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Old 06-27-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
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U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

I have performed a search for various permutations of the above, and found some great threads. I wonder if we could sew it all up into one definitive thread here ...

What are the merits and shortcomings of any of the above 4X4 systems as applied to SMBish vehicles?

Is the question somewhat moot (when compared to other features in a van)?

Has the question been beaten to death in a thread that I missed in my search?

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thanks!
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:25 PM   #2
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

I can tell you my experience with two 4x4 converters. Advanced and Salem Kroger.
I had my van converted by Advanced and the work was crap, the van left me
stranded along the road more than once in the span of one year. Took it to
Salem Kroger and had it fixed,no problems since. They are no longer in business
but the lead guy from Salem Kroger started up a new shop called Whitefeather
conversions. They mostly do Sprinter vans but I think they would still do a Ford.
Chris at Ujoint turns out some nice looking work and gives you a lot of options,
I wouldn't hesitate to let him work on my van. Quigley has been around for a very
long time so they must be doing something right. Sportsmobile uses some high end
parts in their conversions. There is also Quad Van in Portland that seems to turn
out nice stuff also. I think it comes down to who you feel more comfortable with.
Sportsmobile and Ujoint use a leaf spring front end where Whitefeather, Quigley
and Quad Van use coil springs. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:00 PM   #3
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

Absolutely, it helps. Thank you.

1) I forgot to include Quadvan in my initial query.

2) I understand (somewhat) the benefit of coil suspension. In "our" opinion, does the benefit outweigh the geometric issues of not crushing the pan/filter/whatever?

3) If it were all about trust/convenience for service, SMB would be the obvious choice
They're only 2 hrs away.
I like Jonny.
The (proposed) van would likely have a bunch of other SMB junk on it that would get warranted from the same good place.

4) What else?
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:02 PM   #4
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

Actually there is quite a bit of info on all of them scattered about. Myself I went with SMB cause I'm an hour away from em and I do a lot of camping in the Sierra's which is close to Fresno. There are a lot of people who like their Quigley setups though and U-Joint offers very custom work. I don't know much about Advanced 4x4 so I won't comment on them. There are a couple others who do 4x4 conversions as posted. I'd venture to say SMB and U-joint make a more heavy duty version. Some folks want a setup that uses stock Ford parts; some opt for after market equipment like SMB offers. If Chris had a shop close to me or I had a shop I trusted to install his U-Joint conversion, I'd think hard about it. All of them have made improvements over the years. SMB has a front sway bar disconnect and boasts about a good turning radius. I've read that Quigley did some re-vamping on their design. I had to get rid of the spring packs on my 06 SMB cause they were too stiff and went with Deaver Springs. Huge improvement on my end. I'm told the 08 and newer SMB's ride better than my 06 when it had the old springs. I'm sure there are those who can tweak any of the conversions but I'm happy with my lightly improved SMB build. YMMV
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #5
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

I have experience with both Quigley and Quadvan. Quadvan has better handling, but their 2" lift is really not enough if you are ever going to leave pavement. If I ever sell my Quigley and buy another van, it will be a Quadvan with 4" lift. But that is because they are 90 minutes away from me. If I was near Fresno, I might make a different choice

The local Ford dealership doesn't seem to have any problem working on either the Quigley or the Quadvan.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:37 PM   #6
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

Hoping to tie together a couple of recent similar threads.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...hp?f=3&t=11225 6-5-2-13 Quadvan v Quigley. 1. Consider your usage B4 making a choice, consider who will maint/repair. 2. Quigley offers less suspension travel, and has more "death wobble." 3. Quadvan uses Ford parts, Quigley uses proprietary parts. 4. Quigley conversion is permanently mounted, Quadvan could possibly be moved to a different van.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...hp?f=3&t=11225 5-8-2013 Compare Atlas 2 to other 4X4 options. 1. Atlas quite durable, gear driven rather than chain driven.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...php?f=3&t=9990 10-24-2012 Problems with customer service at Advanced 4X4.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...php?f=3&t=9797 9-17-2012 Quigley vs SMB observations. 1. Quigley has significantly less suspension travel. 2. ...

"Here's the deal. If you get a Sportsmobile conversion you get a Dyna Trac front axle.
If you have a early Salem Kroger you get a Ford front axle with leaf springs. If you have
a later Salem Kroger or a Quad van you get a Ford front axle and the whole front coil
spring assembly from Ford. If you have a Quigley you get a Ford front axle with Quigleys
own mounts and a coil spring suspension. If you go to Ujoint he uses Ford front axles and
a leaf spring setup. If you have an Advanced, you have no idea what axle you have or
where it came from. Could be a Dana 60 but more likely a Dana 44." --Quote lifted from BMWBILO in THIS THREAD http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...php?f=3&t=9990
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:59 PM   #7
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

I have an SMB with a 4" lifted Quadvan conversion. What made me choose Quadvan at the time was the fact that all the components used are unmodified Ford parts unlike Quigley and Sportsmobile who use either third-party manufacturers or make their own modifications to parts or in some cases, both. My thought was that if anything needed to be replaced, I would have a better chance of finding replacement parts and service anywhere in the country if those parts could be obtained from most any Ford dealer rather than having to be shipped from a single supplier like Sportsmobile. In reality, it is just as likely that a Ford dealer won't have a part in stock and would have to order it from somewhere else also. I sometimes wonder if I am missing something by not having the Atlas transfer case or a more rugged suspension, but so far, I haven't felt the lack. My van handles beautifully on pavement and is extremely capable off pavement.

Another perk for Quadvan is the lack of state sales tax. They are also one of the few installers besides Sportsmobile that can install the SMB 46 gallon Transfer Flow fuel tank. They also installed my winch, lights, bumpers, nerf bars, ladder, on-board air compressor, wheels and tires. I ended up saving close to $2000 over Sportsmobile.

Many have complained that communication with John and Blaine can be frustrating. Though the response time was not as quick as Sportsmobile, they always replied to my phone calls and e-mails and did send pictures at key moments in the conversion. Three years and many on and off road miles later and I would still recommend Quadvan highly.

Steve in L.A.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:00 AM   #8
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

Really I have never heard of problems with an NV271/273 T-case. They are put into trucks with really high GCWRs, and I've seen power-company boom trucks (F550s) do things that would make most Wrangler owners think twice. And, from seeing the occasional post on this forum, it seems like the Atlas isn't exactly trouble-free.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:21 AM   #9
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

I prefer Ujoint.

As everyone knows, there are MANY options out there. I understand the advantage of factory parts but I feel this is a bit tricky. It doesn't matter if ALL of the parts are Ford parts, what matters is how easy it is to source the wearing items. Steering, ball joints, brakes & unit bearings (if equipped) etc. All of the wearing parts on my conversions are available at any parts store chain. That makes it easy and you don't have to pay for dealer parts & service. You can if you want though!

For example, Quigley modified unit bearings & rotors for many years on the 99-04 truck axles to make them 8 on 6.5. No problem when new, but when that bearing goes you have to source them from Quigley. Or have a good machine shop figure it out. And drill the rotors. That sounds like a nightmare to me, so we always change everything back to stock unit bearings with 8 on 170mm hubs when we "DeQuiglify" 4x4 vans. Speaking of that, we've provided kits to replace every suspension system listed here except QuadVan.

We're about to do a big brake/handling test video here in NC. Renting a runway, gonna be fun!
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:39 AM   #10
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Re: U-Joint vs. SMB vs.Quigley vs. Advanced 4X4 vs. ???

There is no debating that the Atlas II is not a great T-case. Its real advantage is the lower gear ratio, typically 4.0 to 1 but these vans are not "Rock Crawlers" and I think the Atlas II is way overkill when many OEM T-cases like the BW1356, NV241, NV271/273 with their ~2.7 to 1 ratios are the reasonable choice in a Van.

If I were getting 4x4 conversion from one of the listed companies, it would be a QuadVan. It is well engineered and can be easily enhanced.

But, I am sold on the performance of a Twin Traction Beam front suspension system. I have a Dana 50 TTB of my own design installed on my E350 SMB and nothing else I have driven compares.

I have never seen a Clydesdale TTB conversion but would like to check them out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Really I have never heard of problems with an NV271/273 T-case. They are put into trucks with really high GCWRs, and I've seen power-company boom trucks (F550s) do things that would make most Wrangler owners think twice. And, from seeing the occasional post on this forum, it seems like the Atlas isn't exactly trouble-free.
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