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Discussion Starter #1
I currently own a 2005 Sprinter 118 high roof with dual sliding doors. It was originally a cargo, but I've added full windows including factory sliders on both side doors.

At some point I might consider replacing the Sprinter with a ProMaster 136 chassis cab cutaway so I can mount a removable flatbed camper on a flatbed base. The incentive is to have the dual functionality of a flat bed truck that I can easily convert into a small RV.

Does anyone have experience with the standard chassis cab or chassis cab cutaway models? In particular, I would like to know the distance from the top of the frame rails to the ground. The vans list a 21-inch load height, but I can't find similar info for the chassis cab models.


 

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There is a slight variation in that PDF - the chassis rail height is not specified, and by subtracting the only available dimensions H101 (84.8") - CG_TRH4 (60.4") gives a result of 24.4.

However, I wouldn't trust a simple marketing datasheet very much - I have been burned before with things like that.
My van body 1500 is a few inches higher off the ground than the brochures say (unloaded.)
 

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There is a slight variation in that PDF - the chassis rail height is not specified, and by subtracting the only available dimensions H101 (84.8") - CG_TRH4 (60.4") gives a result of 24.4.

However, I wouldn't trust a simple marketing datasheet very much - I have been burned before with things like that.
My van body 1500 is a few inches higher off the ground than the brochures say (unloaded.)
I saw that too. The 24.4 "may" be at the very back of the cab. It's hard to tell if the lines are meant to be parallel to frame rails or parallel to ground. An unloaded chassis has rails higher at back, which may account for difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the responses. I should probably just try to find a chassis cab at a dealer and bring a tape measure.

The PM chassis cab frame rails should be significantly lower than those of the Sprinter chassis cab or something like an Isuzu NPR.
 

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If you are planning on mounting a typical truck camper on the flat bed the cab looks too high, the overhanging bunk area of the truck camper will not clear the cab. If you blocked it up in the bed the whole outfit may be too high.
Alaskan Campers make a camper with no overhanging bunk area in the front. It is a hard side pop up.
This is always a problem when trying to mount a truck camper on a flatbed without the normal pick up type cab...
 

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The height of the frame rails off the ground should be of only secondary interest to someone building something on a bare chassis ... because it's going to vary depending on how much load is present (because of suspension movement). It's really only important for figuring out steps, if you are building something that people will step into, and making sure the heights of bumpers and lights etc are within a legal range, and making sure the height of door handles etc make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, frame rail height will vary with suspension movement, but it's a useful number when comparing different vehicles for a particular application. For example, ProMaster vs. Sprinter vs. Transit vs. NPR, etc.

Also, I collect vintage motorbikes that on occasion have to be trucked to different places, so deck height is an important consideration for loading purposes. And as noted in my original post, the idea here is to have a flatbed chassis cab setup that can accommodate a camper - - - so step in height is a consideration as well.

One of the big appeals of the PM is the low deck height. It's fairly easy to load motorbikes into my Sprinter, but I don't want to buy a vehicle that will make that more difficult.

I've really enjoyed the enclosed/secure space offered by my Sprinter van, but sometimes I really wish I had a truck for hauling dirty stuff in the bed. A chassis cab might be a good compromise.
 

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.....cut......

At some point I might consider replacing the Sprinter with a ProMaster 136 chassis cab cutaway so I can mount a removable flatbed camper on a flatbed base. The incentive is to have the dual functionality of a flat bed truck that I can easily convert into a small RV.

....cut.....
Sounds like you are thinking about a smaller version of this. It's very flexible as can be seen here. Not only can you tow a boat or other trailer but the RV can also be dropped off at campsite in order to drive van around.

By the way, for a true flatbed platform to maximize the RV layout like in this picture, you need tire height plus wheel travel plus deck thickness (which can be 1/8 inch over tires). I'd guess about 32 to 34 inches to top of deck should work.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like you are thinking about a smaller version of this.
Yep. I'm thinking of something similar with a smaller form factor (1-2 people + a medium size dog). And maybe a pop top to keep the height down.

I like the crew cab setup like the one shown in that pic, but you lose a lot of camper space on a shorter wheelbase platform. With a cutaway cab chassis, there would be less of a need for the extra crew cab space.

This isn't a project I'm digging into right away, but I'm glad to see a wider variety of vehicles like the ProMaster, Transit, etc. available. I'm particularly interested in how the diesel varieties will sell.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
For those interested in do-it-yourself camper conversions, the Expedition Portal can be a really great place to surf around. A lot of the rigs there are much more extreme than I need (e.g., relative to off-roading, long term off-the-grid habitability, etc.), but you can find lots of innovative ideas.

It would be interesting to start with something like a Reading (aluminum) enclosed service body, deleting some of the external cabinets to maximize interior room and adding a pop-top camper. And maybe a roll-up rear door like as found on some Euro work vans like the Mercedes 407D.

The enclosed service body would likely be more expensive than buying a van. But based on my experience with my Sprinter, the service body is probably more amenable to modification/customization.


 

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Hey cattledogkeeper! Good luck with your project! I'm looking to set up a Promaster to haul my 4 cattle dogs to agility and obedience competitions!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey cattledogkeeper! Good luck with your project! I'm looking to set up a Promaster to haul my 4 cattle dogs to agility and obedience competitions!
Good on yah! My cattledog loves road trips. She's almost 13 and has had a rough couple of months with liver surgery to remove a large (benign) mass and then knee surgery to fix a ruptured cruciate ligament. She's recovering really well and should be back to her old self within a few weeks.
 
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