2018 December

this is a full, detailed tour of my 2017 Ford Transit-150 Cargo Van with Premium Van Package and lightweight campervan conversion build-out. after having a look at what’s in it, i talk about some of the options i chose and why.

here’s a much shorter, quick + silent walkthrough video of the van: youtu.be/HnzBWp9vEuI

i’ve written a very long detailed article about why i chose the van (and specific options when special ordering a custom built van) and go into lots of details about the build (and compare my experience to the previous truck camper i had). here’s a link if you want to read the article:

markmarano.com/2019/01/01/why-i-chose-a-ford-transit-van-to-convert-into-a-camper-vanlife/

to purchase the van, please contact me at:

www.MarkMarano.com/contact/

to see a few photos of the van, check out:

markmarano.com/what/vanlife/

below are links to some of the components. please use these special links if buying as they help support me in creating content (and you pay the same price on amazon whether or not you use these links).

dometic cfx-50 refrigerator: amzn.to/2SwUKE7
insulated cover for refrigerator: amzn.to/2AAw7Qb
refrigerator with “wifi” option: amzn.to/2ApuV1C
fresh water tank: amzn.to/2Vp1CVP
valterra rv-type water hatch: amzn.to/2LLCcxb
whale gusher galley foot pump: amzn.to/2Ss6p6Z
12-inch memory foam mattress: amzn.to/2RsUXuJ
lift off hinges: amzn.to/2Ss9ap3
nature’s head compost toilet: amzn.to/2VkbW1s
marinco / nicro 4″ solar vent: amzn.to/2SrBLuM
hole saw for vent installation: amzn.to/2Swe1FH
2.5″ blast gate for floor vents: amzn.to/2RmO9Pp
2.5″ shop vac hoses (with adapters) for floor vent extension/ducts: amzn.to/2VnrK3z
anything else on amazon: amzn.to/2Vi4fsJ

UPDATE: i sold the empty van. the whole build structure is available for sale, or i can sell parts separately like the water pump, water tank, rv-type filling hatch, sink + countertop, shelf, storage cabinet, bath tub with slats (that can hold compost toilet), curtains, hanging closet, etc. i’ve already sold the refrigerator and compost toilet.

a beautiful magical feeling at oakland nature preserve. perhaps it was the morning light with the hints of autumn colors and trees without leaves. or simply a part of the discovery of a new place in nature. or perhaps the feeling was radiating from the girl who was taking a photo minutes later as i turned a corner on the path [whom seemed like perhaps she was also in awe of the beautiful moment/feeling of nature]

A society in which CEOs of companies that actively harm health & well-being of people & planet earn hundreds of millions of $ a year while there are elementary school teachers who need to take second jobs in order to survive, is one beset by an extraordinary perversion of values

- Marianne Williamson
 

i’ve decided to sell my van so i can put the funds towards purchasing land where i can build a small home or park a tiny home on. i didn’t end up using it nearly as much as i thought i would. i took it on a couple trips north in the summers, and on some shorter trips around florida (where i live). if you can’t make it down here to pick it up, i’d be happy to drive it anywhere in the united states to deliver it to you (if you cover the cost of gas and airfare back).

i special ordered this van from Ford to be custom built last year. i did a lot of research and went on multiple test drives before deciding on this combo. i’m working on writing a long, detailed article on why i chose this van and can copy/paste the link to it later. it’s a bit of a rare + unique van to have everything it has.

the van has less than 18,000 miles (as of end of december 2018). it does pretty well on gas mileage when loaded with gear + the build. the whole time i’ve had it, i’ve manually calculated the overall mileage to be just over 18 mpg, and have seen as high as 25.7 mpg with cruise control at 50 mph, around 24.5 mpg at 57 mph, and 21 mpg at 65 mph (this includes being stuck in stop-and-go traffic for a little while).

here’s a quick tour of it. i’ll be posting a much longer and more detailed video very soon (its got a couple hours of rendering to go and then will have a 22-24 hour long trip to make it to youtube’s servers). if you’re not interested in any or all of the build as you rather make your own floorplan layout (or use the van for work, a higher end build, etc), i can take everything out if you prefer.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnzBWp9vEuI

 
the build itself has the following features:

Nature’s Head Compost Toilet in separate bathroom area
plastic shower “tub” with wooden slats (with many coatings for protection) and drain plumbed in (needs shower curtain + solar shower bag to be hung)
full size dual kitchen sink (installed on real wood countertop) with small faucet that runs off a Whale Gusher Galley Mk3 foot pump (which works quite well and saves on water compared to an electric pump)
queen size bed memory foam mattress (a corner at the feet side has been cut (and can work as a cushion against the wall) to give more room for bathroom)
Dometic CFX-50US CoolFreeze Portable Electric Compressor Cooler Refrigerator/Freezer (holds 50L or 1.8 cu ft, has low power draw, and runs off 12V or 120V)
Marinco Nicro Ventilation 4″ Day/Night Solar Vent model # N20804W (has rechargeable battery and a light)
breathable closet for hanging lots of clothes
removable hanging storage shelf
pantry / storage cabinet with three shelves
always on 12V outlets
string lights
curtains for privacy
lockable storage under bed
26 gallon fresh water tank with rv-type water hatch for filling
access to interior from cab / sliding door / rear doors can be locked off when dropping off van for service, valet, etc. (the longer video will explain how this works and have a couple of photos)
— the only holes drilled into any part of the van were for plumbing + ventilation (and were done by someone with professional plumbing + construction experience). the main structure is held in place at the cargo tie-down points (and some smaller parts are attached via rivnuts using pre-existing holes).

 
here are all the options / specs that were special ordered / came from Ford:

— 2017 Ford Transit-150 Van XL
Medium Roof
Long Wheelbase (148″)
— 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 Engine (275 H.P.)
— 6-Speed Automatic Overdrive with SelectShift Transmission
— 8600 GVWR
3.73 Limited Slip Axle Ratio
— Oxford White exterior
Premium Package – Van
Exterior Upgrade Package
CNG/Propane Gaseous Engine Prep Package (includes hardened engine intake and exhaust valves and valve seats)
Modified Vehicle Wiring System
Privacy Glass
Rear-Window Defogger
Wheel Well Liners
AutoLamp with Rain-Sensing Wipers
— Rear Bumper – Black
— Spare Tire and Wheel (includes 4 ton jack and tool kit)
Perimeter Alarm
SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) with Engine Immobilizer
Reverse Sensing System (Reverse Park Aid)
Dual Heavy-Duty Batteries (70 amp-hours each, Absorbed Glass Mat)
Heavy-Duty Alternator
Fixed Rear-Door Glass and Fixed Driver and Passenger Side Cargo-Door Glass
Short-Arm Power Mirrors
— 16-inch Steel Wheels with Full Silver Wheel Cover
— 235/65R16C 121/119 R BSW All-Season Tires
Dual Sliding Doors
— Pewter interior
Leather
MyKey
Level 2 Instrument Cluster
Front and Rear Vinyl Floor Covering (Complete)
Dual Vinyl Sun Visors with Illuminated Vanity Mirror
Cruise Control with Message Center
6 Speakers (4 Front / 2 Rear)
Auxiliary Fuse Box (with High Spec Interface Connector)
High-Capacity Upfitter Switches
AM/FM Stereo with SYNC (with 4″ multi-function display, Single-CD, USB port, steering wheel controls)
Pewter Grey Leather, 10-Way Power Driver and Front-Passenger Seats
— Front License Plate Bracket
— 50 State Emissions
Keys 2 Additional (4 total)
Chrome Grille + Grille Surround + Headlamp trim
— Air Conditioning – Front
— Center Console
— Cargo Hooks
Powerpoints – 12V (3 total)
Power Locks and Windows
Power Steering
— 25.0 Gallon Fuel Tank
Rear View Camera
— Driver/Passenger Air Bags
— Airbags – Side Air Curtains
— 3 Point Safety Belts
— 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/ABS
AdvanceTrac w/RSC (Roll Stability Control)
Tire Pressure Monitor System
Load Area Protection Package (Full Height)

the cost to order the van alone with everything this one has would be $45k with tax/tag/fees/etc and would take several weeks to be built, a few weeks to be delivered, and then several more weeks to build out (and possibly a good number of weeks to research). this van is available today and would save you months of waiting and working. i’m open to reasonable offers from anyone interested in buying it.

please share with anyone who might be interested.

to purchase the van, please contact me at:

www.MarkMarano.com/contact/

 

** updates below **

here is a link to the full tour video with some thoughts on why i chose the van:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fTNRwdE8NY
 

here’s the long detailed article i’ve written about why i chose the van (and specific options when special ordering a custom built van) and go into lots of details about the build (and compare my experience to the previous truck camper i had), fuel economy experience, etc:

markmarano.com/2019/01/01/why-i-chose-a-ford-transit-van-to-convert-into-a-camper-vanlife/
 

to see all photos, videos, and writing about the van, please visit this link:

markmarano.com/what/van/
 

i didn’t mention above that the van still has plenty of the factory warranty left from Ford.

 

*** UPDATE below regarding Price & Value ***

i had someone mention the NADA value, and had a look at the NADA guide online. it didn’t show most of the options my van has (as its only showing the wagon version of the van, not the cargo one that has everything available and built a-la-carte). i looked at KBB’s pricing online and it shows from $28k to over $30k for a similar Transit in good to excellent condition, though with only some of the options. the website is missing a lot of options i have, like the Limited Slip Differential, Dual Heavy-Duty Batteries, Heavy Duty Alternator, CNG/Propane prep package, Windows with Privacy Glass on both sliding doors + rear doors, Level 2 Instrument Cluster (which starting in 2018 is only is available when spending ~$2k on Navigation), High Capacity Upfitter Switches, Auxiliary Fuse box with High Spec Interface Connector, Modified Vehicle Wiring System, Wheel Well Liners, AutoLamp with Rain-sensing wipers, extra set of keys, etc. if you look at all the options that KBB is missing on Ford’s online van builder, you’ll see it’s about $3k worth. even figuring they’re not worth the full value on a pre-owned van, you’re still looking at spending into the $30k’s if you were to find another used van with everything this one has.

as i mentioned above, if you enter everything my van has into Ford’s online builder, you’ll see it’s over $40k, and by the time you add taxes, title, tag, dealer fees, etc, you’d be at $45k to buy a new one out-the-door (or closer to $47k if you wanted the upgraded dashboard instrument cluster as it now only comes with the expensive Navigation feature). yes, you could probably get it for a bit less than that if incentives are available, though it’s still gonna cost a good bit by the time you add everything and it would take you months to special order + weeks/months to build out a new van with everything mine has [it’s very unlikely you’ll find another van with all the options mine has sitting on a dealer lot, new or used]. also keep in mind that my van already has all the options it does, and that adding some things afterwards would cost way more for a Ford dealer to order and professionally install than to special order at time of the factory build.

i forgot to add to the list above that both the power leather seats are heated.

on top of the van price, the components + parts + materials alone for the camper conversion build cost a few thousand dollars, not counting thousands of dollars worth of time and labor to research + build + install. i know the labor part is harder to calculate the exact value, though if you’d do it yourself, figure how much money could you earn working multiple jobs full time from the time you woke up until the time you went to sleep every day for a few weeks or couple months straight, or how much would it cost to hire someone to build a camper van out (and consider how long might you have to wait if its a builder that has a long waiting time, like some that would have months of orders ahead of yours). keep in mind that if hiring a professional builder, they may have minimum build levels and i think some easily start at $20k-$30k just for the build cost (on top of whatever the van you choose costs). the other option to get a camper van would be to purchase a class b rv, though these typically cost at least 2 to 3 times the price of a new van, and can have so much in them that the extra weight will affect performance and mileage (and some models have unhealthy materials that off-gas into the small enclosed space you’re sleeping and living).

the value and cost to purchase a new van with everything mine has and with all the components + parts would be over $50k not counting incentives/deals though also not including any of the weeks of time + labor to build it (which could be a good bit).

i’ll accept $40k for my van with everything in it, and can consider driving it to you (or keeping it somewhere safe here) if you’re unable to come get it right away. i’ll also consider any reasonable offers (somewhere in the $30k’s) for it.

if you want the empty van without any of the components or build, i could take everything out and sell the van to you for $33k.

if you already have a van and are only interested in the components + what i built out in my van, i could remove everything out of my van and sell it all to you for $9k so you can use in your van.

*** UPDATE *** PRICE DROP ***

i’ve had some interest, though some potential buyers are out of town and i haven’t received a deposit yet. to sell the van quicker, i’m lowering the price:

for $35k you can have the van with everything in the build
— if that’s too much, i can go down to $32k for the van and take out some or all of the components of the build

i think these prices are quite fair, especially for a van with a very unique configuration of options (that would need to be special ordered to find another one like it with many of the options it has). per KBB, the same size Transit van in similar condition + mileage (but with $3k less in options compared to this one) sells for just over $30k. special ordering a new one with everything this has would cost $45k+ and take months to get. the camper build components + parts would cost a few thousand dollars to buy (not counting weeks or months of time and labor to research, build, and get everything to fit and work together in the small space).

FINANCING — if you don’t have the cash readily available to use or borrow, i can help you come up with creative ideas for financing. for example, when i bought the van, i withdrew funds from CD savings and also did a 0% balance transfer for 18 months that only had a 3% transaction fee. this ended up being less than auto loan interest rates would’ve been.

*** update: LOWER PRICE options ***

$33,500 for the van with everything except the refrigerator, compost toilet, and mattress

$32,000 for the empty van without any of the camper build components or structure

UPDATE 2019.02.19: i received a deposit for the van and the sale is pending until the buyer can make it down here to pick it up. the buyer is only purchasing the van empty so he can build his own setup into it.

** the build structure and parts are available for sale ** i’ve already sold the compost toilet and refrigerator (and will be leaving the vent in the roof of the van). everything else is available for sale, either as the whole setup or as parts. if you get all of the build structure, i can help you install it your Transit if you like. (if you have another van, i could help you figure out what needs to be modified, but can’t guarantee it will all fit in easily)

UPDATE 2019.03.12: i sold the empty van today. the whole build structure is available for sale, or i can sell parts separately like the water pump, water tank, rv-type filling hatch, sink + countertop, shelf, storage cabinet, bath tub with slats (that can hold compost toilet), curtains, hanging closet, etc. i’ve already sold the refrigerator and compost toilet.

Compassion is one of the principal things that make our lives meaningful. It is the source of all lasting happiness and joy. And it is the foundation of a good heart, the heart of one who acts out of a desire to help others. Through kindness, through affection, through honesty, through truth and justice toward all others we ensure our own benefit. This is not a matter for complicated theorizing. It is a matter of common sense. There is no denying that consideration of others is worthwhile. There is no denying that our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others. There is no denying that if society suffers, we ourselves suffer. Nor is there any denying that the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill-will, the more miserable we become. Thus we can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion.

This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.

- Dalai Lama XIV
 

i’ve decided that i’m going to be selling my van so i can put the funds towards purchasing land where i can build a small home or park a tiny home on. here’s a quick tour of it. i’ll be posting a much longer and more detailed video soon (as well as a blog article on why i chose it). here’s a link to the article:

markmarano.com/2019/01/01/why-i-chose-a-ford-transit-van-to-convert-into-a-camper-vanlife/

please share this with anyone who might be interested.

[for anyone into numerology, it’s funny to see how the post number of this is 18118 which reduces to 1 meaning a new cycle.. and the repeating numbers are fun too, especially as its 18 repeating and today is the last day of 2018 as i was waiting hours for the video to upload after i made it last night]

UPDATE 2019.03.12: i sold the empty van today. the whole build structure is available for sale, or i can sell parts separately like the water pump, water tank, rv-type filling hatch, sink + countertop, shelf, storage cabinet, bath tub with slats (that can hold compost toilet), curtains, hanging closet, etc. i’ve already sold the refrigerator and compost toilet.