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Old 11-13-2016, 07:20 PM   #11
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Take this for what it's worth, which may not be much ahah. We used to think 4x4 was a must and are primarily climbing out of our rig with the occasional mountain bike trip. We get about 60 nights a year in our van. Really there aren't many climbing areas that are true 4x4 areas. I mean if you aren't going to Wolf Point or Baldwin Creek in Lander, The Meat Wall in Indian Creek, or a few other niche spots you'll be okay with 2wd and one size bigger tire for ground clearance. I'd suggest finding the nicest rig you can then saving for a 4x4 conversion. Finding a 2wd rig will allow you a much nicer/newer rig due to the high resale of 4x4 rigs. The technology has gotten lots better and more companies are converting these days. You'll end up with a better rig if you choose the van, then conversion company. Just my .02 from a climber who's had both a 4x4 van and now a 2wd van. We reside in Wyoming, just for reference.
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Old 11-13-2016, 07:37 PM   #12
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Take this for what it's worth, which may not be much ahah. We used to think 4x4 was a must and are primarily climbing out of our rig with the occasional mountain bike trip. We get about 60 nights a year in our van. Really there aren't many climbing areas that are true 4x4 areas. I mean if you aren't going to Wolf Point or Baldwin Creek in Lander, The Meat Wall in Indian Creek, or a few other niche spots you'll be okay with 2wd and one size bigger tire for ground clearance. I'd suggest finding the nicest rig you can then saving for a 4x4 conversion. Finding a 2wd rig will allow you a much nicer/newer rig due to the high resale of 4x4 rigs. The technology has gotten lots better and more companies are converting these days. You'll end up with a better rig if you choose the van, then conversion company. Just my .02 from a climber who's had both a 4x4 van and now a 2wd van. We reside in Wyoming, just for reference.
Best,
C.
Good advice, yeah I've priced out the UJOR conversion/kit, talked to Denver Fleet and might even give a ring to Agile...they all seem good, just depends what coast I end up buing a rig from.

We're planning to spend most of our time in Canada, and a lot of the free camping areas are down some pretty difficult trails/fire roads. Our friends that did it last year said they wished they had 4x4 (though a good lift, tires and an airlocker and knowing how to drive would probably be sweet).

The other thing is that I'm trying to get a rig that I won't have to do much on. I'll be in Baltimore for a month or so (after a season of splitboarding in Niseko...), and while I'll have access to a good shop with a lift, I'd rather not spend the time rushing to build something or do a 4x4 conversion myself when I could be hanging out with my parents. Even though I've SASed a few trucks, I'd rather drop this off to someone to get done this time. Doing some maintenance, fixing little problems is fine though.


PS I tried to post some cool photos, but whenever I do it tells me my post needs to get reviewed.
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Old 11-13-2016, 08:03 PM   #13
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Sportsmobile Forum - SirMrManGuy's Album: Adventure photos

See if that works
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Old 11-13-2016, 09:49 PM   #14
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I just found this on ebay. It's a little high on the buy it now price based what you're trying to spend. However, this is a great engine and transmission. The van itself is also pretty sweet. 2004 Chinook Sport 2100 Rv BAJA edition NO RESERVE | eBay
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Old 11-13-2016, 09:49 PM   #15
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And also, I hear you on not doing much and I think your logic is sound for sure.
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Old 11-13-2016, 10:29 PM   #16
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PS I tried to post some cool photos, but whenever I do it tells me my post needs to get reviewed.
Takes an admin to approve specific posts/links depending on your membership status. Sorry some times it takes a bit of time.
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:03 AM   #17
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And also, I hear you on not doing much and I think your logic is sound for sure.
I'm gonna help you guys out here. I found a mid 90s 4x4 unicorn. Love it. The FANTASY of not doing much work on a 20 year old van with low mileage is a lovely thought.

These are domestic vans (Ford and Chevy) from the 90s. These aren't bulletproof Toyotas from that era. Even with low mileage these vans have all sorts of problems. First generation OBDII, early airbags, weak transmissions, Quigley custom parts, and that is just the start.

You will be lucky to find a van that has gotten proper routine maintenance. Most owners used their Sportsmobiles occassionally. They had disposable income but little common sense on maintenance. They don't bring them to dealerships where they do multi point checks. So things like brake pads, differential fluid, ball joints, and coolant don't get checked. They don't bring them to RV dealers so things like proper winterization and generator maintenance get overlooked. They don't rotate tires. Things break and they throw money at it hoping to be fixed.

I have 2 giant folders of receipts for my Sportsmobiles and the amount of silly things that break on domestic vans makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

So don't get your hopes up that a 20 year old domestic van will need little to no maintenance. You can certainly try, you might get away with it for a year or two but then it will all catch up to you and it will get expensive. (or some DIY schmuck like me will buy it from you and will waste all his fall weekends catching up on the maintenance you ignored)

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Old 11-14-2016, 11:38 AM   #18
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I personally think your budget is a little on the low side for what you are looking for. Most clean mid 90's SMB's are at least in the mid teens when it comes to price and that's for a 2wd. If you want to add 4x4 to it, you'll probably spend around $15k for the system and wheels/tires.

There are definitely some good deals that come along, but seeing as how you are in NZ at the moment and not readily accessible to looking at the van or even calling (time difference), it will be tough to jump on a deal that pops up. A seller might be nervous dealing with someone from a different country since there are so many scam attempts on craigslist.

Not trying to dampen your mood, just giving my personal opinion of what I've witnessed with the used market of these SMB's. On a lighter note, if you did find a killer deal on a 2wd SMB, it would be nice to start your trip with a fresh 4x4 system with brand new front suspension. That's a perk of getting a new system installed...you wont have to chase bad parts and replace on an older/used system.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:49 AM   #19
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I'm gonna help you guys out here. I found a mid 90s 4x4 unicorn. Love it. The FANTASY of not doing much work on a 20 year old van with low mileage is a lovely thought.

These are domestic vans (Ford and Chevy) from the 90s. These aren't bulletproof Toyotas from that era. Even with low mileage these vans have all sorts of problems. First generation OBDII, early airbags, weak transmissions, Quigley custom parts, and that is just the start.

You will be lucky to find a van that has gotten proper routine maintenance. Most owners used their Sportsmobiles occassionally. They had disposable income but little common sense on maintenance. They don't bring them to dealerships where they do multi point checks. So things like brake pads, differential fluid, ball joints, and coolant don't get checked. They don't bring them to RV dealers so things like proper winterization and generator maintenance get overlooked. They don't rotate tires. Things break and they throw money at it hoping to be fixed.

I have 2 giant folders of receipts for my Sportsmobiles and the amount of silly things that break on domestic vans makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

So don't get your hopes up that a 20 year old domestic van will need little to no maintenance. You can certainly try, you might get away with it for a year or two but then it will all catch up to you and it will get expensive. (or some DIY schmuck like me will buy it from you and will waste all his fall weekends catching up on the maintenance you ignored)


Gotta chime in with a +2 agreement here.....
These are quite often (as simplesez pointed out) late-in-life retirees who don't want to spend their time maintaining things (or know how necessarily, they just want to roam around in as carefree a fashion as possible and do the minimum amount of worrying about their "mobile retirement house" (which, in fairness, started out brand-new with them, and didn't need much attention for a while....) And I can't blame them, not entirely. If I was newly-retired, and not necessarily mechanically-inclined, I wouldn't want to suddenly be having to learn to worry about keeping a somewhat-complicated camper van maintained.

I bought a low-miles '95 (only 70k on the clock).....and even with the previous two owners' "complete maintenance history" folder of receipts, the van turned out to be a rat's nest of deferred (read: utterly neglected) maintenance and sobering outright mistreated machinery.

If the last owner could "fix" something with black masking tape (not even gorilla tape), then that was pretty much the extent of much of his "maintenance."

To date, I can't even begin to list all the ignored maintenance items I've had to redo, the expensive repairs required to the ABS system, the ruined brake rotors that never got turned in their life, the dry-rotted 11-year-old tires (which I was assured only had 5,000 miles on them, ha!)....then, due to the last guy towing a car behind him everywhere to/from Baja and hammering the van up/down some pretty rough roads, I've had the failing transmission rebuilt (not cheap to do it properly on these older (and again, as simplesez identified, weaker older versions of the e4od transmission that still had aluminum carriers).....dude, I'm just getting started with my list of expensive item repairs that have soaked my wallet on my "low miles creampuff".....

But don't get me wrong.
I'd do it all over again without hesitating
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Old 11-14-2016, 12:15 PM   #20
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