Y’all we said we’d never buy another Ram van after the problems we’ve had with our Ram Promaster City (2018). And yet, we did just that. We purchased a used 2019 Ram Promaster 1500 high roof van. It has a high roof and a 136-inch wheelbase. And we’re pretty darn stoked about it. Keep reading to learn more about our camper van conversion of the Ram Promaster 1500.
Why Did We Buy a Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Camper Van?
The addition of our sweet rescue pup, Maggie, was a good excuse for us to start looking for camper vans again. We’d pressed pause on our search when the pandemic hit. Like many, we stuck close to home and had honestly gotten pretty used to being in one place. It was nice to be at home, around friends, and in one spot for more than just a night or two. But when our friend Marty sent us a message that his van was for sale, it was hard to not consider it. His thoughtful design and skill in bringing the van conversion together made it almost impossible to look away. Plus, the low mileage the van had and the fact that we knew and trusted the person who built it, gave us the confidence that we might have found the perfect camper van for us.
Specifications of the Ram Promaster 1500
We bought our van used. It’s a 2019 and at the time of purchase it has just under 27,000 miles on it.
As mentioned above our van is a 1500, has a high roof, and a 136-inch wheelbase.
Engine: 3.6 liter V6
Fuel type: runs on gas. The fuel tank holds approximately 24 gallons of gas and we’ve been told by the previous owner that we can expect to get about 14 miles per gallon. (This is a big departure from what you’ll read online for these vans but we’ve added a rack, solar panels, and a bit of weight to the interior for the build.
Doors: It has 2 front doors, one sliding side door on the passenger side, and two doors in the back.
Gross vehicle weight rating is 8550 lb and our van, when taken to the transit station pre-purchase came in at 6360 lb.
Other cool features of the 2019 Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof 136-inch wheelbase include a backup camera, key fobs, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Roll Stability Control (RSC) and cruise control.
Specifications of the Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Van Conversion
2 captain-style swivel seats up front
A full-size bed with a memory foam mattress. The bed platform is made of aluminum with wooden slats.
55-inch couch with storage underneath
A small Lagun table that swivels
Renogy 3000 watt inverter with a switch in the kitchen to turn it on/off remotely
Dometic CrX 65 12v refrigerator with a small freezer component (57 Liters)
Espar D2L gas heater
Manual open Maxxair Deluxe vent fan
2 dimmable LED zones for the bed area and living space
Blackout shades for all windows
A sink with a 1.5 gallon gray water tank and a fresh water tank
Numerous USB outlets and a couple three-prong outlets
A DIY shower
Induction cook-top with one burner
Things We Love About Our Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Camper Van Conversion
Coming from the small Ram Promaster City van we were traveling in, at one point, for 6 months at a time, there are so many things we love about our Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Camper Van Conversion. The first is that it was already built out when we bought it. There wasn’t a waiting period, we didn’t have to do any installation of anything, we didn’t have to spend any time doing any of the outfitting, etc. Here’s a few more reasons why:
After dealing with ice and water and good food going bad because it became waterlogged, we are so pumped to have a fridge! Granted, the fridge isn’t huge. It’s the size you’d typically see in a dorm room but it keeps the beer cold and keeps our cheese from getting soggy. We’ll probably still travel with a Coleman cooler and throw it in the back so we can make one less stop at the grocery store when we’re on the road but having a fridge is a huge upgrade for us.
A Full-Size Memory Foam Mattress
In our old van we’d be sleeping on a DIY bed that we finally started using after several other failed attempts to get comfortable. And for what it is and what it cost, it was a pretty good setup. But the thing that sets this bed and van apart from the old one is that we no longer have to put it away and make it every single day. It’s just there! Which is amazing because nobody wants to stand out in the ran and get wet before bed because you’re trying to set it up.
We never had a sink in the old van. We did the dishes when we could and tried to only serve ourselves what we thought we’d eat so there’d be less of a mess. From a food standpoint, this is a big upgrade. But it’ll also be nice to be able to wash our hands with soap and water rather than rely mostly on hand sanitizer.
Solar and Electrical System
I was nervous about having a solar and electrical system. I love the idea of renewable energy but it seemed quite complicated to install and maintain. Luckily this system was already installed for us so all we had to do was learn how to operate it. And rather than getting the propane stove out for every meal, with our solar and electrical system we can now use an induction cook-top, charge our laptops, heat our water, and even charge our phones. In fact, we have more than what we’ll need as far as our available energy goes and it’s a big departure from having to use the Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station that we used in our other van. While the Jackery is rad for what it can do, it does have it’s limitations such as planning for ways to recharge it and then allowing it the time to recharge. The solar system just charges wherever you are, provided there’s sun.
What We Wished We Had In Our Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Camper Van Conversion
The following are things we wished we had in our Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Camper Van Conversion. Though they’re not dealbreakers and because we’ve traveled for so long in such a tiny space, being able to stand up in this van will be amazing in and of itself.
After traveling in our Ram Promaster City van for several years we learned to live without a shower or a real toilet. We’ll be using the old bucket system for our travel in our Ram Promaster 1500 Conversion Van. To learn more, read up on how we pee and poop in a van. Not having a bathroom isn’t a dealbreaker. In some ways it makes sense for us not to have a toilet. They get really gross really quickly, but in other ways, it’d be nice to ditch our old system.
Though we’d love to be able to work remotely from within our van, we can’t because we don’t have wifi. To start, we’ll most likely be pulling up near places that offer it. We used a MiFi from Verizon for a while but we ate through the data really quickly and our internet speed was slowed down which made it almost useless. In a pinch, when we’re able we’ll probably use our phone as hotspot. That said, it’s not a sustainable way of working remotely. At some point we hope to get a signal booster. Satellite internet isn’t really an option for us due to the cost.
There are seatbelts for the driver and the passenger. But those are the only two seatbelts in this van. We’re okay with that since there are just two of us. However, if you’re traveling with other people, you’re going to want and need to find a way to add them. Some people choose to install them on the bench seat. Others end up changing the layout so they can have two regular van seats with seatbelts in the van.
Though we have regular A/C that we can use while driving the van we do not have an air conditioner that we can run when the van is parked. That will limit us to where we want to travel (Moab in the summer is out!) but it shouldn’t ultimately be a dealbreaker for us.
All-Wheel or 4-Wheel Drive
One quick look under the van and you’ll notice that there is very little clearance. A Subaru has a lot more room than this van. So it’s not surprising that the Ram Promaster 1500 is not an all-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle. While we that we could take it off-road or into areas with bumps and big potholes, we’ll live. We don’t plan on driving in the snow.
Better Gas Mileage
We’re getting about 14 miles a gallon in our Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof camper van. It’s a lot less than our smaller van but we’re planning on staying parked in one spot longer than we had before.
Camper Van Conversion of the Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Recap
Sure there are things we wished we had in our Ram Promaster 1500 High Roof Conversion but overall, we think this vehicle is a great fit for us. More than anything we love that we can stand up in the van. That was the number one thing that got old for us in our small Ram Promaster City van. Coming in second is the full-size memory foam bed that we never have to break down and set up again.
Stay tuned as we update our van with a mattress, a new table, and some other touches. We’ll also be sharing our thoughts about it after we’ve spent some time in it. First up: Skidaway State Park in Georgia!