Help me select a van

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TeacherJoe

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2017
Posts
6
Hello all,

Pardon me if this has been discussed, but my search yielded little.  My wife and I want to build our own RV and we are 95% settled on a Ford Transit.  We intend to pull an enclosed trailer with two motorcycles - probably 3K# and travel all over the US and Canada.

I need guidance on selecting my van - 250/350/350HD, engine, axle.  The dealer isn't too knowledgeable.  We want to build more capacity than we need, but we also don't want to waste money.

Any advice on calculating the weight of an RV conversion and how to select the chassis will be appreciated.

Joe
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,141
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
Don't even think of anything less than the 350. You need all the GVWR you can get, plus plenty of GCWR if you pull a trailer as well.  Engines and other mechanical features are mostly personal preference, e.g. your "need" for snappy performance vs best fuel economy.  They all work.

You may want to order the commercial cargo van rather than the window van passenger model. You probably want the maximum length wheelbase as well, and the extended length body if they have one.
 

Len and Jo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2005
Posts
1,389
Ours is a 2000 Chev. Express extended van (20ft) with Chev small block 350 v8.  We do not tow anything.  If you are going to tow I would go bigger then a 350.  We are focusing on fuel economy.  After 8 years we added a pop top to the van.  Being able to walk around in the van is wonderful.  You have to make a wish list of what you want in the van.  That iwill be very sensitive to your life style.  Would be very good to look at as many camping vans as you can for ideas.  Many people show their proud creations on YouTube.  You can then estimate weight added from your want list.

Here is ours.  It is always evolving as our wants and needs change.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO3BLMcgSYc

A short time after the above show was made we gave up on trying use seal the side door opening from bugs with netting.  So we admitted defeat and changed things again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDNX5tz2Awk&t=2s

You should have a great time planning and building your own.
 

TeacherJoe

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2017
Posts
6
Thanks for the input.  Here's what I'm thinking:

Ford Transit 350 HD high roof, extended body, 3.5 ecoboost, 3.73 axle.  However, I'm open to discussion on drivetrain choices.  I can get the van with a few options - cruise, tow package, paint - for about $44k otd.

Any ideas on how I can calculate the weight of the RV build?

Joe
 

Tray

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Posts
9
We are thinking something similar. The motor I am leaning toward is the 3.5 ecoboost as well. Plenty of power and the 3.73 axle should be plenty. From what I have read plan 1500-2000lbs of added weight in a typical conversion.

TeacherJoe said:
Thanks for the input.  Here's what I'm thinking:

Ford Transit 350 HD high roof, extended body, 3.5 ecoboost, 3.73 axle.  However, I'm open to discussion on drivetrain choices.  I can get the van with a few options - cruise, tow package, paint - for about $44k otd.

Any ideas on how I can calculate the weight of the RV build?

Joe
 
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