Can I convert my '95 3500 Campervan to 4WD and take it offroad? - DodgeForum.com

Go Back  DodgeForum.com > Dodge Vans & CUVs > Dodge Ram Van
Reload this Page > Can I convert my '95 3500 Campervan to 4WD and take it offroad?
Dodge Ram Van The full size Dodge Ram Van that showed that we can go and do as we please. Discuss the Dodge Ram Van here today.

Can I convert my '95 3500 Campervan to 4WD and take it offroad?

Reply

 
 
  #1  
Old 09-20-2017, 11:32 AM
Ready_Aim_Glick
Ready_Aim_Glick is offline
Registered User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 2
Default Can I convert my '95 3500 Campervan to 4WD and take it offroad?

I have a low mileage '95 Dodge 3500 Campervan. It is fully loaded with propane tank, water tank, fully operable kitchen, bed, cabinets, solar, rear climate control, ect. The engine only has 21K miles since it was used very little after the original owner (my grandfather) passed away. I spend time in remote wilderness and would like to convert this van into a fully capable 4X4 offroad campervan. I don't need to boulder, but I'll need to cross rivers and may hit some big ruts out there in the wilderness. Is it practical to convert this van to 4WD?
 
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-20-2017, 12:42 PM
wca_tim
wca_tim is offline
Amateur
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 48
Default

Depends on what you consider practical...

nothing comes close to bolting on - major surgery and frame modification required to do it safely... everything from the firewall back is unibody and subject to get twisted up and the frame rails are lower over the front wheels rather than higher like 4wd trucks do. This seriously limits options for front suspension setups unless you go extreme with lift. Also, there's no room for a transfer case and drivers side drop without shortening the fuel tank or building one. I can share more if you really decide to get serious about this... it's a major undertaking.

unless you're a decent welder and have access to lots of toys and time, you would probably be better off to buy a different van (ford) or one that's already been converted by someone else (I would be careful here - there's some pretty shoddy work out there)... They're around.

Note that I'm guessing that a bit of lift, bigger off-road tires and locking differential would probably make a pretty sizable difference and be a lot cheaper as a starting point...

Hope this is helpful.

Originally Posted by Ready_Aim_Glick View Post
I have a low mileage '95 Dodge 3500 Campervan. It is fully loaded with propane tank, water tank, fully operable kitchen, bed, cabinets, solar, rear climate control, ect. The engine only has 21K miles since it was used very little after the original owner (my grandfather) passed away. I spend time in remote wilderness and would like to convert this van into a fully capable 4X4 offroad campervan. I don't need to boulder, but I'll need to cross rivers and may hit some big ruts out there in the wilderness. Is it practical to convert this van to 4WD?
 

Last edited by wca_tim; 09-20-2017 at 01:36 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-20-2017, 12:44 PM
jkeaton's Avatar
jkeaton
jkeaton is online now
Site Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Winston Salem, NC
Posts: 20,742
Default

Find you a donor Ram 3500 4x4 and swap bodies. Practical? That's up to you.
 
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-20-2017, 01:39 PM
wca_tim
wca_tim is offline
Amateur
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 48
Default

Originally Posted by jkeaton View Post
Find you a donor Ram 3500 4x4 and swap bodies. Practical? That's up to you.
That's a project I wouldn't want to tackle -The van is unibody and the truck is body on frame... ;-)

There's is surprisingly little in common between the 2nd gen ram trucks and vans... or it was very surprising to me when I started thinking through converting my 1500 van to 4wd...
 
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-20-2017, 02:00 PM
jkeaton's Avatar
jkeaton
jkeaton is online now
Site Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Winston Salem, NC
Posts: 20,742
Default

Originally Posted by wca_tim View Post
That's a project I wouldn't want to tackle -The van is unibody and the truck is body on frame... ;-)

There's is surprisingly little in common between the 2nd gen ram trucks and vans... or it was very surprising to me when I started thinking through converting my 1500 van to 4wd...
Good info to know. Had no idea they were different....
 
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-20-2017, 07:56 PM
tjkoko
tjkoko is offline
Professional
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 123
Default

Do you possess a real fabrication shop with all of the tools etc etc??????????????? That's a really huge project.
 
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-20-2017, 11:49 PM
wca_tim
wca_tim is offline
Amateur
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 48
Default

To put this thread in context, I'm about halfway through a "budget" conversion on my 99 ram van... I had an idea it was going to be a significant job, but it's turned out to be even more than I planned (seems to be the case more often than not with such things...). if you do decide you want to try and tackle it, I'll be glad to share what I learn along the way...
 
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-21-2017, 05:20 AM
tjkoko
tjkoko is offline
Professional
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 123
Default

Originally Posted by wca_tim View Post
To put this thread in context, I'm about halfway through a "budget" conversion on my 99 ram van... I had an idea it was going to be a significant job, but it's turned out to be even more than I planned (seems to be the case more often than not with such things...). if you do decide you want to try and tackle it, I'll be glad to share what I learn along the way...
Are you doing only the camper conversion or including a 4wd unit also?

Where did you get your ideas for the conversion as I am presently considering it also for my van????
 
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-21-2017, 12:14 PM
Ready_Aim_Glick
Ready_Aim_Glick is offline
Registered User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 2
Default Further insights and questions

Thank you all for your thoughts on this project. What are your insights on the 3500 engine itself? My belief is the only value in this van is the shell, the frame and the engine. It only has 21K in miles on it.

Lets say I go through with a well executed conversion, done by a professional, with a flexible budget...what are the odds the van will last and be useable for its intended purpose?

I have no skill or tools to take it on, and I would want to send it to a professional with experience in campervan conversions to have the work done.
 
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-21-2017, 12:45 PM
HeyYou's Avatar
HeyYou
HeyYou is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Clayton MI
Posts: 45,457
Default

I think it would be cheaper to find a van that is already 4x4, (there were indeed some factory sanctioned conversions out there) and then install the camping stuff you want. A shop doing the conversion is going to be measured in thousands of dollars, and that's just labor.....

Now, if you want to throw the money at your current van..... expect to spend at LEAST 5 grand on it. If you take care of it, it will last forever.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
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
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Forum Jump

Get repairs made easy
Print and online manuals

Find manuals

Featured Sponsors

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:47 PM.


 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: