Long time lurker, but never really needed to post as had my dream Ď08 E350 SMB fully tricked to heartís desire. I was working out of country in Australia for 4 months and within 24hrs of returning home to NorCal I was downloading all the camping gear and en route to load up all the work gear to head to SoCal. Heavily jet lagged (like up for 36hrs) I nodded out for split second on narrow winding road (Iíve done a million times) dropped a wheel off no shoulder and flipped it @35mph. Totalled.
So lucky to walk away. Concussion (seat belt on always of course), but stepped out of the now empty windscreen, van ended on passenger side. Brutal. But could have been much worse had it not been 9500gvw as would have slid further than the 2 narrow lanes after flipping, down ravine into river. Still canít believe it. Pop top held up extremely well have to say, and Jonathan was amazing help at SMB West to help me get excellent insurance payout. Got 93k payout on 120k build. Thatís after 10 yrs! Thx again Jonathan. If pple are morbidly fascinated I will post pics but it still hurts to look at. I do have a couple of small items that Iíd be happy to give away (you pay ship): SMB kitchen that latches onto side door / Ď08 hood bra / bug deflector for hood. The rest was totaled and part of the Insurance.
So ashamed and heartbroken Iíve been reluctant to share, but finally digging out of my misery and starting on the 2.0. Actually have been deeeeep down the rabbit hole for a while on options but am finally narrowing it down. Have a few key questions to really get the ball rolling, but fear my questions are too Newb and will show how little I know despite 10 yrs in SMB.
Anyhow.... so much has evolved in the last 10 yrs with the insane options now avail, when In my truly uninformed state in Ď07 moving from NYC to NorCal heart was fully set on full blown SMB E350 and it is pretty turnkey at SMB w/ soup to nuts build. Iím going a little insane on narrowing it down... I donít even know where to begin, but I gotta re-invest the insurance payout or get dinged on the income. Luxury problem.
Some things have changed for me since the last of my Bachelor cash went to the SMB. Now bigger family kids 9 & 11 and want to get in some more trips before they are truly uninterested in hanging w/ parents! And we all have input now from the last 10yrs. OK, sorry I digress. But hopefully it will inform you on where Iím trying to go with things. Iíll stay away from the myriad of interior options that are melting my brain and just start with the 1st step on the van itself.
Basic use of van: 1)work involves hauling up to 1200lbs of equipment/10-20 Pelican cases. Banging back & forth on I5 to LA then download, but it was often a tiresome puzzle pack in SMB and restricted sleeping en route (sometimes needed stealth/no pop top). 2) Bicycle racing nationwide, kitesurfing/surf, and family ski trips from CO to CA/Canada. 4x4 really just needed primarily for winter mountain conditions, then not much more than dirt/gravel roads, sometimes deepish snow.
Definitely 4x4 170Ē high-top. Lotta L-track to secure gear in various configs. Boring you so hope youíve stayed with it for key questions:
Refuse to go smaller than 35ís. To me the proportions on exterior to the eye require it. Donít wanna go Dually (sp?), so very quickly Iím at the 2500 and pushing load limits. Will Airbags help those load limits??
Definitely going Agile RIP kit, or likely Van Compass Stage 6. I know Iím going to miss the 6Ē lift on 35ís of SMB but want the extra space and High roof of MB.
Build will center around lightweight and modular to achieve diff configs for family, work etc, but still want most of the bells/whistles. I do want a full time shower in there, and likely not a pop out style like the Halo shower in Storyteller Mode build.
Spoke to VanCompass / Mark Hesser. Informs me 35ís require no adaptive cruise control on 2019+ due to wheel speed sensor / GPS discrepancy throwing code etc. NP. Also he tells me 35ís will need the 4.18 gear ratio on rear end vs the 3.92 as the new 7sp transmission has a lot deeper overdrive than the old 5 speed. If you get the 3.92 gears, the van will not drop into 7th gear much on the 35ís. Great info, but after much digging this appears to be a custom order only??? 4.18 does come stock on some 3500ís but definitely not on any stock 2500ís so far as I can find.
This is where my knowledge starts to fall off the cliff. Apart from the Dually aspect, how is the construction different on 3500 vs 2500 to afford the extra payload?? Itís all independent suspension, not solid axle, right? So how is that engineered for the extra payload apart from adding a wheel? Without going to a 1 ton setup like the drool-worthy Bruce Banner #werollwithit, can I achieve a 2500 but add air bags for the limited times where I need to haul the work equipment and perhaps push the payload limit. Iím hoping to keep the final build GVW around 8klbs.
The other option I could maybe go is to dedicate a small enclosed trailer For the work gear but Iíve never towed anything and donít really fancy that route although it might be the best way to go so maybe itís time. But 170 + trailer rolling into LA sux.
Sooooo, Iím really trying to do:
170Ē 2500 4x4 on 35ís with VC stage 6 or = @8k GVW with 4.18 gear ratio.
Am I delusional or vaguely on a doable plan?
Thank you v much for indulging this read if you are still here.