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Old 06-12-2016, 11:07 PM   #1
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E150 SMB 4x4? Pros / Cons?

Hello everyone,
We are the proud new owners of a 2000 E150 2wd SMB. Before I ask about a 4x4 conversion ill let everyone know a little about our new rig.

Our new to us SMB is a 2000 E150. It has the 4.6L V8. It has the penthouse manual top and full floor carpet inside. Otherwise it does not have any further interior upgrades. We like the simple interior and also like the idea of being able to upgrade for what works for us. We have no plans to add much weight to the interior in the near future. We are planning on towing our 6.5 foot x 12 foot open deck single axle trailer with our RZR XP1000 on it. It weights maybe 1500lbs gross. Not sure of the hitch weight. So my question is this..... Can we upgrade this rig to 4wd? Who sells the "kit" to do so? OR is this not a safe upgrade? IS the E150 frame not capable of handling this upgrade. We live in Texas and have no immediate plans to take the van up in the mountains etc just pretty flat towing to various offroad parks. I really would like the security of having 4wd and would like to get a little clearance on this rig. We just purchased it this week and plan on towing with it for the first time this upcoming weekend. After I am comfortable that it can handle the small trailer with ease then I would like to dive into this 4x4 conversion. Any opinions are welcome. Before someone says "just buy another cheap 4x4 truck" We have a F250 4x4 but this is about being able to stay at the parks with the RZR. The wife prefers the SMB over just tossing out a tent and hey I got to buy a SMB finally. Win - Win
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:32 PM   #2
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Another option would to keep it 2wd add a small lift and add a locker or limited slip differential to the rear end. There are some people on the forum that have this setup. Hopefully they will chime in with their experience.

Congratulations on the new rig. It look really nice. Great color.
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Current van: 2002 Ford E350 extended body camper with Colorado Camper Van pop top and Agile Offroad 4WD conversion.
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:41 PM   #3
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The E150 has 5 lug wheels and a rear axle that is not up to the heavy loads of a full build out.

Converting to 4X4 would most likely get you 3/4 or 1 ton axles, front and rear.

Converting is expensive so you have to look at the value of what you are starting with - does it make economic sense...
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:34 AM   #4
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I'm also doing a simple transformer build on my E350 and converting it to 4wd. My van doesn't have a pop-top, so it's cool that you found one that does, without the expense of all the built out interior you don't want. For me, the conversion is worth it, to have 4wd when I need it, and wouldn't want a vehicle without it.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:33 PM   #5
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Otter, you having the E350 as a starting point is a huge plus. I really would like to have a bit more clearance for the off road park roads etc. so a small lift and a locker rear might just do. Having 4x4 would be amazing. Worst case we will have the RZR with us most of the time to winch this thing out I guess. My other concern is how the little 4.6L would perform. We do not have any extra weight in useless interior which should help with the hauling and the possibility to go 4x4. I might have access to a 01 E350 front and rear axle. Am I daydreaming or should we just wait till we find a larger rig with a bit more engine? This one is in fantastic condition for the year and the color I would want even in a larger rig. Pros and Cons I guess. Just happy to finally own one.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasFordFreak View Post
Otter, you having the E350 as a starting point is a huge plus. ....... Am I daydreaming or should we just wait till we find a larger rig with a bit more engine? This one is in fantastic condition for the year and the color I would want even in a larger rig. Pros and Cons I guess. Just happy to finally own one.
Texas, I don't see where you should have any concerns at all about the power in this rig. Given the light pulling you're doing and the absence of heavy build interior, you should have plenty of oomph to do what you want to do. Yes, my E350 is heavier duty, but it has to haul it's heavy a** up those hills, and can only trailer 6600 lbs, so it's not that helpful when you're looking at a dual-purpose vehicle. And my trailer is about 5000 lbs full.

Your vehicle can pull 6600 lbs, too, so you have plenty of room to spare. See this spec sheet here, page 11: https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas...0/bbcamper.pdf

I don't have time tonight to look for it, but google the GVWR for your van (or look on the post), subtract the actual weight of your van (which includes the pop top) and the tongue weight of your trailer load (I'm guessing it's pretty light), and you'll have a really good idea of the amount of weight you can put in your van before you'll have problems (that includes people weight, too). And a 4x4 conversion only adds about 500 lbs. From what I see, you shouldn't have any problems at all with what you're looking to pull and haul.

With these vans, you're either fitting them out with all kinds of heavy interior work and not planning on trailering much, or you're keeping it light, keeping it basic, maybe a slide in bed with a few basic camping needs for a few nights out, and then reserving the rest of the engine capabilities for what you pull on a trailer. It's working for me so far and I like the transformer capabilities of this kind of setup. Your van should perform just great. Enjoy!
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