A forum for van conversions, van living and travel

The vanlife => Van Conversion => Topic started by: Clint on February 03, 2016, 05:44:22 PM

Title: Starting from scratch! Which model of van do you recommend?
Post by: Clint on February 03, 2016, 05:44:22 PM
I just joined the site, and I have a basic (but important) question.  I'm at the very beginning of buying a class B van and converting it into a simple camping and road trip vehicle. 

I don't plan to install kitchenette or shower or anything like that.  It will be a passenger van a lot of the time - taking kids to soccer games, etc.  When we go on camping trips, we'll just load gear into the back of the van - including tents & sleeping bags.  I plan to have bench seats in back that can fold down to make beds.  We'll use the fold-down seats as beds occasionally, but usually will use tents for camping.

I'm looking for advice on which model of van to start with.  I plan to buy a new van, and then have it converted.  I am thinking about the long wheelbase, high-roof version of one of these models:
Mercedes Sprinter
Dodge Promaster
Ford Transit
Nissan NV (but not sure if they have a long wheelbase model)

I'm not sure if this is the right forum for posting this, but if it is, here are the questions (or advice i'm looking for):

Which of these is best for reliability?  I.e. frequency of repairs?  Cost of repairs?  Ease of finding qualified repair centers?

Do you have any comments on comfort (for driver and passengers)?  I want a van that is very comfortable for long road trips. 

And, finally, I would appreciate any general comments or recommendations on selection of a new van for a conversion.

Title: Re: Starting from scratch! Which model of van do you recommend?
Post by: kryten on February 03, 2016, 09:22:03 PM
If your budget can stretch to a Sprinter then go for that. Most long wheel based vans are similar but the Sprinter will give you reliability. Since you're looking to make the van duel purpose then consider building your kitchen and bed outside and making them removable. You can secure built units to inside the van using quick release catches. Of course you can do this for the top cupboards they need to be fixed. "Scudo Camper" used this method for his van, check out his youtube vlog and "Sprinter Van Living" did a wonderful conversion but his furniture is fixed.

Have you read all of Mike's (vandog) conversion blog? Different vehicle but the same techniques and how to's