So...it's finally time to get started on our camper van. But before all of that, here's a little bit about our plans. For years we enjoyed our 2002 Eurovan MV/Weekender. Ownership had it's ups and downs with some of the typical mechanical issues found on these vans. But having had a poptop, we are sold on that feature. The convenience the poptop offers and how it fit our approach to travel became a must-have for our family.
So about 2 years ago I set out to figure out how to build a replacement for our Eurovan. As a growing family, the platform was becoming too small and the expense of ownership was only going to grow over time.
After comparing all of the van platforms that had the room we would need (Sprinter, Transit and Promaster), we decided on the Promaster. The Sprinter was expensive, had it's own set of mech issues, and I'm done dealing with the idiosyncrasies of a German car. The Transit was a viable option, but I'm not fond of the low roof model which was the only one that at the time could be used for a poptop. The Promaster low roof met our needs best: drive-able size, stand up room for the wife, and front wheel drive as this van will see lots of snow. While the PM is not perfect, it's good. I wish it had a passenger option as I would rather start from that base for my build. As I subscribe to the "don't let perfect be the enemy of good" philosophy, the choice for the PM 136 gas engine was logical.
I owe a big thanks to Korey slamit06
as his builds were the inspiration for my project. Seeing what he did gave me confidence that a Eurovan replacement was not only possible, but could be done to a high degree of quality while constrained by a realistic budget.
I purchased the van from Russ Ficek
at NW Jeep in Portland Oregon www.nwjcd.com
. Russ has been mentioned for his great service on the board a couple of times and I can confirm that. I tried several other dealers and found that if you don't want what's already on their lot, they wont give you the time of day. Russ was more than willing to deal with my build option for option and place an order. I ordered the van on 10/21/16 and took delivery on 2/24/17. Given the cost of the build, I decided to go new for the PM and have the benefit of warranty and a new van.
***The van was delivered as ordered but I am having a gremlin on the sliding door which does not want to lock either from the fob or the interior door lock switch. It goes back to the dealer for a service check this tomorrow so hopefully it's an easy fix. I am also going to have the horn beep on fob lock disabled as it's annoying.
For the popup and much of the conversion I talked to Sportsmobile and CCV. Matt Dunkerly
at CCV was helpful, but busy, and I preferred the additional height of the poptop, the simplicity of their builds, and passenger seating options that CCV offers so I went that route. I plan to have the vehicle to CCV in mid April for the conversion work.
Over the next few weeks I'll be working on soundproofing and other small prep work prior to the trip to CCV.
Stay tuned and I'll update this post along the way. Any questions fire away!
I have included a few pics. Some of options that I did not find pictures of before I bought. This includes the factory floor option, the upfit connections, the leather steering wheel and the overhead storage bin.