The upfitter's press release on the Quigley 4x4 Nissan NV conversions went out mid-July. It described Quigley as a "niche industry with intricacy." Todd added, "We need to educate the dealers and put together a dealer introduction kit to help them learn how to order, the costing to a dealer, and warranty info. Nissan's regional reps are now setting up meetings, and Nissan has sent out a press release to its internal websites. As Nissan is new to the business of selling commercial vehicles, they don't know what to do and also what can be put inside a 'naked vehicle,'" said Quigley.
"The automotive industry has come to know our name," offered Mike Quigley the next day during our evaluation of the NV on a swath of rugged off-road tracks, at the Rausch Creek Off Road Park, located one hour from Quigley headquarters. "We are in a unique situation because we have employees that are uniquely attuned to 4WD. We are versed in 4WD, service, maintenance, engineering, and quality control. Every day we are looking for something that could go wrong or did go wrong. Quality starts before the job begins, and continues as the vehicle is being built and tested and after." We use third party independent testing facilities as well as our own quality control to verify that our designs do not impede any of the OE's safety features such ABS, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, or Vehicle Dynamic Control.
"When we heard about the new NV being built, we wanted to prepare for it. Our vehicles are on all seven continents from the North Pole to the South Pole and, as the years have gone by, we have developed a clientele from many different backgrounds, ranging from tombstone carvers to the FBI, CIA, ATF, Homeland Security, Secret Service, and Border Patrol. We have also built vehicles for Iceland that are used as ambulance and rescue vehicles," said the CEO.
The 4WD conversion is available on all 2500 and 3500 NV models (cargo vans and the newly introduced passenger van) that are equipped with the 5.6-liter V-8 engine. Quigley hopes to upfit 25 units from September to December in the first three months of build.
"With all of the benefits of a high roof, good gas mileage, and tough OE parts, the NV is great. Compared with trucks, when you put together the price of the truck, a lock box, racks, and a cap, I think if people researched it -- and also the price of trailers -- the ones who have done their homework will say the pricing of the Quigley 4x4 van is fair," said Quigley.
The Quigley 4x4 Nissan NV will appeal to a wide audience of buyers who need to carry loads of goods, as well as purveyors that carry groups and gear, such as colleges, churches, and airport livery services. It competes with the Ford E-Series and GM Express/Chevy Savana and the first versions to come to market are targeted at tradesmen of various sorts, passenger-ferrying companies, and fleet owners. Ford has also announced it will develop a new model of its E Series and import a larger version of its Transit Connect next year.
The Quigley 4x4 Nissan NV conversion will be priced at $10,895. This special introductory price will be in effect until January 1, 2013.
The Quigley 4x4 Nissan NV Recipe
Quigley started the conversion by tearing apart the front end of the Nissan NV V-8s that have a GVW of 9600 pounds, and come set up with a 250/260 front axle. Engineers replace the stock axle with an American Axle with a higher gear set (3.42:1/3.55:1 gears), and add a Magna transfer case and driveline positioned in the middle of the van. Also added are a Quigley-designed single-speed transfer case using Magna components, a 9.25-inch front differential, and Quigley-manufactured front driveshafts.
Following the conversion, the NV has a bit more ground clearance and the center of gravity is lowered a touch, but the IFS front suspension and OE parts, such as front brakes, steering, and tires are retained.
"Final quality control is driving the product on-road and on a variety of twisty and windy roads, checking the driveline for vibrations," said Todd Quigley. "We went to Moab and took a 7500-mile trip with our new vehicles to see what they feel like. We do all of the engineering design in house and don't outsource."
(For Ford vans: F-350 front axle; F-350 New Process 271; two-speed transfer case. For GM vans: Magna-built GM K-30, two-speed transfer case; American Axle-built GM K-30 9.25 front axle with axle disconnect.) The NV conversion adds 315-325 pounds to the vehicle (GM’s conversion adds 365 and Ford’s adds 585).
Nissan Validates the NV on the Trail
Truck Trend joined Gerry Appie, senior manager of Commercial and Fleet Aftermarket Engineering, when he came to Quigley to verify the quality and capability of the conversion on the passenger and cargo vans.
"So many contractors are all about trucks, but the NV feels like a truck, said Appie, who works in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and has been with Nissan for two years. Previously, he worked with another U.S. automaker and was familiar with Quigley's work.
"I've been with Nissan for two years, and I've had a lot of calls for a 4WD version of the NV," said Appie. "Many have come from Alaska and North Dakota, and probably 80 percent of those are looking for oil field use. A van has a good size and offers protection from the elements.
"We don't do an official process with our own testing and evaluation. We are just getting our side of the commercial business up and running and Quigley has put on more than 7500 miles on the passenger van and 5000 on the cargo van.
"We have had a lot of applications for the van and have been working with aftermarket companies who want 4WD motorhomes, mobility vehicles, and specialty interiors; Sportsmobile is waiting for the Quigley system to do their motorhome conversions. We are getting calls from the snow states, and from police departments who are looking for prisoner transport vehicles and command units. The high-roof van works out perfectly for that. I think it's going to be a more substantial market than Quigley thinks.
"We are coming into this very quickly, so I am dealing with the reputable companies and the companies I know. The van was designed and developed for the commercial market with a strong frame, big brakes, and reciprocating-ball steering. Nissan made the NV to be what American trucks are -- we didn't just bring something else over from another country.
"I am very impressed with the quality of the NV conversion on the trail -- with no lift on it. We are four-wheeling with leather seats and air conditioning -- there is a lot of luxury there. This will work out well for the activity-minded family, for airport shuttles as we have had a lot of interest from them, as well as interior companies that do van conversions. We are also working with some of the package delivery companies that are looking for 4WD vans."