Ram Promaster Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Members,

Apologies for failure to introduce initially. From the Baltimore area. Wife a baker and looking at a delivery van/America explorer. I will copy and paste my initial post that was moved.

Members,

My very first post on this forum! My wife has a bakery and we are looking for a vehicle for deliveries. In addition, and I would say the vast majority of its use, would be for exploring America. Today I saw the 159 wheelbase, high roof, window van. I have driven Pro masters in the past. I was absolutely impressed by the nearly square cargo area and the location of the windows is perfect for creating upper cabinets and the typical interior van build out. The windows created a very airy feel. The van that I saw had six position seats that actually allowed tilting forward and back of the entire seat. With that, the foot position was actually quite comfortable. The van that I saw was very well specked out with nearly all options. I like the fact that I'm able to stand and it, I am 6 foot, and it is nearly not as obnoxious as the very tall roof Ford transit.

I also like the fact that the emergency brake it is on the left-hand side and clearly it is below the seat rail once it is depressed. I understand there are concerns for its use with swivel seats, but if worse comes to worse, I am considering an electronic parking brake such as E stopp. I looked under the hood, and it oil filter is on top of the motor. In addition, the dipstick has the shape of a stranded steel cable. That means to me that oil changes can be done with an extraction method, just like I do on the old Mercedes ML 320 that I nurse. In essence you can do this without getting underneath the vehicle.

But then again, I also looked at the Ford transit. The 2020 model, with all-wheel-drive, with the six-cylinder Ecoboost motor is incredibly impressive. The seating position and the availability for very advanced driving aids is something. The Ford transit can even be ordered with adaptive cruise control. It behaved incredibly well on the test drive and I have no doubt that with proper maintenance and frequent oil changes the vehicle will last quite nicely.

The pro-master definitely has, and I felt, a certain European engineering standpoint. For instance, the armrests adjust with a turn dial. That is very common for European vehicles.

I know the pro-master is much nicer to build out, but the Ford transit is so technically advanced in terms of its available driving aids.

I have looked at the Mercedes sprinter and it is an amazing vehicle. The problem is I am not a big fan of diesel motors. In my opinion, the headaches with regards to maintenance and cost of operations, dealer availability, outweigh any potential minimal gain in mileage. It's gasoline motor is simply too anemic for my taste. In the Mercedes Metris I am sure it is fine.

So please share with me if you will, your decision-making process as to why you came to the pro-master. Many on the Ford transit forum consider the pro-master somewhat substandard in terms of its build quality. To me, if all that refers to is the dashboard, then perhaps. But I know the V6 Pentastar motor has multiport fuel injection, as opposed to direct injection (with its related intake valve carbon issues), and with proper care will give a very long useful life. If anything, the pro-master's weak point appears to be its transmission, but I'm not too sure about that.

Apologies for the lengthy first post but I'm very curious as to what this community has to say. To those that reply, thank you very much in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
I think the weak link on most front wheel drive vehicles is the transmission, but it is nothing that can't be repaired/replaces without the crazy costs of anything on the Mercedes.

I chose the Promaster for the front wheel drive, I operate in the Northeast. While I don't believe front wheel drive is inherently superior it allows the load floor and center of gravity to be lower when you build it. I likes a lot about the Transit, but it sits so much higher.

I like the square wall and a lot of the other features, but low center of gravity is something I like in my vehicles. As a bonus I can fit my Promaster in the garage at work on the first level.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
We were attracted to the PM because it's (1) FWD (we also live in the Northeast), (2) boxy with plenty of room even in a 136" LR, and (3) much cuter on the outside (guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,581 Posts
For me it was value first. What you get for what you pay. I looked at Fords first and they were simply too expensive for what you get.
I originally wanted a rwd diesel so that I could still be able to tow after giving up the pickup. However, the transit stopped offering the 3.2 diesel and it was $45k for a transit configured the way I wanted and I'd be stuck with a turbo V6 which I did not want.
Once I gave up on getting a diesel van that I could tow with, the promaster won in every other department.
Same reasons everyone else likes them and the features you noticed:
Lower floor height, roof height that accommodates a 6' person without a ridiculous overall vehicle height, extra interior width and relatively square shape, I liked the aerodynamic external body shape and it was $10k less than the transit. Would have found one for $30k, but the wife preferred gray over white and I wanted the 6way seats. Only found one gray one with the seats and it had other factory features that I didn't want, bit had to pay for.
Mine is a 2019, purchased in Oct 2019. I have 12k mi on it already and haven't experienced any issues, big or small, common or uncommon.
It doesn't have the the added torque at lower rpm that you get with a turbo, but I'm not towing or maxing out it's 4000 lb cargo capacity, so I don't need the added expense or potential expensive failure point.
And as mentioned, if I ever do need drivetrain work, parts are affordable and easily accessible for this engine platform.
So, overall, the promaster has more value for price paid, lower cost of ownership and more features that are conducive to a camper build. One of which, beside internal shape/dimensions, is that being a fwd, there's no large rear axle or driveshaft in the way for mounting tanks or running lines underneath.
Dashboard aesthetics, headliner color, cool sound system, etc are not things I care about so not a factor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
I test drove a Ford Transit, and a few different lengths of ProMaster, didn't drive a Sprinter, and ruled out the Nissan before I even started.

A few reasons:

1) Ease of obtaining parts. The 3.6 V6 engine is extremely common everywhere in the US
2) I didn't want diesel due to the more complex emissions that seems to be plaguing modern diesel engines, fuel isn't always as readily available, and more expensive to work on and maintain
3) They all seem to have mechanical complaints -- even though Fiat-Chrysler aren't the most well regarded brands, in the vans they all have problems, so... #1
4) Cheapest, by quite a bit, offsetting #3
5) dimensions -- this was a big one. Being able to put a full mattress sideways, plus tall enough to stand in w/ half-way decent posture, without being crazy tall was a big win for me. The mid-height Ford wasn't tall enough for me to stand in, and the high roof Ford is 10" taller on the outside for only 4" of interior height.

I did want adaptive cruise and other driver assistance, but I've gone without those for so many years that I decided that I could continue to do without (though do have lane keep warning and adaptive cruise in my other vehicles).

I'm at almost 30k miles and very happy with my choice so far.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RV8R

·
Registered
2014 136” HR
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Love at first sight when I saw a Ducato in 2008. FWD is huge, both for handling and usability. The only thing I don’t like is the black in the cab—that's pretty minor, doncha think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,581 Posts
I kinda like the black. The Fords are all gray and it's a bit much.
But, taste is a matter of taste.
However, I don't only like it because I think it looks nicer. Being black, it all blends together and only the things that need to be looked at, catch your attention. Also, being black, there's less of a noticeable reflection of the top of the dash on the inside of the huge windshield. If the dash was a light color, that might be an issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all so much for your replies! For me, I really like the look of the Promaster (or PM in forum speak!). Even in the 159extended, high roof, it really looks proportional. For us, the windowed version is perfect and looks really sharp. Really like the silver or the sandstone. I am a shade tree mechanic and do alot of my own work. Under the hood, the top mounted oil filter is a huge plus. A Stahlbus quickdrain oil plug would be my 1st add on (I run it in my truck - m14 x 1.5 I believe). It has a hose attachment (just place in container and twist on - no mess). I really like the 6 position seats, curious if could be swiveled. What sells me the most, is the way the cargo box is laid out. It is perfect for us. Even the windowed version is placed properly. I guess Fiat/Ducato is no stranger to RV conversions.

To me, the Pentastar is big selling point. This is a MPFI engine. The intake ports will always stay clean. No need to think about catch cans, etc.

Looking at the data for the 2021, looks like blind side assist will be available as well as a fancy rear view mirror/camera. We will see.

I am not a stranger to electrical systems and solar, mechanical issues, so I will chime in when I can help.

Glad to be a part of this forum!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
We also had a Ducato bias from the start, based on renting many (diesel) Ducato-based RVs in Europe. We also came at it planning to factory order. Although we like diesels (having owned 40mpg VW diesels for 40 years), Sprinters were just way too expensive and local dealers were less than helpful. Didn't like the feel of the Transit interior space, including the engine hump encroaching on swivel space. We liked the PM for all the reasons others have stated, then we found a nice dealer offering a good price. We've had no regrets or mechanical issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
I had a friend with an early Transit. Beautiful van and powerful, but in a year he dumped it due to the issues with the RWD. He traded it for a F150. I saw the PM as good enough and when I test drove one I was really impressed by the torque it makes off the line as well as the crisp handling of the FWD. The van I traded in was a E350 12 passenger van I had owned for 7 years. I liked it well enough but on crowned back roads it would want to drift towards the ditch. The PM just tracks straight as an arrow by comparison. And at just 60k miles the Ford was showing signs of expensive issues coming up. When it downshifted for hills, the cam chains went to war and sounded awful and the AC compressor was getting weak. Plus suspension maintenance was needed. I wanted to trade it while it still drove OK. The Ford dealer was not budging off the sticker price of their Transits. Heck, local Ram dealer didn't want to come off the sticker of their year old 14 models. I shopped the internet and found a dealer one state away (100 miles south) with a demo 14 model for $7k off the sticker. It had 500 demo miles on it. That's the one I bought. The 2 1/2 hour drive home was fun and got to know the van well. Was impressed it got 24 mpg at 55 mph cruising home. I did later add some drag to the roof with 4 solar panels, but it'll still get 23+ mpg cruising back roads at the speed limit. 5 years later, quite happy with it still. We put a full size bed sideways in the rear, installed two small side windows for ventilation when camping. The four solar cells on the roof go thru a 40 amp MPT charger controller to keep a couple large AGM golf cart batteries charged. And we run our little fridge/freezer off that with a 500 watt PS inverter. Still plenty of room for stuff in the side cargo area and the room under the bed area holds our bags and some chairs. Its a good daily driver as well as back road cruiser.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for the reply. To me, the Promaster just looks proportional in the 159ext, high roof version. It just looks right. For me to stand in a Transit, I would need the high roof and it just wrong. The midroof is fine, but I am slightly hunched. I really like the full window van, looks really sharp. There is a reason why this van is incredibly popular in Europe for conversions (though Ford seems to sell more Transits - like for more commercial use).
 

·
Premium Member
2018 - 136" HR
Joined
·
168 Posts
Cost was one big factor. Transit was much more expensive for a high roof.

Also, the combination of wheelbase to roof height. With the PM you can get the snappy 136" wheel base with a roof high enough for a 6' individual to stand with headroom after the interior is built out (well, at least you can with mine!). That was important for us: we wanted the high roof but also the ability to park in normal parking spots. Pretty handy in the city.

Then there's the width. I like the side-to-side bed.

I love our van. But when the Transit AWD was announced the next year, I had emotions. There are times when I wish I had a little more help on dirt roads, etc. But I also don't have much business (or interest) driving on bad roads, it's always out of necessary. Anyways, I think the PM looks way more bad-A.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
727 Posts
I bought my PM in Dec. 2013 as a retirement gift. It was not my first choice, but the Ford Transit was not available in Canada until next Summer, so I opted for the PM.

My next van will be a Promaster, I love it, mainly because it offers the best cargo volume/size ratio and no major problems so far with 150 Km(93K miles) on the road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,581 Posts
I got it 'cause it's a super cool chick magnet.
Actually, I'm not sure if it's the van or my cool black socks and boat shoes.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,020 Posts
The transit is so pig ugly I wouldn’t even consider one!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
413 Posts
I picked the PM because it was cheap and because it had FWD.

After 2 years of frustration, I sold it back to FCA under lemon law requirements.

And then I made a stupid mistake: Figuring the bad luck was behind me, I bought another.

2 more years of frustration ensued, most of which was caused by ignorant, uncaring, or downright malicious dealer people.

I've since sold that van and bought an AWD Transit. Wish I had started there and saved a lot of frustration, anxiety, expense, and downtime.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,581 Posts
Hopefully you have better luck with the Ford and the Ford dealer.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top