subject to wet stacking, but that's because they're not run at low rpms for prolonged periods of time; rpms vary as you drive. Roadtrek, by using the engine as a generator, has changed the operating regime and so it might be subject to wet-stacking just like any other generator.

This is all just informed speculation, but as a working hypothesis it does hang together pretty well.
__________________

__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2014, 04:06 PM   #45
Rivet Master
 
73shark's Avatar
 
2011 Interstate Coach
Overland Park , Kansas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,748
I read someplace that the MB 3.0L w/ the "fast idle" option can idle for a specified period of time (which I can't remember) w/o any problem. It may have been in the RT E-Trek brochure.
__________________
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.
73shark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 09:57 AM   #46
BikerBill
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Poconos of Pa , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 239
Our problems with the MB DEF system have nothing to do with idling time. Since we owned it we have not had a chance to sit and idle. FYI its been at the MB shop since the 18th. Every day or so they order another part or control unit for the DEF and its many varied systems. Nothing has been confirmed and another part arrived today and hopefully they will get to the bottom of the issue.
__________________
Bikerbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 08:42 AM   #47
4 Rivet Member
 
2007 23' Safari SE
2016 23' International
Fernandina Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 280
I guess I can weigh in as well since I am both an AS trailer owner, and a RT CS owner. Mine is a standard length conventional CS with propane and an ALDE hot water/heating system. I generally camp with electricity so E-Trek was not a priority for me, and to tell the truth,I am waiting for the technology to advance a bit before making that investment. I went with a non-solar equipped unit for now. When I do decide to go solar, I trust that a retrofit will be easily done and the reduced cost of components over time will more than compensate for any additional labor cost over equipping new.

In particular, RT is now testing Lithium Ion batteries. If you follow solar technology as I do, you may be aware that Solar City is now marketing purpose built home storage battery packs branded by their sister corporation, Tesla. I see no reason why these won't be adaptable to RVs as well. Besides the significant weight advantage, the batteries are much more versatile and capable of nearly full discharge and recharge cycles unlike conventional wet cells. Many of you also know that solar panels are becoming more efficient and cheaper at the same time. Being patient for this technology to mature only seems prudent.

As far as generators go, I am OK with an ONAN propane unit for now, but find it hard to justify the added weight and maintenance requirements (running an hour a month to satisfy the warranty requirements). I look forward to ditching it at some point. Not a big fan of diesel generators either.. as I prefer sustainable/renewable solutions for the long term. I will likely keep the propane as I do like cooking with gas and sometimes use a grill outside. The ALDE can run on either gas or electricity. The fridge is electric only and is quite different from what is offered in the AS, but I like it and it is very quiet (and large!) I do have a portable induction cooktop for inside use.

Other than that, we are very happy with our unit and have had no DEF or Chassis issues to date. I did wait for the 2014 chassis to get all of the safety upgrades and am glad I did. Blind Spot alone is worth the added premium of buying new. I appreciate the natural cherry wood cabinets that some consider old school, but to me, they add an air of fine craftsmanship in an otherwise "plastic" world. To Each their own.

One or two last comments about our comparison to AS, we were dissatisfied with the existing floor plans offered by Thor and in particular the arrangement of the microwave and fridge. Even the Grand Tour left us wanting. We love the CS. And when we sat in the AS second row seats, we noticed the seat bottom was appreciably shorter than the front seats as well as the single second row seat in the CS which is full sized. Important if you are transporting adults IMO.
__________________
Tomzstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 09:05 AM   #48
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,408
Images: 5
Re. LION batteries for RV use: (My knowledge base comes from automotive use, but applies to all LION batteries)

For the longest life of the batteries, a LION should not be charged above 80% of it's capacity and not lower than 20% of its total rated capacity. However one needs to know if the manufacturer is marketing a total capacity spec, or has accounted for this in their specs.

For RV use, I would see the need for a new line of converters and solar charger controllers that specifically address LION charge routines. I haven't researched it, but I imagine there may be solar controllers out there, but has anyone heard of RV converters with a LION charge routine?

LION is still expensive, and I believe will become somewhat outdated with the newer Lithium Phosphate (brain fart alert....I think it's LIPO) technology that is beginning to emerge. I hear rumblings that the newer technologies are not only more energy dense, but also cheaper. I have no training yet on the charge routines on LIPO.
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 09:42 AM   #49
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,319
Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
LION is still expensive, and I believe will become somewhat outdated with the newer Lithium Phosphate (brain fart alert....I think it's LIPO) technology that is beginning to emerge. I hear rumblings that the newer technologies are not only more energy dense, but also cheaper. I have no training yet on the charge routines on LIPO.
LiFePO4, Lithium Iron Phosphate. Mastervolt has LiFePO4 systems for marine use, so RV use can't be far behind. The biggest problem is the cost; a single battery can cost as much as $2,900, and of course you can't just get the battery, you need the whole system, complete with inverter/charger, charge controller/shunt, distribution panel, and status display, with all components using Ethernet LAN connectivity to intelligently monitor the system status.
__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 09:47 AM   #50
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,408
Images: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
LiFePO4, Lithium Iron Phosphate. Mastervolt has LiFePO4 systems for marine use, so RV use can't be far behind. The biggest problem is the cost; a single battery can cost as much as $2,900, and of course you can't just get the battery, you need the whole system, complete with inverter/charger, charge controller/shunt, distribution panel, and status display, with all components using Ethernet LAN connectivity to intelligently monitor the system status.
Thanks, Pro, I am wondering if that is the chemistry in the 2016 Volt. It won't be announced until next month at the LA auto show, but it appears there is a new batt in the Volt that is smaller (allowing for 5 passenger seating??), more energy dense (longer range, even with a smaller package), and CHEAPER than the current LION.
We'll have to wait and see, but that is the scuttlebutt.

I am sure that some sort of LI battery and charge system is in my future, before I hang up the RV lifestyle, but that $2900 is going to have to be closer to $500 (today's dollars) before I change out.
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 11:07 AM   #51
4 Rivet Member
 
2007 23' Safari SE
2016 23' International
Fernandina Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 280
Great discussion! A little off topic but lets indulge. Any of the latest and greatest technologies will always cost more than the prior generation with the exception perhaps of solar panels. One of the reasons I decided not to have any solar to start with was exactly that... no need to replace incompatible charging systems etc. When I do make the leap,it will be for the long term, just as I did my rooftop solar system for my house.

Per the charging limits, I believe Tesla builds that into their systems. I expect the home base to have the same. For example, the drivetrain for the Mercedes B-Class EV has a Tesla system that by default only charges to 80%. There is an "option" for extended range that basically ignores the 80% and uses the reserve battery capacity and is designed for "occasional" use.

One of the things that RT considers a value add and proprietary, is in fact this system level engineering including things like the engine mounted generator and charging systems. I'd rather go with a commodity based approach.

As far as newer designs go, these will take time to ramp up and have costs come down. The strategy that Tesla uses is to build a bank of cells from basic commodity batteries (Panasonic) and thus reduce costs significantly. We'll see how soon they adopt any newer chemistry. BTW, this is the same strategy that Elon Musk uses for the SpaceX Falcon series rockets... Multiple units strapped together in varying configurations. On my home system, I utilize micro inverters (enphase brand) to eliminate the single point of failure inherent in older single inverter systems (they come with a nifty internet enabled monitoring system called Enlighten). Not sure this at all appropriate for storage (I have a 100% grid tied system), but I would look to Solar City to see how they implement the Tesla storage solution.

Also very interested in Multi-Purpose storage solutions ala tapping an EV's storage for other uses such as powering an RV while boondocking... Having an EV as a toad could be a way to defer costs of having two separate dedicated storage systems...
__________________
Tomzstream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 03:12 PM   #52
Rivet Master
 
Davydd's Avatar
 
Tonka Bay
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 767
Images: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeptite View Post
So glad to see this forum is not strictly limited to AI vehicles; there are certainly others out there that strongly compete with the AI, and I appreciate hearing about the deliberations many of us go through when choosing which RV to buy.

In my mind, the competition at this level is between three manufacturers:
1) Airstream,
2) Roadtrek, and
3) Advanced RV.

I feel I know the AI fairly well from this forum. I am learning more about the RT from this thread. How 'bout the Advanced RV? It's about as custom as you can get: they will do anything you want, and offer lots of eco-friendly and non-propane options. Have any of you looked seriously at ARV? The upsides to ARV are:
1) Total "customizability"
2) you order direct from the factory, no middleman/dealer

Downsides:
1) mass production lowers costs, and custom implies higher cost
2) factory-direct means no dealer network; not sure what how work under warranty would be handled if you don't live within a day's drive of Cleveland OH.

Your thoughts?
I am one of the soon to be Advanced RV owners, or I should say owner just waiting for mine to be finished. I can probably answer any question now.

They are not totally customizable in the sense you can build any floor plan you desire such as Sportsmobile touts. They have a basic plan. The Genesis of that plan came first from a Pleasure-way Plateau and then the Great Wes Van Legend, the two Class Bs the CEO of ARV owned before starting his company. Yes, an owner with real RV experience. By luck and coincidence those were the exact same two RVs that I owned in the past (as well as an Airstream trailer). So the basic plan part was familiar to me and not a stretch to know if it would work out. I knew about Advanced RV before it actually became a company but didn't pull the trigger to buy one until 2 years after.

You do deal directly with the company. There is no dealer network. I am in weekly communications with the CEO as well as many of the staff be it about cabinetry design, electrical, finishes, ideas or whatever. I've chronicled my progress with ARV in the ClassBForum.com and the Sprinter-source.com forums with a thread called Advancing Alvar. Those threads pretty much cover the process. Each message thread kind of takes on a course of its own.

Most customers have been farther than a day's drive away as we are. Warranty work is simple. Any RV dealer/service center can do warranty work and Advanced RV will make direct arrangements with the dealer. It is not a kick it out the door and let a dealer make adjustments. My ARV will be finished a week before I pick it up so they can thoroughly check it out. Then when I pick it up I will spend at least a couple of days at the factory going over everything with them before driving away.

A Class B is not built "mass production" style by anyone. It is kind of a put one leg on at a time process in that the converters are forced to build inside a van. In watching the numerous videos Roadtrek has produced the B doesn't get built much differently. However, with ARV a lot more goes into it at every phase of the work. When it comes to quality there is no comparison. If you are worried about the cost, when you get into the stratosphere of $150,000 for a B you can be penny wise and pound foolish as the saying goes. If you go piece by piece in comparison there is no difference in price I can see. But, I am getting exactly what I want and not a palette of standards, options and finishes available on a check list in a brochure. I'm not getting anything I don't want but will reluctantly rip out or modify after taking ownership.

Finishes are interesting. There are 24 Mercedes Benz exterior colors. That is the choice, not just black, white or silver or a short palette of a half dozen or so. There are no combinations of two or three interior color combos that happen to be the trend of the year. You build your own MB cargo van order from everything offered by MB.

ARV allows you to select your own curtain, upholstery, cabinet, countertop. wall, ceiling, trim and flooring. They have suggestions but most make their own choices that I have seen so far. Some I would never like. The downside of that of course, is I will have to live with my choices and I don't expect others to agree with them. Going from samples to a finished product can produce surprises good and bad. There will never be an identical B to mine unless a new customer sees it and says they want it too.

Technically, ARV is cutting edge. I am getting 800ah of LiFePO4 batteries and 480 watts of flexible solar panels, both of which are custom designed systems. I will not have a generator or propane. The second under hood engine alternator is their standard. Heating and hot water will be supplied by an Espar diesel fired system. The CEO of ARV started that trend with his semi customized Great West Van Legend being the first and it has been in every ARV. One thing no Sprinter RV manufacturer can provide in North America is the VB Air Suspension system. You have to drive one to understand how much of a difference it makes. ARV offers it. I'm getting it.

Now for the custom part. The plan is pretty much standard but there are many things you can change. No, you are not going to move the bathroom but I understand one customer is going to get a composting toilet which will make for quite a bit of modification. I have extensively redesigned the wardrobe cabinet behind the driver's seat. I did my own CAD drawings to convey my desires.

In the back they have built with the tri-fold sofa and twin bed configurations so far for customers. The twin beds have taken on many different interpretations as I have yet to see two alike. One had two custom dog kennels built underneath. One for a New York musician had a speaker system probably like no other in an RV, or at least a Class B. But stay tuned. You ain't seen nuthin' yet. I have put a lot of work on mine.

They don't send out Advanced RVs on a 9 day production schedule ala Roadtrek. I ordered my MB cargo van May 4th, it arrived September 11th and won't be finished until February 6. Part of that is because I wanted a 2015 chassis. Part is because of the extensive design collaboration and testing we have been going through, and part is I didn't want to rush development as I knew of some technical things coming online. And, I didn't need it until February.

Now the bad news. If I have tweaked anyone's interest it appears if you want an ARV today you probably might not expect delivery until the summer of 2016. They are that backed up. They have no intention to cut cost, process, or quality to deliver what they want to be the best. ARV is for people that don't want to settle for less. This will be my third Class B RV and I decided I was not going to compromise because something was the best I thought available at the time. That's what I thought the first two times and it ultimately wasn't good enough. I'm not saying there will never be a fourth. Design doesn't stop and I am already thinking about it.

There is a Facebook group that is open to read or join that has been chronicling the progress of ARV owners. It is called "B"ing in an Advanced RV.
__________________
Davydd
2015 Sprinter Class B Camper Van
(Former 1971 vintage Airstream Owner)
Davydd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 04:08 PM   #53
Rivet Master
 
Boxster1971's Avatar

 
2013 Interstate Coach
Fulton , Maryland
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,265
Davydd - thanks for sharing this insight on ARV.


- - Mike
2013 Lounge EXT on 2012 Sprinter
__________________
- - Mike
--------------------------
2013 Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT
Boxster1971 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 04:33 PM   #54
Rivet Master
 
73shark's Avatar
 
2011 Interstate Coach
Overland Park , Kansas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,748
Did you purchase this Sprinter yourself or have Advanced RV buy it? Just wondered if there was an advantage either way.
__________________
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.
73shark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 04:52 PM   #55
Rivet Master
 
Davydd's Avatar
 
Tonka Bay
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 767
Images: 13
Advanced RV orders it but you sit down with them and work up the order going to Mercedes Benz. It is your choice to load it up with options or not in such things like heated seats, fog lights, which engine (4 or 6 cyl) and all the safety features. There are some things Advanced RV will tell you what you need or don't need for the conversion. As I mentioned, the color is a big one. I went with graphite grey metallic along with factory glossy black wheels.

Advanced RV has ordered some vans on spec. One that went out just last week was selected by a customer after me but since it was available it got built ahead of ours.
__________________
Davydd
2015 Sprinter Class B Camper Van
(Former 1971 vintage Airstream Owner)
Davydd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 07:34 PM   #56
Rivet Master
 
73shark's Avatar
 
2011 Interstate Coach
Overland Park , Kansas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,748
Can they build one on a 2500 chassis? I've heard that they ride better than 3500.
__________________

__________________
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.
73shark is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Own your own scale? Ag&Au Jacks, Stabilizers, Lifting and Leveling 8 01-26-2014 03:52 PM
Hello... No longer suffering from envy Toasty's Dad Member Introductions 16 11-23-2005 09:17 PM
parts no longer available! jking Exterior Restoration Forum 2 05-11-2004 07:10 PM
Hold messages in view longer Cracker Forum Admin, News and Member Account Info 8 04-07-2004 06:44 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.