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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! What a great forum! We are 2 mature (60+) ladies looking at these gorgeous vans! We are looking at 1500 high roof, 136wb, and 2500 high roof 159wb. Will drive both soon. We have a 2008 Tundra dbl cab that I only drive in town when necessary because of tight parking. Because of that we are leaning toward the shorter model. However, 2 feet is a lot of space and we don’t want regrets later. Any thoughts? Thanks
 

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Welcome to the forum. Don’t even consider a 136 unless you like living on top of one another. The 159 is far more suited for camping for 2 people and just as easy to drive ;)
 

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Will the van be home away from home for any serious amount of time?

The 136WB is nearly the perfect urban assault vehicle yet the 159WB is king of the road out on open highway.

My 159" closes in pretty rapidly after a few days on the road, often wish I'd sprung for the extended length one - then I remember having to park in a low earth orbit trying to go Christmas shopping, or carting groceries or supplies to the 'faarrr siiide' on every quick errand...

You don't mention your location - new age intensive urban development is not friendly to wide track long vehicles, compact parking space sizes, 'green space' plantings with their convoluted traffic flow control landscaping can and do add to the hassles of daily living. Yet - after a few trips and learning the area it becomes a non-issue, it is 'only' that first trip that is challenging!
 

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Welcome! If town parking is your only concern (no home parking issues), you will regret not getting the extra length. I bet you already park the Tundra on the outskirts of big parking lots in a pull-through spot. You'll adapt. If you are buying new, I highly recommend a factory order as the way to get exactly what you want, and avoid paying for stuff you don't. 99% of the new and used vans on dealer lots are (boring) white and configured for spartan commercial use, not RVs. But obviously, lots of folks here make those commercial vans work. Just do some research here first, so you know when a salesperson is exaggerating how easy/cheap it is to change something (seats, etc). Best of luck!
 

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Most of a persons time in a camper van, generally speaking, will be spent sleeping and driving. Sure, there will be rainy days, but driving is a whole lot different than parking and maneuverability, whether in a campground or down a Forest Service road. We considered both lengths carefully and are quite pleased that we elected to a) bring less stuff and b) look at the van as a way to get places so we can get out of the van and see those places. Having said that, consider the desired bed layout and size very carefully. We were good with a 48" bed width whether we got a 159" or a 136" WB. Obviously it's a personal choice, YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We live in Bend OR on an acre, parking at home not an issue. More concerned about parking lots as we travel. We are homebodies in general, BUT are newly retired! Woohoo! Who knows what we’ll end up doing! We’re thinking about this van because we want to save on hotel rooms, and have the adaptability to park and sleep and maybe camp.
 

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2017 159, w/dual sliders. SF Bay area
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Congratulations on retirement. The US is a country built for big vehicles. A 159" will have no problem getting to and parking at most places people travel to see. If people can get a class A around Crater Lake, a 159" is not going to be an issue.
 

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We have a 2008 Tundra dbl cab that I only drive in town when necessary because of tight parking. Because of that we are leaning toward the shorter model.
The Promaster 136" wheelbase is about a foot shorter than a Tundra Double Cab with the regular bed, not the long bed. The 159" wheelbase is only 7 inches longer than the Tundra, and it is significantly easier to park. Promaster's turn very, very sharply compared to pickup trucks.


I'd say go drive a 159" and you will be impressed with how easy it is to drive.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Don’t even consider a 136 unless you like living on top of one another. The 159 is far more suited for camping for 2 people and just as easy to drive ;) (and park - added by Proeddie)
You'll miss that extra space that you don't get in a 136.

If I had purchased a 136 instead of a 159, the bathroom area, toilet, and fridge would have had no place to be! My wife would have not liked that at all...



Lots of ideas of what fits into what on our Floorplans thread: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53962

Although sometimes, even my 159 is a bit too small >:D

 

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Kind of depends on what you're after. My wife and I wanted a glorified tent. The 136 works well for us. Very easy to get around. Parallel parking in downtown Nashville was no problem. I don't think you'll be doing that with the 159 very often.

We have a sink, fridge and enough counter space. I could make a few changes to add a toilet if needed. I'd just need to move my water tanks under the van and widen the sink cabinet. We've been sleeping in tents and in the back of the subaru for 10 years now with no bathroom so we figured we'll be fine without it.

Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
The 136 vs 159 for camper conversions gets debated a lot here -- with strong proponents for both.

We have a 136 conversion for the two of us, and it works fine for us -- just got back from a month long trip and we are still talking to each other :)

The 136 parks and drives and U-turns just like a car. Its a bit wider than a regular SUV and that can cause us to pass up a narrow parking space once in a while, but generally not an issue. I've gotten so I can parallel park the 136 PM easier than I can our Honda Pilot.
I'd test drive both lengths and try parking with both.

When doing a conversion, the 136 allows enough room for normal living for two, but not enough room to easily include a shower -- so, if shower is important, I'd go for the 159. Also if you are anticipating living in the van full time, I'd go for the 159 just for extra storage space.

A good step would be to look at floor layouts for your conversion -- there is a thread here that lists a bunch of them: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53962&highlight=floorplans

More on floorplans here: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/design-and-build-information-for-camper-vans/choosing-a-floor-plan/

You can go a step further and do a rough real mockup of a floorplan you like and "live" in it for a while. This can be as simple as tape on the floor, or some simple cardboard mockups of the beds, galley, ...
Its worth spending some time to make sure you get the best length for you.

Gary
 

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Parallel parking in downtown Nashville was no problem. I don't think you'll be doing that with the 159 very often.
We were on vacation last year in Charleston SC... they have a marketplace downrown... wall to wall traffic. I saw a parallel parking spot that a pickup truck had just left... dropped right in, easy!

I agree with Gary, most cautions have to do with width, not length!

OTOH, our PM meet in NH a while back where we managed to get 5 forum members in one place at the same time for a get-together was notable for the diversity of sizes, colors, engine, insides, decor, and crews! We all love OUR vans the best! :D

 

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Kind of depends on what you're after. My wife and I wanted a glorified tent. The 136 works well for us. Very easy to get around. Parallel parking in downtown Nashville was no problem. I don't think you'll be doing that with the 159 very often.
Josh, we're with you . . . but still having some difficulty getting used to our 'metal tent'. We opted for the 159. The size was initially a shock coming from our VW Jetta 'CaRV', but it didn't take too long to become comfortable driving it. With the exception of parking garages (high top) and Nashville parallel parking, we find that it's small enough to go and fit most anywhere. We've even persuaded state/federal campgrounds to allow us to camp in tent-only spots as tent-owners have to part their transportation somewhere - - and we've found ours fits there too.
 

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When congested parking happens in a 159" try backing in, no guessing* where the rear wheels will track that way - snow bank, ice, narrow lane, impatient people and easy peazy berth for the Queen Mary... oops, did I say that out loud? Take advantage of the steering having extra angle, avoiding the rear axle tracking wide by pushing it into place is easier than pulling it... (*I've got a window wagon and no rear camera so its whiplash look-around city to be safe)
 

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The length of our 136” lets it park in any city in a normal space as long as the two adjacent spaces are not compromised. I believe the 159” van can do this too if you find a space with a bit of space fore or aft. Width is an issue compared to cars but if you do the proper parallel parking maneuver and get the curbside tires against the curb it is fine. I added an aftermarket back up camera for the purpose. Fold the mirrors in to avoid contact with pedestrians and traffic. The tight turning circle and backing in is the key. We spent days in New Orleans French Quarter and Key West and parked on the street all the time. If you can’t parallel park get a lesson, practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, we’ve taken your advice and decided on the 2500 high roof 159wb. After talking with our financial planner, there’s good news and bad news(ish). The badish news is that we need to pay cash or put down very substantial down payment. The good news is that I’ll have a year or so to save, which also means a year of research, a year of window shopping, and the possibility of buying a year old van( ie. cheaper).
This forum is amazing, it will continue to be my go to site for ideas and info. Thank to everyone who posts!
 

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Winston, I don't understand "We've even persuaded state/federal campgrounds to allow us to camp in tent-only spots…". We've never had anyone question us. One time, the tent sites were "hike in," and we still just parked in the lot. There have been a few times, though, when I thought that if I were a tent camper, I wouldn't want that monster next door--especially if it were cold and my sleeping bag got wet.
 

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We did get asked if we had a tent once (Acadia NP Blackwoods) but we assured them we were being joined by our daughter who was tenting. The space did allow only one vehicle though- it was SMALL. It is rare but their tent sites are cheaper and all sites sell out all summer.
 
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