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Old 07-28-2020, 02:56 PM   #1
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RV Newbies Looking at a Class B

We have decided to explore the RV world, and decided the Class B would be the best size, as that is something I am willing to drive. I've been researching for several weeks, and reading this forum all weekend, getting educated about the Class B in general, and info on the various brands.

We have decided to look at vans built on the Ford Transit chassis, due to ease and cost of service over the MB vans. This has limited our choices somewhat, but have found several that we like and are keeping on our radar. We are wanting a unit with twin beds, as we sleep restless, and I may also be traveling occasionally with a retired friend of mine when DH doesn't want to go.

I've been looking at units with the back in the bath or the bath toward the front. Can experienced users please give me feedback on the pros/cons of each layout? It seems like the bath in the back gives a more "open feel" to the van.

Thanks!
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ttowntrouble View Post
We have decided to explore the RV world, and decided the Class B would be the best size, as that is something I am willing to drive. I've been researching for several weeks, and reading this forum all weekend, getting educated about the Class B in general, and info on the various brands.

We have decided to look at vans built on the Ford Transit chassis, due to ease and cost of service over the MB vans. This has limited our choices somewhat, but have found several that we like and are keeping on our radar. We are wanting a unit with twin beds, as we sleep restless, and I may also be traveling occasionally with a retired friend of mine when DH doesn't want to go.

I've been looking at units with the back in the bath or the bath toward the front. Can experienced users please give me feedback on the pros/cons of each layout? It seems like the bath in the back gives a more "open feel" to the van.

Thanks!
I'm not sure you're actually looking at class B vans. There's only one with a dry bath in the back, the Coach House Arriva, and the rest have wet baths amidships. As far as I know?
Could you post some makes/models you're looking at to clarify?
If it's a motorhome coach, mounted on top of a Ford Transit or MB Sprinter cab chassis, it's a small class C, not a B.
Class B vans, are just that, a production van, that has been upfitted with the motorhome stuff, inside or outside the van body, but the van body is intact.
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:35 PM   #3
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Models I am looking at

The one that really caught my attention from a post on this forum is the Embassy Traveler. There's not much information, and it appears to be really new. I love the part that there is no wood, and the system components are really state of the art.

https://www.embassyrv.com/

The Coachmen Beyond also shows a rear bath:

https://www.coachmenrv.com/class-b-motorhomes/beyond
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:41 PM   #4
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The one that really caught my attention from a post on this forum is the Embassy Traveler. There's not much information, and it appears to be really new. I love the part that there is no wood, and the system components are really state of the art.

https://www.embassyrv.com/

The Coachmen Beyond also shows a rear bath:

https://www.coachmenrv.com/class-b-motorhomes/beyond
I stand corrected. They ARE class B vans. Much has changed since I sold my Roadtrek, apparently. That tent thing at the back of the one looks interesting.
Both are on the Promaster van and it's been fairly bulletproof over the half dozen years it's been used as a B van. Good fuel economy. As for the layouts, bath in the rear or amidships, no real disadvantages to either that I can think of, unless someone has to climb over the co-pilot to get to them.
EDIT: I have seen some recent posts regarding getting the Ford Transit serviced. I don't recall what the issues were, or whether the fuel type mattered. Diesel versus gasoline. So the Ford world isn't perfect either, when it comes to service.
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Old 07-28-2020, 04:12 PM   #5
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Totally agree with you on the rear bath. Check out these rear bath units https://www.rvingplanet.com/rvs?s=tr...tyle-prop-4=20 While you are on rving planet you can check out other floor plans that may suit you
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:30 PM   #6
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Totally agree with you on the rear bath. Check out these rear bath units https://www.rvingplanet.com/rvs?s=tr...tyle-prop-4=20 While you are on rving planet you can check out other floor plans that may suit you
Thanks for the link! I hadn't seen that one, and it will be fun to explore.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:04 PM   #7
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The Winnebago ERA 70M built on the Mercedes Benz 3500 Chassis also sports a rear bath but as nice as that is you will give up sleeping space.

We went back and forth on the 70M and 70A (bathroom midship) and opted for more sleeping space so pulled the trigger 2 weeks ago on a 2018 ERA 70A.
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Old 07-30-2020, 03:43 AM   #8
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Era A vs M

We went back and forth too and also opted for the A for the bed we can leave made up in the rear and the great storage under it.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:35 AM   #9
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The Winnebago ERA 70M built on the Mercedes Benz 3500 Chassis also sports a rear bath but as nice as that is you will give up sleeping space.
Another thing I didn't like about the M is that it stands for Murphy bed, which is in a slide. I didn't want a slide. And the brand new unit I looked at had damage to the driver seat from folks running the slide back in without standing the seat back up enough to clear the slide.

Went with a Coachmen 24T for the triple front seating and jackknife couch/bed in the back with tall fridge/freezer. DW likes to travel with a full load of food, even for a three day trip, so the big cold box was important. It rides like a truck in the back, because it is a truck. An air suspension system in the rear should help a lot, and I've been looking into Kelderman series air suspension ($$$) and VB full air suspension ($$$$). But if you don't need rear seating, it's probably a non-issue.

All that full height cabinetry can make it feel cramped. No getting around that. Units with the tall fridge and head on the same side feel less cramped to me, since the other wall is all window, but it's just perception. I guess it's like putting mirrors on one wall in a long narrow room to make it feel bigger.

The Penguin II 13.5k A/C unit in mine is marginal and loud, and being mounted in the back, it doesn't do well sending cool air forward. The new ones with lithium battery now have 20k DC units, with forward facing registers. That should do a better job of getting it cool, and blowing cool air forward. I have a new windshield and side window cover but haven't tried it yet, though it should help a lot in that department.

The head is tiny and cramped. Get used to it. Can't squeeze all that stuff into a van and still have roominess, unless something else gets cut down. Perhaps the rear bath units are roomier. Get in, close the door, and see how it works for you. We just leave the doors open - they block the isle anyway, so still private enough. Most of the vans I've looked at it didn't seem that anyone ever even unwrapped the shower curtain, and we haven't either. RV park or hotel showers are what we use, and ours is more of a travel van than an RV in the sense that we use it to get to far away places (family mainly), not as a home away from home once there.

If you get a gasoline unit, the generator will be gasoline. The Mercedes is diesel, and the generator is LP on every one I've seen, though there's no reason a small diesel couldn't be used ($$). I have the Freedom eGen system (big LiFePO4 battery, second alternator on engine) so no generator, which is what I wanted. If we boondock, we just run off the battery. But if I wanted a generator, I wouldn't want it to run on LP, as they really suck down the fuel.

I only use my propane for heating (induction cooktop and microwave off the battery if no shore power), and the Truma Combi heat and hot water unit can use both fuel and electric, or just one of them. If electric loads are light, like overnight, I can switch to electric only to save LP. I topped it up when I first got it about a year ago, and I still have around 3/4 of a tank. But being only 30A shore power, you have to be careful about electric loads.

In the end, we're quite happy with the unit we have. Build quality could be better (third solar panel wasn't ever connected, for example), but I've been fixing things as I find them. Hardly unusual in the RV world, from what I've read here. Helps to be handy.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:25 PM   #10
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@JPalmer,
I didn't realize the rear bath would make the sleeping space smaller. Can you tell me by about how much?
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:56 PM   #11
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We're engaged in the same search for a Class B camper. Given it's the two of us and a dog, and we'd prefer a "queen" bed, that has driven us away from floor plans with the wet bath in back. This is because we don't want to have to clamber over the bed during the day to get to the bath - it's just not a fun prospect.

As a result, we've veered toward looking for floor plans that include a front lounge, a wet bath and other full-height cabinets on the driver's side of the van, and a galley on the passenger side, with the rear lounge / bedroom in the back. As KanzKran has pointed out, even if it's an optical illusion the van seems to feels more spacious and airy if they stack the full-height cabinets behind the driver and leave the passenger side open with lower cabinets, as opposed to putting them on both sides. This seems especially true if the van is long enough to accommodate a front lounge for the driver's seat as well as the passenger seat.

We looked at a Road Trek with full-height cabinets on both sides and immediately felt the interior was dark and claustrophobic, which doesn't happen with the configuration mentioned above. That said, if you want bath in the back and you don't mind twin beds, you should probably take a look at the Winnebago Boldt KL. It's not a Transit, but it's worth looking at if you see on on a dealer's lot.
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Old 07-31-2020, 03:45 PM   #12
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If we can find a Boldt KL, we'll certainly look at it. So far, we haven't found ANY to be looked at on the local lots. Lots of A's and C's, trailers and 5th wheels, but B's are hard to come by. We are going to be heading down to central Texas in a couple of weeks, and hopefully find something there to see. I'd really like to see the builds on some of these units. I did look at a couple at the local boat/travel show early this year, but there weren't very many of them to see. And I'm not sure of the status of the 2021 show, as several large boat distributors have cancelled their space due to the unknowns with Covid. The deposit due June 30 was non-refundable, and that was a no-go for them.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:22 AM   #13
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That sounds like a plan. However, in this hot market, patience is your friend. Hotness will not likely last, especially with the shocks you probably already know our economy has been taking lately. I'm thinking it may be bad enough that some sales will fall apart, used units will hit the market, availability will improve, and prices will soften. If I'm wrong, it won't be the first time, but we're following the slow, patient route to finding and buying the Class B we want because we don't expect to lose anything by doing that.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:39 PM   #14
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Yes, we are taking our time and not in a hurry. We went to visit a local dealer this morning just to get some info. They have no B's or C's on the lot, but have some C's on order to be here in September. They have one B coming in that they are taking on trade for a larger unit, but it's not a floorplan that we really want. He told us that people are coming in to buy a trailer or 5th wheel, and although they don't have the floorplan they want, they will buy something they really don't want and "make it work". It's really crazy!

He said it takes approximately 6 months to get one by ordering, and they have a lot of those on the books. A's, trailers and 5th wheels were plentiful though. I'm sure it's pretty much this way everywhere.
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