Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-24-2015, 03:51 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 15
Possible new van owner

Hi everybody,

my name is Mike and I'm from Basel, Switzerland. My (and my families) dream is to take a year off and travel the world in a 4x4 camper.

If possible we'd like to start in three years from now. New York - Alaska - and than down the Panamericana to Patagonia. So far so good, but in what vehicle? Up till a couple of days I thought a VW T3 is the car to have, but with two adults and two infants a T3 just seems too small.

Now I got the idea of a Dodge Ram Mowag B300. Bigger, stronger than a T3, maybe even more reliable and affordable. Our budget is 20'000€/CHF incl. the camping construction (e.g. elevating roof) / conversion.

The other car in mind is a Ford E or F350 4x4, but this options just seems too expensive.

What do you think of my idea? Has anyone experience with this car, especially when used as a camper? I'd be interessted in any advice.

Looking forward to an interessting discussion
Cheers
Mike

PS: I hope I'm right here... if not, please move my thread.
__________________

PhysEd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 05:17 PM   #2
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,834
Garage
Re: Possible new van owner

Kind of depends on how well equipped you want to be and the terrain you plan to drive through. Maybe post what you must have to live on the road. Some people can get by with very limited creature comforts. Things like a shower, toilet, inside heat, or a full kitchen means nothing to some and everything to others. Some people can get by on very little but I'm guessing you're looking at a fairly standard SMB layout or am I wrong? If your looking at something with four wheel drive you can figure about 15,000+ added cost.

Here is a good post to review:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2374

BTW welcome


dave
__________________

__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 05:20 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
BrianW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 3,119
Re: Possible new van owner

Welcome Mike! There are a few SMB owners on the forum that own SMBs and live in Germany. You should add "from Switzerland" in your subject line and I'm sure they will find you. Maybe you could go look at one or two in person in Europe.
BrianW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 05:47 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 4,334
Re: Possible new van owner

Hmmm I wouldn't really consider the Dodge Ram van to be anymore capable than the European-style vans. The only thing it had going for it was big motors, but even the biggest motor they offered put out less power than the base Ford Transit V6, and the Dodge van is still a unibody, with lower weight ratings than the Ford and Chevy vans. Also, because it is unibody, there was never much of a 4x4 market for those (or any aftermarket suspension options). To be honest, with the age of those vans now, I would barely trust one to drive across the state, much less international over landing.

A Ford E350 will be more reliable to start with, you'll have way more power train and suspension options, and parts availability is infinitely easier.
__________________
2000 E350 extended wagon dually
V10 w/ Banks Powerpack, Diablo Predator
Buckstop Outback bumper/grill guard
Reunel rear bumper
carringb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 07:39 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
BrianW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 3,119
Re: Possible new van owner

Mowag was a Swiss company that converted the Dodge vans to 4x4, kind of like the Swiss version of Quigley. That's probably why he mentioned them.
BrianW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2015, 08:16 AM   #6
Member
 
derJack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Cologne GER
Posts: 72
Re: Possible new van owner

You should make sure if want to ship the rig from Swiss to US and back! This is roughly 3 grand!

My suggestion would be to think different. For US you can choose VERY different. As the feature list for traveling America is different to EU or Swiss. Neither size or fuel consumption is important - totally different to EU!

I would by a gas van in the US. Tons of options. E 350 from Quigley, ujoint, sportsmobile... I think with 33"+ locker and MTs (tires) you can get very far and safe roughly 5k.
With a gas instead of diesel, you can safe in the US also 4k roughly.

If you have so many time, you can easily find a good van in the US. Sell it after the trip. Done.

For Swiss you will have problems with US diesel in terms is emission standards. And the gas vans will not be able to run below 20+l/100km for sure.
derJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2015, 12:12 PM   #7
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,834
Garage
Re: Possible new van owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysEd

The other car in mind is a Ford E or F350 4x4, but this options just seems too expensive.
Don't know if that F350 is a typo or not but if you feel a van is too expensive, a camper such as those made by Four Wheel Camper might be an option. A four door 4x4 pickup truck can be bought for a reasonable price and doesn't have to be as large as a Ford 350 or even a 250 model but that would be up to you. You mentioned infants and you might be able to fit into a smaller vehicle. A 4-door Toyota 4x4 would give you a fuel efficient platform to work off of and still have a vehicle where it would be an easy fix if a breakdown should occur. I've seen a lot of them on the trail with those campers riding on the back. Just an idea. I do like that a van has a better layout overall compared to a camper. You can use use the front seats as part of the living quarters and a pop top supplies ample bed space. You might find a good deal on a used van and do your own interior construction but finding a used 4x4 empty cargo van might be difficult...maybe an older ambulance. I'd suggest you research the price of doing a 4x4 conversion to a Ford van. Finding a nice completed used van for a low price is possible but they do hold their value and why you're seeing such high prices.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2015, 03:33 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
AndrewST's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Switzerland soon back to Oregon
Posts: 733
Re: Possible new van owner

Grüezi Mike,

Welcome on the forum.

Nice plan you have and a van can be a good base for the trip.
You are in the good place to have a feedback on 4x4 vans used as a camper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Mowag was a Swiss company that converted the Dodge vans to 4x4, kind of like the Swiss version of Quigley. That's probably why he mentioned them.
You are right about Mowag and there are 4 for sale now in Switzerland year 1986 to 1989, maybe his reference. I wouldn't go with a van as old.
Quote:
Originally Posted by derJack
If you have so many time, you can easily find a good van in the US. Sell it after the trip. Done.

For Swiss you will have problems with US diesel in terms is emission standards. And the gas vans will not be able to run below 20+l/100km for sure.
.
"derJack" option of getting one in the US and travel with it, is not to put aside as the US market is bigger and you can find some good vans.
You can sell it once in South America or bring it back home if you would like.
No problem bringing it back even if diesel if you are out of Switzerland for more than 6 or 12 months depending on which form you do it.

I am in Geneva if you have questions or want to see a 4x4 van (to be camper converted)

Andrew
__________________
2009 E350 window RB 6.0 PSD Quadvan 4x4 with EB pop top
2003 E350 ambulance 7.3 PSD Quigley
2007 Jeep JK for local offroad
AndrewST is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2015, 02:46 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 15
Re: Possible new van owner

Hello everybody,

thank you very much for your recommendations and your feedback, I really appreciate it.

Let's start at the beginning:
Yes, I'm from Basel, Switzerland. I want to buy the rig beforehand in order to test it properly and to adjust the interior to our needs. At least one year before the great journey, the car should be ready and should be tested during a 4-5 week vacation in Europe.
I also want to keep the car, once we return from the big journey, so buying in the US (and selling it again) is not an option.

What do we need/want?
- our route will be something like: NY - Alaska - Patagonia, timeframe: one year.
- a convertet Landcruiser / Defender or the like is too small for us
- the car should have an elevating roof (sleeping two) and two beds (or one big) in the cabin, sleeping another two.
- we'd like to have a small kitchen unit and if possible a little chemical toilet, maybe a shower
- luxury is not important, but AC is something we really want (as we are plan to travel with two small childern (age 4 and under (the second is not on the way yet))
- we need 4x4: not for the loneliest off roads, but just to take us safely from A to B. And maybe we need to pass a ford of about 70cm.
- we don't need to selfsustain us for weeks, but a few days should be possible.

Car options:
- VW T3 syncro (4x4)- probably too small and getting more and more expensive, probably not ideal for America (parts).
- Dodge Ram B300 Mowag 4x4, bether and probably the best price option, as we don't want to spend (cannot) more than 20'000€ for the car (ready to travel)
- Ford E350 4x4, even bigger than the Dodge, stronger, maybe more reliable and parts should not be a problem, but also very expensive, the cheapest I found so far was at 27'000€.
- Ford F350 (with crew cab and camper), price could work, but is there enough room to sleep four? I've only found options for two.

I have a last question concerning unibody. What are the drawbacks of unibodies?

Thank you for your help!
Cheers
Mike
PhysEd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2015, 03:31 PM   #10
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,834
Garage
Re: Possible new van owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysEd
- we'd like to have a small kitchen unit and if possible a little chemical toilet, maybe a shower
- luxury is not important, but AC is something we really want (as we are plan to travel with two small childern (age 4 and under (the second is not on the way yet))
- we need 4x4: not for the loneliest off roads, but just to take us safely from A to B. And maybe we need to pass a ford of about 70cm.
- we don't need to selfsustain us for weeks, but a few days should be possible.

- Ford F350 (with crew cab and camper), price could work, but is there enough room to sleep four? I've only found options for two.



Thank you for your help!
Cheers
Mike
There are a few things you'll have to research.

Diesel or gas outside the US. If diesel is easier to find the engine has to be able to run on the type offered in that country. Newer engines might have an issue. If gas is easy to find, no problem.

Air conditioning may be an issue. For a van some members are using window AC's with a 2000w generator with good success.Supplemental air is OK at best and usually most effective while moving. For example the Starcool system on my van would require me to haul a 2800+ watt generator unless every stop has 30A shore power.

Stock 4x4 builds are usually easier to find parts for during a breakdown.

How many US dollars do you have to work from?

I still stand by the fact that a Sportsmobile type conversion is expensive unless you're lucky to find the right one and may be time consuming to find so a lot depends on how much you want to spend and how long you want to search for the right van to come along. Who knows, you might get lucky right off the bat.

You may not want it but finding a good cheap used 4x4 pickup is going to be easier than finding a 4x4 van I would think. A full size pop up camper sleeps 3-4 adults
http://www.fourwh.com/product/hawk-shor ... ular-size/
By far not the best solution but doable. Not sure about air conditioning though which might make it deal breaker.

Would I rather have a van? Yes especially if you plan to ship it back and keep it.

I'd be sending a PM to the members who are from Europe like Andrew & Pschitt who have built their own and traveled over here.
__________________

__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×