We are Dom and Marie from the new @vanlife.sagas account on Instagram. We just finished converting our van: a 2014 Dodge RAM Promaster with a wheelbase of 136". The two questions we get the most (around 112 times by now) since our Machine is on Instagram are the following:
a. What exactly is that vehicle?
b. Why did you choose it instead of a Sprinter?
Here are our answers in 5 simple bullet points. We hope it will help people understand our choice and maybe give some other vanlifers ideas or options for their build.
01 - IT IS A WIDE TRUCK
Dominic is 6’1". He needed a bed that could allow him to sleep sideways in the truck. Since we wanted a very short truck to drive in cities, we needed this width. The Promaster is among the widest cargo vans out there.
02 - IT HAS VOLUME
Compared to the 144" Sprinter, the 136" Promaster has more volume. When you step inside, you feel like you are in a cube with straight walls. As for the Sprinter, you always feel like the walls are leaning inside the vehicle, shopping a lot of cargo space. Plus, the high roof allows a 6’1" person to stand up without the head touching the ceiling.
03 - IT HAS A SHORT TURNING DIAMETER
Compared to other trucks, the Promaster had a very very short turning diameter. The vehicle was initially designed by Fiat and was made for European streets, which are mostly narrower than the ones we have in the USA. We never get stuck in traffic or small streets.
04 - IT IS CHEAPER
Not cheaper than a skoolie or an old Chevy, of course. However, when you are thinking of converting a new or a second-hand cargo truck (Transit, Sprinter, Promaster, Ducato, etc.), the Promaster has a lot of options, and there are many resellers. You can find old fleets of Promasters for sale here in Canada, since delivery companies like DHL, Canada Post and UPS use it.
05 - IT IS EASY TO REPAIR
For geeks, the Promaster is equipped with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine. For ordinary people like us, remember it’s one of the most common engine in America. Since we are planning to drive across Canada, USA, and Mexico, we needed a truck that many mechanics could repair in a few days only. Waiting for European parts was not an option for us, and Dom is currently learning to do all the quick fixes himself.
Of course, the Promaster has an awkward looking shape, and you always feel like you are driving a school bus without the coolness of driving one. But it was the best option we had in the end when comparing all the pros and cons.
We are currently converting a Transit, and two more Promasters in 2019. For more information, do not hesitate to DM us on Instagram at @vanlife.sagas. Your comments are welcome.