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Old 12-15-2019, 09:02 AM   #11
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Aside from inspecting the installed components like you would any other auto here are a few indicators that might give clues to the OP question.

How many miles does the conversion have?
There is a certain famous white movie themed van that has gone through a couple owners and not many miles on it since conversion. I heard complaints of bucking on the interstate over expansion joints, sustaining speeds over 75 can be brutal, brakes suck, noisy, etc.
In contrast, my van which has an unpopular E350 conversion ride height and tire size has had 56K miles since conversion. Every type of driving, from 85 down the freeway, crawlin dirt trails, snow covered ski resort mountain roads, daily driving and parallel parking, pulling trailer loads, etc.
I'm never afraid to drive it.
I think it would be easy to confuse "if its installed properly" with "Is it set up well" (or set up to do what you want to do).
What do the tires look like?

The worn out tire in this photo was removed from my 2006 Ujoint DIY, 8000lb van after 50K miles, (it went on another conversion to go another 5K, the Toyo AT2 is a 50K mile tire). I have never got such even wear on a set of truck tires. The conversion has never seen an alignment rack, the tires have never seen a balancing machine. It says a lot about whether it was installed or set up properly.

If a seller cant speak this language and/or hasn't put many miles on the conversion its likely either, not installed properly or not set up properly. The conversion isn't really something you blindly do without attention to details.
Other wise you cant know what problems lurk ahead.
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Old 12-16-2019, 06:03 AM   #12
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Excellent question and one of the reasons that I've started to restrict "partial" kits recently. I've seen some customers install kits to the level that we do, I've seen others be cheap and hodge podge certain things and then try to pass them off as either completely built by us or another professional. So, we only sell complete kits now to try and weed this out. I've also come across people trying to sell homemade 4x4 vans having our kit when they don't.

If you (or anyone else) has questions you can always email me pics or send the link so I can take a look and give my honest opinion. This is the best thing to do when coming across a van for sale with our kit.
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belize View Post
I have looked the the Transit. Visited Sportsmobile West and spent 2 days looking at all options. I live in the tropics and will be spending most my time off-road in jungle, rivers and mud. The Transit is nice, just too large a profile. I like the Ford and Chevy RB because of the lower height, and I don’t need a lot of storage, only enough for me and camera gear, maybe an inflatable kayak and SCUBA diving gear. Also diesel is cheaper here, but I need the older models because of the high sulphur content.
Cool, now your search is making more sense to me.

Just curious, you have Toyota and other Japanese vans available to you in Belize, why are you not interested in them? In my experience a hi-ace 4x4 van is better than the Ford for most anything besides towing. There should be lift kits available? I have seen lifted delica plenty of times.
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:43 AM   #14
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Cool, now your search is making more sense to me.

Just curious, you have Toyota and other Japanese vans available to you in Belize, why are you not interested in them? In my experience a hi-ace 4x4 van is better than the Ford for most anything besides towing. There should be lift kits available? I have seen lifted delica plenty of times.
Have looked all over Belize. No vans available in Belize, all have to be imported. I have searched in US for a 4x4 hi-ace that I could adapt, haven’t seen any in 4 months on the market.

I am not stuck on Ford or Chevy, just my preferences are diesel, 4x4, pop top, solar, bumpers and rack with a engine for longevity and a solid drive train. I would go with a low mileage gas van. The more the van is built out for long 2-3 week back-a-bush trips, self contained, the better.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:19 AM   #15
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You are in a tough spot in terms of buying a van and shipping it, then maintaining it in Belize. The camper interior stuff isn't too much of a concern, but I'd want a base vehicle that is regularly imported, and had some dealer network close by. When I was down there on vacation a few years ago, I saw a lot of nissan and toyota, not very many Fords. It could have been the tourist area I was in. Also, I'd want something narrow and short, the dirt roads looked to me more suited for that. Either way, the suspension is going to take a pounding, same with the tires, I'd want spare parts and a well sorted rig.



One last thing, if you come across an ad for a higher mileage 7.3 van, with all the add on bling, rock sliders, bumpers and winch, lights, red paint or something flashy, and it mentions Crow, Crow offroad, Crow Performance, take a hard pass and don't look back, no matter how low the price.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:15 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post
You are in a tough spot in terms of buying a van and shipping it, then maintaining it in Belize. The camper interior stuff isn't too much of a concern, but I'd want a base vehicle that is regularly imported, and had some dealer network close by. When I was down there on vacation a few years ago, I saw a lot of nissan and toyota, not very many Fords. It could have been the tourist area I was in. Also, I'd want something narrow and short, the dirt roads looked to me more suited for that. Either way, the suspension is going to take a pounding, same with the tires, I'd want spare parts and a well sorted rig.



One last thing, if you come across an ad for a higher mileage 7.3 van, with all the add on bling, rock sliders, bumpers and winch, lights, red paint or something flashy, and it mentions Crow, Crow offroad, Crow Performance, take a hard pass and don't look back, no matter how low the price.
I have lived in Belize 40 years, so am familiar with the hardships we have in regards to vehicles. There are lots of ford tourist vans, mostly transits, but they are for running on "paved" roads here, and not 4x4 - they are big vans. There is a Ford dealership, and of course the Mennonites of Spanish Lookout do well with parts and knowledge. That is one reason why I am more concerned with either a proven bullet proofed 6.0 or a low mileage 7.3, and have also looked at a new Chevy express cargo van gas and doing all the modes myself. Yes, a strong 4x4 is a must, but mostly for going through muddy jungle and not rocky hills. Been looking about 3 months so far. Have my eye on a nice one, but just out of my reach on price. I am blown away by the prices, especially when you do a spreadsheet of depreciation on everything. There is almost a 50% mark up on actual price factoring depreciation.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:43 AM   #17
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Yeah you will not find a toyota hi-ace van in the US. We didn't ever get them. They have them in Mexico next door?
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:20 PM   #18
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My suggestion to you would be this: build a van. If I were in Belize (I lived for 2 years in the Peten area of Guatemala) I would then get a Ujoint conversion done and get the bumpers that I want. You will be far more satisfied with the end product when you are making the choices actively rather than buying whatever you happen to find. You can pick the most reliable components and the stuff you can easily source down there.

As you are learning, the cost will be about the same whether you buy fully outfitted or do it piecemeal on your own. Also, if you are shopping for a 2wd van, you can focus more on the power train you want and the features you want.

The likelihood of you finding the van you want with the 4x4 conversion you want in your anticipated timeframe are very low. Lots of members on here have bought what was available and then made the changes they wanted to get their "dream van".
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:06 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Grampswrx View Post
My suggestion to you would be this: build a van. If I were in Belize (I lived for 2 years in the Peten area of Guatemala) I would then get a Ujoint conversion done and get the bumpers that I want. You will be far more satisfied with the end product when you are making the choices actively rather than buying whatever you happen to find. You can pick the most reliable components and the stuff you can easily source down there.

As you are learning, the cost will be about the same whether you buy fully outfitted or do it piecemeal on your own. Also, if you are shopping for a 2wd van, you can focus more on the power train you want and the features you want.

The likelihood of you finding the van you want with the 4x4 conversion you want in your anticipated timeframe are very low. Lots of members on here have bought what was available and then made the changes they wanted to get their "dream van".
I have learned so much during the last 3 month van search on this forum, thanks to all for their comments and advice.



I am close to pulling the trigger on this one:


https://stgeorge.craigslist.org/rvs/7024806596.html


Have done a ton of research on it for the last month, had my son do an in person first inspection, the owner has been very forthright with answers in every case and provided invoices for everything, and all that is left is a pre-purchase inspection and a bullet proofing confirmation from a bulletproofdiesel.com recommended shop. Not sure if I am missing anything, hope I have done a proper job of due diligence. I know I have a ton to learn yet. There will be expenses before I drive it down to Belize (like all fluid changes?) and I want to install a security system (motion sensor lights outside, extra locks on van doors, steering wheel lock and a kill switch) as well as solar. So I suspect I will be asking a few more questions on here in the coming months.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:41 PM   #20
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Congrats! Hopefully you can make that one work!
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