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Old 11-07-2020, 05:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Any 30 mpg vans you can recommend for camping?

Hello all,

I'm looking to put together a van that can be used for 1-2 people and used for camping. I'd really would like to put something together myself. So it would be gutted more than likely.

My main requirement is that it can get 30 mpg going ~65 mph. I don't need anything new and shiny. Just something dependable that has been taken care of.

Have a budget of 5-6k for the van itself.

Some advice on what to shoot for would be greatly appreciated. If any threads or groups I could "feed" off of would be great too.

Thanks,


Last edited by User1; 11-07-2020 at 11:45 PM..
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Old 11-07-2020, 06:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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23-window Type II. You'd never regret it. My panel van with 1600cc boxer with dual Solex 40 carbs and an extractor exhaust got 30mpg (at 55mph during break-in. Never went that slow again). Substitute a TDI four and you'd see ~40mpg.



Plan B: a Westfalia Vanagon.
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Old 11-07-2020, 08:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The 2011 up Dodge and Chrysler would be close (30 mpg at 55, but probably more like 28 at 65), and there are already stripped cargo version under the Ram name. The 2011 up Honda with the 6 speed (only on Touring and above or standard as of 2014), would probably hit 30 mpg at 65, but it will set you back and then require gutting a nice interiored van. The 3.0 diesel vans will do pretty good but I bet wouldn't hit that 30 going that fast, especially if you also then spring for a high roof.

I think the 2011 up Grand Caravan C/V is you best bet. They sold those as cheap as $17,000 new, maybe less to big fleets like the Post Office.

Here is one with a rare factory tow package asking $5k. The tow package would be nice because you could also build an aerodynamic kitchen/extra gear trailer and just use the van for sleeping.
https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-...ckType=listing
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Old 11-07-2020, 11:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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@freebeard, yeah I'm passing on the VW route. I did do it a few years back. Got a '71 Westfalia with the German floor plan. It had a bench seat, 2 way frig, and could sleep 4 adults and two kids. The kids spot was over the front instrument council. I even had the tent that was a VW part. In great shape and man do I wish I had it today!

Oh yeah, I never got anything better than 20 mpg, with a 1600 dual port and a header installed.

@Hersbird, I'm a bit suspect that Dodge could get 30 mpg in their vans, regardless of the year. I never heard that there's diesel powered vans in the US, but I would like to learn about them.

I forgot to put up my budget, but I'm working with about 5-6k. Also I was kinda leaning towards a Toyota or Honda van. Pretty much something that had the interior worked over but mileage ain't bad and maintenance was done.
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Old 11-08-2020, 12:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Honda Odyssey rated at whopping 28mpg on the highway.

My wife's SUV has the same 3.5l engine/trans in it...and gets worse gas mileage, despite being lighter. Would have expected both to do better, since the engine is only running at 1800rpm at 60mph. The trans is the only weak point. Well, that and the typical Honda interference engine/timing belt.

Don't know squat about newer ones. Toyota does a PHEV van, but they're newish and wont be had for 5-6k.
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Old 11-08-2020, 01:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
I even had the tent that was a VW part. In great shape and man do I wish I had it today!

Oh yeah, I never got anything better than 20 mpg, with a 1600 dual port and a header installed.
So.... You know whereof I speak.

I'd suggested a TDI (instead of Subaru) transplant for better mileage, but frankly today an EV conversion with a full-length roof rack full of solar panel would be best.


Quote:
...I'm working with about 5-6k
Never mind.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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When I was a kid my dad had a great van/8seater that was getting 30 - 35 MPG all the time, and where the two rear seats could easily be folded into a double bed. It was a Nissan Serena C23 diesel, Japanese design, incredible slow but extremely reliable and versatile. They were sold in Asia, Europe and Australia, but never in the US I think. It's a shame because it would do well in the eco-modding community ... If import wasn't that difficult you would have something special over there!

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Old 11-08-2020, 06:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Cars older than 25 years are easier to import. They don't have to conform to emissions standards after they pass 25 years.

(I think) There is a requirement that any imported car must have documentation that the engine passes the requirements for that year. If the car was never sold in the U.S. it doesn't come with that certification automatically. You have to either get it from the manufacturer or get it certified yourself. Both a big hassle at least, if not impossible. Once they pass 25 years they don't have to adhere to this rule and you just have to ship it and fill out some paperwork. Again, I've never done it so this may not be 100% accurate.
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Old 11-08-2020, 12:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The above may not work in Cali apcd areas. I had a squareback imported from Europe that I couldn't register because it had carbs instead of FI. NO amount of documentation, including the build sheet from VW would convince them the carbs were original.
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Old 11-08-2020, 03:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by User1 View Post
I never heard that there's diesel powered vans in the US, but I would like to learn about them.
AFAIK it was only for export, yet some sources claimed cargo versions of the Dodge Caravan had such option. AFAIK the only RAM van factory-fitted with a Diesel for the USDM was the ProMaster, yet it had the AMT.

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