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Old 08-14-2009, 11:37 PM   #21
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

I think the 3.73 with the 4 speed E4OD was too tall and it would spin going slow. I couldn't believe the difference with the 4.10 and the '6' speed 5R110.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:09 AM   #22
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

QuadVan uses the most Ford parts of any of the conversions. Even compared to S/K. The QuadVans can be serviced at all Ford dealers, without additional documentation.

Quigley uses of lot of non-ford stuff (the entire suspension except the axle), so many dealers will not work on them, and if they do Qigley has to send them manuals.

I like the Sportsmobile stuff, but I think I'd go QuadVan for serviceability. And you get more wheel travel with QuadVan then Sportsmobile. QuadVan does do the optional stuff like bigger lifts and lockers.

I have visited QuadVan twice. One time there were doing re-work on some S/K converted mobile dentist labs.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:35 AM   #23
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

I like the idea of "all ford" parts but being an hour away I went with an SMB conversion. The Atlas transfer case and Dynatrac axles ranks high on my list for several reasons. I like the extra heavy duty drive train components SMB uses and have been able to find most any part I needed for my SMB from my buddy's part store in the small town where I live. But if you break something unique to the SMB conversion it can be shipped if needed. Probably the same with Quigley/Ford. Repairs that have plagued me like the front sway bar could be fixed anywhere. That said, nothing on the SMB conversion has stranded me..... Yet! I avoid extreme OHV trails mostly due to possible body damage or engine failure that would require some high dollar repairs because a tow would be impossible. Do I use the full capability.... where I go with an 11,000 lb vehicle I would say Yes, but so can a Quigley, SK, QV etc.
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:11 PM   #24
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

All really good input. I ordered my Pueblo Gold 2010 E350 super duty RB with 4:10 LSD and V10 gas engine this week. Drop ship to SMB free of charge. Now I have prolly 12 weeks to decide on who does 4x4.
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I was set to go S&K .. but their base price 4x4 conversion is $15.1k and SMB is 16.7k. And S&K wants $2250 per ARB locker versus $1850 for SMB. I'm getting a front locker.

I add that up and S&K = $17365 and SMB = $18555. That's only $1185 difference which would SEEM to make the SMB 4x4 a better value when considering what you get for only $1185 more.

I was looking or expecting more like $2500 - $3000 difference - which pays for a Trojan front bumper and Hella fog lights!

In terms of location, both are about equi-distant.

Hence the thread about REALLY using this SMB capability..............
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:19 PM   #25
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

Congrats War! Nice color choice We love the Pueblo Gold Metallic.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:04 PM   #26
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

We've probably used the FULL capability of our SMB version only once or twice, but it's saved us several hundred dollars in recovery charges each time. We don't get stuck intentionally, but the extra clearance, shorter turn radius, locking front, and L/S rear have extracted us from a couple of situations that would have required VERY $pecialized towing. The peace of mind is worth something too.

In addition to the shorter turn radius, I liked the lower ratio available with the Atlas Xfer case, and the fact that it allowed more fuel capacity without dual tanks.

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Old 08-28-2009, 12:36 PM   #27
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

oldfart 3 - thx! I plan on going off-road as much as possible .... i look forward to some bigger SMB group meets/camping to get some tips on driving these rigs in real time from the experienced folks.

I'm working up a quote fron S&K for the 4x4 upfit
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:32 PM   #28
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

A couple of thoughts on the 4x4 options:

I sometimes see comments about how some 4x4 conversions use all Ford parts, or more Ford parts than SMB does, so they are supposedly easier to service. Since I have only owned the SMB version, I can't directly compare, but the parts on a SMB that could most likely could need service are things like bearings, seals, U joints, and other moving parts. The moving parts used by Dynatrac and SMB in the 4x4 conversion are all parts that are common on US-built trucks, with the exception of the axles themselves. Except for the axles, I would think any Napa store would have them in stock. If the the axles used in a Quigley of other aftermarket conversion are Ford parts, they would be more likely to be in stock at a Ford dealer, but I don't know how deep the parts stock is at most Ford dealers. Do they actually have truck axles in stock as a common item, or would they have to order them? If they had to order them, than I think it's close to an even trade off, compared to getting an axle shipped out from Dynatrac for a repair. Maybe if you had a van with all Ford parts, and only had Ford dealerships work on it, that might be an advantage, but if something breaks out in the field, I think I'll be fine getting parts. I have a list from Dynatrac of all the parts used in both front and rear axles and I carry it in the van. I like the parts SMB used in their conversion: The Atlas transfer case and the Dynatrac axles have bulletproof reputations.

I upgraded to the Dynatrac full-floating rear axle for a couple of reasons: To get the extra strength, and in case of a broken axle, the wheel will not come off, and to avoid using wheel spacers.

Have I pushed the 4x4 system to it's limit? I know I haven't because I have not broken it yet. And I have enjoyed pushing it a few times. But, I do feel very confident in the SMB 4x4 system and that it is as strong as anything available out there. I opted for front and rear air lockers and use them more often than I thought I would. I had an electric locker in the rear of my Suburban before I had the SMB and I used it often. I hate tearing up roads and trails and knowing I can lock the axles when I choose too is something I like very much. I don't have to wonder how much the wheels will spin before the limited-slip diff kicks in. I have been able to crawl up steep loose roads and not have any wheel slip by using the air lockers.

These are just my preferences, and others will have theirs, but the SMB 4x4 system and the air lockers work very well for me.

Brian Rutherford
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:41 PM   #29
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

railbat - thx for input. Understood your comments R&R parts. Besides Ford warranty staying intact, and hence service maintenance standard, the other approach with using all ford parts is stock F350 4x4 front end has coil springs versus SMB leafs up front. That's prolly a smoother ride with coils. As far as off road capability, I guess I'll find out. I'm going to use Salem Kroger to do 4x4 conversion. I will put ARB front locker, but just LSD in rear along with 4H and 4L transfer case. So I won't be as capable as an SMB setup, but we'll see. But the auto makers switched to coil springs fron leafs years ago and they are pretty capable just stock.
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:05 PM   #30
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Re: How many REALLY use the full capability of the SMB 4x4?

I doubt a Quadvan has as much suspension travel as a SMB. And as far as using all Ford parts, I don't see that as a huge +. If the stock Ford suspension on the F series was perfect, sure. But it's not. Huge radius arms that hang down, trac bar design that loves to develop death wobble, unit bearings, etc. I bet if we really sat down & looked at all of the wearable components on a SMB conversion, they're more common than the factory Ford parts. And cheaper......
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