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Discussion Starter #1
A good friend just showed up with his Colorado pickup: diesel I-4 2.8 liter true automatic. Now if they would just build a nice 76” wide, high top van on that chassis. Or bring in a Movano See: http://gmauthority.com/blog/2010/08/general-motors-european-van-offerings-to-north-america/
I’ve had great luck with my dealer and with my van but I want a diesel option in a wide and tall van when FCA finally gets me irritated, and they probably will.

 

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Since RD brought up Chevy, I found something I hadn't read about,

Source is GM.

The Express and Savana Cargo and Passenger models equipped with the 2.8L 4-cylinder Duramax® Turbo-Diesel engine offer a maximum GVWR of 9,900 lbs. and the capability to tow up to 6,100 lbs.

If GM made an aesthetically appealing high roof base on the same frame with the 2.8L they could grab some market share from the high roof Euro vans.
 

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Prior to my Promaster, I had a Roadtrek built on the 2004 Chevy Express Cargo Platform. Same length (19.5') as the Promaster. No way would I go back to something on the Express--it drove like a beast as compared to the Promaster (which is almost like a passenger car, but with better view). And I had a lot of engine issues after 100,000, despite regular maintenance. (Of course, I don't know how my Promaster will behave at that mileage either.) I agree, though, that a high-top Chevy Express would appeal to some folks, especially those who appreciate American-style design, and it is good for competition and for build-out to have more van options--but I sure wouldn't go back!
 

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If RWD, I would prefer the 3.0L inline 6 that’s coming from GM. Specs on 2.8L sound OK initially, except that max towing is usually estimated based on nearly empty van. For campers, a finished van may not have much left from GCWR.

I doubt a mid-size van based on Colorado that is both RWD and narrow would do well in market. If Chevy made it 86” wide to trump all other vans I would certainly consider it, but going back to an Astro-size platform with a high roof would not interest me. If they are going to go smaller than a full-size, I expect FWD and similar to Ford Transit Custom.

I think that there is a huge opportunity for a manufacturer to go up to around 90” wide, which could suit both business and RV needs. The Ducato/PM size is already pretty good though. To me the PM just seems to lack a little refinement. It’s obvious that it’s intended as a work and business truck, where expectations are more towards function and low cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I do get that, but his Colorado is a BIG truck not in the Astro size at all. It is listed at 74-77” wide. My preference is for FCA to bring us a FWD, face lifted or next gen Promaster with the 2.3 liter diesel and the ATM, or an automatic, with a manual option. I like my van a lot and if I don’t careen off the road or get crunched by a texter I may own it for 20 years.
 

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A truck middle ground that’s almost full size risks being almost the same cost and getting almost the same fuel economy, so many buyers may go larger for small incremental cost. The new Ford Ranger is an example of where this may happen. It’s a lot larger than original Ranger, and now not much smaller or cheaper than F-150. It will be interesting to see how these mid-size trucks do.

A non-turbo 4-cylinder in a PM with a full automatic (Ranger uses turbo I-4 but has a lot of towing capacity) would be enough downsizing for me. I still want the cargo box to be as large as practical to build a roomy yet light camper.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I’ve never owned one of those mid-sized trucks for the reasons you state but is it just me or have the full sized gotten wide and taller so today’s Ranger or Colorado in the class of a 20yr old F150 or Silverado? The build it site on Chevy had that diesel Colorado at $40K plus BTW.
 

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I think high cost is a factor for sure. Some Ford Super Duty pickups now cost up to $100,000, which I can’t imagine there is much demand for.

I find it interesting that Ford is going back to a pushrod V8 to replace the gasoline SOHC V-10 in larger trucks. I understand that there are some technical advantages, but expect the main reason is to make the new V8 cheaper to manufacture and to own. Ford marketing seems to be taking early position that not everyone needs to tow 30,000-pound trailers or needs 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Chevy is doing the same with new 6.6L V8 for heavy duty trucks. Both Ford and Chevy seem to know that a big gas engine that makes plenty of low-end torque and power can replace some diesel applications in heavier trucks.

Anyway, long background above to ask the question: Would a large displacement gasoline engine designed for lower RPMs be enough to replace the diesel in ProMaster? For example, would half of the Chevy V8, making it 3.3-liter I-4 at roughly 200 HP and 230 lb-ft be enough?
 

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My PM will need a replacement soon, and I'm not that excited about anything offered currently. Any different high top van in the market is good news, even the Hyundai that is rumored.
 

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My PM will need a replacement soon, ......cut........

Do you mind sharing if replacement is due to PM issues, or if your needs have changed?

Sounds like you’re not considering another ProMaster.
Well because I’m at 150,000 miles and after the first 150,000 I’m not sure how long I can keep rooling the dice. I think it might be the best option currently but I would love somebody to offer something better.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you don’t depend on the van for your living. have a flexible schedule and a good independent mechanic I’d say keep driving it. One months car payment is about the same as new brakes and plugs or water pump, or radiator and half shaft replacement. Transmission rebuild is 4 months payment. All in all you could do them all for a year’s payments if the van is not in the salty part of the country.
 

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There is definitely still an opening in the tall van market for GM. Not sure if they will have the insight to grab it or not.

The sprinters have longer wheel base versions, but are kind of narrow.

The promaster rear door opening is too short. In theory the spec says 74 inches, but it isn't. I know from personal experience that a 5'-11" tall person will bang their fore head on the rear door closer pins getting in, especially if they are even slightly higher than flat footed getting in. I still remember the dent in my forehead from that experience in the dealer lot.

The transit rear door opening is about the same as the promaster, and even worse, the side door opening is really short, even on the tall versions. The 158 in wb with a long body is sort of silly looking.

Chevy is coming out with their 4500 / 5500 size trucks, in 4 door versions, and I had high hopes that the cab would be similar to the kodiak (for a larger door opening) but alas, it looks like they are just slapping a 150 size cab on to a heavier frame. Same tiny door openings and insufficient room behind the rear seat.

5-11 isn't that tall, I know a lot of people taller than I am.

People routinely insulate the floors of these vans, making them even shorter than from the factory. Maybe their marketing team will realize that there really is a market for people over 6 ft tall to get into a tall van without stooping over or getting a buzz cut?
 

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I agree the extended Ford Transit looks out of proportion due to the shorter 148” wheelbase and that long 28” longer rear overhang. I guess Mercedes and Iveco also make rear wheel drive vans with very long rear overhangs, but their wheelbases are longer and don’t look so odd.

An issue I don’t like about these is that I don’t want dual rear wheels, and if van has single rear wheels, that long overhang concerns me regarding towing, and handling in general. The Transit also has a cab design that is more like a car, which for me doesn’t make as good a camper. The front seats are low and close together, making access to front seats from inside more difficult.

For a camper, the flat floor in cab area of the Ford Econoline is more advantageous to me.
 

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my last van was an econoline, that flat floor to the front is nice. another thing i didnt realize till i bought the pm is how much closer the front seats are together compared to the econoline making it a tight squeeze to get to the rear and making the cab feel a bit more cramped than it otherwise should be. the econoline had quite a bit more space between the seats despite the van being narrower. In the PM the seats are mounted too far inboard. Wish one of the swivel adapters would address this by offsetting the pivot outboard just a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
CUT.......... i didnt realize till i bought the pm is how much closer the front seats are together compared to the econoline making it a tight squeeze to get to the rear and making the cab feel a bit more cramped than it otherwise should be.CUT..... In the PM the seats are mounted too far inboard. Wish one of the swivel adapters would address this by offsetting the pivot outboard just a bit.
Ouch KOV I resemble that remark!
We finally removed the passenger armrest (temporally until we loose that weight from the time Econolines were THE van) to make the trip to the back easier. Our Sportscraft swivel is a driver’s side model installed on the passenger side to do just that, move the seat out towards the door when turned. It has proven very handy. afox is right that the seats are too far from the doors to use the door armrest easily, and too close together to move easily between them for us chubbies.
 

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Good one KOV, one of the main selling points of the PM for me was its girth.

Our Sportscraft swivel is a driver’s side model installed on the passenger side to do just that, move the seat out towards the door when turned. It has proven very handy.
Tell me more RD. I have sportscraft swivels on both seats, can I simply swap them for driver/passenger? Did the holes for the seat/base line up after swapping? Thanks!
 
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