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Discussion Starter #1
There is currently no van in my driveway, but there are two and a half station wagons.

I have a 1971 Dodge Coronet wagon and a 1999 Audi A4 Avant wagon, the girl has a 2008 Mini Cooper Clubman. (the 'half' of a wagon)

We've been contemplating a DIY van conversion for awhile. I'd use it for cycling weekends and trips, the girl would use it for dog agility weekends, and we'd even get out together sometimes. General idea is a setup with small shower and toilet, galley, fridge, and solar power to run stuff. Leave space in the back to roll in a few bicycles (recumbents, so they're lower, but longer), a couple fold-down bunks above that.

Started this daydream with a Sprinter in mind. I like to think used, but she won't, so new it is. Have spent a fair bit of time over at the Sprinter forums, learned a lot. I still like 'em, still think they're the best looking of the bunch. But I think there's also a lot to not like, and perhaps more than a few owners are wearing some very rose colored glasses. And I already have a German car with expensive maintenance costs. ;)

I'd known about the ProMaster for awhile, since its actually been released and on the roads. Still, I had dismissed them because, well, its **** ugly. Though I have since warmed to it a bit after seeing them in person.

Anyway, next on my investigations was the Ford Transit. Wandered from the Sprinter forums over to the Transit forums (seemingly following Graphite Dave Orton). I ilke the Transit, really do. Still think it looks better than the ProMaster. But man, what a screwed up introduction by Ford. Huge delays from ordering, confusion on what's available, and, yeah... doesn't look good. Maybe they'll have it straightened out by next Spring. But reading more on them I'm not really impressed with the fuel mileage reports from the 3.5 Ecoboost. Yeah, its just numbers, and for as little as we'll be driving (compared to some folks) its not much extra cost, but still... it sticks in your mind.

So I've come around to contemplate the ProMaster as well. I like the lower price, even fully optioned. And hearing that folks are getting them for noticeably under invoice, not bad. I like the wider space inside, that could be a nice benefit for a conversion, might even manage to have the beds across the van instead of along the walls.


All this though, but I have yet to test drive any of them. We wouldn't be looking to purchase anything before early Spring next year.

And while I'm having a great time learning about DIY conversions (especially solar installations and using 8020 aluminum framing), I'm also aware that this whole thing may not happen at all. Ah, well... in the meantime, I'm now keeping up with stuff on all three van forums.
 

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The only thing I can disagree with you about is looks. I think the ProMaster is the best looking, Sprinter second and the Transit last!

I guess that proves beauty is in the eye of the beholder;)
 

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I was in your same shoes couldn't decide which one to purchase. I was leaning towards the Sprinter but the complexity of the diesel/twin turbo/emission systems-not just one but multiple/price point killed that. The Transit was nice but too narrow not sure what Ford was thinking all that waiting for it I think it's a dud out of the gate. The Promaster is much more functional low loading deck/floor is flatter/wider and the floor goes "edge to edge"the front wheel drive allows for all of this. Hope this helps. All Hands on Deck.
 

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I also started my research with the Sprinter in mind for a camper conversion. I learned all I could on Sprinter-Source but in the end the maintenance costs and quality issues worried me. I also thought the Transit looked better than the Promaster until I went and looked at them. They look downright cheap compared to even the Promaster, which surprised me. They are also extremely expensive. Once I laid down in the cargo area of a Promaster and saw that my 6' frame could easily sleep transversely I decided it was a contender. I then drove it and was convinced. Now I'm just waiting to steal one now that the 2015's are showing up on lots.
 

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I was like you. Wasn't going to buy until summer of 2015. Reading all three forums. Then I decided I had to go drive them for own sanity.

Driving them will help you a lot and let you focus better on what's true on the forum and what's just rediculous and wrong.

Then I got lucky and needed to buy one immediately. I knew exactly what I wanted.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, just in the past few weeks things have changed. My girl and I have mostly decided that we won't be buying a van for conversion.

For her dog agility events she usually goes with a good friend who has had a small Class A motorhome. Well, that's going up for sale and they're looking to buy a Sprinter based RV. They've also mentioned that we could use it too.

So... that kinda puts aside the need to buy a van and do a conversion. But not the want. :) I'm still browsing around on the three forums.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yet another turn of events. We've made a change and have nearly decided that we're going to get a PM and make an RV of it.

Got out to the local deal today, asked about the PMs, and was quickly offered a test drive. Took 'em up on it and got a short little drive in a 159wb gasser. Interesting. I'll be in touch with them to get a test drive on a diesel if they get one in soon, or just find one in the area. An order will probably be placed in the next month.
 

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Yet another turn of events. We've made a change and have nearly decided that we're going to get a PM and make an RV of it.

Got out to the local deal today, asked about the PMs, and was quickly offered a test drive. Took 'em up on it and got a short little drive in a 159wb gasser. Interesting. I'll be in touch with them to get a test drive on a diesel if they get one in soon, or just find one in the area. An order will probably be placed in the next month.
I think you are making the right decision as there is no better cargo van platform for an RV conversion.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Stopped by the Ford dealer today; didn't intend to test drive, just look, and that's what we did. Walked out to look at them, found a 148" Med roof, pulled on the back doors, unlocked!

So we spent 10-15 minutes inside looking at it and sitting behind the wheel. Was kinda nice to do so without any sales around.

Definitely a different driving position, more like a car than a truck or bus. Interesting that its basically the same dash layout as so many other Ford products. I like that it has more options and goodies available, that's always fun. But the mid-roof just seems a bit short, considering I'll be adding thickness with the flooring. Didn't get into the high roof, but it just seems SO massive from the outside.

Will probably get back this week for a test drive, just to try it; ya never now. Also planning on getting back to the PM dealer to just spend some time sitting in the PM (preferably without a partition, the one I test drove had a partition, felt rather odd front and rear)
 

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Stopped by the Ford dealer today; didn't intend to test drive, just look, and that's what we did. Walked out to look at them, found a 148" Med roof, pulled on the back doors, unlocked!

So we spent 10-15 minutes inside looking at it and sitting behind the wheel. Was kinda nice to do so without any sales around.

Definitely a different driving position, more like a car than a truck or bus. Interesting that its basically the same dash layout as so many other Ford products. I like that it has more options and goodies available, that's always fun. But the mid-roof just seems a bit short, considering I'll be adding thickness with the flooring. Didn't get into the high roof, but it just seems SO massive from the outside.

Will probably get back this week for a test drive, just to try it; ya never now. Also planning on getting back to the PM dealer to just spend some time sitting in the PM (preferably without a partition, the one I test drove had a partition, felt rather odd front and rear)
When I first started seeing Transits I loved them. They looked so balanced and sleek. Then I found out the ones I was seeing were mid roof. The high roof just looks like an after thought. So top heavy looking.

The high roof is really your only option if you are converting to an RV. Even if you are short and can fit in the mid roof those you bring on board may have to duck. Also, when you sell you will never get any money out of an RV conversion in a mid roof.
 

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Being Pro for Promaster for an RV is that instead of climbing in and out the side and rear doors
for the Transit.
The Promaster is more of a stepping in RV. I don't know if this makes any sense for you.
 

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There is some web chatter about guys in Transits bashing their heads coming out of slider door.

I've never bashed my head coming out the slider on my ProMaster. I'm 6'2.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Stopped by the Ram dealer again yesterday. Had a sit in a PM without a cargo partition. That was much nicer, and even being a 136wb it felt roomy. Also noted that the seat moved back farther, which is a requirement for my gal, much longer legs than me.


It was interesting talking with their fleet guy and realizing that I know FAR more about the PM then he does.


Driving out to another dealer this weekend to test drive a diesel. I really want to like the diesel, but it also really depends on what I (and the girl) think of the AMT transmission. Admittedly, more than 90% of the miles will be on the highway, so it'll be sixth gear; but I want to see what it is like around town.


After that, probably getting back to our dealer and placing an order. There's a 159wbEXT diesel a few hours away (that is NOT white!), but its not exactly like we want. And considering I'm not ready (with design or materials) to start on the RV build yet, a couple months delay to order might work just fine.
 

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A couple of months delay to order does not seem realistic. There is a thread about this. Five months seems to be the minimum!
 

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Good idea, if you wait a couple of months you will have the chance to buy a diesel without stupid electronic issues!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As mentioned, I want to like the diesel. Even if the cost per mile to operate is the same, I have a hard time getting my mind around 16-18mpg instead of 25-26 or better.

But, if we go with a gasser, more likely to find something in stock regionally that will cover most of what we want.
 

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I'd be surprised if any one received a factory order in less than 3-4 months. I'm the guy with the 5 month delivery time.

Is there anyone out there that got a delivery in the 6-8 weeks that all the dealers were projecting?

They are building them in as little as 6 weeks and then they sit waiting for transport.

If you order one I hope you will have the best of luck with the delivery time

Cheers
 
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