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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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Old 04-30-2012, 08:48 AM
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Devil's Advocates Please!

Looking to purchase a new-to-me Econoline, currently driving an E250, 5.4 motor, standard body. Seems what's available these days are E350's with extended body which is my preference BTW, won't buy anything else.

Model years between 2000 and '06 only, mileage not that important if cost is consistent and the body is collision-damage free. In fact, body condition without significant rust will be my biggest deciding factor. I'm well versed in body damage and know there are more than enough rust-free E-Series to be had even now---my 2000 barely shows anything not easily repaired or stoppable.

This will be strictly a work truck, raised roof and extended rear doors added sometime soon after purchase. It will also most likely be the last work truck I'll buy---can't do my job forever, especially at my advance age.

A few recent threads seem to suggest the E350's are fraught with front suspensions and brakes that barely last 70K miles. Apart from BBasso's bad situation I find this hard to believe unless these vans are driven or loaded over their true capacities.

MPG's aren't an issue but even so as much as I'd love a V10 the 5.4 is my choice due experience. Diesels are completely out of the running---I'll never own one not matter what. No offense Diesel owners, they're just not for me!

The issues of non-floating, semi-floating and full-floating differentials seems to be of concern to a few as well. I'm finding the '04's and up come without any sort of floating rear ends, at least according to the VCL decoders I've used; axle code 39 typically.

I'd like to hear from those who actually own or use an E350 as a daily driver for work, ideally having switched from an E250. Actual in-use experiences are most helpful because specs and claims on paper are pretty much worthless to me in the real world. Looking forward to any in-hand opinions or what to avoid---nothing better than personal experience IMHO.

Thanks!
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:12 PM
Rick1025 Rick1025 is offline
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I have 3 E-350 EB vans The 95 has a full float/3:54 gears LS.Dana 60. It is a work truck. but was a 15 pass when I got it in 97. It now has about 300,000 on it..I am a semi-retired plumbing contracter. It weighs about 7500 lb ALL the time.I have been through ball jts at about 225,00, and other parts along the way,but none that I can complain about. In 17 yrs it has had a starter,a radiater,2 fuel pumps,a heater core, and an alternater and water pump.I dont think thats bad for a 300,000 mi 17 yr old van! It still runs good but the body is now shot. Wisconsin winters take their toll.
My 2000 is a "Turtle Top" conversion. It has a 5.4/Dana 60 tracloc w/3;54 gears floater.It was an excutive airport Limo that I picked up 8 yrs ago for $10,000. and used for a few yrs as a "travel van". It is now getting transformed into a work van. At least I can stand up in it!. I have put shocks, brakes and 1 wheel bearing on it in 8 yrs.and 120,000.
I also have a 2002 350 conversion van that is a 4x4 Quigley w about 135,000 on it.I have had it for 3-4 yrs. It has a 5.4 and depending on wind,speed, and who is driving,I get between 12 - 17 MPG
That one I have gone thru coils,plugs,and ALL the brakes and front end parts just as a preventitive maintenance thing and it is my favorite to drive.It is now my "travel van".
As an "aside"...I have replaced fuel pumps in the 95 (twice) (only buy GENUINE FORD pumps) (the aftermarket dont last0 and 1 (not needed) in the 02. I have cut a hole in the floor each time and it makes the job MUCH EASIER ABD QUICKER!!. My Suburban needed one last week and it cost me $325 to do it myself instead of over $1000 for the dealer.If you break down on the road,it can be done in 15min if you have the part. Sorry for the long post.The EB 350's are the way to go and the 5.4 is more than up to the task. Rick
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:24 PM
Rick1025 Rick1025 is offline
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Just as an addition....look on e-bay for used 15 pass vans.Most of them are Ford Corp/dealer lease vehichels that have had good service and even if the milage is high,it is usually all long distance highway milage.They may even finance and the nice part is;they have all the emenities...PW/PDL/dual heat/air etc.rick
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:18 PM
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Rick your reply is superb---thanks for taking the time!

It seems we think alike on how a work truck is used so your ideas are right in line with mine. I don't know I agree with how best to change fuel pumps but I'd never use anything but the best myself either--it makes no sense to save a few bucks up front and not have reliability. Cutting into the body's floor to change the pump isn't something I'd do but it seems a few do it. One reason is I add a 3/4" floor, an extreme duty carpet and storage cabinets out the wazoo so that method isn't workable for me.

I'm looking on eBay but windows are a definite no-no for me unless its in the doors. Barn doors are another must have and they would need glass or I'd swap them out for factory-equipped glass in those doors. A/C another must have and like your raised roof model I'll add that myself---once you've own one of those especially for my work it would be almost impossible to use anything else.

I will pay cash for my new van so I'm shopping with an $8K max on price---I've found a few that were top notch in all aspects but the dealers were absolute tools. With the luxury of time on my side when the right one comes along I'll most likely have to move quickly---should put a travel agent on speed dial!

My bigger concern was some sort of common self-destruct features the E350's have---your experience says they're at least as durable as my 264K miles E250.

Thanks Rick!
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:18 PM
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