Tale of three Adventure Vans - 2008 Sprinter, 2017 Transit, and 2019 Promaster

Discussion in 'Camping Toys' started by HighTechCoonass, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    I have been requested to write my experiences with these three... here's a recap..
    The Sprinter Sportsmobile rebuild...
    Post from a few years back:

    my $750 Sprinter Sportsmobile makeover update.... thus far i have about 20 days into it including 3 long weekends.
    Heres the new kitchen.. with all new flooring... overhead shelf... decided to cover all of the walls with new oak plywood.
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    stainless fridge door makeover... $40 stainless backsplash cut with a jig saw tonight.
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    under bed drawer
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    power and water system access door...
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    back has a lot more space.... I wrapped the birch in carpet to stop the gear rattling...(pictured before the oak wall change)
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    This is the before pics: kitchen by the door, big pantry left.... lots of storage, but very tight.
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    The transit build...
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/ford-transit-adventure-van-build.1271467/

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    The new Promaster:

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    #1
  2. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    Soo.... Its best to ask questions...
    Here are a few notes: My vote... not that's it worth anything to anyone -

    Best Van: Ford with the Eco-boost 0 Simple gas engine (no Diesel emissions crap), very common engine, the largest dealer network, rear wheel drive, looks easy to work on, parts are cheap, number one in market share.

    Best Class B for the dollar - Winnebago Travato. 2019 cost about 80K. (non-lithium model) My van MSRP $120K. Very clean build, lots of factory molded parts.

    Best Class B build - Outside Van - quality beyond belief - even the screw heads are aligned perfectly.

    Best Class B- My number 2 (but $150K base price) Storyteller (Ford Transit 4X4 Quigley platform)
    Winnebago Revel - very very cool electric elevating bed.

    One of the worst quality I have seen and owned - Sportsmobile - why? Cheaply built, very old styling , very dated trim work and materials.

    Van exterior styling - Sprinter 1, Ford 2, and Promaster 3.

    Driving and handling - All 3 equal and excellent!

    View from behind the wheel - Big open windows -Ford and Sprinter Awesome!. Promaster is more car like . but on the good side, less heat through the wind shield.

    Moving from the drivers seat to the back: Sprinter 1 , Promaster 2, Transit terrible!

    Class B van interior layout choice: If you notice , all of my vans have the kitchen behind the drivers seat and nothing by the door, all nice and open feeling. I enjoy being able to sit on the step of the door and having a full view outside.

    Passenger vans as a build base- the full windows create a huge amount of heat that gets trapped behind the glass. We noticed this on the a few class B. I would recommend covering with a perforated vinyl on the OUTSIDE of the window. I saw that here on ADV. brilliant idea!

    OBDII code reader
    - if you are out on the road this is a must have. The Sprinters are famous for posting crazy dash codes. Its nice to be able to dig in and check whats up and clear nuisance codes. If you own a Sprinter get the Mercedes one. It has tons a features where you can read the complicated air condition system and ABS issues. My 2008 was a good van (no DEF) - just replaced the glow plugs and the torque converter. Ford had a ambient air sensor fail when I drove it thru Death Valley at 126 deg F. Caused the AC to quit working because it failed low (61 deg F). It later fixed itself after a few re-starts

    Building a van or buying? Do your home work - go to the Transit forum the sprinter forum and the Promaster Forum. Look for the dirt.... Warning - Sprinter forum You will find tons of bad reviews. Sort of like BMW a final drives - if you have one it will explode at any minute!

    more to come....
    #2
  3. Murf2

    Murf2 Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,353
    Location:
    Kansas
    Thanks Hightech! Keep us up to date on the Travato.

    Murf
    #3
  4. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    18,038
    Location:
    Canada's ocean playground
    Appreciate that info.

    Wish I had the time and money to experiment. I mentioned pages back about the Okanagan Tribute up here, ranging from 66-85 k Canadian. That's 50-60k US for the same platform on a Ford chassis.


    #4
  5. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    Now that would be my choice for sure! Lots of glass though, it will get hot in the summer. promaster notice the cut smaller windows in the side of the van and insulate the walls. keep it cooler.

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    #5
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  6. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    I intend to roll the wheels off of it. It is already loaded to the gills, so there is not much to do to it. I am considering on selling my Tacoma and buying a 2020 AWD Transit and do a build out... I need a new project!
    #6
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  7. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    Building a van notes and what i have learned after two builds-

    Big mistakes I see
    - Going too large with the power systems. Don't go too big. this is a ton of weight! Build only what you need.
    putting water tanks under the kitchen sink - the most valuable space . Install in the back.
    heavy wood interior - build lite
    Have the bed set up where you don't have to take it down every day. Its great just jumping right to bed after a long drive.
    Do not cut into the side of the van if you don't have too! Sportsmobile propane tank, vents, power connections , water connections, etc.


    Best Gadgets - Lagun table, LED strip lights (roll and stick strip), USB power bricks, swivel seats, 5 gallon water tanks (easy to clean and fill No hose required!). MAX air vents / fans- wow these fan are great. 90 degree sink drain! no pee trap - save the space.

    Worst Gadgets - Road shower roof tank (no one uses them)

    Things you may not think of - Insurance is cheap on a manufactured RV than a self built unit (1/3 of the cost). You may not be able to insure it if you are living in it (lay low on instagram if you are living in it!).

    more to come here.....
    #7
  8. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,869
    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    Good tips. Thanks.
    #8
  9. DakarNick

    DakarNick Swabee

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,183
    Location:
    Colorado
    Not sure why you don't just use a toilet? But it's your van :rofl

    Love the reviews, thanks!
    #9
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  10. Sharkdog

    Sharkdog Diggin It.

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Denver
    Thanks for putting in the time here. I liked your transit and appreciate the differences.
    #10
  11. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    sound simple yes... first build I used P trap. Then I saw my friends Outside Van , a simple 90 deg with a hose to the underside.
    This works if you don' t have a stinky grey water tank and need the water trap. (i used a this with a sink plug). This allows you to use the valuable space under the sink for storage.
    90 deg drain with hose barb.

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    P trap
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    #11
  12. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    New wheels and tires on the van today! RAM Promaster Travato B F Goodrich Ko2 225/75R16 the 245 were too big!
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    #12
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  13. Murf2

    Murf2 Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,353
    Location:
    Kansas
    You don’t waste any time do ya! Looks good.
    #13
  14. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    Added SUMO springs to the rear axle today....

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    #14
    nevermind and Bt10 like this.
  15. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    a few more mods.. I picked up two Yakima roof rails on discount for $15 total at my local outdoor store. I used one to setup a hanging rail system for my power cable and water hose. Nice clean look. Adjustable hitching point to adjust as needed as time goes by.
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    also one for above the bed... I am going to use it as a ram mount for my I pad and I may create a hanger SS eyelets to store my fly rod here like my last van. I see I need to paint the 45 deg cut edge. The Yakima type a nuts slide in and out on the rail and use a 6 mm bolt- very secure.
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    I also had an old vintage swing daddy Yakima bike rack (stock photo below) that I had modified (lowered to allow door to open, added a plate for a future tool box, and lengthened ). It will be used for my spare tire and bicycles. If we don't use the bike rack I can shorten later. (the top bike arm not shown)
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    here is it on my transit before the mod.
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    #15
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  16. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    I didn't like the look of my homemade rack so I bought another.. Wilco offroad.
    This way I can still hook my motorcycle trailer .... I am working on a drop down table the will attach to the spare here... I have the plate mounted temporarily.
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    thinking about a hybrid between the two below... The swing out will allow the table to swing to under the van awning.
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    I also bought some spot light mounting brackets... I am going to mount up some max tracks and a gear plate like OWL vans have...

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    #16
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  17. Motor7

    Motor7 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,492
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    We had a vintage Class B for about 3 years, then moved up to an A and hated it. Rpod travel trailer now, but some day we are going back to a B. Looking at the Winnebago website, nice to see the Travato models have heads in them....a must have for us. Also, at 6'4 and 5'11 I want a pop top, or a high top. I am glad to see the gas models readily available now since I shy away from the Sprinters after doing a ton of reading up on them.
    #17
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  18. NorthIdaho800gsa

    NorthIdaho800gsa Bad influence

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,036
    Location:
    bonners ferry, idaho
    I have the big transit with duals. The downside to the duals on these vans is stability. I know it sounds stupid, but they actually make the van less stable. They aren't setup like a dually pickup, where the duals are wider. The duals on the band are to the inside, to keep the width narrow. Well, problem with that is now they don't fit in the tracks in the road. The inside wheels ride the hump in the road. Kinda hard to keep it going in a straight line. It is always trying to push itself off the hump. The other complaint about these vans is tires. There is a lack of tire availability because of the tiny ass tires that's use. Besides that, I love them.
    #18
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  19. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto aka: trailer Rails Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    29,143
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Interesting points. My previous rig was a school bus with truck width duals, it was very stable. What you say about the new van duals being too narrow, makes sense. Our new van has singles in the rear and is very stable, even with a light RV build and 4 motorcycles inside.
    #19
  20. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,123
    Location:
    land of the swamps!, Cajun Country LA
    well this is what I ended up with.... I added the plate to the back side of the ladder rungs connected using the aluminum spot light brackets. I needed to preserve the ladder steps to clean the solar panels. I painted the plate blue.

    The back plate allows me to bolt up things that I wand to keep on the outside of the van.

    I also relocated the license plate. I did not look right on the spare tire... just wasn't right.
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    my aluminum table hanging bracket.
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    #20
    BillMoore likes this.