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2018 159 High Roof gas, BC, Canada
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Discussion Starter #1
My PM has been factory ordered just the other day. Possibly too late to make any changes.

BUT, if I could make a change, it might be to add a driver's-side sliding door.

Does anyone who's converted their PM to a campervan have any comment on whether or not it is useful?

My daily driver is a Dodge Caravan and it has sliding doors on both sides. I find the driver's side door actually very useful. I traveled in that van for weeks at a time last year. Often carrying a backpack with camera gear. Why it was useful is because when I get back to the van, I would take off my backpack, open the driver's-side slider and quickly put the backpack in, close the door and then immediately get into the driver's seat via the driver's door. Once tucked in behind the driver's seat and with the tinted windows, the backpack was invisible to anyone outside. This allowed me to leave the backpack where it was and exit the van at my next stop (say a gas station or restaurant) without much worry.

If I have just the passenger-side slider, it wouldn't be so convenient. If I entered the driver's door, I'd be tempted to slip off the backpack and leave it in the cab due to laziness and accidentally leave it in plain sight. I guess I could enter the van from the passenger side slider, slip off my backpack and then walk into the cab. That was what I was originally thinking.

Also, I was thinking my kitchen and counter would be behind the driver's seat anyways like in a Westfalia and a driver's slider wouldn't really ever be used. I'm now thinking of having a dinette/table arrangement like RD's van, behind the driver's seat and so a driver's door might actually be useful again.

All this could be moot because the driver's slider could be super expensive (I never even asked the price) or it could be too late to add now. Just thought I'd ask.
 
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It would not be that important to me and creates more fitting and fussing. If I found a van I wanted with one I would take it and find a way to have the PP on that side to allow the cassette to be pulled out from outside. I might put access to the batteries and my electrical and the Espar under the dinette floor over there too. Wow I want one now with a big window to look out as I have coffee with the Ms. before breakfast as the sun rises over the saguaro's
 

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Driver-side sliders are really handy, the reason you gave is just one example. You'll get a great cross-breeze when camping!

They are relatively inexpensive when ordering ($595 without glass, $695 with), but the only way to add one later would be to get a new van!

The only argument I can think of against it is that if you KNOW it will be in conflict with your conversion layout, e.g., if you want to drill holes through the fixed wall behind the driver.

If you can still change your order, go for it!
 

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I agree with Chris. Even if you didn't use it for getting in and out of the van, it would be a great way to get the kitchen cabinet from behind to work on things, access water tanks, batteries, etc. Heck, you could have a cabinet with a door accessible from the inside and outside, and that would be a great place to stuff your backpack.

With the right design you could set it up so that the cabinet slides outside to allow for outdoor cooking under an awning in great weather. You don't "have" to use a sliding door, but you "can't" open a wall.

As far as cabinets, attachment points, etc you could install a horizontal rail across the opening going to each side for mounting points.
 

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AND someday, when someone with one decides to, it could become a door for a slide-out to make their camper spacious. I wonder that no Euro Camper company haven’t done this yet, slide-outs being so popular with the camper folks.
 

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AND someday, when someone with one decides to, it could become a door for a slide-out to make their camper spacious. I wonder that no Euro Camper company haven’t done this yet, slide-outs being so popular with the camper folks.
The Winnebago Era 70m has a slide in that position. There may be others also.
 

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Last summer at a campground in Oregon, I met a German gentleman travelling with spouse in a black Sprinter conversion. Don't recall the brand, it was not DIY. He claimed to have designed it and offered his design to the well known builder I can't recall the name.

It had an electric slide out ! The Sprinter was manufactured with a driver side slide. There was a couch in it that became a forward bed.
Very clever and I admire the engineering that went into that. Not my cup of tea.

There is no shortage of RVs with sliders, even very small, economy bare bones trailers. A van like ours represents something different, to see manufacturers follow the crowd is in my opinion a mistake. I see the benefits of dual doors as described in earlier posts but if you need a pop out, get a chassis with a camper box attached.

The original Fiat 500 from the 1960s was unique and made a statement, a true classic automotive icon. New recently imported version barely passed as a Fiat 500 but after all this is the American market. Then it started to balloon in size and shape loosing what a Fiat 500 meant. Same can be said with the mini Cooper.
 

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My PM has been factory ordered just the other day. Possibly too late to make any changes.

BUT, if I could make a change, it might be to add a driver's-side sliding door.

Does anyone who's converted their PM to a campervan have any comment on whether or not it is useful?

My daily driver is a Dodge Caravan and it has sliding doors on both sides. I find the driver's side door actually very useful. I traveled in that van for weeks at a time last year. Often carrying a backpack with camera gear. Why it was useful is because when I get back to the van, I would take off my backpack, open the driver's-side slider and quickly put the backpack in, close the door and then immediately get into the driver's seat via the driver's door. Once tucked in behind the driver's seat and with the tinted windows, the backpack was invisible to anyone outside. This allowed me to leave the backpack where it was and exit the van at my next stop (say a gas station or restaurant) without much worry.

If I have just the passenger-side slider, it wouldn't be so convenient. If I entered the driver's door, I'd be tempted to slip off the backpack and leave it in the cab due to laziness and accidentally leave it in plain sight. I guess I could enter the van from the passenger side slider, slip off my backpack and then walk into the cab. That was what I was originally thinking.

Also, I was thinking my kitchen and counter would be behind the driver's seat anyways like in a Westfalia and a driver's slider wouldn't really ever be used. I'm now thinking of having a dinette/table arrangement like RD's van, behind the driver's seat and so a driver's door might actually be useful again.

All this could be moot because the driver's slider could be super expensive (I never even asked the price) or it could be too late to add now. Just thought I'd ask.
I have the city.....it has 2 sliding doors...one on each side.....I use the one behind the driver 70% of the time....the rear doors the other....the passenger side I use as wall.....I am still fiddling around with things but should be clearer by the end of summer.....the moad build I toured had door on passenger side.....behind driver was shower/toilet then refrigerator.....the stove was on door side at the back of the door opening.....

Sent from my LG-H871 using Tapatalk
 

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I love my dual slider 159" The Driver side is blocked about 80% with the kitchen but I have a fold up table that works for cooking outside on the backside of the kitchen cabinets. It's really nice to be able to open the leeward side door on windy days in the desert too.
 

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AND someday, when someone with one decides to, it could become a door for a slide-out to make their camper spacious...
Now why did you go and mention that idea? Now I MUST have a driver's side door! I wanted a window anyway, and aftermarket cost almost as much as a door with a window.
My biggest concern was that the extra slider might add rattles and air leaks. The sliding mechanism is no concern if it's just a panel that I mount and operate by other means. I could even split the door horizontally so top and bottom operate independently. So many possibilities.
 

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2018 159 High Roof gas, BC, Canada
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, everyone for the cogent replies. You've had me thinking all day today, swinging wildly between the 2 choices (no sliding door and trying to get it added to my order).

For the moment, I've decided to stick with original configuration of just the passenger-side slider. Reasons are:

1) from one of the responders, it could cost nearly $1000 CAD ($700 USD) and so it wouldn't be cheap. Though as one person said, if it turns out that I really would have preferred to have it, now's the time to get it as in order to get it later, I'd have to get another van.

2) From a practicality point of view, entering and exiting from the passenger slider is not a bad thing. Thinking back to last year's trips with the minivan. I tracked in SO MUCH dirt into the vehicle when entering. With the PM, there's enough area near the door to create a small area that I'll deem "the mud room", which will simply be an area by the door with a tub and a doormat such that when I get in with my dirty shoes, they immediately go in the tub and I change into my "indoor" shoes--a pair of Crocs(!) I would then move about the van in the Crocs and even climb into the cab and drive in them (I actually prefer driving with Crocs). With this in mind, and if I make it my "routine" to enter the van from the passenger slider, I can then just drop off my backpack and other gear inside and with the windows tinted, nobody will know what I've brought in once I've left my parking area.

As for the downsides:

1) yes, I will miss the cross-flow that can happen with both sliders open.
2) I could have potentially used the driver's side slider to access things behind some cabinets
3) I would miss being able to exit directly from the dinette area (but again the dirty shoes issue when coming back in should I come back in that door)

From a frugality point of view, I could put the nearly $1000 into better battery technology (I'm leaning towards a single LiFePO4 battery instead of 2 deep cycle 6-volt golf cart batteries). But that's a topic for another thread. :)

Thanks again for the discussion everyone!
 

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Or you could save the $1000 and travel more! Doing is better than having!
 
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Now why did you go and mention that idea? Now I MUST have a driver's side door! I wanted a window anyway, and aftermarket cost almost as much as a door with a window.
It might also facilitate a slightly more elegant version of this hack to add a slide-out air conditioner.

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quick Update: I changed my order and added the driver's side sliding door!

Longer version:

I called my sales rep and he found that changes to my order could still be made. ...because the VIN had not been assigned, which meant that changes were still possible (yay!). Of course, the reason for this is that it wasn't yet on the production line (boooo!) He gave me a decent price and after a few minutes thinking, I said yes.

In the end, the price of the van didn't change much because, at the same time, I deleted the passenger sliding door window and the "Interior Convenience Package". The reasons were:

1) deleting passenger slider glass: The factory window looks great but it's one single piece of glass. I've been reading here and, whether it's the CR Laurence aftermarket window or some others, they can be had with small windows that can open (either swinging up-and-out or sliding). I plan to put these onto both sliders and thus have windows (albeit small) that can be opened for ventilation and/or to create a cross-breeze.

2) Interior Convenience package. This was $200 and consists of an under-driver's-seat storage bin, a clipboard thing on top of the dash and, importantly, the storage shelf above the cab. I didn't really need the under seat bin nor the clipboard thing. I would miss the shelf but I was thinking it could be a blessing in disguise as I could then create a shelf as big or as small as I want. I'm going ask about this in another thread.

Note: I realize that adding 2 t-windows and a shelf will drive the costs up again. But I'm happy that production of the van hadn't started and that I was able to add the driver's side sliding door.
 
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2) Interior Convenience package. <snip> and, importantly, the storage shelf above the cab.
I test drove two Promasters with this option, and one without. I'm 6'2" and the shelf was in my way. I leaned forward to feel the defrost air outlet and hit my head on the shelf. The one I drove without the shelf felt like it had better forward visibility, especially my view of stop lights.

Francois
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I test drove two Promasters with this option, and one without. I'm 6'2" and the shelf was in my way. I leaned forward to feel the defrost air outlet and hit my head on the shelf. The one I drove without the shelf felt like it had better forward visibility, especially my view of stop lights.

Francois
I'm only 5-10 and the shelf was "noticeable" in my line of sight but not a deal breaker. A former car of mine was a newer MINI Cooper and geez, in that thing, if I was the 1st car at a stop light, the roof was so low and the seating position so far back that I had to bend down to see when the traffic signal would turn green... Now THAT was annoying. Some MINI drivers stuck some kind of prism onto the windshield that let you see traffic lights without the bending.

I hate to say this, but I've emailed my sales rep to put the Interior Convenience Group back on the order... (I hope he doesn't hate me.) From reading this forum just now, this Interior Convenience Group also adds a lock to the glove box that I may find handy.
 

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Actually the under seat bin is very handy and we would have had to build an overhead storage which would be a kluge at best. The overhead storage does not hold as much as it could due to it’d design. We love it and have our binoculars, hats, sunglasses, etc. up there. Oh my glovebox locks, I never noticed! The document holder is a plastic tab on the left side of the windshield that doesn’t touch the windshield on mine so I had to pad it to get it to hold the campground permit.We are very glas to have these options.
Is it true that if you change your order it goes to the back of the line? Just Kidding!
 

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TV,

I think you made a lot of good choices... the interior convenience group makes sense. We use ours for lotsa stuff and I added switched 12V and (2) usb charging ports up there so I can keep our cell phones on charge, reachable, and out of sun and sight.



Easy to dis-assemble and re-assemble.

I would suggest you add the passenger slider window as a first priority....de bigger, de better.... essential for seeing what's going on on the right side of the van while driving, at turns, etc.

My 2014 didn't come with the under seat bin! Waaaaaaaa :crying:
 
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