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After three test drives there are a couple of things that I noticed and wonder if they are common:

1) No coasting. Do the Promasters stay in gear at all times? I've read some threads about engine braking on descents. I don't mind it in principle, but it is noticeable even on flat grades. Seemed to be present in both gas and diesel van.

2) Diesel fuel filling...Impossible! I ended up putting fuel in myself for a diesel test drive at a station down the street from the dealer. It wouldn't go in...I had to trickle it in one shut-off click at a time. Even then it overflowed several times. It was frothing up the filler tube noticeably. I finally got 4 gallons in the near empty tank but it was a mess and took a while. I tried all the usual tilts and angles that are sometimes needed with finicky filler nozzles. Is this a common problem with this model van?

3) 159 vs 136 ride quality. It seemed like the 159 had a smoother ride all around. Is this generally the case with longer wheelbase vehicles? (As I understand it to be.)

4) Front seats so-so. Didn't get a chance to try the "6-way" seat, but the basic and 4-way were OK, but not especially comfortable. They seem tipped forward. The lack of armrests is also a bummer. What seat swaps have people made? (I want something that will work on a swivel base also.)

5) Top speed 65-ish? Neither the gas nor diesel high roof seemed much interested in getting to 70 mph. I rarely have need or opportunity to go over 70, but on longer interstate trips, especially out west, 75 would be nice. I'd also be satisfied as long as it can maintain highway speed on uphill grades. Didn't get a chance to drive in the hills yet.

Overall, very impressed with the nimbleness of the van, even in the high roof 159. Felt surprisingly stable around turns even on faster curves like interstate cloverleafs. The interior space and low deck height are awesome. I thought the 136 would feel a lot more maneuverable, but it didn't.

Still on the fence between gas or diesel. Diesel fuel economy and longevity are appealing, but finding fuel is a concern to a new would-be diesel owner. The diesel tranny is a little strange feeling, but acceptable. Our first major trip may include some time in Mexico too, so the ULSD (or lack of) issue is a potential concern too.
 

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Um, as the owner of a 159 gasser I would have to say that (other than coasting) my experiences in he past two years/50k miles have been diametrically opposed to yours.

BTW, diesel is available everywhere, including Mexico. I don't have a diesel but drove a diesel Sprinter for 10 years and NEVER had the slightest difficulty locating a station that didn't carry diesel.
 

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2) Diesel fuel filling...Impossible!
Foaming. All diesel will foam slightly but if the bubbles refuse to break it will back up the filler spout and trigger the nozzle shut off.

I've seen walmart diesel foam with a waxy froth that erupts from the fuel filler neck, a clump of foam slides down the van sheet metal and falls to the pavement without denting, foam gnarly enough it refuses to break up that strongly.

All diesel pretty much starts out the same from the pipelines - then it gets different by whose or what 'additive' packages are blended in, the bio-diesel type & percentages and anti-microbials, the anti-gels and, oh yeah, the anti-foaming agents used. Then the local stations vending the product all have different pumps/pressures/nozzles so it can be a crap shoot ie: use the standard passenger vehicle pumps and it foams & shuts off, use the same stations big-rig pumps and it fills easily.

Out of 34 refuelings it's only been a problem three times, walmart, kiwk-trip and a local private label station here in the upper-midwest.
 

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o'Rhode,

I have a 159 Hi Roof Gas PM

Where to start... in order of your questions...

Context - I just got back from a 3300 mile trip from Ct to FL and back

1) Feels like a regular car to me, not a lot of coasting issues in my travels.

2) Gas filling OK. One station in 1 1/2 years seemed finicky...

3) I thought the ride might get tiring.. not bad at all.

4) Seats could be more comfortable but I was OK... no aches or pains. If you try another one, be aware that there are two elevation adjusters - front and back. I'll bet you had the back one up and the front one down - that would feel as you describe. If you want swivels, try to get one with 'em or order...otherwise, swivels + shorter base = $$$. You might want to try this instead: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51241

5) I set my top speed beeper at 75... slid up there a lot! so, I re adjusted to 80..ssshhh!

Turning radius is amazing! Made a few U turns in lass space than my Dodge Journey SUV.

Have fun looking, even more once you get a PM!

Ed
 

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I have a diesel 136 1500. 18Kmiles, two cross country trips.

1. If the downhill down shif bothers you on the diesel move the lever to M andshift up into 6th, a nonissue.
2.Never had the foaming issue, the fuel goes into the BOTTOM of the tank to avoid this, very smart of FCA.
3. Buy a 1500 as the springs are softer and it does ride better.
4. Buy the 6 ways, very good. Mine are vinyl also good for sloppy eaters (that would be me).
5. This diesel hauls like a frieght engine up to whatever speed you can dare! I've gone 80+ on western interstates and it is no problem. BTW the diesel never has to shift down. [email protected]$$ drivechain, unbelievable!! Tranny is a bit differrent and the 1-2 shft is slow. You get used to it!
AND it looks like the diesel will pay for itself in about 120K (maybe 100K), long before it is even in middle life. Perhaps faster now that diesel is EVERYWHERE and cheaper than gas and is returning 150% the mileage. 500 miles between fillups too. I get it at regular gas stations as the truck stops are nasty! DEF is too cheap to consider in the price.
 

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I just recently picked up a 159 EXT high roof diesel. I'm at 1000 miles today.

1 - if you want to coast, just go from D to N. It's a computer-controlled manual transmission and thus it isn't going to coast going down the road unless you take it out of gear.

2 - I've only filled once but had no issue.

3 - longer wheelbase always makes for a smoother ride

4 - the 6 way seat helps because you can lift the front of the seat bottom. I also don't like the single armrest and I don't like the bus-style wheel - the front of the steering wheel is too far from me. If they would have just made the telescoping feature go a little further, I'd be fine with it.

5 - I haven't had it over 80. 75 is no trouble unless there is a strong headwind, if that happens, the mpg really suffers. I'm averaging 23 mpg with combined driving, although the highway mpg at 70-75 is worse than the city mpg for me, go figure.

Overall I'm pretty happy thus far. I didn't really need the diesel and it sure is less responsive for city driving conditions. But here in MT diesel is less expensive than the cheapest regular at the moment. Of course it won't stay that way, but so it goes.

If I had to do it over, I'd get a Promaster again. To stand up straight in a Transit, I'd need to get the highest of the three options. I really like the Sprinters and the much-larger suite of options available from Mercedes, but for me they're just too expensive and my nearest dealer would be 1 1/2 hours away, whereas my Ram dealer is 5 mins. A fully optioned Sprinter (incl 4wd, rear A/C, full headliner, full wall panels) would have stickered at 63k as I had configured it: and this is still an empty cargo van.
 

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1 - The same is true of all vehicles with automatic transmissions. The automatic downshifting when going downhill is not, but it's a toss-up whether this is a help or a hindrance at any given time. If your intent is to maintain the same speed down the hill, it's a help.

2 - My previous vehicles were VW diesels. I have, on occasion, had an incident like this, because of fuel at a specific pump wanting to foam up too much. There are no rampant reports on this forum of this sort of thing, so it's not something inherent to the vehicle, it may have just been that pump or whatever that station had in their storage tank.

3 - Longer wheelbase will reduce pitching on bumps. Not really a big deal with this vehicle since you are sitting so close to the front wheels anyhow. Mostly you will feel what the front suspension is doing, less so what the rear is doing.

4 - Get the upgraded driver's seat! I've done 14 hour drives in mine with stops only for fuel (for both the van and for its occupants). No problem.

5 - These will most certainly do well over 130 km/h (80 mph) if the speed limiter is not set to shut down the party but ... I seldom go that fast because the fuel consumption starts going up fast much above 110 km/h (which is 70-ish mph).

Regarding finding diesel fuel - I've put 800,000 km between two VW diesels, and in travels all around the USA and Canada, the most I've ever had to do was to inquire at a filling station that did not have diesel fuel, where the closest one was that did (and it was at the next junction). It's not a problem. We had one or two incidents at 2 or 3 AM of not finding a filling station that was open, but this would have been a situation regardless of the powertrain because the issue was finding ANYthing that was open. On the overnight runs I got in the habit of carrying an extra jerry can of diesel fuel, since the 20 litres in the jerry can would get me through that overnight period when nothing's open.
 

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1) shift to NEUTRAL, and you will have it.
3) 159 " has bigger mass ( my grow from 5300pounds out of dealer lot to 7200pounds with ALL my modification and tools on board)
 
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