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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a tough decision. Already decided it's going to be a Promaster high top. Just can't decide on the 136" or the 159". I'm going to do a "relatively" simple camper conversion and it's also going to be my daily driver at least for a year or two. As far as camping, my wife and I love to hang out at recreational lakes on the weekends, maybe at a camp site when possible or somewhere next to the lake during the day and somewhere stealth to sleep at night. Love the space of the 159 and the daily ease of use and parkability of the 136. I'm stuck.
 

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The 159 is no more difficult to drive than the 136 - don't cheat yourself by getting a 136 and regretting it later on.
 

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Get the 136, don’t listen to KOV on that stretch van!
No really it may depend on what you find.
We went 136 for a couple of reasons: Mostly to get into city centers like Boston, Key West, New Orleans, and St. Augustine all we have done in two years. We go to public events there including brew fests, baseball games, concerts, whatever. In these special cases the 136 is better. However you get 60 sq ftt instead of 72 sq ft inside. If you sleep across, have a galley, a place to sit to eat and a pottie you will use up most of the 136 real estate, our bed collapses to make this better but traveling we often leave it open like MsNomer does. If you need to sleep longitudinally or need a bath with real shower then you need the 159.
We ordered so we saved about $3000 by getting a 1500 and a 136. That pretty much paid for the diesel option we wanted. We would do a 136 again. I’d suggest this: Go out to your driveway and put down some of that blue tape. Make a rectangle 74" wide by 10 feet long that’s a 136. Then another 74” wide by 12 feet long that’s a 159. It will look much bigger. Now tape off a bed about 50” wide (ours is 54 MsNomer’s is 48?) then an 18” square for a pottie, a 22”X36” galley top, whatever else you want. It should be obvious. Remember you can sit in the seats outside that area by having swivels.
Don’t let indecision stop progress.
 

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2014 Ram Promaster 2500 159" diesel
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The view from the drivers seat is the same, the height is the same and the width is the same. The only time a 136 is better than a 159 is parallel parking.
 

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Ya, don't listen to RD he has a diesel fetish and would do anything to have one and save a buck. Me, I'm the last of the big spenders (after Winston) and nothing is too big or expensive for me.

I've driven my 159 everywhere in downtown Boston, St Augustine and even both of RD's driveways with no problems at at and as it's still a few inches under 20' you still qualify for cheaper car ferry rates when you want to take it for a sail! The best of both worlds. The only negative I can think of is you have to get a 2500 at $1000 more to get the 159 - a rip off for sure but the best money you ever spent in the long run.
 

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Don't listen to any particular nuances delivered by KOV or RD, listen to them both!
Great idea about the blue tape and a visual of the room.
We went 136 and would make that decision again....not just for parallel parking but for
many other maneuvers.

It really will boil down to what you need for comfort...what do you really need and what can you
live happily without?
 

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For me there was no way I was going to go with a 136" I wanted a 159" extended but they were much harder to find. I have had a couple crew cab 8' bed pickup trucks and honestly driving my 159" van in like driving a small caravan compared to the trucks. I have no problem fitting into small spaces and often take my into the city as I live just outside Pittsburgh PA. I have no problems parking at all. another reason for the 159" is I have to kids and added a back seat and needed sleeping for 4 so there was no way a 136 was going to work. I think the taped out van rectangles in the driveway is a fantastic idea.
 

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I like my 136 for the tight turning radius. You can get the front wheel darn near sideways at parking lot speeds! Make for a very easy city driving, parking and maneuvering experience. Sometimes I envy that two extra feet. But the 136 has been a great van for me.
 

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The 159" is only 3 inches longer than the shortest Sprinter (bumper to bumper).
In my opinion go with the 159". Much easier to add a shower if you decide in the future.
 

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I would recommend the 159. If you shop around, its not much more $$$. In my conversion, the extra length allowed for a separate, enclosed toilet/dressing area that, along with the parallel-to-the-wall couch/beds and a kitchen cabinet, I could not have fit in a 136. That was a significant feature that brought my wife around to doing more camping!

It might be helpful to look over all the floorplans in the forum thread here: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53962

Turning radius 136= 40.7' 159= 46.8' .... about 15% more...not much...I continue to be amazed by the places I have been able to do a U turn in my 159.

I have never felt that I couldn't park somewhere we wanted to go. Fits in 95% of parking spaces. If not, its always been a short walk to somewhere where it will fit. After easily parallel parking along the marketplace area in downtown Charleston, SC, I'll take my 159 anywhere!

The longer length is visually a better match for the height, too, IMHO.
 

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Do you have an HOA? or other entities (city/county) that might limit where you can park? 136" is within my HOA's standards...they haven't yet recognized it as an RV...I did have it parked in my driveway with the rear doors open as I unpacked some things from a recent trip; bed and upper cabinets are visible from the rear. My neighbors were all gawking/admiring (?) my van as they drove by...if I get a nasty-gram from the HOA I'll have a pretty good idea who complained. There is a public street nearby, but they also have restrictions...I do have a plan C, but would cost money for parking.

If you don't have any kind of parking restrictions and parallel parking is larger than a sedan I'd go with 159". You'll get used to looking for larger/wider parking spots anyway.
 

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I ordered a 159" EXT -- it took 6.5 months to arrive --- I've had it a few weeks and LOVE it!... it is easy to drive and park. This past weekend was the first trip with it to an island in Michigan's Upper Peninsula --- I averaged 19.2 mpg with four adults, kayak and a weeks worth of clothing, food and gear. It drove incredibly well, was quiet on the expressway and had a great ride -- it was much better than expected in all regards.
 

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I ordered a 159" EXT -- it took 6.5 months to arrive ---
Much more patient than me. I ordered a Transit 148" wheel base High Roof which is equivalent body length to the PM 159". It took 2 months to build as expected but then was parked at the assembly plant for 1 month. (driveshaft recall and transport strike and stuff).

At that point, thinking it could be months longer, I shopped PMs on the lot. Before pulling the trigger on a PM, called the Ford guy and my Transit was delivered. Anyway, the reason I'm lurking on a PM forum.

I vote 159" WB too. Parking for me is going to be a bigger issue. I have no side or rear windows which eliminate the setpoints I use for parallel parking. My plan is to install 4 cameras for a 360" view.
 

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This is a tough decision. Already decided it's going to be a Promaster high top. Just can't decide on the 136" or the 159". I'm going to do a "relatively" simple camper conversion and it's also going to be my daily driver at least for a year or two. As far as camping, my wife and I love to hang out at recreational lakes on the weekends, maybe at a camp site when possible or somewhere next to the lake during the day and somewhere stealth to sleep at night. Love the space of the 159 and the daily ease of use and parkability of the 136. I'm stuck.
136 if it's your daily driver. This is especially true if you're short enough (under 6') to sleep cross van.
 

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Great idea about the blue tape and a visual of the room.
We were alarmed how quickly all space disappeared as we began placing 'templates' on the floor of our new, empty 159". The 136" crowd have made it work but we don't regret having the already-too-small extra space afforded by the 159. And while we're still a bit challenged trying to park centered and perpendicular in Walmart-type parking lots, we've made a successful transition (measured by the absence of dents) from tiny VW Jetta to 20' Promaster.
 

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I think by looking at a layout that you would be happy with and what size van they needed to build that will be the best and easiest deciding factor.

I had HOA so was a little worried about both a high top and a 159". I ended up getting a 136" high top and haven't received any letters either so I think I'm in the clear after 8 months. My neighbors have seen me current holes in the roof and there was even a HOA meeting at the pool next to me while I was in the middle of cutting out the big drivers side window... Couldn't believe my luck haha. The 136 has been so simple to drive around cities and I really think the 159 would be fine as well if you aren't in dense traffic turning etc a lot. I might add a shower type sprayer on the back for an enclosed area, but we would rather use campground facilities anyhow and aren't regularly boondocking other than a Walmart occasionally.

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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.... I’d suggest this: Go out to your driveway and put down some of that blue tape. Make a rectangle 74" wide by 10 feet long that’s a 136. Then another 74” wide by 12 feet long that’s a 159. It will look much bigger. Now tape off a bed about 50” wide (ours is 54 MsNomer’s is 48?) then an 18” square for a pottie, a 22”X36” galley top, whatever else you want. It should be obvious. Remember you can sit in the seats outside that area by having swivels.
Don’t let indecision stop progress.
You could take RD's very good idea on taping out the space further and build cardboard or scrap wood models of the major parts (bed, galley, ...) and get to a fullsize 3D model. Nothing like a real 3D model for getting a feel for the space.

We did a 136 WB and have been happy with it, and would likely go the same way again. But, I'll admit to a few moments of wishing we had a bit more space.

To me the big decider would be if you want a bath with a shower -- pretty hard to do in the 136.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Good suggestions all. We're going to try the tape thing in the driveway to see if we can get our bearings on size. Think my biggest challenge would be parking at work. I get there early so I have the best spot under a big shade tree. Don't think the 159 would fit there length wise. I generally spend lunch in my Jeep everyday. Dealer says 4 months at least to order one.
 
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