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Old 01-07-2013, 12:19 AM   #1
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Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

What up SMB Forum??? You guys are awesome. Love the forum!

I'm getting dangerously close to entering the SMB world. My wife and I are looking for a snow rig/base camp for our family of two kids and two dogs. We drive in the snow most winter weekends to ski. Can anyone comment on handling performance in the snow between a suburban and a E350 EB?

I've ran this by a few folks and received the following comments that I am trying to confirm/deny:

1) EB will not be safe in the snow.

2) Fixed top, like a voyager, will create an unstable condition going around snowy corners.

If we go the van route, we are planning on keeping the conversion fairly simple. 4 captain chairs and a bench/bed in back. Leaning heavily toward a voyager type top with a roof rack.

Any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:28 AM   #2
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

Quote:
Originally Posted by boomer
What up SMB Forum??? You guys are awesome. Love the forum!

I'm getting dangerously close to entering the SMB world. My wife and I are looking for a snow rig/base camp for our family of two kids and two dogs. We drive in the snow most winter weekends to ski. Can anyone comment on handling performance in the snow between a suburban and a E350 EB?

I've ran this by a few folks and received the following comments that I am trying to confirm/deny:

1) EB will not be safe in the snow.

2) Fixed top, like a voyager, will create an unstable condition going around snowy corners.

If we go the van route, we are planning on keeping the conversion fairly simple. 4 captain chairs and a bench/bed in back. Leaning heavily toward a voyager type top with a roof rack.

Any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Myself I don't agree with either of those statements. JMO
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:14 AM   #3
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

What he said. I see no reason to avoid either. I think the vans generally handle pretty well in the snow. Certainly better than a pickup. I put on thousands of snow miles a year. Mine is an EB.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:06 AM   #4
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

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Originally Posted by boomer
1) EB will not be safe in the snow.
What? Why? The EB and RB have exactly the same wheelbase. If you want slightly safer, I'd say go with the Chevy EB which actually extends the wheelbase- but we're talking miniscule effect compared to everything else.

Quote:
2) Fixed top, like a voyager, will create an unstable condition going around snowy corners.
Again, what? Why? If you're going around corners fast enough to create an unstable condition because of the top, you're going TOO FAST even for dry pavement, much less snow.

There are so many factors that come before either of these two things would even begin to be considered including: weight, driver skill, tire type, tire condition, weather, temperature, road surface, load distribution, lift, how full the fuel tank is...

I mean it's a little like saying: having a full refrigerator is more dangerous in the snow. It's likely true (having a full fridge is more dangerous) but so miniscule of a condition that it doesn't bear consideration, and tacking on "in the snow" just confuses the issue without making it untrue (a lot of those "weird laws" you hear use this tactic).
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:44 AM   #5
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

I think my EB is pretty dang safe in the snow, and right now I drive mine every day on snow and ice. Heavy van, good weight distribution, 4wd, good tires, and driving appropriately for the conditions makes for a safe drive. Some suburbans I have driven are so 'plush' that you lose a feel for the road. Overboosted steering and tons of sound insulation can make for a quiet and easy drive on dry roads, but I find I lose a feel for the road in slippery conditions. I mention sound insulation because sometimes the only way I know my wheels are spinning on ice is if I hear my engine over-rev.

I suppose it's all what you are used to driving, and especially how you drive. As Jage mentions, there are a lot of variables.....but generally I'd say a properly equipped EB is safe. I'd drive it over many other vehicles on the road.......
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

"I'd drive it over many other vehicles on the road"
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:13 AM   #7
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

^^^ lol.

a very fellow racer once told me that racing is 90% driver, 5% tire, and 5% car. imho, that applies to everyday driving too. if you can drive a suburban in the snow, you should have zero problems driving a van, let alone a eb.

and I totally agree with dparkwy. being able to hear what the vehicle is doing accounts for a lot for me too. a lot of my buddies will bitch and moan when i wont crank the tunes up when conditions are crap, but i do it for this reason.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomer

1) EB will not be safe in the snow.
Well I drive all over the state of Washington Guiding for steelhead in the dead of winter while towing a drift boat or raft going over every pass at 2-3 am and my E350 EB has been great!! handles better then my 4dr jeep wrangler its long and wide wheel base + weight drives and feels like a "TANK" I just went down to the GR river lots of ice and no probs, and I have an 8inch lift



Thanks
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #9
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

Quote:
Originally Posted by shenrie
. and I totally agree with dparkwy. being able to hear what the vehicle is doing accounts for a lot for me too. a lot of my buddies will bitch and moan when i wont crank the tunes up when conditions are crap, but i do it for this reason.
Your buddies would really bitch and moan if they rode with me. I turn the music off and roll the window down a little bit so I can listen for the sound of a wet tire spray disappearing. When it starts getting quiet it means the water is turning to ice and it's time to slow it down a little. Driving any vehicle safely in winter conditions requires the use all your senses.

Burbs are good rigs to get to the ski area but they aren't any safer than a 4X4 van. EB or RB, regular top or voyager it's not going to make much difference in snow driving safety. In my opinion a well equipped SMB is considerably safer for winter conditions than a Burb when you add in the survival factor. If things get ugly I'd rather have my family safely hunkered down inside a SMB than a Burb.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:52 PM   #10
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

Gnarvan

Great point Gnarvan nothing like having all the pleasures of home in your rig if something goes wrong I would much rather have my wife and kids in my EB with my new suburban frnce!

Buck
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