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Sprinter RV's & Conversions Talk Common features found in Sprinter RV's and Conversions.


 
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:20 PM   #1
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Default DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

Assuming both the same size... the objective being a basic camping van with a bed in the back and a small kitchenette.

I would love to hear some opinions on what the advantages/disadvantages would be with building a conversion from a passenger van vs. a cargo van.

First fundamental: adding the windows wanted to the cargo. Got that.

Beyond that is there a big argument for one over the other?

thanks in advance.
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

Order cargo with whatever window combination you want.
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

The two stage rear spring on the passenger models will give a better ride.

Many passenger models come with cruise, remote locks, power windows, rear speakers. Cargo models may or may not have those options.

The passenger model comes with factory headliner and inside trim. Nice to have if not doing a full conversion.

The passenger model comes with factory installed seat brackets. Those factory brackets are not easy to properly secure/install in a cargo model.

The windows in the passenger model reduce the available wall space and can increase sun loading. They can also make the van fit in most anywhere with added dark tint if looking for a bit of stealth.

I'm certain there are many things I've missed. vic
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

how's the insulation in the passenger van re: road noise?

is it adequate?
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

I thought long and hard about this, having worn out three Asstros, all of which were window (passneger) versions and all of which I camped in for decades. My verdict: cargo, hands down.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Geek View Post
how's the insulation in the passenger van re: road noise?
is it adequate?
I can't imagine it would be. In fact, I've read here that the sound insulation is poor. In cargoes, it's non-existent. I spent many, many hours sound-insulating Frito, something MB would never do. The results were definitely worth it.

Three words, if you're contemplating sound insulation. Floor, floor, floor.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/sho...o%27s+Bulkhead



Vic's notes are accurate and germane, as usual. To those I'd add the following:

Don't underestimate the anonymity of a plain white van. They tend to be invisible in the modern landscape, hence slightly more immune to theft and vandalism. Invisibility also allows you to "hide in plain sight", ie camp where camping might not be permitted.

The first thing you'll want to do if you're gonna sleep in there is put curtains on all those windows.

You can't effectively insulate a window. In fact, a lot of road noise comes through the windshield. A tin wall, however, is easy to deal with.
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Old 07-04-2011, 04:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

We were able to order a new van so we got a cargo van with windows all around. We also ordered a factory installed sunroof, so got a full headliner as well.
I Love the windows, especially when we're out in the woods all alone and the light and views come streaming in from all angles. In the city, we have curtains, and hope to have insulated curtains (low priority) some day. At times i miss all the finish trim that a passenger van would have inside, and at times i'm glad not to worry about it.
The factory installed sunroof was not what i expected, or wanted, so it went away (expensive mistake, no longer available from factory) as is the factory headliner. I didn't expect that, and after living with it, have decided the headliner must go. It takes up too much room in the roof, and stains easily. It makes all the nice woodwork i have added to the inside look out of place, so more woodwork will be put up there in it's place.
Whatever van you choose, you'll have to insulate. MB does not build these vans for living in, and they don't really worry about the noise levels in their trucks much.
If you want seats at all for the rear, start with a passenger van, or build them into whatever you put back there, it doesn't really matter much.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

The only essential window IMHO is in the passenger side sliding door to help with visibility at oblique intersections.

Windows that don't vent get a low rating from me as they mostly lose and gain too much heat. DIY'rs likely find it easier to install a t-slider or awning window in a cargo wall.

I suppose a rule of thumb might be to add one window in the cargo area for each passenger you regularly plan to haul around. And the most likely situation is that passengers will want to sit close to the driver for conversation on the road.

An energy and noise efficient conversion goes much easier if you start with all metal. If your use is mostly summer camping only in commercial campgrounds then by all means add windows for visibility and rely on shore power for cooling and some of the heating.

Passengers like windows; gear and furniture do not; build to your tastes.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

For me, a big plus of my passenger wagon is that its license plate is as a *car*, not a *truck*.
(your state's rules may not go by the VIN designation... but seats plus windows plus VIN all say "car")
This allows me to go many places where trucks are not allowed.

At the time of purchase, it was the two stage rear spring that "forced" purchase of the softer-riding wagon.

--dick
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

Quote:
Originally Posted by autostaretx View Post
For me, a big plus of my passenger wagon is that its license plate is as a *car*, not a *truck*.
(your state's rules may not go by the VIN designation... but seats plus windows plus VIN all say "car")
This allows me to go many places where trucks are not allowed...
--dick
You must absolutely check your state rules if this matters to you. My insurance costs were only $10 different between camper and passenger vehicle. My used 02 was half-converted for camping by the kayak company and the RMV puzzled over what to call my cargo van without any windows in the rear.

I stopped arguing when they settled on a passenger vehicle since my city parking is on a permit basis.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: DIY: Advantages/disadvantages of starting with Passenger vs. Cargo

I went with cargo because passenger comes with a whole lot of interior trim stuff I'd just have to rip out. IMO, if you are looking for a simple conversion and/or you have limited time/skills/tools, then a passenger model will give you a simpler and more finished look with less effort - ie, bolt down a production cabinet and maybe a cot or simple bed and call it pretty much done. If you plan to really tear in there to go custom and make something you can show off and/or test your skills with, then cargo is most likely the way to go.
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