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Messages - Merlin

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Livin Lite General Discussion / Re: Thinking of moving to a motorhome
« on: February 16, 2020, 05:57:01 PM »
I'm going to run over to Grand Rapids this week to check out one of the new electric Audis. I'll stop by the Fuse dealership and pick that one up for you. I have a very modest finders fee of only $10K.  8)

Livin Lite General Discussion / Re: Thinking of moving to a motorhome
« on: February 16, 2020, 10:34:18 AM »
The Fuse looks interesting. These class C are not Inexpensive!


ATC Modifications / Re: Shelves for kitchen Cabinets
« on: February 16, 2020, 08:44:41 AM »
Internal stackable shelves are a great idea!

Livin Lite General Discussion / Re: Thinking of moving to a motorhome
« on: February 12, 2020, 02:42:02 PM »
Hmmmm........I showed the photos of the motorhomes you linked to in your first post to my wife Jan and her response was "I want one".  ;)

Livin Lite General Discussion / Re: Thinking of moving to a motorhome
« on: February 11, 2020, 10:14:46 PM »
So hereís a few thoughts from someone who also seriously considered that route. Jan and I carefully looked through a couple of the Mercedes Sprinters at more than one RV show. I think itís the right solution for many folks and looked well-made with nice finishing touches. I would have no reservations about getting one over the more typical class C motorhomes if we wanted that type of RV. In fact, some folks I know in off-road forums are buying the 4X4 version of the Mercedes and loving it for overlanding.

We decided to go the trailer (16TBS) route for several reasons that were important to either Jan or me. I wonít extol the virtues of your present camper, because you know those really well! The Sprinter has lots of virtues too, including wonderful convenience and comfort.

When we go on camping adventures, whether here in Michigan or across the country, we frequently park the trailer for few days and go on local sight-seeing/bird-watching/grocery/laundry trips with just our TV. And we often use the TV to carry our bicycles to trailheads for further adventure. That would not be reasonable with a Sprinter which would have to be packed and secured for local travel.

We camp at older campgrounds that often have length-wise room for just the trailer, so we have to park the trailer, unhitch, and pull the TV next to it. A specific example is Teddy Roosevelt National Park Cottonwoods Campground with sites so short the neighbors across the campground road from our site had to move their car so I could back in. Redwood National Park in California is another example of a short site. There is no way we could have parked something even 5 feet longer than our trailer there either. Some national forest sites here in Michigan are short too.

For me, the low 188HP of the diesel and lack of engine braking was a deal-breaker for mountain driving. Fine for routine use, of course, but there is no margin for error going up or down long grades with the Blue-Tec. I use engine braking extensively and both Jan and I are adept at keeping our rig under full control with just the transmission/engine in our TV. When we were pulling up the VERY LONG ascent to the divide going east out of Salt Lake City on I-80, I was very happy to have 380HP. It would have been much less fun with 200HP less.

For Jan, a deal-breaker was the Sprinter models we looked at did not have access to the bathroom (or much else) with the slide in. There were lots of places in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, and other states out west where rest stops were non-existent or questionably maintained. We use our on-board bathroom and our accessible kitchen while on the road even with the slide in on our 16TBS. Putting a slide out requires level parking and safe room, something not usually available while on the road.

Finally on our decision points, neither Jan nor I nor the dog like truck stops. Finding clean diesel at a non-truck stop is fairly easy, but I had no desire to be forced into a truck stop just to fuel up.

Have you considered renting a Mercedes to see how you and Joan like driving it and living in it?

I wonder why that point of failure you mentioned in the Blue-Tec engine has not been a recall? If you buy used, maybe you should consider replacing the DEF level control sensor as preventative maintenance?

Have fun with the decision! Lots to consider. Might also be an adventure to fix up the TBS with solar, new tires, new brakes, a Honda EU1000i genset, some fancy new stuff inside and go shopping for a new TV! If you go that route, Iíd be happy to help with ideas on how to spend your money.  8)

Livin Lite General Discussion / Re: Battery replacement
« on: January 22, 2020, 06:06:48 PM »
I don't think it makes any real difference to go with either 6V or 12V batteries. However, if you already have a battery box set up for 2 of the GC2 size golf cart batteries, does it make sense to get the AGM version of those? By all means replace the cables and anything in your current battery box because of the corrosion you've described.

Livin Lite General Discussion / Re: Battery replacement
« on: January 21, 2020, 09:50:30 PM »
I have 2 Duracell Ultra AGM group 31m 12V batteries in parallel in my camperís battery box working great since 2014 and have required zero maintenance.  They are relatively inexpensive at Sams Club. They are so-called marine batteries and so are not true deep cycle like golf cart GC2 6V batteries. However, they have not apparently been harmed by either deep discharging (to 50%) or by charging with the OEM converter or by my solar charge controller. The same battery is available at Batteries Plus Bulbs but at a much higher price than Sams Club. The Windy Nation batteries linked by David are likely excellent based on reputation (both Davidís and Windy Nationís  :) ) and are in the ball park same price.

Camping General Discussions / Re: 2020 Newfounland trip
« on: January 20, 2020, 09:57:13 PM »
Wow, what a great trip! My wife and I really enjoyed the Canadian Maritime National Parks in 2017 but we didn't brave the trip out to Newfoundland! I'm sure some of the Canadian members who live in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island will chime with any info they might have. @PEIslander and @Paul come to mind.

In our trip to parks in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick we made reservations for every night because we were there during "high season". The park campgrounds were almost always full. It was also nice to be able to choose our sites by making reservations. Next time we go we plan to make it a more leisurely trip with more nights in each park. The 3 nights we stayed at each just wasn't enough to see all we were interested in.

Camplite and Bearcat Modifications / Re: Lousy table on 16 TBS
« on: January 12, 2020, 03:01:39 PM »
Merlin I thought you would jump on the sofa offer since you where scoping mine out in Maine. 

We use to Tough Boxes as foot rests.  They double as storage and foot rests for the sofa.

Yup, I should have swiped yours while I had a chance.  ;) This one is too far away.  :-\

Camplite and Bearcat Modifications / Re: Lousy table on 16 TBS
« on: January 06, 2020, 10:17:01 PM »
Check out what you plan to buy at a Camping World with furniture or at an RV show. The jackknife sofa is made differently with a much more firm base/cushion. Itís been more than a year since I looked, so maybe something new is out there?

Camplite and Bearcat Modifications / Re: Lousy table on 16 TBS
« on: January 05, 2020, 11:03:59 PM »
Hey all! Reviving this thread because there are good pics and discussion about the very couch configuration I want to change. Seeking ideas/advice on this. We have the same tri-fold couch and slide out in our 2017 16TBS. Link:

My problem - after 3 seasons we're tired of our feet not touching the floor. The couch is beyond comfortable otherwise. It seems that the "problem" lies in the fact that our slides are raised ~6 inches off the floor where I see in other campers the slide is level with the camper floor. Does anyone else here have the same raised level slide-out with a different couch that is shorter and lets your feet touch the floor? I'm looking at the jack knife sofa in the same furniture collection and wondering if we can install it at a little lower height than our current setup. Link:

Has anyone removed their tri-fold sofa and have info on how it is mounted? Ideas on how to achieve my goal of sitting with my feet on the ground? Anyone want a reaaaaallllly comfy tri-fold sofa? Thanks all!

Yup, itís the feet off the floor thing! Weíve sat in a bunch of jackknife sofas because they way they mount would solve the problem. But (and butt), none of them are as comfy as the trifold. We gave up and are considering some type of lightweight foot rest. If you find a solution, the next roundís on me.

Camplite and Bearcat Modifications / Re: New Antenna on 2016 21RBS
« on: January 01, 2020, 11:59:50 PM »
Thanks taking the time to post with info and photos. That booster looks like something Iíd like to add. Nice job.

Boondocking / Re: Solar Kit Installation
« on: December 03, 2019, 03:15:02 PM »
I thought about the heat too. It gets hot up there, even without black color! Here's the link to Xantrex peel and stick solar panel data sheets. The specs look good, but the panels are spendy.


Boondocking / Solar Kit Installation
« on: December 03, 2019, 08:20:49 AM »
The current issue of Trailer Life magazine (December 2019) has an interesting and extensive technical article on installing the latest solar equipment from Xantrex. The company is now making flexible peel and stick solar panels in 3 sizes and has versatile inverter/charger/converter equipment for RVs. They also have Lithium battery packs now for RVs. The article may be useful for ideas to anyone looking at solar or an upgrade to electrical equipment. 

Off Topic / Solar Sale
« on: December 01, 2019, 05:39:35 PM »
I'm a bit late on this, but if anyone is on here this evening (12/1) and has been interested in solar, Renogy has 20% off site-wide today. I've been very happy with the 100 watt flexible panel I bought from them. Complete solar kits are available too.

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