Ideas for new transit van conversion

subscriber

DanielW

date

November 24, 2015


QUESTION

Maybe I don’t grasp how to open your plans here on line. My wife and I are looking at getting a Transit cargo van(LWB, med roof [so it can fit in the garage], 3.5 eco boost, tow package). More interested in building a camper van not so much a class B Definitely interested in your proposed plans and any expertise you might share. Considering going the inverter route with APU AC system like the semis are going to.
Any thoughts are appreciated.

ANSWER

Dear Daniel W:
Thanks for your interest. FYI right now I’m at the same point as you with regard to actively looking and researching a Cargo Van; specifically the new Ford Transit, the Ram Promaster and the MB Sprinter. Previously I have been working on my Dodge B-250, however last year it started having too many age related problems, so I decided to start all over with a new van. Some of my work on that van can be found at the website:
CargoVanConversion.com

Maybe I don’t grasp how to open your plans here on line.
There is already a lot of information on the website, but unfortunately, not much to download. You can get automatic updates about all the new posts I will be adding, by clicking on the RSS-Feed button on the top-right side of the screen, if you are able to receive newsfeeds. If not, you can go to The Guide to Semi Flexible Solar Panels that I published just a few days ago, and download this guide. Your email address will then be added to the newsletter list, from which you will get periodic updates of my installation. You can also reply on this email for a request to being added to the list and I will do that personally.
I will detail all the steps I’m taking to convert the van, as well as supply a lot of related information. As every step is prepared or finished I will publish and make available for free as much info as possible, which you can use for your benefit.
Right now you can download this guide on solar panels from my home page and look at the 2014 Cargo Van Comparisons articles. I’m finishing the NEW 2015 Cargo Van Comparisons within the next few weeks. If you subscribe to the Newsletter, you’ll get that information automatically.
What I can advise you is to bookmark the website and return frequently to read the old posts and watch for updates. I wish you much success with your endeavor and please, leave your comments at any of the articles you read or send me a direct email with any questions that you may have.
Happy Travels!
Van Williams

ANSWER

Van;
I have considered the same 3 choices.
Looked at Sprinters for a long time. My wife is a freight broker and we considered getting a Sprinter and doing some expedite LTL small stuff. Have several acquaintances in the freight world and a lot of the feedback from them was not good on the Sprinter. High dollar oil changes and croaking at 100k miles.
I was excited when the Ram came out. I know the Ducato has been in Europe a long time; in fact up near a little town in northern New Mexico, I encountered a Frenchman that was going on a global trek in a Ducato with wife and 2 kids. His van was a cutaway class B; but that still pretty gutsy! I like and dislike the FWD.
Like the low flat cargo floor; and dislike the low ground clearance. That brings up the Transit, beefed up American made. And I hope that doesn’t ruin it. New assembly line—hope the robotics do well. Ford certainly is having enough issues with marketing and getting the product and the product info out to the dealerships.
I have driven all 3 brands. I like the Transit best. We drove both the cargo and the wagon. Drove the wagon to get a feel for a finished vehicle—nice. I probably would go for the lwb extended body except that extended body is not available with the medium roof.
I try to lay things out physically and have this super helpful guide—it’s a covered dog kennel 6ft wide! I can establish my ceiling height & lay things out to see their footprint etc. I’m leaning towards front sleeper behind driver; cooking just aft of the sliding door and shower/toilet right rear.
Daniel

ANSWER

Dear Daniel W:
Looked at Sprinters
In my opinion the MB Sprinters have two major disadvantages: they only come in diesels, which are more expensive to service, and they are built by Mercedes Benz which parts are more expensive.

the Ducato has been in Europe a long time
The Ducato has been sold in Europe for many years under the Fiat name and I have friends in the Netherlands, who are not very exited about its endurance and longevity. That is just one opinion, but it makes me think.

That brings up the Transit, beefed up American made. And I hope that doesn’t ruin it. New assembly line

First year production always remains a problem. As you may know, the Ram ProMaster already has two recalls. Problems should be expected in the first year(s) of production.

I probably would go for the lwb extended body
My choice, right now, would be the LWB-Ext. with a high roof, however parking problems and deed restrictions will probably force me to go with a LWB medium roof. Likely a better choice too for the wild camping (sort of ‘boondocking’) that I would like to do.

cooking just aft of the sliding door
If you have looked at the first three concept layouts on the website, my preference right now goes to the rear kitchen/bathroom option, though the option with the rear elevated bed gives so much storage room. I’ll likely do a few more concept layouts, based on the needs of my planned use of the van, before I will make a decision. Still have lots of time to decide.
I wish you much success with your plans and hope to hear from your progress on-line as well. Just leave a comment, as many other would-be-owners will be interested in your questions and expectations.
Van Williams

ANSWER

Thought you might like to see this—got it from a ontact at their HQ. He drove the prototype.
Daniel

ANSWER

Dear Daniel W:
As always, this ProMaster PleasureWay, looks picture perfect. The following is just my personal opinion and not a verdict of their product.
Reality is a very high purchase price relative to the base price of a cargo van. In addition, with self-built one can adjust the layout and finish anyway you want and not limited to what is offered. And quality is always in question. I recently dismantled an old travel trailer I used for many years and discovered that the materials used such as insulation, were from an exceptionally bad quality. Things you cannot see are often not discussed when you’re looking at the vehicle in the showroom. In a self-built, one can choose the materials you like and add appliances appropriate for your travel plans. Whether the end-product will be as professional, depends on your own capabilities and requirements, but at least you know how it was built.
One more reason for me to go with a cargo van, is that I’d like to stay fairly stealthy and un-RV like. By the way, great to have some insider information.
Van Williams

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