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Old 08-10-2018, 06:01 PM   #1
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Hello! So glad I found this group

Hi. I just discovered this forum and will be searching it for ideas but just wanted to introduce myself first. I'm a recently retired woman looking for a vehicle to hit the road with this Fall. I'll be traveling to the Southwest to escape the snow, to grieve and scatter some ashes.

Currently I'm driving a pickup truck which we (my son and I) had just purchased in May for a grandiose spruce up project on our little farm. We hauled some mulch and compost for one month then in early June my son went to work and never came home. He had a heart attack and was gone even before the paramedics arrived.

Long story short I mainly want to get away from this place and all the reminders and visit my daughter in Colorado. I've been searching for the perfect boondocking vehicle and almost traded the truck for a minivan because I was so eager to leave and at least have a place to sleep. But I didn't because I actually want a larger van that I could stand up in or at least have a computer desk (will be going back to work soon, remote IT), and maybe spend some serious time in the van. I've looked at high roof cargo vans but can't seem to find one with windows on the side. I've looked at WeeRoll towables but there's a 4 month wait. I just keep looking on CarGurus and things like that. Going to a dealer is difficult for me and I feel they see me coming and take advantage more than usual. Don't know if it's true or not but I feel like a lamb going to slaughter when walking onto a car lot. I've been told that the trade in value is so low because my truck will become a 2 owner vehicle with only 13,500 miles and that raises suspicion in a buyer.

Please stop me from getting a minivan! There has got to be something better. I just don't know how to find it. Sorry for the long sad story.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:45 PM   #2
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Welcome! And sorry for your loss.

Here's my experience: Here in Colorado it takes me a lot of time to find a van worth buying and working on. For me to get a good base to flip there's a few key things I look for.
1. NO hitch, if it has a hitch, I walk away
2. 160k or less with records
3. Can NOT be a construction, oil field, or tourist shuttle vehicle
4. Absolutely no leaks from anywhere

I try and find something that is a church, corporate, personal or lease vehicle. My 2010 van was bought from Centenial Airport (private). Had 70k miles, mint condition and all records, cost two years ago was $14k. The '99 hightop that I flipped was a lease vehicle for handicap people, had a lift (donated the lift for free) and 150k on it. It had all the maintenance records but like most vehicles from a lease company, it had all the maintenance done but had never been washed, ever, got it for $2k, sold for $7k. The other regular top van I just sold was a '99 from a church with 120k, bought for $1600 and sold for $6k. They sold it to me for cheap because it had a ABS/Brake light on the dash and the dealership said it was unsafe to drive and would cost $900 to repair. It was a $12 speed sensor on the rear diff. Dealerships and most shops are liars!
IMO: Find a Ford E350 EB passenger with the 5.4, finding a high top will be tough. Surf through youtube and pintrest. You don't have to spend a lot to have a very reliable campervan.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:56 PM   #3
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So sorry for your loss. That's a sad story. Hopefully your family support will help you through this.



Not to put down van life but you might consider Hallmark popup campers. I don't know much about them though but if you already have a new truck, it's an option. Better than a mini van IMO.
Hallmark RV | The Best Pop-Up Truck Camper



I still like vans and that the front seats are accessible from the living area. There are plenty for sale here and at the SMB website. Depends on your budget and what creature comforts you need. Good luck on your quest. Lots of members to help you out.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:42 PM   #4
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While I love my SMB, Id also suggest checking out a Roadtrek 170 model. Near-perfect for one person IMO. Models built on the GM platform tend to be better (and pricier) than the Dodge vans.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:07 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum. Truly sorry for your loss. We parents are supposed to go first, not our children. I hope you find peace.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:50 PM   #6
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Hello Deltakilo7 ---
---- and as others have said, warm welcomes and heartfelt sorrow for your loss.

Wondered a few things, perhaps with a bit more information we can better help you locate your ideal traveling machine. You can absolutely do better than a minivan for your upcoming journeying and future work-remotely IT work.

-------------------------------------------

1) Do you have a specific budget range you are inclined to share?
(Either with or without the inclusion of possibly selling the pickup truck?)

2) Have you searched craigslist/other classified listings using the keywords "conversion van" ?
Oftentimes there is kind of a "fuzzy line" that gets drawn between defining whether something is a camper van and if its a conversion van --- and the ones that tilt more towards a camper build could be a good possible option for you. As an example, this one is listed here locally on the SoCal Craigslist as a "camper conversion van".

1992 Ford Conversion RV camper van - $7800 (Anaheim)
https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/...663279736.html
One owner Ford conversion camper van 5.8 v8 Automatic Toilet �� Generator Roof AC Refrigerator Stone Rear bed �� New motor transmission Only 7000 miles On it have the receipts to prove Runs and drives great �� Clean title brand new smog good Carfax no accidents Very clean in and out Must sell due to health issues $7800 call






3) Have you considered a slide-in "bed camper" for the pickup truck?

One of those might work quite well for you as well. If the truck has only 13,500 miles on it, that's a nice reliable foundation to have under you for your travels.

Hope that what some of what we offer here is of help to you.
We're a kind bunch here, go ahead and lean on us as much as you need to.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:28 PM   #7
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Mountain Bike Roamer,

Thank you for your advice. That’s a new idea for me. I had never considered that an older vehicle could be reliable. I’ve always driven newer vehicles out of fear of breaking down somewhere by myself. I’m really restricting myself that way and maybe unnecessarily.

What about rust? If everything else is good but the fenders are rusting is that okay? An easy fix?
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:39 PM   #8
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Oh and I forgot to say this... yes, we had a slide in camper when I was married and it was a little too big and heavy to be convenient. My budget is what I have into the truck since it is paid off. They’ll give me $27K trade in allowance on a 2015 low miles Minivan but the van seems overpriced at $23K. I have the truck for sale on NW Indiana Craigslist for $27K but maybe I should lower the price? No nibbles in 4 days. Plus the mileage is over 14K now. I’ll try the different search terms you mentioned. Thanks again.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:57 PM   #9
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Hi. Darn it, I replied to you under the wrong person’s message. These are very helpful tips and I thank you for the advice.
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:10 PM   #10
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Hi again Deltakilo7,

Hey, several more things/responses to your responses:

1) I would say that your intuitive sense of **most** significantly older vehicles is still pretty accurate --- in general, they **won't** likely be the most reliable/trouble-free item in the world if they're over 10 years old --- unless you find one that has had meticulous maintenance (fully documented), doesn't have super high miles, and has been driven regularly.

I posted that example of the 1992 Conversion Van as more an illustration of the type of build/layout you might find (but ideally with one that's at least a decade newer, though.)

Newer similar ones are out there! If that particular van's configuration looked interesting or to have potential for you, you could definitely find newer ones with similar builds. Whatever you decide is your ideal choice, just be sure it has tires that are no older than 6 years old (there are DOT-mandated manufacturing-date codes on the sides of all tires that are pretty easily decoded).

These Ford vans are pretty simple and pretty darn reliable contraptions, and most routine maintenance and repairs are pretty reasonable. And as long as you've got your celphone and a "AAA Plus" roadside service membership (100 miles free towing!), you've got your bases covered.

2) You're in Indiana I see --- so that's quite certifiably rust belt, I believe.
If you see rust on the fenders, don't buy it. Once there's rust on the fenders, then the underside of the vehicle is almost 100% certainly in pretty bad shape. Frame rust and brake line rust --- in short, the final stages of terminal deterioration.

3) if you sell the pickup truck, will this be your only vehicle? If so, your intuitive sense of reliability concerns (i.e., get something newer) should indeed take top priority, just based on the extra number of miles and frequent usage "above and beyond" a daily-driver sees/racks up, compared to what most campers/RV's see.
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