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OK I'll try to liven the NC forum up just a tad.. ((( YAWN !! ))) Some of this was copied from a post I did on the Aerostar forum.
I'm mostly a carpenter but I've done handyman work around Richmond County to keep from starving in recent years. I've enjoyed machinery since I was a little boy. I read about Henry Ford and was interested in him and FoMoCo's history and vehicles. I've had more Fords than anything else, maybe 25 or more of them in about 30 years of driving.
I've gotten rid of most my big trucks now. Sold my 1999 F-350 Power Stroke Dually last year I think. Still have a moving van E-350 7.3l IDI Diesel. Since I'm poor I just keep a couple little vans to work out of, etc. I do trim Carpentry work so I need my tools locked up tight, dry, & warm. My little ford van has served me well 10 years. I spanked that little 3.0 and it just keeps on going.
I've had 4x4 Jeeps, Rangers, Aerostar van (now), and other trucks. I've loved driving off road as long as I can remember. I used to laugh as my friends got stuck and I just kept on going on thru. Some of them would even get their cars high sided cuz they didn't know how to drive and straddled the hump on some paths. I just love the challenge and used to do a lot of it in places I can't go anymore, mostly in and around Raleigh.
<!-- / icon and title --><!-- message --> <table border="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td valign="top"> Yeah, I loved my old '94 Aerostar 3.0 XLT 2WD which served me for ten+ years, but this 'new' girl was a bit of a disappointment when I found it had engine problems. The old one is still running after 256,000+ miles without a hitch. I expected the same from the newer one.
Luckily the engines are plentiful and cheap, and following someone's advice here, I'll buy a good used one, rebuild it and ride happily for the next ten years I hope.
There is coolant or something beginning to seep from under the head on the passenger side.
I chalk it up to cooling problems in the van because I've not heard of Rangers or Explorers having the same issues. At least not with the regularity of Aerostars.
I decided to keep my 1997 Aerostar 4.0 XLT 4X4 long bed which I bought last fall and stick another engine in it. It has oil getting into coolant problem, plus ticking valve train.
I found lots of 4.0 engines available from $300 - $1000+. I'll buy one locally, go thru it to freshen it up, then stick it in there. Prob wont modify it much unless it's inexpensive stuff. I do wanna build it strong enough to take a licking for a long time tho.
I'll get a used engine out of a ranger, explorer or mazda b-4000 which prob don't overheat as easily as the aerostars did. I can see why with 4.0 and All wheel drive the Aero needs more cooling. I'll do the upgrades you guys recommend. Maybe a bigger radiator too. Also my fan clutch is bad and the thermostat isn't too good either with it's cycling from way hot to cool. No wonder the heads began to leak.
Basically I've fallen in love with it, as much as you can with a van. It looks about new and drive so well bone stock. I just got back from having some late night fun in the twisty roads around here. I never did that in my old one even with fixed up Bilstein suspension.
The horsepower just wasn't there in the 3.0 to pull so eagerly and strong out of the corners as this 4.0 5 speed does! The front wheels pulling helps to keep the nose on line better too, without the plowing front end or the uncomfortable mid-corner transitions my modified 2WD had.
My 1st Aero is old and tired, and this new girl has more spunk than the old one ever did, plus the neat 4x4 is great in snow, mud, soft soil, rain, even advantageous in the dry, also great in our sand which is almost everywhere around the Sandhills region of the Carolinas.
I can leave the line a lot more like a rocket with more torque grabbing thru four aggressive tires. The old 3.0 either screamed or moaned, but never ran as good as this one.
They're pretty sweet old vans and I look forward to about ten good years of service from this one.
Even the few miles per gallon I loose are worth the increased ability of the 4.0 AWD. and the additional gas hardly adds up to a significant amount. I'll tune it all up the best I can and use synthetic lubes. So I'll get the most potential it has. I don't think it would be worth it to put in a part time transfer case. The axles and driveshaft would still be turning and that without power would be a drag on the rest of it. Then it wouldn't have the added 4x4 traction the instant I needed it either.
Oh, and I bought some sweet looking Pep Boys Proline Style 139 rims for $125 to go with the nearly new 215/70 r 15 tires I picked up for $50!
I'm gonna paint the rear license handle thing black like my other Aero, try to replicate the newer ford ranger black fender 'flares' around the big tires, may even paint the rear hatch corners black where it wraps around into the rear side windows - like some explorers had. May go with a black grille too as it looks more aggressive, or may stay with the charcoal. I painted grill body color on my last one.
This one will look more like a truck as it sits up higher with 4 wheel drive, etc. I'm not gonna remove the "Ford" or "Aerostar" badges on back either as I did on last one. Aerostars are older now and I want people to know who made the sharp looking 4x4 van! I'll prob add a "4X4" badge to the rear somewhere.
I already painted the differential cover silver and covered it with clear coat, so it shines out as I leave traffic in my 'dust'. People know it's a serious real van, not some pansy Windstar type 'mobile. The new exhaust is a little noticeable too, and people turn their heads to see what sounds so good as I drive through towns.
So, I'm loving my fun 'new' Aero even with the leaky cylinder heads!
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