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Topics - DownBy TheRiver

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General Discussion / New Ford Transit Van
« on: January 27, 2012, 12:45:12 pm »
Ford announced that starting in 2013, it will start building the Ford Transit van here in the US in Kansas City.  It is meant to replace the regular E-series panel and passenger vans, but press releases inform us the initial plan is to continue selling both side by side for 2 years.


Press releases also state the current E-series cutaway chassis will continue to be built.

Motors to be made available for the US have not been disclosed, but as offered throughout the rest of the world, there would likely be diesel options.

Perhaps in time, this might provide us with a Sprinter chassis competitor that may be less expensive with greater availability of servicing dealers?

Polls / Outside Entertainment Center?
« on: December 29, 2011, 02:50:19 pm »
Just out of curiosity -

Do any of us desire to have a curbside under-awning entertainment center available as an option ala Winnie and others?

A wannabe here - so don't know whether or not the in-coach capabilities are sufficient outside when camping.  While TV would be great (plug-in capability from a smaller 2nd TV), frankly I would enjoy radio/audio alone.

I know packaging/accessibility is tight, yet can see in my ideal customized 2910D sufficient packaging space in the area of the dual lounge chairs and pull-up table.

General Discussion / New Owner/Sunstar 26P Trade-In
« on: October 27, 2011, 12:46:26 am »
In an earlier post, had ruminated over practical differences re: a Phoenix Cruiser vs a "shorty" class A.

Lo and behold, a recent trade-in with PC of a Sunstar 26P, one of the very shorties I had researched and had considered.

If you're the trader, (or any of you had once owned this plan) why did you trade it in?  And what PC model did you choose instead?

What benefits did you see?

General Discussion / Full Timing?
« on: October 21, 2011, 04:17:49 pm »
Hi All –

I’ve been away for quite some time now.  But I continue to read and lurk here and elsewhere trying to educate myself.

I would first like to thank you all so much for contributing to my education, with particular gratitude to Ron Dittmer.  What I particularly appreciate in his comments here and elsewhere is what it is that constitutes “best practice” when it comes to design, materials and workmanship.  If only newsstand RV publications would be as thorough and critical as he is in his evaluations and information!

Ron – have you ever thought to start some sort of publication in this regard?  Other than my RV interests, I am also keenly interested in home design/construction, as well as in automotive topics.  While those fields of endeavor have numerous technically informative and critical publications available, I don’t see anything even close when it comes to RV’s.

As I am at the point where I’m seriously considering becoming a work-camper-style full-timer, critical and informative information as regards materials, design, mechanicals and longevity are increasingly desired, yet in very short supply.  Unlike many long-term enthusiasts, I have neither the past practical experience nor the financial luxury of making any dreadful mistakes the first time around.

To that end, were I to go with a “B+” RV, I’d most likely choose a Phoenix Cruiser over all others.

My question to you all is, can I happily exist as a full-timer in a B+ PC as well as I might in a “shorty” Class A of similar length?

I guess the only differences I can perceive at my price point is that a PC is better constructed over a similarly priced Class A, not to mention other B+’s.  So my only real questions regard water tankage and overall storage.

The “program”:

I’m a single guy with no pets, and anticipate an occasional 2nd “visitor” from time to time.

If in a northern climate (Dakotas), I would seek out conventional accommodations December through March.

If dry camping, coach servicing at 2 weeks at a time is preferred, although 1 week at a time is do-able.

Will I miss the additional 15-30 gallons of fresh water capacity or greater external gross storage?

I’m currently focused on a 2900 or 2910, albeit with some interior mods, particularly if deleting the dinette slide on the 2910, and substituting with a desk/office/storage cum lunch counter in this area.  While I can see I’d have more-than-adequate adequate interior storage generally in these models for months-at-a-time, I am entirely uncertain of needed storage capability for years-at-a-time.  Specifically, storage devoted to general household cleaning  & maintenance necessities, equipment and supplies; as well as same for maintenance of the RV and toad.


General Discussion / 4 Wheel Drive Alternatives?
« on: January 27, 2010, 04:14:25 pm »

Hi “Titsi”, All –

Although an RV “wannabe”, I’ve been an experienced tent camper otherwise.  I have often been witness to camping situations where the lack of adequate vehicular traction have presented problems for RV’ers, whether as towed units or in motorhomes, due to slick and wet grass or mud, or gravel on sloped terrain.  While such problematic situations have provided great entertainment for my friends and me over a rainy beer breakfast on Sunday mornings at the campground, it’s not so funny for those poor folks just trying to pull out and hit the road.

Thus, I’ve often wondered for myself in my PC future, whether or not the ordinary “open differential” setup provided me in any regular chassis is sufficient enough for my needs.  Like “Titsi”, I would contemplate that a lot of my PC usage would likely encompass siting situations predicated upon “unimproved areas”, as opposed to a nice level pad, or where adequately “improved” sites are the norm.

So have any of you folks perceived or experienced the need for additional traction in your travels, particularly on “unimproved” sites?  The only forethought in this regard from Ford is that they offer a limited-slip differential on the E chassis with a 4.10 differential, either as an E-350 or E-450 chassis – and ONLY as a diesel chassis – and ONLY with ambulance prep.

Thus, I know that a Ford limited slip diff with 4.10 gearing exists and could be retrofitted to any E-350 gas, or E-350 or E-450 diesel chassis, however what about any locking differentials available?  Anyone know?

Toyota (still?) used to offer a pickup call the “Pre-Runner”.  Theoretically, such a truck had additional ground clearance and related off-road chassis attributes, yet only had a locking rear diff in place of full 4 wheel drive.  As described, such trucks were entirely useful enough in scouting out a Baja racecourse, thus the “PRE-Runner” designation.  Truck magazine scribes would point out that simply having a locking rear diff was more than half the battle in conquering most off-road situations at a much greatly reduced cost and mechanical complexity.  I myself was once the owner of a 1968 Checker sedan (whose chassis underpinnings were mostly Chevy truck) that was equipped with a vacuum-actuated, manually-locking rear diff, whose performance in snow was astounding.

Summing up, have any of you regretted not having more traction?  Anyone familiar with the availability and cost of limited slip and/or locking differentials for Ford Truck chassis products?

General Discussion / A 4 Wheel Drive PC?
« on: January 27, 2010, 03:29:06 pm »
Hi All –

I took the liberty of starting a new thread regarding 4 wheel drive issues, in response to an “Introduce Yourself” posting from “titsikama”, who is interested in a PC2350 on the Ford Chassis:


(reply #47)

Hi “Titsi” – I’m still a “wannabe”, yet you pose a question I’ve often asked myself.  Outside of RV “wannabe” status, I will have a Phoenix Cruiser when the time comes.

I’m in the Chicago area, and I’d say whenever I saw a 4 wheel drive conversion product around here, particularly on a Ford, it’s been a “Quigley” conversion.  I’m guessing you’re somewhere out West, as you mention camping frequently on BLM holdings, yet even when vacationing in Nevada, as well as in Lake Tahoe, I also have noticed that most conversions there, whether ambulances or mini-busses, have been Quigley conversions as well.  Here is the link:


Quigley has the unique attribute of being tied in with the factory – you (or your motorhome builder) can theoretically order one of their conversions through a regular Ford dealer or supply channel – and their conversions will not void the regular Ford warranty on the FACTORY-SUPPLIED and assembled chassis components.  Alternatively, they have their own warranties on chassis components they supply, yet whenever possible, those components not provided by the factory are in fact, usually Ford components anyway, allowing for easier servicing of the chassis overall.

A typical Quigley conversion costs approximately $12,000 over the provided chassis.  While not specifically addressed, the question of whether or not a particular RV can be modified can probably be best answered by Quigley, yet based upon my reading of their literature, I don’t see any disclaimers to the contrary.

One thing to consider is whether or not the standard Ford Chassis for the PC2350 (the E-350) is capable of handling the additional weight such a conversion adds.  You may find that the best practice would be to upgrade the chassis to the E-450 chassis, which adds approximately $1,500.

As for the choice of diesel over gas, it’s a philosophical/emotional decision.  The power output differential between the V10 gas motor and the V8 diesel are negligible, yet you might find diesel more attractive based upon fuel availability in the areas in which you live or travel, or what you may be used to in your existing camping chassis.  For myself, the differential between gas and diesel fuel prices are high enough, that even when considering an additional 2 MPG difference, I figure the cost trade-off is again, negligible or even negative over the life of the coach.  Going with the Ford diesel chassis adds another price premium, approximately $10,000 or less over the gas chassis.

So, over “standard pricing points”, the 4-wheel drive premium is $12,000 - $13,500, and adding diesel is an additional $10,000 or so.  As the generator is supplied by chassis fuel, also consider what’s possible in terms of optioning/additional costs/lost opportunity cost on the generator is also a consideration.  I don’t know if PC can provide a diesel generator for you, or whether or not you’d have to settle for a propane generator instead.  Whether positive or negative, there is a price differential in that regard as well.

If all of the above is appealing to you, consider also that such a 4 wheel drive conversion will likely place associated transfer case shift levers and controls on the floor directly behind the motor doghouse, and directly between the two front seats.  Depending on how the conversion is done, such shift levers and controls in this area will likely present issues on ease of entering the coach area from the front seats, and/or prohibit the use of swivel seating in this area.

General Discussion / Weights and Measures
« on: December 16, 2009, 03:01:43 pm »
Hi All –

Again, thanks for all of your help.  To recap, researching a potential purchase of a new, dealer inventory PC2400 on the 2006 E350 chassis.  As someone who values engineers (God bless em’) and their contributions to making our day-to-day lives happy and hassle-free, I have great respect for the GVWR ratings on a given motorhome chassis.  I want to make sure that I have an adequate reserve in terms of available coach carrying capacity, or payload.  (Tow rating and GCWR not a problem at all.)  Granted, there is no substitute for actually weighing a unit, yet I’m attempting to figure this out theoretically.  Please let me know if you see any errors, or have actual weight or specification knowledge to the contrary.

As advertised here, the same-spec 2400 model (with sofa slide) on the Sprinter chassis is 9,300# (empty ?).  Subtracting the published empty shipping weight of the Sprinter chassis (4,422#) = 4,878#+/- for the 2400 “house” itself.

The 2006 E350 chassis’ published weight is 5,066#, spec’ed with a 5.4 V8, 4-speed automatic, 35 gallon fuel tank, and 158” chassis length.  Substituting the 6.8 V10, the 5-speed, a 55 gallon tank and an additional 6” of chassis length, I’m assuming 5,400# +/- for the chassis?

If so, then:

2006 Ford chassis   5,400
PC2400 House      4,878

Total:         10,278

Add:         10,278
55 gallons gas           341
31 gallons water           259
6 gallons water heater           50
full propane tank             42

Total empty “wet”:   10,970# +/-
Less 2006 GVWR   (11,500)

Net Payload      530# +/-(?)

Including myself, a large diner dinner and my contemplated possessions and provisions, it looks like it’ll work.  However, if considering a Honda SH150i scooter instead of a toad (300#) + rack (100#?). I’m way over the GVWR (leveraged effects on rear axle weight ratings aside).

On the other hand, perhaps I’ve overestimated my chassis weight?  Elsewhere, Ron Dittmer has published an “empty weight” of his 2007 PC2350 as 9,200#.  Adding in the additional cabinetry, sofa slide, barrel chair setup an additional 6” in overall length, could that account for an additional 1,000#?

Ron, if you’re reading this, the 2006 and 2007 chassis should be close - do you know what your base chassis weight is?

Any other PC2400 owners know what their actual or estimated weights are?  Keep in mind that 2008+ chassis have a GVWR of 12,500# as compared to a 2006/2007 GVWR of 11,500#.

General Discussion / Such A Deal?
« on: December 12, 2009, 07:09:59 pm »
I have a local dealer that is selling a new leftover 2006 PC2400.  Can’t figure out why it’s still a leftover, other than he’s a small concern with a slow turnover, and got caught with it in the downturn.  While built on the 2006 E350 chassis, it would seem he took delivery of it in the first quarter of 2007.  This would indicate it’s been “sitting” for 2.5 years.  Don’t have the absolute particulars on this unit, as I’d rather know everything I can before subjecting myself to a salescreature.

Original list was $88,000+, now priced at $54,000.

1) Sound like a good deal?

As far as the chassis goes, my concerns are:

2) Will Ford’s chassis warranty still start at the time of my delivery?

3) Anyone know if the 2006 chassis included the 5-speed TorqShift tranny?

4) What concerns should I have regarding a “new” chassis unused and sitting for so long?

I’m trying to get an idea if such a situation will result in a trouble-free purchase.  I can foresee some necessary service and/or possibly necessary part replacements due to component age/unit inactivity.  If not a lost cause, just trying to figure out what expenses or problems I may be faced with to inform my decision on purchase price vs true overall cost.

Thank you for any help you can provide on these issues.

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