The ProMaster van conversions do not have followings as large as their Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter van counterparts on social media. However, Ram ProMaster vans, selling under the Ducato brand, are actually the most popular campervan choice in Europe!
Data shows that 2.6 million Fiat Ducatos have sold since their production kicked off in 1981! Campervan enthusiasts that choose the Ram ProMaster as their vanliving vehicle of choice do so, first, because of Ducato’s long production history.
Ram ProMaster vans are an iteration of Stellantis’s Fiat Ducato van. This model might not be as old as the Mercedes Benz Sprinter or Ford Transit, but Fiat Ducato has had four decades of experience in the production of light commercial vans.
The European market trusts this functional van, that over two-thirds of motorhomes in this region have a Ducato base. In their long production history, first-generation Fiat Ducato vans were sold as Alfa Romeo AR6s, Citroën C25s, Talbot Expresses, and Peugeot J5s.
Second and third-generation Ducato vans sell under the Peugeot Boxer, Fiat Ducato, and Citroën Jumper labels. The Fiat Ducato van was first sold in North America as the Ram ProMaster 2014 model. One other good reason ProMaster van conversions charm a large section of vanlifers is their broadness.
The ProMaster van is so wide that you can fit a full-size bed on it, without modifying its length or that of its mattress. Additionally, these vans have an attractive price tag, used or new.
ProMaster Van designs
ProMaster vans sell as passenger or cargo vans. Each van type has an assortment of roof and wheelbase configurations but sells as 1500, 2500, and 3500 GVWR models. Below are the Ram ProMaster cargo van’s variant details.
Ram ProMaster 1500 and 2500
The Ram ProMaster 1500 has a gross vehicle weight rating of 8500 pounds of weight, while the 2500s is 8900 pounds. There is therefore minimal difference in the two vans towing capacity. Additionally, the Ram ProMaster 1500 and 2500 share the same engine.
The main difference between these two variants is their suspension. The 2500 has beefier springs and brakes. On top of that, the 2500 version can haul 400 more pounds of weight. A good point to consider when choosing between the 2500 and 1500 is a $2000 price difference and the 1500’s short 136″ wheelbase.
Since the 1500 van is short, it will easily fit in most parking spots. Ram ProMaster vans have an excellent tight turning radius, a factor that makes 1500 almost as nimble as a sedan. Its shorter wheelbase length might however limit full-time living build choices, so it works best for individual or couple vanlifers that spend most of their time in the outdoors. This van is also a good option for minimalist #vanlife fans or weekend warriors.
The 2500 has 136” and 159” wheelbase choices. These two extra feet enhance ProMaster van conversion flexibility. This van can host a full-size bed, and closet build, or a rear dinette setup. It is therefore a perfect choice for vanlifers that need a permanent hangout or workspace in their van. It is a van that supports a full-time vanlife lifestyle.
The Ram ProMaster 3500
The Ram ProMaster 3500 has a 159” and 159” EXT wheelbase variant. Consequently, it is longer than most standard parking spots. It is an excellent choice for spacious ProMaster van conversions that need more interior living amenity options.
It is a brilliant choice for large families and taller people that need bigger beds. You can have a king-size bed in the 3500 and double storage benches. Add a dinette for good measure. The 159″ EXT wheelbase version costs $3000 more than the regular 159″ wheelbase option. The 136″ and 159″ and 159″ EXT wheelbase van options all have high and low roof options.
Pros of the ProMaster van
New ProMaster vans sell at a cheaper price than Transit or Sprinter vans in their price range. Additionally, used low mileage ProMaster vans are easier to come by than second-hand Sprinter vans.
Ease of service
You can service and repair your Ram ProMaster van in just about any corner of the globe. They share their transmission and engine parts with Dodge, Chrysler, Ram, and Jeep vans sold in the last decade. They are also a variant of the prolific Fiat Ducato van.
It follows then that you will find the Ram ProMaster’s care much easier and affordable than a Sprinter or Transit van when traveling outside North America. On top of this, the Ram ProMaster van has a simple electrical system and engine if you compare it to complex Mercedes Sprinter builds.
Just about any savvy mechanic can work on a Ram ProMaster and you will not require specialized mechanical assistance for simple repairs.
Super spacious interiors
The Ram ProMaster van is wider than a Transit or Sprinter. Its boxy interior and vertical walls make for efficient space usage. This aspect also gives you more roof space to work with.
If you are going to boondock, a Ram ProMaster will be a great vanlife choice. It is not as sleek-looking as the Sprinter and has a commercial look that works for stealth camping.
Cons of the ProMaster van
Low resale value
As mentioned earlier, a used Ram ProMaster sells at a lower price than most Sprinter and Transit vans. Some Sprinter vans could increase in value over time after conversions. For this reason, a ProMaster is not an investment.
An advantage of the ProMaster van is that its parts are affordable. That said, you will find some of the construction of its minor parts less than satisfactory. As an illustration, Laura and Joel of funlifecrisis say that on van purchase items such as headlights, jam bolts, door speakers rattled loosely and broke.
Chris & Christi Moody of @LifeOptedOut, say that their new van’s locks and doors were so shoddily crafted, that they had to replace them all, at a considerable cost.
Uncomfortable driver’s seat
Unlike the Sprinter that is designed with driving comfort in mind, the Ram ProMaster’s driver seat is hard, and it’s cabin spartan. You cannot adjust your steering wheel position and the driver’s seat lacks lumbar support.
Ram ProMasters are front-wheel drive vehicles and are ill-suited for heavy and steep inclining terrains.
Shorter roof height
Our top 10 best ProMaster Conversions
When journalist Chris Moody lost his plum job at CNN, he and his wife Christi made a deliberate and drastic life change. They sold their belongings, moving out for their New York City home to a ProMaster van. Their van is a ProMaster 2500, 159-inch wheelbase, high roof van.
They have since traveled all over the US in the basic but functional build. Their van is not an all-weather travel van and is not off the grid. That said, it is their tiny oasis and has a full kitchen, massive bed, and a bathroom. Their bed can fold into a comfy couch, a perfect hang-out point.
Laura, a blogger, and her husband have been on a road trip through South America on their ProMaster van. They choose a low-cost DIY conversion build to keep their initial vanlife transition costs low. Their ProMaster van build has a fixed bed, full kitchen, and roof fan for comfort.
Their interior wooden panels have a classy dark walnut stain, while the floors have a natural wood look laminate flooring. Their kitchen has a stainless-steel cooktop, faucet, and sink, surrounded by a wooden counter, and white wooden cabinets. Their magnetic spice rack spices up the clean, functional look.
Greg & Jess chose a Dodge Ram ProMaster van because Greg is 6’2” tall. They moved into their high-top van on their fifth wedding anniversary and now tour the world in it. Their van is a 2017 Ram ProMaster and hosts their 2018 TW200 dual-sport adventure motorcycle for all-terrain travel.
The outdoorsy couple has a large garage at the back that holds their gear. They have suspended their bed over the garage and have a pneumatic lift mechanism that leaves space for their bikes. Their van build is simple and their kitchen has a two-burner cooktop and fridge.
Emily is a solo female van lifer and her DIY Ram ProMaster conversion is her little slice of heaven on earth. Her van is a 2014 Ram ProMaster 2500, 159″ wheelbase van and has an exterior awning. She and ‘the van fish’ , her fish companion, enjoy a neat, white, and cream van interior that has beautiful wooden furniture.
She found her 2014 Ram Pro master a decade ago and is now a certified vanlife diehard. Emily’s bad-boy measures 19′ 8″ in length and it is surprising just how much she has built into this otherwise ‘small’ space.
The main living space is approximately 44 square feet and the bedroom – which is her favorite place is 27.5 square feet. She also has a 9.9-gallon propane tank, which she says serves well with her 2 burners stove and the always on-demand water heater.
A 70 liters freshwater tank ensures she never runs dry in the kitchen, and the bathroom too; which has a hidden indoor toilet under a bench seat.
Emily has a 75L 12V Fridge Freezer for refreshment and a 300W solar panel installed on the roof rack powers her van. For ventilation and air circulation, the Maxx Air Fan on the roof does the trick.
Kara is a solo female vandweller living in a 2017, 2500 Ram ProMaster van. She is a freelance web developer. Kara lives in her standard 159″ wheelbase Dodge Ram ProMaster conversion alongside her dog Rocco.
Her van build is a DIY project. She is so into climbing that she has a hang board at the back of her van. Here she practices and trains her fingers for climbing. Additionally, Kara has built an external party deck at the van’s top for yoga and sunset gazing. Her garage has a neat white system cabinet storage and a bike.
Her van interior has white and creamy wooden furniture with bright and vibrant colors that give it a cozy feel. Kara’s kitchen has an inbuilt propane-powered stovetop. A developer, Kara spends most of her time on her laptop, and that’s never straining thanks to her work desk, which is situated right behind the driver’s seat.
Josh, ‘the boondocker’ started living in vehicles while in college but only became serious about vanlife in 2017. He had lost his real estate business, house, and car. He has since traveled all over North America in his extended edition build of the 2015 Ram ProMaster 3500.
Josh’s Ram ProMaster conversion exterior has a sleek dark grey paint finish and a sporty look. His ProMaster van builds actually look better than most other Transit and Sprinter conversion builds out there.
On its roof is a 330W solar panel that makes his van fully off the grid. The solar panels power a 3000AH lithium battery. His van’s interiors are spacious, making careful use of stack-up storage. His 136-inch ProMaster boasts impressive custom interior woodwork and his rear cargo area features 90-degree angles sidewalls and a wide space that holds a variety of interior components.
Lauren has been a vanlifer since 2018. She was dead set on purchasing a Ford Transit for her life on the road but later chose the Ram ProMaster 2500 and has never looked back.
The build features a high-roof and 159″ wheelbase which she says gives her adequate space for her stuff and a comfortable workplace too. The van is completely self-sufficient, backed with a 4000AH Lithium battery and three 100-watt solar panels. The battery system powers up her two fans, lights, and a fridge.
Lauren’s ProMaster also has a Nature’s Head composting toilet, which is easy to clean and maintain. Her 25-gallon water tank easily connects to her outdoor shower system for a quick hot bath, but she says she also calls on her peeps back home when in need of a regular indoor shower.
She designed the van herself, after spending countless days on Instagram and YouTube studying other van conversions for ideas. She advises new van lifers to have a list of non-negotiables when building their first van, and get as much inspiration as possible to minimize obvious first-timers’ mistakes.
Her build isn’t complete without the comfortable REI camping chairs which are compact and lightweight and a coffee maker, she insists.
Brandon and Sarah are proof that a couple can live in a van and still get their life done. Their three dogs keep them company on the road. Both of them are lovers of adventure and vanlife in general and have been traveling all over the US. They travel in their high roof extended, self-built ProMaster conversion.
After taking years looking at conversions, Brandon decided to DIY his Ram ProMaster 159” which may look simple from the outside but it has everything you will need for your next van adventure.
Their van build has a water heater, a small wet-shower bathroom, toilet, and a propane tank fitted with great plumbing skills. The interior has an appealing finish and a swivel-mounted table, creating a perfect workspace for the couple’s digital nomad lifestyle.
This ProMaster build by Ethan & Katelynn is the go-to design for van lifers looking for a compact yet spacious van for working on the road. Their standard arrangement of equipment ensures tons of extra storage is available for working and relaxing.
Their model is a 2018 Ram ProMaster 3500 high roof extended wheelbase version. Its solar panels on the roof serve a good 300 watts of electricity, which is enough to light up the rig for a couple of days. The panel also powers the hot water shower.
The kitchen includes a complete faucet and a 12V refrigerator next to the side door and a portable stove top. This rather uncommon layout gives extra space for a cloth closet. You should definitely try it.
Kyle, Shania, and their three dogs live and travel around in this DIY ProMaster van conversion. Using a folding bed design and shelves on one side of the van leaves an adequate storage room and some playroom for the dogs.
The van has a pullout table underneath the mattress. The kitchen area is quite small, as it only features a sink and a place to store some utensils. This is probably because a lot of cooking isn’t done inside the van.
Promaster van conversions may not be as popular as Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter van conversions are, but they work. They are excellent full-time #vanlife vans with loads of space. New Ram ProMaster vans are reliable and more affordable than their high-on-demand van counterparts. For this reason, they are the perfect vanlife transition vehicles.