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Wife wanted a minivan but I just don't see myself in one ... so here comes Transit to the rescue. Going for the all black looks, tuxedo black color, privacy glass and will replace factory with black wheels. Also, MWB. That's set ... but I just can't decide on the roof. I like the idea of parking the low roof van in my garage (handy during those Chicago winters), but from the pictures I've seen so far I don't like the looks at all. Also head room seems almost lower than in my SUV. I like the medium roof although it might look awkward with the MWB and also won't fit in the garage. Any other pros and cons?
 

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I like the medium roof because I can stand up in it. I could put the low roof short wheel base in my garage but a 148" medium roof just has so many other uses that it can't be ignored. I also like the black on black look. Todd
 

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Ditto to Todd in general. Hard to anticipate everyone's needs in a brief post, but here goes . . .

Low roof pros: better access to parking garages, drive-throughs, country roads and especially rural driveways with low overhanging tree limbs and branches; will not "stick out" visually as being taller than most cars/SUVs; stealthier for short-term urban overnight camping in parking lots etc.; better MPG.

Low roof cons: ditto re: headroom; difficult to put bed in back for short-term stealth camping and be able to stand to dress. Been there and done that in old Econoline with a more flexible back. :) Hard not being able to stand up, stretch and straighten out the spine.

Medium roof pros: Todd -- too many uses to ignore. Will support owner-built-in-stages mini RV, while still being OK as around town everyday vehicle with one bench seat behind driver/passenger; better visibility for Wagon passengers looking out while driving on a sight-seeing tour, cross-country drive, etc..

Medium roof cons: sticks out visually; looks like a delivery truck; harder to stealth urban camp; may preclude certain drive-throughs, trestles, overpasses, garages and roads/driveways with low overhanging limbs/branches; lower MPG.


I am aiming to pull a small RV trailer, so the low roof is attractive, but I will need to drive and sit in one with seats and windows to feel comfortable making any decision.

Good luck to all!
 

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I have the same feeling. Would like the ability to go thru a car wash and parking garage if needed. But being able to stand up and walk around is nice. I am only 5'5" but still think the low would be uncomfortable.

I also pull a small travel trailer,a Casita, and I think the med would help with the aerodynamics. Just have to decide on what drive train I want.

Dean
 

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Dean do you like the Casita? Also considering Airstream 19' Flying Cloud, as it is a compacted 25' Excella rear corner bed. Thx
 

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Wife wanted a minivan but I just don't see myself in one ... so here comes Transit to the rescue. Going for the all black looks, tuxedo black color, privacy glass and will replace factory with black wheels. Also, MWB. That's set ... but I just can't decide on the roof. I like the idea of parking the low roof van in my garage (handy during those Chicago winters), but from the pictures I've seen so far I don't like the looks at all. Also head room seems almost lower than in my SUV. I like the medium roof although it might look awkward with the MWB and also won't fit in the garage. Any other pros and cons?
Black steel wheels are option # 64H for $29.00 invoice/$35.00 retail. Spare tire is standard tire on a black wheel without the tire pressure sending unit. Standard tires are 27 1/2" diameter. Spare tire storage on 148" WB looks like it limits the maximum tire to about 30".
 

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Dean do you like the Casita? Also considering Airstream 19' Flying Cloud, as it is a compacted 25' Excella rear corner bed. Thx
Casita is nice for the money, and being all fiber glass is easy to maintain. Light weight and easy to tow. Probably a lot less $$$ than an airstream. You can get a loaded new one for around $20k. I found mine a couple years ago, a 2006 model and got it for about half that.

Dean
 

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Wife wanted a minivan but I just don't see myself in one ... so here comes Transit to the rescue. Going for the all black looks, tuxedo black color, privacy glass and will replace factory with black wheels. Also, MWB. That's set ... but I just can't decide on the roof. I like the idea of parking the low roof van in my garage (handy during those Chicago winters), but from the pictures I've seen so far I don't like the looks at all. Also head room seems almost lower than in my SUV. I like the medium roof although it might look awkward with the MWB and also won't fit in the garage. Any other pros and cons?
Transit didn't quite come to the rescue in this segment. I really think the US could use a modern 82" tall van. If Ford had brought us the European Mk7 fwd platform we could have had 6" more door height and 4" more interior height with better winter traction and handling. The handicap community would be all over it, basically pricing all the expensive floor and roof hack conversions out of business. And, I think a large segment of the regular population such as yourself would go for it. According to Wiki, the conversion van market was almost 200,000/yr in 1994. Now folks here would be cheering about Transit sales in the low 1,000s/month. Even for tradesmen, the lower load floor and extra interior height in the low roof would make a huge difference and might help get them out of their E-Series.

If Ram Promaster came in a standard roof "wagon" I'd be all over that. With a 90" roof height compared to the 101" high Transit Mid-roof it still has 65" interior height. Ram chose to ignore the wagon market and only offers cargo versions.
The Transit Mk7 fwd was perfect. Overall height 93" (fits well in 8' garage door) with 68" interior height. I am so disappointed in what we got instead. I see little benefit over the E-series other than a 6spd trans and better front suspension.
 

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I remember seeing photos of the Transit's roof, and it looked like it had segmented panels of sheet metal with round details at the corners. Any chance that in Job B (2?) of this buildout, there will be options like skylights, raised roof panels, etc.? I will try to find these photos when back home. The low roof van would have more flexibility if we could pop open a screened skylight and stand up in the opening. Details TBD for sure.
 

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OK I found that aerial photo of the roof in the dealer's Transit brochure, on the first page before the centerfold [why didn't they number the pages?]. Hopefully this photo of it will reproduce OK here.

Looks like the roof paneling is being made in pieces of differing lengths which are butted over the main structural cross-members, and which can be mixed and matched to different van lengths. Are those raised mounting pads for roof racks etc.? Looks like it.

This photo was in the cargo van section of the brochure, so not sure if the Wagons have the same roof panels, but why not? Wagons use roof racks also.

It would be pretty simple to make sections of the roof transform into skylights, opening screened vents etc.. Why not a raised "observation dome" possibility by after-market suppliers?

An opening roof section for telescoping mast/tower with TV/radio transmission and photography capabilities? With the weight and hydraulics centered in the van body, this capacity would add TONS of functionality instead of all the after-market add-ons you see for the light duty Telco, CATV, etc. work trucks.

Transit aerial view.jpg
 

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The Ford Transit Upfitter site has only one ladder roof rack shown at this point. $1930!

https://secure.ford.com/transitupfits/search/#


Double ErgoRack Ladder Rack

Product # 02G484

This ladder rack features a curbside and streetside ErgoRack, which easily lowers ladders within arms reach with an easy-to-use actuator handle. Constructed of lightweight aluminum, includes mechanical assist for effortless operation.
Price $1,929.76
 

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Casita is nice for the money, and being all fiber glass is easy to maintain. Light weight and easy to tow. Probably a lot less $$$ than an airstream. You can get a loaded new one for around $20k. I found mine a couple years ago, a 2006 model and got it for about half that.

Dean
Thanks Dean, I am going to start a new thread on trailers, if you feel like posting there, in the Off Topic section of the Lounge area.

I would like to hear more about your Casita, and your thoughts on other small trailers like the ParkLiner out of North Carolina.

Thanks.

Off Topic - Ford Transit USA Forum

http://www.fordtransitusaforum.com/off-topic/3305-small-trailers.html#post41561
 

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That's an informative photo, Peter - thanks!

I'm planning on installing some kind of escape hatch in the back that I'll use for making photographs (normal and panoramic) while parked. There'll be an adjustable height table inside centered between the wheel wells that I can stand on for access when needed.

The mounting pads/holes will be great for a custom rack I'll make out of aluminum extrusion (hat-tip to Dave Orton) which will hold the solar panel and also provide mounts for my cameras.
 

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Plus a small telescoping mast that could go up 50' or more? The weight of the camera(s?) is so small that the structural support need would be minimal. Main problem might be lateral wind load up high . . .

A local photographer has such a unit mounted on the back of a van, and he/she has taken many photos which look like aerial shots.
 

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Brad, I also meant to ask whether you have built other such hatches through sheet metal roofs, and whether you were able to use a commercially available unit perhaps those made for boats or aircraft? If the unit itself were available, the main work left would be removing the sheet metal and building up a waterproof curb to accept the hatch/skylight unit.

I noticed that you are familiar with the sprinter-source site, so if you know of any info. there it would be great to hear it.

Thanks, and good luck with your build.

Peter
 

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Thanks, Peter... No, this will be a first for me. Am aware of the issues of not dealing with a flat surface and needing build-up a suitable interface. The escape hatches for RV's that I've seen online are low-cost (around $100) and don't inspire confidence with respect to obtaining a robust leak-free installation. Someone on another forum suggested looking at marine hatches, but I haven't done that yet. That may be the way to go. Still have to get a good look inside a transit with tape measure to see what the spacings between the ribs are.

Many commercial light rail and municipal busses have hatches that look decent, but have not researched them yet either.
 

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My guess is that the main cost will be custom fabricating the curb (my term from residential flat roof construction with skylights sitting on the roof).

At the risk of repeating the obvious -- not only must this overall installation be waterproof when sitting still, but it must also withstand wind-driven rain at high speeds, which tends to "push water uphill" and through the smallest of cracks. Also, the need for waterproofing applies: (1) to the gap between the roof and the curb; and the gap between the top of the curb and the skylight/hatch; and (3) to the skylight/hatch itself.

As to (3), some marine skylight units would probably work, as they are obviously gasketed for extreme conditions. Ditto for skylight units designed for mobile RV/truck uses.

Getting the curb to conform to both the shape of the roof, and to the underside of the skylight/hatch (are some pre-curved to fit certain boats/trucks?) will be the challenge. I remember reading years ago about casting a liquid resin acrylic (?) into a form which was temporarily on (or made to replicate) the van's roof shape. Simple in concept but hard to fabricate a one-off project.

Come on Ford, give us some skylights with screening, and some hatches. Hmmm, does Ford make any school buses with emergency roof hatches large enough for an adult human body to go through? How about the bus manufacturers?

Look Luck, Brad!

PS -- We may have wandered off the On-Topic path here, but perhaps a new post in the Off Topic Lounge area (or Camper Vans and Conversions) would draw further comments? Your hat tip above to Dave Orton led me to appreciate that there are many knowledgeable folks here who might contribute well to this topic. Thanks again. Peter
 

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Black steel wheels are option # 64H for $29.00 invoice/$35.00 retail. Spare tire is standard tire on a black wheel without the tire pressure sending unit. Standard tires are 27 1/2" diameter. Spare tire storage on 148" WB looks like it limits the maximum tire to about 30".
I don't think that option number is correct. On my sheet, 64H is "steel with full silver wheel cover".

I don't see a black painted steel wheel anywhere, but I'd love that option so I don't have to do it myself. The stock wheel is painted silver with a black plastic hub cap. Or you can get that same wheel painted white without hubcap.
 
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