Originally Posted by Vanfor3
..It seems that on Craigslist I can find a conversion van from the early to mid 2000's with around 100,000 miles for approximately $5,000. Is this a good place to start? I figure it already has a high roof and a bed. Inside I will need seating for three and can make due with one bed as our tike is only 2. I have a portable Truckfridge (they are sweet BTW), 1000w inverter/deep cycle battery/small solar panel from previous rig. Would probably start by buying a cassette toilet along with building a small cabinet for it and another for cooking. Rest of the funds would go into getting the vehicle squared away and through state inspections. This all seem reasonable? For reference I am very handy but do not have the appropriate tools or space to do any mechanical work myself so I would be paying for that service as part of my expenses.
I would lean towards a passenger van over an older conversion van If I were you. Look at Ford Club Wagons and Chateau models, which are the only ones that had 4 captains chairs and a rear bench/bed convertible in the rear. These are the only ones FORD made that weren't further converted elsewere. The only thing you will get out of a conversion van, other than a lot of outdated interior lighting and styling and ugly stripes on the outside, is a fiberglass roof. But on most conversion vans they just have a short roof anyway which you probably still can't stand up in. If you are after standing height for sure you could look around for used wheelchair lift vans, which pop up quite often. They already have a high top and are usually passenger vans with usable trim. You could then just remove the wheelchair lift and build from there.
For anyone looking for a van, I recommend looking at the ads here daily, and also the 'vans for sale' sticky over in the van section at the Expedition Portal.
The above thread is contributed to more than daily. There are lots of home builders with great ideas here and there, so I would gather ideas from both forums.
Good luck and enjoy the process