Thanks for all the response guys! I'm back in Toronto and I'm looking and reading and combing the internet for a nice build that will be my inspiration for a van. our plan is to buy a van now and build it slowly and in a year travel again south.
I want to run a few thoughts to y'all.
I'm still undecided on which platform to start my build.
I've narrowed it down to two choices: Either I buy a Chevy Express AWD as suggested or a Ford E250 or E350 RWD. Emphasis on RWD. More on this later.
the Chevy Express is the ideal platform for me because I won't have to do anything other than building the interior. AWD is more than enough for my intended use based on all the dirt roads we've pass thru during our bike trip. Lots of clunky Toyota HiAce with beefy tires can go where we plan to go. Of course having an AWD gives us more confidence exploring unknown places. I'd say it's a lot easier exploring on our bikes. When shit hits the fan, carry the F**k and get on with it. Not with the van.
Anyway, for the past 3-4 days, I've been focusing on the AWD suggestion and what I found out is:
A) that's some expensive shit. cheapest I found is $10K with 270,000km on it
B) it does not come often, rare in short.
C)it only comes in 1500 which I believe are light duty trucks to begin with. Good for vandwelling I'm not sure for overlanding. (I'm always happy to be corrected on all these).
So my alternative: Buy a Ford E250 or E350 and install an ARB air-lock diff.
PROS: A)I can find an E250 or E350 for $6000 with 235K km on it
B) When rear lock installed, I think this will be more than enough for us
C) cost effective
d) E250 or E350 engines have more power and parts are more heavy duty
A) heavier 1/2 ton vs. 3/4 or 1 TON
B)less gas mileage
Any thoughts on my plans guys?