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Old 12-06-2017, 02:29 PM   #1
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Arrow Best Cargo Van for a Buildout

I wanted to know everyone's thoughts on what the best van to use for a build out would be.

I have seen many build out videos on YouTube for Dodge, Ford Transits etc. I'm looking for a van that I an stand up in and I am going to be living in this part time while I decide if I'm going to go full time or not. I'm more concerned right now for which engine/van etc. is going to be most trouble free from a vehicle standpoint.

I've been following the movement for a few years now and I'm ready to jump in but want to be sure I have the right vehicle/engine etc. Fuel Economy is a consideration as well, but overall cost of ownership is most important.

Thank you all for your thoughts.

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Old 12-06-2017, 03:02 PM   #2
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Without knowing your budget, I'd go for an EB Ford and throw a Fiberine Top on it. Could do that for under 10k.

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Old 12-06-2017, 03:20 PM   #3
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I think a little more about your budget and intended uses might come into play here so you can get some better answers.

I do agree with bemerritt. And often you can find those vans with high tops already on them.

The van world is a bit weird as you could build out a van for 20k and it's only slightly less useful than a 140k brand new every option van.
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Old 12-06-2017, 03:48 PM   #4
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Best Cargo Van for a Buildout

This is double posted in two categories. Maybe the moderators can merge the two?
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Old 12-06-2017, 04:15 PM   #5
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I would go with a Sprinter or a Transit van if I was concerned about livability. My E350 is pretty damn cool but the interior feels really small compared to a sprinter.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:13 PM   #6
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We need more information....

What's your budget?

Are you OK with a van that gets 13mpg or is that way too low?

Do you have any strong opinions about gas vs diesel?
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:25 PM   #7
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Also consider your mechanical skills too.
2001 E350 PSD w/ a bunch of stuff.
And had three other E350s...
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:13 PM   #8
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Best Cargo Van for a Buildout - Additional Info

Ok, good questions you are asking me. Let me try to address them:

I am looking for a newer vehicle, maybe something 2-3 years old that has a comfortable cab and is a bit more modern so I can at least have the comforts of my car. I'm looking to get something that does not require any repairs or reconditioning except maybe the cargo area. I don't really care if the cargo area is all scratched and used as it will all be covered with my build out anyway. With that being said, I want to spend as little as possible but trying to keep in the budget of under 25K for everything to start. I was originally thinking of the extended wheelbase to get the extra 18" but I cannot park that in my driveway and with HOA rules, I need it to look more like a passenger van, plus I plan to stealth camp 90% or more of the time. I also want to be able to fit in a normal parking space (well somewhat anyway). I'm planning on just 1-2 people in the van (very close quarters).

I figure the build out is going to be progressive and not happen all at once. I don't plan on using any propane in this build as I will be using 100% solar, MPPT charge controller/110V charger so I can plug into shore power if available. I will use a pure sine wave inverter and a 400AH AGM setup to power minimal load and the induction cook top stove. I plan on having some fresh water storage under the sink, maybe a 7gallon or slightly more tank with the same for gray water where I can refill and dump easily. If space allows, I'd like to try and squeeze shower in there but I think that's pushing it. No hot water, no AC and no heat. Small microwave, and 12V Fridge just big enough to keep the essentials. I'm figuring a current draw of not more than 2.5Ahr on the fridge which is minimal.

I plan on building this completely repairable inside with everything easily accessible...access panels etc. as I will be maintaining it. My theory is, If I plan it, and I design it and I build it, I can repair it. As far as the Van is concerned, I can do the basic maintenance, but everything else will be done by either a dealership or local mechanic when I'm on the road. I won't have all my tools available, nor do I want to be a mechanic. I will maintain the house though. That should not be a problem. I plan on having a small Coleman Camping Stove with those small propane tanks as a backup in case I'm stuck somewhere with no sun for an extended period of time.

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