Hi T & R,
A lady with 8 kids and a husband needs a 10 passenger replacement for her “death wagon” in Bend. You’ve suggested the new Chevy full size van now made in AWD. Unfortunately, only the 1500 is available in AWD, and the max capacity for this version is listed as 8 on the Chevy website. There is now a Dodge Sprinter aftermarket AWD or 4WD kit available through Sportsmobile West in California. This utilizes parts produced by the Austrian company (Oberaigner) that supplies Mercedes for AWD Sprinters available in some parts of the world (Australia for one). Does anyone have experience with the function and reliability of the Sportsmobile system?
Hi T & R,
A woman called in looking for a vehicle that has AWD for her 8 kids that she home schools. You suggested a Chevy full size AWD van.
The Sprinter van holds 12 passengers and Sportsmobile of California makes an AWD conversion kit. The Sprinter van has a great diesel engine that would allow great mileage and plenty of torque to get the kids around town and to swimming classes.
The Chevy van has the advantage of a warranty that could be honored at any Chevy dealer whereas the Sprinter van would need to be possibly hauled back to California if any part of the 4x4 conversion was faulty. But AWD is AWD and I am sure there is a common list of parts and repair procedures available in most cities with a reputable repair facility.
But the issue remains, the Chevy doesn’t work for her- you cant have awd and more than 8 passengers, with a factory awd setup.
I think the best option here would be a Quigley van. These are full size vans from Ford or Chevrolet that have been converted to 4 wheel drive. These vans are still covered by the factory warranty on unaltered components and the conversion parts have a 36K, 3 year warranty. They can be serviced at a regular Ford or Chevrolet dealer. These vans have been around for a while and have a good reputation. They are also available used or they can convert a customer’s van. A potential downside is they cannot convert a 15 passenger van due to weight restrictions. You can however get a 15 passenger van size with the back seat removed making it an 11 passenger. That would have the benefit of providing cargo room behind the seats.
This van would be an excellent choice given the family’s familiarity with the Ford Econoline.
Nobody needs AWD in a 3/4 ton passenger van. Snow tires should do it and the passengers may be big enough to push it if it should get stuck. They may not have to do that if they weight transfer to the back until it gets unstuck.