Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello, I’m Lynne & I’m a Sprinter-holic

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Yes, if you had your suspicions last May when I bought the Lynnebago Sprinter cargo/camper van, let there be absolutely no further doubt now-- I just bought my 3rd Sprinter!!!  My Mercedes dealer service manager loves me!!! But my friends and family are now looking for a Betty Ford-style rehab clinic to check me into to cure my compulsive Sprinter-holicism!  Smile

Well, truth be told, I only had 3 Sprinters for one night.. when I was transferring all my stuff out of my 2008 H-model View and into the new Sprinter that I just traded it for—a 2007 J-model Winnebago View.

What?  You’re going backwards a year???  Don’t most RVers upgrade to a newer model?

Yes, they do.  But this “new” older View will now let me combine the “best of both” of my 2 previous Sprinters – better fuel efficiency, greater fueling options and easier maintenance, while still providing all the comforts of a skinny winnie View motorhome. 

The first-generation T1N Sprinters (like my 2005 Cargo Van) got outstanding gas mileage and did not require ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) or additional expensive emissions controls that the newer Sprinters now require.  These vehicles make outstanding choices for travel to Mexico, where ULSD is still not available in many portions of the mainland.

So, why do you need a T1N View if you already have a T1N van?

My summer progress with getting my and my mom’s houses ready for sale has been slower going than I had originally planned.  Meanwhile, I was also incredibly indecisive over what to do with the Sprinter van conversion project (so many choices!).  During the summer, I also followed the daily progress of To Simplify Glenn’s van conversion and gradually realized that my Lynnebago conversion was very likely to take a lot longer and become more expensive than I planned.  That could seriously jeopardize my plans to spend this winter in Mexico!

So, around August, I started research a “Plan B” – to take the View to Mexico and store the van in Chicago over the winter.  That plan would give me much more storage space for hauling 3 months worth of “only found in the US” foods for this vegan and her cancer-survivor dog!  We’d also have more interior comforts with an RV if we happened to encounter any cooler/wet winter weather.

However, taking a newer diesel engine (like the ‘08 View) to Mexico would be a bit of a gamble (due to the lack of ULSD).  While there’s not been much anecdotal evidence of newer US diesel engine owners having any problems with a few thousand miles of Mexican travel, it’s still something that US auto makers officially prohibit and, at worst, could cost many thousands to replace “fouled” emissions systems.

I was just about ready to take that gamble and bring the ‘08 anyway when I happened to peruse the Lichtsinn website a couple weeks ago in advance of going to Iowa for a weekend camping rally.  This super-sweet looking ‘07 View popped up and it just instantly seemed to offer the best of everything!   After a few phone calls with Lichtsinn, a great trade/swap deal was offered and accepted, and plans were suddenly altered to add an extra Forest City stop to my weekend Iowa travel plans!

Ever since seeing my friend Suzanne’s (TakeToTheHighway) J-model View a few months ago, I’ve been so envious of her light maple wood interior and classy-looking front storage cabinets with warm accent lighting. She continually raves about how comfy her permanent rear bed is, and that has also been a key criteria for my next RV (my sofa bed in the H has been a continual annoyance to make up every night and to sleep comfortably).

So, the minute I saw this new ‘07 View, I really, REALLY liked the interior colors and layout! But, who cares about me, this RV swap would ultimately come down to one final hurdle—Millie’s approval! 

She never liked the ‘08 View.  She tolerated it when it was parked, usually put up a fight and had to be coaxed up the entry steps, and was a stressed-out mess when we were driving (something about seeing her “home” swaying around like a continuous earthquake was highly stressful to her little dog brain!).

After spending most of the day in the corner of Lichtsinn’s lobby, the new RV was finally ready for delivery and tired old Millie was ready for a good long sleep!  She eagerly trotted up the steps of the new RV without balking, and sprawled herself onto the comfy rear bed within a matter of minutes….yep, she LOVING her new home!

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She’s also discovered that the carpeted floor beneath the new dinette is a much cozier “nest” than the previous vinyl floor beneath the H-model dinette! 
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The next day, as we drove home, she also much preferred the new raised floor between the two front cab seats—much easier for her to now look out the front window as we drive!  So, overall, Millie approves!

I also enjoyed the solid 18 MPG we got on the drive home (at 65-70 mph)!  This new View will definitely save me some dough at the gas pump!

So, now that you have a “Best of Both Worlds” View, what’s to become of the Lynnebago van?

For now, the van is still serving a very active and useful purpose to haul stuff between houses and around town.  But once the house downsizing and moves are complete, I’ll probably sell it and just keep the View and Tracker for a while.  I’ll need to feel out the new View this winter to see if I can forego a bigger rig awhile longer and just move my excess house stuff into storage next Spring when I officially move out of the house and start full-time RVing.  The long-distance trips I’d like to take initially would sure be more economical with the View than a big rig!

Ok, enough about all the reasons for this rig change-- you probably just want to take the tour!!!

Well here she is, the “Tinnie” Winnie (named for it’s T1N chassis!)

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I’m loving the big new front storage cabinets with accent lighting!  Also love still having a big skylight that opens!   Not crazy about having the TV positioned over the door (too high up), so I’ll need to ponder alternatives for that…

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Almost everything in the J is reversed from the H—the kitchen is now on the curb side and fridge is on the street side.

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The closet is taller and out in the main area of the RV (rather than the wider one in the bathroom of the H model).  It seems much more accessible now.  The bath sink vanity is about the same except that it’s now separate from the toilet/shower area.  The J’s shower is a few inches shorter than the H, but still seems workable.

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The front cab seats are covered in a soft ultra-teather and are much more comfortable than either my ‘08 leather seats or the van’s cloth seats.  These will be great for long road trips as well as lounging!
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The dinette is about 6” shorter in this rig, so not ideal for guests to sleep on, but much easier to prop your feet up on the other bench (since the table is narrower)!  The seats are also a few inches wider making them more comfortable to sit on length-wise when watching TV or reading.  Since this model does not have a pantry, I’m using the dinette cabinets and storage beneath one of the seats for food items.

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The bed is surprisingly comfortable and softer than it would appear.  Still, it is helpful to put a memory foam topper layer on top of the cushions.  The only drawback is lack of a little shelf to store your glasses or watch/alarm.  Any ideas?

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Beneath the curved bed cushion is a giant concealed storage area!  This will be great to hold extra bedding (and should also work perfectly for taking extra bulk-food supplies to Mexico!).

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The J still has the same pull-out ice chest drawer and generator/cubby compartments as my H did.  But, I’ve now “downgraded” from a diesel generator to an LP version (no big deal as the diesel genny was smelly anyway!).  As the J’s plumbing compartment is much smaller, I can no longer carry the sewer hose or water hose in that bay, so have had to find temporary new homes for them.  I’ll probably look into a sewer hose storage pipe thingy.

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The rear external storage bay is about twice the size of my previous one!  Oodles of room!  The split bed also allows for the mattress to flip out of the way so that taller items can also be carried like a bike, golf clubs or skis.  I doubt I’ll ever do that, but it’s nice to know it’s there “just in case'!”

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The electric bay is on it’s own and about waist-high on the J.  Much more convenient than having open the lower rear utility bay on the H model!

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I also really like the extra flip-up ladder extension on the ‘07.  No more need for a step stool!

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The awning is a box-style and only 10’ wide (rather than 12’6” on my previous View).  Can’t quite figure out why they didn’t provide a longer box-style awning to cover the rear window as well.  I do like the fact that the awning material stays protected inside the metal casing—the awning fabric still looks brand new!

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Perhaps the biggest drawback to the new View will be it’s reduced cargo carrying capacity.  While it has larger physical storage spaces than the H-model, this ‘07 can only carry about 250 lbs less than the ‘08.  Time will tell if that becomes its Achilles heel, but so far, so good!

P.S. If you might be interested in my previous ‘08 View (after all the “glowing” things I’ve said about it above…ha!), here it is all cleaned up on Lichtsinn’s website!

24 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new to you View! I understand the bed situation as we started with a 2010 Via R, we enjoyed it for only three months and moved up to a 34 ft Class A with one slide. We just completed one year full timing and are in our third motor home . We have had our 2012 Tiffin Allegro TGA for almost a year now. We believe we finally got it right for our needs. We are back in our home trying to sell it, can't wait to get back out on the road full time:). Living in a house is way over rated

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    1. Sounds like you've got a really nice rig. If/when I'd ever move up to a Class A, Tiffin would be one of the top picks! Good luck with your house sale!

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  2. Congratulations!! Now you are ready to head to Mexico. So glad that Millie likes it, She has her own dog house under the table;) Why not pick up a small round folding stool from Walmart, under $10.00. You can fold it up when you are travelling and it makes for a good small night table.

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    1. Certainly something to consider! Thanks Contessa!

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  3. What a beautiful new rig! The inside is so clean, I'll bet you'll love living in it. I have very little outside storage space, and pretty good interior space. But I don't want more. If it had more room to store things, I'd definitely have more things to store. Keeps me downsized, and better for my budget! Have fun with the new motor home. :)

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the challenge will be trying to "not" fill up those storage areas (as I know I'll then be over the gross weight limit for sure if I do!).

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  4. Thanks for the great tour of the J. The View is my choice for full timing if I ever have to go it alone although I would cry at the thought of losing Winnona. But she's just too big for me. I especially appreciated your discussion of what you like better about the J than the H and the 2007 than the 2008. Excellent food for thought.

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    1. Yeah, I'm liking it so far, but us RVers are a fickle bunch-- always some newer/better rig out there to tempt us!

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  5. Lynne: Great to have the chance to view your new View! Interesting to hear your take on the differences between the H and J models and what you like/don't like about them. RE: your questions about sewer hose storage and the shelf issue in the bedroom, a couple of thoughts. When you came to pick us up in Chicago, I don't think I opened the water bay door to show you what I had done with the brackets holding the vinyl fence post under the rig, but you've seen the pictures on my blog. If you're interested in something like that, I would be happy to consult and give you more specifics on what I did and how I did it. Just let me know. As for the shelf, the idea Contessa suggested sounds workable. Also you might consider a flip up shelf like I added to the end of our sofa. What I do with my glasses is hang them on the shades, by slipping one of the side pieces in behind the vertical cord that goes between the folds of the shades and then just folding them back together; works fine. If I can help you brainstorm or talk through any contemplated mods, you have my number and I would be happy to help. Good luck!

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    1. I'll go back and look at that fence post mod-- that might work just great for this new rig! WIll also put your idea about using the window shade strings to hold glasses and watch-- that might be the most brilliantly simple solution yet!

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  6. Congratulations Lynne - you really do your homework! As for the shelf or night stand perhaps some kind of mesh hammock would appeal for eyeglasses and such. By hugging the wall it would stay of of the way. As for upgrading RVs I must be in the minority. Over six Scamp trailers I regressed by model year from 2003 to 1976. (blush) Hope to see it in person this winter! :)

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  7. Yes, mesh storage might work very nicely-- I'll need to start the shopping hunt soon. Thanks for letting me join the small-but-mighty club of "regressive RV upgraders!". Really looking forward to the winter trip and do hope to cross paths if we can!

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  8. I like my TG1N can a lot. What I do for glasses, watch is I installed hooks all over the van wherever there was a screw already. I got one of those little hanging phone pouches and hung it on a hook. Easy and cheap and accessible in bed. Another one holds the TV remotes. You just can't have too many hooks in a small space. Ones by the door hold the leashes and treat bag.

    One of the reasons I wanted the van instead of a C is that I can line the back with tarps and it works great as a hauler for all kinds of things from trash to building supplies to moving a friend.

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    1. Great ideas. I'll need to get me some hooks! I used to have one of those "over the drawer" stainless steel hooks from BedBathBeyond that I wedged between the overhead bunk and the cab wall next to the coach door of my old View. It was a great coat rack! But as the new one has storage cabinets rather than an overhead bed, there's no longer anyplace to wedge that coat hook, so I'll need to find the screw-in or stick-on kind.

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  9. Congrats on the new rig. I think you'll be happy with the size over time. You won't be too big to fit in some awesome places. When I made new curtains for our RV, I made pockets in some of the side panels to hold glasses and flash lights. Have fun!

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    1. What a neat idea! My stepsister is a terrific seamstress...maybe I can convince her to whip up a few creations for my new rig!

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  10. On Yahoo there is a View/Navion group that has postings of mods they have made on their rigs. I know that someone had posted a while back about putting a shelf in the J bed area. You might look at this to see if something there meets your needs. We had a J model and enjoyed it until we got a larger rig. Enjoy!

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    1. Oh yes, I've been a frequent visitor to all of the various V-N Yahoo Groups. Some excellent ideas and advice there! What kind of rig did you move to? Did you go bigger due to full-time RVing?

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  11. Thanks Lynne, for all your posts and pics, we too are great fans of the sprinter campers, we have a 2010 Itasca Navion, we love it. We have taken a trip out west for 6 weeks, to Maine for 3 weeks Canada for 3 weeks, and everything in between, we have put 28k miles on it in 3 years.

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    1. Isn't it amazing how far the V-N rigs travel? I love when we go to rallies and hear that owners have arrived from all across the country to attend! Guess we all just love to drive these snappy little RVs!

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  12. I'm certain you've already solved your corner-bed-shelf problem, as I've only just come across your blog today and am reading the parts about RV choices (I love reading about that process and learning about different rigs - I hope to have avoided being a statistic as I think I got my last RV first...or at least it's been 4+ years and there's still nothing else that turns my head!).

    Anyway, I have a corner bed model and wanted a shelf/nightstand. So, I picked up a metal mesh magazine holder (this one: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/desktopCollections/silverMeshCollection?productId=10004834) and mounted it (laying on its side) to the underside of the cabinets in the back corner with the open end oriented toward the opposite side of the bed. It creates a little mostly-closed-in shelf, so if you hit the brakes fast, the books/stuff should stay inside. I lined it with a little of the rubber shelf liner that lines everything in the RV, and it's been great! Before I had my paperwhite kindle (and needed a nighlight), I had those little clip on book lights clipped to the end and pointing wherever I needed a little light for reading without having the overhead light glaring in my eyes.

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    1. What a great idea Allie! I might look into copying that idea down the line. Thus far, this winter I've just been following Jack's suggestion above and just put my watch around my glasses and hang the glasses on one of the tight strings that hold the window blinds in place. So far, so good. But if I ever start wanting to stow away more than that, I'll try this "under cabinet basket" approach!

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  13. Anyone had an engine light come on with code P0753 and a solution ?

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