Hi All –
I took the liberty of starting a new thread regarding 4 wheel drive issues, in response to an “Introduce Yourself” posting from “titsikama”, who is interested in a PC2350 on the Ford Chassis:http://phoenixusarv.com/community/index.php?topic=4.45
Hi “Titsi” – I’m still a “wannabe”, yet you pose a question I’ve often asked myself. Outside of RV “wannabe” status, I will have a Phoenix Cruiser when the time comes.
I’m in the Chicago area, and I’d say whenever I saw a 4 wheel drive conversion product around here, particularly on a Ford, it’s been a “Quigley” conversion. I’m guessing you’re somewhere out West, as you mention camping frequently on BLM holdings, yet even when vacationing in Nevada, as well as in Lake Tahoe, I also have noticed that most conversions there, whether ambulances or mini-busses, have been Quigley conversions as well. Here is the link:http://www.quigley4x4.com/Home/tabid/37/Default.aspx
Quigley has the unique attribute of being tied in with the factory – you (or your motorhome builder) can theoretically order one of their conversions through a regular Ford dealer or supply channel – and their conversions will not void the regular Ford warranty on the FACTORY-SUPPLIED and assembled chassis components. Alternatively, they have their own warranties on chassis components they supply, yet whenever possible, those components not provided by the factory are in fact, usually Ford components anyway, allowing for easier servicing of the chassis overall.
A typical Quigley conversion costs approximately $12,000 over the provided chassis. While not specifically addressed, the question of whether or not a particular RV can be modified can probably be best answered by Quigley, yet based upon my reading of their literature, I don’t see any disclaimers to the contrary.
One thing to consider is whether or not the standard Ford Chassis for the PC2350 (the E-350) is capable of handling the additional weight such a conversion adds. You may find that the best practice would be to upgrade the chassis to the E-450 chassis, which adds approximately $1,500.
As for the choice of diesel over gas, it’s a philosophical/emotional decision. The power output differential between the V10 gas motor and the V8 diesel are negligible, yet you might find diesel more attractive based upon fuel availability in the areas in which you live or travel, or what you may be used to in your existing camping chassis. For myself, the differential between gas and diesel fuel prices are high enough, that even when considering an additional 2 MPG difference, I figure the cost trade-off is again, negligible or even negative over the life of the coach. Going with the Ford diesel chassis adds another price premium, approximately $10,000 or less over the gas chassis.
So, over “standard pricing points”, the 4-wheel drive premium is $12,000 - $13,500, and adding diesel is an additional $10,000 or so. As the generator is supplied by chassis fuel, also consider what’s possible in terms of optioning/additional costs/lost opportunity cost on the generator is also a consideration. I don’t know if PC can provide a diesel generator for you, or whether or not you’d have to settle for a propane generator instead. Whether positive or negative, there is a price differential in that regard as well.
If all of the above is appealing to you, consider also that such a 4 wheel drive conversion will likely place associated transfer case shift levers and controls on the floor directly behind the motor doghouse, and directly between the two front seats. Depending on how the conversion is done, such shift levers and controls in this area will likely present issues on ease of entering the coach area from the front seats, and/or prohibit the use of swivel seating in this area.