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

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  #1  
Old 01-05-2013, 01:08 AM
joshofalltrades joshofalltrades is offline
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door question

on my van, the back doors have always been a little rough, including some oversized holes around the hinges. on the left door, both hinges have a gap of about 3/8" between the sheet metal and the hinge. studying it last night i found that lifting the door causes the hinge to move toward where the sheet metal was supposed to be, but all the hinge bolts are tight, meaning that the metal is tearing out on the door.
so i'm looking at picking up a set of rear doors from the junkyard, and thought i'd get some input.

first, will any door from the 75-91 body style fit, or was there some minor change somewhere in there that i need to know about?
also, i'm thinking about getting a set of doors that have the windows that pop out like 2 inches at the bottom for ventilation. are those windows prone to having problems, or would they be a good choice for me? i think the ventilation would be nice in the summer.
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my van, 87 e350, 6.9 NA, c6, 3.55s with a powertrax locker and 225/70r19.5 michelin tires. built out with toolboxes and onboard 120v power and compressed air powered by twin 3g alternators
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:35 AM
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My glass parts books call for the same size and shape glass for the '75-91's so they should all be the same, easy swap. If you're able to see inside the doors, especially the lower corners make sure they're not rusting already----better to find a sound set. If the salvage hinges are in good condition take them and their bolts too---good idea to have a few spares just in case.

I'd recommend against the movable glass. It seems a nice option but turns out to be more of a hassle over time; seals that start leaking, hinges and locking mechanisms failing too. I've had them and honestly any ventilation in the warmer months isn't that helpful or noticeable.

Were it me I'd look for a set without any windows; if you store tools and other valuables in the cargo bay because crooks tend to not bother what they can't see.

That's an unusual situation for the doors to tear apart although not completely unheard of. Better them than the hinge pillars which I've seen more than a few times.

HTH
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:10 PM
joshofalltrades joshofalltrades is offline
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I'd recommend against the movable glass. It seems a nice option but turns out to be more of a hassle over time; seals that start leaking, hinges and locking mechanisms failing too. I've had them and honestly any ventilation in the warmer months isn't that helpful or noticeable.
thats just the kind of experience i was looking for on those windows - sounds like not enough benefit to justify the hassles they bring with them.

i thought about going without windows altogether, but it is nice to have a little bit of view out the back, even though it isn't much. the windows in it have 2 layers of tint on the inside plus a nice layer of dirt on the outside, so its pretty hard to see in but not too bad to see out.

as for how they failed, yeah, that did seem a little strange to me. the van went through some pretty hard use before i got it, the right passenger door and sliding door had both been replaced due to a collision, the rear doors have always been hammered like they are, and using them to store various bottles may not help them much, but wouldn't be enough to cause the problems from the start.

i'll try to get some pics up of their exact damage in the next couple of days
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:54 PM
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Photos would be interesting to this old body shop owner. Like you mention light storage of spray cans or bottles wouldn't cause that sort of problem.

Your rear windows and mine sound exactly the same: two layers of tint and dirt---perfect camouflage! I added the so-called security screens which really aren't because they don't fit close against the glass making access to the door locks easy once the glass is broken away. They're more a very convenient storage/mounting rack grid of sorts.

Vans definitely need glass in the right side doors for visibility on blind corners and such.

When the rest of my LED interior lighting arrives I'll post some photos showing these sorts of details---might be helpful or at least interesting to others using their vans as rolling tool cribs.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:17 AM
joshofalltrades joshofalltrades is offline
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yeah, heres a link to an album with a few pics of the damage, and a short video of the hinge as i move the door up and down https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qykwjxeg05jblka/CU78RM5RCp
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:57 AM
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I had put some Mesh around the inside to keep prying hands out of my back windows, and side windows, it can be mounted using sheet metal screws and washers in places that will keep the mesh screen (can be gotten at any steel metal supplier).

I can still move my window out from the inside by making a small hole to push the lever outwards and have no problem with breakins as the if anybody can see that the metal screen would make it very hard to get into from the outside.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:00 AM
locknkey locknkey is offline
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Your hinges needs to be replaced, just remove the bolts from the doors and the bolts from the frame and replace in the same spot as the old ones....
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:13 AM
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Didn't see a video link but I can already see the damage and can imagine how it moves when opening and closing.

Rust that begin inside the door shell is your culprit here---most likely seeping in through the hinge openings. I'm thinking the pre-92 vans inner door shells weren't very well prepped against rust. Adding the design of the time somewhat encourages rust formation and you have your situation. Good thing doors can be inspected before purchase and avoid those already rusting. Since they're bolt on parts this isn't a huge bummer.

Security-wise there are a few things that can be done to slow the crooks down. Along with inner screens removing the lock stems for passenger convenience that protrudes through the door would be one way. Here's yet another: Cargolock

I've considered making 1/8" Lexan pieces to fit inside the fixed window openings secured it in place behind the glass with the existing mounting bolts. Even when the glass is broken a barrier still exists that would almost stop any unwanted intrusion inside. The advantage here is its mostly invisible from the outside, dark tinting makes it impossible to see.

I love thwarting a crook!

Thanks for the update Josh!
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:58 PM
joshofalltrades joshofalltrades is offline
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within that album there should have been a video or two, one of which i used a short lever to lift the latch end of the door while pointing the camera toward the hinge, it was moving a ton.

that cargolock unit looks interesting, but they only offer them for the 92-up vans or as a universal kit which i might be able to rig up. my sliding door already has an extra lock - the lock ford gave me didn't always want to lock when the handle was down, so i added a hasp on the inside which stops it as soon as it starts to open. it may not be super strong, but its enough to stop the casual theif, and lets face it, we can't stop someone who is really committed to forcing their way in.
i'm still debating between windows or sheet metal on the doors back there, i'll just have to see what the junkyard has thats in good shape i guess
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:14 AM
190 jerry 190 jerry is offline
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rear windows....

I found that dirt/ dust would be "sucked" into the van when the rear windows were open & traveling. ( I suspect it must be lower pressure inside when moving) and about the hinges, isn't there a backing plate inside, that could be replaced?/ made larger?/, etc.....& when finished,I suggest filling the crack / area around the hinge with a good grade / caulking....jerry
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:27 PM
joshofalltrades joshofalltrades is offline
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Originally Posted by 190 jerry View Post
I found that dirt/ dust would be "sucked" into the van when the rear windows were open & traveling. ( I suspect it must be lower pressure inside when moving)
i guess that might be a problem with those. i used to have an f150 with a sliding rear window, and throwing empty beverage cans into the bed while driving would often result in them getting blown inside. i guess thats one more reason not to bother with the vented windows back there.
as for my existing doors, there doesn't appear to be a plate i can easily replace, but i'll be going to the junkyard this afternoon and see if i can snag a nice set of doors.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:34 PM
Vanguy78 Vanguy78 is offline
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I have those pop out windows on my 78 and I love 'em. sealing is an issue but Ive noticed that applies mostly to the ones in my sliding door. Those are loose and I have to wedge a piece of cardboard in the hinge to keep it from rattling. As for ventilation It makes a world of difference in the summer for me. I have a habit of ripping all of my interior out of my vans so in the summer it becomes a pressure cooker. Just that little bit of air flow helps a lot and I have never had a debris issue on logging roads unless Im following someone and have my front windows down. Ive done body work and restoration and I have seen the rusty door problem your pics show but in vehicles 25 years older than yours. The solution is to pull the doors and set about repairing all the metal around the problem areas so yeah, I would get new doors. One thing to look at is the hole pattern for the hinges. Sometimes manufacturers make those type of subtle changes. Also measure the distance of the hinges from eachother and look at the hinge type. If everything looks the same and the style lines in the sheet metal line up you should be good. I also post some advise in your sliding door post you made earlier last year. Hope its helpful.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:38 PM
Vanguy78 Vanguy78 is offline
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Oh and I never have a problem with thieves either because my rear doors for some reason dont have a lock *** or handle on the inside and from the design I cant see that it ever did. ...also I have a platform built in the back about 18" off the floor so all of my tools go under it and no one can see them through the windows.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:14 PM
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Oh and I never have a problem with thieves either because my rear doors for some reason dont have a lock *** or handle on the inside and from the design I cant see that it ever did. ...also I have a platform built in the back about 18" off the floor so all of my tools go under it and no one can see them through the windows.

Most base contractors van didn't have the rear interior door handles. They were an option. Mine doesn't either, but if you reach inside the door shell if you don't have a panel on it, you can feel some rods, and can still work the lock from inside, and also open it from inside. I've never told my friends about that though
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshofalltrades View Post
thats just the kind of experience i was looking for on those windows - sounds like not enough benefit to justify the hassles they bring with them.

i thought about going without windows altogether, but it is nice to have a little bit of view out the back, even though it isn't much. the windows in it have 2 layers of tint on the inside plus a nice layer of dirt on the outside, so its pretty hard to see in but not too bad to see out.

as for how they failed, yeah, that did seem a little strange to me. the van went through some pretty hard use before i got it, the right passenger door and sliding door had both been replaced due to a collision, the rear doors have always been hammered like they are, and using them to store various bottles may not help them much, but wouldn't be enough to cause the problems from the start.

i'll try to get some pics up of their exact damage in the next couple of days
I agree, if you find good window doors, get 'em. As much as I like the privacy of my full panel van, blind spots are a pain, and can't see out the back. Not that I would see cars behind me anyways with how high the back sits anyways


Theres one road that I always take when coming back from a friend of mine. The road goes straight down south bound, and I have to turn left onto a road that goes South East, so i'm coming at it at a 45* angle, and I can't see at all if theres traffic coming cause I have no windows on my side doors, so I have to position my self as to turn right, so I can see, then cut left when the ghost is clear. ahhhh panel vans eh
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1989 Ford F150 300-6, C6, 2.73, 152,000km/95,000 miles.
1987 Ford E350 26ft. Motorhome, N/A 6.9L Diesel, C6, 3.54, 289,000km/180,000 miles.
1985 Ford E350 Ext Van, 6.9L Diesel, C6, 4.11, 677,000km/425k miles
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:21 PM
 
 
 
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