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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all, and thanks for allowing me to join your community.

First time van owner. Really first time ”RV’er” as well. A bit of background (this may sound familiar):

My fiancée and I had been researching tiny homes for quite some time. I like the concepts of minimalism and a reconfigurable interior. But I’ve always have issues with local building codes, legality, where to put it, being stuck in one place, etc. And the THOW builds seemed quite massive and a bit unwieldy.

So then I started looking at campers, specifically variations of teardrops. But there too were issues. I don‘t own a tow vehicle and am not a fan of owning a big truck. (Some irony there with where I wound up.) And with towing, other challenges arise as to the overall size of the setup, hitch limits, stability, etc.

I’m not really a fan of behemoth RV’s as they are just too massive for me. My Dad used to own several. In particular I was never fond of black water attachment duty lol.

So about a month ago I started following some van builds. Dave and Matt Vans specifically out of Colorado. I liked their approach and I began looking for a donor vehicle (specifically a 136” High Top). I did a few test drives but couldn’t land on a used PM that I trusted (rental vans had been beat up, diesel vans had been worn out or neglected).

About a week ago I found a good compromise. A loaded 2019 PM that had already been converted to a camping van. Good old reliable Pentastar V6. The van had 13k miles on it but was the personal vehicle of the owner of the dealership. I was able to get the bulk of 2019 rebates, as well as full warranties, which really helped to provide the final motive to buy used. Plus the vehicle seems relatively sorted out in terms of conversion build assembly... somebody else has already gotten the bugs out.

I mentioned compromises. Our PM is a low roof. But I’m short and can get around by ducking my head. I find I’m usually just moving from one seating position in the cab to another seating position in the bed. So really no reason to stand that often. And my significant other can stand in the low roof without any issues.

The other compromise, which is a bit more serious is the electrical system choices. I don’t know what the builder was thinking. While built in 2019, the van is based upon much older solar controller and inverter technology. Some limitations abound: one solar panel (wattage unknown), two 95Ah AGM batteries. More problematic: the Magnum inverter is modified sine wave. Neither the solar controller or inverter appear to support modern lithium cells, as they didn’t exist when these components were designed a decade ago. I want to be able to take Ebikes with us on the road, and charge them along with other devices that I dont’ want to risk with modified sine power. So if I want to clean up my power, it looks like I need to change out the whole system and add more panels as well. The primary concern isn’t just the expense to do that but to preserve as much of the wiring.

The workaround I may have is to bring along a modern ”power brick” such as the Bluetti AC200, and delegate to it all charging involving pure sine power. I can buy a set of portable panels to help top up the AC200, which may help to keep the van in a cooler location.

And I’m also researching the age old question of air con at a campsite, which for now seems to suggest a window unit attached to a rear door, powered by shore power. In a pinch it might be possible to run it for a few hours from the Bluetti. I’m in the Southeastern US, so we have both heat and humidity during the summer months.

So there you have it, that’s our PM setup in a nutshell. With Covid we, like the rest of you, are trying to make decisions of how to still take advantage of mobility in these new times that are affecting so many other travelers. So the newfound independence of van ownership is appealing. I hope to learn more about the PM platform and solutions, and to be a part of this community both on and offline. Cheers!
 

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Welcome to the forum. Now you have made an introductory post please start all new posts in the proper sub-forum. Also, remember you do not need to make a new pist for each image you wish to pist. Drag and drop or cut and paste work well.
 
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