ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Fluff > Shiny things
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-21-2015, 09:24 PM   #1
pilo OP
Rhymes with below
 
pilo's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Oddometer: 941
Our ProMaster 159 Diesel Family Truckster and Toy Hauler

We've been dreaming of a Sprinter for years. Before kids and until a few years ago we had a super clear VW Westy that served us so well, but just got too small as the kids got bigger. We picked up a really nice used 2006 E350 extended that had two rows and the back converted for bikes. It was a really clean conversion and allowed us to test the idea of having a tow vehicle that could carry toys and pull the camper we planned on getting to replace the Westy. That E350 did a few trips around baja following riders around and was a great vehicle. It validated our concept but was getting a little cramped in the back seat. Also with Rally bikes in the mix the low ceiling height was getting to be a pain.

So we created a short list of nice to haves:

- As short as possible (trying to make it not look too monstrous) for a second row and fit bikes
- Able to stand inside (I'm 6' 3")
- Tow our trailer easily - the E350 was a stellar tow vehicle - trailer is ~3800# loaded
- Get good gas mileage - deep down it bugs me to not drive an efficient vehicle, even if the math shows it costs me more
- Reliability, comfort, etc. etc.

I'm not going to go into all of the details of the decision, but I'll give a summary of the competition.

Mercedes - Awesome vehicles, lots of great options, great stories with the new 4 cylinder engine. Crew option. Dealer is 70 miles from us and I've seen pictures of receipts from regular maint like oil changes and check ups...those $500 bills would just drive me bonkers, plus the vehicles are more expensive

Ford - I don't like the looks, but ultimately the issue was ceiling height (extra tall was WAY too big) - I could not stand up, the interior was not as effeicent (longer vehicle needed to build what we wanted) and as silly as it sounds, the screen for the stereo was tiny and the larger screen required like a $2000 upgrade. It just bugged me.

RAM - We looked at the ProMasters when they came out and waited to check out the Diesel and hear some stories. We actually like the way the van looks and everything about the dimensions worked for our plans. The Diesel stories have been scary for some people, but for the most part it seems like they are working them out. The chatter is WAY less on the boards.

It drives great, has a super low floor, and easily gets 23 mpg though I'm usually around 25 mpg on the highway. The engine is super fun to drive when driven in manual mode. We've put a few 800 mile days on the van with our family and everyone loves it.

In early 2015 they were getting really aggressive on the 2014 models and our only compromise was getting a white van instead of the silver or grey we wanted. The savings was significant though, and we have no regrets.

Last fall our local dealer had a silver gas model. We parked it in front of our camper to get an idea of proportions. The camper is a Livin Lite 21BHB for reference.

pilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2015, 09:33 PM   #2
pilo OP
Rhymes with below
 
pilo's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Oddometer: 941
The van was a big empty box, and the first step was seats for the kiddies. The Toyota Sienna XLE seats are amazing and there is a company on ebay that pulls new ones out for conversion vans. I slapped them in the van to check them out as soon as they arrived.

They recline AND have a lazy boy leg lift (in the shadows).



We had to play with them a bit to get the right height and position. I knew I wanted to maximize the passenger area so the bike situation would be tight.



My good friend Ryan pulled me into his shop (Canguro racing - B1000 #2 Pro Stock Truck 2014!) and we got started on the mounts for the seats.









Kids were pretty happy with the result.

pilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 04:34 AM   #3
crawdad
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2004
Location: South Jersey
Oddometer: 496
Looking good! I'll be watching as I'll be due to replace my Express in the next few years. Did you put those Toyota seats in another van or was that a different inmate?
crawdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 06:16 AM   #4
DakarNick
Swabee
 
DakarNick's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Parker, Colorado
Oddometer: 6,911
Sweet! I'm looking to get a Promaster, also, and will need an extra seat or two until the rv conversion is done.

I like that seat idea! Also, the seat mounting brackets are inspiration, too. Could you take a pic of the brackets with seats installed?

I test drove a diesel 3500 the other day and was quite impressed. Though, coming from a 350 hp/800 lb ft 6.7 liter pickup will take a little getting used to.

What size? 2500?

Subscribed!
__________________
'06 KTM 950S Adventure
'12 Ram 2500, Cummins, 6-speed auto, Laramie Longhorn, RamBox.

DakarNick screwed with this post 04-22-2015 at 06:48 AM
DakarNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 12:28 PM   #5
troidus
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Oddometer: 15,300
Quote:
Originally Posted by pilo View Post
Kids were pretty happy with the result.

Looks like your son will soon outgrow that seating position, though. He's got about 6" of room left, then his feet will be into the seatback. Unless that seat is on adjustable tracks and can slide back.
troidus is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 01:54 PM   #6
Maggot12
U'mmmm yeaah!!
 
Maggot12's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Barrie Ont
Oddometer: 5,362
Quote:
Originally Posted by troidus View Post
Looks like your son will soon outgrow that seating position, though. He's got about 6" of room left, then his feet will be into the seatback. Unless that seat is on adjustable tracks and can slide back.
Well his butt is fwd on the seat, head not on headrest, and feet/pushed forward. I'd say he'll have enough room till he's about 6'7". By then he's not gonna want to hang out in a van with mom and dad.

And that being said, the seats should be able to track, but they may be in the rear position now.
__________________
Maggot

Don't sweat the petty things; Pet the sweaty things !!!
Maggot12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 02:44 PM   #7
troidus
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Oddometer: 15,300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggot12 View Post
Well his butt is fwd on the seat, head not on headrest, and feet/pushed forward. I'd say he'll have enough room till he's about 6'7". By then he's not gonna want to hang out in a van with mom and dad.
His feet are touching the front seat and he's got about 6" between his butt and the back of the seat pan. If he were sitting upright, the top of his head would be at the top of the headrest. He'll have to be over 6' for it to start being a problem, but not 6'7". And I suppose it just means he won't be able to use the footrest, so it's not as big a deal as I first suggested.
troidus is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 04:06 PM   #8
pilo OP
Rhymes with below
 
pilo's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Oddometer: 941
crawdad - not me, must have been someone else that installed the seats

dakarnick - it's a 2500. I have some other pictures of the seats I'll post as I catch up, but they don't show any detail.

troidus - I'm 6'3" and can stretch out my feet all of the way. They tuck a bit under the seat in front. If he gets taller than that (which he might) he'll need to tough it out with his legs bent. No tracks on the seats on my setup.
pilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 04:33 PM   #9
DakarNick
Swabee
 
DakarNick's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Parker, Colorado
Oddometer: 6,911
Thanks, Pilo. Test drove this today.

__________________
'06 KTM 950S Adventure
'12 Ram 2500, Cummins, 6-speed auto, Laramie Longhorn, RamBox.
DakarNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 04:38 PM   #10
pilo OP
Rhymes with below
 
pilo's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Oddometer: 941
Diesel? What did you think? The transmission is really strange on the diesel unless you shift it manually around town. I really like it now since I can short shift it. The engine torque starts at 1200 RPM so it's really easy to drive manually.
pilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 05:30 PM   #11
DakarNick
Swabee
 
DakarNick's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Parker, Colorado
Oddometer: 6,911
Quote:
Originally Posted by pilo View Post
Diesel? What did you think? The transmission is really strange on the diesel unless you shift it manually around town. I really like it now since I can short shift it. The engine torque starts at 1200 RPM so it's really easy to drive manually.
Yep! Diesel. Yeah, the 1-2 shift is harsh! Manual shift is fun! I like it overall.
__________________
'06 KTM 950S Adventure
'12 Ram 2500, Cummins, 6-speed auto, Laramie Longhorn, RamBox.
DakarNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 08:28 PM   #12
pilo OP
Rhymes with below
 
pilo's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Oddometer: 941
Cutting the windows was next. We went with the CR Lawrence OEM style windows. They have nice vents and I think look pretty nice.

The first holes are hard, but after that you get over it.


After the windows I did some upholstery panels in the back for practice and to prevent the bars from dinging the panels. Plywood and speaker box material worked great.

Then I stared with the bulkhead. 3/4" ply with various bracketing. I had to jog the wall so the seats would fully recline, and the wheels would tuck under the jog. Here is a test fit.



The angle iron extends into the wall on both sides and is secured there. I wanted to try to keep heavy objects out of the passenger area in the event of a frontal impact. I also made a 50" wide "door" in the bottom of the wall so I can load 4x8 sheets of whatever when needed.

I then finished the wall and began using my new found upholstery skills. With panels, some insulation, sound barriers, etc.

pilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 08:34 PM   #13
DakarNick
Swabee
 
DakarNick's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Parker, Colorado
Oddometer: 6,911
Looking good!
__________________
'06 KTM 950S Adventure
'12 Ram 2500, Cummins, 6-speed auto, Laramie Longhorn, RamBox.
DakarNick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 08:35 PM   #14
pilo OP
Rhymes with below
 
pilo's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Oddometer: 941
Some good friends flew into Utah for some product testing and general shenanigans. We got 3 rally bikes with gear, tools, etc. in the van with lots of room to spare. It was the first real trip with the van and it worked great. On the 250 mile trip home through the mountains we got 26 MPG.



pilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2015, 08:42 PM   #15
pilo OP
Rhymes with below
 
pilo's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Oddometer: 941
The wheels are now plasti-dip black. The passenger area is done with 12V and USB for each rear passenger. Rear speakers (had to get the dealer to activate the rear speakers). Overhead DVD player integrated with stereo. LED overhead lights, reading lights, overhead cabinets, window blinds, separate fuse panel, 12V heater under the driver seat that heats the back, cupholders, wood flooring and full upholstery. I need to get some current photos that show the floor and heater.



pilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015