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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We are considering purchasing a 130" wheelbase Transit medium roof for an R&D build setup for use as a weekend sports wagon.

Most folks here go with the 148" wheel base high roof but we sort of like the shorter length and height for compactness and convenience in the city. Chances are my daughter will be driving it around and parking in the metro area. She works hard during the week and likes to bike, ski, kiteboard, paddle board or hike on the weekends.

We'll likely build it out with a rear bed with storage underneath, a house system with battery, small inverter and solar panel. Small Fridge, a freshwater drinking/rinsing tank with pump and spigot. We'll add a roof vent with a fresh air inlet. Thoroughly insulated with 3M Thinsulate(TM) of course. Maybe some other goodies yet to be determined.

Thoughts? Pros and Cons of the shorter wheel base. We aren't tall folks so just enough head room for us in the medium roof.

Would be cool to have it converted to a 4x4...
Just a plan at this time.. Reality has a knack of getting in the way.
 

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My van is for work and I have a large pickup that I use for all the fun stuff...camping, biking, etc...so the back of it gets filled with all the related gear. It works just fine, but...

I would love to buy another Transit and outfit it just like you are, simple and functional.

I highly recommend the 148" medium roof. At 5'9", anything taller would be overkill. I certainly wouldn't consider the shorter wheelbase...that thing would fill up quick with the build and THEN packing it with gear. That would be my main concern...simply not having enough room with gear and clothing and coolers, etc...make it two people and it'll get tight. If you're going to sleep in there (as I would) I'd certainly want some room to move around.

If she can manage a full sized pickup, she'll be fine with the van. I live and work right smack in the middle of Denver and putting it where I need to isn't a problem...you just need to have a "I'm bigger than you are, so outta my way" kind of attitude. If you can afford the 4X4, then by all means go for it.

I would buy the same van I have and give it the 4X treatment...
 

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I'm moving from a VW Syncro Westy to a short low roof Transit 4x4 with a medium profile CCV poptop. For my family of 3 plus dog, we highly value mobility. Plus shorter is better for 4x4. Everyone has different needs and desires, but for us the 130" will be better and we will get buy with an efficient SMB 150T layout. We like being out of the van most of the time while camping anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank you for sharing your experience, Byron. We are lucky to have another daughter who lives in the Denver. She is an architect so will help with the design. An efficient layout will be key to making things fit in a short wheelbase. Thanks for keeping that in focus.


Thank you, Yelnam. That is encouraging to hear. She has two dogs: chihuahua and great dane-X. Why is 4x4 better on the short wheelbase? I'll have a look at that Sports Mobile layout.
 

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I'm not a 4x4 expert but shorter is better for crossing gulches or rough terrain, sharp turns on switchbacks, etc. less likely to bottom out or drag the end.
 

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We are considering purchasing a 130" wheelbase Transit medium roof for an R&D build setup for use as a weekend sports wagon.

Thoughts? Pros and Cons of the shorter wheel base. We aren't tall folks so just enough head room for us
We got the 130 for similar reasons. I find it has ample space for a potty based queen bed and galley conversion for two.

We just loaded it up today for our five thousand mile, one month trip from Mesa to Ottawa, via Vancouver Island! In addition to our normal touring pack, we are also hauling snowbird stuff like quilting machine, Keyboard, stand, amp, and chair, espresso machine, all my power tools, hand tools, hardware, the mountain bike, gifts for the grand-kids.

The point is, it all fits into the 130 and it still functions as a camper.

I will post some pics tonight on my T-Pod 130 Thread.

Oh, and regardless of how easy the 148" might be to park and maneuver, the 130" is just that much easier.;)
 

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I would have greatly preferred the mid-roof and shorter wheelbase for normal day-to-day. I think the mid-roof looks a lot better from the outside, also would have liked the slightly reduced wind load. (It has been stupidly windy this past month, every time we have 30G40 MPH winds I keep thinking about the 400 mile maiden voyage home from the dealer next month...!) I also prefer shorter vehicles for normal daily operations - getting into parking lots, maneuvering in tight areas.

But my needs dictated otherwise.

I too could stand just fine in the mid-roof, I could just feel my hair brushing against the roof ribs. I figured if I put in a finished ceiling - especially if I also did a thicker floor - I'd be touching but not bad and I probably wouldn't be standing much anyway. However it gets stinking hot and humid here in midsummer, if I want to go to the lake then I'm likely going to want the RV AC before long and I didn't want to whack my head on the inside console every time I walked past!

I also stood inside both a mid- and high-roof and was really struck by how much ROOMIER the high-roof felt, even though they were the same length / width.

The length was dictated by my kayaks. I wanted to be able to put at least a couple of my yaks inside without laying across the passenger seat. My most-used yak *just* fits in the 148" WB. The EL version would have made it a piece of cake to fit most of my others but I *really* disliked that overhang! At least the 148" will fit in a normal parking space.

I'm not too uncomfortable with the wheelbase, my work trucks have been E150s (138") and a long-bed F150 (141") and I've gotten around with them just fine. However, the stand-out favorite is my current one - a Nissan NV200. Tiny little thing but plenty of space for my work needs. I can squeeze into remarkably tight areas I'd never even attempt with the others. Just doesn't have the space I want for my personal activities - and definitely not tall enough to stand it!
 

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We have the 130" MR Transit with the 3.5 Ecoboost engine and are in the process of converting it into what you describe in your post.
Sofar we've installed a roof rack, awning, platform bed in the back, overhead cabinets, galley unit with sink and pump. The water 5 gallon and grey 7 gallon tanks are located in the galley cabinet underneath the sink.
I have bought a Fantastic Fan but am waiting for warmer and dry weather to install it.

We like the small size and the medium roof, it works well for me and I am 6'1".

By the way, my first name is Hein as well. Don't see too many of those in the USA. I assume you are Dutch?
 

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Hein, ( the one with the forum name too) ;-)

Did you end up getting that van? Thank you for taking the time to speak with me the other day, and thanks for the great service (got the goodies today!).

I have the 147" wb and coming up our paved drive, there is a sharp turn with grade and camber. I have trouble with traction even in the dry. I suspect the shorter wb would help with that, even in 2wd. I'd worry about taking this thing out in the snow around here! Fortunately, I won't have to.

Btw, do you think it is an ok idea to use 3m 5200 to mount the vent bezel to my roof? Also, is it ok to use kryalon fusion to make the exposed parts white? I love the product, it will make mounting my new fan/vent a good modification for me.
 

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Hein, like jonsobi we got the 130 WB for the same reasons. It replaced a 26 year old 4WD Suburban (also 130 WB) that we tent camped from all those years. I have been on roads in Oregon that required backing up half way through a turn to complete the turn. We live in Seattle where narrow streets make parking difficult and backing a small boat trailer into the drive is impossible with a larger turning radius. With the dual batteries and upfitter switches it is easy to put together a 1000 watt inverter system. I chose a 20 gallon water tank, desert travels, with a 6 gallon grey water holding tank and a high quality ceramic filter system for drinking and cooking water.

I am working on a sleeping platform scheme across the back, basically two 3' x 4' sections that would fold together with 3" mattress pads inside and then stand vertical against one wall. Finding or designing a suitable hinge system is a challenge.

A last comment, I put in a cork floor, it doesn't reduce headroom much, it is quite, an insulator, fire retardant, and rugged. There a few pictures on the following link and thanks for the prompt service in getting thinsulate.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/deseart/albums/72157666112762950
 

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We have the 130" MR Transit ...
Sofar we've installed a roof rack, awning, ...
I now have the same configuration. I'd be very interested to know which roof rack and awning you used. It seems I can get the Fiamma 45 since there is nowhere to mount the receiver for the forward support leg.
 

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I now have the same configuration. I'd be very interested to know which roof rack and awning you used. It seems I can get the Fiamma 45 since there is nowhere to mount the receiver for the forward support leg.
You can find the details by clicking on the links in my signature. I basically installed a long piece of aluminum angle, which I mounted on the roof rack. The awning is mounted on the aluminum angle. I have an ARB awning that uses an aluminum extruded back plate with slots for bolts over the full lenght. This allowed me to use as many mounting points as needed. I believe that Fiamma works the same way. The last support should be within a certain distance of the awning end so it doesn't twist when you operate it.
 

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Hein, I questioned my decision to go with the 148" since I use it for my daily driver. By daily driver I mean 7 miles to work and everywhere in the city. However, once I took it camping, I am definitely confident in my decision. If you are using it mostly for camping, I would go longer. It is easy to maneuver and park in normal situations. The only reasons I can think the 130" would be preferable are looks and parallel parking. If I lived in San Francisco or LA where parking is difficult I am sure I would go shorter. The mid roof, in my opinion, is the only way to go. Not overkill but tall enough. I am almost 5'9". Slight head tilt in the wagon and can stand straight with inches to spare in the cargo. Good luck in your decision.
 

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If I lived in San Francisco or LA where parking is difficult I am sure I would go shorter. The mid roof, in my opinion, is the only way to go.
I park a 148" WB in SF all the time without a problem. Even camp in the city like the homeless.

I have a high roof. Would prefer a medium roof if I had a choice. At 5'-10" I could not have an added insulated floor or 4 fold down Murphy style bed platforms. The high roof allows sitting up in bed without hitting the overhead cabinet. Definitely like the looks of a medium roof better so tried to make it work but could not.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the replies and insights, everyone! I am excited to build another van so hope this all comes to fruition. My daughter's 14 ft paddle board is going to be a challenge. Our 8020 Transit tower brackets are in production so might have to layout a full 8020 roof rack using those. Renogy makes a 100 watt 40.5 x 26.7 panel that should fit the design with maybe room on one side for the SUP board.
 

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I am waiting for FedEx to deliver two of the Renogy 100 watt panels today. The plan is to mount them on 80-20 on the factory cross bars. They are short enough that for mounting only the two front crossbars are needed.
 

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We are considering purchasing a 130" wheelbase Transit medium roof for an R&D build setup for use as a weekend sports wagon.

Most folks here go with the 148" wheel base high roof but we sort of like the shorter length and height for compactness and convenience in the city. Chances are my daughter will be driving it around and parking in the metro area. She works hard during the week and likes to bike, ski, kiteboard, paddle board or hike on the weekends.

We'll likely build it out with a rear bed with storage underneath, a house system with battery, small inverter and solar panel. Small Fridge, a freshwater drinking/rinsing tank with pump and spigot. We'll add a roof vent with a fresh air inlet. Thoroughly insulated with 3M Thinsulate(TM) of course. Maybe some other goodies yet to be determined.

Thoughts? Pros and Cons of the shorter wheel base. We aren't tall folks so just enough head room for us in the medium roof.

Would be cool to have it converted to a 4x4...
Just a plan at this time.. Reality has a knack of getting in the way.
Since I don't see windsurfing or surfing in there, you're probably OK. If you do those, I think the 148 is necessary unless you like keeping your boards on an exterior rack and like going up and down. The 130 is too short imho for windsurfers and surfboards, I think it's barely long enough for bikes, but that's imho. You could probably get away with bikes on the inside but you'll need to have the bed at least 36" off the floor for the seats to clear any bed. For this reason, you might consider the high roof. The jury is still out, but I'm not sure I would get the MR again.
 

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Congrats.

I had noted on another thread, that, in July, I hope to buy some of the roof base plates you had once mentioned, for attaching 80-20 rails, lengthwise. You had been looking for testers, but, I was not ready. What's status on those?
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I have worked on refining a design for roof rails. Mostly just taking some time to settle on a reasonable way to manufacture something that is fairly easy to DIY install. Let me get some costs and give you an update.

Van photo:
 
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