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Old 07-06-2015, 08:47 PM   #1
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Smile 2016 Ford 250/350 SUV conversion. Guess I can have my cake and eat it...

Well, looked at various trucks and SUVs lately, in person, and online. The largest and most capable SUVs are putting me in a borderline suitable mindset for towing the 28' AS we want. I read hundreds of old post and had some great correspondence via PM with a few members here. To you, and this forum community in general, thank you.

My informal consensus is that a new Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon XL, Armada, etc.. 'May be enough'. A larger new truck will 'Be enough'. But with two small kids and a German Shepherd, along with being current Tahoe owner and having owned another Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade in past, we would prefer an SUV. It just works better for our lifestyle. Which was fine until we decided our lifestyle needed an Airstream.

My primary interest in Airstream is a weekend refuge to take to various spots in the Smoky Mountains of NC and Tenn. The more remote the better. And a 2 week trip each summer when kids are out of school to somewhere special. Think Yellowstone, Glacier NP, Maine coastline and Acadia, white mountains of Vermont, covered bridges photography tour of New Hampshire, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Arches, etc. In many places, near and far, I fear I will be pushing the capabilities of any new SUV, or close to it at any rate.

After much thought and research, along with some much appreciated insights from you seasoned Airstreamers here, I have found my solution. It will consist of a brand new Ford 250/350 4x4 and be converted into what I can only describe as a Ford Excursion on steroids.

First will be to buy a new Ford 250 or 350 4x4. Then it will go to Tim Huskey in Oklahoma to be converted to a behemoth SUV for $33k. Lots of pictures, video, and information can be found at his website below if anyone is curious. I would be eager to hear any thoughts about this proposed solution. I have learned to greatly value this forums collective insights.



Pics of finished SUV...

http://www.customautosbytim.com/2011X.html


Info and pics of build process...

http://www.customautosbytim.com/build.html



Dan
NC
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:36 PM   #2
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Dan,

I am excited to follow your journey! You have pretty well summed up our exact same conundrum regarding SUV vs truck (and 27' Airstream). I can't wait to hear more and to see photos when your new masterpiece is complete!

Best of luck, that's an exciting decision!
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:43 PM   #3
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Wow! I was aware that folks were putting new diesel engines in older SUVs, but I wasn't aware of this conversion process. Looks like the ideal solution for your wants/needs.

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Old 07-06-2015, 10:00 PM   #4
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A one ton van would be better. But have some fun with that thing.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:31 AM   #5
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Poking around online I found another guy doing the same work in Utah. Name of company is Mega X. He does conversions on Ford, Dodge, and GM. Lots of 6 door truck conversions, but also the same 'Excursion on steroids' conversion using new (or old) Ford 250 or 350. Looks like he has been at it a long time. Good to have options. Thought I would post a link here in case this thread interst anyone at a future date.


MEGA X 2 6 door Dodge 6 Door Ford 6 Door Chev 6 door Mega Cab Six doorMEGA X 2


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Old 07-07-2015, 11:29 AM   #6
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WHY, WHY, WHY would anyone spend money and have a home made product.. what kind of insurance can you get if totaled. too many ??? for me I stick with a New Denali with a Durmax diesel and have no issues

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Old 07-07-2015, 12:26 PM   #7
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And here's a guy who's doing ground-up restos of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. His website is a huge collection of photos of his resto and upgrade process. Not a lot of mention of towing, but he can probably give you anything you want.

As usual, all it takes is money.



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Old 07-07-2015, 01:28 PM   #8
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When did they start putting the DuraMax in the Denali?

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WHY, WHY, WHY would anyone spend money and have a home made product.. what kind of insurance can you get if totaled. too many ??? for me I stick with a New Denali with a Durmax diesel and have no issues

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Old 07-07-2015, 05:31 PM   #9
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Looks like a real deal for about 100 grand,when finished you could drive it out to calif, and have Chip Foose and company rebuild it......
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
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WHY, WHY, WHY would anyone spend money and have a home made product.. what kind of insurance can you get if totaled. too many ??? for me I stick with a New Denali with a Durmax diesel and have no issues

Earl
Because he can....
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:58 PM   #11
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When did they start putting the DuraMax in the Denali?

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The top-tier trim level of GMC trucks is badged Denali.




Regards,


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Old 07-07-2015, 07:07 PM   #12
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Thanks Mo.


On a forum for $50-100k+ travel trailers, it's obvious nobody here is scared to pay to play. And it's a known fact that MANY of the guys and gals towing these silver beauties have spent as much or more money on 3/4-1 ton trucks and lavish SUV's to tow them as I will for the F-250 Excursion that suits our needs.


Talked with CABT and Mega X today. Both guys were very knowledgeable and represented their businesses well. Sounds like Steve at Mega X can do the complete conversion for just over $30k, with CABT being a bit more expensive. That is a completed Excursion conversion on the new F250 I will buy. Painted silver after all work, four matching fender wells, matching interior, third row seats, etc.

To keep the F250 to Excursion build cost down we will buy a silver 2015 or 2016 F250 SLT gas 4x4, which I've seen for around $38k. Steve said he might get a wholesale price on the truck I select local to him in Utah, if so all the better. The SLT has chrome front grill, power windows, but grey vinyl seats.

Wife wouldn't go for the $33-35k F250 white work truck base model with manual windows. The SLT is a compromise of sorts. I like that it doesn't have a bunch of gizmos, gadgets, screens, and navigation stuff to break. My plan is to keep this truck/SUV a long time. Simpler is better.

So for $70k, we can have our 'Excursion on steroids'. Not bad considering half the new F250's I saw yesterday at the local dealer were north of $60k, some right at $70k. We are working folk, so it will take some doing. Selling a 99' and 05' Tahoe, along with my custom Harley Davidson (2002 Heritage Springer with 9,600 miles). If we can get the funds, this conversion will be ours. That's the question of course.

After the truck is purchased and converted, we will be on the lookout for a 2-4 year old 28' International or Flying Cloud with twins. Might take a year to have all the pieces fall into place, but it will be worth it when we are hauling our Airstream through the Smoky Mountains next Fall.


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Old 07-07-2015, 07:08 PM   #13
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Here is a recent Excursion conversion Steve at Mega X did for a Ford dealership in South Dakota...

2015 Ford F-350 Lariat Crew Cab at Scott Peterson Motors of Belle Fourche in Belle Fourche, SD

Push on right side of picture to see the other images.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:49 PM   #14
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So for $70k, we can have our 'Excursion on steroids'. Not bad considering half the new F250's I saw yesterday at the local dealer were north of $60k, some right at $70k.
$60 to $70 with the 6.7?

You could get something like this any day of the week for less than 2/3 that price.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:00 PM   #15
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Not sure, didn't look closely. Was raining and had kids with us. One was a special package of sorts, fancy wheels and lift kit. A few were Ranch, a few were Lariat. Most were diesel. Around $60k was mean average of many we saw. The link you provided is pretty close to what we will be buying. Provided we can afford the conversion that is. In doing so, 2/3 the cost of the conversion is the difference in available F-250 trim levels. Crazy how the fluctuate. Seems it was just over $25k from the highest to the lowest priced F-250 the dealer had.


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Old 07-07-2015, 08:28 PM   #16
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2016 Ford 250/350 SUV conversion. Guess I can have my cake and eat it...

A 2015 F350 6.7 Platinum edition Supercrew 4x4 has a MSRP $68-70k.


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Old 07-13-2015, 09:20 PM   #17
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Some prefer SUVs and some prefer trucks, and there's no shortage of comments to that effect online. We've towed with both a Suburban and our current F350 with 2 adults and 4 kids/teens. The Suburban was nice for having three rows of seats and everyone got a window, but the truck has much more cargo space and towing capacity.

I would suggest getting the truck you're thinking of having converted and using it to tow for a while. Find a used cap/topper/shell for it. Then you'll be able to make a more informed decision on whether you want to pay $30,000 or so to have it converted. You could give your family a lot of great experiences for that $30k that will have a longer lasting effect than riding in an SUV instead of a truck.

I make this comment from the point of view of a parent and teacher who knows that the experiences kids have outside of school can have a huge effect on their educational achievement. No criticism intended, I'm just sharing the way I would look at this decision.
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:11 AM   #18
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Thanks Grant. Great advice and reflects my recent train of thought. Been trying to learn more about Ford 250/350 and had hoped to get more insights from owners of them. Guess this time of year folks are out enjoying their Airsreams rather than reading the towing forum. Which is a good thing (for them).

Been reading what I can about the newer Ford 250/350, differences in the two, diesel vs gas, etc. Pretty confused to be honest. Folks on Ford truck forum are towing 10-15k lb toy haulers with lifted Superduty trucks with 35's and 37's, claiming how great they tow. Folks on here seem to be more conservative. Read varying opinions on RV.net. It's a minefield for a new guy like myself.

I'm looking at the F-250/350 online and in person. Local sales rep wasn't up on the payload, towing capacity, and such when options like heavy duty front springs, 4x4, camping package, etc were added. Nor could he tell me about real world effects of 3.33, 3.51, 4.10, or whatever all the rear diff ratios available were. I'm interseted in the electronic locking diff, but uncertain about what ratio.

Will avoid the extreme lift jobs to keep highway manners, but may get a mild lift of 2-4" to facilitate some bigger tires. Need to find a middle ground somewhere. I will use the truck off road, fishing, and such as much or more than towing so I have to consider that. But don't want to compromise the trucks ability to safely tow a 28-30' Airstream either. Tough nut to crack it appears.

Back to my appreciation of your suggestion, I have been looking at the ARE Z series caps. Found a Truck Buddy tailgate step that folds down from tailgate that will allow our german shepherd to easily get in back. With sliding side ventilation windows of cap, which have optional pet screens, this should work well. Can open back window of truck (If I get Lariat trim or up) and let A/C flow in cap as well during hotter months here in NC. Worst case, dog can ride in backseat floorboard.

Riding to Charlotte tomorrow to a large volume Ford dealer. Hope I can get some questions answered. They have about forty 250's and 350's so that will be helpful as I've only seen a dozen in the two somewhat local Ford dealers to date. I'm curious about the XL with vinyl and power windows. Looks like far less to go wrong as it's basically a 10-15 year old outdated interior. No LCD screens, visible computers, etc. But wife thinks I will regret it and wants leather in Lariat or better trim. I'm wanting this truck to last 20 years or so, so I'm favoring simple is better. But she has an uncanny habit of being right. Shhhh.

Saw the Dodge Mega cab locally yesterday and will drop by Dodge dealership tomorrow as well. Not sure how the Cummins 6.7 TD in the Dodge compare to the Ford diesel. Read the standard 68EFE (?) Dodge transmission has a questionable track record, but for $2k or so it can be upgraded to a AISIN transmission with the Cummins 6.7 HO package. Again, more questions than answers. Maybe I should stick with tent camping. Hah.

Thanks for all the input here. I greatly appreciate it.


Dan
NC
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Old 07-14-2015, 12:05 PM   #19
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well, if money is of no concern, Hennessey Motorsports does the Conversion from an F250 to an excursion es well.. only 6 month delivery time and it starts at only 159K

Ford Excursion Lives On Through 2016 Hennessey VelociRaptor SUV
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Old 07-14-2015, 12:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Gnorts View Post
And here's a guy who's doing ground-up restos of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. His website is a huge collection of photos of his resto and upgrade process. Not a lot of mention of towing, but he can probably give you anything you want.

As usual, all it takes is money.



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