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Old 10-22-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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4x4 conversion

I am seriously considering doing a 4x4 conversion on my 1990 E350. I am trying to decide what would be the best way to go about doing it.

Option 1 - Doing a body swap to an f350 chassis

Option 2 - modifying the current chassis to accept the 4x4 parts

I have had several people suggest the body swap, but I was leaning toward option 2.
I can see obstacles and benefits to each choice. Any been there done thats?

Thanks.
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:44 PM   #2
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Re: 4x4 conversion

1990 is the older body style. The bad news is that you won't be able to bolt up a UJOR kit (U-Joint Off Road). There are quite a few older Pathfinder 4x4 van conversions on the 1980's-1991 platform out there and sometimes you can pick them up for a pretty reasonable price. This should give you all the components you need with minimal if any fabrication. Do some research on the Pathfinder rigs and see if that system would work out for your needs. If you haven't checked the Expo website, that is usually a good source of information as well - quite a few guys with good fabrication skills over there that have done some neat stuff.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
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Re: 4x4 conversion

Right on, thank you for your reply. What setup are you using on your van?
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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Re: 4x4 conversion

Body swap won't work any better than sticking a Camry body on a blazer frame. It can be done, but.... The F-series and E-series have completely different frames. Only powertrain stuff is shared.

Good news is.... Enough powertrain stuff is common it is possible to add 4x4, even on the old body vans.

Here's some good info:
http://www.glinx.com/~sbest/4vanfaq.htm
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:53 PM   #5
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Re: 4x4 conversion

You might be able to find a 4x4 van and do a body swap or swap thedrive line...
I hate to steer you away from this forum but here is one from your generation that someone did a really nice job on.

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/t ... -Body-Swap


I am sure you can find one for parts but you should be ready to modernize it with newer and better parts.


...Jamie
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:56 PM   #6
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Re: 4x4 conversion

EW - my '84 was originally a factory Pathfinder conversion that a previous owner totally re-built the front end on. It is still coil sprung, but the control arms and steering setup were all custom built.
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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Re: 4x4 conversion

You can find old 4x4 vans for 3-5 grand allover the place I know of 2. you can either steel the 4x4 or move to a different van. of course steeling the 4x4 system off another van will take alot of work and redoing to fit your van. if you cant do that your self then it could get spendy.

If it were me, I would move to a new van already done and working right. of course i have no idea how custom your van already is.


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Old 10-23-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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Re: 4x4 conversion

with Ron,

Before I bought my 2008 Ford I had a really nice clean low mileage 1995 GMC van that I really liked. I bought a few Pathfinder GM 4x4 vans for parts to convert it to 4x4 (I still have some if anyone wants them) but decided that it would cost almost as much to convert an old van as a it would a newer one. Since a newer 4x4 van becomes more valuable after its done and an older one does not I decided to sell the old one and buy a newer one to convert. If you have your current van all set the way you want it and you plan to keep it for a long time then convert it to 4x4 if not a different van might be a better way to go...


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Old 10-26-2012, 10:36 AM   #9
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Re: 4x4 conversion

OK thanks for the info and advice.

My van was a conversion van that got stripped to be a panel van (just metal walls and floor with two front captains chairs), and I am rebuilding it back up. I purchased the van for 700 bucks, my budget is very limited for upgrades, so I am taking the one piece at a time approach.

I feel that I need 4x4 for winter driving (I am a musician and travel quit a bit) and occasional back country excursions. I will be doing all the work myself, and it looks like i will just start stockpiling parts until I have what I need to do the job. The Pathfinder parts look like the way to go, axle choices seem very limited for this vintage.

I like the older body style better than the new one, but if I find a screaming deal on a newer one I may switch over, but probably not. I am really digging your rig rockbender!

Thanks again!
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:31 PM   #10
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Re: 4x4 conversion

Spoke with Gordon from Pathfinder today. Super nice guy, very clear information about what I do and don't need. This phone call has saved me a bunch of time and energy. Thanks Gordon!

I will be looking for a Borg-Warner 1356 transfer case with its related parts including the transmission housing and driveline, and a front axle with trunnion style steering knuckles.

The rest I will get from Gordon.

It is good to have some of the confusion in my mind cleared up!
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