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Old 01-11-2012, 10:57 AM   #1
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Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

Sorry if this has been asked before. I noticed a bunch of relatively cheap E150 vans online that I have been watching. If I get one of these, will I have any problem getting a 4x4 conversion? I don't anticipate a need for towing in the near to distant future, so I wouldn't mind a lighter body if it can give me a little better fuel efficiency and lower weight. Or is E250 the minimum I should be looking at?

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Old 01-11-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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Re: Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

Converting to 4x4 should be no problem if that's all you want.

The problem would be down the road if you want to add all the other SMB type goodies. Full kitchen, water tank, propane, furnace, water heater, penthouse, etc, etc adds a lot of weight.

I'm sure someone with more specific knowledge will jump in here soon and give you some specific numbers.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:29 PM   #3
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Re: Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viejo
Converting to 4x4 should be no problem if that's all you want.

The problem would be down the road if you want to add all the other SMB type goodies. Full kitchen, water tank, propane, furnace, water heater, penthouse, etc, etc adds a lot of weight.

I'm sure someone with more specific knowledge will jump in here soon and give you some specific numbers.
I would definitely want all that stuff. E150's can't handle that amount of weight? I guess E250 or E350 is what I should be looking for, then.
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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Re: Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

An SMB conversion is heavy and a 350 is the right choice. For a homebrew you should be ok with a 250 and using lighter weight materials.

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Old 01-11-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

My 89 is an E150 2WD direct from SMB Weighs in at around 6,300 pounds. The rear springs are a bit flat but it handles well on the highway, in town and off road. Get around 14 MPG on the highway and 10 in town. If this one ever dies I will probably upgrade to a newer 250/350 and move the built ins into the new one. The layout is perfect for us.


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Old 01-11-2012, 07:18 PM   #6
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Re: Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

There aren't many differences between the chassis, but you'll find the limit on the 150 quick when it comes to whats under the hood. The body is the same.

The rear springs are narrower on the 150's, and thats about the only difference as far as my conversions are concerned.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

Starting with 2007 models, the E150s grew to an 8600 GVWR, making them much better for a conversion than the older E150.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:43 AM   #8
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Re: Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

I think E350 is the right choice, however van > no van and there are people with builds in 150s that are happy with them.

Incidentally, what is the chassis weight difference? I was out with an E150 and I felt like a fat pig on the trails- he wasn't fully built but had a PH and Quigley and I got to say if I could live without the inside it wouldn't be bad to be so comparatively light on the trails.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: Any potential issues with converting an E-150?

Maybe Jage, but the van did make a very good looking pig!

Since I had reason to reply to Jage as mine was the svelte and graceful van he was referring to, and I have an E150, I'll chime in here. Mine with Quigley and PH top, no interior build, just a bed/bench seat and a lot of maroon velvet upholstery and mood lighting (yum) weighs about 7000 fully loaded for camping with water, food, tools, kids and wife, recovery gear etc.

This is over the GVWR given on the sticker on the door opening, but even completely unloaded it is right on the limit. From what I have gathered here, this is the case for SMB's E350's as well, it's just that they seem to weigh 10 to 11,000 fully loaded. I have had an extra full leaf added to boost my saggy rear end and am currently working on getting beefier front springs. This is more because of the off-roading I do in the van, not because it did not ride well with the stock springs, it did. The brakes are piss-poah but they are crap with the van unloaded too so I just plan ahead. (Brakes are a future project as well.) But Quigley won't do 150's anymore anyway.

Not sure what, if any help this is to you except that it can be done but is probably not the best idea if you plan to build a full camper interior. Starting with a 250 or 350 just means you get brakes and suspension that are closer to the intended finish weight of your van.
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