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Old 10-06-2019, 11:26 AM   #1
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Promaster Chassis...?

So, I'm hoping for some opinions/perspectives on the Promaster LB Chassis for a new build. The family is currently in an Ford RB-50, and we're starting to have some space issues. Has anyone had a recent Promaster SMB conversion and have some advice/pointers/opinions/etc.? (I'm aware of the Fresno/VV pop-top issue, and am uninterested in hearing more about that).

I'm not a fan of the Promaster aesthetic myself, but currently, it seems like the largest chassis I can fit in my available parking (very big deal in NYC!), and seems to offer significantly more interior conversion space then my next best option (Chevy Express EB).

So, I guess some of my questions are: Are there any known major mechanical/electric issues with the PM that folks are hearing about? Is there any ability to lift the PM beyond the ubiquitous 1.5" front lift kit, or, does that rear solid axle prevent it? I know that 4wd is pretty much out of the question, but is there a lift and lock type plan B? Would my SMB PM just end up looking like a Travato, or, has anyone done a cool PM SMB conversion? Got pics? Got advice?

Really, I'm just hoping to get some wisdom on this. We MIGHT be able to make due with a Chevy EB, but the extra 1' in the PM offers a lot more to work with for not a whole lot more OAL......
Let me know folks!! Thank you!!
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Old 10-06-2019, 03:36 PM   #2
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Pro master is front wheel drive, so you might be able to get an LSD for the front, but itís not quite the same. Also, they donít offer a passenger version, supposedly because they didnít want to try to pass the crash testing, so I donít know how safe any rear seating would be.

Other than that, itís the largest space to use so thatís a plus. I donít love fiat products but thatís my opinion.
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Old 10-06-2019, 05:36 PM   #3
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What about the Transit platform? Also available with 4X4
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Old 10-06-2019, 06:40 PM   #4
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I've come to like the Transits, but the interior length just doesn't meet my needs. I can barely, hopefully, fit just under 21' total length in the parking I have available. This is why I mentioned the Chevy. With a 21' exterior max, the largest interior conversion spaces available to me are the ProMaster with 146" and the Chevy EB with 141". The Chevy is really tight with everything we'd like installed, and the ProMaster barely fits it all. Hence, hoping to get some more perspective on the ProMaster.


Ug - I'd forgotten about the no passenger version. Thanks Gramps. I'll have to do a little more research to see what I can find out about that.
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Old 10-06-2019, 06:47 PM   #5
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Interesting. Some quick research seems to imply that the ProMaster is just fine for passengers. A la wiki: "Window Van/Glazed Van: The ProMaster window or glazed van does not have rear seats, due to the U.S. "chicken tax". However, it can be converted into a passenger van before or after sale; buyers and dealers choose the configuration for the van. It can be configured for personal or bus use, or as a law enforcement transporter. The window van is available as a high-roofed model in 2500 and 3500 chassis."


Also, the Fiat Ducato and Peugot Boxer both seem to be available with full passenger versions. Maybe the crash test thing is just an urban legend?
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by smithie View Post
Interesting. Some quick research seems to imply that the ProMaster is just fine for passengers. A la wiki: "Window Van/Glazed Van: The ProMaster window or glazed van does not have rear seats, due to the U.S. "chicken tax". However, it can be converted into a passenger van before or after sale; buyers and dealers choose the configuration for the van. It can be configured for personal or bus use, or as a law enforcement transporter. The window van is available as a high-roofed model in 2500 and 3500 chassis."


Also, the Fiat Ducato and Peugot Boxer both seem to be available with full passenger versions. Maybe the crash test thing is just an urban legend?
Offering a passenger version would avoid the chicken tax, only cargo vans are subject to that.

To date, FCA has not subjected it to modern passenger-car crash requirements. They avoid them by only offering a 8500+ GVWR version for passenger conversion, as only sub-8500 vans are subject to passenger car testing. The Fiat and Peugot version likewise are not sold in the US, and have not been subjected to out crash testing either.

FWIW - The E-series, Express, and Springer have not tested to passenger car requirements either (which add the offset test, and pole-side-impact tests), and instead just dropped the sub-8500 GVWR versions. Only the Transit is full compliant with passenger-car testing.

FYI - It looks like Limited Slip is not available either.
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:14 PM   #7
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Thanks Carringb - super helpful. I'm going to keep digging around on this, but it's certainly interesting that BOTH the Express and ProMaster have the untested for passengers things going....
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