Weight Summary


Weight Summary


That’s specific to the High-Roof, Extended-Length cargo van.
Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/ford/transit/specs/2016/ford_transit_ford-transit_2016/377592

5,450 lbs


THAT’S THE ADDED WEIGHT FROM THE CONVERSION. Includes everything from our Build Journal: all permanent structure and all permanent appliances (fridge, range, etc). No humans. Empty fresh water tank & propane tank.

1,800 lbs


THE PAYLOAD when hitting the road at Day 1 of VanLife. Excludes the conversion added weight. Includes all humans (2), full fresh water tank, full gas tank, summer & winter gear, food (a lot), etc, etc.

1,700 lbs


THAT’S THE VAN, THE CONVERSION & THE PAYLOAD. As weighted when hitting the road at Day 1 of The Ride. Includes all humans, full fresh water tank, full gas tank, summer & winter gear, food, etc, etc.

8,950 lbs


Conversion Added Weight + Payload Weight = 3500 lbs. That’s the max payload capacity of our Transit (Extended Length, High Roof, T250, 3.7L Engine)! We didn’t expect to be carrying that much; we will re-weight the van after a while because we left with much stuff than needed (food and misc) when emptying the house.

For sure, we’re glad we installed the Air Lift Suspension a few weeks ago:


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about us

Nice To Meet You.

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

39 thoughts on “Weight Summary”

  1. Hey Antoine and Isabelle!

    Thanks for making all of these awesome resources available. You have been my role models for sometime by showing alternative ways of living. I just bought the builders package to support your project but realized that building similiar setup here might not be doable.

    In EU the hard weight limit for personal vehicles is 3500kg (7716.18 LBS). You can still register the van as a truck and then the weight can be up to 5000 kilos but that means more expenses:
    * Driver needs to have a truck (C) driving license
    * Some countries have road taxes for vehicles that are heavier than 3500kg
    * Annual vehicle taxes and insurance are more expensive

    So it’s still doable but I would really rather spend the money elsewhere. I think your build is awesome but just as an engineering trivia question what are the areas you would change to make it 560kg more lighter or what would you leave out?

    Thanks in advance, you are awesome

    • Thanks for your support!
      Wood is heavy, so if we had to be cautious about the weight of the conversion, this is where we would have done things differently. I guess using 80/20 for the structure of our bed and cabinets would help. Also, going lithium for the battery would be wise (when we weighed the van, we had an AGM battery). Do you have to weight the van regularly? If not, just the van converted (no payload, ie no water in the tank, no gear, no food, etc) should not weight too much and you should be fine…

      • Thanks a lot for the reply!

        They only check the weight after conversion and otherwise it’s really rare and the fines are not that bad. So for example driving with excessive weight in the wilderness would be totally okay.

        Most important part is the insurance and the insurance company won’t pay for the damages if they can show that the excessive weight had something to do with an accident. So even if you have a good insurance accidents can easily bankrupt you.

        I hope eliminating skiing equipment and gas system and using lighter wood will be enough but only time will tell.

        Thanks for the extra pointers and have a good one 🙂

  2. Careful with the full load! I’m in a gmc savana 2500 4.8L and fried my transmission at 210000km. Converted at 180k, and did a lot of mountain driving. Apparently you can’t do lots of mountains at max load without being real careful on the tranny. I’m installing an oil cooler to fix this.

  3. What is the vans GVWR? I have been following the conversation and looking to upgrade tires next. Wasn’t sure if the extended version is different than the smaller models.


  4. Just got my Transit 250 HR extended weighed, came in at 7880lb without water and some smaller things. By my math, we’re going to be coming in just under the 9000lb GVWR – similar to you guys. We added the Airlift 5000 Ultimate, but no other suspension upgrades (Bilstein shocks are backordered until March 20201!).

    How would you say the van performs/drives/handles with a total weight of 8950? Did you upgrade the springs at all? I’m considering adding Super Springs (they have a 1900lb and 2900lb additional load leveling ability). As it is right now at 7880lb, it’s handling a little bouncier than I’d like.

    Any input is super helpful!!

  5. Would you choose a dually to increase your payload if you had to do it again?

    You’re a wonderful resource for the van life community. Thanks so much!

    • No, we wouldn’t go with a dually because it doesn’t perform as well in the snow and we would be loosing precious space inside.

  6. So are there any leads for getting your van weighed? When I inquired, local weigh stations would be saying things like our van didn’t weigh enuf and stuff like we couldn’t get the front wheels and back wheels weighed separately. Did you encounter this?

      • Okay. CAT scale it was. What they say on the phone doesn’t match what they do in person. Our build is 90% done (missing battery, toilet and refrigerator), and we came in at 3400 for the front axle and 3340 for the drive axle, total 6740, well short of 9000.

        Do you have separate weights for your front/drive axles? And how did you adjust the pressure on your bigger snow tires. Certainly you don’t need 71 psi in the back tires, do you?

        • We use the same pressure in summer or winter (71 in the back tires). Remember that tires weight loading is for a specific pressure. Use less pressure only if you are well below the max weight rating.
          And you don’t want to run too soft in the snow, it’s not like sand.

          • No no no, I wasn’t thinking running them soft soft, like we sometimes do with bike tires in the rain. I was thinking running them balanced so the centers of the tires don’t wear (or the edges don’t wear). Your bigger tire has a bigger foot print, so you should in principle be able to run them softer, I am thinking 60 or 65 (but I have no idea how to calculate).
            I noticed the centers of my rear stock tires back at 10,000 wearing more in the centers than the edges, and it’s because I was running them at 70 psi when 45 or 50 would have been more appropriate at the weight I have in the back. They are rotated out of the back now, but I am sure I lost some mileage on them.
            Right now, I am running 45-48 psi on all the tires, but will increase pressure (at least in the rear) as I approach GVWR.

  7. I love your carefully considered, well engineered designs, and I know I will be using a lot of them. I am amazed and grateful for your site. You have saved me so much work. I’m curious about one thing however. You built everything out of wood, did you consider using more lightweight materials? Do you think the weight is an important factor? It’s my inclination to lightweight the build, but I want to know if it’s worth it.

    • Weight definitely an important factor; it will affect safety (handling, braking), gas consumption, etc. It is possible to build out of wood and stay below the maximum weight allowed for the van (GVWR), like we did. But I’m sure we could build our van with lighter weight material, but we wanted wood since we live full time in it.

    • Totally agree. Gave me the confidence and detailed info to try and build my own. This is the best site I’ve found on the subject! Thank you!

  8. Well done on your build and on documentation. This is a great resource. I am planning on doing a similar conversion but mine needs to seat/sleep 5! Just going back and forth between the 250 and 350. Now that you have spent lots of time in the van, have you been happy with the 250? I think the 350 has an additional 500lbs payload capacity but not sure if it will be necessary…thanks for any tips!

  9. Bonjour,
    J’aimerais savoir comment se comporte le moteur de la van en montagne, compte tenu de son poids total. Cette question me préoccupe grandement avant s’entreprendre mon voyage vers l’Ouest Canadiens et Américain. On m’a dit que ce type de véhicule/moteur n’est pas concu pour supporter un tel poids en montagne. Votre opinion/expérience. (J’ai un GMC Savana mais ça demeure la même catégorie de véhicule).

    Merci à l’avance. J’aime beaucoup vous lire et vous suivre.

    • Bonjour,
      Le moteur va vous amenez du point A au point B en montagne, pas de souci. Mais dans les pentes abruptes, attendez-vous à ralentir. Si vous avez le budget, l’Ecoboost est une très bonne option; c’est certain qu’il a plus de puissance!

      Bonne chance dans vos décisions,

  10. You may want to think about adding a power “Chip” for the 3.7L – you can get additional HP (probably about a 20 HP boost) and it really smooths out the transmission and holds each gear a bit longer when you need it. I have a 2017 T-350 Ext/Hi with the 4:10 gears – it won’t help the mpg but will power up the hills. For those of you trying to decide on the EcoBoost or not – consider that the Turbos add maintenance $ as well.

  11. Have you guys had a chance to weigh your van again lately? I’m curious what your actual total weight number really is since you stuffed it extra full for the number you listed.

    I’m almost done with our base conversion and have the same van as you. Just weighed it at 7250 lbs (1,800 lbs build weight). For us, that number includes a full tank of gas, no humans, no water.

    From my research, curb weight does include a full tank of gas. As a result, I think you misrepresented your build weight vs. payload weight. The full tank of gas should have been added in when measuring your conversion weight making it ~1950lbs and your payload weight ~1550lbs. Do you agree?

    I’m so close to your weight that this 150lb swing has got me thinking about how much headroom I have while I finish off my garage build! Go big or go light?

    Thanks as always,

    • We haven’t weigh the van again, but I’ve been thinking about it (and procrastinating about it).

      I think I did the math thinking the curb weight was with an empty tank, so my numbers might be a little off…

      Thanks for bringing that up, I’ll try the re-weight the van and post an update!


  12. Hi guys,

    I just put in my order for my extended high roof transit last week. Thank you for all the research you guys have put together. In the past, midway through building something I just want to get it over with and have no drive to take pictures and document…so I am guessing there were days like that for your guys. The effort on those days is very much appreciated!

    Enjoy your freedom!

    • You’re right, taking photos and do the write-up stopped the momentum and slow-down the conversion; it was frustrating at times, but looking back we’re SO glad we did it 🙂
      Thanks for taking the time to write!

      Have fun building that thing! Cheers!

  13. Hey there! From everything I’ve read, the curb weight includes a full tank of gas, so perhaps you could even knock 200lb. off your payload weight calculation? We drove ours onto a CAT truck scale and downloaded the app and found out each axle weight in about 5 minutes. Was really interesting to see down to the lb. exactly how much we added!

    • Huh, thanks for the info, we’ll look into it. Now that winter is here, we should go onto one of those CAT scale to weight or rear VS front axle…

      Have a good one!

  14. I am not planning on the full range/stove (just a simple 2 burner top) and our batteries should be lighter but you have be wondering if I should save up an additional $1200 to bump the payload up to 4120 from the 3620 on the Ecoboost. Also which rear axle did you get? I am a Tacoma guy and love to get lost in there forums. When ever guys up there tire size they tend to re-gear to a bigger ratio to overcome some power loss. I plan to just stick with the 3.31 for the sake of mpgs but thought I would ask. Its not like I am putting 33 inch tires on it 🙂

    • We have the 4.10; that was our only choice with the 3.7 engine and High-Roof Extended Length van.

      We can definitely feel the weight while driving (acceleration, stop, curves) but it’s very manageable.

      P.S. Just dropped you an email



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