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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For some time I've been pondering joining the adventure van set. Right now I have a beloved first gen Tundra (not planning to get rid of it any time soon), but more and more often I find myself thinking "man this trip would be easier with a van". What I think would make sense for us is something like Randaddy's Express, or a Transit platform (ugh Ford, I know:p, but prices/options and MPG are kinda compelling). A trailer (utility/raft) would more often than not be involved. Not considering anything too elaborate or fancy, just something that can support a trip that involves camping, boating, hiking, etc. Will definitely need AWD or even better 4x4. I understand the only 4x4 options are a $printer (don't want) or converting a stock rig (maybe, but probably wouldn't unless stars really aligned). So, enough rambling. Who has ideas?
 

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Ford now sells a factory 4x4 van....

I've had the same thought. Would be sweet for rivers, and working out of town. The thing I'm up against is the vans don't have the towing capacity I need for my work trailer. Contemplating doing a (nice)conversion on the back of a pickup chassis.
 

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Do tell. Is it stock? I couldn't find such a critter other than the Quigley option.
Can confirm. They sell a factory AWD transit model now.
If you want a true adventure mobile you could throw a four-wheel-camper in the back of that Tundra. Beef up the leafs and you would be good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry, I guess any more I don't differentiate much between AWD and 4WD.
I hear ya. With that Tundra I still live in a world where you're either in 2h, 4h or 4lo (except for that 6+ months last year it was stuck in 4hi until I finally threw in the towel and swapped in a new to me transfer case). Ouch. I'm sure AWD would more than meet my needs these days.
 

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Can't say enough about a Savana/Express awd van. V8 power, decent mpg (15-19), and get through some pretty rough terrain. Put in a simple fold up bed frame and you have a camping/rafting rig with under bed storage. We take bed out in winter and it becomes a ski lodge for 4-5 peeps around a Lil Buddy. Bonus with bed out is a big, dry cargo area
 

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Sorry, I guess any more I don't differentiate much between AWD and 4WD.
The way I see it for the transit is you’re not crawling or doing any serious off-road. Even with a sprinter. I’ve seen some with lifts and I can’t see how it’s practical. You’re gonna be super top heavy. You don’t want to raise your center of gravity. The stock AWD version of the transit will do more than enough for 90-95% Of the time. FWIW the ford transit can tow around 5000 lbs come configurations can do more. There’s a dual rear wheel option too, and the proven 3.5 ecoboost motor. So you can tow in the same class as the f150 no problem. If you’re lucky…you can find the powerstoke model.

I also trust what ford makes and their awd systems. I trust them because I took a 2019 AWD Ford Escape through south draw road leaving capitol reef…
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Y'all are saying things I like. We were in the unenviable situation last spring of having to get my sweetie out of a beat up Land Rover she brought into our new life together. She got more than her money's worth out of it but it was unreliable. I bent over and did what I felt I had to do and we acquired a GX 460 just in time for our Utah/Colorado/NM trip last May. Two of us plus four teenagers towing all the toys and gear from Arkansas to Boulder to Moab to Loma then to Hotchkiss then to Taos was - interesting, but all things considered successful if expensive - premium gas anyone? It was also enough to convince me it was time to begin considering more seriously my vantasy. I'm pondering it as a replacement for that expensive GX, a proposition which would take some selling but I think she'd warm up to it. I know she's very open to the van idea.
 

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Nothing out there comes close to a 4wd sprinter van with the diesel. Yep, they are spendy new, but diesel power, diesel economy, diesel towing, and it's not a ford, I have 4 friends now that have them and they wouldn't trade them for anything. I asked about the top heavy aspect of them, but apparently not so much. You can get them up to a 1 ton chassis I believe

The Sprinter also comes in 2 turbo-diesel options: a 2.1-liter and 3.0-liter V6. For starters, they’ve been in production longer than the Transit, so there are older used examples available that may fit your budget. There’s also lots of ideas and support to be found in forums. Four-wheel-drive (true 4wd, not AWD) is also available on the Sprinter, and the build quality of these vans is generally considered better than Fords. The Transit has a fuel-economy rating of 15 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg combined for the rear-wheel-drive model, and 14/19/16 mpg for the all-wheel-drive version. In comparison, the Sprinter can get up to 21 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined for both low-top and high-top models. At a 22-gallon capacity, the size of the Sprinter’s fuel tank is much bigger than the Transit, = fewer stops for gas / diesel.

The diesel versions can hit 35 MPG on the highway I'm told.

Lastly, Sprinters are known for their longevity and durability. Some Sprinters have more than 600,000 miles on them! Fords are known for a lot of things, incessant recalls, only certain models being somewhat reliable, other models being prone to spontaneous combustion, but all that aside, they simply aren't built to be long lasting, which is why for years ford touted the F-150 as the best selling truck they make. Not the most reliable, OR the longest lasting. As they used to advertise, it's only built Ford tough, whatever that means. It is nice to see that they now stamp their name into the metal of the trucks, as they couldn't stop the insignias from falling off..
 

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Sorry, I guess any more I don't differentiate much between AWD and 4WD.
Sadly, there's a huge difference, in a lot of things. For me the main downside is AWD MUST have the same diameter tires, to like a 1/16 of an inch. You lose a tire on a half worn set of tires, and you have to replace them all. Yep, it's nice to have in snow, but in off road conditions, AWD doesn't do the same job, it's like having open rears front and rear. Sends all the power to the wheel that spins the fastest on whichever axle it's on.
 

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I've got an old shorty Dodge Ramvan and absolutely love it.... personally I just couldn't do the sprinter, they're just so ugly. If money wasn't an issue I'd go with a diesel E250 and a conversion by Ujoint Off-road. If keeping it below 6 figures is important, Nissan dealerships are doing factory conversions to their van with parts from the titan. They're still ugly but not as fugly as those euro boxes.
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Sadly, there's a huge difference, in a lot of things. For me the main downside is AWD MUST have the same diameter tires, to like a 1/16 of an inch. You lose a tire on a half worn set of tires, and you have to replace them all. Yep, it's nice to have in snow, but in off road conditions, AWD doesn't do the same job, it's like having open rears front and rear. Sends all the power to the wheel that spins the fastest on whichever axle it's on.
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Man I would honestly throw an AT Overland or Flip Pac or some other topper on your Tundra and go with that. I too have a first gen Tundra and am pondering something similar. Most of the time when we're not backpacking but sleeping at the trailhead, put in, etc., we just sleep in the back and make the kids sleep in hammocks or on the ground. I don't want the second vehicle around for storage, insurance, maintenance, etc., and only be there for occasional use. Not worth it to me. Obviously my preference may not be yours but that's my line of thought knowing that you too have a Tundra.
 

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Man I would honestly throw an AT Overland or Flip Pac or some other topper on your Tundra and go with that. I too have a first gen Tundra and am pondering something similar. Most of the time when we're not backpacking but sleeping at the trailhead, put in, etc., we just sleep in the back and make the kids sleep in hammocks or on the ground. I don't want the second vehicle around for storage, insurance, maintenance, etc., and only be there for occasional use. Not worth it to me. Obviously my preference may not be yours but that's my line of thought knowing that you too have a Tundra.
This. Plus, when you need to use your truck for truck stuff all you do is ditch the camper on jacks in the garage.
 
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