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Discussion Starter #1
The wife and I are thinking about buying a new 2015 high top 3500 diesel PM. Our plan is to outfit it as a van camper, especially for stealth and dry camping (boondocking).

Is this a good unit to buy? Seems weird buying a brand new 2015, but the price is right and we'll get the full warranty. Anyone want talk me out it? Speak now or forever hold your peace!
 

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Go for it, you won't regret it. I purchased a new 2014 gasser Feb. last year. I already have 36000 km on it, even though the interior is not finished yet.

However, be aware that the warranty runs from the production date and not the date of sale. With other words, warranty on mine expires Sept. of this year.
That's why I made some longer trips while still under warranty.
Victor
 

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However, be aware that the warranty runs from the production date and not the date of sale. With other words, warranty on mine expires Sept. of this year.
Somebody sold you a line. If that were true, dealers would never be able to clear their old inventory. I got full warranty on my 2014 built September 2013 a full year before I bought it.
 

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MSNomer is correct. That is total BS! The warranty on a new vehicle begins the day you sign the contract and the dealer signs over the title to you!
 

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It may depend on what state you're in, but I know for a fact that after a certain amount of time some unsold dealer overstock is considered used (Even if it's never been used or titled). In that instance the warranty may not be the full 3/5 year/36/100k, so I would definitely get it in writing from the dealership.

As for the 2015 diesel, I wouldn't touch one unless the price was an absolute steal! IMO the horror stories I've read on this site about many of the early diesels were more than enough to outweigh the possible benefits of better MPG and driveabilty. There's a reason that a 2015 is still on the lot when production of the 2018's is just a few weeks away.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The dealer has already stated (in writing) that we get the full warranty which is 100,000 on the diesel and powertrain. The ride may be a bit stiff (3500) but the price on this unit is a steal (<30K)! And what if it is a lemon? We hold their feet to the candle and force them to make good, even if it means a buyback or replacement.

By the way, the reason I want the diesel is not just better mileage, but the idea that in a lack of sunshine, I could use the engine (beefier alternator) to charge my batteries. It has always been a mystery to me why people have perfectly good diesel engines but then add a generator! Anyone want to tell me why I'm nuts?
 

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FCA says in your warranty:

"The Basic Limited Warranty begins on either of the following dates, whichever is earlier:
• the date you take delivery of the vehicle; or
• the date when the vehicle was first put into service — for example, as a dealer “demo” or as a FCA US company vehicle."

Sounds like if you buy it as a new vehicle you count from the day you sign the papers.

A new 2015 should be a steal anyway, and the diesel 2015’s built after 2/2015 had almost no issues. I’d buy one..... oh I did, and it has had been great.
 

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You would be surprised about the lack of sun. On cloudy, rainy, overcast and yes - even snowy days my panels regularly put out 10 - 21 volts from about 9 AM to sunset.
 

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CUT.... Yes you are nutz LOL....... You say
"By the way, the reason I want the diesel is not just better mileage, but the idea that in a lack of sunshine, I could use the engine (beefier alternator) to charge my batteries. It has always been a mystery to me why people have perfectly good diesel engines but then add a generator! Anyone want to tell me why I'm nuts?"
There are reasons why. I’ll list some but leave it to you to review threads here to learn more:
1. The engine emissions will not respond well to long idling. Risking a clogged DPF, failed EGR circuit or any number of other possibilities are way too expensive in time and trouble to sit and idle this van.
2. in many places idling is not being a good camping neighbor, and others it is not allowed. Same for generators as more and more campgrounds have No Generator sections.
3. Solar does a better job of properly maintaining your batteries.
4. That big generator will produce much less current to your coach batteries than you think due to the internal resistance of the batteries.
5. Many of the gas vans have the 220 amp alternator too, most motorhomes do as well.

Like you, I would not add a generator. I would add a manual solenoid to interconnect the battery to the alternator and put in enough solar to maintain the battery and use the alternator when driving but not sitting. If that is what you were thinking you are not nutz after all.
 

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Idling to Generate Power

By the way, the reason I want the diesel is not just better mileage, but the idea that in a lack of sunshine, I could use the engine (beefier alternator) to charge my batteries. It has always been a mystery to me why people have perfectly good diesel engines but then add a generator! Anyone want to tell me why I'm nuts?
There are several of us on this Forum who have added a second alternator precisely for that reason . . . well, to charge batteries and, additionally, to run an invertor as a source of 120VAC when off-the-grid. And we see no reason why you couldn't do this with the regular (first) alternator if it has sufficient capacity. We don't see this as a diesel vs gas issue either, as both can be idled with the same 'power generating' outcome.

But, to answer your query, there are 'arguments' against doing this. It was our son Timothy's recommendation that we not idle a diesel for prolonged intervals, that contributed to our decision to 'go gas'. He contends that diesel regeneration and DPF (filters) found in modern diesels make them poor candidates for such extended idling.

And there has been more than one report in this Forum that extended idling of gas engines has led to premature engine failure. We accepted our son's recommendation and are gambling that the gas engine can withstand the rigors of idling.
 

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Your son is very smart but, then again, you brought him up to be that way obviously!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, maybe a bit nutz, but will follow the advice about not idling for long. I reckon I formed this idea of idling diesels based on truckers running rigs for hours -- I suppose those engines are designed for that.

As far as the engine bothering other campers, I was picturing us boondocking at some secluded spot, several cloudy days and batteries getting low. So rather than idle to charge them, we'll just go for a drive!

Thanks for being gentle a newbie!
 

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As far as the engine bothering other campers, I was picturing us boondocking at some secluded spot, several cloudy days and batteries getting low. So rather than idle to charge them, we'll just go for a drive!
Don't give up so easily. You can do as we have done, do both solar and 'alternator'. If you're in the boonies and the sun isn't cooperating, fire-up the engine. If you don't rely on it for your main 'recharge', it doesn't seem likely that you'll have undue engine problems.
 

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All this assumes you would not be willing to carry even a tiny generator like MM does. If used seldom it probably is the cheapest solution, much less than the extra alternator or 830 watts of solar like Winston has, or Lithium batteries to let you pull more out of the batteries.
I’d suggest just put in 200 to 300 watts of solar and 200+ AH batteries and a manual interconnect and do just what you said, drive it for a couple of hours if needed. I have been impressed how fast my batteries are recharged by driving when I have done it. I own a generator but will not carry it in favor of other resources. I have good control of the power use so my 230 Amp-Hour FLA Batteries will get me through three days before I am down to 50% charge. A good efficient refrigerator (Norcold NR 751) no microwave, or electric hot plate makes for efficiency of the power. There is electric stuff like a hot pot you can carry and if it rains fall back on the butane.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So wish me luck! My wife and I are about to embark on a 500 mile train ride to a dealer that has a $44,500 list price 2015 159wb diesel for $29,995. If all goes well, we'll buy it and drive it home. They claim that all the parts and programming are done to make EPA happy and are ready to sell it -- as new!

If we can just make it back home, then whatever problems come up will be on our local dealer. Hope that's not too big of an 'if'!

If we really get a brand new unit for under $30K, that leaves us plenty of budget for our van camper makeover. I hope. Plenty of solar/battery budget should help avoid any idling/charging issues.

Any words of encouragement would be appreciated! Naysayers please wait until afterwards, and then if I have problems they can lay it on thick!
 

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I think you will be fine. There are lots and lots of this diesel out there and only a very few have had issues.

I’d ask them if the DEF has been in the tank for long (6 months or a year) and if so pay them to siphon it out and refill. Many 2015s showed a “service DEF system” code due to their sitting in the hot Mexican summer and the months until they were picked up.

You will love this engine/transmission combination. If you have not driven one remember to have it in D or R when you shut it off. It will insist you set the E-brake. Don’t be distressed with the long 1st to 2nd shift, it will improve and you get used to it.
With what you say I wonder what they actually did and if this is an essentially no miles van or if it was used/repurchased? If its considered new and you got it for less than $30,000 and pan to drive it a long time it will prove a great deal.

Enjoy the train ride. We have been on some great ones and on some others!
 

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Welcome! We're new here, too, and we're doing the same kind of project with the same model of van. In addition, ours needs to be handicapped accessible and house 2 people plus 3 indoor-only cats. Best wishes to you!
 

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I would not recommend a diesel. I own a 2014 3500 diesel, 128K miles now, and it has been a nightmare. I'd dump if I wasn't going to lose almost all my $35K investment. Never in my life owned a vehicle that had so many issues. I do a lot of lot of cross country driving and almost every trip has been interrupted with a warning light and trip to a dealer, and delays for me and my customers. Customers get frustrated and cancel their business with me. Only certain Dodge dealerships are qualified to work on a Promaster and even fewer have a diesel certified mechanic. When you can get in to a dealer, even if it's an emergency, prepare to wait for days before they work on it. The diesel fuel price is jacked up by the highway truck stops 25% or more, the maintenance costs are higher, the DEF systems are unreliable and expensive to repair. They do get better miles per gallon but the higher fuel costs offset that. You can only idle them for very short periods or you'll damage the DEF system. I do 100-150k miles per year and bought diesel because I was told the engine would last longer than gas but the high maintenance and repair costs, and the lost business due to its poor reliability, are killing me. I keep hoping they will find the root cause of all the repeat warning lights but I'm close to giving up.
 
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