Honest advive for possible purchase of an E-350/e-150 Passenger Van? - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



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Honest advive for possible purchase of an E-350/e-150 Passenger Van?

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Old 07-16-2011, 02:13 PM
MommieRed MommieRed is offline
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Honest advive for possible purchase of an E-350/e-150 Passenger Van?

I apologize up front for some of my questions..but I am a mother of 5..and I have heard the "stories" and I am a bit paranoid.

We are searching for a bigger van for our "little" family. We like the Ford van..but I have major concerns about the roll over factor that has been discussed on these vans.

I have had arguments with my husband over and over about the extended ones(15 seaters)..verses the general 10-11 seater styles. If you just look at the longer ones.. the "butt" of the van hangs out..It just makes me wonder if the center of gravity is off?? Or does it matter? Big is big..and they both have more potential of rolling over(10 passenger verses 15)? Or neither is the case? We are coming from a Honda Odyssey right now... This thought never even crosses my mind due to superior safety ratings..

We can get a waaaaaaaaaaay better deal...and all bucket seats if we went with the 15 passenger type(with a van pool sales) and the better engine...and probably get a better van on the prior maintenances upkeep. Verses going private party/dealer..with the shorter style van...with only benches for seating.

Please help

Also..if anyone has experienced major problems with these types of vans. One income homeschooling family here...and a $$$grand$$$ of vehicles repair will put us back quite a bit. The Honda... oil changes..etc.. and we are going on 200,000 miles!

Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:18 PM
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I drive the crap out of mine... Not a single issue with rolling over or I wouldn't be here to talk about it lol
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:53 AM
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Lots of good questions and legitimate concerns so what I offer is mostly opinion and a little bit of personal experience.

Yes the E Series vans are probably more prone to roll over than your Odyssey but that’s an exaggeration IF you drive an E van fitting its configuration, taking size, height, weight etc etc into consideration. If driven with a lot of common sense AND things like proper tires, air pressure and regular chassis maintenance is performed you’re in no more danger of another horror story than any other vehicle.

With five + 2 in your family the 15 passenger or extended body van aren’t really necessary unless you haul a lot of stuff in addition to passengers on a daily basis. Truthfully an E250 fitted with two additional rear seats in the Club Wagon style (windows all around) would probably serve you best. To me its a great compromise over the E150 and E350 since its a somewhat heavier duty van but not so much so that its a truck and no longer a people hauler. The E150’s IMHO seem to be intended for light duty even though you do see many conversion vans using that chassis, not well suited at all for three rows of seats. The E350 is almost too heavy duty for something like you need—without being loaded it would probably ride a bit rougher than you imagine.

No doubt the 12 & 15 passenger types are going cheap especially with a V10 since gas prices have steadily increased over time. There have been too many horror stories about their safety which probably drives many owners (fleet & private) to get rid of them assuming the van is at fault most times. You can’t be assured any van is better maintained simply from who owned it previously unless you’re offered the maintenance records as part of the sale.

IF your Odyssey is serving you well even at 200K miles with proper maintenance like changing the timing belt at the proper interval it should go another 100K with little or no trouble. If you’ve owned it from new, its still reliable and known to be in good condition I wouldn’t look elsewhere if the funding isn’t there at the moment. If you’re literally outgrown it then a bigger van might be 100% necessary---the family won’t be “shrinking” anytime soon I’m sure.

Anyway those are just my thoughts-----hopefully something to ponder and/or consider.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:56 AM
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My family and I have owned an E 150 since 1998, it is worn out but it wouldn't be so if it wasn't being used regularly, in other words nothing yet (knock on wood). I believe, IMHO that you would be perfect in an E 150 with a 4.6 Liter V8. I know the posters above said it is a light duty van, yes it is true but it it will still tow about 10,000 lbs, and it can haul your entire family. Not only that, but the E-Series is the best selling full sized van for 25+ years running.

I'll enlighten you of my ownership experience. Our particular van is a 1998 with the 4.6 Liter and a 3.55 open rear end. This means the two rear tires spin in different directions when not on the ground. A quick word is that one would not want a 4.10 axle ratio, it will kill your fuel economy. Any way it is big, that is obvious, I will admit, if you have never driven one, be cautious, it is intimidating, but if you practice you will be fine. The engines all have different "personalities" the 4.6 likes to rev' up high, the 5.4 likes to lay down the power off the line and the 6.8 is a total animal. The van will alway be a column shift automatic and has an overdrive, or the TorqShift 5. I cannot vouch for the interior as our van was a cargo van that became a conversion van. I am 5' 11" and I cannot see the hood when I sit in the seat, but here is the deal: point & aim.

It will grow on you, it has in my family and infact it has made memories and most likely will retain all it's value in sentiment. I'd rather rebuild it than junk it or get a new one.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:06 PM
MommieRed MommieRed is offline
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Thank you all for the help and advice. We DEFIANTLY have out grown our 7 passenger Honda. My 11 year old son has to squeeze his body in the middle of two huge car seats on either side of him. It makes us not really go somewhere all together because of how tight it is..

I would prefer the e-150 because I dont think we need the heavy duty type..but as you will see in this link...most of these vans we are interested in..when they are e-150 only have one more seat than we have...They 350 XLT has the great lay outs..sometimes even aisle ways.. With 3 in car seats still..this is a dream for my back The Honda will still be in use..for errands etc...the Ford would be for trips to Disneyland...church...and any family outings

We have friends...dogs...grandparents Who wouldn't want a van with seat layouts like these?? All removable...reclining? every kid has their OWN space...("will you stop touching me!!!!"...will be a thing of the past!) Can a family of 7 really ever have too much car space? I go grocery shopping and the Honda is over packed! Maybe I am all wet..but is there much difference gas mileage wise between the e150 or e350?

Current Inventory

We actually did a Ford dealership run last nite...tried out an EXT e350.. It feels like a truck to me..and it is so sturdy..I don't see how it would roll over? I can see it takes special care in driving...and a bit slower...but I already drive like my parents and I am not even 40 yet!
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:51 PM
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I like big vehicles with big motors...
I had the 7.3 PSD, I would get 18-22mpg Hwy empty and 14-16mpg towing 7500lb TT.
Now I have the 6.8 V10 and I am getting 14-16mpg Hwy empty and 7-9mpg towing my 7500lb TT.
I only stated my results so you could have them for your knowledge when you shop.

I have heard/read that the V8 motors get about the same mpg empty and even less when towing something heavy. If you plan on towing in the future, consider the bigger motor now. It's a pleasure not worrying about how steep the next hill is or how hard you are pushing it.
And if you can get a van with the tow/haul- torqshift transmission, do it. Also strongly consider getting 5 Star Tuning | Custom Dynomemeter Chassis Tuning Products and Services it makes a appreciated difference for not much money.

Like I mentioned earlier, I DD my Extended E350 and I'm known as a aggressive driver.lol Without worry I take turns, hit the brakes and of course stomp on the gas pedal.
For someone to roll a E-Series van, I would think it's got to be a HUGE bone head mistake of multiple problems all occurring at once.
Drive sane with a well maintained Van and all should be fine.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:35 PM
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I get anywhere from 13.5 to 18 MPG depending on how I drive without towing. I also will report to get about 7.5 to 14 MPG when towing a 1/2 ton trailer. One good measure I carry out is to change the oil before towing a trailer long distance.

I will atest to the power for the E-150, last Monday we had nasty weather pass through the midwest and it killed our 23 year old blue spruce, took it down like Hulk Hogan on Vern Troyer (no offense). We tied tow straps to our trailer hitch and pulled the downed tree 75 ft from the driveway out into the road, no sweat!!
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:05 AM
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I have had a similar situation to yours. We had a Honda Odyssey and moved to an '05 E350 XL with a 5.4L. We have four kids, father in-law, and sister in-law all living in the house. The Honda did not meet our needs. I love our E350 it has by far meet all of my expectations. It has plenty of room with four car seats and still room to haul all of our gear. I has also hauled a washer and dryer set, queen mattress set, a huge dresser etc.

I say go big or go home, buy the biggest and newest one you can afford, get a tune up done if it hasn't had one, put on good tires, get the front end inspected with an alignment and drive the heck out of it. We use ours for in home daycare and all other errands.

I wanted to buy a E150 8 pass. my wife wanted the 12 pass and i'm glad we went with the bigger van. You will have no regrets getting the bigger vans.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:10 PM
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All good advice above, we also moved up from an Odyssey and sold our pickup so we now tow a 7500lb camper with the van. My advice is to get about a 2000 model or newer. Ours is a 92 and even with a suspension rebuild and steering stabilizer, it floats all over the road. My wife won't drive it. Buy the newest one you can afford. I would say that year model on these is mote important than high miles. Ford vans run forever,
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86scotty View Post
All good advice above, we also moved up from an Odyssey and sold our pickup so we now tow a 7500lb camper with the van. My advice is to get about a 2000 model or newer. Ours is a 92 and even with a suspension rebuild and steering stabilizer, it floats all over the road. My wife won't drive it. Buy the newest one you can afford. I would say that year model on these is mote important than high miles. Ford vans run forever,
It may seem tedious but try to find one without drive-by-wire. It is just simpler and it is a thing I believe gives you more "feel" for the vehicle. I've driven a drive-by-wire car before, and personally, don't like it, I have to be "connected" to the car. It's simple to check, look under the dash and to the accelerator pedal, it will have a harness plugged into it or a cable and a bracket.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:18 AM
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To be "Honest" I'd like to be able to believe all gov't statistics are accurate & trust sensationalism plays no part in all media stories, but I'm to much a realist.

If I had to be in an accident, but got the choice of being in a FORD Club Wagon, or a "Honda Odyssey" it's a No Brainer, I'd choose to take my chances in a Club Wagon. Suspect most contributors in this section of FTE forum would make the same choice, despite NHTSA's 5-Star safety ratings.

If you take a few minutes to poke around the gov't safety ratings you see that '92 & up FORD Club Wagon was rated 4 Stars for driver & front passenger, but only '01 was rated for rollover, receiving 2 Stars.

The "Honda Odyssey" was rated 5 & 4 Stars respectively. Would seem to be much safer, but is it really? And just how much safer?

Look further & you find '95 & up Geo Metro got the same 4 Star front seat rating Club Wagon received. You really think you're exactly as safe in the front seat of a '95 Metro as you are in a late model Club Wagon? Call me skeptical, but I seriously doubt it & not just b/c I own a Club Wagon & a Metro. Or b/c NHSTA's ratings didn't change after passenger airbag was added to Club Wagon in '97.

Media thrives on sensationalism & when a 15 passenger vehicle is involved in a multifatality crash it's deemed more news worthy than 15 single passenger fatal crashes. Or 30. Or 50 for that matter. Fact is that it's all top heavy vehicles that are at increased risk of rollover crashes. That includes all SUVs & upright minivans. The warning is in comparison to traditional height & passenger capacity cars.

There's so much room in Club Wagons that they're commonly overloaded. Add up 12 or 15 overweight passengers, if they average 200 lb the load is 2400-3000 lb, before any cargo is added. This weight is relatively high off the ground, NOT on the floor, exacerbating the physics of Center of Gravity. Common sense & adhering to the load carrying specs would go a long way in preventing most rollovers.

NHSTA ratings are also blind to FORD's introduction of 'AdvanceTrac RSC' that's, Roll Stability Control in '06, or the seat belt charges, coupled to airbags, that remove slack when crash is detected.

Look deeper & you find NHSTA's rollover ratings merely compare height, width & weight of vehicles in a very general way. These are not standardized statistics for the number of rollovers per million miles. Also keep in mind rollovers represent a small percentage of fatal accidents. Far & away, the most common killers are frontal & side impact collisions.

That said, a family of 7 really doesn't need an extended, 15 passenger, E-350 Club Wagon, unless they intend to do heavy hauling. Towing big boats & big trailers, in addition to passenger duty, is where the E-350 shines.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:38 AM
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I've seen so many car rollovers personally, but I've never seen a full size van rollover. I think it has more to do with weight than anything else. I feel you can't get much safer for your kids unless you go for an H1 Humvee.
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:05 PM
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I'll relate a personal story, I will attribute the miracle thanks to Ford Engineering. On I-44 if I remember correctly, we were going a good click at 68 mph and we had a tire blow out!!! We fish tailed, and did a couple of doughuts AT highway speed and ended up in the median, the State Trooper said "If you had been here two weeks later you would have flipped" They were installing a barrier. The moral of the story is never buy "Kelly Charger" tires ever. So we never flipped and if we had flipped it would not have been because we were in a van...
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:15 AM
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I’ve been reading this thread since first contributing so perhaps this issue of roll over can be better illustrated by several video clips on the Roadmaster Active Suspension site:

http://www.activesuspension.com/videos.html

(I am NOT advocating RAS nor a spokeman for Roadmaster---just thought these videos were interesting and might fit part of this discussion.)

In many ways these videos address the how and why larger vans such as E350 12 & 15 passenger versions develop a bad reputation---typically its driver error, often times based upon a near complete lack of knowledge what to do or NOT do in panic situations---not enough training or experience in real world driving.

Of course many will remember the Excursion’s with Firestone tires that suddenly were all in the news, tires blowing out and severe crashes as a result. That was a real problem created by Ford and Firestone where tire pressure was lowered in order to (supposedly) lower the COG thereby reducing the risk of roll over in quick avoidance highway maneuvers. While this was a real problem it was also a quick fix that made the lack of attentive drivers more serious and apparent. Off topic however............

A van properly outfitted with the correct suspension and tires along with maintenance tend to be safe vehicles but again driver error or ignoring best practice suggestions (such as tire size, rating, pressure etc etc) lead the way in so many of the accidents given so much press and TV coverage. Honestly it scares the Bejesus out of me seeing a 10,000 GWVR vehicle being pointed down the highway by someone who demonstrates no concern or experience in how quickly accidents can and do happen.

Whenever I see a van full of people and its driven by the average person I keep my distance and watch the drivers motions very very carefully until quite far away. Add in every other modern day convenience and distraction defensive driving has never been more vital.

No vehicle is more prone to roll over with proper equipment, maintenance AND an attentive driver. Interestingly enough much of what’s been posed here about the E van’s inherent safety are the same reasons roll overs are seemingly easily induced------the difference almost always being the DRIVER and not the vehicle!


Just my $.02 worth of opinion..............
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:41 PM
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Curious how, when driving the open road, you can tell "a van full of people" happened upon is being "driven by the average person" or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA View Post
Whenever I see a van full of people and its driven by the average person I keep my distance and watch the drivers motions very very carefully until quite far away.

No vehicle is more prone to roll over

the difference almost always being the DRIVER and not the vehicle!
IMO readers would be better off driving "very, very carefully" when in proximity of any vehicle driven by a BELOW "average person". If there was only some way to ID them at safe distance?

How about drivers convicted of DUI, who earn licences back, must keep a yellow strobe light flashing on their roof?

Or how about drivers who didn't graduate high school, or graduated in the bottom third of their class, must keep a steady yellow light on their roof?

Even a carefully modified vehicle "properly outfitted with the correct suspension and (the best) tires" & most experienced driver is subject to accidents. Was in tire shop last week & on display was a nearly new tire that had blown out b/c it hit a piece of debris on the road.

IMO the best advice is to drive "very, very carefully" whenever/wherever, even if "quite far away" from other vehicles. Drive as though life depended on it. It does.

You really believe Center of Gravity makes "No" difference & "No vehicle is more prone to roll over"? Late model GM full size vans look particularly tall & narrow. You don't think they're significantly "more prone to roll over" than a low & wide Corvette?

Regarding the Topic, I seriously doubt FORD Club Wagon is twice as "prone to roll over" as "Honda Odyssey" despite what NHSTA 5-Star ratings imply. Both passenger vans actually have similarly high centers of gravity. They might conceivably be twice as "prone to roll over" as Corvette. The dynamics of a vehicle's center of gravity are "always" physics, only incrimentally affected by "the DRIVER" & then "the difference" is limited to the weight of driver.

When "the DRIVER" moves from Corvette to Club Wagon their skills move w/them. The Corvette's dramatically lower center of gravity does not move.[/quote]
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