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Old 09-13-2015, 07:56 PM   #21
pgf
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thanks for the thoughts, stanw909 -- options are still open, so i definitely appreciate all input. i didn't mean to come off as ford-centric -- the term "econoline" kind of popped out as a substitute for "traditional american fullsize van". we certainly liked our '95 chevy, so i'm not surprised the express is still a good van.

we're definitely still looking at layouts in used roadtreks, pleasure ways, etc -- there's no question we would save a pile of cash by buying used over a new (or even used) promaster or transit. your "mongrel" sportsmobile is really our style, so thanks for sharing that. you might want to clean up that electrical tape on the gray water tank, tho'. i'll definitely be sharing that album with my wife -- it's much like we've talked about in terms of "simple and gets the job done."

the thought of doing some buildout in a transit or promaster is compelling, but it also sounds like a boatload of work, which will be more complicated by not having much indoor shop space to work in over the the winter. so getting something with a fairly complete shell would be a bonus.

paul
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:07 AM   #22
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I have grand plans for a "full tilt home built" class b r.v. And I WILL buy or build one soon (if I don't die first).
In the meantime, I have a really sweet 1997 dodge Paul sherry conversion van that we use for weekend camping. It has the traditional 4 seat layout with a fold out couch in back. We removed the seat behind the drivers seat and replace it with a cooler and a camping tote full of our cooking and camping supplies. I found the van with 75000 miles on it for $3,500.00 and it is one of the best investments I've ever made! The old van is so comfortable my wife and I have a constant running joke where I am always saying things like:
"Well, if we had our Promaster you wouldn't have to make lunch on your knees" or
"If we had our Promaster you wouldn't have to fold out the couch to make a bed"
Or "if we had our Promaster we wouldn't have to stop to use the bathroom" or
"If we had our Promaster we could have saved that $4.00 by making our own coffee."
"If we had our Promaster we wouldn't have to set up a tent"....

She usually lovingly retorts back with "voice of reason" quotes like
"But you like to see me work on my knees",
"but I LOVE making the bed for you honey",
"stopping to use the bathroom gives us a chance to stretch our legs and appreciate our clean bathrooms at home",
"yes, we COULD save $4.00 on that cup of coffee by buying a $40,000 van and then spending a year working on it and another $20,000 to furnish it and make it capable of making coffee while driving down the road.",
"But taking down the tent gives you something to do while I am loading up the van"


We just got back from another FABULOUS weekend of traveling, biking, hiking and camping. We LOVE LOVE LOVE our van. My suggestion would be: "just get one, any one" and start enjoying the lifestyle. .... Then you can just do like I do, and obsess about how to improve everything when youre NOT camping!
Good luck, peace, and happy planning (AND camping).
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:52 AM   #23
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Scott, I love your post. Roles reversed, that was similar to our conversation in the ten years we camped in a truck tent. I first saw the Promaster (Ducato) in New Zealand in 2008 and proclaimed I would have one some day.

When it became available here last year, he was 70 and arthritic hands were beginning to have trouble with the tent setup. I was 67 and having bouts of vertigo. I announced that we were buying the Promaster while we are still able to fit it out ourselves. I said clearly that this is not about saving money--it is about being able to go where there are no motel rooms as long as one of us can drive. He is doing the electrical. I'm doing everything else.

I've never been a fan of buying a first year's model of anything, but this time waiting did not seem prudent.

My mother said, "Do it while you can so you can enjoy it when you can't."
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Old 09-14-2015, 03:15 PM   #24
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MsNomer,
It may very well have been you (or one of the other helpful souls on this forum) that reminded me not too spend all my time worrying about the "vessel", and that the important part is "doing it". I'm still obsessing about my build whenever I'm not travelling of course , but decided I am going to enjoy our time traveling NOW whether its in our van, or a full blown RV, or my Subaru!
and kudos to you (both) for tackling the self build, it's looking great. Maybe when your done, we should talk about you two doing some contract conversion work...
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Old 09-14-2015, 04:05 PM   #25
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Pgf. I don't own the poptop van anymore. I sold it to a young Australian couple who are travelling North America for the next two years. Of course there were a lot of things that I did that were shoddy on the van but everything worked well and it was fun to have until my wifes rheumatoid condition worsened and inspired me to find our current rig the day we came back from our last little outing in the poptop. I looked on Craig's List and there it was. A 96 Coachmen Saratoga with 90,000 miles. The kids and I went two days later and bought it. Wife loves it. Very open floorplan almost exactly like the Travato 59k. Took another couple grand to get it up to snuff. Added a 100 watt solar panel(also sloppily done) that works great. New roof vent that I did a real nice job installing. Works great. New AC that I bought too small on purpose to be able to run off 20 amp in someone's driveway. New tires were put on right away. Hurcules AT II's bought cheap $585 out the door with 65k warranty road hazard included. Genny needed new carburetor $200 brother inlaw helped put that on. All in all I'm in it for around $9000. If I wanted to sell I could make my money back in a heartbeat but that should not be a motivating factor. The motivation should be enjoyment. You called it a toy and I guess that could be valid in most cases but as a musician/bandleader I must have a van of some sort so It might as well be livable. I hope you get something soon and get out there and enjoy.
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Old 09-15-2015, 02:32 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottbaldassari View Post
It may very well have been you (or one of the other helpful souls on this forum) that reminded me not too spend all my time worrying about the "vessel", and that the important part is "doing it". I'm still obsessing about my build whenever I'm not travelling of course , but decided I am going to enjoy our time traveling NOW whether its in our van, or a full blown RV, or my Subaru!
Way to go Scott!

I really do like to read all posts on the latest, greatest Class B's with all the options, participate in the discussions, and dream of a new one, but then I remember I have one - albeit a small one, VW EVC - sitting in my garage and I need to get out there again. The goal is the journey, not the vehicle.

I think I mentioned I sail. A number of years ago Don Casey, a well-known sailing writer, chastised some magazine editors for always awarding "best of show" to the most expensive boats. His post went along along the lines of this (paraphrased for RVer's) conversation between 2 campers:

"Great music festival, huh?"
"For you, sure"
"Excuse me?"
"Well, your RV is an new Roadtrek Zion!"

or

"Nice sunset."
"Not from my RV!"

He goes on to say (edited):

"If there is a single key to realizing the dream of cruising, it is restraint in what you spend for the boat. A fatter kitty also means you can visit places that might otherwise seem too expensive, stay in marinas (if you like), eat at restaurants, rent cars, take inland excursions, and fly home. None of these benefits accrue from spending more on the boat, only from spending less. A smaller investment in the boat will also reduce mental stress.

Luxury, real luxury, is spending an entire day reading a good book, or enjoying the companionship of someone you love, or marveling underwater at the colors of tropical fish. And knowing you can do the same tomorrow if you want to. And the day after. Neither perfect joinery nor five extra feet of length have much to do with this—unless they prevent you from going.

I identify a cruising boat not by her D/L ratio, her centerline sink, or her inner stay, but by the white gash she cuts in a blue ocean, the spread of shade cast by the harbor awning, the mingled ring of laughter and smell of bread drifting downwind. I can't tell you her length or beam or sail area, but I know she is big enough to carry food and water and dry clothes; a small library and big anchors; and the dreams of her crew.

The best cruising boat of 1999? That's easy. It's the one that takes you cruising in 1999.
"

The best RV in 2015? The one that takes you out on the road in 2015.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:29 PM   #27
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"The best RV in 2015? The one that takes you out on the road in 2015." I've never heard it said better.
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Old 09-16-2015, 07:18 PM   #28
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I'm not too talented on the internet so I mostly post pictures, the wife sewed up the carpet, just common black carpet from walmart. The pedals seem to feel better with the elevation increase. Nice on the feet as the foam is soft not to mention the sound and insulating benefits.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:12 AM   #29
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mojoman -- well, as a team you seem to get the job done! that carpeting looks great. i forgot to ask before: where did you get the foam? i picture "gym foam" coming in much bigger pieces than that.

anyway, we're going to test drive a promaster this weekend. the big question will be whether my 5'1" wife thinks she'll be able to reach the pedals if the seat is 1.5" higher.
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Old 09-17-2015, 02:47 AM   #30
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I've ordered several full sheets of closed cell gym foam from this place:
Gymnastic Rubber, Gym Mats, Dance Flooring

When we first owned the promaster, I made a 4" thick foam rectangular pad for my wires feet. Its covered in sheep skin and she loves it. We even use it in our other car. I even use it when she drives.
I was going to cut the seat frame down as it is removable sometime in the future but its not a priority now.
FYI Promasters regularly sell for 20-25% below the sticker
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:49 PM   #31
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well, we drove both a promaster 136 and a sprinter 144 yesterday, both 2015 models, at dealerships.

we're really worried about the seating situation for my wife (5'1") in the promaster, since her right heel doesn't touch the floor with the seat adjusted all the way forward -- i.e., she has to work the gas with just her toe. while we might be able to raise the floor with foam, we're also talking about adding a swivel adapter, and who knows how comfortable she'll be after all that? buying a vehicle in hopes of making it comfortable for long-distance driving doesn't seem like the best plan.

in contrast, she was completely comfortable in the sprinter. (well, as comfortable as she is in any car these days -- let's face it: she's probably not in the middle of the design parameters for any vehicle maker.)

in addition, we both felt the sprinter felt much better to drive -- more responsive to both steering and throttle inputs, etc, and overall more confidence inspiring. the promaster did have an amazingly small turning radius, which was nice, but the other comfort factors would win out over that.

so... now we're looking at used sprinters, which are of course a lot more plentiful than used promasters. and i need to do some research on engines and other variants. (the one we drove was the 2.1 liter 4-cyl turbo.) i think we'll restrict ourselves to 2007 and later models.

paul
p.s. she did try sitting in a ford transit a couple of weeks ago. with the seat close enough for her to drive, her knee was hitting the steering column or lower dash when moving her foot between the gas and brake pedals.
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Old 09-20-2015, 02:44 PM   #32
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Doesn't the Transit have an adjustable pedals option? Sounds like that is what is needed in your situation.
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Old 09-20-2015, 03:34 PM   #33
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Quote:
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Doesn't the Transit have an adjustable pedals option? Sounds like that is what is needed in your situation.
oh! thanks! i'll look into that.

(edit: sadly, google is coming up empty for me. ford does do adjustable pedals, but apparently not on the transit.)
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