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jasonodom

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Jason Odom
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 #1 

We just purchased the Dodge Promaster over all other choices because it is 5" WIDER inside than the Sprinter or Ford Transit, $5,000 to $12,000 less upfront, has a lower floor than either because it's front wheel drive, has as good a clearance as any within an inch, has BUILT in studs in on the roof so you can attach a roof rack or awning or other object WITHOUT drilling though the roof, fits within a normal parking spot as long as you don't purchase the extended body version, and provides stand up height for our aging bodies and a shower. As for stealth there will NEVER be a better stealth vehicle in our lifetime than the ORIGINAL van disclosed in the ORIGINAL book on Vanaboding (Travel Forever on $20 a day) - the Chevy Express, and discussed in detail in "The Van" Chapter. Still if you keep it relatively plain on the outside and follow the tenants of VANABODE you will be as stealthy as any other NEW van.

MEANTIME I will release and update and put out the FOURTH edition of Vanabode in 2019 covering this purchase and choice in detail AND pictures and conversion information. We have a HUGE open floor in the new VANABODE. As for reliability I cannot imagine a more reliable vehicle than the original Vanabode built on the Chevy express 2500 platform. We did NOTHING to that original van for 11 years and 170,000 miles but tires/belts/oil change/fluids/and a few front end parts. We replaced almost nothing: NO brakes, NO shocks, NO ac charge, NO starter, NO alternator, or any other mechanical problem ever. The best vehicle I will probably ever own.

So WHY did we trade Up? The primary reason was now that we are older we wanted a vehicle that we could stand up in. Secondary reason is even though it is much larger than the original Vanabode it gets much better fuel mileage due to the 6 cylinder engine mated to a 6 speed transmission.


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Souleem

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 #2 
Hello Jason,

Thank you for writing this post (and for writing your fabulous book, which Ijust learned about and purchased yesterday morning, and got the Audible version also).

I've been gradually gathering bug-in/car camping/rving supplies, am ready to buy an affordable van and really like the idea of standing up inside my van, so I'm going to search for a Dodge ProMaster. I loved driving my Dodge Ram 1500 for almost 15 years, so I am glad that you recommend the Dodge ProMaster.

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Vanabond

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Hi Jason...I just read that you purchased a Ram Promaster. Congratulations on your purchase....I think. I was considering buying a Promaster myself and when I found out you bought one it pretty much made up my mind for me. Then I read some reviews:

https://www.edmunds.com/ram/promaster-cargo-van/2015/consumer-reviews/

Edmunds ,as far as I know, is a reputable company so now I'm thinking I had better keep doing some more research on vans before I make a purchase. If you read some of these scathing reviews I think you'll agree they could be construed as "scary stuff" for a prospective buyer. Jason.....what's your take?

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jasonodom

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Jason Odom
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As I have said all along NO vehicle will ever reach the affordablity/quality ratio of the original Vanabode platform - Chevy 2500 Express. HOWEVER because of all the reasons oulined in the original post on this topic we were unable to continue with that platform for our needs. NOTICE nearly all the reviews you are seeing are from owners of 1500 short wheel base low roof work vans. Ours is longer wheel base, taller roof, etc, and used for comfort not hauling tools, which begs the question are all these Promasters built in the SAME PLANT in the same country? (NOTE the model years of the Promaster they are reviewing - sometimes as late as 2014) We have been on the road for 9 of the 12 months since owning this Promaster 2500 and have had no problems except sliding door creaks a little too much for my taste when rolling over uneven terrain. NOW, this is the EDMUNDS post that most closely matches MY current experience and matches more closely the MODEL of Promaster I purchased - Review from Edmunds containing pertenent info to this discussion - 2500 High Roof 3dr Van w/136" Wheelbase (3.6L 6cyl 6A) - I purchased a 2014 ProMaster, and added another last year. Just purchased our third one, a 2017. Very happy so far. Yes the driving position is unusual compared to a car, but having grown up on VW Buses, I like it. The power door locks are a bit goofy, but otherwise the van is sensible and well thought out. Compared to the Sprinter that we also own, this van feels light, but more responsive. It makes our Ford E series feel like the dinosaur it is. I like the low load floor the FWD offers , and it has been OK in the snow-no better or worse than our front engine/rear drive vans. It is not a Mercedes S class in terms of refinement, but it is a work van and as a work van this has proven to be a functional, reliable tool.
END OF EDMUNDS REVIEW.
Remember I am NOT trying to sell anyone on this van, but think of this as well...If the Promaster platform is so bad how do the MAJOR upmarket makers of Class B rv's like RoadTrek and Pleasure Way use them to make $70,000+ very expensive rv's from?

 


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Vanabond

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 #5 
Very well put Jason. We are still leaning towards a Promaster because it has as close to everything we want in a van as anything out there. And the more I research the more I find problems with all the other brands as well. Like the You Tube video of a guy that spent $7,700.to have an injector pump replaced on his Transit and being told by the mechanic "It happens all the time".
Thanks for taking the time to reply and I agree with you.
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Vanabond

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 #6 
Hi Jason.....just wanted to ask what kind of milage you're getting on your Promaster. I looked on line and people seem to be all over the map on the Promaster milage question. I was thinking you and your wife are probably caring similar weight to what we'll be caring so I thought I'd ask.
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jasonodom

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Jason Odom
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 #7 
The reason you are getting all kinds of answers is the question is like asking "How do you make a watch?" It's not clear under what conditions you are looking for the numbers or how you plan to use the information. For instance on our latest trip from Florida through New York and Niagara Falls area and down to Kentucky we achieved 18.3 miles per gallon average from April 2 to October 11 over 7,013 miles. Many times we were getting 28 miles per gallon on the highway for hours at 60 miles per hour (probably with a tail wind) which is extraordinary, but then we don't do that often, so thousands of miles we are cruising back roads at 25 to 45 miles per hour or idling through small towns and parks. The very best coverage of how fuel mileage effects your choice of vehicle for travel, driving conditions, and how to get the very best fuel mileage see the last chapter of my TRAVEL DIARY book on Amazon entitled Big City Wild Country East Coast Trip on $20 a day - I think they sell it for like $2.99. Our strategies detailed there, along with the fact that those numbers come from the original Vanabode which could never attain the excellent fuel mileage we are getting now, are worth having.
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Vanabond

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 #8 
We couldn't find a Promaster. Seems like they sold as soon as they hit the lot.We decided on a 2012 Chevy Express extended with 57,000 miles on it. With the exception of the terrible gas mileage , we really like it.
Just started the build . Right now we just threw a full size mattress on the floor and we're sleeping well until it got cold. We're in north Fla.and it got down to just below freezing last night. We have an Olympian Wave 3 propane heater that does a pretty good job of heating things up but it also ads moisture to the air. The condensation got so bad last night we had droplets of water dripping down on us from the roof. I bought a Maxair vent fan but it's been too cold to install lt. We keep the two front windows down about a half an inch on both sides for ventilation. As I recall you're not a big fan of insulation and I understand that in hot weather the insulation holds heat inside but we are now toying with the idea of installing insulation. I'm wondering though if I install the Maxair fan and leave the windows open about a half an inch each if that will stop the condensation. I really don't want to insulate . We were wondering what you're take was. I'm sure at some point you've had to deal with this problem as well.
Thanks for you're time, Jason
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jasonodom

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Jason Odom
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 #9 
FIRST I am totally against the use of combustion heat inside your van. I think you could kill yourself with fumes. SECOND, I'm not AGAINST insulation. As discussed in Vanabode you should customize your insulation installation to suit YOUR needs, and that means in many cases (like us for 11 years and 170,000 miles) that insulation can be a negative NOT a positive addition. I won't rehash the reasons why (see the book) but I understand for those that insist on camping in very cold places for what ever reason (we are doing that right now in order to report on and experience Work Camping for Amazon in Kentucky) insulation has value. First it MUST be done correctly which means a complete vapor barrier 100% between sheet metal and interior with proper insulation stuffed in between and ZERO air intrusion. Otherwise it can be a disaster. Every day we wake up to condensation on our roof, windows and side walls. We let it dry naturally or sometimes Kelly will towel it off. Temporary problem solved without making a big deal out of it. In December when we are back in Florida for 3 months and then out west for 7 months we are back to having a situation that is PREFERABLE without insulation. ALL RV companies state in their paperwork when they sell you a new RV that it is designed for TEMPORARY use NOT as a full time liveaboard vessel. That's how they get around dealing with condensation under warranty. But EVERY VEHICLE SWEATS if you have the right conditions. Most of the big rigs you will find after a few years will have rotted wood or moldy conditions UNDER the windows down the walls where the condensation has dripped off the glass. That is the single area of the interior of these expensive rigs that is NOT lathered in insulation of some kind. NO amount or kind of insulation eliminates condensation. Period. As for adding the vent to your roof, YES it will bring in "somewhat" drier air in SOME conditions though your open front windows and keep the condensation down, however this will probably somewhat defeat your plans to HEAT the interior? If you have electricity where you are parked install the roof vent and use an electric blanket and a small $18 portable heater from a big box store. It's a good solution. If you are NOT hooked up, move on, or wipe the condensation off like we do.
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