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Old 11-12-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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downstream 4x4 conversion

Thanks for the feedback on using a 4x4 with a V8. What is in my mind is to buy a 2wd SMB and see how much I really need 4wd, then add it later if I need to. Is this viable strategy? Thanks.

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Old 11-12-2008, 03:23 PM   #2
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Depends on who you want to do the 4x4 conversion, and then possibly what model year the base van is. When I was initially talking with SMBw (before I bought a used conversion), they would only 4x4 convert a few model years back from the current model year. At least Quadvan didn't seem to care what model year the base van was (at least within reason I suppose).

Without 4x4, you will limit your ability to get certain places due to lack of traction and ground clearance.


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Old 11-12-2008, 04:31 PM   #3
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I think that should read "limit your ability to get out of certain places"...
and then
everything changed
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:24 PM   #4
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I can't tell from your post where you live and you don't say how you are going to use the van. It seems if you look at the Indiana Sportsmobile site and the Texas Sportsmobile site that there are way more Sportsmobiles built with two wheel drive than four wheel drive. If you have owned a 4 wheel drive pickup, think about how many times you actually put it in 4 wheel drive and you will get some kind of an indication of how much you need a 4x4. We have put 9,000 miles on ours this summer and I have put it in 4 wheel drive less than 10 times, and we tend to go way back. I have needed the ground clearance. I was at Mammoth last weekend and put it 4 wheel drive because they had chain control in effect. You will definately be able to convert it later if you choose to. We had ours done at Salem Kroger because it was too old for Sportsmobile to do it (2004) and we have been very happy with the conversion that they did. oclv
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:20 PM   #5
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Relative to converting a aware you will use up a significant amount of HP driving the 4WD drive train. If you don't need to tow and you live at and camp at lower elevations this may not be a problem. Lots of V8's have been converted to 4wd but mostly by utility companies on vans that do not carry heavy loads.
An SMB is a heavy van. I'd suggest going with a V10 or a diesel. Ultimately the V8 will have a lower up front cost of acquisition but a 4wd conversion will cost you the same as a V10 or diesel. Resale value will be lower on a V8 regardless of whether it's converted.
I think there are some V8 versus V10/diesel discussions on the forum. Check them out.
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:56 AM   #6
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Many thanks for the wise words.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:18 PM   #7
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Like mentioned above, Quadvan should take care of you should you decide to make the change down the road (Ford, right?). However, the conversion,whomever you choose, is costly. That said, my guess is you might do better finding a barely used unit that is 4x4 and call it a day. Times are tough and there are a fair amount of units out there. If you can find one on a lot (buying a vehicle from a lot is something I've never thought wise until recently), you might be in luck. Car lots are closing left and right and some will take what they can get (within reason, I suppose). For example, my folks just grabbed a very, very nice '02 V-8, loaded Land Cruiser for $13.5k off a lot. Anyway, just a thought. As far as 4x4 (most anything really): Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have my opinion.

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