Which Van for best mileage?

The ‘Choosing the right Vehicle’ category is for anything related to the discussions, questions, comparisons, & information about living in different types of vehicles.

Hi all! I’m new here! I currently have a 2003 e350 van that’s already built that my boyfriend and I bought a few months back.
After driving it around for the last few months we realized it’s not the vehicle for us! We’ve decided to sell this van and start from scratch and do our own build!
I need some advice on which vans last the longest. I’m looking to buy used but not too old… wanted to spend $15,000-$20,000 and the van before the build.
Most used vans have a significant amount of mileage so I was hopping to get some feedback on how long each type would typically last!
Ideally I would love a sprinter but even used with 200,000 miles they are more towards $30,000…
I was also looking for Ford transits Eco-Boost… but they are harder to come by…
And lastly I was looking at Rams pro masters but again wasn’t sure how far I could push it with the mileage…
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

Greetings & Welcome!

The sweet spot for me has been 70’s & 80’s Dodge vans & motorhomes. The pre catalytic converter ones are probably the best vehicles ever built regardless of their mileage. My current 1973 is approaching 500k miles on the original drivetrain. Just be sure to get one from outside the rust belt.

Passenger vans are the best, with lots of opening windows, pre-finished interiors, and built to higher safety standards. You can simply remove the rear seats, and move your new interior in and secure it. Simple, cheap, and easy.

Computerized vehicles are far less reliable than their non-computerized counterparts. Electronics don’t give fair warning before failure like many mechanical parts will. Just imagine the fiasco if a critter gets under the hood of a newer vehicle and chews on some wires. IT HAPPENS!!!

Depreciation also runs your costs up considerably too. Fully depreciated rigs make the best financial sense, and can typically be bought for under about $2500. If you keep them in decent shape, their value shouldn’t depreciate, and might even appreciate. I’ve turned down $10k for mine, and I only have $1100 in it, and have lived in it for 11 years. That’s what I call a good return on my investment, regardless of it’s resale value. If you’re not planning on keeping something for many years, resale value is definitely important though. Newer rigs will you cost you thousands of dollars per year just for the privilege of owning a newer vehicle, not to mention higher taxes, insurance, and licensing costs.

Keep it cheap, and use the extra money for your adventures.


"#VanLife needs more supporters, and less promoters." ~ TruthMatters

I like your perspective! Can the 70’s & 80’s vans be converted to 4x4? Or are there 4wd versions you recommend?


There are lots of 70’s & 80’s vans out there that have been converted to 4x4. High tops are extremely rare, but I’ve seen decent low tops go for as cheap as $2500.


"Always avoid expensive solutions to cheap problems." ~ OffGrid