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Sprinter RV's & Conversions Talk Common features found in Sprinter RV's and Conversions.


 
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:42 PM   #1
Top2004Cub
'08 3500 Extended Mega
 
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Default Going Rogue

Hi Guys, I have been watching and learning here for a few months, and last month I finally picked up my new 170" extended Mega roof Sprinter. THe 1800 mile drive home was a pleasure, and I was astounded to average over 19 MPG at 70 plus MPH all the way. What a great machine.
I build airplanes for a living, and have available to me a weld shop, machine shop, fiberglass shop,paint shop, and engineering department. I shouldn't be working on this Sprinter project right now, but I can't get it out of my mind, so I am calling it a "hobby", and spending way too much time thinking about it. I want to make a sprinter conversion with a very low center of gravity, lots of folding furniture and dissapearing walls, and a very low total weight. Some of my tanks will be lower than the axles, so handling should remain stellar.
I am planning to maybe get a little more agressive in my modification than any that I've seen written up here or elsewhre. I am seriously considering welding the slider shut and modifying the pass door to become the main entry to the coach. I don't see any structural reasons not to cut into this area so that a large step is created, and there is nothing down below the passenger footwell that even needs to be moved to accomodate this. Any experience with this from the guys on this site?
I've already removed the tailpipe and aft muffler so as to make room for a large grey water tank where the muffler was located. That tailpipe was in the way of my soon to be compartment for (4) 4D batteries just aft of the differential too. Gone! THe spare tire is also history, and a deep and wide storage "basemant" will take it's place. I will get the majority of the "under floor" items out of the way before tackling the living quarters.
I have ordered a bunch of .125 aluminum to make tanks and compartments under the floor with the hopes of being able to put all of the batteries, tanks, furnace, and possibly even the guts to the refridgerator under the floor. Sail boats do the built in thing all the time, and I don't have any problem with using marine products on my project.
There is a lot of waisted space in the walls of a Sprinter. I am trying to figure out how to use the 4" space to maximum advantage in the wall compartments. Any ideas?
Well, all for now. Merry Christmas to all. I will be spending most of the week after Christmas on a creeper under the van. Can't wait! JR.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Ain't it great? I drove mine home from afar, too. One of the best adventures of the year.

I'll have to defer to others on the technicalities of your project, but I'd like to welcome you to the fold. You'll get tons of good advice and help here.

Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Remember that the Sprinters are unibody construction, not body on chassis like American vans. Be careful of what you cut as what appears to be thin sheet metal may actually be important to the structure. Also watch underneath ground clearance if you plan to drive on back country semi-improved roads. Good Luck, post pictures.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Idea #1 is that you should get a good camera. Your audience here will really appreciate seeing a project van with your resources.

The Navy likes to think of its ships as flexible "weapons platforms". I think it is terrific that you'll bury a lot of innards under the van and keep the room for the fun stuff.

You'll have to tell us how you'll use the van to get the best advice.

I ripped out the propane tank that came with my van because it hung too low for my rutted road needs. I see that you'll have enough battery bank to go to an electric kitchen, maybe even skip a genset if you are efficient and mobile.

I'd love to have underside storage but we winter camp and prefer our water inside. It'd be great to bury the spare parts, tool box, come-along. In our case, we don't need more than a seldom-used rolling gray tank. Big tanks make sense if you you're an immobile camper, less so for us.

I use every bit of those wall cavities for insulation. Very nice to have a quiet, easy-to-heat core. OTOH, our idea of useful extra space is adding one or two 10x10 screened quickshelters plus a back porch shower.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:08 AM   #5
LivingtheDream
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Though I am not much of a do-it-yourself-er, there are a few things that I have learned from my two RV converted Sprinters. First, Sprinter is the best...bar none...

As for living in it and keeping the Sprinter the best, here are a few points I would offer from my now nearly 40,000 miles .....

Make sure you put as much weight as possible at the rear (water tanks, restroom, LP tanks....) the more you load the rear suspension the more stable it handles and the more comfortable the ride will be.

Anywhere you have the possibility to insulate, do so. Floor, walls, roof.... This will pay dividends in liveability and use of temperature changing utilities (air or heat). It will also provide sound deadening.... which is a nice upside for the other benefits.

If you really are going to close the slider door.... keep one of the rear doors clear (without external spare tire) for use as an additional entry... climbing around the seats gets old after a while....and is not the best for quick, clear safety exit... rear door can do that if you plan the aisle to it.

I have two house batteries and I would recommend that as minimum. Make sure that all appliances are LP operable and think about larger LP capacity to handle that and like was noted, you may get by without a generator (though I have one, I rarely use it). I have 50 gal LP and 50 gal fresh water, these have been great as I have lived with smaller and had to keep thinking of reloads instead of just enjoying the time on the road.

Keep it simple.... think through your usage carefully... and leave some flexibilit...

LivingtheDream
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:11 AM   #6
Top2004Cub
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Thanks for the encouraging comments guys. I made some good progress over the Christmas break. We were shut down for the week, so I had the shop to myself. Problem is, with all the new computerized equipment, I can't operate most of it! I did a lot of head-scratching and spent a lot of time on a creeper under the Sprinter though, and the plan is coming together nicely. I've found room for (4) 8D batteries instead of 4D's, so life is good! I'll get some photos of the progress as soon as possible.

I have come up with a few questions that I would appreciate input on. There seems to be a lot of seasoned RV veterans on this site, and although I've owned several over the years, I don't have near the experience that I know some of you have... especially not with this Sprinter.

Does anyone have any experience with installing skylights in the Mega Roof? Is there an automotive unit that has the same crown as the Sprinter's roof? I am considering making a mold and building my own, but I don't want to re-invent the wheel if I don't need to. The crown seems to be about 1" in a 38" width.

Does anyone have any experience with aluminum water tanks? I am not concerned as much with grey water and black water as I am with fresh water aluminum tanks. I am considering making a fresh water tank for showers and washing, but keeping the drinking water seperate. Your experiences would be welcome. All my other RVs had plastic tanks, but I don't find any custom Sprinter tanks available that will allow the capacity that I want. Some in Europe are under developement, but I've not been able to find a source yet that has them available now.

Well, time to quit typing and crawl under the van.

All the best in 2010! Jim
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:02 AM   #7
OrioN
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Top2004Cub View Post
Hi Guys, I have been watching and learning here for a few months, and last month I finally picked up my new 170" extended Mega roof Sprinter.
Was your purchase a NEW, never driven van?
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:28 AM   #8
Top2004Cub
'08 3500 Extended Mega
 
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Yes, well, no.. it had 80 miles on it. I put 1600 miles on in the following two days. Great vehicle.
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Old 01-07-2010, 06:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Jim,

Most campervan conversions have the fresh water tanks inside the van and they are usually made of plastic. Grey and blackwater tanks usually go somewhere under the van as these tanks can have (biodegradeable) antifreeze added to them in the winter.

Here's a link to a wide variety of water tanks: http://www.rvpartsoutlet.com/index.php?cPath=842_72

HTH

RickL
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:23 AM   #10
Altered Sprinter
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Default Re: Going Rogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Top2004Cub View Post
Thanks for the encouraging comments guys. I made some good progress over the Christmas break. We were shut down for the week, so I had the shop to myself. Problem is, with all the new computerized equipment, I can't operate most of it! I did a lot of head-scratching and spent a lot of time on a creeper under the Sprinter though, and the plan is coming together nicely. I've found room for (4) 8D batteries instead of 4D's, so life is good! I'll get some photos of the progress as soon as possible.

I have come up with a few questions that I would appreciate input on. There seems to be a lot of seasoned RV veterans on this site, and although I've owned several over the years, I don't have near the experience that I know some of you have... especially not with this Sprinter.

Does anyone have any experience with installing skylights in the Mega Roof? Is there an automotive unit that has the same crown as the Sprinter's roof? I am considering making a mold and building my own, but I don't want to re-invent the wheel if I don't need to. The crown seems to be about 1" in a 38" width.

Does anyone have any experience with aluminum water tanks? I am not concerned as much with grey water and black water as I am with fresh water aluminum tanks. I am considering making a fresh water tank for showers and washing, but keeping the drinking water seperate. Your experiences would be welcome. All my other RVs had plastic tanks, but I don't find any custom Sprinter tanks available that will allow the capacity that I want. Some in Europe are under developement, but I've not been able to find a source yet that has them available now.

Well, time to quit typing and crawl under the van.

All the best in 2010! Jim
save the dirt looking for cavity space, and use this for dimensions down under for your ticks and treats.
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