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Old 09-27-2020, 07:28 PM   #1
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Worth it to build out van for resale?

Some of you may have read the thread where I was trying to decide between two vans I have. A funio diy campervan 5.4 2wd E350 and a recently bought, low mile (76k) 6.0 diesel 2wd E350.

Based on your responses and comparing costs, I am leaning heavy towards keeping the already finished gas van.

My question is do you all think it would be worth it to build it out as a camper to resell it?

I can sell it right now and but worried I may not get my money back and definitely not the time I have spent messing with it (removing fire dept wiring and accessories, rebuilding turbo, cleaning, etc).

It came with MG 4wd brackets, axles, and a transfer case (unistalled). Part of me thinks that due to the recent hashtag vanlife craze that I may be able to convert it to 4wd and do a basic camper interior to make a little money. Seems like people are paying a premium for already converted vans right now.

I am crunching the numbers but wanted to ask you all what you thought?

I would be doing all the work myself and it would be semi professional looking. Not homemade particle board and ikea mattress stuff (no offense to those that have that...).

My issue with selling the van right now is that it was a former fire department van and people see the paint and assume it has idled most of it's life. The story I was told is that it was an 02 resupply vehicle and only ran on structure fires so it sat in the bay most of the time. The engine is stock but runs good now that the turbo is clean. If I turned it into a campervan then I would address the 6.0 issues as part of the build.

Advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:40 PM   #2
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A 4x4 build out is a TON of work. Sure, it will attract more buyers and fetch a higher price, but you'd almost have to put a zero value on your time and skinned knuckles, to just break even, if you do it right.



If I were in your shoes, I'd keep the 3/4 ton gas camper van like you said, sell the 6 point OH!, list the MG brackets and extras up for sale separately, take your lumps on the $ loss and move on.
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post
A 4x4 build out is a TON of work. Sure, it will attract more buyers and fetch a higher price, but you'd almost have to put a zero value on your time and skinned knuckles, to just break even, if you do it right.



If I were in your shoes, I'd keep the 3/4 ton gas camper van like you said, sell the 6 point OH!, list the MG brackets and extras up for sale separately, take your lumps on the $ loss and move on.
Yeah, I get in the habit of over estimating my skills and under estimating the time required. Part of me wants to do it because I think it would be fun to do another interior conversion after learning so much from the first build. Easy to forget the headaches involved though.


I originally had just planned on buying the conversion parts but ended up buying the diesel van with them. If I sell the 6.0 van as is then I would use the MG brackets and transfer case on the gas van. Would have to sell the 3.73 axles and find some 4.30s that would be better suited to the 5.4.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:25 AM   #4
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Does the diesel have a gauge to track idle hours? Not sure what year it is. My 2011 has that built into the digital “info center.” I wonder if a ScanGauge or dealer software could let you check on that to be able to quantify it for a buyer.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:34 AM   #5
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As a knee-jerk reaction to the question I can't see how building something out in order to increase its resale potential could be anything less than a big mistake.

You can't know what a potential buyer would want or walk away from so IMHO simply offer the van "as is", list the extra parts you'd sell as a package deal or exclude if they're unwanted. Possibly you could bundle and sell the extra parts separately.

Investing the time, money and effort to increase the sale potential doesn't make sense to me----I might be in the minority though.

Crunch some more numbers and see if the improve or decrease.
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:55 AM   #6
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Does the diesel have a gauge to track idle hours? Not sure what year it is. My 2011 has that built into the digital “info center.” I wonder if a ScanGauge or dealer software could let you check on that to be able to quantify it for a buyer.
I haven't seen anything. This one is a 2005 model.

Back when I worked on an ambulance, our older models had hour meters installed so the county shop could keep an eye on them. Granted we were so busy that we didn't generate a ton of idle hours vs mileage. The newer ambulances did have built in hour meters that could be looked up on the dash.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:03 AM   #7
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As a knee-jerk reaction to the question I can't see how building something out in order to increase its resale potential could be anything less than a big mistake.



You can't know what a potential buyer would want or walk away from so IMHO simply offer the van "as is", list the extra parts you'd sell as a package deal or exclude if they're unwanted. Possibly you could bundle and sell the extra parts separately.



Investing the time, money and effort to increase the sale potential doesn't make sense to me----I might be in the minority though.



Crunch some more numbers and see if the improve or decrease.
You could definitely be right but to answer your comment about it being "anything less than a big mistake" I would compare it to selling a run down house as is or spending some money to fix it up to make a higher profit. Or selling an older car with worn out, dry rotted tires and dirt all over it vs spending some time and money to get new tires and a detailed cleaning. Sometimes spending money on something increases the resell significantly.

Obviously those are not exactly same-same comparisons but after seeing what some of these "campervans" are selling for I thought it might be worth a shot. I have a fire service van that I might take a loss on selling as is or a custom van that I could possibly make a profit on (or even bigger loss).

Thank you for your wisdom! The comments are having me leaning more towards sucking it up and selling as is.
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RememberTheFallen View Post

Thank you for your wisdom! The comments are having me leaning more towards sucking it up and selling as is.
It's not so much wisdom as it is experience----we have to consider in real terms what's our time and aggravation worth? Could we, would we find better uses for that?

And I do hate being somewhat negative or trying to inject a "sell it quick...." attitude but as is sometimes said by us old folks: "one in the hand is worth two in the bush......". So empty your hand but I don't think you'll take nearly as big a loss as you fear---if any at all.

List it on eBay and as aggravating as it can be Craig's List as both those sites have very good search engines so if Joe in Jooiesy is looking for what you have it might be a doable deal.

Good luck with this!
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:11 AM   #9
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Thank you! Wisdom or experience, I greatly appreciate it!

It's easy to get off track in my head and let my ideas go crazy. That's why I asked in here, to let you guys ground me.

At the worst, I could list it and if I just can't get it to sell then try fixing it up then.
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:15 AM   #10
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Tons of people are doing it and making a tidy profit doing so but they are mostly in 'van world', being the Rockies or the west coast.

I did one almost solely to flip for profit once but it wasn't nearly worth the time spent. If you do this you need to consider the worth to you personally of learning as you go, which is priceless if you have the time.

Keep in mind there will be 'gotchas', mistakes and frustration. If it helps at all after all of the vans I've built, flipped, improved while owning or whatever I do not think it's worth the time and effort to do so anymore. YMMV as with every other hobby or side gig.
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