I got inspired to do this project by seeing some van-life videos. I do NOT want to van life, in fact, I'm not even much of a camper, but it does sound cool to be able to live anywhere and figure out how to do it all in a tiny space and be self-sufficient. Designing and building all of this is a major challenge and I hate simple stuff :)
We video'd some of this van build on our Youtbe channel but haven't kept it completely up to date.
Building a camper van is difficult and expensive.
I don't know about you, but I don't want a life with only easy and cheap things :)
First decide what the completed van needs to be.
The answers to these questions will determine which van you buy and how you modify it. Here are a few of the main questions:
Your 3 main options:
ALL of these vans are well made. The postings on the internet about a transmission going out or an engine tap are fairly rare. Every one of these vans have examples of going over 200k miles. And new vans have great warranties. Used - well that's something to be concerned about.
I started out by picking a Ford Transit van then went looking for one. The local Ford dealer had many but they were 1 year rentals with 20k miles, and he wanted $10k over MSRP. No thanks, I'm too old-school (experienced) for premiums. :) Then I drove a used RAM Promaster and loved it, plus I actually love the boxy styling more. So I set out to find a new one and within a week I found a new RAM Promaster 3500 at MSRP, had to drive 125 miles to get it - Winning.
Vans are offered in various heights, some you can stand in, some you cant, some barely. And vans are offered in different lengths. Bigger are more expensive. You'll have to pick based on the questions answered above.