Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

February 16, 2011

A Review of My Rig

I bought a used (3rd owner) Leisure Travel Van (LTV) Free Spirit 210B Class B van. It is built on a 2005 22 foot long Sprinter van with the diesel engine. The interior behind the cab is 14 ft. by 5’8” yielding about 79 sq ft. The cab adds about another 2 1/2 ft. to the center console. The passenger seat swivels to the face the back but while comfortable, it is too high and lacks one armrest. I’m trying to figure out how to make it more comfortable as a lounge chair maybe with a computer desk thing. It was not inexpensive at about $50k but I wanted the gas mileage and longevity of the diesel engine. 


So far, the van has not had a problem except for some rusting spots. Apparently that is a problem with the Sprinters. I love the mileage it gets. At 55-60 mph, it gets 25 mpg. At 65-70 it drops to 20-22 mpg. It had plenty of power to climb hills in the Rockies. It took me a couple days of driving to get used to it. There is some sway that is much worse if the air bags are set too high for the weight. I’m used to it now and it is easy to drive. All I have to do is watch the right rear wheel on turns and the height (9.5 ft.). The mirrors are excellent giving me full view of the sides and the backup camera gives me accurate views of the rear. This van also has a rear view mirror for additional checking with a thermometer & compass in it. The seats are very comfortable even when driving all day.
Floor plan 


I wanted a center aisle configuration because I want to maximize its flexibility. With the open center aisle, I can carry a lot in the back including full size sheets of plywood. I also get some flexibility in the sleeping arrangements. The van has an under-floor storage hatch in the rear which is handy for things like extra litter. I found being able to get up and walk directly to the cabin from the cockpit to be very handy. The benches in the back are nearly empty which makes a lot of storage.

The bath is a full wet bath with a fold up sink. It took a little getting used to but I find it works pretty well. I learned that using the sink basin to capture the water while pulling in the hot water and while soaping up with the shower on dribble made it more efficient. I used that water to splash on myself before soaping and after, then a quick final rinse with the shower head. I preferred the cat litter method for human waste – double bag the toilet with a little pine litter in it and dispose in random trash cans as needed. It saves a lot of water. I found with attention to conservation, my 26 gal fresh water + 6 gal hot water heater lasted me about 4-5 days. There is a flip down shelf that I found useless, an indented shelf with a band across it that was good for misc things and a medicine cabinet with a mirror that is very handy for the toiletries. My van has a small porthole window at the top and a push-up vent fan. That is nice to give natural light without having to protect a big window or be exposed to the world in the bath. There is also a light pull out cord to hang a few things on.


The galley consists of a small bar sink and a 2 burner propane cooktop. No oven. A small refrigerator is on the opposite side with a small microwave above it. There are 2 cabinets above the galley and a large cabinet below with 2 drawers. I found the cabinets plus the one of 3 cabinets next to the galley to be sufficient for my galley stuff. I think a dutch oven on the cooktop would suffice for any oven needs as I can’t imagine cooking a Thanksgiving feast in the van. Some old fashioned methods still work very well. The counter is small. A lid over the cooktop helps and there is a lift up shelf on the dinette side. Tight but sufficient.


The cushions were fairly uncomfortable to sleep on. I put a 1.5 inch memory foam topper on it and it was very comfortable. I ended up using half the middle supports and slept crosswise in the back of the van. That allowed me to leave a bed there all the while living in the van and still have a little seating area. I didn’t use the table but I think a small one would be useful. The one supplied is too big and heavy to be convenient. There is full open storage under the benches except for the water pump at the far end of one.


There’s a 11.5 gal. propane tank and Onan propane generator under the van. AC in the roof with a heater strip for mild heating. Propane furnace did a good job on a cold night in the 20s and seemed to be ok on the battery use. The AC worked well with either a 15 amp plug in or on the generator. It has a 30 amp cord. 9 gal black water tank and 21 gal gray water. Shower drains into gray water. The van has a pipe containing the sewer drain hose so it is easy to access. The van came equipped with air bag suspension assist. To some extent, it can help to level the van.


A 17” TV/DVD combo unit on a swivel with an antenna on the roof. Speakers in the bed area with a switch that puts the cab radio on them. The radio runs off the van engine battery. The radio was replaced at some point with a Sony model. I only used it while driving because I didn’t want to run down the engine battery.


There are 2 AGM batteries mounted under the rear benches below the van floor. Most of the electrical is wired to these thru the inverter and converter. The exception is the AC and microwave which need the grid to run or the generator.

The Not So Good:

I have 2 cats and ended up putting their litter box in the aisle. I had to step over it and that was a pain. I need a better place for it.There's no good place for a desk/laptop work area. The cab area needs better organization.
I need a place to carry a bicycle.

The refrigerator was a some time thing. It seemed while I was in transit, it cooled very well. But most of the time while I was sitting, it cooled very little or not at all. I had temperatures in the 50s sometimes. That forced me to carry a cooler and get ice.

The cabin could use a lot more hooks and some organizational items for things like glasses. There’s no good place for a roll of toilet paper.

The cushions are fine for sitting but are hard as a bed. I needed a pad to make it comfortable. The back cushion is not very comfortable for sitting. The van wall curves in as it goes up so the angle is uncomfortable.

The generator exhaust pipe broke on my way home from the dealer. It is 1.25 inches and I cannot find a replacement pipe for it or an adapter to replace it with a more standard pipe. I gerry rigged a patch with clamps and muffler tape but it still leaks.

The night shades do not completely block light and you can tell the van is occupied at night. The front curtains do not completely cover the edges of the window without some tucking so a determined person could peek inside.

The driver's seat head rest is hard and uncomfortable.  I need to devise a neck rest at the right height for me.


  1. Great review, thanks! It sounds like there's just a few minor adjustments.

    Can the kitty litter box go in the shower? Or in the front, in the passenger floor space?

    In the older model RVs it's really important for the RV/fridge to be level to work. Any chance someone switched fridges?

    Happy Trails, forever!
    Cyndi and Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

  2. I don't think it was switched. There was a shorted wire behind it and the inverter & converter had to be replaced plus they fixed something in the fridge. The dealer did this on the previous owner's policy before I took possession. My guess is that there is still something wrong with the fridge.

  3. I've been off the road for 3 yrs, and really miss being out there. I am getting rid of my house, then going to just rent so I can take off in the RV once in a while again for a few months. At one time, I had 4 cats with me that actually grew up in the RV. I keep their litter box in the shower, but you need to make sure you line the bottom of the shower with a heavy piece of plastic so that none of the litter will fall down into your holding tanks. I don't know if it would cause any damage, but I was not about to take any chances. I actually never used my shower; I always carry lots of Baby Wipes and those work great for a sponge bath. I stop at truck stops or fairgrounds and take showers there (the water is clean...smile). I even once went to a small motel office and asked if I could take a quick shower in one of their "un-made-up rooms". I told them I have my own towel, soap, etc. They actually gave me the key to a brand new room and said to just make sure I leave it clean like I found it.

  4. 25 m.p.g.?? Wow! That's very impressive.

    Kitty litter is a situation even in our Bounder. But then, six cats are a situation almost anywhere.

  5. Sorry, I'm Roxanne, not just some anonymous Duck.



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