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Old 11-16-2018, 11:47 AM   #1
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Question (not Escape) BC Ford Transit conversion?

Hi all - a lot of very wise people here, especially western canadians, so....

this is in the "off topic" section.

Iím researching experienced up fitters for converting a new Transit cargo van to be an RV, in British Columbia specifically.

(have not bought Transit yet - yes I would buy Transit in Canada likely.)

I do not want to do it myself.

The up fitter to class B would basically do:

Solar
Electrical (shore and 12v + inverter)
wall insulation
Rixen heat, and maybe Rixen hot water
maybe shower stall + fresh + grey tank.
add 3rd captains chair.
MOAB bed install.
Maxx fan.

no black tank, as Port A Potty
no propane.
no generator.
not a Sprinter.

Google didnít turn up anything.
I read Safari Condo in Quebec is good, but that is a really long way from BC, so logistically as I work (very) full time, that gets tough.

thanks

John
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:39 PM   #2
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Although I haven't looked, I'm not aware of any RV upfitters currently operating in B.C. Great West Vans (Sterling RV) operated in Manitoba, but moved to Alabama then folded a few years ago... and I don't know if they did custom work anyway. I think the only other Canadian RV manufacturer to have done Class Bs would be Triple E's Leisure Travel Vans division, and they seem to be currently doing only Class C, and even then only in standard models rather than custom.

If I can think of anyone, or run across a useful reference, I'll let you know.
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
I read Safari Condo in Quebec is good, but that is a really long way from BC, so logistically as I work (very) full time, that gets tough.
I would want to avoid that, too. It's not just the week of travel time to get the van home, or arranging to buy a van and have it delivered to them, it's not being able to go to them to sort out any issues in person during the work.
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:44 PM   #4
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Google didn’t turn up anything.
But how about Ford Canada? (or FCA if a ProMaster is an acceptable alternative) They would presumably only know of factory-authorized upfitters, but it would be worth checking.

There are online listings of Ford upfitters, but you would need to figure out which ones - if any - might be interested in the RV work.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:02 PM   #5
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Thanks much Brian, as always, for the many good thoughts

Spoke with Safari Condo, and was told they only currently do "turn key" completed conversions.

will keep researching... found a few leads that I have reached out to. No concrete info yet.

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Old 11-16-2018, 03:19 PM   #6
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Rixen heat, and maybe Rixen hot water
Interesting... I had not heard of Rixen so I had to look them up. They appear to be a system integrator and distributor of Eberspaecher's Espar Airtronic and Hydronic equipment. Have you looked at Eberspaecher's dealer list and asked any of the local ones if they do RV work, or supply an RV upfitter?
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:21 PM   #7
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add 3rd captains chair
If you want the driver and front passenger seats to spin around to face into the interior, that would presumably be another upfit task (I don't think Ford offers this).
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:42 PM   #8
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Lots of good info on upfitting Ford Transit on the Transit Forum - https://www.fordtransitusaforum.com/forumindex.php
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Old 11-16-2018, 08:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Hi all - a lot of very wise people here, especially western canadians, so....

this is in the "off topic" section.

Iím researching experienced up fitters for converting a new Transit cargo van to be an RV, in British Columbia specifically.

n
Is this what you are looking for?
https://nomadvanz.com/process/
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Old 11-16-2018, 09:04 PM   #10
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Is this what you are looking for?
https://nomadvanz.com/process/
Exactly, but my budget is only $500,000 (US or CAN). Am I ok with that?
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Old 11-22-2018, 06:19 PM   #11
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Getaway RV sells Safari Condo in Abbotsford. They also do a Promaster conversion of their own.

I'm also partial to the Hymer Aktiv, also built in Canada.

They're both wayyy more than an Escape, but if I were to go for an RV, it would be a Class B and these would be at the top of my list. I like the dedicated bed with storage underneath.
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Old 11-22-2018, 07:05 PM   #12
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I'm also partial to the Hymer Aktiv, also built in Canada.
Since Hymer bought Roadtrek (and Thor subsequently bought Hymer), both Roadtrek's designs and Hymer's designs (as they have been selling in Europe) of Class B motorhomes have been available. They are definitely different, which is good for choice, but they're also standard production models, not custom.
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Old 11-22-2018, 07:09 PM   #13
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Getaway RV sells Safari Condo in Abbotsford. They also do a Promaster conversion of their own.
That looks promising: GetAway offers not just their own standard conversion, but Campervan Upfitting, which appears to include custom work.
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Old 11-22-2018, 09:58 PM   #14
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We keep looking at these type vehicles at RV shows and they just don’t resonate with us. Been trying to figure out what the pull is. You end up with a clunky vehicle at the destination that would be inconvenient to run errands, or drive around and park. You have to unhook utilities everytime you want to use the vehicle. They seem to have very uncomfortable fold down van seat beds and are very cramped. Long stays wouldn’t seem to be very good in one of these. Are we missing something when we look at these, we’re just not seeing the appeal or at the price points what would be the benefits. I use to have a custom van in college which is the precursor to these, and it was fun when I was in my 20’s, but it wouldn’t appeal now.
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Old 11-22-2018, 10:11 PM   #15
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Agreed. I don't get it either.
But, I would like a trailer that washes and waxes itself between trips.
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Old 11-22-2018, 11:31 PM   #16
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We keep looking at these type vehicles at RV shows and they just don’t resonate with us. Been trying to figure out what the pull is. You end up with a clunky vehicle at the destination that would be inconvenient to run errands, or drive around and park. You have to unhook utilities everytime you want to use the vehicle. They seem to have very uncomfortable fold down van seat beds and are very cramped. Long stays wouldn’t seem to be very good in one of these. Are we missing something when we look at these, we’re just not seeing the appeal or at the price points what would be the benefits. I use to have a custom van in college which is the precursor to these, and it was fun when I was in my 20’s, but it wouldn’t appeal now.
Simple answer.. driving versatility while on the go.

Currently, I'm a weekend camper, with the occasional a weeklong trip. My Escape is parked at my house, and for the weekend we hitch up, drive where we are going, unhitch, recreate, re-hitch, go home. For that pattern a trailer is the best format IMHO because during the recreate part you have an agile vehicle that can do things like visit trailheads.

But, if your modus operandi is travel on the go, the class B is a much more versatile beast. Going from park A to park B and want to visit a winery on the way? Too bad there's a long driveway and you don't know if there is a turnaround at the end. Parking at a lighthouse on the way? Too bad all the spots are single vehicle spots. Heading up to a trailhead on a road with tight one way sections? Not something I'd try with a trailer. For continuous travel I'd much prefer a class B.

Even for purely weekend trips I sometimes skip out on side trips that I'd have no second thoughts about in a class B.

The shortest 19.5' Mercedes are really the sweet spot for versatility. 19.5' fits into most parking spots, whereas the slightly longer 22'10" are just a bit too long to fit in most single spots.

As mentioned, the drawback is that you're more rooted to a spot while you are camped out, but I think there are strategies to minimizing this cost. You no longer need to hitch/unhitch and futz with safety cables and 7 pin connectors. If you're willing to tolerate a bit of slant, you can avoid leveling in most spots, and even if you do level you can leave the leveling blocks in place for day trips. There are no stabilizers to deal with. You can eliminate storing/retracting the step. The automotive windows can be left open if they were open in camp. With solar or alternator power, no need to hook up to electricity. If you use the water tank, no need to hook up to water for short stays. If you keep things in their place, there isn't much put away, etc.
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Old 11-23-2018, 12:15 AM   #17
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Appreciate the response, Paulk, I can see some of your points. I guess my wife and I don’t get these because we are not in the continuous travel category. We are in the retired, meandering, more in-depth exploring of an area. I do notice at the campgrounds when you see these, they pull in late and are gone before we get up which kinda fits with your answer.
At $140k+ for these class b’s it just seems to me to not really deliver bang for the buck to be able to park at a lighthouse, etc. However, they do seem to be popular and sell well, so the continuous travel group must be growing.
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Old 11-23-2018, 12:31 AM   #18
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Appreciate the response, Paulk, I can see some of your points. I guess my wife and I don’t get these because we are not in the continuous travel category. We are in the retired, meandering, more in-depth exploring of an area. I do notice at the campgrounds when you see these, they pull in late and are gone before we get up which kinda fits with your answer.
At $140k+ for these class b’s it just seems to me to not really deliver bang for the buck to be able to park at a lighthouse, etc. However, they do seem to be popular and sell well, so the continuous travel group must be growing.
We're in the same boat, except the retired part. I looked at class Bs first and couldn't justify the HUGE cost difference. But, maybe someday..

We rented a class B a while ago while traveling in New Zealand. It was a lot of fun.
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Old 11-23-2018, 11:20 AM   #19
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I see the value in both fiberglass trailers and Class B's. Both are inherently more waterproof than conventional stick builts. The sub-20 foot class B's aren't much different to drive around town than a full sized pickup many use as their tug. As for the argument that you have to connect and disconnect from all your services whenever you want to leave camp for a loaf of bread, many B owners don't bother hooking up if they're only going to be in camp for a few days. Maybe just power. Another advantage is you have your toilet, kitchen, and bed handy on all your side trips. My wife has never towed a trailer and is hesitant to try, and doesn't even want to get into the business of backing one up. She is ok with doing her fair share of driving in a Sprinter sized vehicle though.

That being said, A class B costs more than a tricked out 19 AND a brand new Highlander. The space inside a B is more akin to a 17B. If you already own a tug-worthy vehicle, the value proposition is really out of whack. Also, you can't trade your accommodation while keeping your vehicle, or vise versa.

Here are some (very) rough numbers of what I'm considering.
Trailer: Escape 19 with some upgrades ~ $40,000 (CAD). At vehicle upgrade time the difference between a Rav 4 (my current vehicle) and, say, a Nissan Frontier ~$10,000. Total outlay: $50,000

Decent Class B: ~$110,000

That extra 60k can get us out of a tent a lot sooner and buy a lot of nights under the stars.
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