Convert Salvage Promaster Van to Cab & Chassis? - Page 4 - Ram Promaster Forum
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post #31 of 39 Old 01-15-2016, 10:05 AM
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Other details can be found in some videos, are shown different models vans, motorhomes bases, cutaway, cowl


In this, at around minute 1, is shown a high and low roof version frame welding.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kaw5n...=youtu.be&t=53

There is a version for motorhome manufacturers that doesn't have the top reinforcement frame, it is the "light frame" version (note: rear track is wider in motorhome versions).


In my opinion the closer version to the van version is the "chassis cab with platform"

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post #32 of 39 Old 01-15-2016, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MJAB View Post
Other details can be found in some videos, are shown different models vans, motorhomes bases, cutaway, cowl

There is a version for motorhome manufacturers that doesn't have the top reinforcement frame, it is the "light frame" version (note: rear track is wider in motorhome versions).
MJAB,

Thanks for the pictures and videos. By stopping and starting the videos, I got some good views of the internal construction. It was interesting to see that the rear frame is initially constructed as a separate unit from the front, then welded together. I still would like to see some clear detail pictures of that joint, but I doubt that I will find that. Anyway, your pictures helped!

I am glad to learn that the RV "chassis cab" is different from the vehicle sold as a chassis cab. I had been thinking that a wrecked RV might be a good candidate for conversion to a flatbed, but it apparently would not be very different structurally from a stripped van. It would still need an additional frame rail on top of the lower rail. Apparently, RV's are engineered as unibody (or semi-unibody) vehicles, like the vans. In any case, I noticed that the RV "chassis cab" is strong enough, in its stripped condition, to drive within the factory.

The last picture you posted, while it looks like a flatbed, also appears to be engineered with the expectation that a box body will be added, and that box will become part of the structural integrity.

Swoop

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post #33 of 39 Old 08-17-2016, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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For anyone who took an interest in this thread:

For the past eight months I have followed IAAI salvage auctions and I have bid on a few rear-ended Promasters. I did not end up with a winning bid. I intended to pursue this plan of modifying a wrecked Promaster to make a flatbed, but as time went on, it began to seem like the prices were a little high (as of August 2016) to make this worth the risks that have been discussed here. At this point, getting a vehicle with the "right" kind of damage for this project would cost around $9,000 with fees, transport, etc.

As time has passed, my acceptable price has gone up and the price of "old stock" 2015 Promasters has come down. I found a 2500 chassis cab for $20,271 (total) and I decided to go for it. I won't have to loose sleep wondering if I reinforced the frame adequately. I'm eager to move on to the next step (making the flatbed).
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post #34 of 39 Old 08-17-2016, 11:59 PM
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Congrats on buying. I too had looked a unsold 2014 chassis cabs a while back. Seems they didn't really catch on like FCA intended. The Transit probably has something to do with it - probably a better starting point for vocational upfits. That said, I have seen one or two flatbed PMs on the road, along with 1 mini tow truck.

Just curious, where does one go to participate in these salvage auctions? Can you give us a crash course (pun!) in this. It's new to me.

A growing fleet, you may call me Admiral: 2014 3500 159"extended gas, and a 2014 2500 136" gas
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post #35 of 39 Old 08-18-2016, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Just curious, where does one go to participate in these salvage auctions? Can you give us a crash course (pun!) in this.
The biggest salvage auction companies in the US seem to be IAAI and Copart. They are set up primarily to get wrecked vehicles from insurance companies to professional re-builders or scrappers. For an individual to buy through either company, you need to work through a broker. Each company has info on their website about finding a broker. The arrangement typically involves a registration fee of a few hundred, then a $1,000 deposit before bidding. If you win an auction, there are more fees, based on the selling price.

Once registered, you can follow the auctions and bid online. You need to be certain of your top price before the auction begins, because the auction for each vehicle takes ~30-60 seconds! The options for inspecting vehicles before auctions are very limited. Courage and research are required . . . .
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post #36 of 39 Old 08-18-2016, 10:36 AM
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I poked around a bit on IAAI. Very interesting. Unfortunatly, there's no way to know what PMs sell for, except for a few running/driving ones with minor damage. Since you were looking, what can I expect to pay for a real parts car? Even a half melted one?
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post #37 of 39 Old 08-18-2016, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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I poked around a bit on IAAI. Very interesting. Unfortunatly, there's no way to know what PMs sell for, except for a few running/driving ones with minor damage. Since you were looking, what can I expect to pay for a real parts car? Even a half melted one?
Yeah, it's hard to get info on past sales. To see the prices, you have to be registered and you have to check after the auction has ended for the particular vehicle, but before that location's auctions have ended for the day (typically a few hours).

At this time, the oldest Promasters are about 2 1/2 years old, so the best ones are selling close to typical used car prices. The wrecked ones are quite variable, depending on the type of damage. If the engine area is completely intact, I doubt you could find one for less than $6,000 (with other significant damage). If the front end is smashed, and you just want body parts, you might find one for $4,000(?). I'm not sure. I was specifically focused on Promasters with moderate straight-line rear damage, so the frame wouldn't be twisted and so I wouldn't have to do any repairs on the parts I didn't plan to cut away.

In a few years, with more Promasters in circulation, there will probably be some better deals available.
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post #38 of 39 Old 08-18-2016, 11:48 AM
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I tried to get a handle on that by using minivans as a gauge. Saw a few body destroyed 2014-up Town and Countries being offered for $1500-4000. Seems like promasters would be congruent.

I have 2 pms at near 200k, and I have 2 buddies that also have them. Between those 4, and given the kind of miles we log, parts are gonna break. I just paid $400 for a new fan module, and I could use a new strut assembly.

I'm seriously looking into it.
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post #39 of 39 Old 08-18-2016, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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A couple more thoughts on salvage auction pricing:

You won't learn much by looking at "pre-bid" prices. Those can quickly double or triple in the auction.

A few auctions have buy-it-now prices. Those are helpful.

Even if you follow an auction and see a final price, that may not be the actual sale price. Frequently, the auction "goes to a phone call", which, I think, means the bid was close to the price desired by the insurance company, but they wanted to squeeze a little more out of the buyer. A lot of auctions that appear to end in a sale, re-appear in the listings a week or two later.
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