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General Information

Year
2015
Make
Ram
Model
2500 136" WB High Roof Gas
Color
White
Packages
Bare bones
History
Goals:
Daily driver and camper van.

Requirements:
*Must be able to fit in a normal parking slot
*my wife can drive it
*decent MPG
*easy to upfit
*easy to maintain
*lower cost of ownership
*be able to take out anything and use to haul cargo if needed
*be able to stand up in it.

Purchased: 4 July 2015 (Happy 4th of July!)
Completed so far: $6900 & 79 hours

***Thread with photos:
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=43297
***

Exterior: $6000 & 90 hours
X1. Running boards, both sides. $700 & 5 hours. Went with Promaster World boards and they worked great. $600. Did it myself. Consider using lubricant or 7/64" drill bit when drilling into frame strut with bracket #2. I sheared off 2 self tapping screws.) Took 5 hours with basic tools and no lift.

X2. Roof rack (Completed Dec 2015). $900 & 6 hours. Researched and did not like the industrial roof rails or ladder racks I saw from places like Eurocamper, so like a lot of items - started searching for "Ducato camper" modifications etc - and found the right product. Going with the roof racks from Fiamma. Super low aspect, adjustable cross-members, easy to add an awning later. Getting from Fiammausa.com Same racks used by Travato. Here are the gritty details:

Got a roof rail from Fiamma USA out of Orlando. I had to be put in a container and shipped from Italy, as they had none in stock. It was about $800, its about $550 in the UK - but its only way I could get one, so I just paid.

Easy setup. I ended up having the rear section farther back (back edge in line with start of upper red tail lights) as I wanted to be able to get a better angle if I tied anything to it and avoid the top edge of the van. With that, I ended up cutting 17" off the front sections (I have a 136WB HR), if you line up the rear bar with the mounts, you might have to cut about ~20". Dry fit it for look and Google the Travato and Ducato setups online for some ideas and preference.

Tools:
10mm open wrench
Rachet screwdriver with a #2 phillips tip (self tap screws) and a T25 tip (horizontal bars)
Lap sealant
Measuring tape
Hacksaw w/mitre box

Mounting tips:
-I put on the mounts first, worked well and used some lapsealant on the inner contact area (install said to used Sika). The outer contact comes with some nice rubber 3M pads - not sure why they just did not provide thinner pads for the inner contact surface of each mount). This was easy, you need a 10mm open wrench.
- I climbed on the roof to put the rails on, was safer to me than the ladder
- You can do the self tapping screws by hand, but just need a good 50lb of muscle force. Otherwise tiny pilot holes would work.
- I started with the back rail, measured the distance on each side then locked it in with the self tappers into the rear mounts.
- Then be sure to put in your brass square backing nuts that go in the rail before you connect rail into the center mount.
- I put 2 of the horizontal bars in the back half, and the other 2 in the front half (as seen from the center mounts). I was able to avoid my flexible solar panel that's 3M velcro'd to the roof and the MaxxAir fan.
- You might have to use a come along or strap to pull together the rails in the front about 1/2" so you can thread the screws for the forward most horizontal bar. I was able to get mine after doing in the middle horizontal bars.
- Don't super gorilla the screws or you will strip out the soft aluminum, plus you might have to move bars later.

X3. Windows (Completed Oct 2015). $2640 & 1 hour. Looked around and found Motion Windows to be the best option. I know I could have installed the windows, but the install price was great and it made for an excuse for a road trip to Oregon in October. Getting the large windows on the center panels on sliding door and other side. Getting the 1/2 height windows on both rear panels and getting T-windows on both rear doors. 6 windows total. http://www.motionwindows.com/dodge-pro-master-van-conversion-windows/

Drove to Vancouver WA in October on a road trip to get the windows. Awesome trip - more about that somewhere else. Motion Windows did an awesome job, only took them about 3 hours on a Friday AM to put in all the windows. Super awesome job. Love the "T" windows with the sliders, bug screens built in and tinting. Turned the van from a "creeper-mobile" to an RV.

X4: Roof vent (Completed August 2015, replaced 2017). $600 & 10 hours. Looked around and liked the Maxx Fan 7500 with remote control the best. I like the ability to vent during an weather conditions, to have it open during travel, the low profile and variable fan rates. Didn't really care about the remote option, but opted for it anyway thinking about the future. Install was relatively easy as I used other threads for steps. Some helpful good tips from the other threads: drill a starter hole upwards of the center to start so you know where you are when you get on top, tape a garbage bag under your work to catch the shavings, use the middle rack mounts to tie a string to get a good line for aligning opening, don't worry about being exactly 14" square, being 14 1/2" is ok, you can get white butyl tape from Camping World. The instructions say nothing about a backing for the screws under the van roof. I added 2" wide strips of 1/2" plywood to build it up and provide better backing. Running the wires through the center roof support to the driver's side. I used the 2nd section, that puts it right in the middle of the van and looks good. I used the white Dicor for lap sealant (Camping World again).

X5: Hitch (Completed Dec 2015). $200 & 2 hours. Received the hitch. Got the Curtis Class 3. Install was fairly easy and its written about elsewhere.

X6: AC. Will not be installing an A/C at this point. Maybe in the future. If I'm in a place with A/C while camping - I'M IN THE WRONG PLACE.

X7: Rear door ladder. Holding off on this. Got a telescoping ladder for now.

X8: Front window wind deflectors. $75 and 1 hour. Found MOPAR deflectors for 2104-2015 on Amazon for $75. Easy install, just be sure to dry fit so that top edge will align with door top edge and sequence to peel stickers as it used the super crazy strong 3M adhesive. My passenger window is a tiny bit off (I notice, but other won't). Add says "City" but fit perfectly on my 2500 high roof.

https://www.amazon.com/2015-2016-Dodge-Promaster-Window-Deflectors/dp/B01BHFQGWC/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487288084&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=promaster+wind+deflector

X9: Wheel covers. $150 & 2 hours. I have the stock workvan wheels so I ordered the plastic wheel covers held on by the lug nuts for $140 from a guy on ebay. (MOPAR part 68157838AC).

Interior: $2492 & 61 hrs
I1. Visor mirrors (Completed Jul 2015). $18 & 1 hour. Looked at some auto parts stores, but found the ones we like from Target with combo mirror and bungee area to hold things.

I2. Curtain to divide front / back (Completed Jul 2015). $27 & 1 hour (Version 1). Wife wanted a curtain to divide up the space, to improve AC, privacy etc. Installed a tension bathroom curtain rod (48-84") right in the middle of the overhead cargo space above the seats. The passenger side black foam already had an indent perfect. So drilled out the driver side foam to 1" with a 1 1/4" hole saw and razor blade. Installed tension shower rod, added shower ring/clips and clips on shower curtain. Used a small bungee to secure it behind the driver's seat with a hook at the top of the seat belt.

Version 2 ($50 & 1 hour). Got rid of the bar as it blocked access to the space above the seats. Got some black out curtains from Tuesday Morning, used short 1" screws and screwed right to 3" tall plastic piece above your head as you enter forward cabin. Roll them up and put in a velcro / snap to keep them up when I want.

With curtains down, the AC can now be set about at 1/4 even driving through 100+ areas as your just cooling the front seat area while driving.

I3. Sound dampening (Completed Aug 2015). $140 & 3 hours.
I reviewed all of the options and honestly got a bit lazy in the end and went with a 12 sq ft Ballistic sound dampening kit from Pep Boys and got a $2 wall paper roller from Ace. Install was easy. Smaller areas like up top got 4" x 12" sheets, medium areas got 8" x 12" and big lower panels got 12" x 12". Cuts with scissors, no issues the next day when van was in 100+ heat in Vegas. Used 2 cans of underbody rubber spray ($10/each) from an Autozone inside each wheel well. Dropped db from 65 to 60 then dampening kit dropped it to 57db @ 60mph on a smooth asphalt freeway.

I4. Window shade (Completed Jul 2015). $40 & 1 hour. Ordered a retractable window shade from Dash Designs. Easy install, works great.

I5. Floor (Completed Jul 2015). $270 & 8 hours.
This seems to be many options:
1. Buy a pre-cut floor from Legends, either wood or just mat
2. Cut my own plywood, put a barrier down under, then put my own top material
3. Top materials range from the interlocking squares, single pre-cut rubber mats, carpet, vinyl sheet/squares, wood.

I need something that deadens the noise, has a slight slip for moving bins, good wear or easy to replace, prevent rusting of the floor, able to attach the cabinets too. So definitely need plywood.

I ended up doing a self-floor, not sure if this was the best option, but its ok for now. Got everything from Lowe's: 3 sheets of 15/32" @ $28/each, some phillips tip M8x1.25 by 60mm length bolts, M8 crush washers, M8x1.25x45mm hex cap bolts, M8 washers, some fender washers with a 1" OD, Gorilla extra tape, 6'x9' vinyl sheet $30, two 6'x9' outdoor 1/4" thick rugs, roll of Reflectix 48" wide, Reflectix tape. I put down the plywood with the 4' width in the sliding door. Each sheet should be cut to 71 1/4". Used measurements and a jig saw to cut out indents for center column and wheel wells. Used a 1" spade hole blade to create a 1/8" countersink in the plywood and used a 1/2" spade to cut out plywood above each of the 6 floor tie-down holes (M8 threaded). So dry-fitted plywood. Removed, put in Reflectix and taped down. Put in rugs and taped down. Put back in plywood and used the flared phillips head bolt with the fender washer then put on a nylon locking washer underneath. I had a to add an extra location, so checked underneath for a good spot, then drilled down through plywood, rug, reflectix and sheet metal floor and put in another bolt for the floor. Used an electric staple gun with 6mm staples and stapled down every couple of inches the vinyl flooring. Trimmed extra. Used Gorilla tape to create a protected edge for the sliding door. Put extra outdoor carpet under bed area. Stapled down with 6mm staples every 2 inches and installed carpet flat transition metal and stair strip from Lowes.

All summed up, I'd probably do the Legend flooring if I had to do it again, order an extra rubber 1/4" mat to put between the plywood and floor and call it good.

Meh. We'll see how it holds up.

I6. Insulation (Completed Aug 2015). $500 & 10 hours. For insulation (and more sound dampening) I went with the 3M 600 series Thinsulate from Hein. It was more expensive, but after having installed it - it was worth it. It is easy to work with and easy to install. This topic seems to have about 50 opinions by 40 people on the best way to do it. For me, I chose my build based on my daily driver and Southwest camping use.

I ordered 35' of the Thinsulate which is about right. I've used about 27' so far, but have some last trim pieces after the windows are installed and also I want to put some in the front door panels. I used the 3M 90 adhesive spray with the backing against the van skin which worked great. I would do some parts, then drive around the Vegas 105 degree heat to see if they stayed on, which they did. I put Thinsulate in the back door compartments, the rear side panels (big pieces), sliding door bottom, middle and top; lower and upper edge compartments between the walls and roof, etc. I have only not put some in the center vertical columns which I wanted to leave that empty to run future electrical work, the roof panels and the area around where the windows will go. A technique to put the Thinsulate in, is to only spray the upper portion of the wall and start the piece there, then keep adding spray and working the material downward. If you completely spray the wall and/or material, it can be hard to slide it and work it in.

With the Thinsulate done, I then covered all the compartments with the Reflectix bubble material. I used 2 48" rolls from Lowe's. I used the Reflectix tape to complete the seal. For the roof, I did 3 sections until I get my fan in, and used the 1/2" Reflectix type board covered with the bubble wrap. It was quite a bit of work, but it certainly is super quiet now in the back and the cooling is much quicker. Since its 110 in Vegas, I won't know about the heating etc until this Fall.

For side windows, have used Reflectix with magnets. Easy to cut and put in place. Makes a huge difference at night camping.

I7. Seat swivels (Completed Sep 2015, removed 2018). $577 & 8 hours. Ordered both swivels from Eurocampers.com. There was another option by CAT for the Ducato, but I did not find a quick place to purchase it from, just European websites. Easy installed. If unsure about both, just install the passenger side first. Might be all you need. You do have to "bend down" a thin horizontal bar in the front part of the seat base box. I just stepped on rod and put my weight down and it bent it enough to have room for swivel. Be sure to lubricate bolts before you assemble - had an issue with the drivers front left bolt. Disconnected battery as instruction said for at least 10 min before disconnecting airbags - no issue. I would recommend getting about 4 adhesive wire clips from 3M you can get at Walmart - helps to keep wires in seat base out of the way etc. You will notice being an inch or two higher, but I'm used to it now. I have a tiny bit of "play" in the driver's seat, its fine, but noticeable when you take corners. Quality is high, recommend this brand.

UPDATE: Removed. The extra 2" of height was uncomfortable for sure and we just never rotated the driver's side while we didn't use the passenger one. If done again, I would replace the metal "box" under the seat with something shorter so original seat height is retained.

I8. Bed setup. $110 + mattress/bedding ($400 for me). $600 & 14 hours. Research phase hours are not counted, and as always - that seems to take the most time. There were a number of options to choose from. Based on our camping style, I wanted a permanent bed, had to big (queen size) and comfortable for the Mrs. With just the 2 of us, we really did not have to sacrifice into having a conversion type. I liked the designs that had space under the bed. The orientation was a bit harder, I don't like having to sleep sideways where one person has to climb over the other in the night, but the layout was just better sideways. I also wanted to keep the existing tie-downs functional. I also wanted to make the platform removable, but think the way it is would be removable in about 30 minute if really needed and I still have the 4' x 8' sheet hauling capacity under the bed.

I re-used the cargo tie-down locations about 33" up from the floor in the middle and rear of the van. I had to go to a hardcore hardware store to find a 8mm x 1.25 bolt long enough. The 100mm length worked out. I took wood 2" x 3" boards and ran a board horizontally between the bolt points (54 1/2" board length), then ran boards down to the floor (you'll have to measure, as my flooring thickness might differ from yours). I was going to mount the vertical boards through the floor but feel the wall bolts are strong enough. I found a 2" x 4" mount hardware that I could use to connect the bottom of the vertical boards to the floor, but have not yet. Then I ran another board parallel to the upper board that will support the joists and the bed platform. I decided I wanted 17 1/2" clearance under the bed for bins/storage so that determined the platform height. I used large lag screws to connect the lower horizontal board with the vertical board instead of bolt/nuts. Using bolt/nuts would have been a pain, the lag screws were hex cap and about 3" long. I added the 2" x 4" joist metal brackets to the lower horizontal boards, then ran 4 2" x 3" boards cut to length between the lower horizontal boards to support the platform. Cut the platform out using 1/2" plywood. The mattress (rv mattress, full size, 5.5" thick) & memory foam (2" / 5lb density / queen size) I have is compressible so the vertical supports do not interfere. In thinking it over, I may have tried to do the vertical support so that I did not lose the 1 1/2" thickness on the board on each side. I only sanded the edges, but probably could have routed the edges for a smooth arc. Platform is crazy solid. I may opt to add in seat belts in the future, but for now its fine.

You'll need 2 x 4'x8' 1/2" plywood (mine were 15/32" etc), 8 x 2" x 3" 8' boards, 8 2" x 4" joist hangers, 4 8mm x 1.25 x 100mm hex bolts, 4 washers, box of 1" self tapping wood screws for joists, 8 x 3" lag bolts, Gorilla tape for the edge (I'll prob get 1/2" molding later) and 1 1/4" drywall screws to screw down the platform to the beams. Bedding is up to you of course.

UPDATE: To make the under storage more organized, I put a board vertically down the middle and have slide out bins on the right with a shelf, and bins on the left also.

I9.1. Interior cabinet (Completed Sep 2015, removed in 2016, redone 2017, redone 2018). $1000 & 60 hours. So once again - lots of options and setups out there. Most are either using other RV furniture, house cabinets or buying a "pod". I found the Europeans have alot of great "kitchen pods" and I would recommend taking a look at those. For me, I have the ~54" of wall space on the driver's side. I want an open area to move around in, so keeping the depth of the cabinets lower makes the most sense. The horizontal wall strength bar and top of cabinets makes sense most at 30" above my floor, which is probably about 31" above the bare floor. I wanted to reserve the center vertical post between the bed and cabinet for the 12v electrical system and looking at the contours of the wall gave me a good 48" length. This works well as it's a common pre-fab dimension. Kitchen and garage cabinets are too deep (18"+), so I went with the Lowe's Closet Maid (part #7851500, don't have other part #) 11" deep, 24" wide and 31" tall cabinets. I put 2 of the two drawer units on top of each other on the left and the single double hinged door unit on the right. I cut a 2" x 3" board to serve as a spacer from the top of the cabinets to the van wall. I used sheet metal screws and the white plastic wall attachments to secure the back top of the cabinets to the board then to the van. I used some 1 1/4" screws to secure the floor of the cabinets to the van floor and to attach the cabinets to each other.

I'm going to put a sink with a hand/foot pump on the right and use a couple of 5gal jerry type cans for fresh/grey water. The left 4 drawers will hold the pots, pans, cooking stuff etc. I'm sure the wife will claim the top one etc. I plan on doing more shelves higher up later, but for now this should work. The cabinets are just the right size for my needs.

I9.2 High wall cabinets (20 hours, $300). I used 80/20 T-slotted aluminum 15mm size to put in a 48" wide by 12" deep cabinet up top as you look in from the sliding door. I used 1/2" ply for the door, 1/4" ply that fits in the T-slots perfectly for the sides (you have to scribe) and bottom. Got some black hinges from 80/20. Bought some 100N gas springs for each side to keep door open, a new style push button opener. I mounted a 48" T-slot to the room rib and side wall using swing anchor bolts and cutting a hole in the center of the bar. For the horizontal and vertical T-slots were about 11" each and had the T-anchors pre-drilled on my order.

For the back area above each window, I used a standard 36" wire mesh white plastic coated shelf. I secured it to the side wall with metal sheet screws and the metal/rubber cable holders. I used 5/16" all thread, but a washer and locknut behind the top and another metal/rubber cable holder to attach to shelf. I used bolt cutters to trim down the shelf a few inches.

Across from the sliding door, I put in a simple 48" wide, by 12" deep wood box and mounted a Jeep 2 person jump seat on top (since removed). That allows us to sit and look out the sliding door camping. I extended the top of the box behind the driver seat and put the dog bed there.

I10. Sliding door closer helper. Closing the sliding door from the inside is not easy. You have to use alot of muscle and may have to do it several times. Closing from the outside is easy if you use you forearm to push in with the same hand that is holding the handle.

To make it easier to close, I installed a metal handle from Ace Hardware with black sheet metal screws mounted horizontally in the middle of the sliding door. Now when you close the door, a gentle pull on the handle will be enough to close the door with normal force. Total cost $10. Time: 1 hour.

I11. Bathroom setup (not started yet).
Basically the bucket system so far, and that's just for emergencies. I'm usually near stores, campgrounds etc. I'm not a stealther.

I12. Additional seating. Used the single space behind the driver's side as a "jump seat" which doubles as the camping toilet location. No seat belt attached yet.
2015 Ram 2500 136" WB High Roof Gas (White)

Modifications

Drivetrain
none
Audio
see above
Suspension
none
Wheel and Tire
see above

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