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Old 11-22-2015, 01:46 PM   #11
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Re: Ideal base van for me?

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Originally Posted by Herbie
OEM, the Chevy AWD vans won't have the low range, but it is doable as a parts-bin swap, and it's not very complicated.

It's well documented and easy on the smaller vans (converting my Astro AWD to 4x4 w/ low range cost me just $500), but can also be done on the bigger vans.

There's at least one or two guys on the Expedition Portal forum who've done it. This is the best documented one: http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/t ... conversion

Technically, it's also possible to do an AWD with low-range, but requires mixing/matching parts and some machine work, I think (somebody on one of the Astro Van boards doing this currently.)

For my money, a junkyard t-case swap to 4wd with low-range was one of the primary motivating factors for choosing my Astro. There are days when I wish I had a full-size or even extended van, but then I remember where I'm at with respect to my budget, and I just smile.

Yeah I was reading up about converting from AWD to 4WD, seems fairly simple. That would give me the opportunity to try it out just as AWD and switch to 4 if i feel like i need it. besides the difference in ground clearance, is there any disadvantage to an express converted to 4wd compared to something like a quigley?
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Old 11-22-2015, 01:58 PM   #12
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Re: Ideal base van for me?

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Originally Posted by daveb
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsa1
I figure If I go with a shorter body the high roof will pretty much be a requirement to fit everything. I would like it if I could keep it shorter, for the sake of offroading. but if it doesnt work it doesnt work.


I'm liking the e350's because it could come in handy for towing. Its not a necessity, and a ways down the list of wishes. but it would be convenient.
There is no wheel base difference between the Ford RB & EB. I take my EB into places where most don't and it doesn't limit off road travel much except on the more technical trails suited for lifted vans such as trails like the Shuteye Peak trail and those rated higher. But if you plan to tow, a full floating rear axle is a good option to think about especially on a extended body van. Some of it depends on the overall weight as well. You can replace that down the road if you decide to tow and if you really need a heavier rated axle. Space is a premium in some situations so it all depends on your layout and the creature comforts you plan to build if the extra EB space is needed.

I think basically your issue is just finding a good 2WD high top vehicle for a great price and planning to spend the money to convert it to a 4x4. You might find a reasonably priced used 4x4, but they hold their value pretty well...at least those from the early 2000's and newer.

I wish you all the luck on your search.


viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5855

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=16681

Seems like your gonna spend around 10k to convert to 4wd right? I've seen some good looking conversions going for not much over 10K.

I'm really liking this one..
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/5275550901.html

I kind of wish it didnt have the side rear windows. would that create problems installing insulation and wood walls? my "vision" was to have wood interior like this..


with maybe one or two small windows cut out, not windows down the whole side.

Other than that it looks solid to me.
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Old 11-23-2015, 02:46 PM   #13
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Re: Ideal base van for me?

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Originally Posted by mrsa1


Yeah I was reading up about converting from AWD to 4WD, seems fairly simple. That would give me the opportunity to try it out just as AWD and switch to 4 if i feel like i need it. besides the difference in ground clearance, is there any disadvantage to an express converted to 4wd compared to something like a quigley?
Just doing the transfer-case swap conversion only changes that part of the system, which means you still have the factory front (open) diff and IFS system.

This is most definitely NOT a rock-crawling setup, but for my uses, it's a good compromise. Depending on if you're talking Quigley's GM IFS solution or a more traditional solid-axle ford conversion, etc, there are many possible "flavors" if 4x4 conversion, some much more "capable" than others. There's something to be said for full-float, manual-locking hub axles at both ends, especially if you're going to take a big heavy rig into very rough terrain, but you'll pay handsomely for that capabilty!
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Old 11-25-2015, 11:13 PM   #14
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Re: Ideal base van for me?

As far as rock crawling, I think that term is over rated when it comes to vans and basically agree with Herbie's post. Vans are not designed for rock crawling at all, especially heavy converted vans (vans with beds, kitchens etc). Yeah you can take a lighter van with a good 4x4 conversion into places where vans wouldn't normally be seen, but true rock crawling means trouble in most circumstances. I don't "rock crawl" but my van has been in the shop for body stress cracks twice. I know this is due to the overall weight and where I take it. I also have dents and tons of scratches on it.

Figure what you need by where you want to take the thing and go from there. A 2x4 Sprinter can go places where you might not think. I'm not embarrassed to turn around on a trail but the times I haven't when I shoulda... oops.
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