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Old 11-21-2013, 09:53 AM   #1
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Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

I'm still looking at my options. I can't (or don't want to) afford a new SMB. The used market seems slim pickens for the "50" floor plan. I've come across 2 vans that have been 4x4'd and 1 of those has a pop top already. The "catch" is they are both over 100K miles. Both diesel 6.0's and I'm ok with the questionable reliability of these motors (with some of the known fixes being applied). Does putting 30k+ into a high mileage van make sense to anyone? Or is this a bad idea? I have to say, I do like the idea of a brand new interior in a van I could actually afford

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Old 11-21-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

I'm not sure I'd want to put money into a high mileage 6.0 but if you could find a well maintained E350 with the 7.3, I think it would be worth upgrading with up to 200k miles.

Has anyone out there put 200k miles on a bullet proofed 6.0?
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

Is it worth it in a financial sense? I highly doubt it. From that strict standpoint, add the cost of the base vehicle + your conversion and see if that approximates what you could turn around and sell the van for once it's completed. Assuming the van purchase is $10k, + conversion of $30k, would you pay $40k for a high-mileage 4x4 SMB? Some might, if it's clean.

What you have to determine is whether it's worth it to you - what is the value to you of having something you want but not a big car payment?

I don't think I would put $30k into a high-mileage van, on top of the van's purchase price, but that's just me. You could shoot for a lower-budget conversion, without all the SMB bells and whistles.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

If you won't be selling the van for a long time, then re-sale is a negligible concern (after long enough, the price of either a new van or a one that started with more miles will be worth about the same). Starting used means somebody else takes the biggest depreciation hit.

I bought my van from Enterprise with 105,000 miles on it. Around 150k I though about doing 4x4 with QuadVan, but was concerned about how long the van would last. Then around 230k, I had a small "incident" involving a 40' trailer which broadsided the van (it was hooked onto the van, until I hit a guardrail and the trailer frame snapped). I initially assumed I would have the van totaled out, but after pricing out what an equivalent replacement would cost, I had it repaired and repainted the way I wanted (NOT white). Then I went to QuadVan, and almost pulled the trigger again, but then reconsidered because of the miles.

Well.... now that I have 365,000 miles I wish I had done 4x4 because the van still show no signs of quitting. And even if something did happen, the 4x4 system can always be transferred. With the exception of a couple plasma cuts on the engine crossmember (which get new reinforcement plates) and transmission adapter, the QuadVan setup is a bolt-on affair.

There's plenty of E-vans with over a million miles on the road, and it seems like some airports don't even have any vans with under 400,000 miles. If you can keep the 6.0 running, you'll probably wear out the camper conversion before you ever wore out the rest of the van, unless you live in one of those road-salt states.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:58 PM   #5
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

I did, no regrets. Took a used 2006 6.0 with 80k miles and had Sportsmobile do RB-50 with 4X4. Van cost me $12k vs $35k for a new one. I've slowly added on bumpers, roof rack etc. Worst case scenario I blow the engine and it will cost $10k which is still $18k less than a new one.

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Now with 120k miles and counting
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:02 PM   #6
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

No better value than buying a used smb that has most of the major components already done (4x4, pop top, interior).
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:30 PM   #7
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

I found a 2003 cargo van with a 7.3 that had 70,000 HARD mi. for 6K. After I put 3k into the engine I put 25,000 pain free miles on it before I bit the bullet and brought it to UJOINT for 4x4 (17K). Only time will tell - but I'm banking on the legendary 7.3 going a million miles. My biggest waste of money so far was redoing the brake's, rotors and ball joints, and new tires before 4x4 conversion - but at the same time it was in bad shape and i wanted to drive it for a while before taking the 4x4 leap. (got some nice Michelin's for sale : 245x75x16) I don't have a lot interior modifications yet, but will take my time and do it exactly how I want. All said in done, I don't expect to have saved a ton of money, but I'm enjoying the process and trying to do a lot myself.

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Old 11-21-2013, 07:36 PM   #8
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocsmb
No better value than buying a used smb that has most of the major components already done (4x4, pop top, interior).
And then finding someone who will help you fix everything in exchange for egg rolls....
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:19 PM   #9
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by calebmogul
All said in done, I don't expect to have saved a ton of money, but I'm enjoying the process and trying to do a lot myself.
Well said. Have always found that money is secondary to enjoying the adventure of doing something that you love.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: Is it worth it (or smart) to convert a high mileage van?

Tap.. How much was the 4x4 conversion part? The van I'm considering has 150k with 4x4 for $15k. It already has the 4x4. Top and an interior..34k?
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