What's a good cargo van to convert to Class B motorhome?

Greetings ! I’m beginning to look seriously for a “camper van” or Class B. I like the conversion style better than the ritzy Itascas and their ilk.

One of the options I am considering is buying a cargo van and designing my own conversion (and then, of course, finding someone to build it). What’s the best van overall, and why? (My very first own vehicle was a '70 Ford Clubwagon, bought new. I’ve regretted selling it ever since I did, and always wanted another van.)

What kinds of things to take into consideration? I think I’d prefer to start new, but I haven’t even started pricing yet. Thanks for all feedback, advice, suggestions, ideas.

Allow me to suggest that you enlist the expertise of shops that specialize in these things, perhaps the one that you’ll be hiring to do the actual work. Chances are that having done these things before they’ll be able to make a better recommendation, and the good relations you forge in working with them will produce a better end result.

It is near the end of camping season, Find a used one you like because having one built will be like a custom car, expensive and may never be like you imagined.

Best van is impossible to say without having a complete list of your requirements. Some people can make do with a small Astro van with minimal facilities and no head clearance. Other people want an extended top, bath facilities, hot and cold running water, fridge, room for a queen size mattress, etc.

Make a list of all your “must haves.” Then look online at conversions other people have done that fit your needs. You’ll see what can be fit into different sized vans.

If I were starting with a clean sheet I’d look at a Ford Transit Connect and try to make everything I need fit inside.

My grandmother made her own RV out of a full size Chevy van. I’ve always prefered Chevy over Ford, but when it comes to RV chassis, they’re pretty much the same.

My low-budget choice would be a Skooly conversion…short bus if that’s all the room you need. They seem to sell at auction for scrap metal price, give or take.

Yep,have to agree with MJ, you could also look at a step van(possible diesel engine) a high cube van or an old metro-but why not buy a used Winny,Fleetwood or Southwnd?-Kevin

You could look for an Isuzu cab-over like the NPR with a gasoline or diesel engine. If used, it probably has a payload body on it already. You can remove it and replace it with the RV body of your choice. An RV builder might have a bolt-on body just waiting for you.

all those suggestions make good sense, thank you. I have been looking for a used one, end of season, but in my area there’s no one-stop-shopping lot I’ve found … don’t laugh, I’ve just started my search. I’m looking also at every car lot I pass.

I want to start smaller, thus van conversion. I actually fell for a used 36-footer that looked so appealing inside, but I can’t use anything that big at this time, it’s 11 yrs old, and it would become another Project (and right now I’m clearing out my inherited house; that’s enough of a Project). It’s listed at $20k, but I’d triple that investment in upgrades, I’m sure.

Class A is too big for my current lifestyle. I’d like to work my way up, though. And as far as Class C, I just don’t like the cab-over look.

I see so many conversion vans on the road, and they rile up my wanderlust. And I think my little dog, who hates to travel (Mr Homebody), might adjust to them.

All of this is helpful. Thank you! I will keep my eye on the lots and the newspaper and I suppose other resources, and look for a conversion company here in my area.

Thank you!

how about one of the short school buses?

If size and money are an issue, how about a midsize pickup truck and a small popup camper? They are notorious for leaking, but if you tarp the bed covers, you can keep the water out. If it’s just you and your dog, and you don’t need to tow, the Ford Transit Connect comes in many configurations, and it will probably offer the best fuel economy.

Okay, some more info:

• The short bus doesn’t really appeal to me at this time.
• Size is a consideration, but money (within reason) isn’t so much.
• I don’t want a pickup rig, because I want open access between driver area and the rest of it.
• I have actually gotten a little crush on a couple different Georgie Boy Pursuit I found for sale in my area, but they are a bit older and a bit big for my needs at this time. I love the spacious layout I’ve seen in these two.
• I’m thinking simple: a platform bed (prefer full size, will do queen if I have to), toilet, a cooler. I don’t want to crowd the interior with built in cabinets. This would just be for short jaunts, maybe weekending or even a week.
• I’d also like a side entrance and side awning, so I need room inside to store a chair, and room for the dog’s crate. :smiley:
• I’m attracted to the Ford Transit, have been since it came out. Investigating that further.
• I know I’ll probably get more than my minimum as described up there, but that’s what I’ve got to have.
• Also, easy access: I have funky knees and too big a step is hard. I can just lift the dog up and toss him in (he’s old and has funky knees too. :D)

I have found an RV sales lot nearby; don’t have any conversion vans listed but I’ll drive down there and check it all out.

Compare the Class B to Class C motorhmes. The Class C will allow you to have a toilet and shower in the RV. You will also have room for cooking and sitting inside, as well as storage for the stuff you bring along. Rent Class C and Class B RVs and see which you like better. The Class C will be a little more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be a lot more.

Renting was the answer for us. We’ve done it several times, no need to keep up an RV, store it, insure it, etc.

yeah, bad knees and a bus don t mix.

if you have the cash you should be able to find something already set up pretty close to what you want. I think a lot of luxury stuff can be had used right now.

renting … d’oh! I really should try it out before investing anything, huh? thanks for the lightbulb moment. This has been great input from everyone. I’ll keep coming back for more and with updates as I mooch along in this process.

My parents tried that once. Chevy G25 , raised roof. Just too cramped in there even for only two people.
Class A…too big and cumbersome , plus the need to buy and pull a second vehicle to avoid having to batten down the hatches just to go visiting or sight seeing.
We even sold off our Cessna 172 for it’s impracticality for their needs.

They went back to the travel trailer …since, after retirement, they’d spend a week or weeks in any one place.
It could be parked and they could zip off in the truck to hike, visit, sight-see, side trip and everything without taking everything with them then have a nice home away from home to return to.

Ken, the main reason I am thinking of all-in-one is for my little dog. I can adjust my thinking! My original dream was for an older Airstream travel trailer …

@"Dr Ducky"‌

The short bus doesn't really appeal to me at this time.

Watch this video, and you might have a change of heart on the short bus.