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This compact RV is designed and equipped for ultramobility. It lets you travel with a minimum of encumbrances. It has everything to boondock comfortably in national parks and off the beaten track. It is easier to drive than a large pickup truck. It fits in a single ordinary parking spot and into whatever last RV site a campground may still have vacant. It leisurely maneuvers packed tourist destinations and narrow old-town streets.
Some couples like to use the SS Agile as their secondary every-day car. It’s particularly great for grocery shopping on hot days because it has a fridge to keep perishable food cool. And, for tailgating at games! Five—the driver plus four passengers—can ride in it comfortably and safely with seat belts. Most other Class B motorhomes shorter than 20 feet, are street legal for a total occupancy between two and four only.
An SS Agile sleeps two (although some after-market kits may set up a relatively short but reasonably comfortable extra bed across the Sprinter’s front seats). No space wasted. Yet, you won’t lack the amenities of a modern home! And, while you’ll see other campers labor for an hour or more to get everything set up for the night, you won’t even need a second hand to count the minutes you spend on that transition. The same is true for preparations to move out at the end of your stay!
Some campers pull a car behind their big RV to avert the aggravations surrounding spontaneous side excursions, dinner out, and shopping. The Sprinter certainly is strong enough to tow a small car, but you’d probably soon discover that the simplicity and ease of just using the Sprinter for everything will make your recreation days much more enjoyable.
Extended boondocking is facilitated by the 30gal fresh water tank (larger than in most other short Sprinter RVs) and 10gal/45lb propane tank that feeds the generator, heaters, fridge, range, and optionally even an outdoor grill).
We call our Sprinter affectionately La Ventura, but that isn’t engraved or embroidered anywhere. Just consider it the name for a one-of-its-kind ‘special edition’ Roadtrek SS Agile. It includes two dozen state of the art improvements and added features you won’t find on models many years younger.
La Ventura is accident free and driven merely 41,000 miles. Some have dubbed the sturdy Mercedes diesel power plant “The Million Mile Engine.” Experts consider it “barely used” under 50,000 miles! It easily sprints up steep mountain roads and lets you swoosh past underpowered RVs and tractor-trailers crawling up inclines on freeways. Because of its performance characteristics, the diesel Sprinter has become the most popular and desirable platform for Class B RVs.
The high-tech Mercedes diesel engine is far evolved from what you may have experienced with, or heard about, yesteryear’s diesels. It starts as quickly as a gas engine and it runs as quietly. A gallon of diesel has about 18 percent more energy content than a gallon of gasoline. Therefore a diesel Sprinter gets about 65 miles more range out of a full tank compared to a comparable gas vehicle. So you won’t need to stop for fuel as often. Diesel fuel is a little more expensive than gas per gallon, but because it generates extra miles, total expenses for fuel will be lower. Depending on terrain and speed, we got 18 to 22 miles per gallon.
To see a more readable PDF file of this detailed description get http://tinyurl.com/4LaVentura
It is formatted for quick scanning by focusing on boldfaced words (which are not highlighted below unfortunately).
La Ventura is in excellent condition
• The lounge upholstery is pristine because we permanently kept the electric sofa and the bench seats down as a bed; covered and protected with an extra mattress; back passenger seat belts still unused.
• Never been smoked in, nor exposed to any pesticides or harsh chemicals. Mold free, too! (We always kept a dehumidifier set up).
• Only driven a dozen miles since the last Sprinter maintenance and inspection, done by authorized Mercedes dealership. Good for another 10,000 miles before next maintenance service is due.
• Built-in propane generator (Onan MicroLite RV QG 2500 LP), which runs cleaner than a gasoline—let alone a diesel—generator. Less than 120 hrs used. Oil and filter change just completed. Good for another 100 hours of operation until next oil change.
• Aluminum alloy wheels are better looking and straighter than welded steel wheels. Because they give you more miles between wheel balancing and dissipate heat more effectively, they run cooler which helps extend break pad and tire life.
• Engine and break pads are in great condition also, because we tend to stay away from urban traffic, habitually observe speed limits, drive defensively, and like to take advantage of the diesel engine’s deceleration power, thus the foot breaks were rarely used for more than light duty.
> On freeways, we typically cruised at no more than 65 mph to keep within the Mercedes engine’s most fuel-efficient operation (1,200-2,400 rpm).
We are sad that we need to let La Ventura go because we spent hundreds of hours to research, plan, fabricate, and install modifications. We have remedied flaws acknowledged even by most satisfied SS Agile owners, as well as a few unfortunate Roadtrek “features” that were subject to frequent user complaints.
The many enhancements we installed, have made this RV more practical, efficient, safer, convenient, easier to maintain, and more comfortable.
Furthermore, we refurbished many of its OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) components with higher-quality ones:
• La Ventura is now equipped with Michelin LTX M/S2 all-season tires. They are rated for significantly shorter braking distances than the OEM tires they replaced. Of their 70,000-miles thread life, only 22,000 have been logged so far. They still have 9/32 thread depth!
• Replaced the OEM “house” batteries with maintenance-free Sun Xtender AGM batteries that provide more capacity, extended life expectancy, and eliminated the hassle of maintaining acid levels at a hard to reach location.
• Replaced the air conditioner (extremely noisy Dometic A/C installed by Roadtrek, which we could barely tolerate, except under most aggravating heat conditions). The much quieter heat pump (Atwood AirCommand AC-1501W)—quietest roof-top A/C on the market—is more efficient and thus works better with the generator.
> AirCommand has been declared best choice for Class B motorhomes by Outdoor Fact in 2018. AirCommand, developed in Australia, differs from most other RV A/C units because it uses two separate fan motors. One for inside air circulation and one for outside condenser cooling. Although nominally rated as a 15,000 BTU unit, it’s efficient engineering makes its power requirements resemble those of a typical 13,500 BTU unit, while the amount of cool air delivered at peak operation comes closer to what usually is expected from an 18,000 BTU unit.
> The AirCommand’s heat pump option also lowers heating costs on cool days when plugged in at home or at a campsite with metered electric power.
> We even enhanced the AirCommand with a Micro-Air EasyStart 364 module. It ramps up the compressor more gently, which further reduces the noise output and significantly decreases wear and tear on the compressor and even more on the generator.
• Brand new Natika WD-007S Premium Starlight Night Vision Rearview Camera (upgraded release 2019) with high-definition 170° super wide angle lens (900 TV lines), digital signal processor (1280x720 effective pixels); IP69K waterproof (most back-up cameras are only IP67 or IP68 rated and prone to fog up, often sooner rather than later).
> We added extra circuitry and a dashboard switch to retain the rearview image continuously to see vehicles approaching in the “blind-spot” angles and motor bikes that are hard to make out in the main rearview mirror when they are following centered behind the back doors.
> We also developed circuitry that tricks the camera to display the back-up distance lines only when in reverse gear.
> The wide angle lens is most helpful when backing into, or out of, parking spaces and narrow camp sites. Its high mounting location helps greatly to avoid damage from otherwise unnoticed tree branches to the high roof and the fixtures it carries. Furthermore you can see what’s following a pick-up truck or SUV behind you.
> The extraordinary light sensitivity of this camera makes it far superior to cameras with built-in infrared (IR) lights. Instead of just black and white, it provides a clear color picture. Even scenes illuminated by no more than scattered ordinary street lights look surprisingly bright.
• OnStar FMV 293 comprehensive in-vehicle safety, security, navigation and communications system. This system senses collisions and uses its GPS to transmit the location to the 24x365 OnStar response center. An OnStar Advisor will immediately ask you, on the built-in speaker, what help you may need. Should you be incapable to respond, they will call in the local emergency responders and direct them to the accident site.
> If you have any other kind of emergency, you can use the OnStar Emergency Button to summon help. Please note, a paid subscription is required if you desire to keep the service activated.
> However, OnStar’s hands-free calling feature, that places calls through your own—Bluetooth enabled—mobile phone, does not require a subscription.
> Should you ever be in a pinch if your mobile phone does not work, you can make calls with a credit card using OnStar’s built-in cell phone as a back up.
• Brand new Bosch Premium AGM starter (chassis) battery, not only conforms to the Sprinter-specific form factor and Mercedes specifications, it is even more powerful than the one originally installed!
> 900 A cold cranking, 107 Ah capacity
> 36 months free replacement and 96 months proportional warranty.
• Brand new First Alert SA3210 Dual Sensor Smoke and Fire Alarm with 10-year lithium-ion battery. The OEM smoke detector lasted only five years and it had merely an ionizing sensor. Although it’s manual said one should always use both ionizing and photoelectric detectors, Roadtrek failed to install a photoelectric one.
> The advantage of having both types of sensors in the new SA3210 is that its smart processor can interpret their measurements together. Therefore it may not only be able to alert you of a grave danger sooner, but it is also less likely to startle you with a false alarm. Of course, the hush button is easy to reach if needed, and you won’t have to worry for ten years about keeping spare batteries ready and about its expiration date.
• Brand new built-in alarms for carbon monoxide (CO: MTI Industry 65-541-P-W) and propane (LPG: Electro Systems GS3-2016) leaks are exact replacements of the OEM ones and are connected to the 12-Volt house batteries.
• Brand new RainX windshield wipers.
• Brand new sacrificial anode in the water heater.
• Replaced the highly unreliable/non-functional analog tank-level indicators with the more exact digital SeeLevel II 709-PH monitoring system, which uses very reliable external tank sensors and an LED display showing actual fill percentages.
• Under-sink drinking water filter GE FXUVC in the cold-water line protects from asbestos, heavy metals, a wide range of chemical and biological pollutants, and eliminates chlorine taste.
> We always used a pressure regulator and a more familiar blue Camco TastePure RV water filter on the hose to fill the fresh water tank. And, we used only oil-free compressed air to blow out the tank and water lines for winterizing.
• Replaced the flimsy macerator sewer hose with a heavy-duty industrial sewer hose that won't split.
• External omnidirectional antennas with 2/3-G and 4-G/LTE wireless mobile boosters CM2000-WL-45 and CM700V provide enhanced signals to mobile phones and WiFi hotspots inside the vehicle, substantially extending coverage area, improving voice quality, and reducing the incidence of dropped calls.
• Replaced the TV source switch with a Winegard WC-1023 Sensar Pro amplifier system and the mediocre bat-wing TV antenna with a Jack OA-8000 digital HDTV antenna. It achieves even better reception than the rooftop version of the same antenna because it is installed on the original Roadtrek-provided Winegard crank-up antenna arm. The amplifier’s digital LED readouts let you hone into weaker stations that fully automatic antenna-direction-and-tuning systems miss. It also switches between cable and antenna inputs.
• Replaced the notorious Roadtrek patio lights that always got water logged by condensation and rain with motion-sensing LED Starlights’ Smart Light 1000 fixtures. Because the latter needed frequent cleaning as their ventilation openings allowed small insects to enter the housing, we enhanced them with self-developed insect barriers.
• Also replaced all the other incandescent light bulbs with LEDs and the Roadtrek-installed reading-light fixtures above the front seats and the bed/sofa with directionally more adjustable, dimmable LED fixtures (using Zane Miniature Dimmer AMD-48R-12V). Now, the reading lamps over the bed can be turned on and adjusted without having to sit up to reach them. And, they can be exactly directed to not bother a sleeping partner.
• Replaced the analog Suburban thermostat (which had a wide temperature interval between shutting off the heater and turning it on again) with a digital 7-day-programmable LCD thermostat (Honeywell RTH2510B1000/A), with LED backlight.
• Added an ON light to the control panel as a reminder when the inverter is running because it will draw down the house batteries unnecessarily when not needed and inadvertently left on.
• Additional standard 12 Volt DC (lighter socket) outlets, including several Scosche USB outlet inserts on both sides of the bed, at the galley/driver-side “workstation” position, and on the dashboard.
• We removed the ugly, impractical bathroom sink drawer, which has since been discontinued by Roadtrek and which was much disliked by many SS Agile owners because of the big, unsightly bulge it occupied on the backside of the bathroom, making the passenger-side of the bed uncomfortable and nearly unusable as a twin bed for taller people.
> However we kept the sink and all the mounting parts of it, so it could readily be reinstalled if someone should desire to use it.
> Please read the ‘bench cushion’ bullet under ‘Must Know’ below for more details.
• Added a fold-down foot rest on the bathroom wall and an index plunger to lock the passenger swivel seat in reversed orientation to make it much more comfortable to relax in a reclined position without the seat constantly trying to move itself out of alignment.
• Superior bathroom door latch and closure magnets to overcome the door's notorious rattling and squeaking noises.
• Reinforced failing mounts of cupboard doors and drapes and eventually succeeded in getting the drape rails to operate smoothly.
• Added a slim shelf for smaller items in one of the galley cupboards.
• For additional storage and improved organization, we mounted several small and medium cargo-net pouches in under-utilized spaces, e.g. behind the coffee maker, inside the wardrobe door, behind the TV.
• Added a long, elegant towel rod under the driver-side back cupboards for extra space to let towels dry on rainy days.
• Added guide rails to the blinds to prevent them from jamming and we installed new window knobs that permit the complete closing of the blinds.
• Sealed many gaps around the outside of the mount for the rear-door screen that let through mosquitoes. We also installed a system of Velcro straps to make it quick and easy to roll the screen up or down. That also keeps it neatly out of the way behind the edge of the bed when unneeded.
In short, you are unlikely to find a pre-owned Roadtrek SS Agile—even among those several model years newer—that is in such a good condition and as well equipped as La Ventura! We took every effort to make sure it will delight you for many years as much as it did us.