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Old 01-01-2018, 07:16 PM   #1
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Newbie with questions. Advice please?

Guys I have owned 4 Express vans and I am now in the process of looking at ordering a new one but this time going 4X4. Just found this site tonight so I am sure I will be on here all night reading, and I have a ton of questions on the in's and outs of a 4X4 van. I will read as much I can here, but thought I would throw this up with a few basic questions. First off, This Van will start off as a work truck but eventually be turned into something we can use for vacation with an interior build. For now it will pull a pop up but eventually that will go bye bye....
I'm just sick of owning multiple vehicles and my hope is to build one to replace 2/3.

So to begin with, obviously there is Quigley. Seems as though they do a good conversion and this was the route I was going straight from Chevy, but tonight I stumbled into Boulder off road vans Home but know literally zero about them. Any input on them vs. Quigley or is this even anything to compare? Besides these 2, Anyone else to consider for the Express? I Think I want to stay Express for the tow ability. I'm not positive, but I am pretty sure the Express will still tow more than most (sprinters etc) plus there just fugly to me. The Express looks so good (IMO) converted.

Next question, if I go NO lift now and want to lift later, is Weld Tec the way to go and if so why? What is the major difference between having Quigley do it or Weld Tec and are there other options ot there? I ask because I need the truck for work, so I don't know if I want the lift just yet. I love the look, but I will have to load pretty heavy equipment in it for a few years so if the 3" is literally only 3" then MAYBE, but I need to research that before I bust my balls loading a truck that is too high.

Next, anyone know if there is a plow conversion for the 2500/3500 Express???

And last but not least, what is or would be a major (if any) advantage with going 3500 over 2500? I do not plan on any really heavy loads, but is there any advantage going 3500 for the build?

I'm pretty green on the topic so any input is really appreciated. I know there is a ton more I should know and about all I have looked into so far is Quigley, so feel free to throw your input in on anything I have not mentioned! I would not say I am on a unlimited budget, but I want the truck pretty loaded so I am going to order it the way I want. I would just like some input from those of you who know way more on the topic than myself.

Thanks, And Happy New Year to everyone!!!

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Old 01-02-2018, 08:45 AM   #2
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Quigley does a really nice conversion on the Chevys and keeps it low if you want. It's IFS and rides amazing I've heard. I would go with them based on your location. Boulder is a lot further from Illinois. Lots of people gripe about 'fixing' Quigleys with Agile's RIP kit, which I did myself, but this is mostly on Fords with a solid front axle.

WhitH is really pleased with his Quigley Duramax van. He had a Ford 4x before it and says the Chevy is much better all around. I'm sure there are others here who will chime in.

If you're a Chevy guy I completely understand but if you need walk around space don't rule out the Transit mid or high roof. The Ecoboost engine is a beast and will tow whatever you like. Quigley converts them as well.


Currently vanless. Weird.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:33 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot for the reply Scotty. I haven't looked much at the transit. Not a huge fan of the looks although functionality is every bit of important so I guess I really should look at it. I've just had such great luck with the Chevys over the years..... very very few problems. And I've driven some of them to 350,000 miles original drivetrain. Still ran really good just starting to rot out in the midwest here and with my work I got to have a decent looking vehicle. I have heard good about the echo boost motor but I don't know much about it. Is a pretty comparable power and torque to the 6? Obviously you can't get the Duramax anymore which bums me out although I was on the fence going diesel anyhow. I was probably just going to go 6-liter anyhow. I don't do any crazy hauling and I'm sure that motor would do me just fine. Not to mention I'm sure the cost of operating the diesel would cost a little more than the 6 liter. Plus I don't know if I want to deal with a diesel in the 10 to 15 below temperatures were experiencing right now. Sometimes my van has to sit outside
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:48 PM   #4
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I have a 2008 GMC Savana with Quigley 4x4 Sportsmobile and no current lift. It also has the 6 liter, came with 4.10 gears and auto lock rear end, and has Agile RIP Fox shocks too.

Right now I would go with Quigley for the 4x4. The 4x4 works well and is repairable by GM dealers.

I will say the front suspension sits against/at the bump stop so it needs a lift to provide more upward suspension travel.

Cheaper to get the lift up front. I don't know how Quigley accomplishes the 3 inch LIFS lift, whether blocks are used in the rear or new springs, etc. I don't know if Quigley would do a lift on my van now that it is older than 2012 and has more than 60k miles.

I'm going to go with a Weldtec lift including new rear springs. Weldtec uses a drop bracket for mounting the front suspension/differential, etc. Weldtec offers a block to raise the rear or a custom progressive spring. As I mentioned, I'm going with new springs. I will report back after the lift is complete, probably during Feb.

Not a lot of lift options for GM vans.

For me personally, I wouldn't do a van less than 3500. Weight starts adding up during a build and when loaded with people and gear. A 3500 gives you "extra" capacity without worrying about load. Just got back from a winter trip, fully loaded with winter ski/snowboard gear, 3 people and a dog. Weight was over 9140, front 3860 and rear 5280. GVWR for the van is 9600, front GAWR is 4300 and rear is 6084. GCWR is 14000.

No idea about plow conversions.

If you have any specific questions let me know.
2008 GMC 3500 Quigley Weldtec 4x4 Savana SMB
2006 BMW HP2 Enduro
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:23 PM   #5
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Expressvanman, I just bought a new express 2017 left over. I decided to go with advanced four wheel for my 4x4. Quigley is way too busy and quigley had nothing bad to say about Randy's 4x4 set up. I just sold a 2016 sprinter 4x4 to go back to a true 4wd. I drop it off in a few weeks and pick it up 2 weeks later, then making the voyage to Fresno for the pop top. Let me know if you have any questions. I did go with a 2500 extended body because it was such a great deal. They use the same rear axle and use heavier duty springs and leaf springs. If my build becomes too heavy I will add air bags in the rear or new leafs.I did go with the 3" lift to. Advanced is also gm certified
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:25 PM   #6
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A wise man once told me the MOST important part of using this site (besides TRIP REPORTS WITH LOTS OF COOL PICS) is the "search" will free you!! Thx DaveB
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:58 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=Expressvanman;218821]Thanks a lot for the reply Scotty. I haven't looked much at the transit. Not a huge fan of the looks although functionality is every bit of important so I guess I really should look at it. I've just had such great luck with the Chevys over the years..... very very few problems. And I've driven some of them to 350,000 miles original drivetrain.

Yep, I have some definite opinions here. I've always liked Chevys more than Fords. I like the interiors and the looks better, and their drivetrains are generally tougher IMO. I have driven Ford fleet vans for hundreds of thousands of miles for work, though, and if maintained they are great. Ford interiors stay together better. Every Chevy work van I've ever seen has had the door panels come to pieces in short order.

When I started fooling around with 4x's and Sportsmobiles Fords became kind of a no brainer because of availability and aftermarket support. Chevy is pretty good with this nowadays though.

My priorities are 1. stand up height and 2. everything else. That's why I bought a Transit. More room for me and more room for work cargo. No mods needed.
I am NOT a fan of the looks but it's growing on me.

As for performance I think the 3.5 Ecoboost will run circles around the 6.0 Chevy and get a lot better mileage doing it. Keep in mind I'm not biased. I've had both. I loved that Chevy 6.0 but the gas mileage sucked. I get 15 in my Transit (T350) running heavy loads (2-3k often) with oversize tires. You never know the load is there until you try to stop quickly!

Ford's new diesel (in the Transit) is proving to be trouble already. If Chevy would come out with a modern van (Euro design, though I hate the thought of what it might look like) with a small Duramax I would be very tempted to buy one. Basically I say 'Euro design' meaning taller roof like Sprinters, Transits and everything else. I'm not sure what Chevy is waiting on. They are the ONLY ones who haven't updated their design, but of course they're still selling.

If stand up height without adding a top is not as important to you then I'd say a Chevy is a phenomenal way to go.

Transit hp/torque: 310/400
Chevy 6.0 hp/torque: 360/380

Currently vanless. Weird.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:19 PM   #8
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Clydesdale out of BC Canada is another option to throw in the hat. I have no experience with them other than hearing that they make a great riding van.

Having said that, I love my Quigley. Mine was a stock height rig and as Marret mentioned the front did hit the bump stops. The great thing about these is that you can cure this by simply turning up the torsion keys in the front a little bit. You need to be conscious of the control arm and cv joint angles but there is plenty of room to gain a couple inches. Quigley can supply a 2 inch block for a couple hundred bucks. Mine sits level as such.

My only complaint was that it was a bit too soft and floaty so I stopped by Agile for custom tuned FOX shocks a few weeks ago and I’m totally thrilled. I HIGHLY recommend these shocks to anyone with full size van by the way.

Weldtec can supply a 3 inch lift kit, and I’m not sure if Quigley would sell their kit for retrofit to one of their vans or not.

My setup as I have it now tows great, goes down the highway great, and is great around town. I’m super happy. Oh, and I’ve loaded it up with over 2000 lbs of stuff a number of times and set off down the Interstate and could barely tell it was there.

I may still go up one more inch at some point so I can put 33 inch tires on it but I’m not sure. The new rear progressive leaf pack in the rear does sound appealing to as the rear is a bit stiff when it’s empty but all these vans are. Quigley uses a 3 inch block in the rear for their lifted vans but also has a 2 inch block available as I mentioned.
2015 Chevy Express 3500 Duramax
w/ Quigley 4x4 & Agile Fox shocks
Sold 2005 E350 Chateau
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:25 AM   #9
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Boulder off Road builds a very stout 4X4 for the Chevy’s.
They do great work, in fact my rig is there now for a bit of an overhaul, I may be having them build out a full float rear end.

'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
SMB RB50 w/CCV top
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile RIP kit

'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
CCV High Profile Pop Top
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