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Old 11-06-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
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4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

Hello to all,
I recently bought Bryces' '91 SMB off of the forum. great guy and a great rig:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...hp?f=7&t=11729



I purchased it with the intention of ding a 4x4 conversion with parts that are currently on this '84 E250 (Quadravan):


Once I got the two rigs together, I realized that the green machine (ClampettMobile) would have to become a total donormobile and never return to the road. At that time I decided to just re-do the CMB and sell the SMB.

The biggest issue here and the source of my question is that the SMB is SOOOO nice. I would much prefer to be in the SMB, and the 4x4 is appealing for where I want to take it. The urge to do the conversion is almost overwhelming.

Now I will not own this rig forever, and it is just my nature to keep an eye on resale. With that said, would anyone care to guess at the value of the SMB I purchased IF it were cleanly and professionally converted to 4x4 (with the Quadravan components). I know that there is the topic of "Well, if it is really what you want, how can you put a dollar figure on it?" and "What about all the labor involved, you will never get that back". I accept those elements, but here I just want to hear what other SMB folk think the value of this rig in 2wd vs. 4wd is. One small item to consider is if I do the conversion, I will switch the C6 from the CMB for the AOD that is currently in the SMB, and with that and added weight and such, I expect the gas mileage to drop from 14 to around 10.

Thanks to all for their thoughts.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:08 PM   #2
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

Why not just swap bodies instead of swapping parts? You'll be left with two drivable rigs that way.

The Ford bus chassis simply has a bolt-on frame extension for the longer bus body, and some frame outriggers to meet side-impact requirements for school-buses.

Other than the T-case shifter, I think the body swaps would be pretty straightforward.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:12 PM   #3
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

I think the value of both rigs combined as-is would be more than the older body style SMB with 4x4 and a one off parts bus.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:20 PM   #4
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

The body swap is an option I had considered, but then I lose the F.I. engine. While the 84 runs great, the F.I. is a nice option, especially at our altitudes.
I tend to agree that the combined value of both rigs as is is probably the greatest, just trying to get a handle on how much difference there would be. Parting out stuff where I live is a real pain, and seldom brings much cash in exchange for the headaches....
Thanks for the input thus far.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

I feel that in most cases you'd be going backwards by swapping in a non-OD transmission with the 4x4 conversion. I realize this is the most economical option since it has the output already attached to the transfer case, but it would be a bummer to do that. I wouldn't want to spend too much time at highway speeds without 3.55 or higher gears when combined with a C6 (YMMV).

Also, do both rigs have the same gears? If not, you'd be swapping the front and rear out of the bus to have a matched axle set.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

I did not look into the gearing because I had intended to do both axles. The CMB rear end has some shock extensions welded in place, so it seemed to make the most sense to keep everything together.
I agree about the undesirable nature of losing the OD. I looked into putting the 205 t-case on the AOD tranny, but the snowball effect of "change one thing and everything starts to change" kicked in, plus the cost of the adapter, tail shaft etc.and made that not a cost effective option.
Thanks for the input.
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:40 PM   #7
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

You could get a gear vendors overdrive for the C6 and the only other part you would need to "adjust" is the driveshaft. Either buy a new, shorter one or have your current one shortened/balanced.

As far as resale value, I imagine the older body style is pretty low on the "desireable" list. I know when I was looking for an SMB a few months ago, the old body style wasnt even a consideration for me...they just look dated. I think modding what you have to hopefully sell it for a decent profit doesn't seem likely. But I don't know what you have into either of those vehicles, so I could definitely be wrong.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:57 PM   #8
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

to answer your question my guess is between $5-7K increase in value for the SMB once converted to 4x4.

why not sell them both and find a 94-98 SMB 4x4 you like for around $17-22K this way it will cost neutral for the most part.

just my 2cents.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:24 PM   #9
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

Quote:
Originally Posted by copescobra
to answer your question my guess is between $5-7K increase in value for the SMB once converted to 4x4.

why not sell them both and find a 94-98 SMB 4x4 you like for around $17-22K this way it will cost neutral for the most part.

just my 2cents.
HA! Yes, sorry to miss the question altogether. Seems like old body style SMB's would roughly range from $3k to $9k for 2wd and $8k - $18k for 4x4 depending on amenities, drivetrain, etc. I'd say that the $5-7k increase in value for a 4x4 is pretty close.

Despite popular belief, there are a few of us out there that really dig the old body style .
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:08 AM   #10
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Re: 4x4 conversion-expense vs. value

I like the old body style too, and this one being the last year of the run, it is as "updated" as they come...from the factory at least.
Values are pretty much in line with my thoughts. I feel the SMB is worth 7-8K and the CMB is worth 4500-5500. It has a new 2 way fridge, 150W solar setup and the engine is fresh, so it does have a few thing to offer beyond the 4WD.
Seems like I'm hearing what I had felt, which is unless 4x4 is essential and this is the ONLY way to make it happen, the swap is never really going to pencil out. I wasn't really looking to make a profit on the project, just minimize loss and make something that is already cool cooler (to me at least and idle hands....).
Thanks to all for the comments, any additional input is welcomed.
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