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Old 05-25-2020, 10:49 AM   #1
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Did I biy the wrong van?

Hi everyone! Just joined the forum and introduced myself in the welcome forum. I recently purchased a 2014 E150 cargo van with the 4.6 flex fuel engine and sliding side door. I bought it to move from FL to SW Arkansas and with hopes of doing a 4x4 conversion and modest interior build but may have to settle for a 2wd lift due to budget restraints.

My first question is should I invest in the van I allready have or look for a 3D E250 or E350 that's allready been converted? It will be a daily driver so I'm planning on keeping it as light as possible. I will probably use it to tow a small enclosed trailer with up to 2 street (sport) bikes and do some camping at what would mostly be sites with facilities. It would be nice to have a portable shower. Not looking to do a full RV build, just a place to sleep if necessary. Could even be as simple as finished walls with some insulation, some small compartments for storage, a couple batteries and electronics, roof rack with solar panel, a carpeted open floor and an air mattress.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the van did driving through the hilly terrain of of NW Arkansas with the van loaded down and pulling a 5x8 enclosed trailer loaded to max capacity. Overdrive was pretty much useless once we got into the hills and kicked all the way down to 2nd a couple times but it did do the job without slowing down too much or feeling too taxed. I'm sure I could get a little more from the little 4.6 with some tuning and a gearing change.

The van is in excellent shape but does have some miles on it at just over 180,000. It was a GE service vehicle so I'm assuming it was well maintained. I'm kinda torn on what to do. At least if I invest in this van I know what I have. Buying anything used can allways be a gamble unless it's super low miles or freshly built. So what do you guys think? Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:11 AM   #2
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And to open another can of worms was looking for feedback on possibly doing a TTB Dana 50 vs straight axle if I did go 4wd route. Not wanting to do any seeious off roading. Just want peace of mind in loose or slippery off road conditions and the best ride on the street.
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:18 AM   #3
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And to open another can of worms was looking for feedback on possibly doing a TTB Dana 50 vs straight axle if I did go 4wd route. Not wanting to do any seeious off roading. Just want peace of mind in loose or slippery off road conditions and the best ride on the street.
As a proud Agile conversion owner you can do plenty of 'serious' offroading with the TTB. More than i'd want to push my rig through in fact. It does make for a great handling ride capable of all but the most extreme van capable terrain. That said, I did add a rear locker for additional push/pull in getting out of tough spots. Haven't had to use it yet.
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:13 PM   #4
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Thanks KDB that's pretty much what I was hoping to hear. I have to admit though that I have a little to learn here. How exactly does a locker work? I've always wondered if it was something that can be engaged and disengaged and from you're comments I'm assuming that's the case but how exactly does it work? Could be a good option till I can afford to go 4wd.
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:42 PM   #5
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Thanks KDB that's pretty much what I was hoping to hear. I have to admit though that I have a little to learn here. How exactly does a locker work? I've always wondered if it was something that can be engaged and disengaged and from you're comments I'm assuming that's the case but how exactly does it work? Could be a good option till I can afford to go 4wd.
I'll let those versed in lockers provide better insight but essentially the ARB air locker ive got has two plates that are forced together using air that essentially locks the axles together and gives equal power and rotation/traction to both wheels. I've yet to use mine but it's pretty straightforward. The aircompressor is activated via a switch on my dash.

Im sure there are quite a few posts on the forum that will provide much better detailed info. The additional benefit of the air locker is the air compressor as well of course...for inflating of your tires after some deflated trail time on 'em.
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Old 05-25-2020, 03:53 PM   #6
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That's good enough for me. I've heard of air lockers before so figured it was so kind of pneumatic system. And yes a small onboard air compressor would be a good thing to have regardless. Can it be engaged while moving or do you have to be stopped?
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:01 PM   #7
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Wow just checked and an ARB locker is over 1k. Still wondering if its worthwhile to invest all this into what I have or look for something that's allready been set up.
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:03 PM   #8
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Thanks KDB that's pretty much what I was hoping to hear. I have to admit though that I have a little to learn here. How exactly does a locker work? I've always wondered if it was something that can be engaged and disengaged and from you're comments I'm assuming that's the case but how exactly does it work? Could be a good option till I can afford to go 4wd.
One of the best explanations on lockers and locker types I've ever seen. This guy is just good, he clearly knows the subject matter.

https://www.crawlpedia.com/locker_comparison.htm#video
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:18 PM   #9
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I think the biggest limiting factors is your GVWR and Engine. I think if you do a conversion and maybe add a pop top or high top you will be maxed out. This doesn't include hauling anything inside, including people. The 4.6 is going struggle more vs say the more common 5.4/6.0 Engines as well.

I think I'm on the lighter side of most of the rigs here, around 7,000 LBS (E350 4x4, Hightop, early stages of a build out, no steel bumper/winch or extra fuel). But a lot of rigs that are fully equipped are 10K+.

I personally would go with a E250/E350 so you have some more wiggle room for your build if you are dropping more $$.

I am no expert by any means, this is just information I've observed from other more experienced members on this board.
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:29 PM   #10
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Cyrull thanks for the reply. If I work with what I have I would not do a high top or pop top if for no other reason that the roof is in excellent shape and cost. I also agree with you on the weight factor.
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