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Discussion Starter #1
I recently picked up a 2016 passenger van.


I’m leaning towards the Reimo Weekender conversion as it retains the utility of the van and makes for a useful camper. I especially like the swing out (and removable) kitchenette unit. Check out the link here:

http://www.autostadtwest.com/reimo/Metris-English.pdf

I want to be sure to pick the best outfitter before I start cutting holes in my new van! Has anyone worked with Autostadt West in sacramento before? Jeff the owner seems to be very knowledgeable but busy to point of being a bit frantic. I’ve heard good things about Keystone too - both are approved Reimo converters.

Thanks for the input!
 

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I also like the weekender fitting. Its probably what I would get for an upfit. I hadn't heard of this installer before. To me it would appear that Keystone does more business.

I like that bench/bed. Wonder if there is something comparable at a lower price. Looks like a person might be in close to 5k for the unit all installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Did you pull the trigger on converting your passenger van? I'm considering the same and would love to hear about your experience.
Hi Peter. Sorry for the delay I’ve been in a van driving around New Zealand! I We’ve been on an extended honeymoon for a few months so haven’t moved forward with the conversion yet. I’d hoped to see Autostadt West’s work (they have shops in Santa Cruz and Sacramento) before pulling the trigger. I may pass on the pop top for now and just get the seats, sliding windows, table, etc. I want to be able to carry 4 bikes and don’t have a hitch so I’m planning on going roof mounted racks for now with a rack mounted awning to expand the outdoor space. Would love to hear what you’re thinking.
 

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Congrats! Sounds like a fun honeymoon.

The Reimo weekender is the most appealing conversion at this point. I contacted them but have not heard back. I didn’t know they had a location in Santa Cruz. That’s where I live so I will be looking them up straight away.

We visited Sportsmobile a few weeks ago to check out the pop top. It’s great! With the top up you can push the bed up and out of the way giving you lots of headroom. The bed is comfortable and has plenty of space (much more than a eurovan pop top). We are planning on having the pop top installed as soon as we can get on their schedule. Eventually I’d like to do the Reimo Weekender kit. We’ve also considered converting our van in the opposite order. I’ll post updates to the forum.
 

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Hi Peter. Sorry for the delay I’ve been in a van driving around New Zealand! I We’ve been on an extended honeymoon for a few months so haven’t moved forward with the conversion yet. I’d hoped to see Autostadt West’s work (they have shops in Santa Cruz and Sacramento) before pulling the trigger. I may pass on the pop top for now and just get the seats, sliding windows, table, etc. I want to be able to carry 4 bikes and don’t have a hitch so I’m planning on going roof mounted racks for now with a rack mounted awning to expand the outdoor space. Would love to hear what you’re thinking.
Those ARB awnings are awesome. Check them out of you haven't. I am sure you have if you have been on that side of the world.

I've been looking at the pop top and also want an awning. Tricky because you end up needing to figure out mounting. I came across these images and this product. I think the product can be made from available extrusions in the US without issue.

http://camperessentials.co.uk/shop/mercedes-vito-vianno-one-piece-awning-rail/

From the images it looks like you can fit the awning mount channel under the poptop cover. Once would just need an awning that would accommodate that style. You could make your own. Maybe just pulling a cover straight to ground to keep gear dry when you have to unload.

I'd still prefer to find a way to mount an ARB awning and have the pop top (and still look nice).
 

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Wel whattadayaknow? I'm in Santa Cruz too. Hope to get delivery in a month and start camper conversion w pull out from the side bed, flushing toilet behind that and a kitchen w running cold water and a 110V. Fridge that I can run off the second battery w an inverter.
I'd be very interested in seeing your van. Thx! FG
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Peter, did you hear back from Autostadt? In my experience, they are not the best communicators but I hope their work is top notch. They also do a pop top so you may consider going through one shop. Here’s my V1 build plan:

-Reimo Variotech 3000 sliding bench seat
-2 front swivel seats
-Reimo table
-Dometic DZ65 Fridge
-ARB 2500 awning + enclosed room
-Terranger 45mm lift
-225/65/17 Yokohama Geolander G015 tires
-Thule crossroads rack, 58” bars
-4 rocky mount jetline bike trays

Still TBD:
-windows, would prefer sliding with screens but haven’t found those yet
-curtains, I have the passenger model and don’t want to interfere with the side airbags but would like semi-permanently mounted curtains.
-power, may consider adding another AGM battery to power the fridge and add an inverter so I can ‘work’ on the road

I’ll mostly use it for weekend camping, biking, fly fishing trips. Still designing the camp kitchen but idea is to keep it outside the van. I still want it to be a comfortable and useful daily driver.
 

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DONeil - Autostadt in Sacramento got back to me after another inquiry. I was quoted $24k for a weekender style conversion. They are booked 5 months out.

Since then I placed a deposit with Sportsmobile West in Fresno for a pop top install. We are scheduled for mid March for installation. They’ve been around for along time. After visiting their factory, seeing their work and long line of Metris van conversions in process, I felt the best about letting them cut a big hole in the roof of my Metris. They are also a certified Mercedes-Benz upfitter. Will Youpel has been really great to deal with.

Today I ordered two swivel seat adaptors from Travois I will install myself. These mods will get us started. Eventually I’d like to add basically what you have outlined for your v1 build
 

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DONeil - Autostadt in Sacramento got back to me after another inquiry. I was quoted $24k for a weekender style conversion. They are booked 5 months out.

Since then I placed a deposit with Sportsmobile West in Fresno for a pop top install. We are scheduled for mid March for installation. They’ve been around for along time. After visiting their factory, seeing their work and long line of Metris van conversions in process, I felt the best about letting them cut a big hole in the roof of my Metris. They are also a certified Mercedes-Benz upfitter. Will Youpel has been really great to deal with.

Today I ordered two swivel seat adaptors from Travois I will install myself. These mods will get us started. Eventually I’d like to add basically what you have outlined for your v1 build


That sounds awesome. Please keep us updated on progress.
I think all these full conversions are completely over priced her in the US. I just cant justify the cost when I look at all my buddies in Germany spending may be half of it;)
I am still debating where to go for the pop top. Being in New Orleans, I think sportsmobile TX is closest and best or I am planning a nice family trip to Canada and have Daniel (Travois) doing one. I would like to keep the passenger function of our van when needed and convert to a weekender very quickly. Therefore I am currently looking for some really sleep modular Pods from England that are very much design wise in Iins with a vw California and fit the Mercedes style (closest to a Marco polo I have found so far). I had planned a shop visit in England this February to talk to them about import options, but travel plans are delayed so not sure when I will be able to do this. As for seats, I try to avoid the 5K cost for a Reimo or Scopema bench and will try to get the European Original folding seats that fit in the current floor tracks. That way I can take out 3rd row, reposition the 3 seater and take out the current 3rd fold up seat that is positioned on the Passenger side. Which then leaves the space to add the pods when needed for the kitchenette. Only disadvantage is that your entry will be on the driver side and the kitchen / furniture block on the passenger- very much like UK van conversions. Much success with everything.
 

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Beesinger can you share some more info on the modular pod and the reclining euro bench? Would be interested in both! Thanks
 

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DONeill, Peter, Pounce -

We’ve had many of the same thoughts.

We’re having Tourig in Colorado do the pop-top, swivel seats and a few other small things but we haven’t solved the interior yet. In talking with Tourig the other day, they mentioned a Truckee company called Trail Kitchens that just developed a removable Sprinter kitchen. Trail Kitchens is evidently working on a similar version for the Metris. It could be a good fit, especially being totally removable.

https://trailkitchens.com/collections/portable-camp-kitchens/products/campervan-kitchen-unit
 

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Since the Metris is still rather new on the market, there is allot of catching up to do here in North America, in the next few months there will be a few more exciting options, priced more in line with offerings in Europe .
 

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Since the Metris is still rather new on the market, there is allot of catching up to do here in North America, in the next few months there will be a few more exciting options, priced more in line with offerings in Europe .
Ha Daniel, are you thinking what I am thinking according to all of our e mail convos and phone calls, budget friendly & flexible conversion for people that doesn't want to sink 20K in their van?;)
 

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DONeill, Peter, Pounce -

We’ve had many of the same thoughts.

We’re having Tourig in Colorado do the pop-top, swivel seats and a few other small things but we haven’t solved the interior yet. In talking with Tourig the other day, they mentioned a Truckee company called Trail Kitchens that just developed a removable Sprinter kitchen. Trail Kitchens is evidently working on a similar version for the Metris. It could be a good fit, especially being totally removable.

https://trailkitchens.com/collections/portable-camp-kitchens/products/campervan-kitchen-unit
Thanks for posting, Its cool, but for me it still looks too much homemade camper like. I think the European companies have a much sleeker design aesthetic that goes more confirm with the current van designs. The Marco Polo interior is looking pretty luxurious and feels like a glove matching the rest of the van. The VW California has a very cool looking aesthetic and the material is a alucompositing- light but yet very sturdy. You can get these in plain colored or wood design finishes. Love the idea of taking the kitchen out of the van and think the Tonke Camper and the Reimo VW door side kitchen elements to swing to the outside or detaching from swivel mount are the best once so far.
 

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Beesinger can you share some more info on the modular pod and the reclining euro bench? Would be interested in both! Thanks
sorry just see this. For some reason I never get notifications when somebody replies to my posts , may be a setting issue?
Anyways, right now we are exploring the import of the original European Vito w447 seats, that can either snap directly in our US factory seats or you swap out the us tracks for the European to be able to move the seats up and down . Import is expensive of these unless we would order in bulk. This has been discussed already by a lot of members on this forum and VADIM had some great advice based on his experience . Still working on it to see if mass import can be done with some of the usual suspects doing business with used seats in Germany (used meaning pretty much new as they come out of conversion vans)

An Alternative that we currently exploring is to see if the "Rock'n Roll bed could be an option when welded or bolted on the factory US seat / bench legs that snap into the existing (or alternatively European ) tracks. The problem is that most of the beds are only M1 tested (European pull & crash test) and it does not apply to the US. In order to have these safely & legally approved installed in the US, we would need to have them tested. Most likely crash tested in a Metris. Too expensive for me alone to handle but It can be an option for a much more cost effective alternative to the Reimo vario bench or the scopema benches that are currently get sold by outfitters. The Rockn roll beds don't need to come from the UK and could be produced here in the US to avoid expensive import cost. There there are plenty or plans available how to build these or you order one and reproduce. The upholstery can be done in any fabric or leather just like the other benches. Therefore matching the current fabric or leatherette design shouldn't be to hard.

Next the Pods. Currently working with a UK manufacturers to see if import is an option, better would be licensing the reproduction of these her in the US to keep the cost down.
See attached picture for reference. Also here as starter a good way could be to order half of a container space full of these and test it out. Could be a shipment combined with the seats mentioned above , pods, swivel adapters and some other parts.

As for the pop up roof, I would love one and I know its an option. But as long as the price is not dropping to something feasible here in the US I will not cut the Metris. Sinking 9-12K (depending on options & paint) is just not anything I can justify for creating a little weekender / camper that I want to use for some camp trips and mainly for hauling passengers.

Looking into an option to add a good looking roof tent to the camper for additional sleeping quarter. One idea we are tinkering around with is to offer a moon roof that becomes the entrance point for a longer than usual roof tent and a skirting option that blends in with the roof rack and Van body. Very much like the E camper concept from Ursa Minor, Santiego,CA if you are familiar with them . Difference is theirs are permanent mounted to the existing roof, ours would be attached to the roof rack and can be removed as needed.

I know these are ll big plants and I am by no means super eager to get into the conversion business without knowledge of body work or car mechanics. But being a German carpenter & Designer that has converted multiple vans for myself back in Germany and knowing the options , quality and cost difference between US and German conversions, I just cant justify to sink another 15- 25K into a Van that has cost me already around 30K! I think there should be alternatives for people that want to have a budget camper that still has all the creature comfort like a pimped out Marco Polo, has the same quality in materials and craftsmanship like a European camper van with a high amount of flexibility to convert the van back and forth how you need it.

So, I keep researching, developing and planing to hopefully have a that kind of van this summer;)

Attached are some of the options I described above. All researched from Germany and UK.
 

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Sportsmobile did a poptop for me in December. In general I am happy with the bed and space, but there are a few things to look for when you pick it up. First, there were pinprick holes in the canvas, you could see sunlight through. I have no idea why this would be, my 1999 Eurovan had this before I sold it last year, but why would new canvas have it? They didn't know, but they applied some sealant.

There are some workmanship issues. The interior gasket has come off in a couple places, I am attaching some photos, but I don't know if you'll really be able to see it. It just needs some glue but for a brand new ($9500 + $787 tax) purchase, well .... We live 3 hours away, otherwise I would take it back and have them fix each little thing. There is another area where velcro is glued and coming unsealed.

Also, it took weeks to air out the chemical smell, so I would not recommend camping in it right when you pick it up.
 

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