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Discussion Starter #1
I have been looking at getting or building a camper van based on ProMaster, Transit or Sprinters for a while. I looked at the options available here in USA such as from Roadtrek, Winnebago, Outside Van, Sportsmobile. None of them meets my requirements, and they are expensive for what you get. Instead, I decided to build my own conversion. As I was looking for inspirations, I saw the attractive and well designed European campers like Knaus Boxlife, Hymer Grand Canyon, Westfalia Amundsen which were all Fiat Ducato based. After some research, I figured that importing these vans was close to impossible. So then another idea came to my mind: What if you buy a promaster here in USA, ship it to Europe, convince companies like Westfalia/Knaus/Hymer to convert it the same way they convert fiat ducato, and then ship it back to USA. Do you guys see any problem with this plan?
 

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I suspect you would have problems with some of the appliances since 240v is the standard in Europe, but that is the process used by Canadian company Safari Condo for US customers.
 

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Master Overland Custom Vans Tampa
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The key word is "convince" since these manufacturers currently do not offer this option. I doubt any of the manufacturers you mentioned would even consider it as they operate on an assembly line. You would need to approach a more bespoke conversion company. I would call Advanced RV and ask them to do a Promaster.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So, other than cost and convincing european manufacturers, you don't see any other problem such as some legal issues, right?

Here is a very rough estimate on the cost:

- Knaus Boxlife starts at 42300 Euro (~46500 USD) including german sales tax & a diesel ducato van (6meter - 19'7" long one)
- One way shipping from east coast to Hamburg costs for 800$ for midsize car. I don't know how much a van costs. But let's say 2000$ each way.
- I don't know how much will it convince the manufacturer to build on top of promaster, instead of ducato (which is the same car). Let's say you spend extra 10,000$ to do this.
- Let's assume the cost of a diesel ducato to the manufacturer is same as getting a gas car here in USA.
- Let's also assume that german sales tax is equal to what you would pay as a sales tax in USA


So, overall cost would be roughly:

46500 (for the conversion + van)
10000 (for convincing the company to do something non-standard)
4000 (shipping the vehicle both ways)
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Total = 60,500 usd

This is way cheaper then what you would pay to winnebago, roadtrek, etc...

Am I missing something?
 

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Master Overland Custom Vans Tampa
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Would you have them build for European 220V and convert it yourself?

I think you need to call these manufacturers on Monday to see if they would consider it. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In my case, I am fine with a 220V system. I am not going to attach to a shore power. I will have solar panels for the fridge, lights. Other than attaching a laptop (charger works on 220v), I don't see anything that requires 110v. If it does for any reason, it wouldn't be that difficult to change the system to 110V. I wouldn't want the manufacturer to do anything custom for me as these manufacturers keep their prices low by not doing any custom work.
 

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There are a lot better (and cheaper) ways to accomplish your goals. This is not one of them for many of the reason already stated above. You would be far better off and ahead of the game by doing it yourself, in the USA, with help if you need it. You would end up with a far better unit than any commercially produced one in spite of their sales pitches and pretty brochures.

Having said that, there is an outfit in Quebec that pretty much builds exactly what you seem to be looking for.

Here is the link to check it out (their prices are in $CAN and probably also include Can GST of 15% or more)
https://www.new-west.com/eng/

And, another
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38266&highlight=conversion+quebec
 

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I am glad that the OP brought this up. The european stuff is the holy grail, not joking, its fantastic and in regards to many components we have NOTHING similar here. In general the US RV stuff is junk, made for cheap RVs with square partical board walls with no regard for maximizing space and function. I suppose it is due to the fact that camper vans are still not a large segment of the market here and all of the money is going towards custom builders all using the same shitty atwood components intended for big cheap travel trailers, popups, etc.

I spent many many hours trying to figure out how I could get a bench/bed seat from accross the pond here. There simply aren't decent options here. Dont believe me, check out the Reimo variotech or even a simple RIB seats from the UK. We have NOTHING similar here. As far as I know the OPs best best is going to be to work with an importer of european camper conversion stuff. I searched long and hard, I found what I was looking for: http://reimoamericas.com/van-concept.html Paul the "importer" will get you what you want, its costly at least $5,000 for a basic RIB seat. I still might buy one. You could have any number of van conversion companies install the stuff if you can find a way to get it here at a reasonable price. Maybe making a trip to germany or the UK and buying in person and shipping back to yourself is a good option. I believe that there are retail stores that specialize in camper van stuff in Germany, im sure in the UK too.
 

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Interesting. Perhaps this is also a way to get a diesel.
Do you mean importing a diesel ? I'm pretty sure that won't work. In the US it is next to impossible to import any vehicle under 25 years of age that wasn't originally manufactured to meet US EPA and safety standards.
 

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Van Specialties outside of Portland will custom your van however you want. I am happy with the work they did for me.
 
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