Some of y'all already know this but I'm already deep into the process of designing a 4x4 conversion for the Ford Transits. We custom ordered a short wheelbase, medium roof, Ecoboost wagon back in October '16 and picked it up from the dealer in January of this year.
Since then I've put almost 6000 miles on it already and I absolutely love it!
Earlier this year, I obtained a cache of Transit CAD files and the huge task of sorting through the OEM CAD data started. I picked out all of the relevant parts and geometry I'd need to design the 4x4 components and have a large assembly model configured for my custom part designs. I've also been hoarding parts that I know I'll need along the way for mocking up the suspension. Fully committed at this point, there's no turning back.
I've spent a good deal of time under a Quigley and Quadvan and they certainly have their ways of going about things. I'm using a similar approach in some areas and different approach in others. That will become clearer as I progress. The transmission to transfer case adaptation isn't an area for any radical new approach. Both Quigley and Quadvan do something similar and I don't see myself too far off from where they are with that. I do think there are big improvements that can be made for the subframe and control arms and a few other areas. Even the struts are begging for some improvement.
Some of my goals with the Transit 4x4 system:
-Retain the excellent road manners of the Transit
-Where possible, use genuine Ford parts
-Custom parts to be non-serviceable items (for example, the suspension cradle/subframe)
-Greater suspension travel than current offerings
-More tire size choices than currently available (Iím planning to use 265/70-17 or our test rig)
-ESOF transfer case optional (electronic shift-on-the-fly)
-Easy installation (1-2 days at most)
A lot of decisions for the prototype build have already been made. One being the tires and wheels...
LT265/70-17 Cooper Discoverer ST/Maxx on Method "Standard" 17x7.5 wheels. I'm really glad wheel manufacturers are stepping up and making wheels for the Transit. When they first came out you couldn't get anything that looked decent. Now there are about a dozen choices that look pretty good. I'm a fan of the Method wheels...this is the same style as the Cummins van, except these are black.
This is NOT being designed to be a DIY installation. I have a few shops around the country that are interested in being installers though so we can reach a wider audience.
It's difficult to predict my workload for the summer but I hope to have the prototype van running a complete 4x4 system very soon. Much like my E-series coil conversion parts, things can actually move very quickly when there is a market for the parts. I feel that there's a huge market for these Transit systems and we're going for it. I've been working with another Expo member (Bdyer) and an engineering school buddy to sort through the decisions and help with various tasks during the design/prototyping phases. Then once in production, Jsweezy will help crank out 4x4 conversions just like he's helping with the E-series stuff. We also have tons of ideas for interior and exterior product lines. Those parts will be detailed out as we move along.
I've been publishing a newsletter of sorts to a growing list of folks who inquire about 4x4 Transits through our website expovans.com. I'll post some of the same stuff here but probably an abbreviated version. You can send me an email via the website if you wish to be added to the list.
If you have any questions about the conversion itself, components, timeline, waiting list, pricing (I don't have this yet, I'll have a better idea in the coming months), please feel free to ask.