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Old 01-26-2014, 04:33 PM   #1
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Chevy or Ford home build?

I'm not trying to start another Chevy vs Ford debate but I'm wondering which van to use to start a home build. I had a my heart set on an Econoline but finding a used, low milage 4x4 is pretty impossible. I looked into a new one and for a gutted cargo with a quigley conversion I'm looking at 40k and would still need to add a pop top and rear bench just to get started.

Then I saw that Chevy sells a van with Awd and optional lockers. I'm wondering if this may be they way to go. Is there the same amount of aftermarket camping parts for the Chevys (ie pop tops, bench/beds etc.)?

Basically I'm wondering what the advantages/ disadvantages are. Any informed input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:11 PM   #2
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

The Chevy AWD van is either an Astro van (kinda small) or a 1500 van. I don't know who might make a poptop for an Astro van. An Astro or a 1500 series will have too low GVWR to do a full conversion.

It probably depends on what you want to do with the van. A basic conversion with a bed and some storage area, a lightweight van will work fine. A full conversion (like most SMBs) will be grossly overweight on a 1500 van.

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Old 01-26-2014, 05:17 PM   #3
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saltydog
Then I saw that Chevy sells a van with Awd and optional lockers. I'm wondering if this may be they way to go. Is there the same amount of aftermarket camping parts for the Chevys (ie pop tops, bench/beds etc.)?

Basically I'm wondering what the advantages/ disadvantages are. Any informed input is greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, there is nowhere near the aftermarket/camping parts support for the Chevys, which is why most SMBs and camper vans are Fords. You can get a fixed top or a Penthouse for a Chevy though, but not a lot else without really searching and settling for what little is available. If you build your interior yourself, you will be fine, but as Mike said be careful of the weight.

Check out builds by Accrete, Spoolin, 2horsegarage and Bettyford to see some neat Chevy builds.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:03 PM   #4
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

I appreciate the input. I was indeed looking at the 1500, not the Astro. Another factor I liked about the Chevy was the gas milage but with the weight added it'll probably be a moot point.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:48 PM   #5
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

The Express/Savana 1500 platform can't take on the heavy duty drivetrain, lifts, and oversize tires like a well done 4x4 conversion on an E250/350. That being said, I'm a huge fan of the GM 5.3 / AWD platform and plan on using it as the base for my next rig. The AWD has advantages in daily driving in adverse conditions over a 4x4 rig and with a mild lift (again, check out Accrete's rig) will get anywhere I would want to go.

You can likely pick up a used 4x4 Ford van for not much more than an AWD Express (again, used). It will all depend on how you intend to use it, load it, etc.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:34 PM   #6
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

Also check eBay from time to time or create a custom search with email notifications when/if a Quigley shows up. One of those with the basic trim package might be the perfect starting point for a home built.

While I'm a life-long Chevy performance fan when it came time to buy another cargo van (replacing a step van BTW) Ford E-Series were my only choice. I think they're the better choice based upon my personal experience with owning them.

As with any construction project everything depends on the foundation. Choose something that has the most support and/or forum presence in the configuration you hope to achieve. If its an SMB type Ford would be a good choice since most of us here have them already.

Just my $0.02 worth mind you!
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:44 PM   #7
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saltydog
I appreciate the input. I was indeed looking at the 1500, not the Astro. Another factor I liked about the Chevy was the gas milage but with the weight added it'll probably be a moot point.
I don't know, it might not be a moot point. The Chevy 1500 (5.3) has a great reputation for great mileage no matter what you are doing with it. If you do a lighter weight build you will probably do great on MPGs.

Accrete is pulling a little 'Scamp' style trailer with his that has a decent interior build as well, you might want to PM him and see what kind of mileage he gets loaded and towing.

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Old 01-29-2014, 08:52 AM   #8
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

I'm in the slow process of a simple build on my Express 1500 AWD. It's a great rig. 17-18 mpg all the time. The AWD is really great for winter driving here in Wyoming, way better than my 4x4 F-250 pickup and as good as my wife's Subaru. It's very comfortable to drive. I suppose I'll be limited to the weight I'll be able to put in to the build in it, but, having used used it as cabinet delivery van (I'm a cabinetmaker) for several jobs I'm amazed how unfazed it is with a good size load of cabinets and hardwood. Windows and swivel seat bases were no problem to find. Beyond that though I don't have much experience.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:03 AM   #9
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

Chevy Express AWD 1500 only comes in the short wheel base. If that will work for you then think about how many 1500 pick up's you see driving around with cab over campers on them. Maybe beef up the suspension a little (air bags) dont go over board with the inside and beef up the brakes.
I'm not sure about lifting one you will have to check on that. the ground clearance is not much on the stock van.

For $25,000 I will sell you my chevy 2500 LWB with a Dura Max and 4x4. Etc.......

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Old 02-01-2014, 10:11 AM   #10
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Re: Chevy or Ford home build?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bettyford
...For $25.000 I will sell you my chevy 2500 LWB with a Dura Max and 4x4. Etc.......

Ron
For $25.000 I'll PayPal you right away.

Damn 'comma' and 'decimal' keys are right next to each other aren't they?
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