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As the title states, looked at a 2500 today while I had the wife's Durango serviced. We are interested in a custom Class B camper conversion of the long body version of the 3500 diesel. The rig I looked at had the V6 gas engine and was shorter body than the desired 3500 LB version.


Immediate drivability/comfort concerns as other have reported:


Needs/requires addition of tilt wheel (Chrysler - are you listening). Impossible to drive for longer periods with hands at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions, you must lean forward. You will have to learn to drive with hands at the 7 and 5 o'clock positions (not recommended for safety).


Entry and exit. Being an older person and my wife also a shorter person, the van requires the addition of external steps/running boards and Chrysler should offer grab handles on the windshield pillar (A pillar ?) on both sides and on the B pillar for entry into the cargo compartment. The current configuration will result in falls with the older or less agile people. The current configuration would be vetoed by my wife unless I can find aftermarket running board/steps and grab bars for all three doors (driver, passenger, and sliding cargo compartment). When I was getting out of the driver's seat, I noticed folding grab handles above the doors on both sides. Not well designed, on the smaller side, location will result in heavy soil on the head liner after accessing, and you must be 6 foot tall to reach the handles from the outside (in essence - virtually useless).


The driving position and access may be desirable and/or acceptable to the European delivery van application, but I no longer "want to" or "am capable of" frequent leaping access in and out with multiple stops for commercial delivery/service applications. Chrysler/Ram needs to make some immediate design changes for passenger and RV conversion applications.


Other comments on my conversion ideas:


Took some measurements (rear wheel well) to address concerns for the design I have in mind. The low bed height necessarily results in higher wheel well heights in the cargo compartment. These higher heights may require some adjustments in design concepts.


Took some measurements to get idea of window sizes capability.


Looked under the van to appraise the capabilities of installing "stuff" under the body. Very busy with the parking brake mechanism down the middle and the VERY hot (on a diesel) tail pipe down the driver's side. With all the lateral supports and bracing, it does not look good for under body location of conversion bits and pieces. I am now figuring on all water tankage being in the van. I vacillating on the location of dump valves after examination of the underbody. Does anybody locate or recommend dump valve location inside the van body? I have not had dump valve leaks on my fifth wheel after I repaired the factory delivered installation. Any thoughts on using plastic ball valves instead of the blade/gate dump valves? Any plumbing on the exterior will require thermal protection from the exhaust pipe on the driver's side if we use the traditional dump valve/slinky hose connection on the driver's side.


Oh well, all designs require compromises.


I told the dealer to give me a call when they get a diesel version in for me to test drive.
 
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