Passenger Van Drawbacks and Limitations

GMAN_867

New member
First time post guys! Lots of great information here so I thought I'd ask before I buy. I'm about to purchase a 2018 4x4 144 Passenger van (20K miles, heavily optioned) that is partially converted. Before I buy I wanted to ask the experts on this forum if I should be concerned about continuing the build. My primary concerns are the the rear side windows and the OEM AC unit mounted on the roof. Do the windows complicate adding flares? I'm 6'1 and want to be able to sleep across the width of the van. Also not sure about the roof mounted AC unit as I never see those on converted vans. Looks like it leaves a huge hole if removed but maybe it's actually good to have. What do you guys think? Do the windows and AC unit limit my conversion options? Bottom line question is should I go for it and work with it as is or should I wait and find a crew or cargo version. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.
 

GSWatson

2013 144
I’m converting a 2015 right now. AFAIK, the flares fit in the exact position as the windows, so that shouldn’t complicate anything.

I removed the roof AC; you will need to find out if you have a second compressor or if it runs off the main one. Either way, take it to an AC shop to have the refrigerant drained, and then remedy what needs to be done (ie, lines capped with a single compressor).

Forum member Hein sells an aluminum plate to cover the holes left by the AC - you can choose from a complete block, a home for a MaxxAir, or a larger opening Hehr sunroof. It’s a pretty straightforward process.

You can sell the roof AC; there’s usually someone out there who has inadvertently hit a low-hanging garage and needs a replacement...

Pics of hole after AC removal and with plate for MaxxAir-






Cheers,
Greg
 

Montucky

Member
Lucky you - You're going to miss out on cutting open the sides of the van for the flares! You get some good things w/ the passenger version that makes a crew guy like me jealous - all of your seat mount points are exposed and ready to go, and you get some nice trim parts on the d pillars that will make finishing easier.

Good luck w/ the choice!
 

GSWatson

2013 144
And, if you have the ‘emergency exit window.’, it pops out with 7 screws and the CRL window pops right in. About a 2 hour job at most.


Cheers,
Greg
 

flyag1

Member
How has that plastic hinge held up with repeated openings? The one I removed didn’t look too sturdy...


Cheers,
Greg
Hey Greg,

Actually quite well. We have built up 2 rigs that had the emergency window and used both for ventilation all the time. The idea was if it failed we would replace it with a slider, but after have had 2 different vans they just keep on working. Once we boon-docking and forgot to close the window when abandoning camp. Drove with the window propped open for about 10 miles down a rough road. That's when it should have failed... but not!
 

GSWatson

2013 144
Hey Greg,



Actually quite well. We have built up 2 rigs that had the emergency window and used both for ventilation all the time. The idea was if it failed we would replace it with a slider, but after have had 2 different vans they just keep on working. Once we boon-docking and forgot to close the window when abandoning camp. Drove with the window propped open for about 10 miles down a rough road. That's when it should have failed... but not!


Good to know!


Cheers,
Greg
 

GMAN_867

New member
So far no deal breakers! Thanks for the responses. Not sure I will delete the rear AC unit until I can see the real benefit in doing so. The wife and I are looking forward to making the purchase and getting it set up for some extended road trips. We live in the Bay Area and the kids are getting close to making their own money (YES) so we are looking forward to the next chapter! Plan to learn everything Sprinter closer to home and eventually explore the coast in both directions from summers in Alaska to winters Baja. Hoping to pick it up this weekend!

So does the stock A/C actually keep the entire van cool in hot weather while driving or is the roof mounted unit needed? The van does seat six for now.
 
One additional benefit not mentioned here is that Passenger Sprinters through 2018 were imported to the US fully assembled, meaning they were completely assembled in Germany. I believe the Cargo and Crew vans through 2018 were imported in pieces or sections to avoid the 'chicken tax' and keep costs low. I suspect the van's assembled in Germany may have more attention to detail though this is just speculation.
 

linnmagic

New member
So far no deal breakers! Thanks for the responses. Not sure I will delete the rear AC unit until I can see the real benefit in doing so. The wife and I are looking forward to making the purchase and getting it set up for some extended road trips. We live in the Bay Area and the kids are getting close to making their own money (YES) so we are looking forward to the next chapter! Plan to learn everything Sprinter closer to home and eventually explore the coast in both directions from summers in Alaska to winters Baja. Hoping to pick it up this weekend!

So does the stock A/C actually keep the entire van cool in hot weather while driving or is the roof mounted unit needed? The van does seat six for now.


I have a 2016 passenger van, in hot weather the dashboard ac doesn’t cool the whole van, the cold air just dissipate to the back of the van so we also have to turn on the rear ac to feel comfortable.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
We love our passenger van. We camp down to mid teens in it and while the heater runs more than it otherwise would without all the glass, window coverings are an adequate solution. My kids love being able to see everything thats going on outside on our trips, its great for watching the sun come up in the morning from bed, its a ****-ton easier to drive with all that glass to see out of. Seating flexibility is great.

We have no issue with the dash AC cooling our van, but its heavily insulated and has a fiberglass pop-top which further insulates it. Before we insulated it, absolutely the dash AC WOULD NOT keep up even on a warm day. For reference we are in CA, and travel extensively in UT, AZ, NV, CO. We regularly see temps in the 100's through the deserts.
 

GMAN_867

New member
I'm in the Bay Area. Great responses. I appreciate the information. Picking it up today if everything happens according to plan. Tossing and turning in bed all night and I even dreamed I got it and someone stole the wheels off it the first day! Lol I'll post pictures once I get it home. Can't believe I'm about to spend 70K+ on a van!
 

Ski Trip

Member
very nice 4x4 P van, congrats!

i do not have, want, or need the rear ac. on a hot summer day the dash ac needs to be at full blast, but that is sufficient. mine is a low roof, however
 

Lifeafter40

New member
I just picked up the same van and color only a 2017 that I'm looking to do a light family adventure wagon conversion. Bed, storage, portable fridge. I am trying to figure out how I get some sort of roof rack or bars and a awning as well.
 

Top Bottom