Originally Posted by Tango
It will be expensive and labor intensive so I have to ask...why?
My idea is to buy an E350 or E450 Handi Van and convert it for weekend camping and daily driving (a conversion van on steroids). Eventually I was thinking of buying a used tow behind rv to use for the next 6 yrs or so to take my daughter/wife on vacations to show them all the great areas to visit that are out of the way. An F350 or Dodge 3500 (cummins) would be ideal for a tow vehicle, but to find a decent used one costs $20-$30k. Hence the idea of using an E450 Diesel Handi Van as a tow vehicle. The chassis is already set up for heavy hauling, and if I wanted to haul a 5th wheel rv I could even shorten the bus body fairly easily and install a 5th wheel hitch over the axle. Manual transmission is always preferred for towing, especially when it comes to much cheaper repair costs if needed.
The reason for buying the factory built rv is to be able to start using it right away while she is still young enough to enjoy the trips. Also, a big plus is the ability to unhook the truck from the rv at the campsite so it can be used to drive to different attractions.
Ideally I want to build a custom flat nosed full sized skoolie but it would take at least 2 years or more and, unless I towed a car behind, wouldn't make it easy to drive to various attractions from the campsite and maneuver around towns. My long term goal is to build a full sized skoolie to live in for long stretches after she's grown and on her own.
So in a nutshell, the thought is to be able to afford a diesel powered tow vehicle for much less than the cost of a high dollar pickup truck. I will also install comfortable seats and other amenities in the E450 Bus so we can travel in comfort.
I guess even if I had to have the tranny repaired at approx $3k, that is still much cheaper than a pickup truck . I've heard that the E450 diesels are detuned to lower the HP. Is this true and can they be retuned for more HP and torque (i.e better towing power) without much trouble and without severely shortening the life of the engine? I'm focusing on the Ford 7.3L since they have great reviews overall for reliability and power. Thoughts/feedback?