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Old 05-14-2011, 11:06 AM   #1
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Used van conversion

How common is it for people to take a used 2wd van to SMB for conversion?

I was just wondering if this is a way to save a bit of money but still wind up with what you want in terms of floorplan and options?

Also, if you are shopping for a donor van, other than the obvious things like V10 or PSD, what other body options should you look for? Most of the cargo vans I have seen have sliding doors and no side glass....
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:07 PM   #2
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Re: Used van conversion

No side glass is a plus, you can put type and size of windows where you want. Look for rear windows though, you get power on the front doors that way.

I'd get the factory rear air if I were DIYing.
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: Used van conversion

Oh I meant a lot of cargo vans have no glass in the side door even if they have barn doors.

My current van has rear door glass but no power anything, though it is pretty old.

Do you think this might be a cost effective option or should I just keep looking at used SMBs? The issue I am quickly seeing is that used SMBs have 6 of 8 features I want but there is usually one or two things that are deal breakers.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: Used van conversion

If your van is more than just a very few years old, I don't believe SMB West will touch it.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:57 PM   #5
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Re: Used van conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywagon
If your van is more than just a very few years old, I don't believe SMB West will touch it.
Depends on who you talk to on which day. The implied reason they won't do a PH on an 80's era is only because they no longer have the mold...

But there is a point of vanishing returns. It's expensive to have them put in a full build in a van, not necessarily cost effective with an older one. The trick to shopping used SMBs I think is to find the 4 things you can't possibly change (layout for example) and understand what you can (propane addition) or are willing to change to get those other 4 "must haves".
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:52 AM   #6
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Re: Used van conversion

I was thinking maybe a 2007-2009. If I went older than that I would just look for an already built SMB. And I haven't don't the math yet, might make no sense. But I have seen ex lease cargo vans pretty cheap. (that's how I got my current E350)
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:50 PM   #7
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Re: Used van conversion

This van was a 2wd SMB & converted to 4wd, turned out very nice! He's a member here too.


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Old 05-15-2011, 02:06 PM   #8
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Re: Used van conversion

You can find used cargo vans with the right options, but you have to patient and ready to pull the trigger. I just got a 2009 E250 with 400 miles for $20K. It has barn doors, all the power options, traction control, upgraded grill and rear bumper, and even rear AC.

The E350's with the bigger engines seem to be much harder to find, though. I have seen a couple of almost-new Quigley conversions. They also have all the power options, and the big motor, and go for $33-$37K.
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:32 PM   #9
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Re: Used van conversion

Here's a guy who had a SMB transformer build done in 2009 on a 2004 van.... so they definitely do it viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5764

On the bigger engines, when I bought my 99 V10 in 2003, there wasn't a big selection of them, but I was able to find one for a very small premium over the 5.4. Diesels were harder to find though, they seemed to be more in passenger vans.

I wouldn't have thought you'd find rear AC in cargo vans....

What are other options you would look for? Power windows/locks would be nice. Barn doors with glass in them (SMB can't add that later, only the rear glass, right?) I don't really care about bumpers/grille. Rear AC sounds good.
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:36 PM   #10
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Re: Used van conversion

My build was an '09 cargo I found in Ohio for about ten grand less than MSRP. Oh, and it has factory rear a/c.
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