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Old 05-02-2015, 08:33 AM   #1
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250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

I'm looking for a gas (not diesel) E250 or E350 2wd and converting it to 4x4… or 2500/3500 GM

What are the issues/ pros/ cons dealing with the two. Is there a certain engine/body combinations that makes the conversion more difficult? Where am I going to be seriously underpowered? I tow maybe 7500lbs, but rarely. And in Florida we don't have those pesky hills.

…for example I drive an 8.1L chevy 2500 - my tires rub like crazy, but in this model with this engine, apparently the body lift kits are all custom. Nothing is made for the 8.1 - it's just too rare for bulk production. I'm trying to avoid a similar mistake…

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-02-2015, 09:07 AM   #2
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

In 2005 and 2006, the V10 came with the 5r110 transmissions which don't have to be pulled when converting to 4x4. Newer model vans with the V10 may also come with that transmission, but I'm not versed in them.

More companies offer 4x4 conversions for the Ford E series platform. I think only Quigley offers a conversion for the GM vans. Theres way more support and aftermarket for the E series vans.
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Old 05-02-2015, 10:32 AM   #3
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

I can't speak to 4x4, but my previous SMB was an E-250 RB with the 5.4 V8. Weight came in at around 7,600# fully loaded for travel, and I towed a ~4,500# trailer. With this combination I was close to my GVWR and GAWR. Not over, but close. I had no problems towing (although took it out of OD often - E4OD), and it felt like a well matched/balanced combination. I was in second gear when topping big mountain passes, but I found that acceptable.

That said, after adding the weight of a 4 x 4 conversion and larger tires, etc. I would have been overweight just towing the 4,500#. And even in 2WD trim, I could not have towed 7,500# without going WAY over my GAWR and GVWR.

So my feeling is that the E-250/5.4 was nicely matched for a 2WD RB SMB, even towing up to around 5,000#. But any more (EB, lots of passengers, more trailer, etc.) and I would have wanted an E-350 (and maybe the V-10, although maybe not as I am tolerant of "underpowered" vehicles).

PS: Don't count on the "towing weight" rating and/or just subtracting the GVWR from the GCWR. These will both yield large numbers that you "can" tow, but in reality they would only (maybe even) apply to an empty, stripped van with a waif driving it. In reality GAWR (rear) and GVWR will be maxed out long before you get to those somewhat mythical former figures - especially with any kind of camper conversion. At least that is what I have found in various E-vehicles (and others too, to be fair).
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:30 AM   #4
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikracer
More companies offer 4x4 conversions for the Ford E series platform. I think only Quigley offers a conversion for the GM vans. Theres way more support and aftermarket for the E series vans.
http://boulderoffroadvans.com
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:06 AM   #5
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

CarringB, Ujoint and BajaSportsmobile are a few of the 4X4 and chassis experts here.......perhaps they will chime in.

Starting in 2008, the E150 got 8 lug wheels and bigger brakes like the E250/350's. The frame cross section/stiffness is smaller on the 150 than the 350.......I'm not the expert on this but I suspect the 150 and 250 may share the same frame.....maybe not.....

Some E350's have factory full floating rear axles, some have semi-float. The 150 and 250 typically have semi-float rear axles.

For later model year Econolines, the E150 is passenger/window van only with a 4.6L, the E250 is cargo only with a 4.6L or a 5.4L, and the E350 comes window or cargo with a 5.4L or the V10.

All that being said, they can all be converted to 4WD with similar effort.

Conversions vary, Ramsey/Bajasportsmobile does Dana 50 twin traction beam; this offers additional suspension travel while keeping the ride height low if that is something that may be important to you. His shop is in San Diego and there are members here with his conversion.

Chris at Ujoint does leaf spring conversions and there are folks here with his conversions. Chris is on the east coast.

Quadvan is in Oregon, and uses Ford 4X4 truck running gear so it's all ford.

Quigley is another, and uses coils instead of leaf springs.

There are a few others as well, like Advanced 4x4 in Salt Lake City.

Sportsmobile may or may not do a conversion depending on the age of the van; they use an Atlas transfer case instead of the typical New Process 271, and a Dynatrack dana 60 style axle.

There are a few threads in the 4X4 section covering the differences in the various conversions.

If you just want 2WD and a lift kit, the two common choices are Action van and Camburg, both in So Cal.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:31 AM   #6
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

I posted this link as a new thread a while back, but never got any traction. Here it is again for your viewing pleasure.......a complete? list of all the 4X4 converters and van up fitters across the country, enjoy......
http://thundersgarage.weebly.com/links.html
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:42 AM   #7
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
Conversions vary, Ramsey/Bajasportsmobile does Dana 44 twin traction beam;
I may be mistaken, but I believe Ramsey is using the Dana 50 TTB and not the D44 on most if not all of his conversions.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:17 AM   #8
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallDee
Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
Conversions vary, Ramsey/Bajasportsmobile does Dana 44 twin traction beam;
I may be mistaken, but I believe Ramsey is using the Dana 50 TTB and not the D44 on most if not all of his conversions.
yeah… let's pretend I don't know how to change the oil on a lawnmower…
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

In that case.....TTB=twin traction beam, 50 being a greater number than 44 would indicate a heavier duty, or greater load capacity part
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:34 AM   #10
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Re: 250 vs 350, 4x4 conversion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
CarringB, Ujoint and BajaSportsmobile are a few of the 4X4 and chassis experts here.......perhaps they will chime in.

Starting in 2008, the E150 got 8 lug wheels and bigger brakes like the E250/350's. The frame cross section/stiffness is smaller on the 150 than the 350.......I'm not the expert on this but I suspect the 150 and 250 may share the same frame.....maybe not.....

Some E350's have factory full floating rear axles, some have semi-float. The 150 and 250 typically have semi-float rear axles.

For later model year Econolines, the E150 is passenger/window van only with a 4.6L, the E250 is cargo only with a 4.6L or a 5.4L, and the E350 comes window or cargo with a 5.4L or the V10.

All that being said, they can all be converted to 4WD with similar effort.

Conversions vary, Ramsey/Bajasportsmobile does Dana 44 twin traction beam; this offers additional suspension travel while keeping the ride height low if that is something that may be important to you. His shop is in San Diego and there are members here with his conversion.

Chris at Ujoint does leaf spring conversions and there are folks here with his conversions. Chris is on the east coast.

Quadvan is in Oregon, and uses Ford 4X4 truck running gear so it's all ford.

Quigley is another, and uses coils instead of leaf springs.

There are a few others as well, like Advanced 4x4 in Salt Lake City.

Sportsmobile may or may not do a conversion depending on the age of the van; they use an Atlas transfer case instead of the typical New Process 271, and a Dynatrack dana 60 style axle.

There are a few threads in the 4X4 section covering the differences in the various conversions.

If you just want 2WD and a lift kit, the two common choices are Action van and Camburg, both in So Cal.
Hey, thank you.

I'm in FL, so if Chris will have me - he seems like a good option. His reviews from SM and from this site are quite good…

2WD… I just can't. It's a good option, I know… but… I just can't. I've never owned a 2WD anything, it just wouldn't feel right…

From a layman's perspective, I know that some of the earlier model (ford/chevy) pickups shared the same frame between 150/250 or 250/350 - which is why I'm asking the questions… Also, I know some of the combinations (AKA 8.1 2002 4x4 chevy) were just not produced in volume, so the support is non-existent.

Also, I'm not a 'ford' guy, but understand their support probably makes it a necessity. If I can buy a E250 and 'beef it up' to be essentially a E350k, that's great. If it's a fundamental difference, I'd prefer just to go 350, albeit it limits my options finding a conversion...

Does that make sense? I'm trying to understand the differences so that I don't buy a Pinto make it 4x4 and not understand why none wants to buy it...
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