2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
My wife and I have just finalized an order for a GWV Legend SE to be built to our specifications on a 2014 Sprinter chassis. We are excited and would like to thank everyone on this list for sharing the information that helped make this decision possible. I especially appreciate the advice to call GWV directly. This was key to achieving one of our primary objectives, which was to upgrade our 2005 Airstream Interstate with a vehicle that addresses all of the annoyances that all B-van owners accumulate over the years of ownership. As others have said, Great West is very willing to work with a prospective owner to take their standard design and evolve it to address specific needs and preferences. For us, this is the perfect path toward our goal.

Our soon-to-be new rig will be built on a non-extended 170 in gray-white. The chassis was from GWV's stock, so the build can start right away. It is scheduled for delivery on or before May 1. We could have chosen a 2013 model for significantly less money, but the new packages available for 2014 are just too good to give up. It is equipped with the MB Driver Efficiency Package (factory navigation, rear camera, fog lights, etc) and Active Safety Plus (multifunction steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, collision prevention, lane keeping, auto high-beam, light and rain sensor, etc). They will add after-market backup sensors. With the Espar diesel furnace/water-heater and the rocker-panel fairings, they have eliminated most of the RV penetrations. I replaced the default 3-way Dometic refrigerator with a Nova Kool RFU 6800 12V compressor unit. This eliminates two more external vents. This, combined with no awning and GWV having eliminated most external striping and graphics should yield a very clean and stealthy exterior.

Here are some of the other customizations:
--I am 6'3". The EX would have given a plenty-long-enough bed, but we didn't want the extra vehicle length, which leaves us with a 75" bed. Not good enough. So, the kitchen cabinets will be customized to to give an extra 3" of bed length on the passenger side. This will be at the expense of a slight amount of drawer space, but no loss of counter space.
--Instead of the standard converter/inverter setup, I specified an upgrade to an Outback VFX2812M 2800 watt inverter/charger and added a second battery (upgraded to AGM) for a total of 420Ah.
--We wanted to maximize hanging closet space but did not want to lose the window behind the driver's seat, so they are going to convert the low chest of drawers to a closet and increase both its height and depth.
--Added a macerator system.
--They are building custom recessed niches above the wheel-wells in order to have a place for glasses, remote controls and iPhones.
--added a soap dispenser near the kitchen sink.
--added a heat vent to the bathroom
--using HEPVO waterless traps (no more winterizing the p-traps!)
--added an electric shut-off valve for the propane, so it shuts off automatically when vehicle is powered down.
--Solar panel upgraded to 130watt.
--various tweaks of outlet and switch locations (e.g., light switch near bed)

There is a bunch more, but you get the idea. These are the kinds of details that tend to be hit-or-miss in off-the-shelf units. With GWV, I will have no one to blame but myself!

Obviously, this is just the beginning of the process. But so far, I couldn't be happier.
 
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Davydd

Well-known member
Sounds like you gave your Great West Van a lot of thought to get what you want. You mentioned a lot of things I should consider. Can't wait to see it. You did what I did only I selected my Great West Van when it was only a week away from completion on the line. And you are following my steps in going from an older Sprinter model to a newer one after living with things you would like to fix or change.

We had the higher closet and ultimately ended up going the opposite way in that we have eliminated all hanging space by installing wire basket shelves inside with our own remodeling. I would still like a small hanging space for coats. 8" width would be enough. We are still hot and cold on the lower dresser to get the window but there is one thing I would do with either and that is cut off the dresser/closet in line with the upper cabinet to give more clearance behind the driver's seat. We have three reasons for that. If we take our cat along we would rather have the 16" wide enclosed kitty litter box that won't fit in the 14" it is now. The second reason is it makes the turned around driver's seat more comfortable to where you can get to it easier to sit down. The last reason is that space becomes more versatile with those extra few inches to put a wide variety of things to store away. If I had a dresser height cabinet I think I would like a slide out or flip up desk that would fit up to a turned around driver's seat.

My wife's desire is to eliminate all carpeting including the front transition and the back carpet in the sofa/bed area. We put a runner down in the kitchen that we can take up and clean.

Here is a photo of the dresser unit. I over-imposed the red line arrow to indicate how I would shorten the width to align with the cabinet above.

 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Sounds like you gave your Great West Van a lot of thought to get what you want.
Yes--been thinking about it ever since the initial swoon of buying our Interstate wore off. I am pretty sure that most RV designers have never lived in one. We looked at pretty much everything on the market and it was like a game of bop-a-mole -- every time you find a unit that addresses one dumb design decision, you find new issues to take its place. Plus, we were quite disappointed with the fit and finish delivered by Airstream and most of the new models we looked at were little better, regardless of brand.

So, our first decision was two-fold: (1) we would go with a vendor with a consistent reputation for quality; and (2) we needed the ability to do significant customization. That makes for a pretty short list of possibilities, and from that list GWV seemed clearly the most cost-effective (at least given that we don't particularly value luxury level materials or features, which is not the same thing as build quality).

We are still hot and cold on the lower dresser to get the window but there is one thing I would do with either and that is cut off the dresser/closet in line with the upper cabinet to give more clearance behind the driver's seat....
Hmm... Well, I guess it is a straight trade-off between inside and outside. We are pretty fond of hanging space (keeps shirts, pants, etc handy and less wrinkled), so it is a tough decision for us. In our current rig, I tend to keep my computer bag in that space, so the small volume works well.

You make a good point about access to the spun-around driver's seat, though. How bad a problem is it with the table up? I am familiar with your offset-table-mount mod. Does this solve the problem? Should i have them move the floor receiver closer to the center of the vehicle?

If I had a dresser height cabinet I think I would like a slide out or flip up desk that would fit up to a turned around driver's seat.
Good idea. I think I will wait until we've lived in the van a bit and then consider a flip-up mod.

My wife's desire is to eliminate all carpeting including the front transition and the back carpet in the sofa/bed area. We put a runner down in the kitchen that we can take up and clean.
Yes, we've already eliminated the rear carpet. Still thinking about the front. It looks awful nice....
 

Davydd

Well-known member
That offset table modification allows me to slip into the driver's seat without having to slide across the passenger seat. In other words if my wife is sitting in the turned around passenger seat I can still get to the driver's seat. Cutting off another 2-4" of that cabinet as I marked would help even more. It is that distance between the pedestal base of the seat and the cabinet that I want more of. I should check to see how practical it would be to put a flip down or up table on my cabinet now. My gut tells me there isn't enough room but I've never checked it without cutting it back those few inches. Which, of course, I am not going to do with my existing B.

As far as clothes go I've gone to mostly foldable stuff like Wrangler jeans, sweatshirts, polos and the lightweight nylon safari shirts and pants that can't be ironed anyway.

Here is that 4" offset from center table modification again. This is the original position.



This is the offset position.

 

pattonsr

New member
avanti,

You said with the Nova Kool RFU 6800 compressor unit the two external vents would be eliminated. I think only the 9000 has floor level inside venting. The compressor on the 6800 is on the back side and still requires upper and lower venting unless some other method is used to vent the heat.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
avanti,

You said with the Nova Kool RFU 6800 compressor unit the two external vents would be eliminated. I think only the 9000 has floor level inside venting. The compressor on the 6800 is on the back side and still requires upper and lower venting unless some other method is used to vent the heat.
Pattonsr,
The RFU 6800 requires cabinet venting (i.e., inside the vehicle). The Dometic requires vents outside the vehicle (because of the propane combustion). It is the latter that can be eliminated.

The Legend already has a bottom vent underneath the refrigerator. We will have to add an upper vent. It will be on the right side of the cabinet near the microwave.

The other advantage of the Nova Kool is that it is MUCH more efficient running on 12VDC.
 
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pickles

New member
Can't wait to see pictures! I think Great West has the best layout for us as well with maybe the exception of no place for hanging clothes? Thinking of finding out if they could make the large refrigerator into a hanging closet and substitution a small fridge for the the drawers below the window or maybe just hanging space instead of the drawers under the window.

I really love the sliding tri fold couch as it solves the problem for chairs/grill. Nice there is no "stuff" keeping one from using the space under the couch.

We are downsizing from a 345 Airstream and are concerned about many of the other B floor plans - concerned about feeling too claustrophobic in them as we will be traveling and camping a lot as i retire fully within the next year. Working now on getting the house ready to sell! Like that this has two areas and it looks like it will feel open - considering the smaller space....

Thanks,
Kate
 

Davydd

Well-known member
Hi Davydd,

Is that a hanging closet in your MH just behind the driver's seat?

Thanks,
Kate
It was a hanging closet but then we filled it with this:



That's an Elfa wire hanging basket system you design yourself from the Container Store. We don't travel much with hanging clothes as we travel very casual.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Actually, our new van is going to have TWO hanging closets:
(1) There is a hanging closet behind the bathroom that extends from the ceiling down to above the driver's side bed. It is normally bevelled inward, but they are going to square it off for us to make it work better as a hanging closet.
(2) They are going to rework the front chest-of-drawers (just behind the driver's seat)--making it 37" high and having closet doors rather than drawers. This will be high enough to work as a hanging closet (with a work/storage/recharge-your-laptop surface above) but low enough to preserve a (somewhat smaller) window. They can also put a full-sized closet there, like Dave's originally was, but then you lose the window, which I would hate.

It is so great working with an upfitter who is willing to tweak the details to meet the needs and desires of an individual customer.
 
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pattonsr

New member
avanti,

You said your GWV Legend SE is scheduled for delivery before May 1. Please take pictures of all your mods, especially the location of the Outback VFX2812M, the extra battery boxes and the Nova Kool RFU6800 refrigerator. I stopped looking at Great West Vans because they have not offered the Outback or Nova Kool in the past.

Do you know if Great West Vans in the future will offer these items as documented options?
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
avanti,

You said your GWV Legend SE is scheduled for delivery before May 1. Please take pictures of all your mods, especially the location of the Outback VFX2812M, the extra battery boxes and the Nova Kool RFU6800 refrigerator. I stopped looking at Great West Vans because they have not offered the Outback or Nova Kool in the past.

Do you know if Great West Vans in the future will offer these items as documented options?
Will do.

One clarification: The van will not have extra battery boxes, just extra large batteries in the existing boxes (which apparently are pretty spacious). The EX has four boxes, but there is only room for two in the LE.

I don't know how many (if any) of my mods they might adopt officially. However, I can assure you that they are VERY willing to work with customers to give them what they want--assuming you are willing to order from the factory instead of buying off of a dealer's lot.
--Pete
 

pattonsr

New member
avanti,

If you worked directly with the factory, did you still have to involve a dealer? How was the price determined?

Are you going to the factory for delivery?
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
avanti,

If you worked directly with the factory, did you still have to involve a dealer? How was the price determined?
They have an arrangement with their dealers for situations like ours. One of the dealers will be involved, basically to just do the paperwork and licensing, with minimal markup. I have not yet interacted with a dealer, but I will before we are done. GWV basically just deals with it. The price was quoted by the factory after we agreed upon a full specification. In our case there was quite a bit of customization. There was some give-and-take around what was and wasn't feasible, but for the most part they were extremely accommodating.

Are you going to the factory for delivery?
Yep! The drill is that we will take the van out for a shakedown night of camping at a nearby campground. This will give us a chance to discover any issues. They will make adjustments the next day. We will take ownership after that. We are really looking forward to it, especially after the weather-related delay.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
It's here!

After several delays related to the polar vortex and GWV's resultant move to Alabama, we finally took delivery of the very first American-made Legend. Here are some quick snapshots:

Nice and clean. Side penetrations at an absolute minimum:
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Yes, actual real wood.
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Continued...
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Re: It's here!

They modified the cabinetry to my specifications. The front cabinet was reworked so that it was tall enough to serve as a hanging closet, but low enough to keep the window:

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The NovaKool compressor refrigerator is bigger inside than the corresponding Dometic 3-way, but smaller outside. This created enough room for an extra space that I will use as a communications closet:

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My awesome customized control panel. All the geeky controls are hidden in the cabinet. I added the Paneltronics marine switch panel. It permits centralized control of all the utilities, communications, and media. It will make it possible to control all parasitic loads as needed.

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Continued...
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Re: It's Here!

The kitchen cabinet was shortened by 4" to make room for my big feet while in bed. They eliminated the column of tiny drawers, and made the big ones extra wide:

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Here are the little niches that I added on each side to have a place for phones and glasses. The tops of the front ones have both 120VAC and USB power outlets. The rear ones are prewired with CAT-5 cable running to the communications cabinet. I will use them to install Ethernet outlets for laptops:

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Nice privacy drapes.

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