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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon gents!

My wife and I are in the EARLY stages of a self build. I am currently on that research phase that tries to pit Sprinter, PM and Transit against each other to find out which one is most suited to our needs.

I am honestly leaning towards the ProMaster for a couple of reasons. Low to floor, 159 WB seems the perfect size (am I correct in thinking that would park in a regular spot?) price point and ease of getting serviced etc.

I wondered if anyone would be kind enough to post a link to some accurate inside schematics/blue prints for measurements? I am hoping that I can fit a bed sideways in the van. The PM looks wide enough for that. Only thing is as a space saver I really want a lift bed. So there will be inches lost for the pillars.

My wife and I are both around 5.6 so we have that "small human" advantage for once I guess.

Thanks so much for any pointers...What a great resource.

Peter
 

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The across bed can still be 6' lifted. There were measurements/schematics earlier but they have gone 404 recently. Look at some of the 136 conversions and you will se how much can go in. A 159 should be easy with lots of room for shower etc. even without lifting the bed. I park my 136 in any city street spot. A 159 is the same lrngth as an extra cab pickup with an 8' bed, a bit long for on street parking but in lots it will not be a problem. Go for it.
 

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There was a schematic recently that showed 78.5" across at 33" above the floor. You should be able to sleep crosswise at any height you wish.
 

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If you drive them you will fall in love with the PM. Handling is best due to front wheel drive and tight turning radius. I have the 159 inch wheel base and parking is not a problem where you pull into a parking space. Parallel parking on city streets is sometimes tight but, depending on your travels, that is rare. The extra interior length of the 159 is a plus over the shorter wheelbase. Most folks who have converted their own use the 159 2500 as it is under 20 feet long. The super long 3500 is a bit much in my opinion. Because of the FWD a converted 159 2500 will have nearly equal weight distribution which makes for good handling.
 

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The 159" is the same length as a club cab truck with a six foot box and is 2 feet shorter than the eight foot box.
159 will fit in a regular parking spot (non extended model). 159" = 236 inches bumper to bumper. 159" extended
is 250 inches.
Id say 15% more room than a comparable competition van. Because of front wheel drive/wider/lower floor/more vertical walls.
 

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Thoughts:

Rule out the Sprinter entirely. Horrible service record, parts prices, higher buy in price. You will come across used ones at ridiculously low prices...resist the temptation! Although I will say I kinda fantasize about a sprinter with a small block chevy in it.

Others will disagree, but I say skip the diesel on the pm and Ford. Also skip the turbo on the ford. I can support these opinions if you like.

I feel that in super high mileage applications, the Ford is a probably slightly better product, and the price reflects that. Mostly this opinion applies to the interior. Both my pms are in the 160k range now and they are holding up well, but at 500k who knows.

I'm 5'7" and sleep in the van crosswise just fine. I prefer it because the wall acts as a headboard, and I'm not chasing the pillow constantly.

A buddy bought a 159 ext at my recommendation. His was used with 25,000 and he got it for $25k. So dont rule out used. When looking at used, most of the dealers had no idea what they had - I found several that were extendeds but not advertised as such. I forget what the vin codes are, but contained in the vin is a letter which denotes the length. The vin is usually published in the ad. Cars.com is a good place to start for used. I got my 136 2500 used with 88k for $17,500.
 

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Also: hold out for the uconnect. Its bundled with the camera which will eliminate parking problems. And its got other features which make it worth it (trip computer, hands free, audio). The nav is totally not worth it.

Power mirrors not worth it. Floor not worth it. Hitch worth it. Prefer bucket to bench seat. Driving lights not worth it. Cruise control definitly. Wall panels not worth it. Windows not worth it. Shelf worth it. Wheel covers not worth it.
 

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I agree generally.
Diesel- worth it for the great drivability. Interior panels, worth it as an inexpensive interior finish IF you use them. Windows worth it for conversion van especially if no backup camera and for right turns and backing out of diagonal spaces.
 

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Also: hold out for the uconnect. Its bundled with the camera which will eliminate parking problems. And its got other features which make it worth it (trip computer, hands free, audio). The nav is totally not worth it.

Power mirrors not worth it. Floor not worth it. Hitch worth it. Prefer bucket to bench seat. Driving lights not worth it. Cruise control definitly. Wall panels not worth it. Windows not worth it. Shelf worth it. Wheel covers not worth it.
I agree on the connect and backup camera. They are very useable and hard to imagine parking lot manoeuvres without a camera.
 

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Also: hold out for the uconnect. Its bundled with the camera which will eliminate parking problems. And its got other features which make it worth it (trip computer, hands free, audio). The nav is totally not worth it.

Power mirrors not worth it. Floor not worth it. Hitch worth it. Prefer bucket to bench seat. Driving lights not worth it. Cruise control definitly. Wall panels not worth it. Windows not worth it. Shelf worth it. Wheel covers not worth it.
Regarding a few items above...

I got the wheel covers and I think they look a lot better than the OEM caps... pretty cheap as an add on part.

Hitch.... easiest install I've done on the PM. Good prices available as compared to factory

Cruise Control - I added this because my off-the-lot van didn't have it. Best $200 I've spent on the van... recent 3300 mile trip from CT to FL and back confirms just how valuable this option or add on is. Easy plug and play add on if you get a van without it... only 1 wire to solder... 1 hour install.

Ed
 

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... Power mirrors not worth it ...
I agree with everything else, but no power fold-in mirrors? I use mine several times a week and love that option. Toll booth ticket dispensers, the mailbox, drive-thrus, drive-up ATMs, when parking on streets or in tight spots ... those big wings fold in with one quick push of the rocker switch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow!

Thanks everyone for the great feedback! As you're all well aware this initial stage is for sure the most daunting. It is a major investment both lifestyle and financially for my wife and I and something I want to get right...as best I can.

I'm sure you've all seen this product a 1000 times before. This is what Im hoping to utilize sideways in the PM. I realise I will need to cut the frame length down but have seen reference of someone doing this before (although not installing width ways) http://happijac.com/bed-lifts.html

Re schematics/measurements. I have resigned to the idea that I just have to go to my dealer and measure it up myself. Its incredibly hard to find simple numbers on the dims of these things. This board for one is an amazing resource and full of ideas. I am now in the predicament of deciding between a 136 and 159 highroof. I would not like the extended body for sure. Ive read lots in the difference between the 1500 and 2500 with most feedback saying their is very minimal difference unloose your carrying heavy loads and driving up steep hills.

Thanks again everyone. Im 90% sold on the PM now....once i get measurements and confirmation I can stick the bed in sideways with the pillars I will decide on either WB. Preference will be on the shorter one if the bed works. Drivability for the wife is important and shorter the best I think....why she's with me I guess :)

Cheers.

Peter
 

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No idea which "schematic" you're referring to "that showed 78.5" across", but Ram Truck's published specification for interior width is 73.4" at side panel.

There was a schematic recently that showed 78.5" across at 33" above the floor. You should be able to sleep crosswise at any height you wish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here are a couple of vid links to what Im thinking. Just want to make sure we have enough room for us. At 5.6 we need at least 67 inches. I guess we don't sleep with rigid bodies and the side so we could knock off 3-4 inches so maybe 63 inches would do it..that gives us around 5-6 inches either side Im guesstimating. Is this doable?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HifqkgniJD0

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi_TruPAidU

Thanks.

Peter
 

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Depends on where you're measuring. That 73.5" is between the horizontal support members under the windows. My exactly 72" mattress fits there with blankets tucked. It's a bit less than 3" on each end (hard to measure, and 2.5" is probably about right) from there to the glass in the windows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I guess Im working with a number flush across after insulation and ply has been added, then 3-4 inches for each of the pillars on both sides. It would be tight for sure. Unless someone has seen one installed which would be awesome. Im guessing if there isn't an example, it has to be a non starter. We can't be the first to think about it lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Awesome! Many thanks for the reply. Im going to pop to a dealer over the weekend with a tape. All I need is to find some measurements on the frame for the bed and I can mock up a scale design. BTW love your build! Will be taking a good look through your pics and experiences. SO much to learn. One step at a time I guess. Peter
 

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Hey Peter I welcome any questions here or through PM. I am pulling my modular conversion out this week to use the van moving my daughter into her condo. Dad's are the go-to guys in young women's lives for quite a while I am learning. I can measure or photograph anything you might need. I plan to do small modifications to make the plan work better and to apply an additional coat of polyurethane to some surfaces I ran out of time on last fall. No big changes as everthing has proven itself.
 

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Ed,
Can you detail what you did for adding cruise control, or PM me about it? A buddy has a PM that came without cruise. I looked into it, and it's pretty simple but I'd like to hear from someone who's actually done it. Thanks!
 
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