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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

I'm hoping to purchase a ProMaster 2500 159 sometime in the next 3 months to convert into a camper.

My girlfriend and I have already converted a 1988 Chevy P30 stepvan (10'x6' cargo area) into a camper that we're quite proud of. We've been living in it in NYC for about a year now being #vanlife hipsters. We went with the cheap ol' workhorse to make sure that we liked the lifestyle before committing too much, and are pleased to say that despite the small size we're in love with the lifestyle and we even still get along in 60 sqft.

However, we're discovering that the age and fuel economy of the vehicle are holding us back from doing anything but schlepping around the city, and we really want to out exploring the NE on the weekends. After exhaustive research and comparing we think the ProMaster 159 HT wins over the Sprinter 144" and comparable Transits in price, simplicity, and cubic feet per overall length.

I'm a freelance mechanical design engineer so I'm slowly beginning to model out, plan, and estimate the cost of the build in Autodesk Inventor. I've already found this forum to be incredibly rich with information and inspiring people and builds, and thought it was time to make this relationship real.

I look forward to getting to know everybody and I'll do my best to give back to the forum.

Here's our instagram page of our current van: (we didn't post as much to this I wish I we did, but it is something)
https://www.instagram.com/bigyellow_bigcity/

Thanks again!

Nick
 

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Welcome to the forum. I built a similar camper in the ‘80s on a MBZ chassis with a Grumman aluminum body!
 

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The Promaster 159 inch (nonextended) is only 3 inches longer than the 144 inch sprinter (bumper to bumper). But with way more
cargo space.

I use to have a Dodge ram van 1980 many years ago.

In my bias opinion is the Promaster is the right choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here are some images of what I'm picturing for a layout so far. This is just a very rough model at the moment.

The main objectives in my design are:
-To be accommodating to two people being on two different schedules, so convertible furniture is a no go (this was discovered from 1 year with a futon style bed).
-We want a dedicated area for sleeping, cooking, working, and pooping
-Can't be overly cramped, must be able to pass by the other person to do each activity

This layout has a 52" x 72" bed, 18" x 50" desk, 18" x 52" kitchen, and a 24" x 32" bathroom.

I can't tell if it's too soon to start a build thread when I don't even own a van yet :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
****, I just discovered that standard propane tanks can't be used on their side like I have it positioned in the model.

We really want to be able to use a standard propane and just swap them. Having it upright forces us to place the water jugs to the right of the canister and bumps the kitchen into the doorway an extra 2" reducing the entry from 30" wide to 28".
 

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My door opening with my galley is 24” and it has been fine. I really think you need to put that propane outside or in a sealed box vented to outside. Or better yet dispense with it altogether as many here have done.
 

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Welcome! Looking forward to your build. Just out of curiosity, are there many (safe) boondocking places in NYC? We are considering a trip down there in our Promaster. I understand if you want to keep them secret... just send me a PM and I won't tell anyone :)

Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Welcome! Looking forward to your build. Just out of curiosity, are there many (safe) boondocking places in NYC? We are considering a trip down there in our Promaster. I understand if you want to keep them secret... just send me a PM and I won't tell anyone :)

Shaun
I'd recommend Greenpoint in Brooklyn, easy safe parking. It's a great neighborhood, next door to Williamsburg, rated one of the hipest neighborhoods in the country. And the L train is there which puts you 1 stop from Manhattan, and 4 stops from Union Square station which services basically all of Manhattan.

We lived there in our van for about 5 months (in Bushwick now).

There are many many other spots too, but Greenpoint/Williamsburg is our favorite and most vibrant neighborhood.

PM and I'll give you exact locations of great parking. And when you come down let me know, we'd love to check out your rig and show you our favorite spots around the neighborhood.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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Thanks so much. I will reach out by PM when we start to plan our trip, probably in March or April. Looking forward to your build.
 

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Hey Shaun don’t forget to keep on going a bit more and visit all of us up here in New England! Cross-border shopping is always good in "Live, freeze & Die" land (as RD would say) otherwise known as "Tax Free NH ;)
 

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No that’s TAXED FEES NH! Come on up,
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
My door opening with my galley is 24” and it has been fine. I really think you need to put that propane outside or in a sealed box vented to outside. Or better yet dispense with it altogether as many here have done.
Awesome, I'm glad to hear that 24" will work. My galley keeps growing as I work out the details. The thickness of the drawers and the clearance required for the slides has brought my opening down to 26.5".

I understand the risks of keeping propane in the living area. We do intend on putting an underbody mounted canister at some point, and the same with water potentially. But we wanted to make sure that the layout accommodated either configuration.

Here is our concept for the kitchen galley so far. 18mm & 12mm recycled HDPE CNC construction with CNC OSB faces (planed smooth and thick layer of polyurethane). 18" full extension rails. The rails forced us to increase the depth of the cabinet from 18" to 19". This should have been obvious but I didn't realize I couldn't fit a 18" rail in an 17" cavity :)
 

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Jeeze nothing screams "fakeshit, poor quality" like OSB, planed or not ;( I hope you rethink this part of your plan!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks so much. I will reach out by PM when we start to plan our trip, probably in March or April. Looking forward to your build.
Awesome! NYC is surprisingly a very van dwelling friendly place. There's so much crazy stuff going on that it's not on people's radar. Also, everybody is so used to people of all walks of life being in close proximity to each other, that negative judgments are rarely made.

Look forward to meeting up. I'm thinking we'll be purchasing our van around March, so you might be coming by during the build. I'm hoping to plan the **** out of everything to the point that we can put it together in a few weeks after purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Jeeze nothing screams "fakeshit, poor quality" like OSB, planed or not ;( I hope you rethink this part of your plan!
That's what the guy at the hardware store told us last time we used it in a project. I'm pretty sure I heard him say "Good God, this next generation is doomed" under his breath while he was getting us the "good looking" OSB. I've hoped to see him again to show him what we did with it.



It requires work to make it look good, but it has texture and depth, and cred for taking something cheap and transforming it into something nice.

At the same time we're still debating material selection.

BTW, what's the preferred way to put photos in posts?
 

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I agree that with the right treatment and in the right application, OSB can look good, but KOV's prejudice is the norm. If you are using it merely as facing and not for structure, if you like the look, and if you can afford the extra unnecessary weight, go for it. It's your van.

However, your drawings suggest it would be the drawer front, not just a facing. I would not trust it for that application. I doubt it could withstand the repeated stress and would fail sooner than later. There's a factual basis for KOV's prejudice.

Also, the van is a far harsher environment than your kitchen.
 
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