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Old 09-15-2014, 04:23 AM   #1
davidmbecker
 
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Default 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

So, it has been four months since I purchased a 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous and now it is time for me to actually contribute to this forum. Let me start off by saying that this was the best decision that I ever made for my family to buy this van. We have seen more stuff in the last 4 months than we have done in the previous 7 years. So, if you are on the fence whether or not a class B RV is the way to go, stop agonizing over the decision and do it.


Dealership - I got lucky here. Buy your class B from a dealer that is an authorized dealer of that manufacturer that is local to you. Meaning, if you are considering a Roadtrek, only buy it from a Roadtrek Dealer that you can drive to from your primary residence. Also, if you can help it, do not buy the new model that just came out. Roadtrek was slow in getting the repair department trained on the CS Adventurous and no one knew anything about how anything worked. You might find your experience different, but that was mine. I was considering a Coach House and I am glad I did not because of trying to coordinate any warranty issues. FL is a bit far away from Oregon. Just because there is a repair department at your local dealership does not mean that the workers know anything about how your RV works. Keep that in mind. If I lived in FL, Coach House would be my first choice. If I was in Iowa, then it would be Winnebago. You get the idea.

Onto the write up!

1. When traveling to go see something, we can fit in normal parking spots. The RV is only 23 feet long, but more importantly, is less than 8 feet wide. If you get a Winnie View or anything that is not a true class B conversion, keep this in mind. This reality eliminated 90% of all B/C variations. I wanted to fit in normal parking spaces without pissing off the general public. This also eliminated the Winnie class B because it is over 24 ft. long. That is a pain to park. Add in storage on the hitch, and you are at 26 ft. Too long for me!

2. On the road - I did not realize it till a long trip, but that overhead bed on a long trip would suck. It totally kills the view. I remembered when we were figuring out what we wanted to buy and looked at everything from diesel pushers to Chinooks, the big front window on Class A's was really appealing. A major part of the appeal of RVing is the journey, not just the destination. Having only 3 feet of vertical view from the front seat, in my opinion, kills this.

3. Gas mileage - I have read all these posts of people getting 20+ mpgs in their sprinter. Well, I get 16mpg on average. Sometimes it’s 15.5 and others its 17.5. I drive 65-72 mph the entire time with the cruise control on. This equates to $0.25 per mile. If you budget that number, for every 1000 miles it will cost $250, you will be fine and not get any surprises.

4. Noises - There is one major squeak that is super annoying, the bathroom door. I have not had the time to figure out how to fix this, but it needs something.

5. Cabinet Latches - These suck. Either they are too loose or WAY too tight. I have to, on one latch, use two hands and yank it open. Also, they use plastic on one end. Why? The connection should be metal. This insignificant cost savings is super annoying when one of those breaks off, which mine did. However, Roadtrek is AWESOME in sending over new ones. I called a guy who is the West Coast rep (got number from my dealership) and he sent 3 more over via Fed Ex. I like that.

6. Bathroom - Yeah, the shower is hardly usable. I did and it was a bit of a comedy of errors. If you need a functional shower, class B’s are not the way to go. It works, but only to really rinse off. Also, good luck trying to control the water temperature and the turning the water on and off. If I was videotaped, it would be on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

7. Toilet – this works. I do not like the wobbling though. Also, if you weight more than 220, you might feel you are going to break it off the floor. I am 190 and I do not trust it. Also, if you are taller than 6 feet, you are going to have a hard time as well. It is not the sitting down, it’s the standing up that is quite difficult.

8. Leveling Jacks – boy I wish it had some. Trying to clean out the sink or wash out your bathroom sink when it is angled away from the drain is a pain.

9. Kitchen – The kitchen works. It is not as nice as the Pleasure Way or Leisure Travel Vans since the counter space is really limited. What is real bummer about the kitchen is the stainless steel does not wrap around the sides. Instead, you have the wood cabinet there inches from the stove. This is a bad design. Ours now has a burn mark from the skillet hitting the cabinet. The sink is also really small and not very useful. Winnebago has a circle sink instead of a square. I think that is the way to go.
Here is another piece of advice, when looking at the galley area of the Class B/C that you are considering, think about 2 things. One – what will my hot pot or pan bump or splash against in here? Two -what will my splashing of dishes splash against. We looked a Thor Class C and the whole galley was wrapped in wallpaper. That is silly and is going to look like crap very quickly after grease and water have their way.

10. Microwave / Convection Oven – The microwave is about 50% as powerful as a regular microwave. When it is on, it draws like 17amps from the batteries, which is not bad. The convection oven part though is a massive power drain. I would turn the RV on while this is going. Also, mine turned off by itself after 10 minutes. Not sure why. And it only goes up to like 425 degrees.

11. Refrigerator – The space inside is awesome. The CS Adventurous has the best refrigerator of any class B that I saw. Also, it only draws like 2 Amps. So, you can leave that on and not worry. The bad is that, even on the lowest setting, some food in the fridge portion might be partially frozen. I am not sure how to fix this or even it can be fixed. I think it has something to do with the increased power that goes through the system when driving. However, I could never go with those half refrigerators after having this bad boy.

12. Black / Grey / Fresh Tanks – I wish that it held more water. The ideal for me would be 40 fresh / 25 gray / 15 black because I like dry camping.

13. LPG tank – I think this will last forever. After 4500 miles and 6 trips, it is still 2/3 full.

14. External BBQ attachment – I read and read and read about people trying to get a Coleman Roadtrip Grill to be hooked up the Roadtrek. Well I am here to tell you. YOU CAN. I got an attachment at Camping World and the dealership hooked that up in front of the main regulator. I have a photo. It works perfectly. I have a double extension of hoses and can keep the grill by the awning. VICTORY.

https://flic.kr/p/oWxywZ

15. Awning – The awning is sweet…well almost. Roadtrek did not think this through. In order to open the awning, the sliding door has to be completely closed. If it is at all open, then the awning cover will hit the door. If Roadtrek raised the mount up like 2 inches, the problem would be solved. This is a fail in my book. Also, I wish the awning had awning lights like the Winnebago.

16. Exterior – I wish it had external speakers like the Winnebago. Also, the external plug cannot be opened completely with the sliding door fully open. It hits the outlet cover. This is another fail by Roadtrek.
https://flic.kr/p/oWwX2o

17. Door Covers for tanks and electricity – these suck and are poorly designed on how they are to stay open. There has to be a better way than trying to get the metal holder positioned correctly to prop the door up.

18. Tank Monitors – These are terrible. The Winnebago wins I am sure with the external monitors. I am sure they are more accurate than the Roadtrek.

19. Entertainment – The rear TV and DVD are fine. They do not use hardly any electricity and the sound is pretty good. There is one major flaw though. They put surround sound speakers way up in the front of the RV. I have no idea what possessed Roadtrek to do this. The whole point of the rear TV is so someone in the back can watch a movie and the person driving does not have to hear it. The surround sound speakers are literally above the driver and passenger’s heads. It is ridiculous. So, after my first trip hearing Barbie save the world, I disconnected those. What Roadtrek needs to do is have a switch that allows for the DVD player to play throughout the van or just the rear of the van. They have a switch that allows for the music from the front radio to play through the rear speakers. So, they got half of it right. Winnebago wins here too with their system. It is definitely way more thought out.

20. Rear bed – This thing is terrible. It is REALLY hard cushioning and needs a mattress topper. Also, the center puts this piece of wood here setup is fatally flawed. It falls through way too easy. They need to make a slide out / slide in setup that does not require any thought or consideration when you want to roll off of it to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

21. Rear table – This is not so bad. It is super easy to setup and disassemble away.

22. Front table – Forget it, use the rear table instead. It is WAY too cramped and swiveling the seats to make it work take forever. I do not understand why they even made this possible. Once assembled, you are completely blocked from entering and exiting the van.

23. Fold out bed – Our kid is not pleased. It is kind of wobbly which does not breed confidence in a 7 year old. I instead use the front seats and am able to wedge it so it does not move. But, this is a temporary fix unless she stops growing. For those considering the RS adventurous because it can sleep 4, all I can say is LOL and good luck. If you keep your expectations low, it might work. But, remember my equation above, 4 is too many people in a 22 foot van. There is not enough seating / sleeping / storage to make this be an enjoyable camping experience.

24. Ventilation – Roadtrek did a very good job on the placement of the fantastic fan. It is where it should be – between the kitchen and the bathroom. If you take a shower, the steam goes up and out like it should. If you cook bacon, the smoke clears out super fast. But, in order for it to work right, windows or doors must be open to create the air current needed.

25. Air Conditioner – The roof mounted air conditioner works. But, it is a power-hungry beast. Do not use it without shore power. This will drain your batteries in minutes. It is also insanely loud. So, sleeping with it on is not an enjoyable experience. I read that Roadtrek said in a press release that the E-Trek can run the A/C without shore power. I am here to tell you that is complete BS.

26. Power / Batteries – I left the best for last. I work as an IT Manager and need my battery power. So, I went a bit overboard on this.
A. Solar Panel – Do not expect much from the 240W solar panel. Most of the time when you are camping, there are these things called trees that block the sun from your solar panel. Due to this, not much happens here to recharge your batteries. However, in the driveway at home, the solar panel works brilliantly to keep the batteries topped off. So, for that, I like the solar panel.

B. 4 AGM Batteries – Out of the factory, you get 4 AGM batteries. If you are planning on ONLY going to places that supply shore power, it is plenty. Or, if your main use is an overnight trip here and there, it is also more than adequate.

C. Extra Batteries – I went overboard here. I, like a lot of you, saw the 8 AGM batteries in the E-Trek, and got all hot and bothered. Well, I am here to tell you that the E-Trek is a waste of money compared to the CS Adventurous. The E-Trek costs upward of 10 grand plus more vs. the CS. The CS I got a 3000W inverter, the same 2400W solar panel, engine generator, and half of the battery power. However, I also have 60 gallons of propane so I can power up a grill. The heating of the coach also can use propane which lessens the battery drain. Also, the cooking is not using an electric cooktop, which is another plus. So, what did I do with the 10 grand of savings? I added four 12V Northstar AGM batteries, each rated at 176.5 Amp Hours. This only set me back 3 grand with installation.
https://flic.kr/p/oWxtvX
https://flic.kr/p/pdKSK6

I also added a battery monitoring system made by SETEC that uses Bluetooth to tell me the specs on my battery voltage, discharge rate, battery health, battery temperature and time left of usage. So, for 66% less than the E-Trek, I have more battery power (1168 Amp Hours vs. 800 Amp Hours) and capabilities than the E-Trek.
https://flic.kr/p/oWwzxa

D. Engine Mounted Generator – I like the engine mounted generator because it powers the batteries as you drive. However, I still wish I had a propane generator for when I stop. I do not want to run the engine on day 3 to power the batteries. Also, I read that extended idles are bad for the Mercedes diesel platform. If I had both, this would be ideal. On Day 3, I could fire up the propane generator and leave it on for a good part of the day and not worry about the battery levels. In their literature, Roadtrek says that you can run the car for 30 minutes and “adequately” power up the batteries. This is completely false. The boost on my system is about 1% or about 12 Amp Hours.

27. Final Thoughts – I am really happy I bought the CS Adventurous. For one, it looks fantastic. You will get a lot of compliments on the rig. It has happened several times where I am driving through our neighborhood and couples give me a completely 180 degree stare as I drive by them. I have even seen the wife say to the husband, “I want that.” It is one sexy beast. My wife likes it because it does not look like an RV with those cheezy swirly decals on the side or a giant advertisement to the manufacturer. LOOK AT ME I DRIVE A WINNEBAGO. My homeowner’s association does not allow RV’s in the driveway for this reason. But my RV looks like a Mercedes executive van, so no one has said a word.

I am also happy with the overall construction of the coach. Other manufacturers cut corners on things like the internal plumbing, battery power, etc. But, the CS is geared toward the option of dry camping. Other rigs only provide 2 AGM batteries at the most and have a crappy inverter. 3000W inverter and 240W solar panel is no joke.


If there is anything I missed, please reply back.

Last edited by davidmbecker; 09-15-2014 at 04:28 AM.
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Old 09-17-2014, 05:39 AM   #2
CuStOm
 
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

Lots of great feedback, thanks.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

UPDATE ON BATTERIES - So, my CS Adventurous is back at the Johnson RV to get the batteries figured out. After adding the battery monitor, I got some added clarity on what is going on with the charging / discharging of my added batteries. What appears to be happening is the inverter is getting confused on what the overall capacity is of the battery bank. The Northstar 12V batteries have 192 Amp/hours per battery. The OEM AGM batteries are 200 to 220 Amp/hours @ 6V. However, on the same draw across the battery bank, the OEM AGM batteries will go down to less than 11V whereas the Northstar batteries will still be at 11.6V. So, the interver alarm goes off because it is reading against the OEM batteries and not the added Northstar batteries. I will keep you guys updated on what the resulting solution will end up being. My thought that I voiced to the dealer is to just pull the OEM batteries and keep the Northstar batteries. 768 Amp/Hours is plenty for the dry camping that I do. Also, the SETEC battery monitor software will only measure up to 800 Amp/hours anyway. So, that is a win there as well.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

David - check to see if the SETEK is causing any problems. A quick check of online specs indicate it has a shunt rated 80 amps. I don't know if the rating is 12v or 24v and I don't know if your RT is setup as 12v or 24v or both. If 12v then 80a x 12v = 960 watts which is way less than the A/C would use for example.

Maybe have your dealer remove the SETEK and test the system without it to eliminate it as the source of the problems.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmbecker View Post
UPDATE ON BATTERIES - So, my CS Adventurous is back at the Johnson RV to get the batteries figured out. After adding the battery monitor, I got some added clarity on what is going on with the charging / discharging of my added batteries. What appears to be happening is the inverter is getting confused on what the overall capacity is of the battery bank. The Northstar 12V batteries have 192 Amp/hours per battery. The OEM AGM batteries are 200 to 220 Amp/hours @ 6V. However, on the same draw across the battery bank, the OEM AGM batteries will go down to less than 11V whereas the Northstar batteries will still be at 11.6V. So, the interver alarm goes off because it is reading against the OEM batteries and not the added Northstar batteries. I will keep you guys updated on what the resulting solution will end up being. My thought that I voiced to the dealer is to just pull the OEM batteries and keep the Northstar batteries. 768 Amp/Hours is plenty for the dry camping that I do. Also, the SETEC battery monitor software will only measure up to 800 Amp/hours anyway. So, that is a win there as well.
I don't claim to be knowledgable about battery systems. However logic would suggest if your going to add batteries to add 4 6 volt exactly the same as the 4 6 volt roadtrek gave you.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

Mixing batteries of different Ages, different sizes and or different chemistries is not a good idea. Please see the stickied battery FAQ on this site.

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Old 09-25-2014, 03:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmbecker View Post
However, I also have 60 gallons of propane so I can power up a grill.
Excellent write-up David, very informative. I have just three questions:
1) Is that really a 60 gallon propane tank? That seems huge!
2) Did you include the E-Trek option on ordering? Or am I missing something? I was under the impression that option put the CS price above the E-Trek.
3) All the new batteries and electronics you've had installed seem to take up all the space out to the rear door. Is there any real storage left back there?

Please keep these posts coming - they make interesting reading.
Peter
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by UKDude View Post
1) Is that really a 60 gallon propane tank? That seems huge!
It is no doubt 60 pounds, not 60 gallons.
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Old 09-26-2014, 03:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2014 Roadtrek CS Adventurous - after 4500 Miles

Dave,
Very good review of the CS. Thanks.
I am interested in the CS and appreciate your review. I have a 2008 RS and have never been able to get the surround sound system to work well. It could be made very simple as you suggest The latches are a pain. I do like the larger refrigerator and Microwave placement on top of the fridge. Having both on the floor is bad. Could one order eight batteries from Roadtrek? I agree the propane generator is a nice option and the gas lasts so long it is amazing, however, having an all electric sounds nice. Was the diesel heater(Wabaso??) an option on the CS. Also I understood the CS had in floor heating or is that an option?
I agree the class B is a great option and the Roadtrek RS or CS are very nice units, but they could be improved.
Gary
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:10 PM   #10
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On the bathroom door, take that flimsy door latch off and throw it away. Swap the bottom deadbolt latch from the left door to the right door. Keeps door secure and eliminates the rattle.
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