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Old 07-13-2016, 09:00 PM   #1
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It all started when...

I was daydreaming a few years back while still a working parent, pre-empty nest status, and my fantasy bubble showed me living out of my vehicle.... Not unlike when I was in my 20's working contract jobs and living out of my VW rabbit.... Climbing and skiing in between contracts. Life was simple, life was good!
Fast forward to 2016, my first year retired and while I had not quite decided WHERE I want to retire to, I do know I want a 4x4 Van. Aaaaand that's about as far as it goes so far! The information regarding 'expedition' lifestyling is endless!
So I simplified my short term goal to figure out what make of van and by whom to have the 4x4 done. I don't want to have a huge project budget right out of the gate when I am new to the lifestyle and don't know how I want the interior set up. I think I narrowed it down to Ford/ujoint or Nissan V8/Quigley van.... Love the Nissans as is because I have a special use (Plein air drawing and painting) that the NV already allows with work surfaces in front seating + V8 is the Titan engine. And they are very comfortable for me to drive .... Ford, Maybe because I am a fan of Ujoint not using proprietary parts. If I decide on engine! I am a total newbie on transmission gearing knowledge but I'm going to talk to a friend of my son who is a wiz on that. Not planning on towing anything special but want the capability.

Thinking of later model of either because I am not mechanical- I won't break a nail but I do know my limits and I bow down to all the DIY peeps on this excellent forum!
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:22 PM   #2
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Later model Ford 350 with the 5.4 V8 engine might work well for you. V10 size if you are driving in the mountains a lot. Or diesel but most folks don't like them. A UJ converted van will get you just about anywhere for your painting. My wife got the PA necessities but just hasn't taken it out to paint. She does hook up with a local group a couple times a year but that's it for now. I can sell her on the van thing based on Plein Aire.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:01 AM   #3
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If I decide on engine! I am a total newbie on transmission gearing knowledge but I'm going to talk to a friend of my son who is a wiz on that. Not planning on towing anything special but want the capability.
If you're not planning on towing anything huge, the Ford 5.4 V8 is nice. It *can* tow up to 6400 pounds in the passenger version. I tow a 4-5K pound trailer, and you barely know it's back there. I really like the big views out all the windows. A 5.4 will get you a bit better gas mileage than the V10 and I think, is more widely available as a late model than some of the other powertrains.

There are a number of us on here who aren't doing full campervan build outs from the start, but doing what we can bit by bit. It's a fun process and, if you're okay with "simplicity", being able to sleep in your van on a whim is really great.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:12 AM   #4
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...Or diesel but most folks don't like them.
What makes you say that Eddy?
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:08 AM   #5
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What makes you say that Eddy?
It's the prevailing view on the forum but what do I know. I'm going to buy one anyway.
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:01 AM   #6
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I wouldn't say that at all. Most folks LOVE them and a vast majority of newer SMB owners have the 6.0, it's just that all are maintenance intensive so people get online to share info and complain about their expensive problems.


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Old 07-14-2016, 10:17 AM   #7
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I love the 7.3. That being said I seem to have the ability to break every part on it. I also love the sound and smell of that rig which most likely has something to do with being dropped on my head as a child.

It is loud but it's not boy racer rattle can loud. The van just sounds kinda angry which makes a lesser vehicle, like a prius, jetta or other such car, move out of the way.

If I could build my dream rig it would be a 7.3 or v10 e350 with Agile 4x4 as a start.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:33 AM   #8
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Annie: As far as Ford 4X4 conversions go, there are several choices from a handful of vendors...this is discussed at length here in the 4X4 section.

There are three basic configs, each with some plusses and minuses as far as beefiness and ride quality.

Solid axle/leaf springs....Ujoint SMB Advanced 4X4, etc.

Solid axle/Coil springs Quigley, Quadvan, etc

Independent front suspension (twin traction beam) Agile offroad

All will get you off road, down fire roads, etc.......how much off road capability do you think you'll need?
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:44 PM   #9
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It's the prevailing view on the forum but what do I know. I'm going to buy one anyway.
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I love the 7.3...If I could build my dream rig it would be a 7.3 or v10 e350 with Agile 4x4 as a start.
Yeah, I have to agree with CaptainVo. To me the 7.3 is the ultimate for these vans.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:50 PM   #10
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I'd start with what you need a van to do for you, your initial budget, your annual maintenance budget, and work your way backward from there.

Think of these vans kinda like a house or a sailboat, they have lots of systems, and as a result, a lot of things to maintain and occasionally brake.

If you don't plan to work on it yourself, think budget in terms of $$ to operate per year, or per mile. 4x4 is fantastic, but if you aren't going to use it, it's not worth the cost (more expensive to maintain, tires cost more, less mpg's, and more things to go wrong). Sounds like you are set on 4x4, which I'll tell ya, opens up lots of off the beaten path opportunities.

If you have the budget to purchase new, that might be the way to go. But unlike a house, there's a cost, depreciation per year to consider. Like $10k/yr for the first 3-4, then maybe $3k-$5k/year after that. They aren't maintenance or trouble free, even new. Mine's older, and hundred and 2-hundred dollars at a higher rate than my college daughters, lol!
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