Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-03-2017, 09:48 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Los Gatos, CA
Posts: 9
If you had a well used van, would you invest in a pop-top?

As some may know, I just bought a very used E350 for pretty cheap (in-law deal). It's a 2007 with 210,000 miles on it. My plan was to turn it into a sweet camper but now starting to second guess myself a little. I think it needs a pop-top for ultimate comfort but that is a $10k investment on a $1500 Van.

The shop I took it to said it (van) is in pretty darn good shape but 210,000 miles has me thinking....things are likely going to start going.

So my question...am I crazy to start dumping big money into this? Maybe I just do a simple build and dream of a sweet rig down the road.

Torn. What do you think?
__________________

squashyo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 09:58 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Pntyrmvr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: GTA, Ontario
Posts: 898
Buy a used top. $2000 or so. Hard to find, but not impossible.


"Talk is cheap. Whiskey costs money."
__________________

__________________
"Talk is cheap. Whiskey costs money."
Pntyrmvr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 10:12 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
BrianBlair's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Silverado, CA
Posts: 442
Fixed top!

Buy a fixed top from MSD. You'll be into if for way less and fixed tops are awesome.
BrianBlair is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 10:25 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 181
Agreemsg with the above. Use it as a base for a fixed top or home-built but don't drop that kinda money into a new top.

You'll learn *a lot* about what you like/don't like in layouts and about the various systems you'd install (water, electric, etc) that you can use for your next build.
Pritikin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 10:48 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Flux's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 1,389
You could probably find a junkyard fixed top and save again.

And I fully agree that after you build one you will have a list of "what I would do different". You will also hone your homebuild skills, end up with tons of tools you never had, and a few boxes of various leftover parts.
__________________
<br>
Tim - 2013 EB V10 Agile 4x4 SMB PH Ginger Army All Terrain Mobile HQ
Flux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 12:13 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 147
Agree with "what I would do different" likely experience. Don't get too caught up in the "build" craze. You can get away with very little. Personally, I don't see how an extended body van doesn't have enough room for you. Think you may be looking at too many build threads and thinking "I want that too" but do you really need it? In most cases you do not.

I would not put any amount of money into it without first camping in it as is just to see how it may or may not work. A pop top or high top will not do anything that a tent can't do unless your actually running some kind of trade shop out of the van and need the extra headroom and shelving. I recommend buying a tent and just trying it out. If you want to sleep in the van use the tent to store cargo to allow more space to sleep. If you want more headroom get a taller tent like a Kodiak and sleep in it. A roof top tent may also be a good option and unlike pop top's they actually hold their value and can typically be used on more than one model of vehicle.

Until you really get into camping out of the van I would only invest in items that will hold their value and can be used for a long time with or without the van like say a good portable refrigerator. For the $10K you will pay for a pop top you will come out much better selling your existing van and buying a used class b van for $10-15K.
__________________
2002 Chevy 3/4 ton Explorer Conversion Van with Quigley IFS.
TexomaPowerboater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 12:25 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 290
So I found a poptop and installed it myself and in the process of a buildout. I put a hightop on a friends van for him. “If I were to do it again” I would opt for the hightop. Much cheaper and so much more room all the time. Not just when popped.
Nrobert10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 12:47 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
MountainBikeRoamer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: OrangeCounty, CA
Posts: 1,251
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pritikin View Post
Agree msg with the above. Use it as a base for a fixed top or home-built but don't drop that kinda money into a new top.

You'll learn *a lot* about what you like/don't like in layouts and about the various systems you'd install (water, electric, etc) that you can use for your next build.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flux View Post
You could probably find a junkyard fixed top and save again.

And I fully agree that after you build one you will have a list of "what I would do different". You will also hone your homebuild skills, end up with tons of tools you never had, and a few boxes of various leftover parts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexomaPowerboater View Post
Agree with "what I would do different" likely experience.

Until you really get into camping out of the van I would only invest in items that will hold their value and can be used for a long time with or without the van like say a good portable refrigerator. For the $10K you will pay for a pop top you will come out much better selling your existing van and buying a used class b van for $10-15K.
Great thread!!!

As is being said by these smart guys above ----
---- whatever you ultimately decide to invest your time and attention into, your first van will be your first (and best) teacher of what you really do and don't want out of van.

Mistakes will be made (which are really awesome learning experiences in disguise), fun will be had, you'll spend some money on things you ultimately didn't need or want (but you can write off that money as "tuition" in new kinds of life knowledge), it's all good.

If there's an ultimate pattern that seems to emerge with many long-time owners of these rigs, its that there's often a trend towards "less is more" --- a simpler rig that gets done what you need, in comfort and capability, but without all the extras that end up taxing you with lots of complicated upkeep and maintenance. A "transformer" rig setup that perhaps also allows you to use the van in lots of other different ways (besides just camping out of) can become attractive over time too.

Enjoy the journey!!!!
__________________
Mike T
___________________
'95 Ford E250 RB30 PH
MountainBikeRoamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 01:34 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Flux's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 1,389
Texoma brings up some really good points. I did my build using the template of a transformer type. I did know what I need because sleeping 4 is a requirement, so pop top it was. But I didn't limit my budget and got in deep. No big deal as it was part of the plan.

But yeah, maybe just build a wood platform and go camp a weekend and spend time in there thinking about what you would want and what you want to do with it.

My criteria was 4x4 and sleep 4. Everything else is just daydreaming and extras. Now I have a house battery, heater, and 12 volt cooler fridge. It's awesome. At a certain point I also starting employing my backpacking experience with small items that have a big impact. Stove, cookset, tools, etc.

I too like the less is more. My excursions are to get away from the clutter of everyday life and enjoy some simple conveniences
__________________
<br>
Tim - 2013 EB V10 Agile 4x4 SMB PH Ginger Army All Terrain Mobile HQ
Flux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 01:40 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 4,311
That's really not that many miles.

If you buy a more expensive van with less miles, you end up with a more expensive van.


I have almost 450,000 hard miles, and when I see how much newer vans are going for, I pretty much figure I might as well try stretching mine out a little longer. Not like its going to lose any more value...
__________________

__________________
2000 E350 extended wagon dually
V10 w/ Banks Powerpack, Diablo Predator
Buckstop Outback bumper/grill guard
Reunel rear bumper
carringb is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:07 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×