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Old 11-23-2021, 05:39 AM   #1
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Default A Question for Owners of Promasters & Transit Class B's

In the process of designing a new rig for myself & presently own a 2005 Roadtrek 190 Versatile that is fairly modified.

First thing I did was lift it, front & rear, about 5 inches higher than stock because previously I was scraping tanks& sewer lines as a new owner of a poorly designed vehicle for clearance.

Question; Are any of you having issues with Ground Clearance?

By the way, it's unlikely I will have either a Generator or the Plumbing and the lower Black & Gray Tanks (minimal).
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Old 11-23-2021, 11:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by themexicandoctor View Post
In the process of designing a new rig for myself & presently own a 2005 Roadtrek 190 Versatile that is fairly modified.

First thing I did was lift it, front & rear, about 5 inches higher than stock because previously I was scraping tanks& sewer lines as a new owner of a poorly designed vehicle for clearance.

Question; Are any of you having issues with Ground Clearance?

By the way, it's unlikely I will have either a Generator or the Plumbing and the lower Black & Gray Tanks (minimal).
As a owner of 2015 PW Lexor TS built on Ram Promaster chassis. I can tell you ground clearance is minimal. I know you are not planning on having a genny. My genny is only 5.5 inches from ground. The drains for dumping are about 7-8 inches.

If you want to tow and carry more stuff. I would definitely get a Ford Transit with ecoboost. Much more torque and horsepower. I have heard they make a 4wd version? Promaster is sufficient but not excessive for power. I never tow anything. I also try and watch how much weight I add when traveling and camping.

No genny? Everyone uses their class B differently. I mentally debated genny but decided after 4 yrs, I used them for dry camping. Actually just upgraded to new Onan 2800i inverted model. I also have lots of lithium on board.
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Old 11-23-2021, 01:28 PM   #3
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Question; Are any of you having issues with Ground Clearance?
The long (22') Transit has a lot of rear overhang and hence poor ground clearance. The short Transits have the same ride height but less overhang. A short Transit with a lift kit would give pretty decent ground clearance.
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Old 11-23-2021, 03:25 PM   #4
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We take our DIY 136” PM on any road not labeled "high clearance" or "4WD". Nothing hanging underneath except what the factory put there. Fully loaded for a trip, we are less than 7,000 lb.

If you need high clearance, don’t buy a PM and expect to raise it. That's a good way to destroy CV joints.
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Old 11-23-2021, 03:37 PM   #5
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If you need high clearance, don’t buy a PM and expect to raise it. That's a good way to destroy CV joints.
I've read of people who did thousands of dollars of damage by adding a 3 or more inch lift kit and Ram also voids your warranty covering the suspension system.

I would research what Transit may do in this situation.
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Old 11-23-2021, 03:44 PM   #6
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I've read of people who did thousands of dollars of damage by adding a 3 or more inch lift kit and Ram also voids your warranty covering the suspension system.

I would research what Transit may do in this situation.

Yep, as mentioned by others the front U-joints and maybe the output shaft bearings and seals in the transaxle won't like much lift. How much lift is too much will depend somewhat on how much below stock they start at with an RV load on the van, though, so it may vary be brand a bit.


The bad driveshaft angles you get with short driveshafts with the heavy loads are just not compatible with getting too far off of stock ride height.


Rear drive has a longer driveshaft so less angle, and even if the angle gets too big, the rear axle can usually be shimmed to adjust the angle back to good.
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Old 11-23-2021, 04:42 PM   #7
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Default Quigley Ford Transit QLift

Quigley offers a 2" lift kit for the Transit AWD and RWD vans that claims to retain factory driveline angles. And since Quigley is an Ford factory qualified SVE (Special Vehicle Engineering) upfitter they're probably the safest, though not least expensive, of the Transit lift options.
http://https://www.quigley4x4.com/products/qlift/
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Old 11-23-2021, 06:40 PM   #8
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I have no experience with Promaster and Transit and defer to those who do. I do think a 5” lift is a bit too much after seeing the effects of a 2” lift in my 144”WB Sprinter. I don’t have 4x4 but do have the MB Sprinter factory lift kit they put in 4x4s.

I was under the impression ground clearance of PMs and Transits were not as much as Sprinters. That’s just an observation more with the PMs. Avanti is ordering an extended overhang Transit AWD and said the overhang was 76” vs my former extended body Sprinter of 79”. I had trouble with getting on ferries and crossing rainwater culverts in the southwest pulling into some service stations and once a McDonalds with bottoming out. Those weren’t 4x4 situations. I wonder if 3” would make a difference unless AWD ground clearance is substantial. I went to a Ford site and couldn’t find any substantiating information to verify. But it is food for thought with my experience.

I’ve now maybe overreacted with my new short Sprinter. It doesn’t have much of an overhang, the side nerf bars with steps upfitter installed have an 8.5” clearance and there is nothing underneath MB Sprinter construction or upfitter additions of tanks less than 11” clearance.
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Old 11-23-2021, 07:45 PM   #9
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Thank you - I think for us earlier Roadtrek owners & maybe some Pleasureway owners, the sticking point was the tanks & drains were in the middle at exactly the lowest points.

Now after upfitting with everyone from Bill Erb initially at Valley Spring Works in Dixon, CA (Coils that were 2.75 inches taller & indestructible, an extra Leaf in the Rear, plus he heat treated my Rear Leaf Springs), then Supersprings in Santa Barbara, CA (where I have the Supersprings, Bump Stops & Sumo Spings), & then finally, Weldtech Design in El Cajon, CA (3 inch lift Kit with Spindles, 2 inch Aluminum Blocks in the Rear, 4 Heavy Duty Bilsteins) - I finally got over the hump.

(see a couple of pics - you will notice the Red Components - this was done in Bill Erb's factory to illustrate how much blood I spilt trying to rectify the engineering compromises Roadtrek handed us)

And during this 5 year period of Lift Improvements I must have kissed 10 other Frogs who after spending half a day in their shops decided "Oops, our idea isn't going to work ..."

Weldtec Design do offer Lift Kits for Ford Transits & while mine was a 2005 Chevy, I highly recommend Jeremy & Crew. They said they have No interest in working with Promaster/Ram at this time.

I hear you with the Generator choice, I love mine & it's kept my Batteries in Optimal Shape despite its inefficiencies as such.

From studying the Guru's answers here, the Dual Alternator seems the most plausible future choice, even to the unlikely choice of omitting solar.
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Old 11-23-2021, 09:01 PM   #10
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Weldtec Design do offer Lift Kits for Ford Transits & while mine was a 2005 Chevy, I highly recommend Jeremy & Crew. They said they have No interest in working with Promaster/Ram at this time.
Good decision on their part. Too many people are being talked into lifts on the Promaster from companies saying... no problem with Ram warranty. And then something fails and the owner is stuck with the costs.
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Old 11-24-2021, 06:15 PM   #11
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If your looking for an off pavement capable vehicle, ruts too, then the Quigley 4x4 is the way to go. It will never be a rock crawler though. The standard commercial class B is vulnerable to curbs and steep driveways.
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Old 11-24-2021, 10:48 PM   #12
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I rented a Tiger RV once in Colorado. It was built on a heavy duty 4x4 pickup chasis with high clearance and a decent pass through from the cab to the living area. If I wanted a serious off road RV with similar size and features to a van, I would have bought one of these instead of a Class B van.
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Old 11-25-2021, 05:59 AM   #13
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Thank you Everyone.

Just looking at Chassis options & seeing if there are issues that Class B's had, 10 years or so ago.
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Old 11-25-2021, 05:15 PM   #14
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Doc, I don't live in my Chevy Express-based van full time. Therefore, the cramped headroom is tolerable. But I do see the advantage in the newer boxy vans that curve in only slightly and seem much more roomy inside.

I would probably opt for a Ford Transit for the gas engine and greater head room. The all-wheel version with a 2-3" lift would probably be my idea "b" chassis.
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Old 11-25-2021, 05:26 PM   #15
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Doc, I don't live in my Chevy Express-based van full time. Therefore, the cramped headroom is tolerable. But I do see the advantage in the newer boxy vans that curve in only slightly and seem much more roomy inside.

I would probably opt for a Ford Transit for the gas engine and greater head room. The all-wheel version with a 2-3" lift would probably be my idea "b" chassis.

I would probably do the same. I think even the shorter version would have about the same length of behind the seats space as an extended Chevy like we have, and getting rid of the big overhang in the Transit would be a good thing. May the good Dr will check the interior floor behind the seats dimensions and let us know how that would be.
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Old 11-26-2021, 05:11 AM   #16
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If I get near a Transit Booster, I will.

Still in the planning stages.

Might have included a Mercedes Benz if it wasn't for all the issues everyone is having & it appears there is no resolution in sight.

Again it's the issue perhaps with us earlier owners with the ground effects, tanks & drains at a low point bring back the bad memories.

Having no Generator but a Dual Alternator system & maybe Solar*, I think no Generator & no Tanks or Drains.

*happy I have my present generator for now but the Guru's here are very clear; a high quality, dual alternator is the way to go

Apart from a 5 Gallon Porta Potti with an extra 5 Gallon cassette & a custom 5 gallon Gray Bladder, I hope to have about 2 x 20 Gallons of fresh water capacity on either side of the wheel wells or perhaps an across the back rear, under bed, 40 gallon tank.
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Old 11-26-2021, 02:15 PM   #17
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Like MsNomer, we have a DIY Promaster (159" WB in our case) with virtually nothing added below. No lift kits. Clearance is low, but we've been surprised that we've been (more or less) successful in taking our van anywhere we wanted. [The "less successful" reference relates to our encounter with Forest Service Developmental Road 4680 in NE Oregon. Don't take it!]

By the way, the lowest point in our undercarriage is the one item that we did add below - - a Nations 2nd alternator. Some have installed steal plates to protect this low-hanging item - - we haven't and have (with another qualified "mostly") survived.
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Old 11-26-2021, 03:21 PM   #18
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I just took a look and they do have the behind the seats length in the online specs for both the Chevy and the Transit.



Chevy 3500 extended cargo van 146.75".


Transit 3500 long cargo van (actually the mid length they make) 143.7"


Transit is only 3" shorter inside but taller and squarer which would more than make up for it, I think.


Overall length Chevy 244.03"


Transit 235.3"


Transit is 9" shorter which is a good thing and close to a short Sprinter, I think.


Wheelbase Chevy 155"


Transit 147.6"


Transit has a bit shorter wheelbase, but probably would not be even noticeable at under 8".


So Transit loses a bit of inside length, but probably gain inside usable volume for a class B.


Transit is shorter so will fit a few more places, I think.


Transit has shorter wheelbase will be a bit more maneuverable and maybe a small amount less stable but stability has many other more important components to it.


All in all, I think the Transit is very close to a direct, size to size, replacement for the Chevies that should be able to be just about the floorplans if wanted and with the same capabilities.


Transit wins the power comparison in a blowout if it has the Ecoboost engine, even though the Chevy is quite powerful itself compared to Promasters and Sprinters.
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Old 11-26-2021, 04:50 PM   #19
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Winston,

When you mention "Forest Service Developmental Road", any question is answered. News to me that the Second Alternator is also a clearance issue as you describe, that must be a risk with unexpected road debris, also.

Do you boondock a lot? And because of the 500ah of Lithium, was that why you added both the Solar & the Dual Alternator?

Are you experiencing that in your Chevy Booster?

And thank you for the details.

Again, as it is, my Truck rattles & rolls on the Surburban streets & apart from a couple of 45 minute rides on tracks in the Redwoods, I have little interest in anything now & in the future but bring scrape/low point free.
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Old 11-26-2021, 05:20 PM   #20
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I have 144” WB 2013 Sprinter with no protrusions lowering ground clearance except Isotemp water heater. It is located in front of rear left wheel protruding about 1.5” below the rocker panel. Both grey and fresh water tank fill available space but are reasonably small, 12gal fresh and 14gal grey. I could increase volumes with more complex shapes by a couple gallons each.

Never had a close call on heavily rutted roads we use occasionally.
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