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In my opinion the ProMaster cab is much roomier and easier to access from inside than the Transit. I think Ford screwed up by moving away from the general Econoline arrangement. If an Econoline had a short V6 like the Transit instead of a V10 so the doghouse was much smaller, the cab area would be great. The E-Series Cutaway remains the most popular motorhome chassis in US for good reason. It may be an old design, but basics still works great.

I wish there was a way a FWD van like the ProMaster could have a flat floor all the way up through the cab, which would make for an even better camper. That would require a different type of fuel tank with lower profile. Obviously you can build up the rear, but if you do that, it might as well be RWD unless space under floor is utilized wisely (some here have done that). My preference would be a low flat floor in cab area just like in my Honda Odyssey, which has a lower floor than a PM.
 

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Yeah, but engines were not moved forward to allow greater footroom around the doghouse, which is one of the main drawbacks to E-Series today.

The new Ford V8 is suppose to be much narrower than the V10, but not much shorter. If Ford redesigns the doghouse around the new engine, it may be able to gain about 2” per side which would make squeezing between seats and doghouse much easier. Extra space for passenger’s feet would be great also. I’m not sure how much they will spend changing the E-Series given its future is not certain.

I had been thinking a 5.0L V8 from F-150 would allow engine to move forward about 4 inches to shorten doghouse considerably, but haven’t looked under my Econoline to see if oil pan would even clear the Twin-I-Beams.
 

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you're right the footroom was terrible in the e-series. on the other hand that doghouse made access to the rear of the engine easier. how hard is it to change the plugs on our PMs?
 

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when FCA finally gets me irritated, and they probably will.
I am already there brother. Bring on the Chevy.

I have been through a nightmare with my Promasters. My diesel had to have an engine replacement because of blow-by at 65K miles. Which is all fine and well, but it was dealing with FCA that was a nightmare. It went in the shop initially because it developed an oil leak from the rear main seal. I was initially told that everytime the transmission is pulled out of these vans, they have to replace the motor mounts. My van went in the shop last June, and they initially said it would be September before they could get motor mounts. Well they finally get motor mounts earlier than expected, and get the rear main replaced. I call them, and they tell me it is still leaking.

I talked to the shop manager and he tells me that as soon as you unscrew the oil cap it stops blowing oil past the seal. I told him, instantly that the motor had blow-by. I then pulled my hair out with them while the genius "engineers" directed them to do things like replace the seal 2 more times, and to "measure the crankcase pressure in my engine, then find a diesel Promaster that is not leaking oil, and measure the crankcase pressure in that van.

Finally they replaced the engine, and after 3 months and a week, I got my van back.

During the interim, while my diesel was in the shop, my gas Promaster developed the Pentastar death tick. I kept hoping to get the diesel out, so I could put the gasser in for the valve train repair. As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, the engine sounded worse and worse. I also was approaching the expiration of my warranty on it. Finally, it developed a horrific sound that appeared to be coming from the timing chain. It was clearly not driveable any longer.

I was put in the awkward position of trying to decide whether to put it in the shop and trust FCA not to bankrupt my company, or send the gas promaster on down the road. I sent it down the road and traded for a Nissan NV.

I then had the pleasure of trying to work out of a new van, while at the same time trying to upfit it enough to at least reach a small percentage of being able to work out of it at full capacity. To say it was a nightmarish experience might be the grossest understatement I have ever made.

I then dealt with the abomination that is Promaster customer care, while they made various dismal offers of compensation to me, and then subsequently retracted them. There final offer to me, was to offer me 150K of extended bumper to bumper warranty, then retract it because I informed them that I had purchased the 100K extended bumper to bumper warranty when I purchased my van. I am not really able to figure that one out, since my van is a 2014 and it came with 100K of powertrain warranty, which covered my engine failure.

They subsequently informed me that they were "closing my case."

There is a lot of things that I really like(d) about my Promaster vans. All of that is trumped by my lack of faith in their reliability. I cannot afford for my livelihood to go down for a repair, and for FCA to take over 1/4th of my fiscal year to repair it.

I originally passed on the NV because of my concerns about fuel economy. I could not care less about that now. Reliability is where it is all at for me now. Everyone I know who is running the full size NV says they are bullet proof. They come with the best warranty at 100K bumper to bumper. Promaster and Transit have both dropped their powertrain warranty to 60K. Sprinter has the most dismal warranty with 36K total.

I Hope Chevy does enter the market with a viable option. I cannot go back to a low top van. If I were able to do that, I would just buy an Express and be done with it. I would love to see a Chevy hightop with an iteration of the Duramax/Allison.

I suppose I will be driving Nissans now unless I feel another option becomes available that is reliable.
 

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you're right the footroom was terrible in the e-series. on the other hand that doghouse made access to the rear of the engine easier. how hard is it to change the plugs on our PMs?

I don’t know on the PM, but on the Ford Econoline with V10, replacing spark plugs is tough. I believe the job is estimated at 4 hours or more because a couple of them are very hard to get to. I paid to have mine done and they worked on it an entire day.

I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of FWD transverse V6. My Honda Odyssey is like that, but it’s a Honda and I rarely work on it myself any more. Even so, an in-line 4 or 6 if it fit would be preferable to me.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m leaning more towards simplicity than pure fuel economy. Realistically, a single $500 repair can wipe out years of incremental fuel economy improvements. For this reason I prefer naturally aspirated engines (no turbos), no diesels, automatic or stick transmission over AMT, etc. I want it as simple as possible, and no simpler.

Ford went back to a simple pushrod V8 with iron block for SuperDuty trucks for a reason. Engineers kept repeating the word “reliability” , fewer parts compared to OHC, smaller size, and so on during interviews. I know a lot of that is marketing to justify a step backwards in technology, but simpler isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As drivetrains get more complicated to make them more efficient and or powerful, they often also become more difficult to maintain and repair. I don’t expect vans to return to the old 300 cubic inch inline six, but the technology pendulum may swing back a bit as owners encounter problems like Taylor described above. If you get stranded 1,000 miles or more from home, what are you suppose to do if repairs take weeks or months? That’s just unacceptable.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I love internal combustion. "I never met a horsepower I didn't like” to paraphrase Will Rogers I’ve been a shop mechanic on motorcycles, done lots of engine jobs on bikes and cars, breathed the fumes of IC since I was 10 or 11. The smell of burnt diesel is pure perfume. BUT the future of transportation and especially for short haul and commute is ELECTRICITY. When was the last time you had an electric motor fail? I see 60 year old ones running like new. We enter an age where batteries have become light enough to power a vehicle for 300 miles. Most tradesmen could live with that, the van can carry more if needed and Chevy has cars that go 250 miles per charge or so. I nearly convinced my sister to buy a Tesla 3 with autonomous control and 350 hp, two motors and 325 mile range. 50K$ put her off but the day of that capability at 30-35K $ is near. RIP IC for most of our needs. No blow by, no cam failures, no transmission, no pushrods, no spark plugs no .................
 

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My cousin’s Tesla with 85 kWh battery is very nice, but when he visits area about 200 miles away, I notice he ends up driving an SUV most of the time. The car has good range, particularly at slower speeds and because it’s very aero. If you build a typical SUV with same battery and drive it 75 or 80 MPH on Turnpike to keep up with traffic, range would drop drastically.

I like electric vehicles also, but they have too many limitations for me unless you live in large cities. Short term some type of hybrid will likely bridge the gap. For me, living in Houston, an electric would be great as a second car. I would depend on camper van for longer trips anyway.

In my opinion, internal combustion engines could be around longer if we didn’t expect so much performance. I recall driving large Ford F-600 and F-650 with 150 HP engines, yet today we want twice that in a Civic. That’s fun but not necessary for work or touring. Unless we are towing, I don’t see why a naturally aspirated gasoline engine in 200 HP range (similar power as the diesel) shouldn’t be enough for a ProMaster.
 

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If dependability is most important to you Im not sure why a ford e-series or GMC van with fiberglass hightop aren't options that you would consider Taylor?

My ford e-series van was just about the most reliable vehicle I have every owned. Almost better it was also VERY cheap to repair. Parts are dirt cheap and aftermarket parts available for just about everything and nearly every shop knows how to work on them and they're used to working on them. I dont expect the PM to have the low cost of ownership of the e-series vans, I just figure thats the price you pay for a modern van. That's why I bought the PM new and plan to put few miles on it (10k year max). If I needed a van to drive 50k miles a year I wouldn't buy one with 10k engine replacement. A rebuilt 4.2 v6 ford (in my e-series van) is $1,400 rebuilt. Cheap, modern, low cost of ownership, you cant have all 3!

To sweeten the deal for the old school vans, noone wants them now since all the cool kids are driving transits, PMs, and sprinters. I have seen some sweet deals on late model used GMC, e-series vans.
 

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....cut....

My ford e-series van was just about the most reliable vehicle. .....cut.....
My V10 is at 190,000 over many years and have replaced water pump, starter, and fuel pump. Only the fuel pump left me stranded — luckily close to home. Each repair required a day or two in shop, mostly for scheduling.

I also had to replace rear axle seals but that’s more like brakes, tires, etc...

Ford stopped production of E-Series vans in 2014, so 5-year-old is newest available. That seems fairly old to start a camper build. And for my taste, those old vans with fiberglass roofs don’t compare to newer van designs. They were much narrower up top, and placing storage cabinets up there was almost not worth the effort. I like the ruggedness of E-Series but prefer the larger PM for its incredible interior volume.
 

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I agree about the interior volume of the PM, that's one of the reasons I bought it over a less expensive GMC or late model e-series. I see lots of people are converting 2014 PMs and much older sprinter vans. Unless its a very basic conversion I think converting a higher mileage/older van diminishes the value of the conversion. That is, the cost per year/use/mile of the conversion will be much higher, and perhaps not worth it. I plan for my conversion on my 2017 PM purchased new to be with me for 20 years and 200k miles at 10k miles year.
 

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I’ve been updating van options again in more detail, and ran across Mercedes Sprinter engine data I find interesting. Mercedes seems to be shifting to inline engines for both gas and diesel, and with turbos to keep displacement much lower.

The new Sprinter gas engine will be 2-liters in size, which seems small for a large van. It follows the 500 cc displacement per cylinder that many European companies are adopting. Power and torque seem good enough for a light van, although Mercedes reputation for high cost of service and repairs may scare many buyers away.

Maybe a turbo 4-cylinder gasser PM wouldn’t be so bad.
 

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I love internal combustion. "I never met a horsepower I didn't like” to paraphrase Will Rogers I’ve been a shop mechanic on motorcycles, done lots of engine jobs on bikes and cars, breathed the fumes of IC since I was 10 or 11. The smell of burnt diesel is pure perfume. BUT the future of transportation and especially for short haul and commute is ELECTRICITY. When was the last time you had an electric motor fail? I see 60 year old ones running like new. We enter an age where batteries have become light enough to power a vehicle for 300 miles. Most tradesmen could live with that, the van can carry more if needed and Chevy has cars that go 250 miles per charge or so. I nearly convinced my sister to buy a Tesla 3 with autonomous control and 350 hp, two motors and 325 mile range. 50K$ put her off but the day of that capability at 30-35K $ is near. RIP IC for most of our needs. No blow by, no cam failures, no transmission, no pushrods, no spark plugs no .................
I think you are right. The only thing that has prevented it to date is the lack of viable battery technology. That gap is closing like a snowball rolling downhill. The logical path leads to electric.

If dependability is most important to you Im not sure why a ford e-series or GMC van with fiberglass hightop aren't options that you would consider Taylor?

My ford e-series van was just about the most reliable vehicle I have every owned. Almost better it was also VERY cheap to repair. Parts are dirt cheap and aftermarket parts available for just about everything and nearly every shop knows how to work on them and they're used to working on them. I dont expect the PM to have the low cost of ownership of the e-series vans, I just figure thats the price you pay for a modern van. That's why I bought the PM new and plan to put few miles on it (10k year max). If I needed a van to drive 50k miles a year I wouldn't buy one with 10k engine replacement. A rebuilt 4.2 v6 ford (in my e-series van) is $1,400 rebuilt. Cheap, modern, low cost of ownership, you cant have all 3!

To sweeten the deal for the old school vans, noone wants them now since all the cool kids are driving transits, PMs, and sprinters. I have seen some sweet deals on late model used GMC, e-series vans.
I love the Express van. Those vans easily run for 300K with few problems typically. An Express with a fiberglass topper just doesn't do it for me. It still just doesn't compare to the Euro type vans. I use mine as a mobile shop. The extra room in the big vans is critical for me.

I might move into an Isuzu box in time. I don't have to think about it for a while. I have a brand new Nissan now that I will make my primary ride soon.
 

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Extended Express or Econoline vans, like mine, at roughly 20 feet of length have less cargo volume than a 136” low-roof ProMaster that is a couple of feet shorter. Other than headroom there is a lot of space to work with.

On Econoline (and I think Express also), the fiberglass sports roof that was commonly added did not result in much more head room than a low-roof PM. Companies like Roadtrek and others often dropped floor in center of van between frame rails to increase standup height to around 6-feet. On Econoline with 14” ~ 16” sport roof addition I can not stand upright at rear of van. Even a LR ProMaster would make a better camper than an Econoline or Express for us.

Obviously camper tops that added 30” or more, and could sometimes accommodate a bed up in fiberglass addition, are a different matter.
 
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