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Old 06-27-2012, 05:07 AM   #1
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Question Van Wide body or Sprinter 3500

Just sold my class A looking at B's.. Trying to decide between a wide body van like the PW Excel or a PW Plateau or Winnbgo ERA. I think the 2 most important things to me are ability to park in most single standard outside parking spots and openness inside. I believe the Widebody meets that but the trade off is small fridge and less storage along with the gas mileage (which isn't a huge deal is its still better than my class A) can you store enough in those small 3.4cu in refers? and what about the tiny freezer what fits in that 2 steaks?
And is there enough storage space for the cooking and living basics? I go on 3-4 day trips with my wife. Lastly twin beds or collapseable sofa not sure which will provide more utility less hassle. I think sofa bed but is it comfortable enough without center piece in? Please let's hear from you...
Thanks,
NextCom
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:32 AM   #2
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I have a Winnebago View. Bigger then the ERA, but I can fit it into most parking spots, especially if I can back in over a rear grass area. On a recent trip of 3500 miles, I averaged 15.5 MPG with the v6 diesel.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:14 AM   #3
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This is basically a question of floorplan. Sprinters have traditionally higher ceilings, which is a really nice feature. Nut they're aren't as many companies using that chassis....although numbers have gone up by leaps and bounds over the last 7 years. In the beginning, not many companies make them "homey" feeling inside. It seems most of the Sprinters were very plasticly throughout, almost like glorified Westfalias. With that said, Jayco and others now make really nice Sprinters, taking advantage of the platform's advantages. There's a lot of options on a Ford/GM chassis as well though.

Sprinters are diesel, so that's another think you have to think of. Sprinters can't be serviced at just any dealership, unlike a Ford or Chev. If it's a Dodge, you need an authorized Business Link dealer, or Mercedes equivalent dealer. The upside is fuel economy. Sprinters have the edge.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for your comments; I am leaning towards the ERA 170a seems like the best bang for the buck..would like to hear from anyone that has bought one or looked at one and didn't purchase...
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:39 PM   #5
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We have had our 2012 ERA since mid-April. Other than a couple of over-night shake-down times, we are now in Alaska (from Washington State) for the summer. We are now 3000 miles (nearly 3 weeks) into the trip and other than a couple of minor items, all is performing as desired. We are not towing, but heavily loaded with tools under the sofa for volunteer work at Christian camps. Mileage has varied 19-1/2 to 20-1/2 mpg, so much better than our old class A. We like the open feeling of the ERA. We have noted that the 2013 put in the larger fridge, but "closed up" the view with walls on both sides. We use the sleeping area as twin beds, without the center filler (left the table at home). This is adequate, and the 2013 gives you larger beds but the compromise over the 2012 is not good IMHO. We had two of the "bought on TV" tables that can fold, but also have feet that slide under the sofa when you sit down to have a bite. Regarding the fridge, we have found it good enough for at least a 3-4 day supply of necessary items. Think smaller packages and just stop for groceries more often. One tends to think we need to carry as much as our fridge at home -- think again, it is not necessary. Some of you may have seen my comments on the changes I made to the ERA before the trip, including removal of 2 seats, adding two cabinets, a medicine cabinet, and mosquito netting for the rear and side doors. This has really added to the everyday usability of the rig. The 2012 ERA is a good rig so far, and certainly a more economical package than the more costly sprinters on the market. It has been a very comfortable drive, plenty of power for the mountains, and you can go anywhere your heart desires. Happy wandering to all of you in your sprinters.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:47 PM   #6
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Hope the Alaska trip is going well I did that trip a few years ago in a big rig - there are some very remote spots on that highway. We went all the way to Fairbanks and back down the highway and back through Vancouver. What a great 2 1/2 month trip and never had one single mishap or problem anywhere.

I like the ERA, I drove one and it was fine, but I find my Leisure Van Libero to have quite a bit more room inside and more external storage, larger tanks and a 4kw gas gen vs the smaller unit on the ERA. I can only dream of 20mpg with the 8L chevy but it does have lots of power. Leisure Van has the same body on a 3500 Sprinter Chassis and that is a very cool rig but I am not certain if it has the air ride bags. I know my Libero on the chevy 3500 has the best ride I have experienced on a small rig. (I downsized from a 40 ft Monaco Dynasty last year so while my 15 mpg seems like a bonus but not as good as one can get with a spinter on the same body.) The chevy takes 87 gas which is about 10-15% less than than diesel so one must consider cost per mi when comparing mpg.

Would like to hear more about the trip and experience with the smaller rig. While we loved our Dynasty and do miss the washer and dryer, the Libero is right sized for us at this stage in our lives. Love to get into smaller places and even when we take our Snart Car toad, it still gives us more flexibiity than we had with the Dynasty and larger toad.

Good luck and have a safe journey.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:46 AM   #7
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Oops - before someone questions what was in my last post, I want to correct a couple of typos. Chevy engine is 8cyl not 8l and my toad is a Smart Car. Not snart - using my phone app and at times and big fingers and small keyboards are a bad conbination.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:47 AM   #8
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After owning 3 Class A DP'ers since 1993 (along with several other smaller RV's) we sold the Allegro bus last Jan and bought our 2012 ERA. We've taken 3 trips in the ERA and are on a 8 week trek to the Northwest to visit our son. We have found the ERA to be perfect for us and surprisingly, EVERYTHING has worked flawlessly since we bought it. We did, of course, need to evaluate the things we take with us but feel the space under the rear seat provides adequate storage if you think through what you actually need and organize those items. We have the X and have not seen the A to date. From the pictures and videos, the A looks to have an actual bed in back replacing the folding couch. However, the A does appear to us to be more "chopped up" with less windows than the X. The larger refrig in the A would be nice but the smaller one in the X works fine as you simply need to visit a grocery store a bit more often.
A couple of things I wish the X had is a microwave that is a convection ( could easily be changed by owner if important) and a larger black water tank so it would not need to be emptied as often. The good thing about it is it's not a big deal to empty the tank as we drive right by the dump station if we take off on a day trip.
We plan on spending 3-4 months each winter in our ERA and really like not towing a car everywhere and especially the way it drives and handles. We can park most any parking lot.
Do yourself a favor and check out both the A and the X ERA's. Expect to pay about $80K or a little less for a new unit. Good luck!!!
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:38 PM   #9
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RSchieder, thanks for your comments; on your ERA X do you put the electric couch up and down everyday or do you leave in down in a bed? do you need to put the middle piece in or can you use it without. Also do you need to put a piece of foam over the couch to smooth out the folds or is it useable and comfortable without anything?

I know its some what relative but on average how often do you need dump the black tank?

Do you fit in regular parking spots or do you need to pick a spot you can over hang the rear end or pull across a spot and a 1/4 or do you typically find spots that will accommodate a 24' vehicle? I want to park in my condo complex and the spots ar about 21' long with a solid wall around it so no place to hang the rear end over. I may be able to encroach on another spot a bit but can't count on it. That was one of the major factors for me to consider a 20' Pleasure Way Excel on a Ford chassis

Thanks again,

Nextcom
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:32 AM   #10
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We actually put the couch back into the couch position every day as we find it comfortable to sit on during the day or evening.
We use the couch as two separate single beds without the center section installed. We took the double cushion ( 2 cushions attached together) to our upholster shop and had them separate them into 2 cushions. This allows us to leave one on the cushions at home and gives us a single cushion on the platforms in front of the couch ( each platform now has only a single cushion) to put our legs/feet on at the right height.
We do not put any type of "bed topper" on the couch/bed at night and sleep quite well, We're in our 70's and have a bit of back pain from time to time from working around our 6 acres and do get a sore back in some beds. So far the ERA bed/couch works for us.
The ERA is built in the Sprinter 24' van so if you are limited to 21', you may have a problem parking in your complex. We typically park out a ways in large parking lots and put into a single width parking stall and hang over actually using a stall+ due to our length.
Hope this info helps, I'm pleased to provide any additional info you request!
Good luck, Ron

PS: IMHO, the Sprinter interior height really opens up the unit compared to a Chevy/Dodge/Ford van. I strongly suggest you look at a Sprinter conversion built into a 24' van as I believe Road Trek and/or Pleasureway manufacture nice class B's using that van. If you can deal with the 27' length, the ERA will give you excellent value for you money compared to the competition!
Don't buy anything until you see the various models IN-PERSON as you need this info to pick what works best for you.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libero View Post
Oops - before someone questions what was in my last post, I want to correct a couple of typos. Chevy engine is 8cyl not 8l and my toad is a Smart Car. Not snart - using my phone app and at times and big fingers and small keyboards are a bad conbination.
"Conbination"? Just teasing! The reason why I'm replying to your post is because i can truly relate to it. I have the Smart Phone App an oftentimes when I type something I can't believe all the mistakes and "auto corrects" that take place. I can't speak for others but whenever I come across those typo's by others I understand what took place.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:53 AM   #12
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Black water dumping

Forget to answer the black water dump question above. It depends, of course, on how much time we spend at the rv during the day. However, as a rule of thumb, i'd say every 3-4 days. We're probably spoiled as our allegro bus would go almost 2 weeks between dumps. As they say---size does mater!!!
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:55 PM   #13
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by nextcom1 View Post
Just sold my class A looking at B's.. Trying to decide between a wide body van like the PW Excel or a PW Plateau or Winnbgo ERA. I think the 2 most important things to me are ability to park in most single standard outside parking spots and openness inside. I believe the Widebody meets that but the trade off is small fridge and less storage along with the gas mileage (which isn't a huge deal is its still better than my class A) can you store enough in those small 3.4cu in refers? and what about the tiny freezer what fits in that 2 steaks?
And is there enough storage space for the cooking and living basics? I go on 3-4 day trips with my wife. Lastly twin beds or collapseable sofa not sure which will provide more utility less hassle. I think sofa bed but is it comfortable enough without center piece in? Please let's hear from you...
Thanks,
NextCom
After much thought we bought a new 08 PW excel..We are just returning from our 2nd trip to Alaska..We love the wider isle and after trying to figure out the best sleeping arangements..We just put the bed down, throw a sleeping bag over the drivers side ( a few inches longer) and one on the passenger side. We don't fill the middle section in. We left the 2 extra (sofa cushions) home for our 2nd trip up to Alaska to give us more room as they where sort of in our way the 1 st trip to Alaska,this way we can get up without climbing over one another as if we made the bed completely up (which we tried many times) This is much quicker, then we put the bed up and put the sleeping bags and pillows behind the sofa between the rear door..Easy..We also bought a small Freezer from dometic that tucks in under the rear drivers side window in front of the sofa that is a little larger than the one in the fridge..So we doubled our capacity. My wife would pre cook chop meat in 1 lb pks and we could pack many for our meals..We also bought a Stowaway 2 swing away cargo box the fits in the reciever from Camping World and we can carry alot more stuff , folding chairs etc. We get fully loaded between 13-14.5 mpg, more if not loaded for a 3 month trip like the one we are on now...I also cut myself a piece of memory foam from a larger mattress size and put that under my side for more comfort, we love the stealth when we park as many ask..what is that thing? Yes at times we wish we had more room but we leave a little light with clothes and we always manage to buy shirts and other goodies so we leave a little room for them possible purchases..And a couple of shower curtain tension rods help with hanging stuff also...We love ours..Good Luck
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