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Old 02-15-2011, 02:06 PM   #21
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

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Originally Posted by carringb
I think you are really asking for headaches trying to squeeze 4x4 under the Dodge.
What about skipping the 4x4 and just getting a lift and a rear locker? Maybe changing out the springs? Would also like to add some sway bars to the front and back to help with stability. Am I still looking at headaches with Frankenstein-ing (love that term ) and customization issues?

You got me wondering about getting a different van. I've been contemplating a 2001 4x4 Ford ext. 350 with 108,000 miles with the V-10 and the quigley conversion for $1495. It would need a complete interior conversion and a sleeper top. I can do seats, but after that I'm very much a novice. I still think to do the camper conversion even taking off the aux generator and aux AC I'm still somewhere in the 30's and that would be taking it to Derek at Colorado Camper Van to do the conversion work. I've been speaking with Derek and he sounds like a pretty sharp guy who would be able to do the work, but am wondering if anyone is familiar with his work? He runs a small shop so keep thinking sportsmobile has a longer track record with conversions, but they charge a fortune.

I can't thank you guys enough for your input,
L
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:51 PM   #22
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

There are smaller shops around that do really good work. I know of at least one in the LA area that will do a basic interior with bed, fridge, stove/sink for about 8k. They have been around a long time. Derek seems like a pretty reliable guy from what I have read and from my conversations with him. The pics and reports of his work I have seen have been impressive. There's another in Boulder Co and there must be some in Az surely?
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:36 PM   #23
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

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there must be some in Az surely?
I've been searching all over the Phoenix area and can not find a single shop that will do camping van conversions. What's the name of the shop in LA? That's a lot closer to me than Fort Collins.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:37 AM   #24
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by louie
Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
I think you are really asking for headaches trying to squeeze 4x4 under the Dodge.
What about skipping the 4x4 and just getting a lift and a rear locker? Maybe changing out the springs? Would also like to add some sway bars to the front and back to help with stability. Am I still looking at headaches with Frankenstein-ing (love that term ) and customization issues?

L


I think that's much more reasonable. Sway bars are available off-the-shelf from Hellwig. Rear springs can probably be found in a wrecking yard if you measure the eye-to-eye distance. At least my local yard has a database of spring sizes by vehicle.

But the front end would still need custom work most likely, other than maybe 1" of lift from new springs or coil-rite airbags.

Just keep in mind... with the Dodge, if you want custom, you have to do it yourself or find somebody to pay to do custom work. Even just a lift. There just simply isn't an aftermarket for it. Even simple items, like tow mirrors, or bumpers and grill guards, just isn't available for the Dodge.


As far as the interior goes... I suspect most of that can be learned with patience, at least the non-appliace/electrical stuff. This forum is an excellent resource for that kind of stuff. And as mentioned, for the hard stuff SMB isn't the only one who can do it.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:54 AM   #25
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

Okay, okay, so San Jose is not quite LA but my memory is fading with the advancing years... Is it still closer than Fort Collins? I'm guessing it would be.

The shop is: http://www.personalizedvans.com/intro.htm

No business affiliation etc etc, I found them a couple of years ago but have not used them personally. I decided that if I put another 8k into my '95 4WD Ford I would have created something that cost me than it it would ever be worth. The owner is knowledgeable and friendly and his prices are reasonable, especially for custom work. Plus he uses good quality materials for light and strong interiors, none of your lead based MDF here.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:55 AM   #26
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

You can put 4x4 on anything. With enough fab you can put Rockwells on a Smart Car. The fact that it can be done does not mean it should, has been done doesn't mean it was a good idea. Two wheel drive lift is in the same category in my opinion- this is about tying to the non-a-frame unibody, then twisting and torquing those ties and unibody repeatedly doing things the stock van was never meant to.

I'm not patently opposed to unibody 4x4, my favorite Jeeps are unibody (XJ and MJ), as is the Sprinter. The difference is the former two had unibody structure designed for 4x4, the Sprinter and the Dodge do not. Still, why fight the battle? It's uphill and you get none of the advantages doing the same thing to a Sprinter would get you, or doing a classy vehicle like a 64 dodge van.

I feel like we're at this point.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:00 AM   #27
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

Maybe we should change the name of this thread to dodge 4x4 conversions . I bought a plane ticket to Austin for this Thursday to go check out the dodge. I'm still confused about the dynamics of installing a front winch, a lift, and a rear ARB locker, but found a shop in Phoenix that said they can do the job for their standard install price. I hope they know what they're talking about...
May be taking a risk with the dodge frame, but do not intend on taking the van for extensive boulder hopping. Just onto some of the more less maintained forest service roads and those hard to reach campsites. If I do go through with the buy, I'll keep running with this thread to let people know how the off road conversion goes.
Then again there is that ford in Vegas that just popped up on craigs list http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/2223377851.html

...decisions, decisions.

Louie
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:47 PM   #28
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by louie
... but found a shop in Phoenix that said they can do the job for their standard install price.
Louie

What shop is this? WHat do you mean by "standard install price"? I've never heard of a 4x4 conversion company in Phoenix. Do you really know what they will do to it? Will they back the work? Or will you sign a waver saying if the van breaks it's now their problem?

I still fail to see how this route could be any cheaper than a Ford 4x4 van. The Ford conversions are commonplace, and little custom fabricating is required, since the conversion companies (QuadVan, SMB, U-Joint etc.) pretty much have pre-fabricated bold on parts. For the Dodge, you have nothing to start with, so it will be a 100% fabricated job, which usually = $$$.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:40 PM   #29
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Quote:
Originally Posted by louie
I've never heard of a 4x4 conversion company in Phoenix. Do you really know what they will do to it?

I still fail to see how this route could be any cheaper than a Ford 4x4 van.
Here is a link to the business. http://www.sierraexpeditions.com/
Surprised me as well that they claimed to be able to do the job. They knew enough that it would involve having to swap out the rear axle with a dana 60 to fit the ARB locker and that any 4x4 conversion would involve much customization. Said they needed to see the van to make a final determination about doing an actual 4x4 conversion.

The only reason I think the dodge is cheaper is due to the fact the dodge has all the interior conversion work done as well as the penthouse top. I am getting hung up on the logistics of buying an empty 4x4 van for 15 grand and then driving it to different shops out of state getting the top installed and all of the interior conversion work done. That Vegas van is still available, but am wondering if the sliding rear door should be a deal breaker.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:52 PM   #30
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Re: 2000 dodge...good deal?

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Here is a link to the business. http://www.sierraexpeditions.com/.
Interesting. It looks like they are primarily an off-road accessory store? I don't see any information about their 4x4 conversions.
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