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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been lurking here a little as I search for my perfect van and spend way too much time researching everything. Thought I should join to say hi! Hopefully I will buy a van within the next few months (sooner the better!) but high roof vans with the extended body are few and far between it seems.

My fiancée and I have talked about a van for a long time, and started looking with some intensity after a recent paragliding trip in a rental truck-camper. We met a lot of people with camper vans on that trip, and it was cool to see everyone's setup. My fiancée is a wildlife biologist and often goes into the field for research projects / contracts. I am an engineer and with COVID i am just working from home. So we are hoping to have something for long trips so that our dog and I can essentially be her camp-follower while so goes to work in remote and interesting locations to handle exotic and dangerous animals. As long as I have cell service I can do what I need to do most of the time.

So yea, looking for high roof extended body vans. Considering her work locations I would love one of the new 2020 AWD vans... but I am working on a budget here :). Base model is within my price range, but then you start adding "just one more" option and it all explodes. Talking to my local dealer he said a custom order takes 12-16 weeks, which is unfortunate since my fiancée has a super cool contract coming up in April.

Thanks to @USMC Vet , I stumbled across the thread about veterans discount today, and that is pretty awesome. Might help get a 2020 AWD within my budget. I am really bad about asking for/looking for a veterans discount. I should be better. Motivated me to finally scan my DD214 and proof of unit affiliation for experts-voice too, FWIW.

Some initial requests for opinions:
1. I found exactly two used vans with my criteria (high roof, Extended body, tow package, crusie control) so far
  • 2015 3.5L ecoboost with 75K miles for $32K
    • A little older than I wanted? But low mileage for the age.
  • 2018 3.5L ecoboost with 58.6K miles for $38K
    • Dealer seems a little scammy, price changed to $40.5K because of "non-optional" add-ons like UV vin etching, 3M guard, and some GPS tracker thing.
    • At $40K I could just add $4K and get one of the several HR LB AWD models out there and just sacrifice the extended body.
2. Upfitter switches seem to be pretty rare on the used vans I have seen. Is it reasonable to add these myself? I see the OEM parts for sale online, and have seen people on here adding a second battery etc. Obviously it's possible to add switches, so I guess I am asking if there is some feature of the OEM upfitter switches that is hard to replicate after the fact?
 

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Welcome to the forum, although I'm fairly new myself. I ended up with a MR non-ext because I didn't want to pay the premium for a high roof, and as you said they are harder to find. MR models are everywhere. Thought about new, but found a really good used 2019 for a reasonable price. I expect to be building it out for at least a year for extended travel trips across the US.
 

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Like you, I was seeing used units in the mid $35K range with hefty milage. That was unacceptable to me. Finally I decided to buy a new 2020 base model HR EXT with a negotiated price of $39,000. It still came with a couple of options I wanted the like extended full tank cruise control. Paying $4,000 more for a brand new unit was a no brainer for me. Yes, I was tempted to build a 2021 and even ordered Crewman's order binder, but ultimately, a base model was better for my budget with so much of the build out being pricey. What I passed on by not building the van was the AWD, Ecoboost and factory swivels which reduced my initial costs by approximately $8.5K. I think buying used is impractical based on the high price of resell currently.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Lots of folks from the Puget Sound area on here. The Ford dealer in Newberg, OR usually has a good supply of AWD Transits, but they load on options.

Others may disagree but I wouldn't be too concerned about the upfitter switches, which pull power from the starting battery. Much better to power the camper electrical devices from a house battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I ended up with a MR non-ext because I didn't want to pay the premium for a high roof, and as you said they are harder to find. MR models are everywhere.
MR would certianly open up a lot of options! The fiancée is pretty firm on the HR requirement though and I tend to agree, for two people and a dog with lots of toys. Our biggest desire is the nice big under-bed garage from what I can see the HR makes that more reasonable.

Like you, I was seeing used units in the mid $35K range with hefty milage. That was unacceptable to me. Finally I decided to buy a new 2020 base model HR EXT with a negotiated price of $39,000. It still came with a couple of options I wanted the like extended full tank cruise control. Paying $4,000 more for a brand new unit was a no brainer for me. Yes, I was tempted to build a 2021 and even ordered Crewman's order binder, but ultimately, a base model was better for my budget with so much of the build out being pricey. What I passed on by not building the van was the AWD, Ecoboost and factory swivels which reduced my initial costs by approximately $8.5K. I think buying used is impractical based on the high price of resell currently.
I would totally go for that deal you got, that's less than the 2018 I found after all the dealer "mandatory add-ons" :rolleyes:. I've had a subaru outback for the last 10 years and have taken it to a ton of my fiancée's job sites over the years. Kind of makes me nervous thinking about taking a big RWD van into some of those spots, but maybe with some good tires and careful driving it wouldn't really matter. Since there are a few 2020 AWD HR LB out there still we are making lots of drawings to try and see if we are OK giving up 2+ feet in length...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to the forum! Lots of folks from the Puget Sound area on here. The Ford dealer in Newberg, OR usually has a good supply of AWD Transits, but they load on options.
I have been looking at their inventory actually, but the prices are pretty high! makes sense if they load on the options I guess. For example they actually do have a few HR/Extended AWD but in the high 50s, where the other few I've seen on autonation etc with AWD-HR-LongBody are about 15-20K less.

Others may disagree but I wouldn't be too concerned about the upfitter switches, which pull power from the starting battery. Much better to power the camper electrical devices from a house battery.
Makes sense, but I was thinking more about driving time accessories like LED light bars and air suspension pumps.
 

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Is the 2018 a used lot down in southern California (fullerton maybe)? I found one down there that was reasonably priced and I ran away after reading the reviews and not being able to get a straight answer.

I'm not sure if you are considering searching nationwide and shipping, but I was able to save quite a bit of money doing it that way. I found ours in georgia and shipped it to Oregon. We got lucky in that it had just been posted without pictures. I found the search engine on True car nice, it has the high roof filter.

You also might consider getting a 2wd now and then 4wd conversion if you decide it's needed. It might be more money in the long run, but get you on the road quicker and for less money now. That's what I'll be evaluating down the road. In the meantime I picked up some of those foldable gotreads to get out of some situations.

I don't know if it's true or not, but I had read that camping / park access is easier with less than 20'. Also the shorter van night be better for remote locations and hills.

I've seen quite a few people add their own switches, shouldn't be tough.

Good luck with the search!
 

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Thanks to @USMC Vet , I stumbled across the thread about veterans discount today, and that is pretty awesome. Might help get a 2020 AWD within my budget. I am really bad about asking for/looking for a veterans discount. I should be better. Motivated me to finally scan my DD214 and proof of unit affiliation for experts-voice too, FWIW.
CrustyAuklet,
Glad to see the post could help another Veteran !
Along the way I have discovered another source of discounts for Veterans.
ID.me
Once you are registered, you can receive e-mails telling you which companies are offering you a discount and on what. In my case they verified eligibility by only needing my e-mail address since it is the same as I use with USAA, who verified my Veteran status. Takes the need out of having to ask each company if they do offer a discount.
Even the VA secure sites accept a ID.me log in to access their site.

Semper Fi

 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is the 2018 a used lot down in southern California (fullerton maybe)? I found one down there that was reasonably priced and I ran away after reading the reviews and not being able to get a straight answer.
I found the search engine on True car nice, it has the high roof filter.
Pretty sure it is the same one, it shows up on True Car too. Thanks for the True Car tip, it does have a nice search. That dealership has a pretty distinctive picture border on all their adds, and funny enough True Car tags every one as "slightly above average price". Knowing that they tag $3000 onto every car they sell is pretty annoying.
 

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Crusty, yeah must be. Their reviews are pretty bad and when the salesperson wouldn't give me a straight answer on total price I walked. They also said they couldn't waive the CA sales tax even if I had it shipped off property, even though the CA laws allow for that. Good luck on the search.
 
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