Noise difference btwn. Transit L3H3 bus vs Transit L4H3 jumbo freighter


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Hey people, I'm new here and I'd like to ask you for advice what van I should for my purpose.
I'm not going to build a motorhome for vanlife. My idea is to have a van that would help me to leave the city on Friday after work, drive 200 or 300 km to the mountains, sleep in a camp, spend whole Saturday hiking or biking in the mountains, sleep in a camp again, make a short hike or bike on Sunday morning and drive home. Nothing more. I think I will not need WC or shower inside the van. But I have 3 kids and 1 wife, so it's 5 of us, so I will definitely need a bunk bed.

Let's say I'm thinking of Ford Transit L3H3 bus or L4H3, like the two ones in the attached photos.

L3H3 bus is better than L4H3, because:
  • It already has some (though not perfect) noise and heat insulation on the ceiling and walls. It would save me a lot work, compared to L4H3, whose interior is just metal plates and I would have to insulate it.
  • It has windows all around. I don't like the imagination that some noise from outside wakes me up at night and I can't pull the curtain and look look. So if I buy L4H3 without windows, I will have to cut them out.
  • It's front wheel drive, probably simpler and cheaper to service, overall it's lighter, lower fuel consumption, insurance etc.
L4H3 jumbo is better than L3H3 bus, because:
  • L4 would give some extra space. If I keep 2 rows of seats in L3, there will only remain around 230 cm space, 200 cm will be bed, so it's like 30 cm vertical space for stuff. That's basically just for a hook for hanging a backpack. All stuff would have to be under the lower bed. Hardly any chance to build even a small vertical cupboards. But this might be tolerable, as I described above, I don't plan to live in the car, I want just to sleep in there.
  • L4 is rear wheel drive so it has higher floor which pulls the 2nd seat row above the 1st row which gives the kids sitting there much better forward view. In L3, the 2nd seat row is lower than the 1st one so the only forward view is the back side of the 1st row's backrest. I'm afraid the kids would not feel well in L3 if they can't see forward.
  • L3H3 have total weight just around 3000 kg while L4H3 have 3500 kg. Empty weight is around 2300 kg in both cases so while L3H3 can safely carry only around 700 kg, L4H3 can carry 1200 kg. That's quite a big difference but I'm not sure if it is crucial for me.
Those are my finding that I was able to google. I would love to hear anybody's comments to my findings, maybe I'm wrong. But I would be even more grateful for answer to the following question because I wasn't able to google it:

Is the any perceptible difference between driving noise, vibration and general comfort between the two described vans? L3H3 bus is intended for transporting human beings. L4H3 jumbo is intended for transporting cargo. If I cover the metal ceiling and walls of L4H3 with noise insulation, will the output be comparable with factory-made L3H3? Or will the cardan shaft of the rear wheel drive always bring more noise to the back of cabin? Is the factory-made noise insulation of engine the same? L3H3 bus is originally fitted with 9 seats. Is the original heating and air conditioning stronger than in L4H3 originally fitter with just 3 seats?

You know I'm really scared of the possibility that I spend a lot of money and time to get and convert a camper van, and in the end the kids will refuse to travel in it because of discomfort compared to our current normal car (VW Sharan). Thank everybody for your advice, ideas and opinions.


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Guys there is really nobody who has driven various vans like these and could describe feelings for the driver and possibly for passengers?


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I can't answer to difference in driving comfort and noise, but my opinion about the size difference is that given the number of people in your family, then you will probably value the L4. I have an L3H3 (Citroen Relay) and we find the extra headroom of the H3 makes a huge amount of difference.

Is there a reason you want to use a Transit specifically? Just that I believe the Sevel vans (Ducato, Relay, Boxer) are slightly wider inside, and the L4 is front wheel drive just like the L3, so I would expect it to be very similar in terms of noise and comfort.


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MarkJ: I'm not a Ford fan, actually I used to have a Mondeo years ago and it was the worst car I ever had so if I could avoid Transit, I would love to do it. But I can't afford to buy a brand new van, I have to get a used one. I would STRONGLY prefer to but a van already fitted with 5 seats because I've heard scary stories about legalizing extra seats in cars. I know there are companies that would do that for me but it's just an obstacle for me so I hope I'll find a "ready to use" van. In my country (Czech Republic) there is simply very very hard to find a 5-seat L3H2 Sevel and L3H3 or even L4H3 is real rarity. So I thought Transit was the only option for me. But now during writing this post, I removed the 5-seat filter from my search and it seems there are lots of both L3H3 and L4H3 3-seaters available and even for much lower prices so I think I'm starting looking for a company that legally adds seats to vans.

Millie Master

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If it was my decision, whenever and wherever possible I would avoid a Transit for the simple reason that they can rust like crazy!

I would definitely fit a shower & loo as it means you would have far more freedom as to where you park up for the night and 5 toilet needs will become exceptionally taxing.


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I worked on cars/vans most of my life, ford is not the top of my wish list, yes you will require a toilet washroom, a simple 12v water heater and cassette loo is easy to sort, keep the cassette door inside as no cutting of van required, as for single glase cold noisey windows, no thanks the windshield is enuff, but good curtains help or thermal screens.
loo layout.jpg
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Hi, maybe you could consider a welfare van which already has a second row of seats, and a toilet and side windows. I don't know if they are available in L4 length or how difficult it would be to sleep 5.


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Hi, maybe you could consider a welfare van which already has a second row of seats, and a toilet and side windows. I don't know if they are available in L4 length or how difficult it would be to sleep 5.
Our Transit Jumbo was a ex welfare van ...
Unusual to see more than l3 now though

Also bear in mind I ripped most of the crap insulation out and redid it ...
Most of the 'useful' stuff (split charge/inverter etc )
Was also stripped out as it was low spec ...
I'd start with a bare van next time


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