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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are great rebates on the PM now-- $5250 which I'd like to take advantage of in the next day or so.

I'm on the fence with the 2017 3500 159" or 159" EXT. It will be my daily driver which I will build out into a camper as well. I don't mind the additional $2500ish for the 14" bonus of the EXT but am somewhat apprehensive about doing daily running around, parking at the Kroger, etc. I've read what I could on this forum but would appreciate some more input. I will be putting in a shower, etc...but the 2x2 stainless pan and curtain seems like the best use of space regarding that.

Also, I am on a quest for this seat or something similar... please point me in the correct direction: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=39369&postcount=5

Thank you,
Paul
 

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Be prepared to spend bigs $'s for that seat!

As for driving the 159 vs the 159ext around town - I have a 159 and it's my daily driver. I always choose a pull thru spot unless parking on the street but I would do the same driving my mini car. The thing to keep in mind is not only the length but the width. Promasters barely fit in a normal parking space, widthwise and lengthwise, (at least the ones they lay out today). It's really a very tough call. That extra length would be fantastic, esp for a camper conversion & shower but many here are in love with their 136's or even 118's. Not to mention $2500 extra is a pretty big jump in price and you can only get it in the 3500 model.

I'm sure some 159ext owners will chime in (I hope so) but if it were me I would try to get a 159ext to test drive for a weekend at minimum.
 

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Can you sleep across the van, that is are you less than 6 ft tall? Do you need or want a separate compartment at the back for anything? I have room to do a 27"X24" shower where my porta-pottie is now in my 136 so that is not the deciding factor. It takes more van to sleep along the van than across it. I would be comfortable with 159” and use the $$ for the conversion “extras” like heat and AC.
 

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There are great rebates on the PM now-- $5250 which I'd like to take advantage of in the next day or so.

I'm on the fence with the 2017 3500 159" or 159" EXT. It will be my daily driver which I will build out into a camper as well. I don't mind the additional $2500ish for the 14" bonus of the EXT but am somewhat apprehensive about doing daily running around, parking at the Kroger, etc. I've read what I could on this forum but would appreciate some more input. I will be putting in a shower, etc...but the 2x2 stainless pan and curtain seems like the best use of space regarding that.

Also, I am on a quest for this seat or something similar... please point me in the correct direction: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=39369&postcount=5

Thank you,
Paul
I have the 159EXT. I don't do much daily driving around town but when I do, it is not a problem. Parking in open lots also is not a problem. If there is an open space ahead I will often pull through so that I can drive forward when departing. But if I have to back out, not a problem. I have rear windows, backup camera and backup sensors which help. Parallel parking on the street is also OK unless there are marked spaces. Then the EXT may not fit the space.

If you want a bed and a permanent shower you may need the EXT.
 

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The other consideration in overall length is that some places have a 20' limit. The ext is over 20'. If you plan on going to beach towns you may have problems.


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Plus toll roads & car ferrys usually charge more over 20'. The 159 is just under 20'
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I appreciate all the quick responses. I am 5'-10" so sleeping across work.

I have numerous floor plans and ideas thanks to all of you and this forum. I want everything!

The HappiJac queen size bed lift makes all the sense in the world to me....haven't found an easy online way to configure and "buy it now".

I have a propane furnace along with everything else from a large Coleman popup that the mice wrecked that I can salvage some parts from.

I am fascinated with an idea involving something like a Bed Slide turned into deck as well..... Roof rack for solar and platform as well.

I'm leaning toward the EXT..... My last remaining concern is towing -- I will also be purchasing a boat for big Michigan water in the next year or two.... 5200 tow capacity probably limits me to a 20' er??..... and then the question of launching and retrieving at the ramp......
 

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There are great rebates on the PM now-- $5250 which I'd like to take advantage of in the next day or so.

I'm on the fence with the 2017 3500 159" or 159" EXT. It will be my daily driver which I will build out into a camper as well. I don't mind the additional $2500ish for the 14" bonus of the EXT but am somewhat apprehensive about doing daily running around, parking at the Kroger, etc. I've read what I could on this forum but would appreciate some more input. I will be putting in a shower, etc...but the 2x2 stainless pan and curtain seems like the best use of space regarding that.

Also, I am on a quest for this seat or something similar... please point me in the correct direction: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=39369&postcount=5

Thank you,
Paul
Paul,

I would not recommend the Ext as a daily drive unless you really need the extra length. I have it because I need to fit our windsurfers inside. the Ext is a little over 8' from the back doors to the side sliding door.

The ext seems to drive as well as the other sizes and I am beyond happy with the drivability. Turning radius is still really impressive.

Parking is surprisingly ok, but as a daily drive I think it would get old. The extra length means you are sticking out further than all the the other cars, and you kind of feel like a target. In addition you will have to pass up on some parallel parking spots. Having said all this the Ext version is not a long van. My Toyota Tacoma extended cab is only a foot shorter than my PM. The Ext version in the other brands are longer and seem really unwieldy.

Bottom line if its a daily drive I think you really need a compelling reason to own the Ext PM.

On the seat you will need to import it from Europe and as KV said you will pay dearly for it. Think in the range of 2000 to 3500 Euros and that does not include shipping, brokerage, duties or taxes! The funny thing about theses seats is that they are really ingenious at transforming from a seat to a bed but, they make really bad beds, super uncomfortable! You end up wishing you were packing a mattress to lay on top of all the lumps and hard spots. They are designed for small vans where space is at a premium and use is mainly for the weekender camper. I recommend getting your van and building a temporary bed first to get a feeling for what works for you.

Hope this helps,

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks a lot Dave.. I appreciate your input.

I've been on the phone with my dealer.. apparently it will take 3 -6 months to receive a 3500 159" EXT if I order it!.. there is one within 500 miles but it does not have all the options I selected - which was almost all of them. I really wanted the swivel seats from factory to save some time and work doing it myself.. I may end up with the standard length after all....

Paul
 

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Wait a few months, get exactly what u want. Enjoy for a lifetime. Tradeoffs are time, cost & effort (maybe regret?). If your budget is tight and you have skills, tools, and heated space you could start working on a compromise model soon. Regarding aftermarket swivels: They can be problematic for some because of increased height. Lower seat bases available from eurocampers but passenger side out of stock until at least mid-February. Factory swivels are far superior imo but pretty pricy. Lots to consider and plenty of opinions and advice here.

*Passenger swivel is back order; not lower base.
 

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One great factor about ordering is you can get nonwhite. Worth a bunch. The factory swivels are not more than installing the lowered bases and aftermarket swivels. Order. Go back and review the thread about options and why. There are a bunch you really don’t want. Save$$
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36881
 

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Paul,

I agree with Roblee and RD, don't be in a hurry, place the order with all the options that are best for you. Do a bunch of research on what is the best set up for you and go about making sure all is ready to start the project.

The factory swivels are alone worth waiting for! I have aftermarket swivels and have lowered seat basses on route as I write this. The factory swivels are better, crash tested and approved should you be unlucky enough to be involved in a bad crash.

If you do place a factory order resist the urge to order to much equipment in advance. I highly recommend doing full scale mock up in the van prior to making any major purchases.

Cheers,

Dave
PS if you order beware that the darker colours are a bit overwhelming in the 159 and 159 Ext. My Granite colour looks more like dirty brown with even the smallest amount of dirt and in the EXT version thats a lot of dirt brown;)
 

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Hard to say what will work for you as a daily and a camper as only you know what you want, need and what you will put up with to have it.

Driving the 3500 EXT around town is easier than driving a crew cab dually. You still need to pick and choose your parking spaces like has been mentioned. Park farther out and do the walking. My old Suburban is 18.4' long. The 3500 EXT is 2.5' longer. The EXT is slightly more of a pain to wiggle into spots because of more width. For the most part I pick the same spots for the Ext as I would for the Burban. However, until I build out the interior of the PM, I can haul my shifter kart and all the gear to events and not bother with the trailer I needed taking the Suburban. That made getting around packed parking lots for the "after event social dinner" way easier in the PM. The motorized folding mirrors are handy in tight packed parking as I motor them in with less worries about somebody removing them.

When I test drove a 159 2500 I didn't really try to squeeze into small parking spots. But it felt the same driving on the street as the EXT. The van I purchased had everything except the diesel engine on my wish list, basically the class B motor home package.

The 3500 does have a lower final drive compared to the 2500. I have surprised a few cars in the red light grandprix when empty. It will accelerate fairly well. Might be one reason I am not 100% happy with my MPG. 16-17 regular driving. 13-14 when I towed the VW Jetta. I only have 2000+ish miles so I might not have my foot calibrated to the more upright semi truck/VW Van seating.The throttle was a toggle switch on those. I need to re-calibrate my foot. The PM needs some modulation, but it is almost sporty with the acceleration and steering response compared to other full size vans. Sprinter dually did feel more solid side to side, but it is hard to compare single rear wheel to dual rear wheels.

Have you searched for 2016 leftovers that might have all the options you want? When I was looking there were 8 vans with factory swivel seats in North America. My girlfriend was most comfortable sitting in the factory swivels. Go sit in a Winnebago Travato if you want to compare seats if no swivels are at a Ram dealer. One on the Ram inventory search list was close enough to what I wanted except the color so I jumped on it. The Deep Cherry Red is growing on me even though it is Alabama Crimson in the U.T Vol Orange country of E. TN.:laugh:
 

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"Big Michigan Water"

Paul,

Are you a fellow Michigander? We sit here perched on Little Point Sable overlooking the "Big Lake".

We, too, anguished over the "ext or not" decision. We finally grabbed a flower . . . pulling petals: 'ext', 'ext not', ext', 'ext not' . . .

On a serious note, we agree with "cutndry" and finally opted for the non-extended model as we travel extensively out west where many of the roads are restricted against longer length vehicles. As much as we would have liked the extra space, we set 20' as our maximum.

Winston
 

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Any hassle involved with getting factory swivels is worth it, they have seat-back anchored shoulder belts that actually touch a persons chest/shoulder versus the strap that merely dangles off ones lower/mid torso into thin air to connect to the van wall door pillar... Just something I think about while trapped in a column of cars all doing 75mph.

On urban/suburban daily driving - The 159" PM's long and wide, 80% of commercial parking areas have been downsized to get more spaces crammed in, not just the spaces but landscaping, passive speed limiting meanders, petite entrances, lane widths... If I can't find a pull-through I find myself backing into spaces as it is the only way to make a tight 90° turn squarely, the extended extra 20" would have me parking somewhere in low-orbit to get wherever I was going.

I'm glad I got a 159" but having the glass wagon does help keep stress grey hairs to a minimum.

On a road trip the moment I rest stop or stop for the night I'm back to wondering what the extended model would be like, though my 2500 is just under the 9000lb limit put on parkways, avenues, bridges and the closest no-trucks Interstate here in the Twin Cities, MN.
 

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Rambodybuilder.com will give you good dimensions if you haven't seen them. 159wb=19.675'
159ext=20.875' (14.4" longer). The extra length is all behind the rear axel (obviously).

Base weights for 159 3500 cargo vans: gas=4906. Extended gas=5034. +127 lb
diesel=5164, Extended diesel=5274. +110 lb.

GVWR for all 159" high roof 2500's is 8900 lb
Gvwr for all 159" high roof 3500EXT is 9350 lb.

I'm not aware of anywhere in the west where any of these lengths or GVWRs would restrict (by law) your driving. No experience on the east coast.
 

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Many cities in California have restrictions on street parking. One of those restrictions is 20' lengths


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I believe the ext version pays extra for the Alaskan ferry and Newfoundland ferries. Last I checked Newfoundland uses less than 20 as the minimum fee and the Alaskan ferry rounds up the ext version to 21 and it seems that doubles the price.
 

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Response to Paul's PM Questions

dobermin said:
Hi Winston -- I am -- Metro Detroit.

I really hate giving up that extra 14" of space.... I too, plan on traveling out west. Can you tell me more about vehicle length restrictions that I would experience if I went with the ext?

Did you put a shower or bath in your 159" standard?

Paul

Paul,

Now I've gotten myself in trouble - - pulling some of the data to respond, my wife now says "Hey, it's only 14" longer, why didn't we get that one?"

Truth is, there may not be that many places that 14" makes a huge difference.

One drive that really is very striking is the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park. We drove that one last year in our itty-bitty VW TDI Jetta and were happy that we weren't in anything larger. They don't allow large vehicles there but as we looked it up, the restriction is actually 21' . . . so the extended Promaster would have qualified.

Here, for you amusement, is a copy of our 'track file' for the past 4 years (all in that Jetta) - - over 106,000 miles of meandering . . .



Your inquiry propelled us (VJ and I) on a delightful mini-review of the past. It is difficult to select, from the literally dozens of fantastically scenic twisty-turning byways, which roads are least suited to larger vehicles. But here are a couple . . .

We were wandering in the southeastern part of arguably the most beautiful state - - Utah - - when we slammed on the brakes . . . on the brink of careening off a high bluff - - the Moki Dugway - - to the plateau below. This is what our smart-phone indicated along with a few photos from the internet:







And here's what one traveler had to say:

"I'm a flatlander who always tightens up whenever I have to drive some of the scary mountain roads of the west. On our first trip west, many years ago, I held up traffic all the way down to the Hoover Dam. But since then, I've white-knuckled "Going to the Sun Road" three or four times, driven the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park with a light snow falling, followed the pilot car on the Beartooth Pass, and survived pea-soup fog in King's Canyon and Sequoia . . . But out of nowhere on this perfectly straight road, we see the signs about reduced speed, steep grade, gravel road, etc. None of the signs did justice to the actual experience. This was absolutely the scariest three miles I have ever driven. It took more than thirty minutes; my second gear wasn't low enough."

Then, a short week later we found ourselves leaving Carson City, Nevada for the 'short drive' to Yosemite. Our mistake (which wasn't really a mistake) was taking a side road off of US395 just after we entered California (route 89). This decision led us to one of the most interesting two day detours - - zig-zagging our way to Yosemite by hitting four passes, Monitor, Ebbetts, Sonora and Tioga. But look, even an "extended" Promaster could make the famous Ebbett's Pass:



As we began to look at 'our next step' (after the tent) we found ourselves being lured into the "oh, look at that, it's only a little bigger than . . . " mentality. We finally stepped back and, as we have in this missive, re-reflected on what it is that we enjoy about travel and 'drew a line' at 20'. We doubt that the "it's only a little bigger" extra 14" that you're considering makes a significant difference 'on the road' - - our problem is even the 159" standard is way-bigger than what we're accustomed to.

Winston (RW and VJ)

PS: Paul, we're just in the beginning stages of our conversion, but you'll probably not be too surprised that, at present, we have no plans for either shower nor fixed, permanent potty.
 
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