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

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Old 04-12-2010, 07:55 AM
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1999 Conversion van (d'Elegant) - common issues, problems, things to look for....



Hello all, I'm not new to the site but am to this particular forum. I'm looking at a 1999 E-150 conversion van, the work was done by d'Elegant. The truck has 86K miles, believe it is the original owner; he says it runs like a top (of course ).

So... from a little research, it appears there is no substantial chassis or running gear changes from 1997 up through 2007. This truck has the 4.6 mod, enough for what I would use it for.

Anything I should look at for this year? What kind of maintenance am I looking at, considering the mileage and age? Tie rods, injectors, etc? Any insight into this conversion company?

Any advice/thoughts/concerns are welcome!
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dockrocker View Post


Hello all, I'm not new to the site but am to this particular forum. I'm looking at a 1999 E-150 conversion van, the work was done by d'Elegant. The truck has 86K miles, believe it is the original owner; he says it runs like a top (of course ).

So... from a little research, it appears there is no substantial chassis or running gear changes from 1997 up through 2007. This truck has the 4.6 mod, enough for what I would use it for.

Anything I should look at for this year? What kind of maintenance am I looking at, considering the mileage and age? Tie rods, injectors, etc? Any insight into this conversion company?

Any advice/thoughts/concerns are welcome!
My '02 is a d'Elegant conversion and it is my 4th conversion van. The conversion itself has been tighter than most (my favorite of all I've owned) although I put a pair of stock Ford captain's chairs in the front because the conversion seats killed my back. Not sure if d'Elegant is still around; the economy and low popularity of conversion vans has killed a lot of companies. I bought my van new and it is up to 82k miles. As with all conversions, they are not really made to OEM standards and can deteriorate quickly if used hard. I pulled the tack-on inner door coverings off the front doors because all they did was rattle.

Make sure things like rear heat and air are working; check all accessory lights. If it's a raised roof check the paint on the top and all attachment points.

New tie rod ends, ball joints, etc, may very well be needed. My van got a front end refresh before 60k (while under a Ford Premium Care warranty).

For me, brakes have gone 35-45k miles, and are expensive if you need new front rotors. All big vans eat brakes.

You're coming up on the big 100k mile tuneup with new plugs. The 4.6 is a great motor for gas mileage, not a lot of extra oomph for towing heavy stuff.

Good luck,
George
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:06 PM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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Conversion vans are thin in margin because the sticker price have a huge mark up.

Unless you want to a top builder with a great reputation, you are going to see them fall apart real fast in heavy use.

That is why I ended up building my own.

Having said that.... do a through inspection.. and good luck...

A lot depend on what you intend to use it for.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:03 PM
YoGeorge YoGeorge is online now
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One more thing....rust?

I chased a couple threads and it looks like you are in Michigan, as am I.

By now, a 1999 van that has been driven in winters in Michigan may have some serious rust forming. Feel the seams at the bottom of ALL the doors on the van. Any that are bulging or brown means there is cancer in there.

I have not studied where body rust on these vans starts but if you look at some older ones on the road, you'll see.

Also does it have complex paint? I once had a fancy Starcraft that I bought from a guy at work and flipped a few months later to make a couple bucks. This one had panels upon panels of fancy paintwork that looked *pretty* good but had body cancer starting. What a mess it would be to have to repair rust or replace panels and doors with a 20-tone paint scheme. Old, messed up gaudy conversion vans are sickening...

The name of the van converter doesn't mean all that much. They all have high end and low end models, and all are made by hand, often kind of sloppily. Sometimes the high end ones just have a lot more crap in them, put together just as badly as the cheapo versions.

I've owned 5 conversion vans over the years. My d'Elegant is the favorite of the ones I've had. I bought it specifically because it uses the factory glass (if it has aftermarket windows, check for creeping rust around the perimeters where they were cut.) Mine also has very little fake wood crap inside, and has a molded gray urethane surround around the perimeter of the windows--looks very factory, unlike the masonite/cheap padded cloth you normally see. Very much like a Club Wagon but with the seats spaced out for more legroom and a little more carpet padding. I don't go for the loose cushion giant seats, or acres of fake wood (or real wood).

And mine is pure Oxford White, no stripes, no sleazy graphics, no bad overspray fade jobs. Again, it looks like a Club Wagon.

George
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:53 PM
gearloose1 gearloose1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoGeorge View Post
By now, a 1999 van that has been driven in winters in Michigan may have some serious rust forming. Feel the seams at the bottom of ALL the doors on the van. Any that are bulging or brown means there is cancer in there.



Check out the thread on the 250 conversion on rust etc..

Lots of good pics there.

Here are the rust spots to look for:

Exterior

Wheel wells, all around, and rocker panels where debris / salt, etc. are deflected from road and splash on side.

Left side more than right (opposite lane traffic).

Under all doors.


Bottom

Rusted spring mountings in back

Rust on chassis components, floors



Interior

Real bad in the drivers footwell and also on electricals.


Follow my link below for electricals..
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:08 PM
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I have a 97 Starcraft that I got 2 years ago that came from Kansas and other than normal maintenance it has been solid! I got it with 75k miles and now have 150k.

Love the seats and the mileage of the 5.4! Just updating sound systems. The only real issue I have had is the running boards need to be re-secured every year.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:13 PM
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This Tiara Coach is my first conversion van. Quickly I notice the build quality is NO WHERE as good as I thought it should be. On thing, mine had a leak in the right rear that rotted some wood in the upper console where the speakers are located. You can't see it, but it was hard to get the console to hold to anything.

I guess they need to keep things light and thin wood is the way to go.

I do like the foam waterproof floor.

My next time around I'm going minivan again.

Close rant.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:13 PM
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