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Old 02-27-2017, 10:09 AM   #1
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Help: difference between 4x4 systems

I'm a newbie, shopping for an affordable pre-owned 4x4 Sportsmobile.
I have seen vans offered that seem to offer various different 4x4 systems.

I'm not a rock-crawler guy, so long-travel isn't a big conern, but I do need good snow, mud, and soft-sand capability.....so, here's my question(s):

Are there big differences for general off-road and on-road performance and reliability between a Quigley 4x4, the Atlas system, and whatever system "Advanced" uses?
- note, I'm looking at E350 vans.

Sorry for being such a newb..

Dave
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:48 AM   #2
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Without going into detail I will add a couple more systems:

Ujoint Offroad Leaf Sprung

Expovans Coil Sprung ( Also available from Ujoint)

Agile Offroad TTB

These listed above will be somewhat superior to the others you mentioned and are preferred systems. If you are shopping used, you may want to consider buying a used stock van and having them convert it for you. If you buy any of the three you listed, you will want to contact Agile Offroad and get an improvement kit. The three you mentioned have low bumpstop clearance and very poor road manners for the most part. A proper set of shocks, springs, and steering dampeners would be required to get rid of the harsh ride and improve the bottoming out effect, over-steer and wobble.

I was a newb to this in July. Bought a used stock E350. Had Agile-Offroad convert it for me, and now have a terrific setup IFS - Twin Traction Beam type setup. I can't comment on Ujoint and Expo as to how they drive, but they are absolutely the best of the best for straight axle conversions and are active on these forums and Expedition Portal.

There are others here who know a lot a lot a lot more than me. I can answer more questions on the Agile Conversion if you like.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:16 AM   #3
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Can I ask....what was the approximate cost for your 4wd conversion out the door? Including all components,,,shocks, springs, any modifications, etc.
Thanks
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by davewadd View Post
Can I ask....what was the approximate cost for your 4wd conversion out the door? Including all components,,,shocks, springs, any modifications, etc.
Thanks
Depends, on the van, the converter, but ballpark $15-18k.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:28 AM   #5
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What rallypanam said.

One thing you will have though is a top notch 4x4 system that is brand new. So you really have to weigh buying a used 4X4 system or getting a used van and converting it.

But you should drive any used van in a bunch of scenarios. When I took my van down to be converted, I drove the owners van and was sold right there.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:29 AM   #6
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Thanks... That's about what I thought.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:42 AM   #8
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Certainly converting a van is a good option, but nothing wrong with Quigley or SMB conversions. They may not have the best ride from the factory, but can be improved.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davewadd View Post
I'm a newbie, shopping for an affordable pre-owned 4x4 Sportsmobile.
I have seen vans offered that seem to offer various different 4x4 systems.

I'm not a rock-crawler guy, so long-travel isn't a big conern, but I do need good snow, mud, and soft-sand capability.....so, here's my question(s):

Are there big differences for general off-road and on-road performance and reliability between a Quigley 4x4, the Atlas system, and whatever system "Advanced" uses?
- note, I'm looking at E350 vans.

Sorry for being such a newb..

Dave
You have found the home of Ford 4 wheel drive van guys. No better place. No better advice. Don't apologize for being a noob. We're glad to have you.
The other place to learn is the 4wd camper van section at Expedition Portal, but you will find much less biased advice here.

I'll throw out my answer though the ones you've gotten are good and more will come.

"Are there big differences for general off-road and on-road performance and reliability between a Quigley 4x4, the Atlas system, and whatever system "Advanced" uses?"

No. And these are all 3 what you would expect to find in an older SMB or offroad (Ford) camper van. They do the job but can all be improved.

The second three are newer to the game and offer an arguably superior product, but also cater to those wanting to pay for such.

I never had any trouble getting anywhere I wanted to go with a 6" lifted 1995 Quigley SMB.

Welcome. Keep reading.

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Old 02-27-2017, 11:59 AM   #10
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I did a lot of research before doing my 4x4 conversion. Most of the shops will tell you that a conversion will cost you about $13,000 or $14,000. The reality is that the $13 or $14K is the cost of the base conversion, but it does not cover all of the additional items that are generally unavoidable when you do a conversion. This includes wheels, tires, bushwackers, rear axle gear ratio change, fuel tank modifications, the occasional bearing, and a few more this and thats that happen along the way.

Every shop breaks things down differently, and includes different items in their base cost, but the bottom line is that in the present market--after obtaining quotes from four different shops that specialize in Ford vans and are well-known in the industry--it was my observation that all of the shops are very similar in price, and the real-world, out the door cost of a 4x4 conversion is about $18,000. When all was said and done, my final tab was just under $19K.

I started my project with a budget of $13K for a conversion, and a slush fund of $2K--this was based on extensive phone conversations with multiple shops--and I thought I had everything covered. After I bought my 2WD van, I went back to those same shops and obtained quotes on paper, and made sure that every detail was covered. It was only then that I discovered the true cost of the project. This is not to say that any of those shops attempted to deceive me during initial conversations. I don't think they did. It is to say, however, that none of them fully identified all of the costs until they sent me actual quotes.

Bottom line, from my perspective (and, of course, all of this depends on many factors, including the condition of, and the existing equipment on, the van that you are converting): if you have $15K to spend, you probably will come up short. If you have $20K in the kitty, you'll probably have something left when you are done.
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