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Old 12-01-2018, 04:13 AM   #1
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Hello everyone, happy to have joined this forum.

Wife and I retired two years ago and anxious to start road trips from Alaska to Key West. We do overseas trips too but it's North America that we are so looking forwards to. Nothing like our continent !

Unlike many of you, we purchased a new 2018 RAM Promaster 159" wheel base high top van with just two front swivel seats. We started the build and will hit the road long before it's complete. When completed, some time next year, I hope it's as nice as the units on this forum. Ideas and advise welcomed.

Look forward learning about your experiences. Am familiar with many of your chassis as I participate on the Sprinter and Transit forum and now here knowing I will learn a lot.

Santiago
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Old 12-01-2018, 06:35 PM   #2
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Welcome in the forum, I am looking forward to see your conversion.
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Old 12-01-2018, 06:43 PM   #3
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Hi George, thank you.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your words of wisdom over at Sprinter board. You and Orton are up there in my book.

I found your build to be outstanding from a technical point of view - functional, open, well engineered and very attractive.

Santiago
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:24 PM   #4
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Welcome in the forum, I am looking forward to see your conversion.
Yes, the conversion will be well documented and laid out on a future website. Taking photos as I proceed but won't have it all together till sometime next year as wife and I are spending way too much time on other projects. This conversion is fill in time.

When we worked, vacation time was limited and had children so we camped at specific locations for the duration of our typical 2 week time off. Now in retirement and all alone, children grown thank goodness, we will no longer "camp". Our van is intentionally designed for touring not camping.

Camping few days only in National/State Parks, no commercial campground stays. We will leisurely explore communities and events as we crisscross the US and Canada taking our time but without losing sight of each multi month long trips' final destination such as the east coast, Alaska, northeastern states, southern states, Canada, etc. Except for National/State Parks, avoiding reservations. Spontaneity is key.

Santiago
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Santiago View Post
Hi George, thank you.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your words of wisdom over at Sprinter board. You and Orton are up there in my book.

I found your build to be outstanding from a technical point of view - functional, open, well engineered and very attractive.

Santiago
Thank you for good words,
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:24 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum! It looks like you did your research before purchasing a Promaster.
May I ask what criteria you used to make your decision? ...and how that criteria led you to decide on the Promaster platform?
Thanks!
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:45 PM   #7
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May I ask what criteria you used to make your decision? ...and how that criteria led you to decide on the Promaster platform?
Thanks!
Hi RKM,

Never been asked this, hopefully my answer will be helpful.
All three Euro style vans sold in the US were considered.

When I first saw the Promaster a few years ago, was not impressed with looks and specially being a front wheel drive cargo van. Am very biased and still think autos should be pushed from behind and not pulled.

Another bias I have is appreciating German engineering and build. So the Sprinted instantly floated to top of list. Yes I know it cost more. I still think the Sprinter chassis, exterior and interior styling best of all three vans.

Yes am aware of the Sprinters' body rusting issues along with other issues I read about on the Sprinter forum. A big negative were stories I read regarding dealership issues and cost to maintain. The stake through the heart was the diesel engine. I now see they will soon be offering a gasoline engine. Nice.

I love diesel engines and think Mercedes makes great ones that last forever. Thanks to regulations all US automotive diesel are under attack and unfortunately what was a wonderful automotive power source became problematic. Glad I had diesel cars years ago and was looking forward to more until the EPA swooped in.

We did not care for the tight cab in the Transit. A very nice van but wife did not like its styling.

The Promaster, a re-badged Fiat Ducato, had characteristics the other two did not.

1. Cost less and had excellent factory incentives.

2. Is wider than competition which made a hugh difference when looking to maximize limited floor space.

3. All Fiat-Chrysler dealers and independents are familiar with the Promasters' Pentstar gas V6 and transmission as it's the backbone of all non V8 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep autos, SUVs and pickup trucks. I had this engine in my RAM pick up truck. Replacements are plentiful, new and used, and cheap.

Thanks to front wheel drive:

4. Floor height is about six inches lower.

5. Turning circle is awesome.

6. Road grip excellent when driving in bad weather, rain and snow due to power train weight over front driving wheels. It encroaches 4WD performance.

7. Body is covered with rust prevention coating.

Does the Promaster have it's quirks, yes it does - after all its a Fiat, don't ask how I know. I have no doubt the other two vans have theirs as well only different.

If my Promaster disappeared tomorrow, I would purchase another to replace it. Having said that, I would consider the Sprinter if it was offered with front wheel drive, a small gasoline engine and stretched wider so as to sleep crosswise.

Driving position is good. A little VW bus like but that's ok. It does not handle like a Porsche but appreciate it is our home on the road for months at a time and no performance car can match that.


Santiago
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:20 AM   #8
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Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I agree with all of your points; which is why we chose the Promaster as well.
We had a Winnebago View on a Sprinter platform. On our first trip from Chicago to Dallas the ‘check engine’ light went on near Joplin, Mo. We couldn’t find anyone to check it for us. Either their mechanics weren’t qualified under warranty or they just didn’t service Sprinters. We didn’t find a place until we got to Dallas.
We sold it shortly after that.
Found a lightly used Promaster Van and had an custom builder in FL convert it for us.
He did an excellent job and the cost was reasonable.
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