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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
DISPOSABLE

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Created in 63 before JFK was assassinated, I am still using this utilitarian body of mine. It is a little beat up, but I like residing in it and it has served me well for over 58 years. I suppose there will be a day I am done and I will dispose of it.

DIY BUILDERS (a different breed) 🙄

I suppose we all get into DIY Design/Builds for various & different reasons. One of my reasons being the dispensableness (I guess disposableness is not a real word), of modern vehicles. That is ( unless you are @Kip-on-truckin ), we buy and mile out these vans. Upon looking at factory campervans @ $150K to $200K, Mrs. RV8R suggested I build one. The cost benefit was definitely there for me in a DIY Build. Not as posh as a factory unit (which is better for us actually - less is more), and still a chattel I consider disposable (as the platform of Promaster only has so many years & miles in it), I could buy & build 3 for the cost of 1 factory disposable unit (labour excluded). That is 3 times the warranty, 3 times the years, & 3 times the miles.

Disposable, did not stop there, as this was considered with most things in the build(s). Appliances, batteries, and such can either be fixed or disposed of and new products purchased. Some things should outlive the van’s life; marine grade electrical wire, plywood, insulation, sink & faucet, slider window, etc ,,, however even these items could be disposed of and replaced if needed.

Proprietary “things & stuff”, or the designing around such items, can create problems down the road if that “thing” is broken. They can also be expensive for what is provided. As an example; under-mount chassis propane tanks vs typical 20lb bbq propane tanks. The Con of the 20lb bbq tank is the interior locker, but it’s Pros are far superior in the other categories than under-mount.

I find “The Portable Power Boxes” a fascinating product, or more so the interest for a DIY to incorporate these very proprietary & seemingly non DIY repairable boxes to be attractive to DIYers ,,, excluded from that statement are DIY portable power boxes & @HarryN retail units.

While down yet another internet rabbit hole, came across “The Lycan”




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Now disregard the $7,000 it will cost you, the fact is the shipping is free. 👍

This Lycan is new to me as I just saw it yesterday. I wounder if it is DIY repairable or if it is a disposable unit. 🤔
 

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I came across the Lycan recently. Renogy doesn't seem to offer much in terms of portable power stations. I recently got a EcoFlow Delta Mini for about $600. 880Wh, 1400 watt continuous, 2100 peak. Full charge thru AC about an hour.

Back to your point...I can appreciate your point, the why do anything POV. I put off doing anything to my van for the first 3 years. It was just a cargo van to me, mostly. Why build it out when you can just throw a mattress on a sheet of XPS insulation and crap in a 5 gal Lowes bucket? Everything is temporary.

I've seen it everywhere, temporary. People build their dream home then a few years later sell it. People build a simple home then a few years later sell it. Why even bother finishing the home once you get your CO, assuming the bank/insurance has no say in it.

The only thing permanent in life is temporary. Everything is temporary and disposable.

Next time I'll get a 159 HR, next time it won't be temporary, right? :rolleyes:

A different beast all together, and likely to have support long term, behold the Honda EU7000is.

 

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A few (more than a few) years can affect perspective. I understand that lots of bad things could happen to my van, thus rendering it temporary, and without question we would rebuild. But at our ages (75 and 78), that rebuild would cost precious time that we could be, and would rather be, boondocked somewhere taking a hike.
 

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A few (more than a few) years can affect perspective. I understand that lots of bad things could happen to my van, thus rendering it temporary, and without question we would rebuild. But at our ages (75 and 78), that rebuild would cost precious time that we could be, and would rather be, boondocked somewhere taking a hike.
Roger Wilco
 

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@RV8R When I was originally building up the business, I had to make a very tough decision.

1) Build systems from off the shelf components and essentially be an "integrator".

2) Go down the path of a proprietary design. This would most likely have been more compact and possibly lower cost (to me), per unit, but then my small business would have been the only place that was capable of fixing it.

The path I chose was not "open source" but "full right to repair", and I designed them so that anyone with auto or marine level repair capability in the world could buy parts on line and do work on it. I honestly don't know if the decision was good or not.

I am happy with the technical reasoning, but business wise it was kind of a mistake.

I also used parts that don't really break - but this also means not much repair work.

So who knows what is the right path - I sure don't.

____
 

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As far as people buying these "imported and sold for less than the price of parts" power units, some care in selection is of course needed.

Far too many people are under estimating the risks associated with using electronics and battery packs designed for stationary use for mobile applications. The companies get away with it because they are legally shielded by the Chinese govt - similar to the drywall fiasco.

I think that Tesla is one of the few who have really put the clamps on RVers wanting to use the Powerwalls in mobile applications.

I also worry some about how many people who live in fairly tough climats are blissfully using Li - ion based power systems where it will get quite hot or cold inside of their vehicles.

It wasn't that long ago that my youngest son and I were playing with RC hobby cars and literally everyone in that hobby would only charge those batteries in buckets of sand, far away from the house.

We considered the battery packs to be consumables - as in run some cycles and dispose of them "before the inevitable fire happens".

In fact ~ 2002 I was in a local group of hobbyist who were sort of having a contest about who could make really bright and small LED flashlights. We were pushing those batteries pretty hard and would toss then every 5 cycles just to make sure that they didn't light off.

We will see what happens as time goes on.
 

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I kind of look at van's this way - sort of disposable. None of them are really built so well that they give a great feeling of confidence in lasting a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I kind of look at van's this way - sort of disposable. None of them are really built so well that they give a great feeling of confidence in lasting a long time.
The vans can “mileout” or end their usefulness in a crunch in an intersection.
 

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A few (more than a few) years can affect perspective. I understand that lots of bad things could happen to my van, thus rendering it temporary, and without question we would rebuild. But at our ages (75 and 78), that rebuild would cost precious time that we could be, and would rather be, boondocked somewhere taking a hike.
At our ages (75 and 78 also) our perspective has changed as well. This is our 3rd camper conversion and the longest we've owned any one vehicle. It's the only method of traveling the country during our retirement that makes economic sense.

We don't have the time or mental and physical energy to build another one if this one should wear out. The best plan we've come up with is an emergency fund large enough to replace the inevitable engine, transmission, tires, brakes, shocks failures when they happen.

It's not so much 'disposable' as 'sunk cost'. As with all our purchases of 'things' including our house we don't expect any residual value to exist when we're done with them. At least not to us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
At our ages (75 and 78 also) our perspective has changed as well. This is our 3rd camper conversion and the longest we've owned any one vehicle. It's the only method of traveling the country during our retirement that makes economic sense.

We don't have the time or mental and physical energy to build another one if this one should wear out. The best plan we've come up with is an emergency fund large enough to replace the inevitable engine, transmission, tires, brakes, shocks failures when they happen.

It's not so much 'disposable' as 'sunk cost'. As with all our purchases of 'things' including our house we don't expect any residual value to exist when we're done with them. At least not to us.
Thanks @tgregg !! That perspective is helpful. 👍

I typically look towards people older than I for worldly advice. I semi (mostly) retired @ 57. Without the wisdom of a few older friends kind suggestions I probably would not have done it until closer to 70. I still do miss parts of the game, but had no idea of the stress I was enduring until that was lifted. Now like @Lolaeliz wrote, I Live On Vacation. At least that is how I feel daily. My perspective is we trade our time for money & in the later years we trade or money for time. Sometimes with the unfortunate cards that we are dealt, the latter is not possible.

We use our van as a travel van also. As you say, it makes economic sense. Up until recently ( covid S&D issues ), vehicles have typically been in accounting terms a depreciating asset. I suspect after the ripple affect of the pandemic (& maybe #vanlife), it will be so again. Our World is ever changing, so time will tell. Place your moneys & takes your chances.

I think your idea of “renewing” your van; engine, transmission, brakes, etc is a good one for your situation. This makes the van less disposable as the non-wearable stuff will probably survive longer term. I like warranty & un-researched my thought is the warranty of replacing engine/trans is far less than factory. As I think I have 1 or 2 more builds in me, my idea is to flog the current mule off to a new owner & start anew. This will allow me new and improved things & stuff as a platform & build equipment/appliances. I stumbled upon this van design/build hobby & it has taken ahold of me for some reason. I think the more builds I do the better at design/build van I will get.

I had to learn much & I floundered lots on Van #1. During that build, I expected to have it for 5 to 10 years, but cashing out before it was worth nothing. Van #2, was get it operational ASAP, and I will finish it off this Winter. My perspective changed on Van #2 to realize the non-permanents of this chattel with the possibility of a collision & wearing the thing out ( past warranty). Reliability is important to me while away from home. Where things can happen to new vans, it is more likely to happen to aged or high milers. Whatever we may think, just like our bodies - there is a shelf life. They are disposable & the value of them depleted at some point. For me it comes down to economics, reliability (or perceived reliability), new technology (hopefully proved when I buy again - everything but me these days seems to be new & improved), warranty, & ultimately enjoyment.

Regarding Real Estate; We only buy (or build) it to make money. If there is no residual value in it for us we would rent. We invest in Real Estate long term only.
 

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I haven’t gotten any sense that the PM is intended to be disposable.
Although I see where @RV8R is coming from, Disposable may not be quite the right word for a vehicle, maybe temporary? You may remember I had written long ago that while on the road my van felt like a sanctuary, and that still applies when traveling. Since I use it also as a pickup truck alternative it's basically just my wheels most of the time and there is little if any emotional attachment to it. If a meteor took it out this afternoon I'd simply look for a another vehicle to replace the functions it serves and move on.

It's become increasingly clear in recent years/months that my life is currently not my own these days anyway as I am carefully navigating/helping a bipolar wife that refuses treatment, plus am being increasingly tasked with taking care of an elderly father. I've discovered that it doesn't really matter all that much what I'm doing or where I am, freedom is not a place or a set of conditions, as one can still be caught up by limiting thoughts and ideas up on mountain top, or free as a bird picking up supplies at Walmart.

My van in my vacation home on wheels. Homes aren't disposable. They are place you live in and build memories. You keep them for as long as you are able to take vacations. When I retire, I will live on vacation. it's a state of mind. 😁
Whatever we do regularly always becomes the norm (our normal) so when this vacation state becomes normal, what will you do for a vacation? Go home? ;-)
 

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Whatever we do regularly always becomes the norm (our normal) so when this vacation state becomes normal, what will you do for a vacation? Go home? ;-)
TRUE! But "vacation" is really a state of mind -- a joy in simple things and not having to do anything, wandering. That said, I doubt I will ever live only in the van, because even when retired I will keep my business going, just on a part time basis.
 

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TRUE! But "vacation" is really a state of mind -- a joy in simple things and not having to do anything, wandering. That said, I doubt I will ever live only in the van, because even when retired I will keep my business going, just on a part time basis.
Simple things can bring the most joy, that's for sure. Quiet (physical and mental) is one of those things. Yes, there have been times I remember thinking to myself, "I'm actually looking forward to having nothing pressing to do (or think about) and actually being bored!" ;-)
 

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But "vacation" is really a state of mind -- a joy in simple things and not having to do anything, wandering.
Well said. Except “vacation” has no meaning if there’s not something else, like work, to vacate from. What you describe is our normal state.
 

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Well said. Except “vacation” has no meaning if there’s not something else, like work, to vacate from. What you describe is our normal state.
True, but every time you go to a new place it's a new experience, and you guys do eventually head home, even if just to restock and handle various life things. Living in a van full time with no place to go to, that probably gets old.
 
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