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Old 06-28-2017, 03:21 PM   #1
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Vanimal replaced with a sprinter 4x4

So, apparently when insurance money is burning a hole in your pocket, and the local dealer has a 4x4LR crew van in stock, and you're about to head on a road trip... the obvious happens.

Now I get to figure out pop-top and layout and all that. The uplift begins...
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2017 Sprinter 4x4 144LR. Uplift has begun...

2004-2017 [RIP] SMB PH, 4x4, E250v8. Drove until the wheels fell off.
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:25 PM   #2
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Tada! Here it is
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2017 Sprinter 4x4 144LR. Uplift has begun...

2004-2017 [RIP] SMB PH, 4x4, E250v8. Drove until the wheels fell off.
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:28 PM   #3
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Nice!!!!

What's on your upgrade list?? CCV Top?? Van Compass Lift?? Agile Suspension??
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:29 PM   #4
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Looks like you came out smellin' like a rose! Love the color.
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:37 PM   #5
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Moving the crew seat

After the first thousand miles it's clear that the stock crew seat location is a poor substitute for an "rb50" layout we were used to.

Fortunately the necessary bolts are there. It's just that they are under the sheet metal. Taking a dremel tool to my brand new floor solidified ownership.

(Yes, used a bunch of rustolium on the fresh scars)
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2017 Sprinter 4x4 144LR. Uplift has begun...

2004-2017 [RIP] SMB PH, 4x4, E250v8. Drove until the wheels fell off.
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:47 PM   #6
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Damn, that's making the best of a bad situation!
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Old 06-28-2017, 03:51 PM   #7
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A skid plate kit is on the list. I was really nervous about rocks and those tender bits on the underside while "testing" the 4x4 setup.

Being in colorado a CCV top is the obvious (local) choice. I'm on their list for later this fall; but I haven't decided yet if they'll do a more complete conversion or if I'll do that myself or what. Dumping all the insurance money into the base vehicle might delay our interior or maybe we'll just go for it. I liked my SMB pop-top but not sure if its worth the drive.

I'm thinking to leave the suspension/lift/etc all stock until after the rest is done and I've more experience. Maybe those wheels/tires if I'm inspired.

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Nice!!!!

What's on your upgrade list?? CCV Top?? Van Compass Lift?? Agile Suspension??
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2017 Sprinter 4x4 144LR. Uplift has begun...

2004-2017 [RIP] SMB PH, 4x4, E250v8. Drove until the wheels fell off.
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Old 06-28-2017, 04:02 PM   #8
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It's a beauty!! Congrats on the new rig.

And yeah, first few holes are the hardest.
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Old 06-28-2017, 04:04 PM   #9
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CCV top, in my opinion, is FAR superior to SMB one. You won't regret it.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:45 PM   #10
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Got it stuck! ("It only gets you more stuck!")

I've got a couple thousand miles on it now and am starting to get the build plans with CCV squared away. Still lots of questions and I'll be posting a layout plan eventually for advice. But first, lets try out that 4x4 shall we?


Heading up Frenchman Creek Trailhead toward Mt Harvard we discovered that the 4x4 section of the road requires serious clearance. Not being a complete moron I backed off... by backing up into a previously scoped spot for a K turn.

And couldn't pull forward again. Much of the weight was on the left rear wheel which was spinning in sand. The left front wheel was on solid dirt road but wouldn't pull me. The right front wheel was touching the ground but not getting enough weight for traction? Right rear wheel simply didn't get power; it all went to the spinning side? I pictured it sorta balanced on left front and right rear and the other wheels just spun.

Eventually what worked was: jack up the left rear wheel and put some wood under there so I wouldn't keep digging myself in further. Then gun it!

Here is was my thinking: I was in a hard spot with both a front and rear wheel spinning. Plus the 4ETS system might not have been engaging completely as I transitioned from brakes to gas (and preparing to give it brakes again, we didn't have a lot of room if it lurched!). I needed ignore my impulse of letting off the gas as soon as it spun and/or covering the brake in case we got going and instead give the 4ETS system a chance.

I'm still on stock tires, pressures, etc. My old chains from the vanimal don't fit and I haven't put on skid plates and basically acted like a fool. Glad I got away with it.

Any comments on my thinking about how the 4x4 works or the "put wood under the tire" approach? What else could I have tried? Happy to be learn from you all! Thanks.
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