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Hey Y'all,

Newby here,considering a sprinter or a pm. Really want to make the right choice on the vehicle up front don't need it right now so been researching for a couple months. Very avid rock climber with my wife and want to camperize. Most conversions are way to expensive, we will be carrying a lot of gear so a garage type set up with a galley in front half seems the most attractive set up thus far.Have really enjoyed the forum so far.
 

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Welcome! In Europe, the Fiat Ducato is, by far, the most commonly chosen van for camper conversion. Much more so than the Sprinter or the Transit.

I like the front wheel drive a lot because I live in very rugged country. I will say that I am beyond pleased with my choice of a promaster.

Hope that you, too, are pleased with whatever you choose.
 

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PM vs.

I went through the same dilemma as to what to buy. I ended up with the PM. Here's my thoughts:

The Sprinter is, by all reports, not an option. It's substantially more expensive to buy, and I've heard nothing but bad things regarding quality and reliability and cost of ownership. Seems like half of this board is former Sprinter owners who are sick of it.

The new Transit is compelling, but I rejected it because it's too new and I don't want to be anyones guinea pig. It's also about $4,000 more comparably equipped. So far as I know, Ford's diesel actually exists and is for sale, where the PM's seems to be vaporware. I thought it was supposed to be out beginning of 2014.

Regardless, as much as I'm a fan of diesels I don't think it's the way to go. The actual money saved in fuel is pretty close to even with gas. The best case is maybe 150,000 to break even on the extra cost of the diesel engine.

But for me, diesel is a no-go because any money saved in fuel will instantly be lost from even the slightest repair. You won't be able to have anyone work on your diesel but the dealership, and even they will probably be incompetent to fix it. The Pentastar, by contrast, is simple, parts are cheap, it's common, and any boob who can work on a minivan can work on it.

Of course, if we are only talking about money, the cheapest route will always be a used vehicle. But I suspect you've ruled that out.

Let us know what you are thinking.
Kip-on-Truckin'
 

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I have had mine for several months--use it as a camper. Had a bed installed and went to Big Bend in Texas---worked out great. Just returned from a month of camping in California, Nevada, and Utah. Love the ride, gas mileage, turns on a dime and have taken it on some rough roads--semi-4 wheel drive and it performed beautifully. I really love it and my wife has become a convert. I am now going to have it insulated, paneled, extra battery and solar panel added with a couple of 12 volt outlets, USB ports, small light, vent/fan and 10x36 slider windows in the back quarter panels. I immediately added Michelin all terrain tires when I bought it and they have worked great---good luck with yours.
 

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Hey walsheesh,

One thing that is important if you choose the PM is that all of us have taken a leap of faith when we placed our orders! This Van is in its first year of production in North America although it is only a rejigged version of one of the best selling vans in Europe; you still need to take the leap.

There have been a number of hiccups off the get go and as far as I can tell all of them are specific to either the new upgrade or startup learning curve in the assembly line. You can reed about most of them on the forum. I hoping most of them will have been worked out by the time they made my van!

I ordered my PM 3500 159wb Ext for the same use as you; Climbing/windsurfing/Mtn biking.

after weighing all the pros and cons I chose the PM for the volume to length ratio. You get a lot more space with the vertical walls and the added width of the PM. As far as I know the PM is the only van you can sleep sideways in without adding flares.

I have a Toyota Tacoma now and the PM Ext is only 1ft longer than my Tacoma. The PM front wheel drive allows for more cargo space with a shorter overall length.

The significant cost savings of the PM has allowed me to reallocated the savings to camperize the van.

I am still waiting for my van so I can't comment on it critically, but I did test drive both the PM and the Sprinter. The PM does drive much better with less roll in the turns.

Things that I may not be happy with are: clearance for rough roads, Seat comfort, seat adjustment is complicated, no tilt steering just telescoping, only arm rest on one side, inside door handle is flimsy, a small but all so important feature coffee cup holder is out of reach in the PM:(. I'm sure I can make grounds for all but the lack of steering wheel tilt.

I am going with the up front galley (Euro style) as well. We will build a high bed in the back with all the gear storage under the bed. We are forgoing a bathroom and using an outdoor shower to gain more storage for gear.

You may want to consider using a tray slider/cargo bed slider for the garage. I have been using one in my Tacoma for many years. They increase storage space and keep gear accessible and organized.

Best of luck on your choice

Dave
 
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