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I'm planning a micro-motorhome built into a 1500 136WB High Top PM or a 130WB Medium High Top Ford Transit.

A few days ago I spent an hour crawling around a PM here in Portland.

Some impressions/measurements:

The space is truly impressive. Boxy, high volume, nearly straight sides and roof, will be very easy to build in. Most fluids/tanks will go inside, protecting them from damage and freezing, no way to get very much underneath.

Seats very comfortable, if a bit large. I expected more than 12" between seat belt buckles in the aisle. This space gets used a lot while travelling. None of their PMs had swivel seats, so couldn't try that.

Slender unpadded inner armrest for the driver seat, none on passenger seat.

View forward is very, very good. (I'm 6'). But the side windows stay up 5 inches or so.

Couldn't test side/rear view since their was a partition, but judging from the seat height and the size of the window it's probably very good. I'll still want a rear view cam, now looking at aftermarket solutions as well as their U-Connect system.

Exterior mirrors are excellent but complex, bet they're very pricey to repair/replace. Power folding, manual folding, reverse folding in case struck (according to the salesman, but I forgot to check this), two separate aimable elements in each mirror! Large upper flat, wide panoramic lower curved. Even when folded, the mirrors stick out about 4 inches, making the it over 90" wid.

Opening and closing the door takes a lot of force to get started, probably good to keep the door from taking off on its own when on grades, but not what I'm used to.

Exactly 7 1/4 inches clearance above the solid rear axle. The van was empty, but I don't think that affects this measurement.

Tires are VanCo Four Season Continental 225/75 R16, 121/120 rated, made in Czech Republic. Full size spare under the rear.

Rear wheel wells measure 34" wide (tapering to 30"), 17" high, 9" deep. Centered 37 inches in front of the rear doors.

125 1/2" behind base of front seats to rear door, about three inches longer than specs. Wonder if I wrote this down wrong?

Load floor seems to have excessive tilt, and is higher than expected: With the van empty, 22 1/2 inches on the side, 25 1/2 inches at the rear. NOTE: Ram literature clearly shows an empty van with 21" rear and side.

This will drop and level out with weight, but still seems excessive. I'm planning a light weight build, probably under 1500 pounds complete with full fluids and two people, and am very concerned about anything more than an inch in level. Makes cooking tricky and looks funny.

Any ideas on how much weight it will take to level it out and what the load heights will be?

Full opening rear doors worked very well. I don't think the 130WB Ford has the 270 degree articulating doors.
 

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Couldn't test side/rear view since their was a partition, but judging from the seat height and the size of the window it's probably very good. I'll still want a rear view cam, now looking at aftermarket solutions as well as their U-Connect system.
I don't know if all the aftermarket cameras have that feature, but the factory one is great. It has lines that show the sides of the truck with a color code (green, yellow and red) that gives you distance from objects in the back.

I don't use one bit the back windows with the backup camera. One little complain about these windows, wish they were tinted, everybody can see what's inside the truck. But it's no big deal, I'll get them done.

The width is great, but I must admit that I am a bit worried about crossing that very narrow bridge in Hood River, Oregon. I just hope the van coming from the other side is a Sprinter, they are 3 inches narrower.

The Ford Transit to come is 1.5 inches narrower without the mirrors, but with the mirrors, it will be 2.5 inches wider. Go figure.
 

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I live in P town also, and love my PM. As far as load level I have a 3500 and with both my motocross bikes all my gear two bicycles, a wall and bed it still sits front low. I am thinking about building some spacers for above the front struts to raise the front and get the ride height level.
 

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I test drove a 2500/180w.b./2013 Sprinter and then went across the street and tested a 2500/159w.b./2014 ProMaster. Here's what stood out to me.
The Sprinter found 70 mph easily, was smooth, quiet and the steering had a great road feel and not too sensitive for 70+ speeds.
The ProMaster got up to 70 but I had my foot in it a lot more and it felt more at home around 65 mph. The steering was light but unfortunately too light for 70+ speeds in a van. Maybe the tire pressures were off ? I'm ready to buy and really would like to try a PM, but the Sprinter just drove better and getting a new 2013, I'll pay less than the PM with the diesel option ( the Sprinter is of course diesel).
Looking for comments. Any thoughts?
 

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I am also in Portland, OR. Also lookin at a PM as an adventure van/for haulin' motorbikes/light camping (no shower or toilet facilities).

fwiw, interior dimensions match that of the euro Ducato:
http://www.fiatprofessional.com/com/cmsen/pdf/ducato_goods_transport__ts_ebrochure_sett011.pdf
More documents here:
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11898

also, euro versions have options for self leveling suspension, I have some threads on the different versions on this forum.

has anyone in the PDX area have a particularly good experience with a dealer?

I live in P town also, and love my PM. As far as load level I have a 3500 and with both my motocross bikes all my gear two bicycles, a wall and bed it still sits front low. I am thinking about building some spacers for above the front struts to raise the front and get the ride height level.
 

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I live in P town also, and love my PM. As far as load level I have a 3500 and with both my motocross bikes all my gear two bicycles, a wall and bed it still sits front low. I am thinking about building some spacers for above the front struts to raise the front and get the ride height level.
On a leaf-spring rear end it's likely easier to do something about the back. Air ride suspensions are available for the Fiat Ducato in Europe. What are the chances that it all fits and works? (Likely pretty high)

I know it's possible to get custom leaf springs made up, and I'm sure this will show up in the aftermarket soon enough.
 

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I test drove a 2500/180w.b./2013 Sprinter and then went across the street and tested a 2500/159w.b./2014 ProMaster. Here's what stood out to me.
The Sprinter found 70 mph easily, was smooth, quiet and the steering had a great road feel and not too sensitive for 70+ speeds.
The ProMaster got up to 70 but I had my foot in it a lot more and it felt more at home around 65 mph. The steering was light but unfortunately too light for 70+ speeds in a van. Maybe the tire pressures were off ? I'm ready to buy and really would like to try a PM, but the Sprinter just drove better and getting a new 2013, I'll pay less than the PM with the diesel option ( the Sprinter is of course diesel).
Looking for comments. Any thoughts?
Mike I have owned a sprinter for 10 years, nice to work out of, nice bill board for my business, rides nice, mine has the 5 cylinder- no def fluid-24 miles a gallon consistently, the biggest reason I am ordering a promaster is that my sprinter is rusted beyond the point of being able to repair and repaint it, it has been totally repainted once and the whole lower half touched up a second time. When I looked into buying another sprinter the sales manager told me that they had come a long way on the rust but that I should order a metallic clear coat paint if I ordered a new one, that adds $1000 to the cost and doesn't guarantee it won't rust out, I only have 125,000 miles on an engine that should go 3-500,000 or more and the truck is scrap they offered me $3000 trade in.
Combine that with the fact that there is only one good mechanic at the one Mercedes dealership in northeast ohio and that spells a real pain anytime service is needed, each time I have a drive ability issue I am without my van for 2 or 3 days.
Cold starting is always a problem, zero or below forget it. I have had multiple electrical problems, bad blower motors(2), I have to change the fuel filter every 6 months or the check engine lite will come on if I don't get to it right away It will stall and I have to be towed to a place I can work on it.

When I bought mine in 2003 there was nothing that compared to it and mpg was what sealed the deal now that there is competition and diesel prices are high I don't think much of the Sprinter.

I don't know if the Promaster will be any better but the Ram dealer is closer and seems better able to handle repairs and I was ready for a change.
 

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On a leaf-spring rear end it's likely easier to do something about the back. Air ride suspensions are available for the Fiat Ducato in Europe. What are the chances that it all fits and works? (Likely pretty high)

I know it's possible to get custom leaf springs made up, and I'm sure this will show up in the aftermarket soon enough.
That would be easy and all, but i dont want to lower the rear to match the front. I want to lift the front to match the rear. A spacer just like a hundred companys sell for trucks, usually called a leveling kit.
 

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Cold starting is always a problem, zero or below forget it.
I read in my owner's manual that the PM won't start if the temperature is below -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit), unless the block heater was used. If you get that sort of temperature, it's an option you should get.

Here in Canada, the block heater is stock. For some reason, people think it's cold here. ;)

Cold starting was one of the factors that made me opt for a gas motor, even if people would tell me that it was not an issue with diesel motors anymore. So thanks for your feedback, you confirmed to me that my worries weren't wrong.

For the rust problem, better be safe than sorry, so I get the yearly rustproofing treatment ($100 or so) here:

http://www.antirouille.com/en

I don't know if you have the equivalent in the States, but it works, I usually keep my vehicules 7 to 10 years and never had a spot of rust.
 

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For the rust problem, better be safe than sorry, so I get the yearly rustproofing treatment ($100 or so) here:

http://www.antirouille.com/en

I don't know if you have the equivalent in the States, but it works, I usually keep my vehicules 7 to 10 years and never had a spot of rust.
We used to have a lot of those places in New York. Today, almost nobody uses them and they all went out of business. Cars just don't rust anymore like they did in the 70s. Unless you buy a Sprinter, from what I hear :)
 

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We used to have a lot of those places in New York. Today, almost nobody uses them and they all went out of business. Cars just don't rust anymore like they did in the 70s. Unless you buy a Sprinter, from what I hear :)
So what makes everyone think that the PM won't rust? What is Ram doing that MBZ is not?
 

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The reason I question, is that Ram is very vague about how they prime, coat the vehicle. Also wonder if they seal the seams in the underbody?
 

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So what makes everyone think that the PM won't rust? What is Ram doing that MBZ is not?
Can't speak for German engineers. But back when I was in Automotive engineering (in a different engineering field today), there were so many new corrosion protection coatings, it was hard to keep up with it all.

Zinc coatings with insane resistance to salt spray. The days of cheap primer and lacquer ended years ago.

That's why when you wreck your vehicle, you should insist on REAL OEM body panel replacement parts. The knock offs will rust like a car from the 70s.

Random thought.....The USA is really the king of the world when it comes to the technology we have access too. So it could explain the MB issue (but probably not). I can specify any tech when I design, and get it! Not so much outside the US.
 

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Sprinters and Vitos are famous also in Italy for the rust.
Many are affected by the corrosion, but not all of them.
The 2006 Ducato has no problems of rust.
Also the oldest have no sign of corrosion, also here in the Italian Alps, where, during the winter, the roads are heavily spreaded with salt.
 

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Portland Dealers

For those asking about dealers in or near Portland.....I got my PM from Dick's Country Dodge in Hillsboro. Had a good buying experience with Jeremy.

If you want a red high roof van, they've got one that I heard you can get a good deal on.
 

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I am waiting for the diesel, and also if they facelift the headlights and offer crew seating for 2015.
I stopped by NW Dodge on a Sunday in Beaverton, and they were 'meh'
 
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