Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > Survival & Preparedness Forum > Urban Survival > Vehicles & Transportation
Articles Chat Room Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files



Advertise Here
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-27-2011, 11:51 PM
Slim69's Avatar
Slim69 Slim69 is offline
Archery Addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 783
Thanks: 1,187
Thanked 934 Times in 356 Posts
Question Chevy Express 2500 Cargo Van 4x4 Conversion Help



Advertise Here

I currently have a 2005 Express 2500 Extended cargo van and I have had a thought about doing a 4x4 conversion on it.

I love the van and the amount of storage it has available but living where snow and mud are quite common, 4 wheel drive is the only thing I feel it is lacking in a good BOV. I also love that I can drive my quad in the back and head out to the trails!

I have seen the Ford Quigley's and that is kind of what I am going for only with my Chevy.

I am wondering if anyone has any experience with doing something like this or if you can send me in the right direction for research?

I have done the google searches and have not come up with much. Having a 4x4 shop in the midwest do the build would also be an option for me if I can find one that would do it and not kill me on price.

My thought is that a Suburban 4x4 undercarriage would mount up on it but I know it would certainly not be that easy. I'm not looking for a fancy shift on the fly kind of deal. Just a manual shift to 4 wheel if I get in a spot and need it.

Thanks for the input!
Old 12-28-2011, 11:23 AM
2trackjeep's Avatar
2trackjeep 2trackjeep is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Up North
Posts: 32
Thanks: 96
Thanked 20 Times in 12 Posts
Default

I am more of a Jeep guy and cant answer your question, but check out this forum and post your question there. There are a bunch of knowledgeable people there and I'm sure someone can help you.

http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...wd-Camper-Vans
The Following User Says Thank You to 2trackjeep For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 11:39 AM
Slats's Avatar
Slats Slats is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Western Iowa
Posts: 492
Thanks: 1,880
Thanked 1,129 Times in 303 Posts
Default

Did you look at the Quigley website?
They have conversions for GM Vans.
The Following User Says Thank You to Slats For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 01:21 PM
Slim69's Avatar
Slim69 Slim69 is offline
Archery Addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 783
Thanks: 1,187
Thanked 934 Times in 356 Posts
Default

Thanks for the links! I have never heard of a GM Quigly conversion. I see a lot of Ford conversions. Thanks for the tip. $13k is a big chunk!

I post on the forum also and see what I can find out. I appreciate the input!
Old 12-28-2011, 02:48 PM
Slats's Avatar
Slats Slats is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Western Iowa
Posts: 492
Thanks: 1,880
Thanked 1,129 Times in 303 Posts
Default

I agree that it is a big chunk.
I was just trying to help out with what you were looking for.
Just remember that when you are putting something together like that you have to worry about drive shaft angles, flex points and tons of other engineering things.

When you examine the overall cost of what you are talking about with a donor vehicle and then the cost of needed parts such as bushings fabrication etc. I don't see where you are going to be a whole lot less than that? Especially if you were looking at paying a fabrication shop to do something like this.

What did you have for an estimated budget for this build when you started looking into it?
The Following User Says Thank You to Slats For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 06:05 PM
Slim69's Avatar
Slim69 Slim69 is offline
Archery Addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 783
Thanks: 1,187
Thanked 934 Times in 356 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slats View Post
I agree that it is a big chunk.
I was just trying to help out with what you were looking for.
Just remember that when you are putting something together like that you have to worry about drive shaft angles, flex points and tons of other engineering things.

When you examine the overall cost of what you are talking about with a donor vehicle and then the cost of needed parts such as bushings fabrication etc. I don't see where you are going to be a whole lot less than that? Especially if you were looking at paying a fabrication shop to do something like this.

What did you have for an estimated budget for this build when you started looking into it?


I guess I was thinking I could get it done for around $5-$6k using a donor vehicle. I just talked with the guys at Midwest Offroad in La Crosse and they said it would run between $12-$15k. All new parts though.

They would basically do what Quigley would do.

He said they did one for a First Responder group years back and they were selling theirs now. I called them and it sold about 8 weeks ago.

I did find the following link through the forum link 2trackjeep posted...

http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...533#post764533

That guy had about $1200 in parts and did it himself. He also started with an AWD van and mine is not.

I consider myself a pretty mechanically inclined guy having done motor swaps, tranny swaps, etc. and do all my own mech work but this just seems like I may bite off more than I can chew real fast. Like you said there is a lot to think about from an engineering standpoint.

I guess I'll have to do some more research and consider what the best options are. I might be better off with an M1009 parked in the drive and have it loaded and ready to go.

Thanks again for the input! Very much appreciated!
Old 12-28-2011, 06:36 PM
sniperd sniperd is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 248
Thanks: 7
Thanked 271 Times in 119 Posts
Default

Personally I would ensure that you have a good locking differential that will put power to both tires, good tires and a good wench and call it a day. Your talking maybe 2k if your differential is crap to begin with.

I think it will get you 90% of the way there at 10% of the cost.
The Following User Says Thank You to sniperd For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 07:48 PM
Eugene Eugene is online now
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,268
Thanks: 10
Thanked 1,651 Times in 879 Posts
Default

Looks like the site is broken at the moment but when it works again www.gmupfitter.com
Find the manuals for your year and compare to the trucks and suv's.
I haven't looked in a while but used to be the reason you saw more ford 4x4 vans was the 2wd and 4x4 frames were the same so parts could swap. GM made the front section of the 2wd and 4x4 (truck and suv) frames very different so 2wd and 4wd parts could not be swapped.
The Following User Says Thank You to Eugene For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 07:59 PM
Slim69's Avatar
Slim69 Slim69 is offline
Archery Addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 783
Thanks: 1,187
Thanked 934 Times in 356 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sniperd View Post
Personally I would ensure that you have a good locking differential that will put power to both tires, good tires and a good wench and call it a day. Your talking maybe 2k if your differential is crap to begin with.

I think it will get you 90% of the way there at 10% of the cost.
I'm beginning to think that way too. That extra $10k could buy a lot of preps!

The first time I was on muddy grass pulling my trailer I got stuck and had a really bad day from then on. I have had the van for about a year now and this is the first time since I was 18 that I haven't had 4 wheel drive. I guess I'm having a hard time getting past that.

Granted, I have been stuck with a 4x4 several times. Where I was at when it happened was my fault and I deserved it every time. Tank trails on base are made for tanks!!
Old 12-28-2011, 08:01 PM
Slim69's Avatar
Slim69 Slim69 is offline
Archery Addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 783
Thanks: 1,187
Thanked 934 Times in 356 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
Looks like the site is broken at the moment but when it works again www.gmupfitter.com
Find the manuals for your year and compare to the trucks and suv's.
I haven't looked in a while but used to be the reason you saw more ford 4x4 vans was the 2wd and 4x4 frames were the same so parts could swap. GM made the front section of the 2wd and 4x4 (truck and suv) frames very different so 2wd and 4wd parts could not be swapped.
I'll check it our when it's back up. I was kind of thinking in the past where things were easily swapped. More so than now anyway. Times sure have changed! Thanks for the link!
Old 12-28-2011, 08:09 PM
voyuer1's Avatar
voyuer1 voyuer1 is offline
Recent Blog:
Survivor
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Up Nort' doing the helicopter in the shower.
Posts: 3,272
Thanks: 4,160
Thanked 3,650 Times in 1,730 Posts
Default

How about pulling the body off and mounting on an older 1 ton 4door 4x4 truck?
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to voyuer1 For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 08:50 PM
Eugene Eugene is online now
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,268
Thanks: 10
Thanked 1,651 Times in 879 Posts
Default

A lockright can do wonders but I traded my 2wd with a locker in for w 4x4 with a locker.
The Following User Says Thank You to Eugene For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 09:56 PM
The Heretic's Avatar
The Heretic The Heretic is online now
To the surface!
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Orygun
Age: 60
Posts: 6,913
Thanks: 580
Thanked 7,136 Times in 2,983 Posts
Default

I've done a conversion - a fairly simple one; put Dana 44s from Jeeps under a Datsun 610 pickup. Dana 20 transfer case. Did the work myself. Still cost more than it would to buy a decent Jeep. I sold it before I finished it when I bought a Scout II for $500 and it was a better rig.

Unless you have quite a bit of money and can find someone who does real good work, my advice is to buy something that comes from the factory as a 4WD and then modify that slightly to something closer to what you want. I think you will be well ahead of doing a custom conversion.

FWIW
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to The Heretic For This Useful Post:
Old 12-28-2011, 11:59 PM
Joe Schmoe's Avatar
Joe Schmoe Joe Schmoe is offline
Recent Blog:
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 20
Thanks: 4
Thanked 19 Times in 11 Posts
Default interested

This is a topic I am very interested in.

Hope to read more
The Following User Says Thank You to Joe Schmoe For This Useful Post:
Old 12-29-2011, 12:42 AM
TinmanIA's Avatar
TinmanIA TinmanIA is offline
Demon of the Midwest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Iowa
Posts: 4,333
Thanks: 1,893
Thanked 7,641 Times in 2,684 Posts
Default

I have done a solid axle swap in a older S10, its a fun project and could be done on your van. You will need a donor front axle with the pumpkin on what ever side has the most space for the driveshaft. You will need to know, or change the rear diffs gear ratio, and you will also need to know which direction the transfer case will spin, and make sure the front gearing matches.

As for a donor chassis your best bet is to spend some time measuring things up at a junkyard to see what might fit. body mounts, wheel locations to the vans wheel wells, all kinds of stuff. You can move, or make your own body mounts if you are so inclined.

You will need a Chevy 4X4 transmission, and what ever transfer case you like, there are tons of adapters available. Then there is the front springs, leaf or coil, steering modifications, shock perches, lots of little detailed things. I got lucky and was able to borrow a diesel powered welder from a friend of mine, he uses it to build skyscrapers, it was juts a bit bigger than my welder You wouldn't need one that big, but I wasn't about to refuse.

Truth be told I'm going with a locking differential in my E250 that I'm making in to a camper/BOVan. I'm going to have a winch, and I run the Kumho road venture tires. I have used this as a work van for a couple years now and with those tires the only time I have issues with traction is my icy hill. I have done some offroading with it, nothing to sirrous, but I have been in some nasty mud on the jobsites. One time we had a mile long level B driveway on a jobsite, I was the ferry service for all the other vans on site, got me free lunches and beverages. This is all with out a locker in the van.

I sat back and looked at what I intend to use this van camper for and truth be told I don't see the need for 4 wheel drive in my van. I'm going with the tires, a locker, and snowchains with a winch for backup. I dont even use the front axle on my 4X4s that much off roading.

If you can see doing some serious wheeling with this then go for it, but keep this in mind. Me and a friend went offroading with a couple 4X4 trucks in his Mercury Topaz, I want to say it was an 87. We never got stuck, and the only clean spot was area that the winshield clear.

If you do feel you need for 4 wheel drive then you could sell yours, and buy one already done. They are listed on Ebay all the time, I have seen one on craigslist to. it might be cheaper than the conversion.

Either way you go I do recommend the Kumho road venture ATs, they are awesome tires.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to TinmanIA For This Useful Post:
Old 12-29-2011, 10:04 AM
Eugene Eugene is online now
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,268
Thanks: 10
Thanked 1,651 Times in 879 Posts
Default

That's why my suggestion of the upfitter site, you can print the frame sheets off andadd notes and measurements.
Do you have to have a van, I was in a similar situation a few years ago. I had a 2wd s10 with a cap that I was fixing up for camping, wanted to do a solid axel swap. Then we decided to have a family so I needed the quad cab but I still wanted the 6' bed which wan't an option. So I printed out the frame drawings and printed one on a transparancy and could overlay until I figured out where to extend the frame so I coujld use a quad cab with the longer bed. Found a place that did the frames for big trucks that could cut and weld an extension, found a place that could make the longer drive shaft, bought the wiring harness on ebay and was extending it so I could have everything ahead of time and just swap it over.
Problem with custom stuff if making repairs and maintenance, harder to find replacement pafrts, and insurance, its now worth a lot more to you then the blue book value.
I ended up just trading in on a 4x4 ttuck
The Following User Says Thank You to Eugene For This Useful Post:
Old 12-29-2011, 11:06 AM
Slats's Avatar
Slats Slats is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Western Iowa
Posts: 492
Thanks: 1,880
Thanked 1,129 Times in 303 Posts
Default

Slim69, This may be kind of simplistic but what about chains?
If I read right what got this started was you got stuck with your trailer.
Like was suggested put a locker in the rear end.
Then get a set of chains.
To make sure I never got stuck I went down and got a set of studded chains for my truck.
As of this point I have never had to use them but they have spikes that stick out about ever inch or so that I am convinced is going to tear up whatever I am driving over but is going to be more than adequate to get me out of whatever I get myself into.

You won't necessarily be able to go off road but it will give you a whole lot more capability without the huge cost.

For a $12,000 difference I would have to take a look at trading the van in on a suburban or a truck with a topper if you need that much room.

Thank You for the link to the Expedition portal.
I took a quick look at it and am going to go back and do some reading when I get more time. Looked like a cool site.
The Following User Says Thank You to Slats For This Useful Post:
Old 12-29-2011, 04:31 PM
Eugene Eugene is online now
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,268
Thanks: 10
Thanked 1,651 Times in 879 Posts
Default

My little 2wd s10 with the lockrite in the back did just as good as my parents 4x4 geo tracker when we got snow dumped on us in a sunday afternoon. The next morning I put chains on to get up the mountain and while it made it fine one of the chains broke so I had to run with just one, I figured without the lockrite the side with no chain would have just sat and spun.
My main issue was lack of low range, locked 2wd seemed to do fine until I would need to go slot or turn around then it was difficult maneuvering. The transmission ran hot and I eventually lost reverse.

What transmission does the van have, 4L80E I assume? I know the 4L60E to add a transfer case the output shaft is a different length and to replace the output shaft everything in the transmission has to come out the front, so that was one issue I ran into, not an easy add of the transfer case.
If the vans are the same as the trucks the 4x4 is torsion bar suspension and the 2wd coil spring. The 2wd frame has a cross member right where the front differential would go, the 4x4 has a larger cross member further forward. So I was looking at doing a solid axle swap from something that has coil springs already like a jeep, remember mine was an 10 since yours is a 2500 the front axle from a dodge truck would probably be a closer fit, they were solid axle in the 4x4. Then there is the cross member issue, since its right there where the differential/axle needs to be you either need to weld a new cross member like the 4x4 trucks or lift high up to clear. Again this is the trucks, check the upfitter guides or hold a sting from the back sides of the spindles on yours and see where it lines up with the frame and crossmembers.
Then when you decide what to do, there are the logistics of doing it. What do you drive while this is down for the conversion? I planned to get as much done ahead of time, I replaced and extended electrical wires to move them from under the engine to up around the firewall out of the way, etc.
I can't get to the upfitter guide web site but I have saved a copy from back when I was looking at them, the frames look almost the same to me, there looks to be a cross member right about axle center and one in front of that so you may have space for the normal IFS differential on age 53 and 54 the G and H 134 and 234 models (G is the 2wd and H the 4x4 and the 1x and 2x model #'s are the 1500 and 2500 series).
The Following User Says Thank You to Eugene For This Useful Post:
Old 12-30-2011, 01:32 AM
pakrat13's Avatar
pakrat13 pakrat13 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Houston, Texas (Northwest portion)
Age: 44
Posts: 65
Thanks: 20
Thanked 64 Times in 30 Posts
Default

Being a former owner of a full size van (among countless other vehicles), I can certainly agree with you on the cargo capacity, and do understand your concerns over the lack of 4-wheel drive. However I really have to agree with some of the other posts - ditch the idea of doing a 4x4 conversion, you will never get your money's worth out of the project. Instead I would recommend one of two routes:

Route #1 Stick with the van.

Why?
1) You already have it.
2) You like it.
3) The cargo capacity is hard to beat.
4) It blends right into to traffic without raising an eybrow.

Route #2 would be to start over, selling the van and buying a truck or SUV that is 4wd, and meet your cargo expeditations. It would be far cheaper and easier in almost every case.

Personally, if it was me would probably choose route #1. But I would certainly do a few things.
1. Mount a set of high quality, load rated all season tires.
2. Add an air-locker to the rear axle.
3. Mount tow hooks front and rear.
4. Carry a set of tire chains.
5. Assemble a good, complete recovery kit. I would probably include either a small electric winch or a large come-along. I would definitely include a Hi-Lift jack too.

While a 4x4 van may sound like the best of both worlds (and in some ways it is), there are also issues in addition to the costs involved in a conversion. Vans are heavy and because of this a 4x4 van will tend to be very top-heavy. Also the frame and suspension geometry of vans are a lot more different from trucks or SUV's than a lot of people may realize. Their strength and flex characteristics make them behave (i.e. handle) alot differently, especially in the rough stuff.

Personally I say stick with what you have, prep a little more, and slow down - you'll get there.

Just my 2 cents worth.
The Following User Says Thank You to pakrat13 For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2500 Marines to be stationed in Australia. AKM. General Discussion 122 11-21-2011 05:52 AM
Kelty Raven 2500 Winstead Reviews and questions 10 11-09-2011 03:56 PM
2009 Chevy Equinox - increase cargo? newberrie Vehicles & Transportation 4 08-17-2010 11:41 PM
F-250, or Dodge /Chevy 2500? Jericho Vehicles & Transportation 42 08-18-2009 07:30 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright Kevin Felts 2006 - 2012,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net