"- Seating for 3 up front (3 bucket seats or 2 buckets and a table)."
I don't see that happening with any Van. You have a dilemma. There are only very expensive Overlander rigs that have all you want; but those are in the $150K U.S. and up category. 4WD Class B's are hard to find and the owners think they have a gold mine.
I saw a tall Ford 1 ton Transit Van in town last week that had 4WD and more clearance than usual. After hearing of all the M.B. Van woes, mostly to do with very costly maintenance, my son has decided not to get a Sprinter. The Ford being RWD is a natural for aftermarket 4WD. If you are not a hard core off-roader, this seems to be getting the most for the least. I'll bet we'll be seeing a lot more of these coming up, what with so many kids opting for a plain jane van down by the river instead of a rental home or purchasing a stick/brick house. Just select Van Home on You tube and get a eyeful of clever adaptations.
Many of the converted vans have 3 or even 4 buckets, some of the vans add a bench and a table to the mix. I have a couple leads on customizers (one in town here) that can add the extra bucket seat by the sliding door. Yes the Ford has potential, I like the rear wheel drive as well for traction as for towing as if I go that way I may pick up a small trailer for added space when the wife comes with.
There are 6-8 Manufacturers of Expedition Vehicles here. Isuzu pretty nimble Off Road for something that weighs as much as a mid range Diesel Class A.
Here is an interior shot. Glossy interior makes it easy to clean dirt from the " home" part.
I do like!!!! I wish the advancements that have been made in Australia were made here, and at a reasonable price :-)
Example 1 Builder has been all around the World in a Mitsubishi Canter (known as a Fuso) in the US. He now uses the IVECO Daily
Example 2 Isuzu MDT 40,000lb GVWR, Off Road Motorhome . Builder uses as well MAN, IVECO Eurocargo and Unimog Chassis, he also went around the world in a small Isuzu Truck chassis
Like the one without the pop top. I don't want a pop top as I use mine in -30C and like my heat :D
How about a cube/box van body on a cab/chassis truck?
It's like a class C motorhome, but not on a van chassis, so you can have crew cab, diesel, 4wd, high ground clearance and heavy towing capacity, like a truck camper, but you also have cab to camper direct access like you want.
A U-Haul/Ryder/etc delivery truck could easily be built into a nice RV inside the cargo box, if 4wd isn't important. Look for an ambulance truck from a northern state, if you want 4wd.
If you find a refrigerated delivery box truck, all the better, the box will be super insulated and have an awesome self-powered A/C unit already built in! You could take the box off the truck, if you don't like the truck, and put it on a cab/chassis truck you do like.
Here's another idea. Buy a cab/chassis truck that has the configuration you like (cab size, 4wd/2wd, diesel/gas, frame length), take whatever bed is on it off, find a small travel trailer, like a 13' Casita/Scamp/etc, remove the axle and tongue, and mount it to the truck chassis. The RV part is already built by using an existing camp trailer.
I think I have it narrowed down, there are a couple motor homes that locally are available (none at this time but are occasionally available) a BT cruiser and a Lexington both in the 23/24' size and as well a Majestic 19'. If I do not find one of these in the next while I will be buying a Ford Transit HR and starting a build myself (even with me being concerned about my skills I would like to try it).
There are suppose to be a few of the Majestics coming available after summer from a rental place a couple hours north. Price is fair and with the difference that I would save on buying a newer van and converting I could do a lot of repairs and upgrades on it.
I would love to do the van route / build but like I have said I have limited skills and it scares me. Many of the other ideas I have weighed or have been suggested do not allow me the movement from the front to back or the third seat I want. The great thing about a van is that it is all one unit and I would not have the same potential of leaks or the wind resistance of the cab over bed. Draw back is that the cab over bed is such a space saver for getting a full time bed!
The Ford Transit is RWD also the Nissan work van, the Promaster would be nice for a build your own, it has Front wheel drive however the rear axle hangs down quite low for ground clearance, I would worry about running aground on bad roads...
If you fix a Promaster up yourself, you can later rip it all out and still have a useable van for something besides an RV.
To get on the road without all the usual RV frills in the Roadtreks etc would be quite simple. A few frames for beds or one bed, portable 2 burner stove, commercial sink with a hand or foot pump, some cupboards, a few insulated windows, Fantastic fan,,
cassette toilet, furnace, insulate properly ( not like most of the commercial rv's..)
Put on a few solar panels and lots of good quality battery capacity.
Good Examples here..
You are not helping me not go that route :B
You hit the nail on the head of what I was thinking if I did go that route. Only thing you missed was the ARB fridge. Plus, if I wanted to I could buy a small trailer for longer stays or if I wanted more luxury.
I have to say with doing this change I realize a lot more of why people like TCer's. Layouts are better and more practical, you can select the truck you want (2 door, extended, crew) then the camper layout/ size that you want. Upgrading can be done on either the camper or the truck or both. Plus the simple fact that with a TCer you have so much more ground clearance in 99% of the campers that you don't have to worry about ripping something off gong to get gas.
Keep in mind there are a lot more RV'ers who do not or never had a truck camper so naturally you will read more complaints about other types of RVs.
Also keep in mind the folks who post in this and other RV forums do so for the following reasons: they have a problem, they like to help others, they are interested in RVs and what's going on. For the most part folks who are satisfied with their RV will not post on a forum. So when reading RV forums you are seeing just a very small cross section of RV owners.
There are a whole lot more folks who are perfectly satisfied with the RV than not. I'm guessing it's 80 percent are happy and 20 percent are unhappy and of those 20 percent you might see 5 percent posting on this forum.
I realize that and do treat most complaints as people that are looking for attention, but when one thing comes up time and time again and even the people that like them bring it up then you have to be concerned. Sprinter vans are one of these situations; many people love them but you read all over about high costs of repair, problems getting the repairs correct, being hard to find authorized places to do warranty work, ignition problems and the black death in the engine. With all this it really makes you take a step back and rethink it.
How far off are the Roadtrek or Winebago Travato on the Ram Promaster? Not too many used units out there yet?
I was just thinking about these, that's why I'm so interested in your deliberations. For my eventual needs, TC just makes sense, I can still jump into the cabover bed, only 52 years old.
Was sooo close to buying a Travato but found out that the generator is only 6.5 inches above the road. Not a lot of Roadtrek on the Promaster yet, most on Sprinter at least used. Promaster also has a solid rear axle and it worries me for the snow or back roads.
I would buy a Roadrek 170 or 190 today if they did not have the low fiberglass sides, they worry me that they will get ripped off or build up the snow in the winter.
I forgot what are you looking at? You didn't like Earthroamer and such type price (who would??).
Have you been looking more at class B, B+, trailer?
Off-road tear-drop trailer, now that would be tiny!
Convert a Ram Promaster over to 4wd?
Anyway, would be interesting to hear your thought process!
I have some wants and some needs, some days they get mixed up :-)
- Four season or at least a good solid build that I will convert
- Able to move from drivers seat to back so I don't need to move my gear
- Good ground clearance
- Small (19' would be perfect, 21 or 22' I could live with)
- Seating for 3 up front (3 bucket seats or 2 buckets and a table)
- Bed that can stay made up (many of the B's or B+ the bed is also a coach). I am willing to live without the bed staying made up but sure would like it.
- Generator (changes daily as most generators hang too low and kill the ground clearance)
- Low price (I have thought about paying 80,000 or 100,000 and just cannot justify it), would like to be around $30,000 as ideal for a good unit
- Speedometer in kilometers not miles (a personal reason more that anything)
- Low Kilometers (this will be used partly for a daily driver and don't want to get one with high kilometers already)
- Thermal Windows
- Single rear wheels (will go with dual if going a little larger)
- Would like a 4x4 but think I will pass on this to get the extra MPG
My dream unit was a Sprinter conversion by either Roadtrek or Pleasureway but so many horror stories about repair costs and the unreliable engines that I dropped that dream.
I have looked at the other dream units (Turtle, Xplorer, Tiger, Earthroamer & Sportsmobile) but the cost is way more than I want to put out.
I have also looked into building myself (Sprinter, Promaster, Transit - so far the Transit would be the one) but not sure I could do the build myself and to get someone to do it would put the costs out of this world!
Well it has been over a month since I sold the truck and camper and the search has not gone very far. I admit that part of the problem is me and that I do not want to buy the wrong RV, but a lot of the problem is the RV industry and what they consider "Quality" RV's. I have found several makes and models that I was happy with the layout but the reviews are horrible either on the RV or the unit that the RV is built on. I am not saying that one or two people complained but tons of people on some of the units. I know that many times it is a bias that causes negative reviews, or positive reviews for that matter, but when so many people complain about the same thing it worries me.
I have read about complaints in the TCer world for years but not close to what there are with other RV's, some of those builders would have been out of business years ago if they built TCers. Add to that the fact some builders seem to give no thought to the design and use of the unit and the selection is VERY limited. Good thing for me that my slow time for having an RV is the summer so it allows me to be picky and to check things out fully before I pull the trigger. I have even found myself looking longingly at another TCer on frustrating days but slap myself back to reality.
Well it is back to the search!
Cut out the access port in the back wall of the cab and put the boot between the cab and box body. Then build the inside how you like, adding windows, vents, door, cabinets, appliances, batteries, solar, air conditioner, etc, however you see fit. Add tool boxes under the body sides for secure outside access storage, maybe hang a generator under one side of the body too and hang the waste tanks under the body down the middle.
If you buy a reefer (refrigerated delivery truck) body, it will already have excellent insulation and a super cold, self-powered air conditioner!
Cannot say I have not thought about it. Biggest draw back at this time is needing the 3rd seat.
I treat a hard sided camper like I treat a house, cook in it, put food in it, BUT keep it clean by putting everything away at night and the garbage is taken out daily!! If you leave a open can of ham or salmon on the counter or in the garbage then you are asking for problems.
Issue that I have is the idiots that may have camped there before me and dumped grease or leftovers on the ground the day before.
I do also keep a can of bear spray in the camper just in case... a two legged or four tries to get in :-)
For a barbecue when done turn burners on high and let it burn off the food before shutting down. But the idea of using the bear box as well would work as long as you do not drive away the next day and leave it there.
For years I owned a truck camper and I loved it!!! Some of the things that I liked were:
1 - Easy to drive, daily driver
2 - 4x4, go anyplace
3 - Could seat 6 in the cab
4 - Lots of room (the cab over bed is a great way to save sleeping space)
5 - Loved the fact that I could pick the truck / camper combination and change as I like
BUT as I have talked about on other forums a huge drawback for me was the fact that I could not go from the front to the back without going outside. It was hard for me to move my gear every night and back every morning from the front to the back (camera gear). I found out the last day that I had it that the issue was the climbing of the stairs and trying to get in out of the narrower door that was taking so much out of me.
So now I am looking for a Class B or a small C, issue is that there are not a lot to choose from at what I would call a reasonable price and with what I want. I ruled out the Mercedes diesel as I have heard a lot of issues with the engines and transmissions in them and there is not a service place close by. Most class C's are over 24' even when they say 22' (they do not take into account the cab when measuring) so they are out. So I am now looking at either a Roadtek or a short Lexington. Good thing about the Roadtrek is that the bed can be set up and left set up for the day, Lexington the bed is in the middle of the camper so would need to be made up. I want a vehicle that I can use to shoot from, work from, sleep in, live in when needed and still drive daily if I have to.
I have also thought about making my own but with the vehicle costing $35,000 - 50,000 alone this would be more expensive that I like. The good thing is that if I make my own I could build it exactly the way I want and with only the options that I want.
This has been talked about on other parts of the forum and many times it has to do with your browser. If you clear the history and the cache it usually allows you to post it. Many times I will write long posts in an email, copy it and try to post, if it goes then fine, if not then I clear the history and cache of the browser and repost it and it goes.
After selling my truck and camper I have not found a motor home that I like so I was thinking of upgrading my Dodge Journey to a SUV that I could tow a small trailer for this summer till I find a motor home I like. Saw a nice and affordable 22' Arctic Fox that weighs in at under 5,000 lbs, a Springdale that is under 4,000. Really do not want anything huge, just a nice little trailer for one and sometimes my son.
At the same time I want a SUV that still gets decent MPG, I am currently getting around 20mpg with the Journey and would like as good if possible for the tow vehicle, also want a SUV as I like having my camera gear in the warmth of the vehicle in the winter. 4x4 not needed but would take it if I had to.
VERY carefully :B
Others may give you a better idea but I have some old tooth brushes to clean areas like that. When the burner is cold, brush the orifice and it will remove a lot of the growth around the pilot. You can get a wire that goes in the orifice as well, make sure that it is the correct size (propane). I have also used canned air BUT again when shut off!
Well there are a lot of variables that go into saying if it is right or not.
1- How cold were/are the items in there, already cold or warm?
2- How much is in the fridge (an empty fridge has more of a problem staying cool)?
3- How often is the fridge open and closed?
4 - What type of venting? A roof vent tends to cool better in still air. If no roof vent then you may want a fan.
5 - How old is the cooling unit?
6 - Does the fridge cool better in the same heat on 12V or 110? Could be the flame is low and needs cleaning.