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Old 12-22-2016, 12:27 AM
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It should also be mentioned since the op asked about cargo vans... the Chevy Astro van was available in AWD. Vortec V6 isn't a bad power plant and I'm sure some effort could make it more off road-able. Something like this?



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Old 12-23-2016, 06:04 PM
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My older brother had a converted Chevy 1-ton cargo van converted with a 1-ton 4-wheel drive from a 1-ton Chevy PU. Put commercial T-Track tie down system tracks in the floor and on the side walls. He had a variety of boxes with the T-Track system and could swap out boxes for various function for doing mining engineer work, prospecting, camping, hunting, and a couple of other specialty situations. It did have a gasoline engine at the time. A 454ci big block Chevy. That was one sweet rig.

My brother took that thing places you would not believe, under some really severe conditions, and got back without a hitch. Just as an example, he traveled across the mid part of the US during one of the worst 2-day ice storms of the 20th century in that van, with studded tires on it. He was the only thing moving on the highways for several hours. Even helped out the authorities a couple of times during the trip because they did not have anything they could get around in with. When he stopped for fuel, the police saw him and asked him for help.

Due to several unrelated factors, he wound up having to get rid of it. The guy that bought it put in one of the early Cummins 6BT diesel engines, making it even sweeter.

So, yeah, given the choice, I would take a van like my brother's over a pickup.

Just my opinion.
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry D Young View Post
My older brother had a converted Chevy 1-ton cargo van converted with a 1-ton 4-wheel drive from a 1-ton Chevy PU. Put commercial T-Track tie down system tracks in the floor and on the side walls. He had a variety of boxes with the T-Track system and could swap out boxes for various function for doing mining engineer work, prospecting, camping, hunting, and a couple of other specialty situations. It did have a gasoline engine at the time. A 454ci big block Chevy. That was one sweet rig.

My brother took that thing places you would not believe, under some really severe conditions, and got back without a hitch. Just as an example, he traveled across the mid part of the US during one of the worst 2-day ice storms of the 20th century in that van, with studded tires on it. He was the only thing moving on the highways for several hours. Even helped out the authorities a couple of times during the trip because they did not have anything they could get around in with. When he stopped for fuel, the police saw him and asked him for help.

Due to several unrelated factors, he wound up having to get rid of it. The guy that bought it put in one of the early Cummins 6BT diesel engines, making it even sweeter.

So, yeah, given the choice, I would take a van like my brother's over a pickup.

Just my opinion.
I have a Chevy 1 ton cargo van with the T track tie down system too. It has the 6.5 diesel, which is an absolutely horrible engine/transmission combination. If I had the money, I'd love to convert it to 4X4 and put a better diesel powertrain in it. It's hard to believe the amount of cargo a van can hold until you've actually used one for a while.

On the positive side, I can get it fully loaded with all my gear in less than 30 minutes. I do gun shows and have loaded and unloaded it so many times that it's second nature. I keep my survival gear in the same type, size and number of totes as my gun show merchandise. So I can load it just as fast. That's 19 large totes on 2 levels, and 16 small totes on a third level. With room at the back for some jerry cans of fuel/water, and still some room on top for loose things, extra guns, mementos, etc., if I have time.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyserSoSay View Post
....................
This thread just happened to catch me in my happy dance so I had to post it up here to some folks that would also appreciate it- my wife still can't quite grasp how lucky she is that I bought it.
DW has always maintained the position.... NO SCHOOL BUSES....
At our "Place".....most all the old farmers have school buses for chicken houses, stripped down as hay hauler's converted to redneck motor homes...and uses as hunting shacks and "Off the grid "squatter houses.





It has been my experience that "building" a couple of race cars from scratch....a mud truck, as well a daily drivers kept on the road....is that they are not all the reliable,... unless they are backed up by a good shop and plenty of spares.

Maybe a expensive project with out the reliability of a tried and true factory rig that can give you 100K with little or no problems.

I stick with the 2 4X4 as the go to....but do dream of the "best rig".
Best rig may be stopped by a bridge out.....
Old 12-24-2016, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol View Post
DW has always maintained the position.... NO SCHOOL BUSES....
At our "Place".....most all the old farmers have school buses for chicken houses, stripped down as hay hauler's converted to redneck motor homes...and uses as hunting shacks and "Off the grid "squatter houses.

It has been my experience that "building" a couple of race cars from scratch....a mud truck, as well a daily drivers kept on the road....is that they are not all the reliable,... unless they are backed up by a good shop and plenty of spares.

Maybe a expensive project with out the reliability of a tried and true factory rig that can give you 100K with little or no problems.

I stick with the 2 4X4 as the go to....but do dream of the "best rig".
Best rig may be stopped by a bridge out.....
I read through this a few times and may still be missing the gist of what you're telling me here. I don't know who DW is, but everyone's entitled to their opinion, and entitled to drag junky schoolbusses into their yard for whatever reason they see fit. I'm not sure that any of that really has any application to the validity, reliability, or pragmatism of the vehicle I have.

This rig I just purchased and posted pictures of is a "tried and true factory rig" build by Collins which was the Quigley of it's day until the owner got arrested for murder and the company folded. It has 160k original miles and a recently (professionally) rebuilt engine and refurbished drivetrain. If your arguement is against putting time, money, and effort into a vehicle older than 8 years, than we'll just agree to disagree on that point. If you're telling me that a 1983 Ford F-350 4x4 is somehow more reliable or more pragmatic than a 1983 Ford E-350 4x4, than I'll disagree again. I certainly don't think homemade race cars or mud trucks are a fair analogy for the potential reliability or longevity of this truck, at least not in my hands.

I've never been a "dreamer", I'm a "doer". I've been (often professionally) building trucks, wrenching, fabricating, and metalsmithing for all of my adult life, and I don't intend to scab together old junk just because it looks the part in the driveway. Plus, I've got plenty of other good reliable vehicles to go to in the meantime.

I'll also reiterate that I didn't intend to try to make an arguement for bus or van over truck or SUV or RV or motorcycle. I said that I thought this specific vehicle had more (often competing or mutually exclusive) elements of what makes a good BOV, and that I set out to find this exact thing.

I just happen to be in the excitement stage as I just brought this home, I didn't mean to brag on it or anything, I just thought others here might also appreciate it as I did. Appearently, some folks see it as a better option for a chicken coop, I'm cool with that too. my only real point here was to say these types of rigs can be had for less then the $50k-$100k they after bring new, and if others had the ambition to rig one up, they can be found.
Old 12-24-2016, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry D Young View Post
My older brother had a converted Chevy 1-ton cargo van converted with a 1-ton 4-wheel drive from a 1-ton Chevy PU. Put commercial T-Track tie down system tracks in the floor and on the side walls. He had a variety of boxes with the T-Track system and could swap out boxes for various function for doing mining engineer work, prospecting, camping, hunting, and a couple of other specialty situations. It did have a gasoline engine at the time. A 454ci big block Chevy. That was one sweet rig.

My brother took that thing places you would not believe, under some really severe conditions, and got back without a hitch. Just as an example, he traveled across the mid part of the US during one of the worst 2-day ice storms of the 20th century in that van, with studded tires on it. He was the only thing moving on the highways for several hours. Even helped out the authorities a couple of times during the trip because they did not have anything they could get around in with. When he stopped for fuel, the police saw him and asked him for help.

Due to several unrelated factors, he wound up having to get rid of it. The guy that bought it put in one of the early Cummins 6BT diesel engines, making it even sweeter.

So, yeah, given the choice, I would take a van like my brother's over a pickup.

Just my opinion.
I also have it in my mind to have whatever seats, camping, RV elements in my "bus" be modular units that can be removed leaving a simple cargo space. My wife sells at various farmers and craft markets on the weekends ( in preparation for when I retire in a few years and we go off grid to the homestead) and her side business has well outgrown my pickup. While the bus would make a great small RV, I think a full commitment to RV amenities defeats the purpose of a good BOV, as the job at hand may mean simply having the space to haul as much stuff as possible. My bus is rated at 10k lbs, and it weighs right at 7100 empty, so potentially could haul 3000 lbs of gear or supplies depending on what I end up welding to it.

I ramble, sorry. Point is thanks for the T-tracks idea, I'll study on it.
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Old 12-24-2016, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyserSoSay View Post
I read through this a few times and may still be missing the gist of what you're telling me here. I don't know who DW is, but everyone's entitled to their opinion, and entitled to drag junky schoolbusses into their yard for whatever reason they see fit. I'm not sure that any of that really has any application to the validity, reliability, or pragmatism of the vehicle I have.

This rig I just purchased and posted pictures of is a "tried and true factory rig" build by Collins which was the Quigley of it's day until the owner got arrested for murder and the company folded. It has 160k original miles and a recently (professionally) rebuilt engine and refurbished drivetrain. If your arguement is against putting time, money, and effort into a vehicle older than 8 years, than we'll just agree to disagree on that point. If you're telling me that a 1983 Ford F-350 4x4 is somehow more reliable or more pragmatic than a 1983 Ford E-350 4x4, than I'll disagree again. I certainly don't think homemade race cars or mud trucks are a fair analogy for the potential reliability or longevity of this truck, at least not in my hands.

I've never been a "dreamer", I'm a "doer". I've been (often professionally) building trucks, wrenching, fabricating, and metalsmithing for all of my adult life, and I don't intend to scab together old junk just because it looks the part in the driveway. Plus, I've got plenty of other good reliable vehicles to go to in the meantime.

I'll also reiterate that I didn't intend to try to make an arguement for bus or van over truck or SUV or RV or motorcycle. I said that I thought this specific vehicle had more (often competing or mutually exclusive) elements of what makes a good BOV, and that I set out to find this exact thing.

I just happen to be in the excitement stage as I just brought this home, I didn't mean to brag on it or anything, I just thought others here might also appreciate it as I did. Appearently, some folks see it as a better option for a chicken coop, I'm cool with that too. my only real point here was to say these types of rigs can be had for less then the $50k-$100k they after bring new, and if others had the ambition to rig one up, they can be found.
Seems you really took that wrong.....I had already expressed my jealousy and wish you well...
DW is "Dear Wife".......

As far as opinions go....just expressed mine, as fabrication can be a challenge. Personnel experience.
Have a nice day
Merry Christmas...
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyserSoSay View Post
4x4 bus conversions like mentioned above are typically called "Sportsmobiles"
Sportsmobile is a brand name. They make 4x4 van conversions from a few brands of vans.
http://sportsmobile.com/







Old 12-24-2016, 07:46 PM
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^^ yup. But ya better have a REAL healthy wallet!!


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Old 12-24-2016, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol View Post
Seems you really took that wrong.....I had already expressed my jealousy and wish you well...
DW is "Dear Wife".......

As far as opinions go....just expressed mine, as fabrication can be a challenge. Personnel experience.
Have a nice day
Merry Christmas...
So sorry to you, the OP, and everyone else if I misread your point and reacted like an Azz, my post also reads much more defensive than I meant it to. (It was late at night and I'm not great at brevity on a good day).

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Also, I do understand that "sportsmobile" is the name of one of the companies that build these 4x4 vans, but they also host a forum and there are many there who are also building these trucks on their own- so in that context many have taken the term to apply more universally. Many other off-road companies offer "sportsmobile" upgrades and parts, and several articles have been written using the term to describe the larger concept of 4x4 camper vans. The sportsmobile forum site is a good place to learn further on these trucks and the possible options in doing these on your own.
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Old 12-29-2016, 03:41 PM
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Hmm just saw an E350 4x4 at the gas station the other day. Nothing fancy looked stock really, just thought it was an option.
Old 01-01-2017, 09:44 PM
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Buy a retired ambulance most come with a diesel, 4x4, high amp alternators, heavy duty suspension and they have tons of storage, heres a few on craigslist
https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/5918993836.html
https://nashville.craigslist.org/cto/5899820108.html
https://bgky.craigslist.org/bfs/5914372074.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/cto/5936534896.html
Old 01-03-2017, 03:34 AM
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I had a Chevy StepVan I picked up at an auction for $1600.00. The ole lady was ****ed. I was going to use it as a mobile small engine repair shop as I was doing that for two years from my shop but, she didn't want anything to do with that.. So I sold it for $3800.00.

Youtube has a ton of videos on converting step vans to campers and they're pretty easy to make stealth by painting a logo on the side like Bob's Rattle Snake Sales. I doubt anyone would go looking inside if they read that.

Mine had a dually rear end that was rated at 2.5 tons and could easily tow a large trailer behind it. It has a 350 Chevy motor in it that ran great after I tuned it up.

Sure wish I still had that rig.
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