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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has Sportsmobile indicated that they will be doing camper conversions for the Transit? I will probably go with a Quigley 4WD Transit converted into a camper.

Greg McHugh
2008 Roadtrek RS Adventurous
 

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I spoke with Sportsmobile North way back in March, before the transits were out and they indicated they were planning Transit conversions. Their website is slow on the draw. They still don't have standard plans and prices for the Promaster, which has been out much longer. At the bottom is a link to Sportsmobile pricing. Scroll to the bottom and check out the price sheet second from left. The Transit is listed but no prices.

I too am seeking a Quigley 4WD conversion. My 4W driving should be rather tame. No crazy rock crawling. Just average 4WD roads where high clearance is important and only a few tight spots. Which Transit are you looking at? I'd prefer the 130 WB medium roof, either the 150 or 250 with the 3.7L engine but I haven't seen a 130 WB yet so I don't know if it will be big enough. I do like the idea of small size though. Also, I'm not sure if the 3.7L is powerful enough for 4WD. Prefer to keep things simple with the 3.7 but may have to go with the 3.5 ecoboost. I'm also looking at Van Specialties and Outside Van for conversions but don't know if they are gearing up for the Transit or not. Ditto on other outfits (Quad Van, Sportsmobile West) for 4WD conversion. I've heard nothing on that front either. I'm happy to see that Quigleys is marching full speed ahead with the 4WD. Still, It looks like I'll be waiting until next year to get rolling on this.

Sportsmobile Custom Camper Vans - Dodge ProMaster Vans Info
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds like we are looking for the same type of van. We are finishing up a summer in Alaska in our Roadtrek Sprinter and it has been working fine but there are lots of places we would like to go where higher clearance and 4wd would be useful. I also would like the shorter wheelbase but also concerned that it will be too small after getting used to the room in the Roadtrek. My main goal will be to a lot simpler in the Transit with no generator, no a/c, no holding tanks, and a gas engine. The Sprinter has been pretty reliable over the 3 years we have owned it but I look forward to something with more dealers and service options. Our Sprinter is a Freightliner and only a few of the dealers will touch a Sprinter. Went to a Dodge dealer in Prince George BC to get a repair on the way north after the Freightliner dealer wouldn't touch it. The Mercedes dealers are few and tend to be expensive. Lucky to have a great Freightliner dealer in Michigan.

Looking at the Orton Sprinter and his plans for a Transit for ideas since he has learned a lot from his first build. Since we are probably looking at next year sometimt for the 4wd there should be plenty of time to sort it out.

Greg McHugh
2008 Roadtrek RS Adventurous
 

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You are way ahead of me. I've never owned a van much less a camper van. Very excited to get one though. Maybe you can give me an opinion on a few things. Here is my thinking at the moment. I don't think I need a generator but would like a fresh water tank and probably grey water. I would like propane stove and heat, sink, solar panels, and AC. I know room is at a premium, especially with the smaller van, but I would like an indoor shower. I'm thinking 24 by 24. If I have a water proof floor, put a towel down and leave the door open fI think I will have enough room. When not in use it can double as storage for porta potty and other stuff. I'm also thinking of a couch that opens to a sideways bed. Maybe 45 by 74". Orton measured 74 inches side to side above about 23" inches from the floor, which might be just long enough for me and wife. I'm 5'8" so luckily the mid-roof is high enough, and hopefully the van is wide enough. Otherwise it will be a lengthwise gaucho. Also, I would like to leave room in the back (12-15") for storage including a mountain bike, which I'd rather not leave outside. I'm I asking for too much? Do you think extra room in the back would be useful?

Seems kind of sad that a Freightliner dealer wouldn't touch your Freightliner! We have a dealer here a little south of you in Indiana. I looked at them but I'm also nervous about breaking down somewhere for reasons you describe and I didn't want a diesel. Guess you got lucky with yours. I heard that either they break down from the very beginning or they last forever with no problem. Sounds like you got the latter. Why are you looking to simplify?
 

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Quigley rep advise it will not be until the 2nd qtr of '15 before they will start production of Transit 4X4's.

Semper Fi
 

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Greetings,

Hey JAD, thought i'd share a picture of what my wife came up with and Van Specialties built for us in our Chevy RB AWD van. Here is a shot of our bathroom closet (it holds a Dometic 3010 porta potty also) in shower mode:



We can get two nice ~5 minute showers out of one filling of that battery operated garden sprayer you see placed on the top left self area. No splash or spills outside the cement-mix home depot basin and shower curtain. Very simple and folds away into the closet too.



We have 9 feet from the back of the seats to rear of cargo area. Plenty of room for how we roll.



And while we do pull a small 15 foot fiberglass trailer behind the van on most occassions, we do still go out with just the van...sometimes just to play with our Hennessy Expedition (hers) and Warbonnet Black Bird (mine) hammocks in some off the beaten path site up in the Pacific Northwest.

:) Thom

OH, i'm pretty sure that Eric, Outside Van owner, will be all over the Transit! and same with the Quad Van crew in Portland.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
JAD, there is a lot of personal preference in choosing how to configure a camper van so you will need to filter through all of the options to what works for you. Storage room will increase a lot with the longer wheelbase, that extra length can limit you when parking and maneuvering, I travel with my wife and looking at the short wheelbase it would seem too small for us after seeing how we can load up the long wheelbase Sprinter. If you want air conditioner then you usually need either campground 30 amp power or a generator. I plan to go without the AC this time since we have only used it a couple of times in the three years we have had it. We avoid high heat and humidity by avoiding it in our travels so it works for us to be without AC. A good place to look at all the configuration options for beds, couches, etc., is the Sportsmobile website where they show just about all the possible ways to configure the layout. I always liked the penthouse pop top (not sure they will do one on the low rood transit) but my wife would not have it so I expect we will go with the high or mid roof depending on how they feel when we go inside one. Storage will be tight in all camper vans so you really need to consider what you want inside vs outside like bikes. Many people have a raised bed platform with lots of storage underneath for things such as bikes but then the bed tends to be fixed in place which we wouldn't like because we like a couch of some type when not sleeping. Again, too much personal preference to tell anyone else which is best. I would suggest you start looking at any camper van you can find just to get an idea of what would work for you.

We are very happy with our Roadtrek and it has been a reliable vehicle. Keep in mind that the main customer for the Sprinter camper vans from Roadtrek, Pleasureway, Winnebago, etc. is looking for a high end model with nice interior and all the options. These vehicles are not designed for much beyond great handling on the highway and comfortable accommodation when parked. They are starting to address the need to camp away from hookups but it is difficult to go very far from a reasonable paved or gravel road with all of the stuff mounted under the vehicle (generator, black and grey tanks, propane tank, plumbing with macerator, etc.) resulting in no ground clearance and easily damaged components.

Based on my assessment, we have been lucky to get a pretty reliable Sprinter. I read too many stories about Sprinter problems to think they are all as reliable as ours. I think the Sprinter has too much technology that is prone to reliability problems. I used to work for Ford so I do have a bias towards something from them.

As I said, we have seen lots of places we would like to go that require a vehicle designed for bad roads. We can give up some if the high end design stuff to get a more rugged vehicle.

Greg McHugh
2008 Roadtrek RS Adventurous
 
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Jad: Your description of what you want is very similar to what I have in a 08 Sprinter. No need for a generator. You have one with a gas engine alternator. I have a second 600 watt inverter powered by the Sprinter for 120 volt power with the engine running. Transit conversion will have a 1000 watt inverter to be used for heating water or provide power for house battery charger or electric base board heater in the rear of the van. AC uses too much power.
I have a 24 gallon fresh water tank and a 11 gallon gray water tank. No black water. Use a portapotty mounted in the 24 x 32 shower enclosure at the correct height. Bought one with clips on bottom for mounting. Use shower space for storage as well as a removable towel rack at the top. Shower pan from Jazz Sales.
Sprinter-Forum - View Single Post - Orton DIY - Toilet/Shower/Storage
Transit conversion will be similar but improved. Two hinged shelves with one above portapotty and one at counter height. Portapotty turned 90 degrees. I heat shower water in a 5 gallon beer keg with a cartridge heating element. Takes 45 minutes to heat water while driving. Will use larger element in Transit to reduce heating time to 30 minutes.

The Transit will be wide enough for your height. I am 5'-10" and sleep across the Sprinter at a slight diagonal on a 70" long platform. My length is actually 73 1/2" sleeping on my stomach. The Transit will have four 27" wide Murphy style bed hinged panels that fold down to rest on the rear table (two on each side). Have bench seats over the rear wheel wells. Rear two panels down for one person sleeping and all 4 for two. Use two REI camp pads for the mattress for each person. Use sleeping bags. Very comfortable.

I will increase the space between the bed platform and the rear doors to make it easier to store my foldable bike. Can not hang bikes off back or an awning or any exterior utility connections since it must be stealth for city camping.

I would post Transit conversion drawings here if the site allowed a large enough file size that would make that possible. So far no response from the moderator.
 

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Thanks all for detailed responses. Accrete and Orton, I like both showers. Both are simple and easily converted to storage. Exactly the kind of thing I am looking for.

Orton’s build does sound similar to what I’m looking for, so it sounds like what I’m asking is doable. I’m happy to hear that. I wish I had the expertise to build my own, but I think it better to spend the bucks and get it done right. Sportsmobile North is about 4.5 hours from me so it’s convenient, but I haven’t ruled out the others if I think they can do a better job. I can’t imagine any of those places not gearing up for the Transit because, otherwise, they would be out of a lot of business. I like the idea of maneuverability with the short wheelbase, especially when driving in cities and on narrow 4WD roads. There’s give and take on everything. As Greg suggests, I have to figure out how I’m going to use it and what I’m going to put in it as far as storage needs. Right now I’m planning to purchase the Transit and start the build around October 2015. By then Quigleys should be up and running and I hope the other places as well. Maybe there will be finished Transit conversions by then. Also, I’ll get a look at the 2015 Transit.

I do like the idea of the penthouse, but I also like the idea of walking through the van without raising the roof. I do like the idea of at least some degree of stealth. Sportsmobile north indicated they would put the penthouse on the low roof Transit but not the medium roof. My use for the rear AC would be to run it with the engine on just long enough to cool the back and remove humidity, or when driving if the dogs are in the back. Perhaps getting the twin batteries would be a good idea and definitely the larger alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good discussion. I want the penthouse top on the low roof so you can carry canoes or kayaks on top but my wife doesn't like the penthouse top so we will see whose requirements win on that. We don't do any stealth camping so looking like a camper is OK for us. JAD, so are talking about using the transit air conditioner or adding another AC. With rear AC vents the Transit AC may be good enough to cool things down. I expect to order the larger alternator and aux battery. Not sure yet on propane, may go with range, water heater, and furnace on propane but I will be looking at going all electric as a possible option. Probably still need a propane stove but can always use a portable one with small propane bottle. Induction cooktop is also an option but at 1800 watts they would need a larger inverter and would suck up battery amps quickly. Could run the engine to help carry the load using Orton's design which I find to be clever and useful. Roadtrek is installing aux 120v generator running off a belt on the Sprinter engine to eliminate the propane generator which is a nice solution but requires more mods than the Orton design. Thanks to Orton for putting all his design online. If we can get the file size limits fixed on this site it would be great.
 
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Orton’s build does sound similar to what I’m looking for, so it sounds like what I’m asking is doable.
If you want more detailed information on my build go to Sprinter-source.com and using the search function type in "orton". Each major part of the conversion has its separate own post. Such as walls,floor cabinets,roof rack etc.

The conversion works very well and is stealth. Transit will be very similar but with a lot of improvements.
 

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Greg, if you go with Sportsmobile for your build (and probably the other builders as well) it might be helpful to spec out the Transit options prior to purchase. When I mentioned factory rear AC to SM North they balked and said they wouldn't want me to do that because the wiring and placement may interfere with their build. This was before they had seen the Transit. So, in my head, I was considering either the rooftop AC or the interior one, both of which are more expensive than the factory. I believe the SM interior AC was more than $4000, and the rooftop was around $1500; still close to twice the factory AC. I was leaning toward rooftop to save money and interior space.

I too like the idea of going all or mostly electric. I recall that Sportsmobile mentioned that option as well but will have to look at cost and how practical it is. It might be more practical with a diesel engine where primary diesel fuel could be used to power heat and hot water. It would require solar panels, which is something I want anyway.
 

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Greg, if you go with Sportsmobile for your build (and probably the other builders as well) it might be helpful to spec out the Transit options prior to purchase. When I mentioned factory rear AC to SM North they balked and said they wouldn't want me to do that because the wiring and placement may interfere with their build. This was before they had seen the Transit. So, in my head, I was considering either the rooftop AC or the interior one, both of which are more expensive than the factory. I believe the SM interior AC was more than $4000, and the rooftop was around $1500; still close to twice the factory AC. I was leaning toward rooftop to save money and interior space.

I too like the idea of going all or mostly electric. I recall that Sportsmobile mentioned that option as well but will have to look at cost and how practical it is. It might be more practical with a diesel engine where primary diesel fuel could be used to power heat and hot water. It would require solar panels, which is something I want anyway.
Most new low emission diesels should not be idled. Do not know if that is true with the Ford 3.2. One of my reasons for buying a new Transit is to get rid of the diesel so I can idle the engine to heat water and heat the interior with my second Transit powered inverter.

Cooking with a portable two burner propane stove has two advantages. Does not require as much battery and inverter capacity and stove is portable to move it outside for cooking.
 

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Orton. Had a chance to look at your build. Very nice and a similar setup to what I imagine except I would prefer a couch in the back rather than a diner. But I'm still hashing through everything. I have no interest in a diesel, but now I understand how convenient that second Transit powered inverter would be. It is a great idea!

Never owning a van, I heard that dark colors make for a hot box. I noticed that your Sprinter is dark. Would you do that with the transit or are you going to go with white or a lighter color? Or does it really matter? I really like the green and the blue transit colors but was thinking white or silver just to avoid hot box syndrome.

Greg, I believe its a second unit (no expert here). I don't think anybody has seen one in a cargo van but in the wagon it seems a little intrusive. There is a picture of the box in a wagon on the post titled Rear Seating (linked below).

http://www.fordtransitusaforum.com/interior/1017-rear-seating-11.html
 

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Further down the "rear seating" p. 11, Mc2Guy says, "The box is the evaporator for the rear AC as others have suggested."
 

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Most new low emission diesels should not be idled. Do not know if that is true with the Ford 3.2. One of my reasons for buying a new Transit is to get rid of the diesel so I can idle the engine....
Not sure if the two different DPF regen options have anything to do with it but in the manual I picked up Thursday Ford actually promotes the diesel for users that have to idle often!
 

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Here's the powerplant:
 
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