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Old 08-03-2014, 11:24 AM   #1
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Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Hello forum,

I am Living in germany and currently driving a FJ cruiser. You find it here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=14064

Since i met "schluchtenflitzer" who is active in this forum and Owns probably the only 4x4 SMB in europe i somehow decided that i want to be the 2nd one. They are just great.

Unfortunately I can not buy a new one. And tax and toll and transformation of the van to meet the requirements of German Traffic Law ad about 30 % (!) to the Price I have to pay in the US - plus shipping!

My question to you is what you think is the best way to get to the result i want.

What I want is a E250 or E350 SMB (or SMB like) with:

- 5.4 V8 gas or 7.3 diesel. I do not trust the 6.0 (do not want to offend anyone but it is hard to find a specialist in germany if it makes problems). And the V10 is just too expensive to drive paying about 10$ per gallon here.

- Not too many Miles (gas under 100000, diesel below 150000)

- a good and tough 4x4 sytem. (What I read i like ujoint and agile - Even if they seem quite different) with rear locker if possible. About 4-6 " Lift. 35" tires.

- roof rack, aluminess bumpers, winch (all this just if affordable) and an additional or Larger tank

- a regular Body size van, a penthouse top

- a camper van conversion, sleeping min. 3, with kitchen, stove, sink, furnace, enough room to put in things, water and greywater tank, 2 battery system.


At the Moment I think the best and "cheapest" way to get Most of this is to find a Used 2 WD sportsmobile and have it converted to 4x4. I got already in contact with Chris.

But there are 3 other options:

Find a preowned 4x4 sportsmobile that meets most of my expectations. (Difficult - Even more from germany)

Buy a 4x4 Ford van (for example quigley), let it improve by Chris or Ramsey, and have a Penthouse Top installed and the van converted in a camper by CCV or GTRV or??

Buy a 2 WD E350 cargo van and have it converted in 4x4 and in a camper.

This is where I Need You and all your knowledge. I just inform myself since some weeks in the Internet. You have all the Information an Live with These wonderful rigs.

What do you think is the way to go?
What will be the cheapest (if not necessary best) way?
What will be easierst for me to organize from germany?

With time i have no Pressure. If the van is here in 1 year it is fine.

Please excuse my english. It is my school english from 23 years ago. And the auto correction on my iPad sucks. It causes all those capital letters.

I am happy about every advice you can give me. It is not an easy project.

Philipp
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Old 08-03-2014, 12:31 PM   #2
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Hello Philipp,
where are you located in Germany ? I'm from Würzburg and just about in the same boat as you.
I just bought a used E250 2WD 5.4 Cargo Van which is already converted to run on LPG (Autogas) which brings the petrol cost down to about 14€/100km, about the same amount my wifes Skoda costs.
I'll do the camper conversion myself and maybe convert to 4WD later down the road. You might have a look across the border into Switzerland, there are 4x4 vans in use at nearly every fire station, mostly MOWAG/Dodge, but also a few 4x4 Ford ambulances.
And yes, Didis van is a perfect example of a dream SMB.
You contact me via PM in German if you like, it might be easier for you then.
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Old 08-03-2014, 01:53 PM   #3
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Hello Philipp,

I do not know if the German custom rules are the same as the Swiss, the following applies to Switzerland.
One easy way to bring a car/van registered to your name back is to travel out of your country for more than one year and them bring it back or move out of your country and after 6 months you bring it back.
In both cases you do not pay any taxes neither need to fulfill the technical and emission rules.

I just found a 4x4 van in Switzerland and there are a few other 2wd and very little 4x4 E350's.
I am tracing them whenever I can.

In case you are near Düsseldorf, I will be at the caravan salon for 4 days if you want to meet.
Might even drive south on the way back, to be confirmed.

I will definitively have items coming over to upgrade the last van so one could group the buying and transport.

Best regards,
Andrew

Also fluent in German.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Import is absolutely easy. You pay 10 or 22% customs on purchase price plus shipping, depending of the van being a cargo (22%) or passenger (10%) van. On top of that you pay another 19% import tax.
After that you have to get the technical data sheet from a professional importer, or the TÜV (~400€) and convert the van to Euro specs (amber turn signals in rear, rear fog light and E-approved headlights with white parking lights). It's a day full of work and off you go the TÜV for inspection (200€).
First time registration the DMV (Zulassungsstelle) will give you the runaround for small things like the smaller number plates etc, but that's no big deal.
The TÜV station where Schluchtenflitzer had his SMB inspected does a lot of US import stuff and you don't have to explain the whole van to them from scratch.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:51 PM   #5
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Thank you for your Tipps!! This helps.

I think the Import might work quite OK. With help or organized alone. ... Travelling abroad for longer is a Dream. But at the moment no option.

Yes. Didi's SMB is Kind of what I would like to have in the end.

Düsseldorf is quite far i fear. But I would like to See your van!

Actually i live quite close to Würzburg - in Nürnberg!

To search in switzerland is an Option too. But i ask myself if it is possible to do the 4x4 conversion or improvement here in germany an to put a Penthouse Top on it. Probably not!?

So my plan is to have done as much as possible in the US and then just do what rests here.

What do you think about wich way to go? Buy a 4x4 SMB, a 4x4 without camping conversion or a SMB without 4x4???

I still do not know which is the easiest and cheapest way.

Philipp
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:59 PM   #6
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Either way is possible.
Depending on funds and if you find a suitable SMB, this would be the easiest option.
Doing the whole conversion in Germany is also possible, that's what I might end up with.
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:10 PM   #7
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

All can be done here but most parts will have to come from the US.
Maybe easier and cheaper to do it in the US and then import the finished unit.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:50 AM   #8
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Hi chetubi,

Since I looked for a van during almost five months before finding mine, I guess that the cheapest way for you is to find an already camping converted van, in two or 4x4. Then to convert to 4WD if it's a 2WD and finally to ship it to Germany. If you can find a 7.3, you'll enjoy the torque of the diesel, much better when off-roading. Since you're not in a hurry, you should find a good used van in the coming months. A lot of not member related used van classified are shown by members on the forum, it's a good source. Also ask Chris (U-Joint Offroad) to keep an eye for you, he has a good network in the van world... ;-)
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:14 AM   #9
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

Thank you Pschitt.

I think i will go this way. To Look for a 4x2 or 4x4 SMB.

Yes. A 7.3 would be nice. But they are expensive and have disadvantagrs concerning tax in germany and Environmental zones (Umweltzonen) you can not Drive in.

For us in germany a 5.4 V 8 is a huge engine. Doesn t it deliver enough power and torque??

Can anyone Tell me the Main difference between E250 and E350 (SMBs)??
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:38 AM   #10
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Re: Question from germany: best way to get a 4x4 "SMB" ?

here is one post
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10009
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