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Old 05-06-2014, 10:21 AM   #1
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MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

Sportsmobile reports working on their first ProMaster van, but in the mean time we can get some insight into the RAM van from MotorHome magazine, which this month reviewed the Winnebago Travato.

The review seems neutral at best on the conversion, but read positive to me regarding the ProMaster van itself. Two things that jumped out at me were great mileage and high cargo capacity.

They averaged over 17 MPG on gasoline, with lowest tank still exceeding 16 MPG. For a van with nearly twice the volume of my extended Econoline that seems excellent.

The other major positive is that it has almost a ton of OCCC (occupant and cargo carrying capacity). The van with all fluids still weighed under 7500 pounds if I recall correctly. And the GVWR is 9350 pounds. This means to me that it can still tow a small trailer when needed.

One design issue I expected and don't like is that the 2800 watt Onan generator is just over 6 inches off pavement. And if that's not when van is fully loaded to GVWR then clearance would be too low to go off pavement, or to park with tail over a curve to save space.

Overall they seem high on chassis potential. I hope Sportsmobile can do it justice. And also that a lower-profile Onan generator can be designed for the ProMaster.

If you've read the review, any thoughts on content?
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:00 AM   #2
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

[url]http://www.motorhome.com/rv-travel-news/winnebago-touring-coach-travato-59g//[url]
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:12 AM   #3
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

I talked to Colorado camper vans and Derek(spelling?) Told me he would put a poptop on the high roof Promaster. He thinks it will be simple , just requiring a hole in the roof. The bed would be massive but quite a climb.This would allow more space down below to make a generator box etc.. Sportsmobile of course wouldn't even hear of such a suggestion. I would think only cutting a hole to get up to the bed would be better structurally.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:38 PM   #4
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
I talked to Colorado camper vans and Derek(spelling?) Told me he would put a poptop on the high roof Promaster. He thinks it will be simple , just requiring a hole in the roof. The bed would be massive but quite a climb.This would allow more space down below to make a generator box etc.. Sportsmobile of course wouldn't even hear of such a suggestion. I would think only cutting a hole to get up to the bed would be better structurally.
At one time Sportsmobile stated on their web site that the low-roof Pro-Master would have a Penthouse option. Since then they have revised the site and I can't find the reference, but expect it would still apply. I believe it would be a late availability item. Have you heard otherwise?

As far as a pop roof on the taller-roof ProMaster, I've seen pictures on web from a major European manufacturer that does exactly that. And they only cut a small opening behind the driver/passenger area to access the permanent overhead bed. The opening is the size of a large sunroof and uses a ladder for access. Looks very practical other than it makes mounting an RV Air conditioner on top impractical.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:32 PM   #5
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

Sportsmobile is doing the penthouse on the low Promaster but can't wrap their minds around putting them on the tall ones. As far as a roof air you could have it stick down through the hole in the roof so it works if poptop is down and still cools the sleeping area when it's bed time. With Colorado camper vans poptops height popped up you would not bang your head climbing in. Sportsmobile won't mount roof airs on poptops so not an option for them anyway. My floor plan would be a modified rb132s on the 20'10" Promaster. The empty space at the rear passenger side will possibly have the generator box with closet above. This is just a plan for now. The Promaster may suck and the Transit has yet to be seen.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:38 AM   #6
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

The Euro Ducato-based campers I saw pictures of that had the mid-height roof (our tall roof) used a pop up that hinged at the back of the van (at least on some models if I recall details correctly) which seemed less roomy but better secured. I'm guessing easier to elevate and take down too.

The most interesting variation that caught my eye was a van that started as a low roof and then had a full-size fiberglass roof added. I'll be interesting to see if anyone in US tackles something that complex.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:57 AM   #7
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

Check out Colorado Camper Vans website. You will be shocked by how roomy their penthouses are. Almost like having another story.They will do low tops as well.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:04 AM   #8
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

Do any of you think a van like the Travato at 7,440 lbs may be built too light? That is, not heavy duty enough to hold up under years of normal use?

I was thinking about how many Sportsmobile owners usually report the weight of their vans as being considerably higher on average (or so it seems), and most are probably built on smaller vans (granted Ford and Sprinter chassis weigh slightly more than RAM ProMaster).

In viewing used RVs over the years I've noticed those built light to save weight usually start to fall apart or get damaged easily. Even when they are expensive, the quest to save weight can lead to floors that sag under a person's weight, or deform permanently. Heavier units, although not necessarily the more expensive, seem to hold up better.

Sportsmobile interiors seem to hold up well when compared to many other van models. I like the idea of a custom SMB on a PM or Transit chassis, but with more stuff inside due to larger volume to work with, will cargo carrying capacity be too low?

The Winnebago Travato at under 7,500 lbs WET has generator, awning, propane system, water heater, 22 GAL fresh, 11 black, and 14 grey tanks, 13,500 BTU air, and so on. To me it seems like a lot of content at such a low weight. Light is obviously good, but not if it's too light to hold up.

How do you expect a similar SMB will compare? And if you know the weight of your SMB, will you share for comparison?
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:57 PM   #9
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

Have been thinking about weight recently because weight is related to MPG. My E150 SMB is about 6600 lbs with some of the items listed in the Travato. When I build/buy my next one I will want to make it as light as possible.
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Old 05-17-2014, 07:43 AM   #10
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Re: MotorHome Magazine review of ProMaster Travato

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Originally Posted by larrie
Have been thinking about weight recently because weight is related to MPG. My E150 SMB is about 6600 lbs with some of the items listed in the Travato. When I build/buy my next one I will want to make it as light as possible.
That's light for a SMB as far as I can tell. Are you happy with MPG? And which V8 engine are you running and with what gears? I've thought 18 MPG or so highway with 4.6 and economy gearing should be possible. Driving slowly perhaps an occasional 20 MPG with a low roof.

You mention making the next one even lighter -- what would you do differently. Would you leave some equipment out or would you use lighter versions on next build?
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