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Old 05-22-2012, 03:26 PM   #1
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Let me introduce myself...

Hi,

I bought mjeffrey's 2008 E-350 "camperized" rig last Friday.

See pics here, if needed: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9059

I'm currently plowing through lots of older posts here trying to figure out if my current questions have already been asked and answered.

This rig is going to get converted to 4x4 in a few weeks, here: http://advanced4x4vans.com/

I need to decide quickly-ish whether to put lockers front and rear, and if so (presumably), whether to go ARB or Eaton e-lockers.

And even quicker (because they have to pre-order) I need to decide whether to put a winch on the Aluminess front bumper I'll be installing. Then, if I go with a winch, is there an appropriate model that works with synthetic rope instead of the heavy metal stuff. The 9000i that Advanced4x4 suggests doesn't seem to be be offered in a synthetic-rope version. The winch-or-not debate is because I had them on one of my Jeeps and never ever used it so I'm a little reluctant to spend the money on it. The other big question is, if I do get one, should I get a portable that goes into a receiver so it can be used in front or in back?

Presumably this stuff has been discussed at some length, but I haven't run across it. Any guidance will be appreciated.

BTW, the van lives in the Las Vegas area now. Picked it up Friday 11am-ish at SeaTac, got back Saturday evening.

Regards to all,

Evan
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:24 PM   #2
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Congrats and welcome.


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Old 05-22-2012, 05:37 PM   #3
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Congrats on your new rig and welcome to the group.

FWIW, I think your questions hinge on how radical you want to get with the 4 wheeling. 2WD takes us 90% of where we want to go and the stock diff 4WD (3WD?) takes us 90% of the remainder. Close enough.

I don't have locking diffs but if I was starting from scratch I think I'd go with then.

I have a winch and like you, have never used it and hope I never have to. It came with the rig and if I was starting from scratch I'd probably leave it off.

If you decide to go with the winch, I'd definitely get the front/rear mount option. If I get in so far that I'm stuck, I'd rather drag myself out the way I came than get in even deeper.

If you find the winch you want except that it has steel cable, can't you just scrap the cable and put on syn rope? The winch body itself would be the same wouldn't it?
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:25 PM   #4
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viejo
FWIW, I think your questions hinge on how radical you want to get with the 4 wheeling. 2WD takes us 90% of where we want to go and the stock diff 4WD (3WD?) takes us 90% of the remainder. Close enough.

I don't have locking diffs but if I was starting from scratch I think I'd go with then.

I have a winch and like you, have never used it and hope I never have to. It came with the rig and if I was starting from scratch I'd probably leave it off.

If you decide to go with the winch, I'd definitely get the front/rear mount option. If I get in so far that I'm stuck, I'd rather drag myself out the way I came than get in even deeper.

If you find the winch you want except that it has steel cable, can't you just scrap the cable and put on syn rope? The winch body itself would be the same wouldn't it?
I completely concur about 2wd solving most of the needs. Of course, even in 2wd it's important to have tires that can handle the sharp rocks (at least out here in the west where the rocks have teeth).

But I'm pretty sure I'll need 4WD and generally agree that if I'm starting from scratch (as I am) the lockers seem like a good idea. The question is ARB air lockers or Eaton e-lockers.


As far as "can you just put synthetic rope on in place of steel", I'm not exactly sure. There is some noise about design issues re the fairlead, the drum, how many wraps, heat issues affecting the rope, etc. I'm hoping somebody can take me past my current level of "rumor and superstition."

I completely agree about the removable winch and back vs forward. One advantage is that your winch can be easily removed and isn't constantly exposed to the elements, etc. The big disadvantage is that you can leave it home. So here you are driving along and you just have to go up this dirt track and before you know it you're involved in the first time you ever needed a winch. There's also the scenario where let's say you have it attached to the front and you get in a jam where you really need it in back but it's now wedged into the proverbial place between a rock and the rest of your rig so you can't get it out to use it in back. Then there's the question of how a hitch-mount winch affects ramp angles. Maybe I'm overthinking it. After all, I've never needed one before. Ever. Usually I just look at the proposed path and say: "Naw, I'm not going there. It looks like I'll need to use the winch if I do." <shrug>

I've never had an off-road rig this big before, so maybe my previous experience doesn't quite count.

Can I get a crystal ball for my SMB, so I can equip only for that which is preordained?
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Congratulations!

look forward to seeing your finished product!
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl
Congratulations!

look forward to seeing your finished product!
Thanks!

I was unaware that there was such a thing as a "finished product" when it came to offroad rigs.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:11 PM   #7
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Hi Redrock,

I guess I no longer have the only Sportsmobile in town. Welcome to the group. I have a lifted 2W drive with an ARB airlocker. So far it has gotten me out of everything I have been into. IMO 4W with a rear locker is good for anything you'll want to do unless you intend to do some serious wall climbing with you rig -- which I would not recommend.

As for a winch, it depends on how deep in the sand or far off the road you intend to go. I've thought of getting one, but only for looks. I've been on many dirt roads all over Nevada, Arizona, California and Utah and I haven't needed one yet. If you plan on going to Logandale Trails or in the sandy beaches of Lake Mead, it might be nice to have, but you would need a very large anchor since there are very few trees around those areas strong enough to attach a winch to.

Enjoy your new rig!!!

Regards,

Mac
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:33 PM   #8
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Are you dealing with Randy at Advanced 4x4? Most people love him and a couple hate him. They did a conversion for me and it was GREAT. They have done 4x4 Vans since before “Pathfinder Vans” (In the 70’s) and they still own the rights to the pathfinder stuff. As far as lockers, get them if you can afford them, if not you need to get a limited slip rear dif at least. I live in the mountains in bad weather and road salt most of the year so I don’t like all the trouble with air lines and fittings leaking and a compressor all mounted under the van so I don’t use air lockers (ARB units are great by the way, just not for what I do with the van). I have used Eaton e-lockers for years and they work GREAT! Advanced 4x4 installs them all the time so they know what they are doing.
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Eaton E-Lockers Front And Rear/4:10 Gears
ARB Differential Covers - Nodular Iron With Dipstick And Drain Plug
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by macmcintire
I guess I no longer have the only Sportsmobile in town.
One of my neighbors has a Sportsmobile as well, so that makes at least 3.

Quote:
IMO 4W with a rear locker is good for anything you'll want to do unless you intend to do some serious wall climbing with you rig -- which I would not recommend.
I definitely didn't buy this rig to prove anything to hard-core rock crawlers.

Quote:
As for a winch, it depends on how deep in the sand or far off the road you intend to go. I've thought of getting one, but only for looks. I've been on many dirt roads all over Nevada, Arizona, California and Utah and I haven't needed one yet. If you plan on going to Logandale Trails or in the sandy beaches of Lake Mead, it might be nice to have, but you would need a very large anchor since there are very few trees around those areas strong enough to attach a winch to.
Thanks for the reminder about anchors. Looking at some of the pics on these forums, it looks like other rigs are the main anchor points.


Quote:
Enjoy your new rig!!!
Thanks! I'm optimistic that it's going to be awesome.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:05 AM   #10
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Re: Let me introduce myself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGVANS
Are you dealing with Randy at Advanced 4x4? Most people love him and a couple hate him. They did a conversion for me and it was GREAT. They have done 4x4 Vans since before “Pathfinder Vans” (In the 70’s) and they still own the rights to the pathfinder stuff. As far as lockers, get them if you can afford them, if not you need to get a limited slip rear dif at least. I live in the mountains in bad weather and road salt most of the year so I don’t like all the trouble with air lines and fittings leaking and a compressor all mounted under the van so I don’t use air lockers (ARB units are great by the way, just not for what I do with the van). I have used Eaton e-lockers for years and they work GREAT! Advanced 4x4 installs them all the time so they know what they are doing.
Thanks for the encouragement and specifics. Yes, I'm dealing with Randy. Seems to be not trying hard to help me spend my money -- i.e. he's not encouraging every possible upgrade. He says he likes the Eaton e-lockers but it's nice to have an endorsement from somebody else. The only lockers I've used before are ARBs but I'm not thrilled with the idea of mounting a compressor in this rig. I will carry a Viair or similar, though.
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