Penthouse pop top swap? Body swap? Suspension/4x4 swap?

I've searched google and expo and couldn't find much information. Has anyone swapped a penthouse top onto a different van?

I have a 2wd e-150 sportsmobile with the small gas v8. It has served me well but is currently not running (the engine is fine as far as I know) and the weight of a loaded sportsmobile on a 1/2 ton frame was always pushing the limits (overheating brakes have definitely been an issue). I've always wanted a more robust van, and recently I came across a great deal on a 4x4 e350 of the same generation (not the same year). This got me thinking about the cost and feasability of finding a cheaper 4x4 1 ton van (maybe even diesel) and swapping the sportsmobile body or just the penthouse top onto the frame/drivetrain of the 4x4 van, or alternatively swapping the 4x4 and suspension stuff onto the sportsmobile. But as someone who does not have a lot of experience in any of these areas i'm not sure how big of a job this would be and what option would be the most straightforward or possible. Any input would be appreciated.


If you are mechanically inclined at all or looking for some experience, the chassis swap would be the easiest whereas the penthouse swap and 4X4 conversion would be more invovled.
Chassis swap involves basic unbolting and reassembly (just make sure you can access all the body mounts first) while the 4X4 and penthouse swaps involve cutting and welding and more "advanced" work. Both will require time and lots of space.
Chassis swap will involve lifting the body above the engine while the penthouse swap will require a way to move the penthouse from one body to another and cutting a (big) hole in your roof and figuring out a way to reinforce the body afterwards.
What about taking everything from the conversion van and putting it into the 4X4?
Good luck


^^^ hates cars
Numerous folks on the smb forum have completed penthouse swaps, and I’ve read about one gent who put a van body on a fseries chassis, but have yet to see where someone did a body swap. In fact when I see the idea brought up people usually squash the idea quick. No personal experience on a chassis swap, but I’ve installed a penthouse kit on our van with the help of a few friends. Minus all the interior details with better planning we could have had the kit installed in a day.

A few of the smb members have done write ups on their coversions in the homebuild section. A few screenames that come to mind are boywonder, benjj, and andrewst. HTH.


So far as a body swap from one chassis to another: I know a group of guys that did this, they bought a rolled ambulance at auction with a 7.3 Diesel, swapped on a 15 passenger body. They claimed to have done it 'in about a weekend'. But these guys aren't your average Joe's, they had an advanced home shop with a 2-post lift, one of them was a Ford line mechanic that worked in a dealership, and the whole family are no strangers to hard work.


Well-known member