First off my title was just a joke, so no offense meant. This is certainly nowhere near a SMB, but it is mine all mine, no second mortgage necessary.
I had been casually searching for a 4x4 van for awhile, and had not found much in my price range. I prefer Dodges as far as vans go, I am just much more familiar with Chrysler small blocks and their auto trannies. On a whim I typed in 4x4 dodge van craigslist into Google. Believe it or not one popped up in South NJ, not too far from me in eastern PA. I didnt give it too much thought, jotted down the number and called the guy the next day. He needed it gone asap, so we met halfway and I checked it out. I agreed to buy and he agreed to deliver it the next day for a little extra. It made the 2 hour drive so I knew that said something!
Anyway, for $1800 I got an 87 Dodge Quigley with a 360. Downsides are it's non OD and it is carbureted. It needs gone over, but it runs, drives, stops and most everything works. It was originally just a cargo van but the previous owner started making it nicer inside. A lot of it will need to be redone, but some of it I can work with. Looks to be a Ford Dana 44, not sure why they used a Ford axle for the conversion. Rear is a Chrysler 8.25, definitely a little weak but it can easily be swapped. Haven ID'ed the t-case yet.
The nice thing is there are a plethora of Dodge conversion vans at the local EZ pull. I've already got some small items, and I found a nice truck style rear bumper and a tire carrier that bolts to the hinges. A bumper style carrier would be neater, but I feel the hinge style should be burly enough. I even found a not too ugly ladder rack I may yank and modify. It has round tubing and sits nice and low to the roof.
First plans include getting it on a lift and seeing what needs attention. It sits on 33" Mud tires that are cupped horribly, they need to go asap. I can't find anything but C rated tires in 33x12.5x15, I'm assuming these will be too light? I may wind up having to upgrade to 16" wheels and get some E-rated Terra Grapplers or something similar. Some sound deadening is definitely in order and I may use a lot of the products and ideas on http://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/ This guy uses a different approach to sound deadening, and it makes a lot of sense to me.
My goal is to make it as reliable and as comfortable as I can. I want to emphasize on keeping it relatively simple and focus more on using it than spending all of my time building it. We will see if I can keep my word on that one. Let me know what ya'll think and give me any and all ideas and criticisms.