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Hey everybody. I'm a heartbeat away from buying a 3500 High roof extended and am second guessing that decision. I've seen a lot of videos and conversion pictures of people living out of a 1500 or 2500 just fine without a bathroom or AC installed.

My considerations:
- I will be living in the van full time
- An AC would likely require a generator, which costs a few thousand dollars
- A bathroom, water heater and all the plumbing that goes with it means that I can use the bathroom or clean up at any time
- I belong to a gym and can shower there while saving the money to build out all the plumbing, etc.
- I need to do my build bit by bit. (Maybe I should make a separate thread just about that) I don't want to go into debt over paying for everything all at once, so I plan on doing the insulation, roof fan and bed install first. A couple paychecks later, I will install other creature comforts.

Can anybody that has installed a bathroom or AC in their van comment on whether or not those things are worth the cost?
 

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If you are full timing, a bathroom isn't exactly a luxury but you don't say where you be parking it to living in it. The extended is only a $1000 more max and well worth it for your intended use but I wouldn't even consider a 136. AC is nice (depending on where you live) but it's something I have no need for living in New England if you live down South it's almost a necessity. If you belong to a gym a shower is something you could do away with and hot water isn't that difficult or expensive. No need to spend thousands on a genny necessarily there are many units out there for under a thousand that can easily be adapted for your needs.

Just exactly where do you expect to park it every night to live in? It's one thing to full time it in a van and travel all over staying a short time everywhere you go but a totally different thing altogether to be confined to where you work, etc.
 

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2014 136” HR
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You don't need AC unless you spend summers where it is hot and humid. Otherwise, fan and open windows will suffice.

With the gym, you'll do fine without the bathroom, particularly if you are male. I manage even as a female.

Always keep in mind that this is the grown-up Pinewood Derby. We all start with the same box, but each result reflects our personal needs.

Forget the "supposed to have." For example, I don't have a sink. Aren't I supposed to have a sink? But I don't need one and it's my party.

Of course all of us here hope you bite the bullet and get started. Given what we cram into our smaller vans, we drool at what all you could fit into that monster, including full bath if you want. Although it would be a more complex build than most, if you approach it incrementally it should not be difficult.
 

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2014-159 HR in CT
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Re: Bathroom

As a full-timer, a toilet could be an inexpensive, comfortable option. Our Thetford Curve (just over $100) is simple to use, and easy to dump in any gym/gas station toilet. It has a 5 gallon holding tank and 4 gallons of fresh water. You could probably go a number of days between dumps. No pipes, no plumbing.

Although a bath "room" might take up a good chunk of space, a portapotti fits in a small cubby, and is pretty handy in the middle of the night!
 

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2014 136” HR
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I use a bucket toilet with 13-gallon kitchen garbage bags I buy in bulk at Sam's. I don't use powder. Fold over after use, discard in the morning. Closing in on two years with no desire for anything more.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
We have a 136 and like that length a lot, but living in it full time, I think the extended would be the way to go.


For the toilet, I'd consider the Natures Head composting toilet. Have a look at the videos on their website to get the whole story, but I think it would be a whole lot easier to live with than any kind of porta potty or cassette if you are using it on a full time basis.
Or, a homemade composting toilet like a scaled up version of mine:
http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-conversion/promaster-camper-van-conversion-composting-toilet/ (by scaled up, I mean a larger pee bottle -- similar to the Natures Head one).

The 3500 gross weight is not needed for an RV conversion -- a 1500 is fine, but I think you have to go to the 2500 to get the extended?
Weights for our conversion:
http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-conversion/our-promaster-conversion-weight-of-conversion/


Gary
 

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To get the Extended you must go to the 3500. $$$
 

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I'm not sure I agree with the "$$$" for the 3500, but they are a little harder to find cheaply. I ended up buying mine with a diesel and 3k miles on the clock for $27k. Essentially new for used price. I could have found some 2500s with the same mileage for $25k, but really not that much of a difference.

In the end, I like the extended 159. The rear overhang isn't that big of a deal and I've taken it off road pretty well so far. A 159 non extended will take you more places IMO because of the rear overhang, but man, it's nice having a living room, kitchen AND bedroom inside the van.
 

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The way I see it:

Cassette dumps in most toilets--some don't allow the chemicals.

Plain bag dumps in any toilet anywhere.

Bag with powder straight to trash.

So my set-up is not as versatile as bag with powder, but more versatile than cassette.
 

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For me I tried the Ill build as the money comes in and wasted a ton of time, which is also money. Eventually, I bit the bullet and just bought the things I needed and cut back on spending as I was sick of taking things back a part. I also used a credit card with 18 months 0%-APR to buy some more expensive things that I wanted to pay off over time.

Just my $.02 on the build out process and what I learned....Oh, and I learned cheap people pay twice. Bought some inexpensive things instead of some nicer items and it bit me in the butt. Had to re-buy which cost me more money and the time, which cost me.

Good luck!
 

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I should have mentioned that Walmart sells double bags with powder for less than cleanwaste.com. The Walmart type may be even lower cost on the 'net. The huge advantage is that the inner bag folds into the outer bag and disposal is anyplace in trash where diapers are tossed. I use a 10 gallon bucket with lid modified for a full size elongated household seat. Comfy!
 

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Living full time, I think I'd want a shower. We spent a week hiking in Shenandoah in April and it was hot and muggy. I'm still in the planning phase of my build, but my wife keeps pushing for a shower area. It will complicate the build a lot and take up a ton of space. I'm thinking about a shower pan and a removable curtain so I can use it for storing the toilet when not in use. Though if you are going to stay put and can park near your gym 99% of the time, then I'd skip the shower and use the gym.

As for the toilet, I plan on going with a cassette option and plan to use it for emergencies only. Same could be said about using a bag for emergencies, but I'd prefer the cassette.
 

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I'm not sure I agree with the "$$$" for the 3500, but they are a little harder to find cheaply............... CUT.......
The list price for a 159” 2500 is $34,295
The list price for a 159 3500 EXT. is $38145
The difference is $3,850 I call that $$$
There is no Ext. 2500. Shopping used is a crap shoot on price I know.
It is a lot of money for 14” of extra van. If you need it fine.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Living full time, I think I'd want a shower. We spent a week hiking in Shenandoah in April and it was hot and muggy. I'm still in the planning phase of my build, but my wife keeps pushing for a shower area. It will complicate the build a lot and take up a ton of space. I'm thinking about a shower pan and a removable curtain so I can use it for storing the toilet when not in use. Though if you are going to stay put and can park near your gym 99% of the time, then I'd skip the shower and use the gym.

As for the toilet, I plan on going with a cassette option and plan to use it for emergencies only. Same could be said about using a bag for emergencies, but I'd prefer the cassette.
Hi Matt,
There are some other options for a shower that don't take up any space when not in use:
http://www.buildagreenrv.com/design-and-build-information-for-camper-vans/installing-a-shower/

I think that http://www.cheaprvliving.com/ has some more compact/temporary shower setups.

I guess the tradeoff is that they are not as easy to use.

We have had showers in a couple past commercial RV's and they ended up being used as storage closets, but I can see the need in hot, muggy weather.

Gary
 
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