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Old 08-13-2019, 12:26 PM   #1
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Should I get a SMB?

Hi, new here. Great to see the wealth of info. I am still debating whether the Ford E350/SMB is a good platform for us; we are planning multi-year trip through Americas and Africa. All things equal, are we better off taking our Toyota 4Runner with the liability of towing a trailer (we need the extra space), or getting an older, good condition, low miles E350? Is it a reliable platform? Thanks; good to be here.

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Old 08-13-2019, 12:34 PM   #2
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Toyota trucks are everywhere, E350s are not.

You can get an E350 that will be reliable and take a few key spare parts. Might set up someone to be able to send parts when needed.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:50 PM   #3
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Usually I would say, "Dumb question...IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO BUY AN SMB!!" but here...I agree with marrret....Toyota parts=EVERYWHERE!!!! If you are going to such unknown areas, I would be SAFE and use the/your Toyota...

I watch a program called "Top Gear" , and its original stars; Jeremy and the other two on their new Netflix show....I loved where in one episode (original series of Top Gear with old hosts) they wanted to test the Toyota Tacoma (or whatever the smaller one is) b/c they mentioned that EVERY third world country that is in a military conflict ALWAYS has the Toyota trucks hauling large caliber machine guns, thirty people squeezed in, etc...they gave three tests:
1. Leaving is on the seashore and let the massive Atlantic tides inundate it....yes cleaned sand out, new spark plugs...started right up...
2. Can't remember that test....getting old
3. Last test was putting it on top of a 10 story building they were going to came crashing down with the building...yes STILL started...
They enshrined it on the studio set as the best built vehicle EVER!
send LOTS of pics! You will have to compete with Forum member Pschitt, who has posted his worldly tour pics: Europe, the America's, and lately Iceland...he may even be a GREAT contact to get info, ideas, and maybe even meet up if still overseas....he drives an E350, so you could get REAL advice from him! GOOD LUCK!!!! and REMEBER...LOTS OF PICTURES!!!!
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:39 AM   #4
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We are finishing an 8 month trip through South America in a 1999 E350 EB. We have had two 'breakdowns' - a hole in the lower radiator hose in Patagonia and a blown transmission (4r100) on Paso Libertadores in Chile.

I did a 'field fix' of the radiator hose by cutting 6" from a tube of silicone, shoving it inside the hose, and clamping with hose clamps. Unfortunately, no place in Chile or Argentina could source a replacement hose due to the Chile version of the E350 having a different engine, thus the van will arrive back in Seattle sporting this field fix.

For the transmission, Ford evidently uses the same transmission in the Americas for the variety of trucks sold here, so the transmission shop had all parts needed on the shelf to rebuild the transmission.

We've also seen a variety of vehicles being driven by travelers through South America. I guess the two biggest takeaway I have learned are 1) that there is no perfect overland vehicle - everyone has issues, suffers breakdowns, etc (we even know of a very expensive, very nice 6x6 MAN truck that had to be towed across Chile because it's brakes had siezed); and 2) you can drive the americas in anything as long as your sense of adventure is strong (we know a couple who have been traveling South America in a Renault Twingo for 3 years - twingo_sudaca on Instagram)

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Old 08-14-2019, 06:43 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ctb View Post
Last test was putting it on top of a 10 story building they were going to came crashing down with the building...yes STILL started..
I remember that. They drove it away even with a broken frame.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:36 AM   #6
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Talk to johnandmandi, they just got back from a multi year SMB tour of
South America. Iíve read their blog mostly. No big problems even when they had problems.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:01 AM   #7
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Econoline by far. Lots and lots and lots of Parts for them. They are used for so many different things from Rvs to trucks to Ambulance.. you really cant go wrong.. I have no issue find anything I need for my 96 Econoline.. And I am the Original Owner..

Just for Grins Start Counting all of the E-series that you see as you do your drive around town. From Tow Trucks to Plumbers.. Once you start looking you will see them everywhere.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:08 AM   #8
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Also.. read this.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:37 AM   #9
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Keep in mind that the 4Runner is a US/Canada vehicle only. There are some components shared with the overseas Toyota Prado (the similar-sounding Fortuner is built on the Hilux platform, which shares almost nothing with the Tacoma), but I suspect most parts would just as hard to source overseas overseas, if not harder, compared to the E-series. The E-series was sold on Central America, parts of South America, the Philippines, and Isreal. Plus many other countries sold the F150 and for the 5.4L at least, there's plenty of parts commonality.
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