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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone!

My name is Steve, and if you can't tell by the title, I am an aspiring owner of a shiny new Promaster.

The whole intention for me is to build out an adventure mobile/stealth camper that I can live in full time.

I'm still stuck though, and have a lot of research to do. I know that I prefer the diesel. I would prefer to get away with the 136" WB for parking/ease of use reasons, though the 159" would obviously offer substantially more room. And I'm also in a bind between the high roof and low roof. I like the low roof for stealth reasons (and honestly I think it looks a little bit cooler... So vain, I know). But if I'm going to live in something full time it'd be nice to wake up in the morning and actually stand-up without needing to go outside first thing, plus for cooking and what not I imagine it'd be considerably more convenient.

Anyway, here's my intro and my plan.

Please tell me what y'all think! Any insight is greatly appreciated!

Happy Vanning!


-Steve
 

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2014 136” HR
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Partly depends on how big you are.

Height: I would not want to live in something I couldn't stand up in.

Length: I could easily live in the 136". This diagram may give you some ideas. I have the major framework in place but no drawers or sink cabinet yet. It feels very spacious and has quite a lot of storage. For one person, the bed could be narrower and that extra space used for even more storage.

 

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Master Overland Custom Vans Tampa
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Definitely get the high roof if you are going to be living in it. Also, the 159" is the same length as any half ton truck so no issues parking ever. I parallel park mine like a champ every time.
 

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I just began a build inside a 136 diesel HT. See the plans at:
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37177
I will be posting insulating pictures today. Get a van you can stand in have a place to recling, sit and read, and to make and eat food. Live can be good in your van down by the river!
Best.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow! Thanks for the feedback!!

While I'm not that big, I'm about 5'10, which would make the low roof not too much of a slouch, I definitely wouldn't be standing up which is a bummer. I just really hate limited my options for things like parking garages and such, especially for a vehicle that is already pretty tall. Plus the low seems a little bit more inconspicuous.

As for the wheelbase, I'm also kind of stuck only because I can't get a 159" w/ the low roof...

Anyway, this is what I've been thinking so far. Almost a "ProMasterized" vanagon floorplan. I've been messing around with so many different configurations that I'm **** near blue in the face. My priorities are LOTS of storage (I have a bicycle that I'd like to have with me, and in the future other various boards (surf, snow, etc.) that I'd like to keep inside.

Any thoughts?
 

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The 159 parks in tight spots shockingly easy. After having driven trucks for years, my 159 feels like I'm parking a Honda. Drive one you'll see what I'm talking about.

As for the height, low hanging tree branches are my biggest hassle. I'm always dodging branches to avoid scratching paint.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi Steve,
I think that the high roof has a stealth advantage in one small way, and that is that stuff mounted on the roof is less visible just because its out of the line of site when you are standing on the ground near the van.

We have the 136 WB and found that for two people we were not able to get a shower in -- this is OK for how we use it, but on a permanent living basis you might want to lay the whole thing out and make sure you can get everything you want in. Basically, the 136 wb has 10 ft to work with behind the driver/passenger seats. I think it would be a good idea to just tape it off on your floor full size, and then layout what you want to put in -- the closer you can get to a real rough mockup of the inside using cardboard etc. the better.
This is ours: http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Vehicles/PMRV/PMRV.htm There are some diagrams of a couple of floor layouts we thought about.

I think that living in it full time, I'd really want the full stand up height.

Gary
 

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I am about to frame out my 136 from my plans posted earlier. I now believe I can get a 24"X24" shower pan behind the dinette and in front of the bed. That seems to be the smallest one offered commonly and it's not much but a shower would go in. BTW I could go 24"X30" with the 30 out from the wall. I didn't see a pan that size. We are going for a porta-pottie and outside shower (between the rear doors w/curtain for the wife) as we tend to remote camp and won't full time live in the van. All this is due to the dinette taking less room than I expected. I'll be a couple of weeks until I know for sure as I am waiting on swivels and it depends on them.
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37177
 

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Depending on what you use for ceiling insulation, you may need the height of the high roof. We've owned two Class B vans and the more insulation the better...
 

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Well, i haul in it, so i cant speak to the build out. But i own both a 159 extended and a 136 stubby. Handling is essentially the same in both - not a problem ever. Even the extended is like driving a car. Dont worry about it.

Roof: you dont get a choice in the 159 anyway, but you'd have to be crazy not to get the high roof. Aside from standing up, you are going to put your shelves and storage up high if youre smart. All that crap would have to live on the floor otherwise. Roof = no brainer.

Personally, even the 159 ext is a little small to really live in. But the shorty definitly is. If you can afford it, find a 159 non-extended 2500. Best bang for the buck.
 

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Aspiring owners: Weight Restrictions on highways & roads...

The Promaster 2500 to 3500 class jumps from 8900 to 9350 GVWR can* be a big one depending on the area you live & work.

Most know there is a jeopardy attached going above 10,000 pounds where interstate commerce or intrastate commerce is concerned which places the vehicle under Federal DOT regulations, the big Sprinters and such would worry but they have 9900 GVWR offerings to cover that...

BUT places like the City I live in there is a stretch of I-35E the signage says "ALL" vehicles over 9,000lb GVWR forbidden and has a State Police presence that depending on circumstances could amp up the hassle factor of daily living. This situation could apply to rural bridges or speed limits too, etc. etc..

Also, I happen to live on a street labeled Parkway...

". ...streets and avenues are designated as parkways and boulevards, upon which no person shall drive, propel or draw, or cause to be driven, propelled or drawn, any truck which is licensed by the State of Minnesota for a gross weight in excess of nine thousand (9,000) pounds* except at intersecting street crossings, except for one (1) block between any two (2) consecutive intersecting streets or avenues, and except where it is otherwise impossible to reach a destination for the purpose of making a delivery to or returning from any lot or premises, when necessary to do so, upon or along any parkway in the City of Saint Paul"

And there is unique language to define commercial vehicles that might catch private vehicles...

". ..shall include every truck.. . ..designed primarily for carrying commodities other than people, whether laden or unladen."

Talk about hassle-factor. Yes truly huge RV's and such rarely get driven for local errands, and someone might get away with tooling their 3500 around for years until it attracts attention - push a yellow traffic signal light, crawl through a stop sign, be 5mph over the speed limit, have a fender-bender might all be the beginnings of a parade of citations once you've been noticed.

Anyhow - I am very happy to have the door jamb plate calling out 8900 GVWR and will be happier when I get the crew bench seat installed.
 

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Interesting. The federal guidelines put the break at 10,000 lbs. in Ohio, ive often plated my vans/buses as motor homes, for which plates cost about half of what a commercial truck plate costs, and which gets me around any commercial traffic restriction. My pms now have commercial plates, but i still drive anywhere i like and have yet to be hassled. In fact, a white van is **** near invisible to the fuzz.

Its been discussed ad naseum on this board, but as best we can tell there is zero difference between a 2500 and a 3500 except for the rear sway bar. The part numbers on the rear springs are the same. That said, my 159 extended 3500 weighs 5440. If you look at the ram commercial charts, it becomes clear that they all carry the same weight, and the actual differences are based on the body weights. In other words, the bigger vans actially carry less because their bodies weigh more. The diesel carries less because its engine weighs more.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
First of all to everyone, thank you so much for the wealth of knowledge and experience you're all so willing to share! I'm honored to have such activity on my thread, and can't wait to show you all how my build goes!

@Dwight - That's a really good point about any low hanging tree branches and that kind of stuff. I think that was my main concern along with the parking garage thing. I would hate to be out on a back road or something somewhere and all of the sudden be stopped dead in my tracks because I'm too tall.

@GaryBIS - Yes! I've seen your site before and believe me I've studied it and used it plenty! It's a great and invaluable resource of information and ideas. Honored to be chattin' with you! That's a good point that I hadn't really thought of. Perhaps with some Renogy panels or some other thin panels I could keep the roof entirelly stealthy from sidewalk/pavement view, with the exception of the roof fan.
I'll definitely need to do the mock up too. So far I've built God only knows how many versions with the spec'd interior cargo dimensions in SketchUp, but something tangible would surely be more helpful. As for the shower situation, I don't know that I'm really wanting to dedicate such an expanse of interior volume to the shower. There are a few products I've seen that could alleviate bathing needs out camping and such, and when in the general area where I live there are plenty of gyms and such to take care of that. Plus I can use the kitchen sink for face washing, brushing teeth, etc. Anyway, thanks again for the reply!!

@RDinNHandAZ - Oh awesome! That dinette size worked out pretty well then! I'm anxious to keep up with your build and see how it comes along. Like I said above, I don't know that I want to devote that much space to a shower, but who knows. That, for me at least, necessitates another whole layer of complexity having an interior shower. My biggest issue is having enough room for all of my gear that I want to have with me. I'm looking to have a bicycle and longboard surfboard with me, plus all of my backpacking gear. I'm really hoping I can cram all of that in there without needing a storage unit or anything like that. Hopefully that's not just a pipe dream.

@otbiker57 - That's a really good point. That's something I'm kind of struggling with; anticipating that amount of interior volume removed merely due to insulation. I do think at this point the high roof is the more intelligent and reasonable option for what I'm trying to accomplish.

@Kip-on-truckin - Oh wow. I've only driven the 136 HR so far, and I liked it a lot. I was surprised at how nimble it was, it truly did feel like a car. Having said that, that was already the largest vehicle I've drived (aside from the occasional U-Haul...). If that's the case though, that the 159 handles and feels essentially the same, I think I'll go with that. I am just paranoid that I won't find parking spots for it, or it'll be too unwildy on dirt roads or something. Not sure how rational that concern is, but it has been a concern nonetheless. That's also a really good point in terms of storing everything. From what I gather, storage and organization is key, both to success and sanity of vehicular living. I guess in my van dwelling trolling, lol, I've seen so many people in Westfalias and the like and those things are freaking tiny so in my mind the small Promaster was already huge comparitively. You're right though, the extra space I'm sure means the difference between permanent roughing-it, and at least some degree of comfort. 2500 it is! And for you're last statement, "In fact, a white van is **** near invisible to the fuzz.", I surely hope so!!

@Zoomyn - That is a whole dimension I didn't even think of! : \ Excellent point. Yeah, I really really want to avoid the hassle and overhead of dealing with a huge vehicle like a normal RV, or at least start to approach the same territory in terms of legal requirements. Thanks for that!

So I've made what I feel to be a more functional layout in SketchUp that I will try and upload later today or tomorrow for anyone that is interested. I know, I'm a total van nerd, lol.

Huge thanks again to all of those who have even made it this far, and for all that have contributed!! I'll be watching and taking ideas as your builds come together!

Happy vanning!
 
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