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Old 07-14-2013, 12:41 PM   #1
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sliding rear door vs regular doors?

I am getting ready to buy an e350 passenger van, probably a quadvan, and have smb west put a pop top in for more of a transformer type layout. I used to own a eb50 (which i miss...) but a more flexible floorplan is better for us now with our kids, etc.
Anyway, up unitl recently, I had never thought about a van with the sliding door, due to tire clearance issues. From some research, it seems that i can run 285/75's just fine and bushwackers will also fit. Does anyone have any specifics on this or any thoughts on the siding door? Does the hardware hold up or become problematic, etc? I had a westy syncro and the sliding door seemed to hold up well. Anyway, any thoughts appreciated on this,
thanks, Jas
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:06 PM   #2
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

Double check with Bushwacker, I think they discontinued the flares for sliding doors.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:30 PM   #3
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

2 cents... YRMV. I bought my van to windsurf because all the equipment is long and everybody had vans or motorhomes. (Now everybody is kiting, so a long vehicle is irrelevant.)

Sand is usually involved whenever you are at the water. When an acquaintance saw my rig he said "You were so smart to get barn doors. My slider is heavy after a day of windsurfing, gets sand in it which makes more resistance, and wakes everybody up if I want to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom."

My 1976 4x4 van had a slider. It was ok.

However, having used my 2002 van for 11 years, I like the barn doors. And recommend them. It is quick to get in and out and you usually open only one of the two doors to do it.

OT recommendation: I like the 15 passenger van rather than the delivery van for conversion because I like to see out when I am in beautiful country, which for me is often in snow country.

And it already has the air conditioning unit in the back.

See Chance's photos on the "idling diesel" thread for some interior shots of a converted 15-passenger van.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

Are you contemplating 4x4 in the future? If so, I think you'd have to rule out an SMB 4x4 conversion for a van with a sliding door. I think that at least Quadvan and U joint can perform a 4x4 conversion on a sliding door van.

Also, on an interior SMB conversion, you wouldn't be able to have them install a cabinet mounted door.


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Old 07-14-2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

I camped in a VW bus with the sliding door and I don't like it, I MUCH prefer my barn doors.

They're very robust; I've been in VW's where the older doors are prone to catching.

They're quieter.

You can hang things from them (in BC I made an awning that used the doors as support) and the storage bays inside the doors are really useful, especially with the fold-down shelves.

You don't have that "slide it harder, the door didn't catch" moments like you get endlessly with the sliders if someone doesn't have enough leverage to give them a good shove.

You're not gonna have to worry about clearance issues, or whacking the door slide. You can bash barn doors more and have them still operate.
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:56 PM   #6
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by E350
2 cents... YRMV. I bought my van to windsurf because all the equipment is long and everybody had vans or motorhomes. (Now everybody is kiting, so a long vehicle is irrelevant.)

Sand is usually involved whenever you are at the water. When an acquaintance saw my rig he said "You were so smart to get barn doors. My slider is heavy after a day of windsurfing, gets sand in it which makes more resistance, and wakes everybody up if I want to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom."

My 1976 4x4 van had a slider. It was ok.

However, having used my 2002 van for 11 years, I like the barn doors. And recommend them. It is quick to get in and out and you usually open only one of the two doors to do it.

OT recommendation: I like the 15 passenger van rather than the delivery van for conversion because I like to see out when I am in beautiful country, which for me is often in snow country.

And it already has the air conditioning unit in the back.

See Chance's photos on the "idling diesel" thread for some interior shots of a converted 15-passenger van.
I totally agree (with all of this).

Are sliding doors problematic? YES! I've worked for a shipping co. for 20 years and we have always had sliding door vans, now sliding door Sprinters. The sliding doors on all of them are always the first things on the body to start causing trouble. They are loud, hard to adjust, too heavy for kids to open and close, etc. The list of problems is long. Barn doors have no problems, and most vans nowadays are made with them anyway. It's getting tougher to find a van with a slider.

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Old 07-14-2013, 10:08 PM   #7
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

230K on my 2000 E350 with sliding door...ocasional cleaning of the track and lubrication, the door is smooth and works as new. Have never had a problem.

As mentioned, QuadVan (and maybe others) make an aftermarket "kick out" for the sliding door to clear large tires and fender flares.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:18 PM   #8
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

spent a few summers in a old westy with a slider and didnt like it. love the barns though. have only found one drawback so far...


twilight after a night of drinking. put off getting out to piss as long as possible. i finially get up and open the door. we had parked on a few logs to level and i knew this jumping out, but since i have bad knees, i thought Id use the door to help me down a bit. instead, my knee came down directly on top of the latching mechanism. i dropped a fbomb and shut the door. hobbled off to take care of bussiness and upon returning, my leg wouldnt lift up on the step. i looked down and had a 1"x3" goosegg on top of my kneecap. i had to sit on the floor and pull myself in. my wife looked over and asked if i was ok. i said no, i think i really screwed up my knee. she looked over the bed at me trying to get up and said omg! i crawled into bed with my bleeding knee sticking out and said we could deal with it once it was light out. when i got up 5 hours later, the swelling had gone away, but my knee 5 weeks later is still tender as hell. limped for a week sold too. sure did hurt for how unhurting it looks in the photo.

if youve never noticed, that is one piece of metal is cut and bent to shape. its sharp as hell. mine is no longer sharp (after i pulled off the skin and hair left behind by my knee), but i think about this everytime i get out of the 60 door. i will eventually have something in place so this cant happen to me again...
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:45 PM   #9
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

Thanks for the responses, and the heads up on the bushwackers, I didn't even realize there was a difference and sure enough on their website, there is a sliding door specific model. Seems to be still available but not 100% sure.
I had an eb50 quigley and the barns doors were fine. I was also wondering if my kids might have a hard time with the sliding door as well. I think I need to see a van with the slider in person and really check it out, but sounds like the barn doors are the way to go.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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Re: sliding rear door vs regular doors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yondermountain
Thanks for the responses, and the heads up on the bushwackers, I didn't even realize there was a difference and sure enough on their website, there is a sliding door specific model. Seems to be still available but not 100% sure.
I had an eb50 quigley and the barns doors were fine. I was also wondering if my kids might have a hard time with the sliding door as well. I think I need to see a van with the slider in person and really check it out, but sounds like the barn doors are the way to go.
bushwacker flares for sliders are still available but they are special order.
just got a set for my van it took nearly a month so order them as soon as you know you want them.
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