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Old 08-05-2014, 05:35 PM   #11
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

Quote:
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 The only thing you will get out of a conversion van, other than a lot of outdated interior lighting and styling and ugly stripes on the outside, is a fiberglass roof.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.

http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...Vans-For-Sale!

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

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Old 08-05-2014, 08:04 PM   #12
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

Thanks to all for the info thus far. I wish I was in a place where I would be able to use the van as a daily driver as that would change the idea on the budget and be one less vehicle to maintain, but just not realistic with my commute. Lots to think about. The more I look some of the used Sportsmobile models going for just under $20,000 look pretty appealing but out of reach.
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:30 PM   #13
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

If you have the interest and the time, it's really fun to build your own. I've built a couple now and re-built an older SMB and I really enjoy the process. IMO it would be hard to get things really like you want them the first time around anyway. You said you don't have the space to work on one. Is there any possibility that could change?

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Old 08-06-2014, 04:21 AM   #14
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

The issue about building space---I'll offer my own experience about this........

I'm a renter who has a single car garage that neither of my two E250's will fit inside. Add in my driveway is rather severely sloped AND that I'm in Ohio with four distinct seasons its certainly a challenge doing this. My point being if there's an interest and willingness to deal with these sorts of minor inconveniences lack of a dedicated space or garage becomes less of a hindrance than imagined.

Basically still in process of tweaking my fourth van build I might be lost having a good flat enclosed fully secure place to work my magic.

Don't let one small aspect derail an otherwise good plan---creativity is paramount when we're on a tight budget working on a grand idea!
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:43 AM   #15
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

You might wan to check this out: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=14257
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:31 AM   #16
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

That looks pretty interesting too bad it is on the left coast.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:14 PM   #17
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

On the "right" coast: Dodge SMB for $4400 @ viewtopic.php?f=34&t=14250
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:48 AM   #18
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA
My point being if there's an interest and willingness to deal with these sorts of minor inconveniences lack of a dedicated space or garage becomes less of a hindrance than imagined.

Don't let one small aspect derail an otherwise good plan---creativity is paramount when we're on a tight budget working on a grand idea!
JWA's post reminds me of the member here (can't remember his username) who lives in the city and is working on his van parked on the street with cordless tools, and parking down by the river on weekends for more work space. That should be an inspiration for the rest of us.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:10 AM   #19
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

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Originally Posted by boywonder
JWA's post reminds me of the member here (can't remember his username) who lives in the city and is working on his van parked on the street with cordless tools, and parking down by the river on weekends for more work space. That should be an inspiration for the rest of us.
Or, if you install some batteries and inverter right away, you don't even have to use cordless tools! I installed my rear airbags in the street in front of my house, since my driveway is on a hill. Plugged my 1/2" drill into the AC outlet on the side of my van and I was good to go!
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:45 PM   #20
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Re: Van on a serious budget & a new member

It seems that in the short time I have been on the forum a couple of sportsmobile already converted vans have popped up that have been under $10,000. Is this normal or just a fluke? Kinda digging that possibility! I love the dedication and the creativity of the member mentioned on this thread, but I maybe convinced to buy something semi ready to go. I should have mentioned that I live in a 150-160 year old civil era log cabin that I have been battling with for the last 6 years and am the dad of a two year old so working in the cold in the gravel drive has lost its charm to say the least. So much to consider.
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