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2017 159" 2500.
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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy.

I am a few years away from retirement and plan to boondock/snowbird in the Southwest. No wife and no kids at home so I am free to do what I like. :) The Promaster is at the top of my short list for DIY RV platform. Right now I am active on CRVL forum reading up on how vandwellers and nomads do it.

I'll be looking for a used PM at my actual retirement in the future, so it would likely be a 2016-2017-2018 model. My current thinking is a 1500 136" high roof gasser is the best fit for me. I wouldn't object to a 2500 159 if that is what's available; used (and even new) PMs seem to be a rarity in the Dallas area. Most of the high roofs seem to be Transits.

I also think the 3L diesel is fantastic engine and love the idea of the AMT, particularly in the mountains. But it seems that the diesels have more issues here on the forum with the buyers doing the beta testing on emissions and the AMT. ;) I won't be desperate for cash in my retirement but I would like to minimize the frequency of $5K repair bills.

What I like about the PM:
  • front wheel drive
  • no-frills approach
  • 3.6L and t6 are mature powertrain components. AMT or manual trans in the gasser would be perfect for me. Not a fan of auto. :-\
  • relatively straight walls
  • width!
  • roof rack mounting


Stuff that worries me:
  • parts availabilty - horror stories of parts b/o from Europe
  • service locations - can't get serviced at any FCA dealer, right? Only Ram dealers, and Promaster participants at that?

I am hoping both of those are figured out by the time I am ready to buy.

I am much less interested in the Transit and even less in the NV2500 but they are still possibilities. The main advantage the Transit has AFAIK is the ability of getting service for it at any Ford dealer. The unlovable NV could make a giant splash by offering factory 4wd on that Titan-based platform.

Thanks for reading this far. I'll mainly be lurking, researching, and sometimes asking questions.
 

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You're on the right track with the ProMaster. I've owned a Transit for a short time and now a ProMaster. I enjoy driving the ProMaster much better and you can't beat having the extra width.

Hope you find what you're looking for when the time comes.
 

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Greetings Mr. Lurker,

Well, we can’t respond to your query as we’ve never ‘camped’ using a ProMaster or any other van for that matter. We’re pure tent campers.

Oh, but, we did just buy a 159" high top gas ProMaster - - our winter conversion project. Yet, for us to argue “pro” ProMaster might be misunderstood as an attempted “buyer’s remorse” antedote. Although we have no experience to permit our ‘waxing eloquently’ on the ProMaster’s virtues, we are experiencing not the least buyer’s remorse - - to the contrary, we eagerly await the ‘fun of conversion’ and the years of camping.

Based on our multi-year love affair with our turbo diesel autos, we really wanted the diesel. And we were quite willing to ignore all the ‘negativism’ in this forum concerning diesel problems. Strange, as we closed the final page of that ‘diesel thread’, we were taken by the overwhelmingly strong, positive opinions from the diesel owners - - even several who had personally suffered some of its birthing afflictions. What finally turned us toward ‘gas’ was our decision to go ‘all electric’ which includes a large second alternator to serve as our “generator”. It is anticipated that we’ll be idling the engine for extended durations - - a scenario not well suited to modern diesel anti-pollution plumbing.

What really cemented the ProMaster was its interior ‘volume’. Based on some of our ‘back-road’ travels, we knew that many roads are ‘off-limits’ to longer vehicles - - so, we targeted 20' as the maximum overall vehicle length. The front-wheel drive, 159" WB ProMaster provides the longest useable space in a vehicle under 20'. And, as you mentioned, there’s that “width”. At 75"+ (our length), the extra few inches of the ProMaster width makes it possible to align a bed ‘transversely’. And as we’re contemplating a mostly ‘permanent’ bed set-up, transverse increases available space for other things.

Good hunting,
Winston
 

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Yeah your gonna love the promaster. I have 2 bunks set up side to side and sleep me the wife on the bottom and 2 kids on the top bunk. after finished walls I have 6'1" on the lower bed and just under 6 on the top bunk. the extra with is key if we had to sleep long ways I don't think there would be room for much else. oh and I'm 5' 11" and fit the bed perfect. Got to drive mine in the snow for the first time today bout 3" and it went like a tank with studded snows. Below is a picture of our bed setup. the top hindges up in the front and attaches to the ceiling and the bottom bed folds into a couch and gains another 14" of interior space when in couch mode. For length I say go with the 159" 2500 the more room the better and it fits in a normal parking spot no problem and I have seen 22.8 mpg highway loaded up with the family heading to the beach. I would have got the 3500 159" ext but could not find one used as you stated. Good luck in whatever you pick the best part is getting it prepped for the adventures.
 

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My memory is not as good as it used to be.
I’d say the diesel is proving reliable and at this time we have had only two transmission issues, one possible engine failure and in the past year and a half very few emission’s systems issues. The first year of the diesel had beta test like issues with emissions but since 2/2015 it has been very quiet. A very few codes related to the clutch have shown up but it may be to early to know if it is in fact a real issue or a spurious programing issue. Only one person has had actual symptoms for that code. The diesel seems to be very trouble free really.
The gassers have had several transmission failures some several times in the same van, those related to the flex plate probably. There have been several gas engine failures for valves, heads, water leaks, and catastrophic internal failures. Since the gasser is represented by many more vans here I suspect it is equally reliable so that may not be significant. There is some evidence that long periods of idling the gas engine has led to engine failures. Don’t plan to use either as an overnight idling heater or power source. The gasser has no emission related issues as gas engines have a longer history of emissions controls and more time has passed to torture them and find where they fail.
If you buy a gasser expect 17mpg plus or minus, the diesel will get 25 plus probably. Other service costs are relatively equal with oil changes and service on the diesel being higher but required less often.
I hope this is accurate and helpful. There are plenty of posters here who will point out my errors and omissions.
 

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It's a tough job but someone has to keep you in line - at least you're not a politician or a TV preacher - or are you? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for your thoughts on this matter.

What finally turned us toward ‘gas’ was our decision to go ‘all electric’ which includes a large second alternator to serve as our “generator”. It is anticipated that we’ll be idling the engine for extended durations - - a scenario not well suited to modern diesel anti-pollution plumbing.
Interesting. Before all the emissions stuff I understand that diesels were better suited to idling. Maybe that's why they put the aux fuel fitting on the tank, to keep folks from idling.

What really cemented the ProMaster was its interior ‘volume’. Based on some of our ‘back-road’ travels, we knew that many roads are ‘off-limits’ to longer vehicles - - so, we targeted 20' as the maximum overall vehicle length. The front-wheel drive, 159" WB ProMaster provides the longest useable space in a vehicle under 20'. And, as you mentioned, there’s that “width”. At 75"+ (our length), the extra few inches of the ProMaster width makes it possible to align a bed ‘transversely’. And as we’re contemplating a mostly ‘permanent’ bed set-up, transverse increases available space for other things.
I agree on both points. And not only is it a compact package for the volume, the GVWR stays under the magic 10,000lb mark for insurance and DOT purposes.

I'm going transverse on the bed, too. I am 6' so I will probably end up somewhat diagonal on a wider platform, but the dog will like that better anyhow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have 2 bunks set up side to side and sleep me the wife on the bottom and 2 kids on the top bunk. after finished walls I have 6'1" on the lower bed and just under 6 on the top bunk.
That's really clever and I especially appreciate the pic.
 

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It's a tough job but someone has to keep you in line - at least you're not a politician or a TV preacher - or are you? ;)
LOL, I am far from being either; I'm an introvert who loves quiet places and getting away from people. A dog, a kindle, and a good cup of coffee and I am pretty happy.
 

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Hey I resemble that remark! NOT! KOV takes his job as “Super Moderator” seriously, he’s no simple or plain Moderator. I too am happy to get away read, enjoy nature away from everything, walks, no dog but female life partner instead. No comment on that one! I also am far from either too! Oh and coffee black and strong. This van makes all that easy and the driving experience is Zen. You are right 6’ will make the bed across tight but you can easily get 74” as we did and that should be OK. Our bed slides closed to make a 32” single which I have used on solo trips. It is very nice and the inside of our 136 HT feels huge with it compacted. No need for a longer van for one person. Despite trying to be objective and fair above I believe the diesel is a much better option, well worth the cost difference for its driving experience. Mine has had zero problems but has showed the clutch code once with no symptoms and no follow up needed.
 

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"""It is anticipated that we’ll be idling the engine for extended durations - - a scenario not well suited to modern diesel anti-pollution plumbing."""

Who was it? Someone on here traced their gas engine failures to exteded idling to sleep and stay warm.
I also believe that he had based his finding after comparing with another user or 2 who also had failures. And he deduced all due to excessive idling of the gassers motor. I can't remember the thread, sorry, but it was a good read. Any-1 remember what thread that was.
 

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Do remember he had 100K+ miles in less than 2 years and the overnite idling was through 2 midwestern winters as an expediter so not typical use. I've idled for AC a few times with no ill effects but only 20K so far. Objectively, I have not read anything implicating" repairs" as a limiting factor for deciding fuel type.
 

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2017 159" 2500.
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Discussion Starter #15
Update: a used 2017 159" gasser followed me home today. :)

There is a small shop in Dallas that buys nearly-new, low mileage vehicles at auction and sells them at a good price. Excellent staff with Old World manners and graciousness. I like them a great deal and I really (truly) despise car salesmen. These were more like concierges through the process; zero pressure.

They had more PMs on their lot than any Ram dealership I've seen so far. And they knew more about the PM than the Ram dealers who usually denied the existance of such a van. At Ram dealers I had to take salescritters to the window, point at the PM on their lot and say "THERE, that big white thing. That is a Promaster van. You sell them." Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeah.

Anyhow, this particular PM was owned by Enterprise rentals in SC for about 6 months, racked up 12k miles and sold at auction. Clear carfax/autocheck, independent mechanic said "no issues", runs and drives perfectly. Looks great underneath and in the engine bay. I might be in lurve.

Guess I'll have to change my sig!
 

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Congrats on your score !!! Rental companies have been running up the miles on their vehicles the last few years. To get one just broke in instead of just wore out is great !
Welcome aboard !!!
 

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SWEET! Change your sig and post some pics! :)
Also, if that shop near Dallas has a website, would you mind posting it!

Thanks!
CONGRATS!
 

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Update: a used 2017 159" gasser followed me home today. :)

There is a small shop in Dallas that buys nearly-new, low mileage vehicles at auction and sells them at a good price. Excellent staff with Old World manners and graciousness. I like them a great deal and I really (truly) despise car salesmen. These were more like concierges through the process; zero pressure.

They had more PMs on their lot than any Ram dealership I've seen so far. And they knew more about the PM than the Ram dealers who usually denied the existance of such a van. At Ram dealers I had to take salescritters to the window, point at the PM on their lot and say "THERE, that big white thing. That is a Promaster van. You sell them." Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeah.

Anyhow, this particular PM was owned by Enterprise rentals in SC for about 6 months, racked up 12k miles and sold at auction. Clear carfax/autocheck, independent mechanic said "no issues", runs and drives perfectly. Looks great underneath and in the engine bay. I might be in lurve.

Guess I'll have to change my sig!
What the name of the shop? I'm looking for a 136 lowroof, but would like a color other than white....

Sent from my VS990 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sorry for the late reply; been working a lot of hours.

They had two or three low roofs when I was there, but I think they were all white.
They have two locations in the North Dallas area: Richardson and Garland area.. I think Richardson is the main one.

Central Autohaus
 
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