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Old 03-16-2012, 02:34 PM   #1
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Default Van type for DIY? Cargo, passenger, dayvan etc??

Hi folks,

I was wondering about the pros and cons of various types of van that one might select when contemplating one's own conversion. Whether there are advantages to having windows already there in a passenger or "dayvan" type, or whether you'll tear half of them out anyway to fit different types that can open differently and take screening... or blank them off. Are there typically extra refinements in passenger vans that are nice to have? Is "the barer the better" an easier approach?

Does anyone have any opinions about typical useage profile, of a passenger vs cargo van, that may affect future drivetrain longevity?

One would think that conversion dayvans might have been more lightly used, but private owners can either maintain them immaculately, or barely at all, which might have them becoming unreliable sooner.

Another type, which would be more of a B+ conversion I guess, would be the small cube or "bubble" vans that come up from time to time. Any particular things good or bad to look out for there, maybe in terms of box construction, and what is and isn't easy to deal with, whether certain types of rear door on them make things difficult, etc.

Thanks for any input,

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Old 07-11-2012, 02:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Van type for DIY? Cargo, passenger, dayvan etc??

I've had quite a few full sized and mid sized conversion and cargo vans for use in my carpet cleaning business, and while stripped down cargo vans are nice in some ways (lack of windows sometimes is a plus) because to keep my equipment from freezing in the winter, I usually applied rigid insulation and plywood to the floor, roof, walls and rear compartment doors and installed shelves and racks for chemicals and tools. But on the other hand, conversion models often have a slightly stiffer suspension, more comfortable seats and better options (power windows/door locks, nicer radio.. etc

The windows in the conversion vans are not really a problems as, I usually just black them out with paint and apply the insulation and plywood to the interior and just forget it has them, using the mirrors on the door, or in one case, I had the option of using a rear viewing camera, which was a nice option.

As to RVing plans, I hope/plan to do a minivan RV, using a Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town and Country as the base, possibly one that has been retro fitted for use as a handicap ramp van. We picked up one last year that the floor had been lowered 10" and I thought/think it or one like it might be a great base vehicle to do a mini RV on. it's two flaws that I have noticed so far are the ground clearance and the fact that when they lowered the floor, they relocted the gas tank to the rear of the van, where the spare tire usually is mounted (so installing a hitch might be difficult or impossible and the spare tire is mounted inside, but i could mount that on the hitch or trailer tongue.

Mount a swivel bucket seat on the passenger side, the windows will already be tinted except for the front compartment and I will some screens that fit inside against the existing window frames along with some shades for privousy, and contemplating a small window with fan(s) above the rear hatch, built into the high top (raised roof)

While not a big Dodge fan per say, just the fact that there are so many of them on the road and in the junk yards. it will make blending in easier and access to used parts. I'm trying to work my way into a mostly full time RVing lifestyle and can't afford a newer Class B or the fuel to keep a larger Class A or C on the road (at least at this point in time) and think a minivan, getting around 20 mpg would make traveling affordable (somewhat) and the larger, Sprinter conversions are out of my price range for now, but using the minivan idea, I might be able to work my way into one of them.

A bed from the drivers seat to the rear hatch, will give even my over 6' height the length to stretch out, and with my wife, it will be a little snug, but if it gets too tight, the passenger reclining bucket seat and a foot rest of some kind will work fine. a small counter on the passenger side towards the rear, with the microwave (convection and toast oven combo) and a small sink and faucet. Storage under the bed and still working out refrigeration ideas either the 12volt cooler type or small RV propane/electric type...

A chemical toilet for emergencies somewhere inside the van, and camping style shower tent in the cargo trailer. (Yuppie wagon or Gear Wagon) solar water heater, either black tubing of some type on top the cargo trailer or just a black container to absorb the sunlight.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Van type for DIY? Cargo, passenger, dayvan etc??

hello there. I do apologize if my post here is late. Just want to ask you guys if what petrol is recommended for Cargo and passenger vans? thanks!
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Van type for DIY? Cargo, passenger, dayvan etc??

I always used regular grade.

Are you considering making your own campervan?
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Van type for DIY? Cargo, passenger, dayvan etc??


we had decided to go with a passenger van as a multi use vehicle. To have windows all around is a great plus since the openness allows us to enjoy the surrounding . See:
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