I am considering buying a 2006-09 Ford E-350 15 passenger wagon and doing an interior fix up to make it in to a B camper and a TT tow vehicle. The idea is to use it as a B camper when doing trips to relatives, hotels, rental houses, summer tent trips. Also use this vehicle sometimes as a tow vehicle for a 26' to 28' travel trailer or boat(6-7K pounds). Interior change ups would be to remove all stock seating and install new driver, pass and two rear passenger seats. Maybe leave the third row bench feet for those few times its needed. Back would be bunks or bed and/or counter, maybe micro and/or small refer.
We are a family of 4, 2 big and 2 small!
Thoughts/ideas/suggestions/places to go to learn more/project pics?
Ford or Chevy, non issue! Reliable and buildablilty is the issue for a starting platform. The B side would be mostly warmer weather use, 40+ deg. Goal is effectively a tow vehicle that can bring 4 - 6 people comfortably to boat or TT use area.
I was thinking non cargo because of the finished interior walls already. Good or bad? Are the finished van interior walls "insulted" or really just sound proofed?
Fantastic Fan would be a up on the roof. Even thought about an Espar heater from aux tank for a heater. Porta potti.
I suspect I will be close on the weights for bigger trailers and so we are looking for a smaller TT with features we want. I believe I can deal with the overhang with the spreader bars.
I might have suggested converting a cargo van, without the windows, but you can get front and rear A/C and heat in the window vans, not the cargo van.
The disadvantage to the extended 15 passenger van is a really long rear overhang, the distance from the center of the rear axle to the trailer ball. If over 6' long, then the trailer hitch weight starts to really overload the rear tires, and you don't have duallys back there.
The 350 series 8 lug nut 12 passenger van has a slightly shorter rear overhang (about 18" shorter van overall, and thus 18" less between the hitch ball and rear axle). If the trailer hitch weight is insignificant, say 800 pounds, it will not matter. But a heavier travel trailer, then it might make a difference.
Somehow I think that after taking a 26' travel trailer camping, then taking the boat to the lake with a tent, it will be the last tent trip that you take the little kids on (ie without a shower, bathroom, refrigerator, stove and oven). So might as well plan on taking the travel trailer on all the camping trips once you have it.
A fantastic fan in the roof is always a good idea to get ventilation while parked. You will need to have a location for a second battery in the conversion, and plan on bringing a ice box when tent camping or hotels. With the trailer, all the cold stuff can stay in there.
The Ford V10 has plenty of power for pulling a trailer, or the boat, even out of the lake. I know some people that full timed in a 34' Airstream trailer pulled by a short length E-350 for several years.
I think there is a good chance you would go over weight with that much trailer, plus the Ford has a long rear overhang, so the tongue weight and trailer could make it a handful. A Chevy is a bit better as the wheelbase on the extended vans is longer than the Fords, if you don't mind a Chevy.