Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
4wd Vans
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By GhaMby
From Heaven
Jan 29, 2013
I was originally thinking that a tacoma or something similar would be a good next vehicle, but what I really think would be rad is a 4wd diesel van. I tried looking online but didn't find anything. Is this something I would have to have custom built, or find a sportsmobile?

I really want 4wd so I can tool around on back roads in the area, and to get back into those climbing areas that have a long approach IF you have a 4wd rig. Maybe I need a cheap 2wd van and a cheap truck, but I'm 6'4" so most 'cheap' trucks have tiny cabs that I can't fit in without knocking my teeth wit my knees.

So what do I need to know about 4wd vans? Are there stock 1500 chevy vans out there with diesel engines? Do sprinters come in 4wd?

FLAG
By Sir Spanxalot
Jan 29, 2013
no
Quigley Sportsmobile

Your gonna need a good budget for either one.

FLAG
By frankstoneline
Jan 29, 2013
frybrid.com/forum/showthread.p...

Somewhere in the responses someone mentions the econoline having been made in a 4x4, and being that it's a diesel conversion forum I assume it also had a diesel option, though they might be hard to find. Most work vans don't need to be 4wd, so there is probably somewhat limited demand/surplus of older 4wd diesel vans.

Realistically, you arent going to get much further with a 4wd van unless it has particularly good clearance (in terms of offroad ability). If ability to do some offroad stuff is what you're after I think a truck is your huckleberry. (my 2 cents) Most anything a low-ish 4wd van can get to you can get a 2wd van to, just need some more momentum.

FLAG
By kovacs69
From Dallas, TX
Jan 29, 2013
You can always try a 4wd Suburban or Tahoe.

FLAG
By Ian Stewart
Jan 29, 2013
4x4 vans are awesome, but can be very expensive. You can watch the used market and might get lucky on something older, but in general you're looking at at least a 5k premium for 4x4 vs 2wd (based on what I've seen). You can also buy conversion kits to do it yourself with certain vans (econolines, specifically), but you'd still be between 5-10k for that conversion on top of the price of the van, excluding labor.

I wish my van was 4x4 but I can't justify the cost, which is why I've gone the cheap van + cheap 4x4 truck route. My conversion van was $2k, and my extended cab pickup, which would have plenty of leg room even for you, was $3k. The van still has great clearance, and I've had no problem getting to any of the climbing areas around me with the 2wd (though I don't climb ice, so I'm rarely off-road in snow). If conditions suck or I think I'll really need 4x4, I'll just take the truck. Insuring both is still only $50/month.

Also, those big 4x4 vans are horrible on gas mileage. I can get 15mpg with my van if I drive it right, while a buddy of mine has a sportsmobile and gets a little under 10mpg. That difference can really add up if you're driving long distances.

FLAG
By Mark Lewis
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Jan 29, 2013
I have a 1994 Eurovan and it has taken me down most dirt roads I've wished to go, albeit sometimes very slowly and with a spotter helping out...stacking rocks here and there...

It doesn't have much clearance and I've bottomed out multiple times. It would have been nice to have some extra clearance. Though I haven't truly needed 4-wheel drive during dry conditions, I have needed it when wet/snowy conditions are present (and on some deep sand roads in the desert).

If I were to purchase another van I'd definitely go with a domestic model and have it modified after market to get some clearance and 4-wheel drive. Repairs are extremely expensive on the Volkswagon campervan and it can take awhile to get certain parts shipped from Europe.

FLAG
By john strand
From southern colo
Jan 29, 2013
i got a Toyota previa. it's AWD not 4wd but works really well. They are getting pretty hard to find since they went out of production in '97 though.
Mid engine, supercharger and almost 8 foot bed when you pull the seats.

Almost 300K and still going, but I think this year may be it

FLAG
By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Jan 29, 2013
Wall Street, Moab, UT
Ian Stewart's experience is pretty close to mine... by not spending $10k on a Sportsmobile type van (and spending under $3k on a 2 wheel drive van) I had money left over for a small vehicle that's much cheaper and easier to use around town when I'm not traveling (not to mention money left over to actually go places in the van). The van ('93 E-150) has good ground clearance, and rear wheel drive vans have way more traction than rear wheel drive pickups, but there are places I wouldn't try to take it. One thing to bear in mind with diesel is that the fuel (on average) costs around $1 more per gallon than gasoline, so while you might save fuel with a diesel you might not save much money.

FLAG
 
By Mick S
Jan 29, 2013
There are no 1500 (half-ton) vans with a diesel, and Sprinters are not 4WD. I also wanted a 4WD van with a diesel and eventually gave up. Everything I found was either way overpriced, or had very high miles. I did not want to give up the 4WD or diesel options, so that left sportsmobile for the most part.

I eventually bought a used 2500 Diesel 4WD Dodge PU with low miles and a sweet pop-up slide in camper. It goes anywhere I need it to, gets great mileage, and has more power than I need. Way less $ than a comparable 4x4 diesel camper van.

Some people just gotta have a van though, I get it, but you will pay dearly for what you are looking for in good condition.

FLAG
By TWK
Jan 29, 2013
4-door 4wd Tacoma with a camper shell can't be beat. Except skid plates and momentum trumps clearance any time!

FLAG
By Adam Pecan
From Moab, UT
Jan 29, 2013
The old toyota van (actually the name of the model), is super reliable, mileage in the 20s, and has 4wd. Either that or go to BC and try to find a Mitsubishi Delica. They are lifted, rugged, have 4wd and also get gas mileage in the 20s in 2wd mode

FLAG
By TWK
Jan 29, 2013
All bow down!
JLP HAS SPOKEN!!!

FLAG
By Ian Stewart
Jan 29, 2013
JLP wrote:
For less than the cost of a diesel Sportsmobile, you could get large domestic RV and tow a Jeep behind it, all while getting pretty close to the same gas mileage. Diesel 4x4 vans are a giant hog shit-show of overkill and excess with a strong appeal to American slobs, IMO. Too big and heavy to do any real 4x4 roads, too cramped as a decent RV and too expensive to justify for that 1% of miles spent off road.


You say 4x4 vans are a "giant hog shit-show of overkill and excess", and yet you suggest getting a large RV and towing a jeep behind it? Please explain how that's less overkill than a single van. While you're at it, maybe you can explain how to park the large RV and jeep in those small camp sites that are often found near climbing areas.

Have you ever actually been in a pop-top Sportsmobile? "Cramped" is not a term I would use for it.

Something tells me that you've never driven a large RV towing a jeep across a highway with 4x4/chain control in effect, either. I sure as hell would never want to do that. Sportsmobile? No problem.

Even though I have no intent of doing so, I would drop $30k on a used Sportsmobile before spending the same on an RV+Jeep combo any day.

FLAG
By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Jan 29, 2013
Wall Street, Moab, UT
A friend of mine wanted a Sportsmobile type van, but instead opted for a used 2004 E-250 with a 5.4 (gas) with around 50,00 miles on it- he then took it out to Salt Lake City and spent about $3k on a 4x4 conversion, and then put a high top (permanent as opposed to pop-up) on it. He reports getting 12mpg. In light of that, I can understand why someone would just go for the big RV instead, but an RV can be a real liability in a number of situations, whereas a van or a truck can double as a work vehicle if needed.

FLAG
By rj-n-foco
From Ft Collins, CO
Jan 29, 2013
4x4 E350 in Moab
4x4 E350 in Moab

Here's my beast of a van. 93 E350 with a big lift, 7.5L V8, Poptop, propane furnace, solarpanels, and lots of other goodies. Awesome in the snow and cold. Had a party with 5 dudes and 3 dogs inside no problemo.

I'm pretty sure this is the van Ian was talking about. And about the gas mileage, I just got it smogged in CA and had to put a new catalytic convertor, O2 sensor etc. I drove it to Tahoe a couple weeks back and was pushing 15mpgs.

I really like my van. It goes anywhere and lets me stay off the grid. Biggest gripe is gas but it holds almost 55 gallons (~600 miles) and if there is two or three people then you can split the cost. To Compare, my '03 Tacoma V6 4x4 double cab only gets 12-17 mpgs depending on the season and city/highway. So a big ass van getting 10-15 is not so bad.

FLAG
By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jan 29, 2013
Topo - Cliffs in Green
rj-n-foco wrote:
Here's my beast of a van. 93 E350 with a big lift, 7.5L V8, Poptop, propane furnace, solarpanels, and lots of other goodies. Awesome in the snow and cold. Had a party with 5 dudes and 3 dogs inside no problemo. I'm pretty sure this is the van Ian was talking about. And about the gas mileage, I just got it smogged in CA and had to put a new catalytic convertor, O2 sensor etc. I drove it to Tahoe a couple weeks back and was pushing 15mpgs. I really like my van. It goes anywhere and lets me stay off the grid. Biggest gripe is gas but it holds almost 55 gallons (~600 miles) and if there is two or three people then you can split the cost. To Compare, my '03 Tacoma V6 4x4 double cab only gets 12-17 mpgs depending on the season and city/highway. So a big ass van getting 10-15 is not so bad.


So did you do the conversion on this puppy or did you fork over the $80k for this one yourself? I love these things but am having trouble figuring out how anyone, unless they're LOADED and filthy rich, would be able to afford one of the coverted ones. They cost almost as much as a small house and let be honest we're talking about climbers...

FLAG
 
By TWK
Jan 29, 2013
TWK wrote:
4-door 4wd Tacoma with a camper shell can't be beat. Except skid plates and momentum trumps clearance any time!

Damn! I guess it can!

FLAG
By rj-n-foco
From Ft Collins, CO
Jan 29, 2013
JLP has no idea what he is talking about. Sure a brand new decked out Sportsmobile will cost $100K but a little patience and shopping there are good deals to be had. Of course its not a rock crawler for insane offroad. But to use it for what it is, a vehicle capable of getting you to most trailheads and locations with or without roads, it can't be beat.

I bought my van pretty much as is for less than $20K. Granted its a '93 with 85K miles but it is rock solid and has been very reliable. The only real money put in it was the recent exhaust work.

FLAG
By rj-n-foco
From Ft Collins, CO
Jan 29, 2013
TWK, My tacoma was the reason I upgraded. the bed is short so I have to sleep diagonal and it's damn cold in the winter . I spend alot of time backcountry in the winter so being warm and drying gear was a top priority.

FLAG
By Portwood
From Your moms house last night
Jan 29, 2013
Me
There are plenty of inexpensive used 4wd cargo vans out there...

FLAG
By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Jan 29, 2013
rj-n-foco wrote:
... Had a party with 5 dudes and 3 dogs inside no problemo.


Dude, ain't a party if it's a buncha wankers in a van! If I had that van I'd be looking for 3-4 escorts to party with, not dudes.

FLAG
By rj-n-foco
From Ft Collins, CO
Jan 29, 2013
HA, escorts in the backcountry....Hmmm, Maybe theres a business model to think about.

But when its -10F and dumping snow in a backcountry parking lot in Steamboat, there are very few females around. Now hanging out in Las Vegas and climbing in Red Rocks, then sure, I'll load it up with whoever I can afford!

FLAG
By Ian Stewart
Jan 29, 2013
rj-n-foco wrote:
I'm pretty sure this is the van Ian was talking about.


Of course, especially since that's me in your picture! That's awesome that you've been able to get the van smogged and up to 15mpg...now I'm even more jealous!

Also, for the record, the trip that picture came from was from a trip to Moab where we most certainly took advantage of the 4x4/lifted nature of the van to get us to some cool spots where we couldn't have otherwise gone. Plus you never have to go "back" to camp because you can just park it wherever the hell you want.

Again, I'd take Ryan's van for $20k any day over an RV.

FLAG
By Ian Stewart
Jan 29, 2013
Portwood wrote:
There are plenty of inexpensive used 4wd cargo vans out there...


Really? Where are you looking?

FLAG
 
By Dan Allard
From West Chester, PA
Jan 29, 2013
Day at Summersville Lake
My uncle picked up an old ambulance and is in the process of creating a camper out of it. It's already fully wired with lots of power options from defibulators, lighting, and life support equipment, has beefed up suspension, water supply installed, lots of stainless steel storage cabinets..

something else to look into perhaps.. good luck!

FLAG
By climbing coastie
From Sacramento
Jan 29, 2013
Switzerland
I've been keeping an eye on Sprinters waiting for them to bring their AWD/4wd vans to the states. Unfortunatly that isn't going to happen for another 3+ years.

Ford is bringing their full size Transit to the US this fall. According to their website a diesel is an option. I can't find anything about 4wd though. Dodge is bringing the Fiat van over this fall also. Very little info is out on them though.

Hopefully with the competition someone (I'll cross my fingers for MB) will be offering at least an AWD van with a diesel soon.

FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>