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Old 09-02-2013, 01:58 PM   #11
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

On the subject of engines don't forget the humble 4.2L 6 cylinder. It gets very good MPG (in comparison to it's bigger brothers).
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:15 PM   #12
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

What sort of make/model/year might I target to find a 6 cylinder van?

SJ
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:56 PM   #13
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

If new, and if you're looking at Sportsmobile conversions, then the Sprinter. Six cylinder diesel.

If looking used for Sportsmobile conversions, also Sprinter. Not many full sized vans with 6 cylinder engines, and none by Ford since maybe the late 90s?

A smaller engine in a standard SMB (Sportsmobile) conversion would be pretty stressed, unless diesel, like the Sprinters. They do appear bigger, but in fact they have a good turning radius and aren't as ungainly as they may appear.

I get the impression you're looking for something smaller than a SMB. There are still lots of VWs out there, but they're getting harder to find and have some obvious disabilities. And don't even think about Eurovans. But check this page out; this dude is one sick van fan:

http://zenseeker.net/Kid/AdventureVan.htm

I think he wound up with a SMB, but boy did he find some cool vans (octopup?)

And I've been wondering about the backpacker eurotrash Burner rental specials I've been seeing lately, like Jucy and Wicked (if you're old here's what I'm talking 'bout: http://www.examiner.com/article/jucy-re ... s-by-storm). Somebody is converting those vans, ususally mini vans, probably with FWD (front wheel drive) and V-6s, and maybe you can find out who does it. Some are rather nice, and I think one of them may even offer 4x4. If you find out, let us know. I haven't been able to.

Rob
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:14 PM   #14
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

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Originally Posted by catinmoon
..For example, I'd really like to find a shorter length, smaller engine, 4 or (front wheel -does that exist?) van with lots of windows. ...
If you specifically want a Sportsmobile brand camper conversion, you would have to go back into dim history to get a shorter length smaller engine. For the last 25 years or so, the Ford or Chevy 138 inch wheelbase (RB) is the shortest. The Sprinter comes in several lengths but the shortest Sportsmobile Sprinter was about the same length as the Ford RB.

If you are interested in other brands of camper conversions or some type of Do It Yourself, there are a couple more options. Sprinter did make a "shorty" van about 24 inches shorter than the standard unit. It had a 5 cylinder diesel (maybe a very few gasoline ones running around) and rear wheel drive only. It only came in a standard height roof.

The Chevy Astro/GMC Safari van was made for several years. It was about 24" shorter than the standard Ford and a little narrower. It came in rear wheel drive or All Wheel Drive and had a 6 cylinder engine. Several conversion companies made campers and some can still be found used, including ones with pop tops. This one is probably your best bet based on the criteria you listed. Not available new.

There is a company in Canada that makes camper conversions for front wheel drive minivans like the Toyota Sienna, which was available with all wheel drive at times.

Can't forget the Volkwagen vans - the old bus, the Vanagon, and the Eurovan. All were made into campers at various times by various companies. There is a thriving market in rebuilt Vanagon camper vans, including retrofits with Subaru engines. The Vanagon and Eurovan were available with 4 wheel drive.

And lately there have been rumors of new Euro type vans - the Fiat type by Dodge and the Ford type by Ford. They all have small engines. The Fiat is front wheel drive. Don't know about the Ford. None are available with 4 wheel drive in the USA.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:24 PM   #15
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

thanks again for all the ideas. I looked at and drove several vw vans, even rented a westfalia for a trip to No. Cal, but as much as I like the layout and the size of them I just don't see them as a reliable alternative for someone such as myself who is not mechanically ambitious. Although I did once fix my Datsun 810 station wagon on the side of the interstate in Louisiana with a hairpin, no lie, got me back to Baton Rouge. But they don't make cars that simple anymore.

I also set myself up to rent an Escape campervan, when we showed up at the rental place they couldn't get it started. So regardless of what that indicates, I didn't get a chance to fully experience that, except from my rear view mirror as I drove off (wait, wait we got it running!) -- no thanks, not where I am heading.

So you are all very intuitive, but everytime I see a SMB I think it seems the perfect solution -- dependable, sturdy, packs a lot into a little. However I am also open to learning more about the alternatives, for example any links to the Canadian company that does the conversions?

I appreciate folks' time listening.

SJ
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:38 PM   #16
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

Maybe a Roadtrek?

http://www.roadtrek.com/dealer_locator.aspx
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:16 AM   #17
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

Quote:
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Don't just blame Ford; we're under pressure to be Euro in design by good ole uncle sam. Hell it won't be long and this will be the accepted style of pickups
Do want.
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:23 AM   #18
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

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However I am also open to learning more about the alternatives, for example any links to the Canadian company that does the conversions?
GTRV

or import something that is like +15 years old, there are several members- some even in good standing!
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:47 AM   #19
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

I thought I read somewhere that Sportsmobile will also retrofit a van if you bring it to them --- or am I imagining that. My guess is that it would be more cost effective to find one already modified that meets or closely meets my wants.

SJ
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:55 AM   #20
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Re: Newbie question about the Lingo

Depends on which site, what their work load is, and how old the vehicle is. SMBW has been putting tops on older vehicles.
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