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Old 01-24-2021, 09:52 AM   #1
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2012 3500 Duramax 6.6!

You can see the beginning of this adventure in the Welcome Mat under the same title without the exclamation point.

Short story long.
I have a 2012 3500 Extended Express with the Duramax 6.6 liter in it.
I think it's kind of a unicorn, you don't see Duramax vans very often in the "for sale" category.

She's a cargo model that was used for some kind of highway work, I believe. There is a light display system of some sort on the back that makes merge left or merge right signals. 109k miles now. Rhino or Linex sprayed interior walls that are undoubtedly going to be a hassle at some point.

I bought it for just over blue book, suprisingly. I have consistently run in to dealers with massively overpriced vans that say amazingly stupid things like "kbb is wrong, we go by market pricing". So lets knock that one down real quick. KBB provides reporting on what vehicles sold for, not what someone think they should sell for. It is good at giving you range on value in retail sales situations. Black book provides reporting on what vehicles are wholesaling for at various auctions around the country, it gives great range on value in wholesale situations. But the key is that it tells you what vehicles actually sold for, a provable fact, and not someone's opinion.

So if a dealer tells you that they use "Market Pricing" just be prepared to walk away. You should be prepared to walk away already, but double down, that's a red flag. I just checked on 2 overpriced V10 Extended E350's I test drove 4 months ago and they are still on the dealer lot for 135% of kbb, and have come down a few thousand dollars since defending their original prices to me.

OK, back to the van at hand.
I live in Denver and bought it in Seattle and drove it back over the weekend. She flies up the hills and just keeps wanting to go. The lack of cruise control may become an issue officer. More than once I found myself doing 90 through Wyoming.

Plan is to get a lift, put some big boy tires on it, hard shell bubble top, solar, cover up the walls with something pretty, leave the floor whatever linex spray it already is, swingarm rear bumpers with all my cooking gear mounted there, and a propane fed on demand hot water heater for showers and dishes.

And an Ice Machine. I've always seen these lil cute fridges in campers and don't think that will work for me. But an Ice Machine that will make 50lbs a day to keep the coolers stocked in Moab for a week....hmm.

And stereo system, and tv, and ipad hooked to back up camera/rear view mirror, swivelly capt chairs, blah blah blah.

Should take me a week, tops.
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:08 AM   #2
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Off road lift.

Had some choices to make on the lift but was leaning heavily to wards Weldtec because of all the you tube videos he's made going through the various products and the professionalism of his website and the way they have answered my phone calls and returned my emails. They've really passed the mustard on the front end/image test.

Action Van has great reviews and were my second choice.

Boulder Off Road was my third choice because I had originally been looking for a Ford, and they didn't appear to do much Ford stuff. It would have been super convenient for me, I used to drive past their shop almost daily. Alas, at this time, Jan '21, they dont have the 6" spindle and spacer lift available and can only do coilover lifts. So Im looking at about $8k for the BOR coilover vs $2800 for the Weldtec.

I'm keeping it 2WD, the van has the G80 LSD. So I ordered the Weldtec yesterday and it will ship tomorrow. Weldtec is in San Diego county and I don't want to drive all the way down there to get the install done. But I couldn't find any of the local 4wheel drive shops that wanted to do it. Finally I sent it to my regular mechanic and along with one of the you tube videos on how to do the install and it wont be a problem. I'll have to pay a bit more for the install, but the savings vs driving all the way out there and back more than makes up for it.
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:21 AM   #3
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Currently looking for a body shop to do a Fiberine Bubble Top install in the Rocky Mountain Region. Here are a couple images Fiberine sent me to help me make my purchase.

Also, here is a copy of a very informative email from Fiberine that helped me out a bit and should you as well. This email was written for an E350 extended in October of 2020, and I know prices have gone up, but probably not an astronomical amount.



Hi Phillip,

Thank you for your interest in our products. First of, this is not a DIY project therefor we do not provide installation instructions. We offer a basic installation here in our shop or you can have a local body shop order the top directly from us so that they can install it for you.

Our tops are all fixed tops, we do not provide pop up tops. Our 20" Aero top gives you from bare floor to bare ceiling 6'1" of interior standing room at its highest point which is the center of the van top. We also manufacture 24" and 30 tops for the Ford Extended length vans. Pricing for these tops and all other van top information is as follows.

1). 20" Aerodynamic top w/ reverse flange..............................$3450.00 each
2). 24" Bubble top w/reverse flange.........................................$37 50.00 each
3). 30" Super Camper top w/ reverse flange.............................$4550.00 each

1). Basic Van top installation (no inside upholstery finish)..…..$950.00

Our basic van top installation is completed in one day. Our shop is located in Wilmington, CA (Southern California). We are not a van conversion company, so we don’t do any interior finish. We cut out your factory roof, seal, and fasten your new fiberglass high top to your van.

For the basic installation, your van needs to be empty and in "cargo state" prior to coming in by removing everything behind the driver and passenger seats, including the rear ceiling headliner. Anything on the roof of the van such as roof racks, solar, vents, etc.. should also be removed prior. Installations are by appointment only Monday-Friday (once we receive your deposit). As of right, we are completely booked for the rest of this year, so you would be looking at January 2021 to schedule an install day.

Van top Options:
1). Set of 8” x 32” half sliding windows w/bug screen:………..$725.00
2). Set of 10"x 32" half sliding windows w/bug screen:..............$750.00
3). Set of 12”x 43” half sliding windows w/bug screen:………..$825.00
4). Set of 12"x 58" half sliding windows w/bug screen:………..$865.00
5). 1/2" OSB plywood ceiling reinforcement:.............................$425.00
(for mounting racks, solar panels, AC, etc.)
6). 2 strips of 1”x 4” wood on each side of the van top:..............$265.00
(for mounting cabinets, shelves, awning)
7). Installation fan (you must bring your fan)………………..…$325.00 per fan

The ceiling reinforcement (option #5), will allow you to mount up to 350 lbs of weight on the roof.

For the fan installation (option #7), you would need to provide us with the vent the day of the van top installation. We do not do any of the wiring connections or electrical. We do the fan cut out on the van top, install and seal the vent down.

All of our van tops come in a standard exterior white gel coat. We do not keep any of our products in stock, we manufacture tops as they are ordered. Manufacturing time is 4-5 weeks. Prices quoted are valid for 90 days and are subject to 9.5% California Tax (basic installation not taxable).

If you have any other questions, or would like to place an order, please feel free to simply reply to this email.

Thank you,
Betty

Fiberine
1633 E Sandison St.
Wilmington, CA 90744
310-830-1881 Phone
310-830-9937 Fax
www.Fiberine.com
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20 inch Aero top Ford EXT.jpg   24 Bubble Top with 12 x 44 sliding windows.jpg   30 Super Camper Ford EXT.jpg  
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:38 PM   #4
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Weldtec 6" lift added

Got the lift added this week. New wheels and tires come mon next week.



Fiberine 24" bubble top be ready end of April.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:40 PM   #5
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Looking forward to seeing it!
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2015 Chevy Express 3500 Duramax
w/ Quigley 4x4 & Agile Fox shocks
Sold 2005 E350 Chateau
Quigley with Agile RIP, 6.0 PSD
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:45 AM   #6
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Me too. Lift looks good, what are you going to do about tires and wheels?
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Old 02-20-2021, 11:22 AM   #7
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I picked out some black 17's with a basic hole pattern and some 33's, Duratracs I think. They'll be ready in a couple days. Those are 30's on there now.

Now I need to find some steps or running boards or whatnot so I can haul my ass up there. I like those power running boards that flip down when you open the door but I can't find any for my model.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:34 PM   #8
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I think the 33s are a great size for the GM vans although with a 6" lift you may be able to do bigger. I also like the black on white vans and Duratrac have a great reputation.

I have thought about running boards/rock sliders, but never bought. Don't know of electric ones for GM vans.

Here are two sites where I found running boards, no experience with either site though:
https://www.autoanything.com/nerf-ba...ep-nerf-boards

https://runningboardwarehouse.com/c/...ress-van/2012/
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:37 AM   #9
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All right!
Wheels and Tires are in!
Ended up going with GoodYear Wrangler Ultra Terrain AT's.

Wheels are basic American Racing. I don't really care about wheels but these ones were called Baja's so there you go.

Tires are just a shade under 33", and rub a smidge against the rear bit of the fender.

And apparently my 6" lift isn't 6" after all. It's actually a 5".

Hmm, ahhh, not sure what to say about that.
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PXL_20210224_145741330.jpg   PXL_20210224_145820233.jpg   PXL_20210224_145851684.jpg  
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:39 AM   #10
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Overall, I'm really not impressed all that much. I thought it would be bigger.

Considering a 3" body lift and swapping to a 4.10. Going to have to think my way through that a lil.
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