Home » This Tiny Motorhome Drives Like A Car, Is Shorter Than A F-150, And You Can Buy It Soon. Here’s What To Expect

This Tiny Motorhome Drives Like A Car, Is Shorter Than A F-150, And You Can Buy It Soon. Here’s What To Expect

Wingammusa Ts1
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Back in 2021, I discovered the kind of motorhome that so many RVers say they want. The Wingamm Oasi 540.1 is a compact motorhome that’s shorter than most F-150s, is designed to drive like a car, and somehow still features all of the space and features expected from a luxury form of travel. Wingamm has been talking about entering the United States market for over three years. Now, it’s finally happening as the RV builder jumped through all of the hoops to make it happen. Here’s what you can expect from this fresh Italian face in the RV market.

I’ve now been going to RV shows for a couple of years now and doing so has given me some insight into what the camping world looks like right now. As I’ve reported in the past, the quality of many rigs has fallen into the toilet while others ask for mind-boggling money. Something I was surprised to learn about was a growing demographic of RV buyer.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

If I say “motorhome,” most Americans would probably picture giant Class A coaches with massive diesel engines and price tags north of a million dollars. A Prevost makes my apartment look like a shanty. These buses are great, except for the fact that a lot of people are falling out of love with monstrosities that cost more than a decent house. As I’ve learned on the RV show circuit, many folks just don’t want to drive a 35-foot or longer bus. They also don’t want to pay the prices those coaches command. Even if they wanted to drive a big bus, some folks just didn’t have the mobility to climb into one.

These people are looking for a coach offering something different. They still want the luxuries of a big motorhome, but they want it to handle like their family car.

Screenshot (992)

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Those people also don’t want to drive something so large and ungainly that they should really have a CDL to drive it. That’s where Italian motorhome manufacturer Wingamm comes in. It read the market and realized that there are a bunch of people who wanted a compact RV, and it hatched a plan to bring over its Oasi 540 motorhome as the improved Oasi 540.1. The Wingamm Oasi 540.1 is a motorhome that bridges the gap between a Class B and a Class C while maintaining a driving feel similar to that of a car.

The road to get this motorhome into America wasn’t a smooth one, but the company finally has good news to deliver.

It’s Been A Long Road

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If you didn’t catch our previous piece, I’ll bring you up to speed on Wingamm. This is not a startup company, but a firm that’s been operating in Europe for decades, from my story:

Wingamm opened its doors in Italy in 1977. Its founders, the Turri brothers, were initially builders of furniture. Eventually, the pair fell in love with RVs, and decided to use their experience in the furniture business to create their own RVs. The Turri brothers founded Wingamm, drawing inspiration from the peregrine falcon. Like the bird of prey, Wingamm sees its campers as robust, nimble vehicles capable of getting you to your destination in comfort.

Wingamm started off small, by taking vans supplied by customers, chopping off their roofs and fitting a fiberglass camper shell in their place. In 1982, the company evolved its campers into the design that is still used today.

One of Wingamm’s longest-running nameplates is the Oasis, or Oasi. That compact motorhome started life as a Fiat Ducato before the company grafted on its signature fiberglass monocoque body.

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Wingamm coaches are big on space and how the company achieves that in the footprint of a van is through its bed system. The company’s motorhomes feature a bed that drops down from the ceiling. That way you have spacious relaxation space and ample room for sleeping when you want it. Since those early days, Wingamm has decided to move itself into the luxury RV space, but still keeps things small.

Wingamm continues to build the Oasi today and the version we’re getting in America originally began production in 2010. The company practically stole the 2023 Florida RV SuperShow with its appearance, from my piece:

This little guy is based on the Italian market Fiat Ducato and comes equipped as it would in Italy. In America, we know the Ducato as the Ram ProMaster. The Ducato found underneath this camper could technically be considered a Holy Grail. The ProMaster was sold in America with a 3.0-liter Iveco F1C diesel four. This one has a 2.3-liter Iveco F1A diesel four. Both engines are rated at 175 HP. When Wingamm releases the U.S. version, it’ll come with the 3.6-liter gasoline V6 making 276 HP. Wingamm’s people tell me that this European model was imported for display only and can never be registered here.

Mercedes Streeter

First, you’ll notice just how tiny it is. Wingamm is marketing it as a Class C. However, at 17 feet, 6 inches [long], it’s as short as something like a Winnebago Solis Pocket. It’s shorter than many of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter conversions and it’s even shorter than a regular cab, long bed pickup. And unlike the aforementioned Winnebago, this has a lot more features and doesn’t feel nearly as cramped.

Wingamm builds its campers using a single thick piece of molded fiberglass. The company touts style and longevity with this choice. Since it’s a single piece of fiberglass, you don’t have to worry about roof leaks and the company says that its campers can last the long haul.

At first, all seemed well. Wingamm said it was transforming the European-spec Oasi 540 (below) into the American-spec Oasi 540.1. The idea there was that Wingamm would take what it learned from the RV show circuit and tailor the Oasi 540 just for Americans.

Mercedes Streeter

Delays

Unfortunately, Wingamm then started missing its own estimated launch dates. The Oasi 540.1 was originally supposed to launch in fall 2021, then that got pushed to spring 2022 and then to spring 2023. Later, it was pushed again to summer 2023. Eventually, Wingamm’s USA arm stopped announcing delivery dates out there and instead just said that it was coming soon. If you paid attention to Wingamm USA’s social media accounts, you likely saw that investors and those who paid a deposit for a coach were beginning to worry. These people invested money into Wingamm USA just to see delivery dates slide.

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Earlier this year, I decided to get to the bottom of this. Wingamm is not a startup company, yet it had delays like it was one. People wanted to know when or even if they would be able to buy their Oasi 540.1. They wanted to know where their money went. To get an answer to the delays, I spoke with Jennifer Buonantony, a PR representative for Wingamm USA. Buonantony explained a very familiar situation.

She explained that the first hurdle was getting the motorhome certified for U.S. regulations. The motorhomes coming to the United States aren’t just the Italian units with Ram ProMaster badging. Instead, Stellantis is building U.S.-spec Ram ProMaster cutaways in Mexico. Those cutaways are then shipped from Mexico to Boston.

Cutawayram

From there, the vans get shipped to Italy where they’re converted into motorhomes. Finally, they get back on a boat for a third time and make it back over to America. This alone takes a lot of time, but Wingamm ran into a number of roadblocks. Stellantis was hit by pandemic parts shortages, delaying the construction and shipping of the ProMaster cutaways. Then, the vans had to go to Italy, where Wingamm’s suppliers were snarled during the pandemic.

I’m told that Wingamm fell behind simply because the company didn’t have the parts to build the motorhomes. Eventually, the parts shortages cleared up, allowing Wingamm to build prototype Oasi 540.1 units. Those units are currently undergoing testing and certification in Italy before shipment to America.

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The company has released a statement about those delays:

The initial delays were a result of Covid related supply chain issues and then there were some challenges sourcing materials and parts from Wingamm’s US suppliers. We are thrilled to let our customers know those challenges are now behind us and we expect our long awaited US Oasi 540.1 debut to begin soon. Updates will first be released through Scott Watson on his YouTube channel “Go Small. Live Large!”. We are grateful for the continued support from our valued customers and the RV community at large as we have worked to bring Wingamm to America.

Thanks for your patience!

Thankfully, Wingamm appears to be pulling through as today, Scott Watson released that promised video, a first look at the American-spec Wingamm Oasi 540.1.

The American Wingamm Oasi 540.1

The first part that stands out about the Wingamm Oasi 540.1 is its exterior. It has the appearance of a Class C motorhome, but its body is a smooth and rounded single piece of fiberglass. Then you notice just how small it is.

Popular camper vans often measure around 20 feet in length. This? It’s a diminutive 17 feet, 6 inches long. That makes it as short as a compact camper van like a Winnebago Solis Pocket and shorter than the most popular pickup trucks in America. Yet, because the Wingamm Oasi 540.1 is not a camper van, it fits a far roomier interior into the same footprint.

Promaster Wingamm

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Step into the rear entry door and you’ll be presented with an interior that’s small, but still has plenty of space to move around in. This Wingamm Oasi 540.1 is perhaps one of just a few modern RVs that you can describe as a TARDIS. If you aren’t a Doctor Who fan, I’m basically saying that it feels bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

My favorite part about the interior was the fact that when I saw the Oasi 540.1 in 2023, I was able to walk through the interior without turning sideways. I’m not a small person and most camper vans make me slide my butt across their interior. That’s not the case here. The drop-down bed isn’t a gimmick, either. When it’s in its stowed position, you really do feel like you have so much more space.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter

I also enjoyed the build quality of the interior. The surfaces felt pleasing to the touch and the seating felt better than some home furniture I’ve sat in. Too many camper producers try to pass off cheap garbage for interior materials. Even over $200,000 Winnebago camper vans have seating materials that seem like an afterthought. But this felt like something deserving of the price tag. Everything you need was inside, too, from a compact galley to a real wet bath in the back. Insulation comes from expanded polyurethane PU and heating is handled both by a traditional heating system and a radiant floor heater.

The only part I wasn’t a fan of was the cassette toilet. The Oasi 540.1 is full of brilliant ideas, but the bathroom is let down by what our readers call the “shit case.” At the very least, the RV has a bunch of different molded fiberglass storage spaces and the one in the rear is large enough to stow multiple cassettes. Still, I would have loved to see a real black tank.

Mercedes Streeter

European Fiat Ducato Wingamm models get neat diesel engines, but we here in America will be getting a Ram ProMaster with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 making 276 horses and 250 lb-ft of torque. That’s driving the front wheels through an automatic. Other changes for the U.S. market include a redesigned entry stair as well as the addition of a grab handle. You’ll also get a Wingamm badge where the Ram badge would normally sit.

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House power comes from two AGM batteries with 95 Ah on deck each. Those batteries are combined with a BOS LE300 322 Wh lithium battery to create a hybrid house battery system. The LE300 is designed to be a drop-in supplement to extend the battery charge and lifespan of existing batteries. If you aren’t fond of that, you can option your Oasi 540.1 to have two lithium batteries. Standard, the coaches will come with 210W of roof solar.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter

Buyers of the Oasi 540.1 will find themselves choosing between two exterior motifs. The Fashion Edition is white featuring a detailed graphics package showing off the Wingamm logo. Then there’s the Black Edition, which, confusingly, is still white, but now the graphics are plain black without detail. Options are slated to include a tow hitch, a bike rack, a microwave, a television, and various interior upholstery options. An option that you don’t see very often is the ability to fill your Oasi 540.1 with a selection of plates and silverware.

In addition to the 540.1, Wingamm wants to bring other variations of the Oasi to America. These other models include the 19-foot Brownie, the 19-foot City Pro, the 20-foot Oasi 610 GL, the 20-foot Oasi 610M, the 20-foot Oasi 610 ST, and the 22-foot Oasi 690 Twins. Each of these has a different interior layout and will be based on the Ram ProMaster. Check them out below.

Screenshot 995 Copy2

 

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Wingamm has also unveiled rentals. Once shipments are up and running, you’ll be able to rent a new Wingamm for a weekend in Florida, Texas, or New York. If you love the coach and decide to buy it, the rental cost will be free. You may want to know about the service network and that is a good question. Wingamm says the Ram ProMaster part will be repairable at any place that services Ram ProMaster vans. As for the coach portion, the company plans on relying on mobile RV mechanics to fix any issues that arise in customer vehicles.

Sadly, Wingamm still doesn’t have a firm launch date for the Oasi 540.1 or the future imports. It hasn’t mentioned a hard price, either. In 2023, the company said it was targeting $145,000. Update: We’ve been informed by Wingamm that the price will be $188,500. If you consider the Wingamm Oasi 540.1 to be a step up from a camper van, that price is a deal. Airstream and Winnebago both charge tens of thousands of dollars more for smaller vans with worse interiors. Remember the Winnebago Revel? Sure, that is based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with AWD, but that costs much more and you sleep in a much worse interior.

So, we remain hopeful that Wingamm can hit this one out of the park. Some real progress is being made here and hopefully, those who put money into this will be seeing a return. Wingamm tells me that additional information will be coming soon.

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121gwats
121gwats
14 days ago

I was crunching the max I’d spend on this having no idea what the market is like, and I’m at $40K – hahahhahahhaha

BloggyMcBlogBlog
BloggyMcBlogBlog
14 days ago

Almost $190k for this? I don’t think so. You can get a lot of hotel rooms for that! Hell, the depreciation expense of this would pay at least three weeks of hotel stays a year. The only way something like this makes sense is if you’re traveling four or five months out of the year in it.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
14 days ago

Dopes who are going to buy this only look at the monthly payment.

Lally Singh
Lally Singh
13 days ago

People buy these and count them as a second home, writing off the interest.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
13 days ago

If you’ve seen prices on other motorhomes in this segment this is quite well-priced—assuming the quality is really as good as it seems. Try pricing a similar Airstream or Leisure Travel van and this’ll seem quite reasonable.

3WiperB
3WiperB
14 days ago

It looks quite a bit nicer than the Ridgeline for a similar price. The Ridgeline is nice, but it’s pretty cramped feeling inside compared to this.

Boris Berkovich
Boris Berkovich
14 days ago

Don’t underestimate the greatness of a cassette toilet. Being able to empty it anywhere without hunting for a dumping station is quite liberating; being able to boondock well is a bonus.

Trojan Duck
Trojan Duck
14 days ago

$150k is obscene. I was think $80k and that’s still too much for me.

Boris Berkovich
Boris Berkovich
14 days ago
Reply to  Trojan Duck

Nowadays, a well-spec’d truck approaches $80k, and that doesn’t include an entire house stapled to the back of it. $150k is totally reasonable (might even be considered a bargain) provided that the build quality is as good as Mercedes describes.

Trojan Duck
Trojan Duck
14 days ago

Dividends are expensive

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
14 days ago

Is this some chicken tax baloney, or federalization garbage? The travel this things has to do before any miles are on the odometer (Mexico-Boston-Italy-USA) brings the price to what US RVs cost. What’s the MSRP on this if I buy it in Italy?

The drop-down bed is killer, though. Far less of a compromise than any other setup.

Millermatic
Millermatic
14 days ago

$150,000????

I hope they choke.

Would someone please tell Hyundai that they should bring the $50,000 Staria camper to the US? I’d rather have one of those any day over this thing. Hell… if money wasn’t a factor between them… I’d still pick the Staria. That I can get three of them for the price of this thing…

I’ve lusted after a Westfalia Vanagon for years. Preferably a Synchro with a Subaru engine. I largely gave up on that dream because it would probably cost me $70,000 for a nice one.

Turns out that would be an absolute bargain compared to this thing.

Boris Berkovich
Boris Berkovich
14 days ago
Reply to  Millermatic

A basic class C RV built on a Ford E-series chassis, held together with hopes, dreams, and cardboard, will cost north of $100k. This seems much better built and thought out.

Boxxtronix
Boxxtronix
14 days ago

That’s pretty nice. So it’s going to have a PSU either JL or RU V6 or CPS. It’s basically one of the engines that’s in a Chrysler Pacifica. If I was a real traveling man I would get one. But have my eye on a mid size Ram pickup. It would be nice to have the Ram Rampage here in the US however that chicken tax prevents that from happening. If nothing is in the works in the next couple of years I guess I’ll focus on the Ford Maverick hybrid.

Last edited 14 days ago by Boxxtronix
TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
14 days ago

This is pretty much exactly what my MIL wants. She wanted an RV that she didn’t have to worry about size. No more shopping for Rialtas.
I honestly think these will be a hit, especially with a lot of retired couples or DINKs.

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago

Interesting article, thanks! I can see a traditional motorhome buyer being tempted, but any vehicle I own better be a Swiss Army Knife when it comes to use. Not mentioned is the cost and complexity of storing a single-use vehicle, plus the popularity of vehicle camping making campgrounds expensive and/or difficult to book. The journey may be the destination, but you gotta sleep somewhere.

That’s why I’m on my third 144″ wheel base MB Sprinter camper build. No visible signs of being a camper on the exterior, so stealthy city bivouacs are a piece of cake. Every component (bed, toilet, storage) is easily and quickly removable to haul cargo, people and building materials. I buy a couple of years old and with excellent records, so total build cost including vehicle around $40K.

Still not convinced I need a dedicated shower, but am just installing my first DC powered minisplit AC system powered by 580Amp Hours of LiFePo4 batteries to make offgrid southern summer travel comfy – something this article did not address.

Good luck and enjoy! Don’t forget to talk to people with experience when considering choices. Relying on theory can be a well-intended mistake.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
14 days ago

I’ve built a van out, and it isn’t rocket surgery. But a lot of people don’t have the skills, desire, or time to tackle that. Life gets busy and suddenly financing one of these for 30 years (wince) can make sense we can utilize the meager time off we’re allotted.

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago

Fair points. Our build is so simple it turns a lot of folks off, but the effort/use equation works for us. Futon mattress on floor behind mid bench (where a six-footer can stretch out,) for instance. Stable space is already there, no need for fancy installed fittings that eat up the area and require messing about. Fold it up and load that pallet of cement!

Working to pay off installments is a whole ‘nother issue, best discussed over at mrmoneymoustache.com Safe journeys!

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
14 days ago

When I was looking at RVs, I had the Ram chassis at the bottom of my list because who wants to deal with Stellantis “quality” when on a road trip. Felt like my chances were better with Ford, Mercedes, or the few GM powered options out there.

And this just seems too expensive unless the interior is significantly nicer than usual. Cassette toilet is par for the course though for RVs of this size, which is something my wife was not thrilled about having to deal with. Agree that even a smaller black tank would be a selling point.

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

Have you talked to folks who have use both systems for a while? It’s kind of a theory-vs-practice thing. Cassette toilets are easier to dump and clean than the process of hooking up and rinsing hoses required for black tank draining, but the +1 for cassettes (IMO) is a much simpler system. Less to maintain, less to break down zero hidden components.

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

Vic, how is a black tank dump/clean experience easier than dumping/rinsing a cassette, in your experience? Thanks!

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago

Makes sense, as a couple we mainly use the cassette for liquid, solid needs usually handled at a stationary bathroom. Thanks for the perspective!

Dávid Tóth
Dávid Tóth
15 days ago

The ducato in my experience is a far cry from “handling like a car”, in my experience at least. The two year old example I had the misfortune to drive was a noisy, gutless piece of crap.

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
15 days ago

What’s up with the US RV market? Don’t you guys have any sub 100k options out there? I mean this class of vehicles (ducato is fantastic platform, FIAT or not) is very popular in our side of the pond and most offerings hover around 50-70k€. Only the very high end is about 100k.

Last edited 15 days ago by Matti Sillanpää
Bram Oude Elberink
Bram Oude Elberink
14 days ago

I think you should recheck those numbers. Since Covid the prices have been rising steadily. Here in the Netherlands it is more starting at 80k€ and then upwards to 130+k€.

Last edited 14 days ago by Bram Oude Elberink
Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
14 days ago

I’ve been observing the market quite closely. Of course my case it’s Finland, but there’s still new RV:s to be had around 50 (they are sans car tax), and very nice ones like VW Gran California for about 60-70k if registered as commercial vehicle (limits speed to 90km/h + license).

But I admit that the median has certainly risen especially on used market. My friend bought really nice condition Pössl (2 person sleeping quaters, winter capable) compact RV for about 17k. He got offer to buy it from car dealer (when he took it for service) for 25k during the covid. Not bad for over 10 year old vehicle.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
14 days ago

Our campers/RVs have always been way way more expensive than over there. And the quality here is arguably lower. Win win!

Joke #119!
Joke #119!
14 days ago

Maybe in the used RV market once the buyer’s remorse of not using it every other weekend (because the newness wears out pretty quickly) kicks in. Third-wheels are less expensive are an option for people already with the appropriately strong truck.

Sklooner
Sklooner
15 days ago

Now I can sleep in my Fiat when it breaks down

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
15 days ago

at 17 feet, 6 inches wide”

Oh my…

Eslader
Eslader
15 days ago

I will never understand the obsession with sticking full bathrooms in small campers. You’re not going to be boondocking in this thing. You’ll be in a campground, a rest area or a Walmart parking lot. Bathrooms will be available. Stick the smallest shower cube you can get away with in there and call it a day, because then you have more room to put a bigger bed in it.

This thing has two sinks in it. Why the hell would you put two sinks in a 17 foot RV? Wash your hands in the kitchen sink for chrissake. It’s a tiny motor home not a penthouse suite.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
15 days ago
Reply to  Eslader

My wife is bugging me to death about getting a van to travel in. The one absolute non-negotiable requirement from her is the ability to relieve herself. She doesn’t care if any other accoutrements are present, this is the deal breaker. Don’t know if that’s driving the obsession, but it is in my house.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
15 days ago
Reply to  Inthemikelane

I imagine she means the ability to relieve herself exactly like she does at home, because there are several alternate ways to do it.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
15 days ago

Had to laugh when I read this, but nah, not the case here. She’s roughed it a lot more than most people I know, and is old enough she knows what she needs for comfort. I’m no different, but of course my needs are slightly different. I need supportive seats and a damn fine sound system if I’m going to be the pilot.

Kommkat
Kommkat
15 days ago
Reply to  Eslader

My IBS demands a bathroom to be able to go on any road trip longer than 30 minutes. Having two sinks? That’s a bit much though.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
15 days ago
Reply to  Eslader

The driver’s seat should be a toilet.

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago
Reply to  Eslader

Agree and disagree. Been a van camper since 1989, and a ready place for elimination is gold (HA!) when boondocked or at 2am in a parking lot. Showers, on the other hand, are not such an emergency need and can be easily handled at truck stops, gyms, campgrounds, etc.

IMO, cassette toilets are far superior than the maintenance, expense and complications of a black tank. You have to dump both, and the cassette process is (for me) a lot faster/cleaner/easier. I am looking into “compostable” toilets (there’s a mental image for ya,) but as more of a bag it and dump it use than any attempt at composting.

Eslader
Eslader
14 days ago

Completely agree with you on the boondocking, but I’d be absolutely floored if this thing could get to a typical boondock site, or power itself for very long while there. This is not a boondock rig.

If I’m boondocking, it’s gotta be in something that can be off-grid for a week or so. That means a more robust power solution, and a bigger water tank because most people use 10-ish gallons per day even if they don’t bathe, which means on day 3 in this thing, assuming the US version gets the same size tank as the EU version, you’re off to find water. That’s easy with water purification tabs if you’re next to a river, but if you’re camping in the desert, you’re screwed.

I know some like the cassette toilets, but I’m a black tank guy myself. Dumping tanks is so much easier than messing with the other solutions.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
14 days ago
Reply to  Eslader

I dunno, I’m a crap factory, I would like to be able to shit in peace without smelling other peoples bodily movements.

Eslader
Eslader
14 days ago

Yeah, I can see people wanting a bathroom, but I don’t think *everyone* will. For those who want some more space and don’t need one on-demand, why not a bathroom delete option? Even Scamp does that, and they’re pretty no-frills.

I also think if you want a bathroom in a camper, you probably want at least the kind of bathroom you find in a Winnebago Class C. Those tiny little toilets still suck, but at least they aren’t composting toilets that you have to deal with. I’d much rather dump a black tank than mess with that.

Aaron
Aaron
14 days ago
Reply to  Eslader

Having your own facilities is one of those “you never go back,” moments. When my wife and I bought our first camper, it was mostly dumb luck that the pop-up we bought had a proper wetbath. After growing up sticking to park facilities, my wife thought it was superfluous and she’d never use our bathroom or shower. Two years later, onboard facilities were a must-have.

I agree with you on extra sinks. But that’s one of those residential holdovers some people have.

Last edited 14 days ago by Aaron
Eslader
Eslader
14 days ago
Reply to  Aaron

For me, unless it’s a Super C or bus conversion, usually it’s got one of those mini-toilets that’s crammed up against the sink. They suck to use. I’d rather use the campground facilities. But yeah, I agree not everyone sees it that way – for those of us that do, give us the option to remove the bathroom in exchange for more room for other things.

Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
15 days ago

The logistics/supply chain process seems bizarre.
Why not add the RV section to the Ram chassis in Mexico instead of all the shipping – one trans America and two Transatlantic trips per build plus final delivery shipment from the port? Is there some village in Italy that has master RV builders who can’t be duplicated elsewhere? Did they hire these guys from Ferrari?

GenericWhiteVan
GenericWhiteVan
15 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

You have to hope that the production flow was only for the prototypes…. I would think in production the coach would be added to the cut-away somewhere in North America. The coach should be designed to fit in a shipping container.

I have a 2015 Promaster van with 110,000 miles (purchased used with 15k). I like the van, but it has had all kinds of problems that I have not had on my previous vehicles that have reached 200,000 miles.

Front strut top bearing self destruction. Front strut leaks. Rear shock leak. Water pump and coolant crossover leak. Leaky radiator. Leaking connection at power steering cooler connection. Cowl leaks water down onto intake manifold, rusts the heads of the intake manifold bolts so that need to be drilled out to remove manifold to change plugs. Torque convertor self destructed…. leading to transmission rebuild. Parking brake mechanism rusted (inside of brake ‘hat’) and destroyed itself. Replace rear parking brake cables, replace parking brake cable to brake lever. Rear leaf spring eye cracked… replace both rear leaf springs. Front suspension bushings. Front wheel bearings. Exterior sliding door handle only unlatches door when it is cold out. All this, and my camper build can’ be more than 600 lbs.

I think that is the list.

In comparison, I traded a 2003? Honda Element (manual trans) in when I got the Promaster… I replaced the rear shocks, the very end section of the exhaust, and a power steering return tube (it rusted out). A front wheel bearing. The only other odd ball thing is that the rear diff fluid needed to be changed more frequently the service interval listed in the manual.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
15 days ago

At first I was encouraged about it having the Promaster underpinnings rather than god knows what, but not being that familiar with the Stellantis platforms, this gives me pause. Are they really that bad, or was this a lemon?

Lardo
Lardo
15 days ago
Reply to  Inthemikelane

They promaster does not have a good reputation. And that is being nice.I have a 2021 ford transit T350 awd ecoboost high roof camper. Fits in a standard parking spot (21.5ft.). I bought it with 12k miles on it. The build out is very nice, I bought it for 2/3 of what the seller had spent to buy/convert it. I have extended the ford warranty. I think this is the only way to buy this type of vehicle. I joke that I bought someone else’s regret. Is it exactly what I wanted? No. But it more than works for me, skied all winter in it. From December to April I have spent about a month not sleeping in it. The rest of the time I’ve been on the road and I love it. After reading here the 5 ways the Merc diesel can fail I eliminated it. I didn’t really want one, I know the overlanding people love them, I just want to get from one mountain to another. I had two Flexi with a very similar motor. I’m not a ford fanboy, but it cruses at 80 mph no problem, and 90 (even 100 is there) to pass when in WY or MT. While I’ll agree the interior on this is nice, the width would present a problem for me. When trying to park in a ski resort/any other tight parking lot is not as easy or even doable with an increased width. “However, at 17 feet, 6 inches wide, it’s as short…” I think that must be the length, not the width. Or is it square? Anyway, for me, any additional width would not be desirable.

Last edited 15 days ago by Lardo
No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
14 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

I’d read this blog. Do you roll the dice camping in ski towns, or are you getting permission?

Lardo
Lardo
14 days ago

I don’t have a blog? but there are some more than other towns that are easier to park in. For instance you car park for $10 a night in the Breckinridge Airport parking lot for up to 10 days I think? It used to be 2 weeks. Short drive or bus to the slopes from there. I have no gear/racks on the outside so I’m not sure I’m “Stealthy” but I have parked on residential streets and not gotten the “knock”. Arrive late, leave early. Don’t be a dick and it seems to work.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
14 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

I was saying I would read a blog if you had one ;-). I recently moved from the front range and romanticize the ski-bum in a van life.

The airport lot now charges?! We used to park there because it was free. Then I stuck to Loveland for a while, which would be great for boondocking if they allowed it. At the end of my time there I pretty much stayed at Winter Park, and I don’t know that ever noticed any overnighters there.

Lardo
Lardo
14 days ago

sorry, thought it said “I’ve”. this was my first year in a camper. had some old timers in a 33 footer show me the ropes. Yep, breck charges but I’m not sure how much they enforce.There is a lot of grey area’s doing this. A blog? I don’t even have an insta, lol. but it has been an adventure. I was thinking of doing a ski doc. Have both passes and have skied over 100 days each of the last 3 years.Between the passes and the advancements in equipment, it’s the golden age of skiing!!

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
13 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

Living the dream!

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago
Reply to  Inthemikelane

Front wheel drive, very low clearance – so I guess it depends on your use and driving style. I went with the MB Sprinter for the suspansion and easy-to-maintain (IMO) 4-cylinder turbo for those reasons. Ten years into my third one, so far, so good. Your results may vary. Good luck!

GenericWhiteVan
GenericWhiteVan
14 days ago
Reply to  Inthemikelane

Good question. There is good forum https://www.promasterforum.com/ where you research various issues. Keep in mind, people with vehicle problems do most of the complaining.

Others have reported issues with strut top bearings. The cowl leaking water has some fixes, and the recent model freshing changed some things to address this.

The 3.6 Pentastar has been good. Going way back, there was an issue with roller rockers losing their bearings. This hasn’t hit me yet.

Newer models use a 9 speed transmission. My year used a 6 speed, the 62TE. The 62TE has been used in tons of Chrysler minivans and front drive vehicles. It could be a fluke that my torque convertor went bad. The good thing is that with such a popular engine/tranny combination, finding mechanics isn’t an issue.

I’m thinking my van has had a mini rebuild at mid life, so maybe I’m set for the next 100,000 miles.

Others in the comments have mentioned it, but the front drive is a nice feature, it allows the cargo area floor to be a little lower.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
15 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

Well, the tooling already exists in Italy. A second factory in North America would be a big risk and a dubious investment for what might end up as a failed product.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
15 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

Can you say Cadillac Allante?

The Mark
The Mark
14 days ago

I thought Allante too! “The worlds longest assembly line.” Sounds like this may take that title away.
I am curious, don’t they build the Ducato in Italy? Why not build the whole thing there and just ship it once? I guess they have done the calculations for themselves. *shrug*

Aaron
Aaron
14 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

It’s a lot of transit, but it eliminates the overhead of creating a second factory. There’s enough ships already making those journeys that it probably adds negligible cost and gives the manufacturer more control and better utilization of existing capacity.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
15 days ago

An ignored RV submarket is the solo traveler — like me. So much space in RVs taken up for seating and sleeping extra people.

Beneficient Bruise
Beneficient Bruise
14 days ago

That’s what van campers (especially self builds) are all about!

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
14 days ago

That’s what I have.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
15 days ago

The bare RAM Cutaway Cab is $50k. Is this worth $100k more? I can’t see it.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
15 days ago

What is the Cargo capacity? Beyond the shit case, this is a downfall of these. 800lbs sounds like alot until you realized the driver and passengers are included.

For around 50000 you can a get a high milage refurbished Cruise America (typically Thor) 28 foot class C with a black tank, generator, and a real bed. The CCC is not bad either there are no slides to go wrong.

My dream RV is not a Bus but a nice Super C diesel with good towing and CCC. These are not cheap at 250k new and can drop if used.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
15 days ago

These are actually really nice but should be half the price…great article though! It’s always interesting reading about RV’s

Kaiserserserser
Kaiserserserser
15 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin2713

Yeah talk about sticker shock when I got to that part of the article… The base van is like 40K for the full bodied version, so presumably a little cheaper for a chassis cab that this starts off life as. +$100K to add a fiberglass shell with some basic furniture and electronics seems crazy.

I don’t follow RV prices closely, but a quick search of a local dealer has numerous options that are brand new, a lot bigger, more beds, more powerful and real bathrooms for way less money.. seems like it only makes sense if you have a lot of money and for some reason really really value the compact element.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
15 days ago

I wonder how much of that $145,000 they could shave off if they didn’t have to ship them across the Gulf of Mexico once and the Atlantic Ocean twice.

Gee See
Gee See
15 days ago

Oh goodie.. famed Italian mechanical reliability + modern US RV construction quality.. /s

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
15 days ago
Reply to  Gee See

But not made in Indiana.

Aaron
Aaron
14 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

If it’s not made in Indiana, it’s not really an RV. It’s a sparkling recreational vehicle.

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