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Old 12-22-2020, 01:39 PM   #1
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wtb: 4x4 van / advice

I've got a 2wd 2006 e-150 Chateau with Sportsmobile penthouse top, and need to be 4wd.

I'm considering the 3 options:
1) convert the E-150 to 4wd.
2) buy 4wd, and swap my existing penthouse onto it.
3) buy a complete 4wd van with a penthouse top now.

I need the penthouse top and full-width bed downstairs (need to sleep 5). My current van is stock Chateau except for bench->bed in the very back, so it seats 7. That's the way we like it (no galley, no sink, no cabinets-- just stock+bed).

The best answer would be to sell my current rig, and buy from Sportsmobile a 4x4 with penthouse, but I'm not willing to wait until November 2021 to take delivery.

Let me know if you have a 4x4 van to sell, or a 4x4 van with a penthouse top, and minimal cabinetry downstairs.

(or warnings / encouragement on converting my E-150 to 4x4. IT's got 185k miles on it, but is in great shape).

Thanks!
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Old 12-22-2020, 01:55 PM   #2
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here the van

Here my 2006:

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Old 12-22-2020, 02:01 PM   #3
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If you transplant your PH top to a 4WD van, then what do you do with the large hole in the roof of your existing van?
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Old 12-22-2020, 02:26 PM   #4
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Excellent question. Maybe try to sell or donate it to Sportsmobile in order for them to Warehouse it until they get caught up putting tops on?

I've been surprised by the lengths I'm willing to go to have something now versus 11 months from now.maybe something to do with the fact that I've already lived longer than I thought I would?
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Old 12-22-2020, 02:30 PM   #5
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Look at the cost to replace what you already have. Prolly best to ($) convert what you own, if its in good shape.
#vanlife has raised the costs to new levels.
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Old 12-22-2020, 02:31 PM   #6
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You raised a good point, that the donor van would then be useless. ( I originally thought in terms of literally swapping the roofs, but now that I've looked into the mechanics of it, it wouldn't be worth it to put a stock roof on the donor van.)

I'm going to start a new thread I guess seeing if anyone has a donor Penthouse top.
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Old 12-22-2020, 02:38 PM   #7
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Scuba - here's a recent thread...

https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...tml#post287416
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Old 12-22-2020, 03:04 PM   #8
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Thanks Steve C. I'm reaching out to Chris now. Still need a 4x4.
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Old 12-22-2020, 03:38 PM   #9
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Most everyone's concern with an earlier 150 chassis is weight. Since you're not building out the interior of the van, I would imagine that it will be ok.

The other concern is if you have the 4.6 motor. If you do, then most people will say that it's just not enough power to deal with the added weight of the conversion and the added rotational mass of the larger tires. You will most likely have to re-gear anyways, but more power is always better. If you have the 5.4, then you should be good to go as a lot of vans have that motor.

If you're looking to convert your van to 4x4, I would get on the phone and call all the different companies to see what their lead time is. I'm guessing almost every reputable shop will have about a 4-6 month wait. It sounds like you want 4x4 now and if thats the case, you will most likely have to find a van thats already converted, although that can take months as well since people are asking crazy money for these things now.
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Old 12-22-2020, 04:15 PM   #10
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Great thoughts mikracer. I think I have the 4.6L, so this is helpful. Sounds like I might be able to get by with it. I've called several of the conversion shops and lead-time wise came to the same conclusion-- I need to find an already-converted van. The upside of finding a 350 or other larger rig is it would open up more towing possibilities.
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