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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to either order a new transit with AWD or try to find a used pre 2020 Transit and use quadvan/quigley to get a 4x4 conversion. I've read that the AWD models are more difficult to add a lift to but that they drive better for all season use. Has anyone had a chance to drive both? What do you recommend?
 

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We have a 2019 Quigley. My take on it that the most important consideration is intended use.
For mostly paved roads with occasional patches of snow AWD will be better than 4x4 and 80% as good off road.
If you will be threading your Transit through obstacles and hazards off-road, where you need accurate placement of your wheels and zero brake induced side hop - then you can't beat a Quigley or QuadVan in 4Low - provided that you have shod it with appropriate tires.
We do some pretty challenging off-road trails, and our Quigley has got us out of extremely sketchy situation - including an amazingly drama free crawl up the 20 mile, 7,000ft off-camber switchback out of Saline Valley at 11pm in snow and ice.
Both Quigley and QuadVan use a similar approach to adding 4x4, which makes lifting its 2" or so, far less problematic than it is for a 2020+ AWD. One compromise is Quigley's specific lift for the AWD.
 

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The more important question is can you find a 2019 or earlier Transit that meets your requirements of price, color, options, etc. to convert?
This isn't a very good time to buy a used van.
Can you find a 2020 or later AWD that meets those requirements?
Ordering new seems like the easiest option these days if you still can....
 

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I have driven both extensively on road and the AWD (with 2" VC front lift) is far superior. The Quigley was a bit of a handful and liked to wander and not track straight on highway drives. I suspect good aftermarket shocks/struts might cure that. I haven't tested either in any real off-road situations but the overwhelming evidence is the Quigley will crush the AWD in true rock-crawling situations. AWD with dedicated snows has been unstoppable in the snow.
 

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I have driven both extensively on road and the AWD (with 2" VC front lift) is far superior. The Quigley was a bit of a handful and liked to wander and not track straight on highway drives. I suspect good aftermarket shocks/struts might cure that. I haven't tested either in any real off-road situations but the overwhelming evidence is the Quigley will crush the AWD in true rock-crawling situations. AWD with dedicated snows has been unstoppable in the snow.
I suspect a lot of that stability comes from the upgraded shocks that come with the VC kit. I have the same B6 front and Falcon rear on our Quigley and it was a total transformation.
 

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If you need more capability than this, go with the 4wd conversion (IMO, I would get an econoline and go with a straight front axle conversion), otherwise, I personally wouldn't give up the daily driven advantages of the AWD system and being able to get a van with all the latest options.

Both transits in this video are AWD with VC lifts, one long, one an extended van.

 

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Actually on my AWD I stuck with the OEM Ford struts. Rides true and straight, but if I've got the van loaded down it feels like they are getting a bit overwhelmed, with a little more 'bounce' than I care for. If doing again I would upgrade the struts.
 

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2021 T350 Cargo HR 148 AWD
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I'm super impressed with my AWD 2021. A few weeks ago we got 8" of snow and this high roof AWD van drove like a Subaru in it. Ford nailed the AWD on the Transit. When I was shopping for a van I contemplated a pre 2020 with 4x4 and finally came to the conclusion: it's not a rock crawler. So why? I recently drove the van from CO to OR, it was so comfortable and a pleasure to drive.
 

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I have a minimal camper conversion with not a lot of weight. I was limited to dry forest service roads and freeway 55k). Prior to my conversion my van drove perfectly fine stock. With the Quadvan conversion the only difference is the gas mileage and more intense forest service roads (I live near Sedona). When the time comes I will change to a more agressive tire than the Agillis Cross Climate directional to improve the overall grip in mud, rocks and snow.
I like the ability to decide when I need the additional traction and am always driving carefully. As to finding a pre 20 van in good condition, good luck. My dealer sales people are always trying to get my service tech to get me to talk to them. He is correct in saying they have nothing to offer that I would want.
 
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I've got a 2018 Quigley. Likely would get AWD if buying now. We do a lot of driving for skiing and having to throw it in and out of 4x4 as conditions change is kinda a pain. My take is the thing is huge...I'm not gonna' take it anywhere too crazy anyway. (Has been fun to occasionally throw it into 4L and head up steep forest roads.)

That said...mine drives like a car. Super smooth. Tracks straight and easy.
Two things helped that. (1) Tires broken in...like 1000miles. And (2) lower tire pressure. Broken in tires helped the squirrely feeling and the lower tire pressure helped the bouncing around back end feeling.
 

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I think AWD would serve the majority of van users better and it costs a lot less. It's always there. It works well, especially in the snow.

I have a Quigley. I use mine for light off road alot. Low range and the engine braking and very slow speeds that it allows in steep situations is worth it to me.
 

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I think this depends a lot on where you live or plan to use the van. I live in the PNW and am really happy with AWD. I have the Van Compass lift, which I am undecided on whether I would do again if I were starting over. I've had no issues with the lift, but don't know if I really need it. I drive a ton in the snow and the combination of AWD and dedicated snow tires is great. This includes driving in pretty deep unplowed heavy snow. Not having to mess around with engaging and disengaging four wheel drive is a big advantage for me. In the summer I use the van for mountain biking and camping. Around here, most of our forest service roads are either in pretty good shape where AWD or even 2wd is fine or they get washed out and are not passable in any vehicle. Even though we get a ton of rain, we don't get a ton of slippery mud. I have not found traction to be the limiting factor in where I drive my van. Articulation, size and the consequences of vehicle damage are what limit me and I don't think any of that would change going to quigley of quadvan.

I also don't really enjoy pushing the limits of the van. Compared to pickups and my previous 4runner, the van is expensive and feels like it isn't designed for offroad driving. I have a light minimal build, but still hear everything flexing and ratting around when driving on rough forest service roads. I am all about pushing the limits of where I can take our Subaru, but it is a lot less expensive and a lot easier to get unstuck. If I lived in Colorado or the Southwest, I might want a true 4x4, skid plates, recovery points, etc, since they tend to have rougher roads that are worth it for recreational opportunities you wouldn't otherwise have, but around here a true 4x4 would be worse for a lot of snow driving and I don't think I would enjoy driving to the few additional places I might be able to get using 4x4 over AWD. Personally, if I felt I needed a 4x4 I would go the truck camper route.
 

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Mud/rut mode and big AT tires have allowed me to take the AWD van to many of my pre-van favorite spots, like one particularly sandy road out at death valley (one long section still makes me nervous no matter what I'm driving). I debated Quigley for things like that, but now I'm glad I went AWD. 98% of my average camper-mode trips are spent on highways and interstates, then 2% on a jeep trail, and so far AWD has tackled everything I've thrown at it.

The other day I took off from a stop in mildly sandy uphill overland conditions, and after getting back on hardpack, I got out to look at the pattern on the ground. It confirmed that in those conditions with mud/rut activated (turns TCS off automatically), all four wheels were being powered right from the start. You could see the little ripples of sand piled up behind each tire as the van began gaining forward momentum. Seems like ford got it right.

But I will say this: far more important than the rig is the driver. Second to that is tire pressure (airing down). A close third is AT or better tires. Then the mechanical side of things.

Cheers.
 

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I am in the situation of trying to decide whether to go AWD or a 4x4 Quigley conversion. I have always had 4x4s and love the rock crawling type of roads! I spend part of the year in Colorado, and most of it in the Upper Peninsula of MI. Sadly my '07 Xterra was totaled June of '21 and Allstate didn't tell me for 2 months whether they were going to repair it or total it. By the time they said totaled we were deep into the time of having a terrible time finding vehicles.

I had camped sleeping in my Xterra and was so bummed. I loved that thing. However I am 75 and decided it was time to get something I could stand up in. So am looking for one already converted, or to convert, but with bad shoulder and carpel tunnel can no longer use tools like I could, so it would be pretty expensive to hire someone to convert it.

In the interim, while I am looking, I am driving a 2012 Subaru Outback with almost 150 K miles on it, which is doing great in the snow, but I am used to something with high clearance so would never be able to drive it on some of my favorite roads. Plus to camp and sleep in the back of it I have had to be a human pretzel and can't even sit up in bed!

Janus9 ! That was an awesome YouTube video you gave us above in your post 1/13/22. I was so envious of everyone on that trip!
 

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I am in the situation of trying to decide whether to go AWD or a 4x4 Quigley conversion. I have always had 4x4s and love the rock crawling type of roads! I spend part of the year in Colorado, and most of it in the Upper Peninsula of MI. Sadly my '07 Xterra was totaled June of '21 and Allstate didn't tell me for 2 months whether they were going to repair it or total it. By the time they said totaled we were deep into the time of having a terrible time finding vehicles.

I had camped sleeping in my Xterra and was so bummed. I loved that thing. However I am 75 and decided it was time to get something I could stand up in. So am looking for one already converted, or to convert, but with bad shoulder and carpel tunnel can no longer use tools like I could, so it would be pretty expensive to hire someone to convert it.

In the interim, while I am looking, I am driving a 2012 Subaru Outback with almost 150 K miles on it, which is doing great in the snow, but I am used to something with high clearance so would never be able to drive it on some of my favorite roads. Plus to camp and sleep in the back of it I have had to be a human pretzel and can't even sit up in bed!

Janus9 ! That was an awesome YouTube video you gave us above in your post 1/13/22. I was so envious of everyone on that trip!

Wayfarer vans does simple conversions that they install in one day. For someone that doesn't want to spend too much, yet get a conversion that is still functional, I believe it is a good product.

 

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2020 148 HR AWD
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Everyone has different needs, or perhaps it’s really just wants, and experiences that also depend on conditions. But I’ll toss this out. The traction and low gearing of our 2020 AWD are a pretty good match for ground clearance, breakover/departure, and general vulnerability and stability of our 148” HR on slightly larger than stock AT tires. We also have a 4WD pickup, and have owned several 4WD’s as well as a Subaru Forester. In snow up to 6” or so deep, and on smooth gravel roads, the Subaru or the AWD Transit are really better than a part-time 4WD in my opinion. And on tougher stuff, the van runs out of clearance, or feels like it will drag something vulnerable, or tip over, or just rattle the build and it’s contents, long before it runs out of traction, or needs lower gearing to climb, or to control speed on a descent (2020 EB with 10 speed auto and 3.73 gears).
 

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I am in the situation of trying to decide whether to go AWD or a 4x4 Quigley conversion. I have always had 4x4s and love the rock crawling type of roads! I spend part of the year in Colorado, and most of it in the Upper Peninsula of MI. Sadly my '07 Xterra was totaled June of '21 and Allstate didn't tell me for 2 months whether they were going to repair it or total it. By the time they said totaled we were deep into the time of having a terrible time finding vehicles.

I had camped sleeping in my Xterra and was so bummed. I loved that thing. However I am 75 and decided it was time to get something I could stand up in. So am looking for one already converted, or to convert, but with bad shoulder and carpel tunnel can no longer use tools like I could, so it would be pretty expensive to hire someone to convert it.

In the interim, while I am looking, I am driving a 2012 Subaru Outback with almost 150 K miles on it, which is doing great in the snow, but I am used to something with high clearance so would never be able to drive it on some of my favorite roads. Plus to camp and sleep in the back of it I have had to be a human pretzel and can't even sit up in bed!

Janus9 ! That was an awesome YouTube video you gave us above in your post 1/13/22. I was so envious of everyone on that trip!
Having owned a 4runner, Subaru Forester and lifted awd transit with AT tires, personally I would rank a lifted transit closer in offroad performance to a Subaru than a 4runner/xterra. To me, trucks and truck based SUV’s just feel a lot better on rough roads. I loved watching that video of the awd transit rallying up those roads in Colorado, but that is the owner of a van company doing that in his rig when it is good for publicity. He proved the van can do it which is awesome, but I would not feel good about driving my van up roads like that. I love the van and I think it has a lot of advantages over a truck but I don’t think people should expect truck-like performance off-road out of their vans, especially driving those kind of roads on a regular basis.
 

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Everyone has different needs, or perhaps it’s really just wants, and experiences that also depend on conditions. But I’ll toss this out. The traction and low gearing of our 2020 AWD are a pretty good match for ground clearance, breakover/departure, and general vulnerability and stability of our 148” HR on slightly larger than stock AT tires. We also have a 4WD pickup, and have owned several 4WD’s as well as a Subaru Forester. In snow up to 6” or so deep, and on smooth gravel roads, the Subaru or the AWD Transit are really better than a part-time 4WD in my opinion. And on tougher stuff, the van runs out of clearance, or feels like it will drag something vulnerable, or tip over, or just rattle the build and it’s contents, long before it runs out of traction, or needs lower gearing to climb, or to control speed on a descent (2020 EB with 10 speed auto and 3.73 gears).
Completely agree!
 

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2017 SWB MR Wagon with Quadvan 4x4
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I would agree with those saying most people will be happier with the AWD. It is more usable and in more situations, and as that video shows you can push it pretty hard.

However I personally I went for a Quadvan 4x4 conversion, even knowing the AWD becoming available. The big difference for me is the 4Lo. It gives you so much more control offroad and way better engine braking on steep hills, it is much safer. Bouncing along on a shelf road with a big drop off you need to be going as slow as possible. Last year I did a few offroad passes, nothing too serious from a Jeepers perspective, but certainly within the moderate rating (easy/mod/hard) and I heavily used 4Lo 1st for all of them.

This is Ophir Pass in CO...
Tire Wheel Cloud Vehicle Sky

That needed 4Lo, 1MPH, and engine bash plates. Fantastic scenery, but of course you can often drive around to the other side on pavement (if you had the extra few hours). One of the Transit drivers in that video did admit he missed 4Lo for the steep downhills on that trip.

I use the extra capability to camp well beyond the crowds and find more photography. Although it is remarkable how many of the best views have pavement right up to them, or a Prius gets there anyway.

I do find that 4Lo also means I can get away with the regular 3.7L gas engine. I've found hills where it has struggled in 4Hi and I presume the EcoBoost wouldn't.

Even though I have the Quadvan 2" lift plus bigger tires, it would be nice to have a few more inches clearance. The Quadvan armour is pretty study and doing a great job. Perhaps I should have gone for E350 or Sprinter ;-)

For the Quadvan shift-on-the-fly was an optional extra (which I did get - for those snowy roads).

So, yes it's a very personal decision, control offroad v. convenience and slippery roads. Personally, I would do the same again, I'm lovin' it.
 

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2020 148 HR AWD
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Yeah, the lack of armor is frustrating. Owning a Tacoma which has zillions of aftermarket options (though I only have sliders on the Taco) is quite a contrast to the Transit. A Transit FX4 package with skid plates (even if they’re light duty), tow hooks and rear e-locker would have been great for Ford to offer with the AWD starting in 2020. That would be far more useful than low range for me.
 
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