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Discussion Starter #1
Since Ford has decided not to raise the AWD Transits, I’m curious if there might be any issues with lifting the 2020 AWDs with different front end components. Will companies such as Van Compass and Transit Offroad need time to do some trials before selling their kits?

For my intended uses the ability to lift the vans and add taller tires to improve ground clearance is of equal importance to having AWD. Maybe some of you suspension-savvy Transit owners can weigh in on this question, or better yet, any companies offering lift kits.
 

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It is best to discern between 4WD (with low range), and, AWD which is more of a safety feature primarily useful on maintained roads (paved and dirt). AWD is often accompanied by features like integrated computer-driven controls for maximizing traction in bad weather, mixed surfaces, etc.

For 99% of AWD applications and usage the need for higher clearance can be mitigated by line selection to avoid those obstacles that might catch the shock mounts and other low-hanging fruit.

High clearance is something that will matter more for those taking the vehicle on steep inclines, rock-crawling, and other technical approaches that may include 4WD low-range work as well. High-centering and the kind of things that benefit from a lift aren't something most drivers will encounter enough to warrant Ford engineering in a solution. Though, in all honesty, many people buy lifted vehicles for the look and rarely if ever find themselves in a situation that requires that.

I'm sure it is easier to make this argument for including lifted in a product line when presenting it across the boardroom table while talking about pickups and SUVs than it is for vans, which aren't particularly glamorous except in the discerning eyes of people like us.

I think we can count on the aftermarket bringing products to the table that cater to those wanting that look or capability on their Transit soon enough. Once they get the latest model in house to design for.
 

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Until the aftermarket companies get some of the AWD Transits to do engineering studies, there won't be anything in the marketplace for getting any lift kits. There may be a issue with Ford warranty if you add these kits to the AWD Transits as Ford has only been showing them on slick wet streets and in the snow. They are NOT showing them in the ALL-Terrain backgrounds and feel they may not expect them to be used for that purpose.

That is what is expected for the 4X4 Transits that are offered from Quigley and QuadVan. Both companies offer some lifted versions in their upfits.
 

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I don't see a problem with Ford not including a body lift for AWD. AWD is for traction on slippery road surfaces, not for "offroading". And besides, a body lift does not improve clearance, it just makes it harder to climb into the van. If Ford wanted to make an "offroad" full size van out of the Transit, they would need to expand the wheel well opening diameter (not radius) by at least 6" to accommodate 32" +/- tires and have clearance for mud and slush as well as extended travel. Sure, people have put oversized tires and body lift kits on current Transits, but it's more a project of creativity than function. Approach and departure angles will be slightly improved via body lift, though.

Maybe an upfitter will come up with a way to expand the wheel wells and do a suspension lift to make the AWD version more capable to drive on messed up dirt roads (which is what many call "offroading"). That would require extensive bodywork on a unibody vehicle, including the front doors. It's a whole, expensive, can of worms. Probably cheaper and easier to just buy a Unimog and put a box on the back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It is best to discern between 4WD (with low range), and, AWD which is more of a safety feature primarily useful on maintained roads (paved and dirt). AWD is often accompanied by features like integrated computer-driven controls for maximizing traction in bad weather, mixed surfaces, etc.

For 99% of AWD applications and usage the need for higher clearance can be mitigated by line selection to avoid those obstacles that might catch the shock mounts and other low-hanging fruit.

High clearance is something that will matter more for those taking the vehicle on steep inclines, rock-crawling, and other technical approaches that may include 4WD low-range work as well. High-centering and the kind of things that benefit from a lift aren't something most drivers will encounter enough to warrant Ford engineering in a solution. Though, in all honesty, many people buy lifted vehicles for the look and rarely if ever find themselves in a situation that requires that.
I agree. While I have done my share of rock hopping, my use in a camper is to find isolated logging roads and travel on worn down two-lane dirt tracks. I have owned several 4WD vehicles and both my current and last camper are 4WD with low range, although rarely used. I do appreciate the ground clearance that came with them. That's why I rank clearance as almost as important as having 4WD or AWD. Sure, you can usually inch you way into places with low-clearance vehicles. Last summer I was shocked to see a Prius on a rocky, rutted logging road that I would never have attempted with a car. I assume he made it to where he was going without ventilating an oil pan or something else.

The reason for starting this thread is that I will be choosing a vehicle for an expensive and time-consuming build, and will be weighing the additional cost of a 4WD or AWD vs. the confidence and security you might get with such a vehicle. I bet I'm not the only one trying to decide whether to wait to purchase the AWD Transit, find a gently used 2WD Transit and go with a lift, bigger tires, and a locker rear diff, or suck it up and pay $$$ for a Quigley or QuadVan. Knowing whether you can boost the ground clearance on the AWD an inch or so with larger tires and a lift might make a difference.
 

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I agree. While I have done my share of rock hopping, my use in a camper is to find isolated logging roads and travel on worn down two-lane dirt tracks. I have owned several 4WD vehicles and both my current and last camper are 4WD with low range, although rarely used. I do appreciate the ground clearance that came with them. That's why I rank clearance as almost as important as having 4WD or AWD. Sure, you can usually inch you way into places with low-clearance vehicles. Last summer I was shocked to see a Prius on a rocky, rutted logging road that I would never have attempted with a car. I assume he made it to where he was going without ventilating an oil pan or something else.

The reason for starting this thread is that I will be choosing a vehicle for an expensive and time-consuming build, and will be weighing the additional cost of a 4WD or AWD vs. the confidence and security you might get with such a vehicle. I bet I'm not the only one trying to decide whether to wait to purchase the AWD Transit, find a gently used 2WD Transit and go with a lift, bigger tires, and a locker rear diff, or suck it up and pay $$$ for a Quigley or QuadVan. Knowing whether you can boost the ground clearance on the AWD an inch or so with larger tires and a lift might make a difference.
You can find a lot of threads here discussing the pros and cons. Bottom line is that ground clearance is usually not affected by a lift.

In the case of the Transit's current models that low point is the lower rear shock mounts, which are ridiculously long below the axle. The space in the fenders don't allow much in the way of larger tires to raise this height without doing major custom body work. Some of the aftermarket companies have kits that remove several inches of that mount and re-locate it to improve things.

As someone who has owned both 4WD and AWD vehicles (and used them all in places I've sometimes regretted) I've come to the reasoning that AWD will get me everywhere I need to be. If I'm in the van going somewhere that actually needs 4WD/Low Range, then I'm most likely in the wrong vehicle.

My last Subaru surprised me with its agility on Jeep trails. After owning a couple of K5 Blazers, S10 4WD, Jeep Cherokee, Suzuki Samurai, and exploring each of their limits (and discovering new and exciting extraction techniques) I found that the Sube took me places that I never expected it could. The only places it didn't do well was extremely steep inclines and deep mud. Both of which are usually optional (for fun) rather than necessary to get where I wanted to go.

If you have no intention of doing severe off-road exploration, like following the Jeep tour crowds and that sort of thing, AWD will likely be all that is needed. (depending upon how well it is designed) Not every OEM makes a good AWD system.
 

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I would be interested in a lift to improve the departure angle. That long, straight tail is the key weakness of the Transit for my particular situation. I negotiate steep dipped areas that don’t require extra traction, but can cause the backend to scrape along the ground. Never had that problem with the Sprinter, which has a slight angle that does the trick. Just a little lift or some body angle would be ideal.
 

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I was very interested in lifting our Transit until I realized I would need to use a sawz-all and a sledge hammer to fit bigger tires under the coachwork. That circumstance sort of negated my interest in lifting, as I find that ground clearance is much more useful than increased approach and departure angles on the pathways I want to drive.

I gave up the idea, and just starting driving my Transit where it can go.

The idea of paying several thousand dollars for a 2" body lift and an 1" increase in ground clearance seemed like money poorly spent. When I decide that I need to camp further out than the Transit will take me I will switch over to a lifted Ford Super Duty 250 and a mini camper top.

In the mean time, turning the TCS off when I leave the pavement has become an instinctual habit.
 

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You can find a lot of threads here discussing the pros and cons. Bottom line is that ground clearance is usually not affected by a lift.

.....
Approach, departure and break-over clear are all positively affected by a lift kit and a little bit sometimes makes a real difference.

We have a extended length van converted by Quadvan. The lift make is noticeably less likely to drag the the rear end.
 

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Most regulars know I'm surly regarding decorating a van to look like an "offroad" vehicle. I always take the bait when a newbie shares their pics and ideas on how to decorate their van that way. Negotiating ruts, rocks, tree limbs, drop-offs, water crossings, etc. on undeveloped or unmaintained roads and paths is mostly skill and experience, not equipment. As mentioned above, many of us who venture into the wilds in 4x4s and high clearance vehicles have been surprised to find some economy car has already reached our destination. A bunch of expensive accessories and modifications will make it easier, and you might be able to negotiate obstacle-ridden routes faster, but most of the time aren't necessary. Growing up by Bend OR, I drove my FWD Fiat 128 on jeep trails and even NO trails without many problems, 365 days a year. It was a beast in the snow; it looked funny parked next to a friend's lifted 4x4 Blazer with huge tires, but guess which vehicle was able to drive up out of a steep icy driveway and which one had to get a tow from the road above?

My interest in AWD and/or 4x4 would be for snow and sand, and not getting stuck in either. The thing is, my current situation only has me negotiating snow and sand less than 1% of my drive time. I couldn't justify the extra purchase expense and increase in operating cost (mpg) just to drive faster that 1% of the time. If the AWD option is $1000 or less I might consider it, but I doubt it. I'm more interested in the PHEV drivetrain becoming available at a reasonable upcharge.
 

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Approach, departure and break-over clear are all positively affected by a lift kit and a little bit sometimes makes a real difference.

We have a extended length van converted by Quadvan. The lift make is noticeably less likely to drag the the rear end.
This in no way invalidates the statement quoted that a body lift does not affect ground clearance.

Departure angles are not "ground clearance" per se. I have posted in a thread that discussed departure angles, as that is a different subject.

Anyone who first purchases an extended Transit, then, finds themselves facing departure angle issues maybe should have considered the Unimog @surlyBill suggested.

An extended Transit will always have departure angle problems by design. That is one of the compromises a buyer makes when selecting that body style.
 

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Me too, but I might not be able to wait that long. :) What's your guess for availability?
CrewVanMan sent me a PM with some info, but it was an aftermarket upfitter I think, not OEM.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The military has dropped 100s of these on the surplus market in the last 2 years, Selling for about $25,000 on the open market. The current Ebay bid for this one is $11,000.

http://vi.vipr.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemDescV4&item=163753579871&t=0&tid=10&category=80765&seller=bulletmotorsportsinc&excSoj=1&excTrk=1&lsite=100&ittenable=true&domain=ebay.com&descgauge=1&cspheader=1&oneClk=1&secureDesc=0
You could definitely make an impression with this rig. I was camped in British Columbia a few years ago when a bright yellow high-end Unimog converted camper rolled through the campground. It was entertaining to see all the campers drop what they were doing and stare at it as it went by. Perhaps @Hein can begin working on some adaptors . . . ;)
 

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The military has dropped 100s of these on the surplus market in the last 2 years, Selling for about $25,000 on the open market. The current Ebay bid for this one is $11,000.

http://vi.vipr.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemDescV4&item=163753579871&t=0&tid=10&category=80765&seller=bulletmotorsportsinc&excSoj=1&excTrk=1&lsite=100&ittenable=true&domain=ebay.com&descgauge=1&cspheader=1&oneClk=1&secureDesc=0

I wonder what the GPM is for that critter. (Gallons Per Mile, ha ha)
 

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I wonder what the GPM is for that critter. (Gallons Per Mile, ha ha)
That is a small Cat engine, (Cat 3116, 6.6 liter) I would guess you would get at least 20 MPG, Probably more.

At work we had ten Caterpillar 3412 Generator set engines that burned 50 gallons an hour (each) with a full load on them.
 

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That is a small Cat engine, (Cat 3116, 6.6 liter) I would guess you would get at least 20 MPG, Probably more.

At work we had ten Caterpillar 3412 Generator set engines that burned 50 gallons an hour (each) with a full load on them.
Found an owner's forum,

"The military specifications call for the 58 gallon tank of diesel to give the truck an operating distance of around 300 miles. That equates to 5.17 MPG. My numbers seem to be in line with that. The military's number is also probably a "worst case", so under more ideal civilian conditions I would anticipate getter better than that."

A little shy of 20 mpg, but better than I expected to see.
 

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Hi all,

We were at the Northwest Overland Rally recently and I had a chance to talk to the Quigley rep. I asked if they are worried about the factory AWD cutting into their business next year. His answer was something like "I wouldn't say we are worried, but we are watching the market." He believes there will still be a market for true 4X4 with low range.

To the original poster's question, Quigley, which has a long relationship with Ford, said they can't get a 2020 Transit to start their engineering (new transmission, etc...) until October. I doubt that the smaller outfitters like Van Compass will get their hands on one earlier so an AWD body lift kit will take a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi all,

We were at the Northwest Overland Rally recently and I had a chance to talk to the Quigley rep. I asked if they are worried about the factory AWD cutting into their business next year. His answer was something like "I wouldn't say we are worried, but we are watching the market." He believes there will still be a market for true 4X4 with low range.

To the original poster's question, Quigley, which has a long relationship with Ford, said they can't get a 2020 Transit to start their engineering (new transmission, etc...) until October. I doubt that the smaller outfitters like Van Compass will get their hands on one earlier so an AWD body lift kit will take a while.
I will be very curious to see how busy Quigley is with the transits once they study the 2020s. It seems that there are two sorts of buyers out there. The first group wants the trail-ready vehicles with the lifts, racks, bumpers, etc. I doubt the AWDs will satisfy them, especially if they have to wait a long time for a lift to be developed. The second group are the typical 2WD van buyers who like the idea of better traction on hard surfaces for winter driving and might stretch the cost a bit more if the price for the AWD isn't too high.

It would be great if Quigley would ease up on their restrictions on converting only new Transits if they run out of new 2019s and haven't set up for the 2020s yet. For me, putting the money I would save by buying a 1 or 2-year-old Transit into a Quigley conversion would be a no brainer vs. spending several thousand more for the AWD.
 
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