Found the problem after reading the output. When the directory wasn't showing up, the debugging text was reporting directory not found. I was using a tilde in the remotedir path, i.e. user@host:~/projectdir/. Doesn't work. It's probably documented somewhere, sorry if I overlooked that.
Not sure how this relates to my original problem with the seg fault and hanging lists, but that problem seems to have disappeared along the way and I'm happy again.
Thanks for your patience and help.
sshfs for president!
> Ok, yeah, so the localdir just disappears, right? I take the extra ram out,
> and everything works great.
What's the output (in the buggy case) if you do
sshfs -d -osshfs_debug ...