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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am still researching options for a new vehicle. I definitely want something that can be used for driving to work and around town, but I want it be be comfortable for weekend camping and road trips, as well as bicycle and dog hauling.

I don't have any plans for a fancy RV style camper, but I would want to insulate the interior, add ventilation, and build a modular sleep/storage system that could be removed between trips. A bit of power for fan, lighting and gadgets would be nice, but a 2nd battery that charges while driving will probably suffice. I saw a link for a gasoline heater that runs off the vehicles gas tank. Sounds expensive and complicated, but it would be awesome. I will definitely need help with trying to install that.

I am debating between getting a PMC to be used as a daily driver and load the camping set-up in and out as needed, or getting a Promaster 118 as a weekender and part time daily driver. That would mean that I would keep my 2007 Honda Fit (with 100K) for short trips where the van isn't needed. I haven't completely ruled out a high roof 136 but I am really fighting the urge to go big.

I don't see alot of inventory available within 100 miles, my local dealer has 4 identical PMCs and no Promasters. I am not ready to interact with a dealership, but I need to check out the vehicles in person before getting too far down the process. I will probably need to order my vehicle since I really don't want a white van, but there are a few grey and red one within 150 miles that I would accept. I worry that ordering a vehicle will hurt my ability to negotiate on price, but if I work with a dealership that has a fleet dept, I hope I can avoid paying extra to order the vehicle that I want.

Thanks in advance for all the great info on the forum and any advice that those with experience can offer.
 

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I Decided.

I ended up going big. My thoughts of getting a PMC didnt last long. They would make an efficient bicylce and dog hauler and could provide a very basic sleeping layout, but I realized that a PMC was too small for a camper. I would be better off keeping my compact car as a grocery hauler and getting a full size van. Once I accepted that I needed a real Promaster, I looked at 2 low roof vans and I really liked the interior height. I am almost 5'7" and I could stand up straight between roof rails. They were so much taller than the classic Ford and Dodge vans that I was certain that a low roof van would be right for me. But I had to look at a high roof van before I committed.

The local dealerships only had low roof vans, so I took a 60 mile drive to get inside a high roof model. Of course, once I got inside of a high roof model, it was hard to justify getting a short top. All that extra space for free, and I couldn't detect any difference betwwen how the high vs low roof vans drove. I also found that rear windows so helpful when trying to change lanes, and a passenger side window really helps with any remaining vision issues.

I ended up buying a Silver Promaster 1500 136" high roof from a dealer 130 miles away. It has rear windows, but I will need to add a passenger side window ASAP. I worked out the deal via email, and was happy to work out a great price. My experience at the dealership was quick and painless, with no high pressure sales or attempts to change the agreed upon price. I overcame any concerns about driving such a big vehicle along the 2.5 hour drive home. I was relieved to find that the van fits in my driveway without scraping on the steep transition from the roadway.

Life is good.

I look forward to getting out on the road and trying an overnight soon. I will definitely be using this forum as a resource for my upcoming improvements, and will try and share any knowledge that I pick up along the way.
 

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We tried camping and hauling things likes bikes, etc in our Dodge Caravan which I think is bigger than the PMC and we just found it was too small. We ended up buying a low roof 136 and are very happy with it.
 
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