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(Soon) Back in a Ford | 1989 E250 Club Wagon XLT

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2018, 04:44 PM
Jake_TheGreat
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(Soon) Back in a Ford | 1989 E250 Club Wagon XLT

Hello!

I'm new to the forum and essentially new to ford mechanics in general. I recently sold my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which i'd had for the last 8 years and put 74,000 miles on, so that I could hopefully get into a van. I'm an overall auto enthusiast, no real brand loyalty, but my girlfriend and i do own a 2015 Volkswagen Passat Wolfsburg Edition, 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle, 1988 Volvo 240 Sedan, 1993 Volvo 240 Wagon, and a 2017 Mazda6. This van will be my third Ford, my first having been a 1990 Ford Bronco with a 351w that i received when I was 16 (& knew absolutely NOTHING about mechanics) then sold 6 months later because i couldn't afford gas. My second Ford was a 1996 Escort Wagon my girlfriend and I purchased for the 2017 LeMons West Coast (Car Weeeeeeak) Rally, then promptly hit a deer in Illinois while driving to California.

To the present, I ended up stumbling upon a 1989 Ford Club Wagon XLT E-250 for sale nearby, which i will hopefully be picking up this weekend. It's got the 351w with a c6 transmission, and has a Gear Vendors Overdrive unit installed (but it is not working properly, which appears to be electrical.) It's also got 147k on the clock.

My goals are to build it as a road trip machine, something i can tow with, as I plan on building my Volvo to be an autoX or rallyX contender, and something I'll be keeping around for quite some time.

I'll post some pictures when I pick it up, I test drove it last night though and everything seems to be good. The steering is pretty sloppy which I'll either have to get used to or replace the steering box and some suspension components to correct it. I want my girlfriend to be able to share the driving and something like this will put her off.

If you guys can think of anything i need to check into immediately after picking it up, let me know.
 
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:05 PM
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I had an older Ford (1974) wagon that had a broken Rag-joint. Sometimes called a steering coupler. It's a 2 piece item which is part of your steering shaft. In my case it was broken and gave the car about "2 hrs" worth of slop in the steering. It may be your steering box or more likely a worn out front end (ball joints and tie rod ends) Hope your new find works out great for you!


This is a rag joint
 
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Old 06-10-2018, 05:44 PM
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Whoops, double post.
 
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyclay View Post
I had an older Ford (1974) wagon that had a broken Rag-joint. Sometimes called a steering coupler. It's a 2 piece item which is part of your steering shaft. In my case it was broken and gave the car about "2 hrs" worth of slop in the steering. It may be your steering box or more likely a worn out front end (ball joints and tie rod ends) Hope your new find works out great for you!


This is a rag joint
After picking up the van today, the steering wasn't too awful. It took some getting used to and is definitely not my 2015 Passat, but it wasn't terrible. I may still look into getting it solid as i want my girlfriend to feel comfortable sharing the driving when we are on road trips.

BUT, alas, here she is.






So far, I've driven it about an hour or so. It cruised pretty well at 65 mph. Here's a list of the problems or faulty things I've figured out so far...
  • The blower motor for the front doesn't seem to be working, i can only feel air from it when I am driving. The motor for the rear cargo area does work though. I've been looking at motors and still need to do some research but i'm wondering if it's a resistor?
  • I need to secure the seat to the floor and plug up the empty holes from where the other seats would go. Currently the front seats don't match, so I may try to find a donor. Is there a guide to what will work with this van? \
  • The coolant temperature gauge doesn't work, so I'll want to figure that out before any long road trips.
  • Its missing its spare tire, so i'll need to find one of those.
  • The drivers side window motor had stripped out gears, I found a kit online to replace those gears for $10 and I've removed the motor, so i'll be replacing that asap.
  • Lastly, the Gear Vendors Overdrive/Underdrive unit doesn't work. It came already installed and wired up, it has a foot switch, I tried turning it on, but nothing happened. I'll be crawling under it tomorrow to get the serial number and hopefully will be contacting Gear Vendors in hopes of getting an installation manual and trying to troubleshoot it. I'd love for it to have an easier time at 65 mph.
So far, i'm in love with the van. I've always loved this body style and I hope it treats me well.
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Jake_TheGreat View Post
After picking up the van today, the steering wasn't too awful. It took some getting used to and is definitely not my 2015 Passat, but it wasn't terrible. I may still look into getting it solid as i want my girlfriend to feel comfortable sharing the driving when we are on road trips.


So far, I've driven it about an hour or so. It cruised pretty well at 65 mph. Here's a list of the problems or faulty things I've figured out so far...
  • The blower motor for the front doesn't seem to be working, i can only feel air from it when I am driving. The motor for the rear cargo area does work though. I've been looking at motors and still need to do some research but i'm wondering if it's a resistor?
  • I need to secure the seat to the floor and plug up the empty holes from where the other seats would go. Currently the front seats don't match, so I may try to find a donor. Is there a guide to what will work with this van? \
  • The coolant temperature gauge doesn't work, so I'll want to figure that out before any long road trips.
  • Its missing its spare tire, so i'll need to find one of those.
  • The drivers side window motor had stripped out gears, I found a kit online to replace those gears for $10 and I've removed the motor, so i'll be replacing that asap.
  • Lastly, the Gear Vendors Overdrive/Underdrive unit doesn't work. It came already installed and wired up, it has a foot switch, I tried turning it on, but nothing happened. I'll be crawling under it tomorrow to get the serial number and hopefully will be contacting Gear Vendors in hopes of getting an installation manual and trying to troubleshoot it. I'd love for it to have an easier time at 65 mph.
So far, i'm in love with the van. I've always loved this body style and I hope it treats me well.

Man you've got a nice looking van there!! I wish mine was in that shape!!!


The steering will never be as tight as a newer vehicle with rack and pinion steering. But you can make it better. First check over everything to do with the steering and suspension. As noted check the steering coupler for slop. Check and make sure all the tie rod ends/drag links, etc are nice and tight. Replace anything that is sloppy/worn. Make sure to check the condition of the kingpins, I-beam pivot bushings and strut rod/radius arm bushings. Any of those that are worn/bad will lead to sloppy feeling steering. Lastly if the steering box has a lot of play and it can't be adjusted out don't just replace it with a parts store reman'd box. Most of those are crap. If you need a replacement spend the money on a good rebuild like one from Red Head Steering.https://www.redheadsteeringgears.com The do a great job of not only rebuilding the boxes but also re-engineering them. So if there is a known issue with a certain box they fix that problem when they rebuild them. Lastly if it doesn't have one add a steering stabilizer kit. These also help out a lot.


On the blower motor I would unplug the connector at the motor. Then hook up a jumper wire to supply power right from the battery to the motor. If the motor runs then the problem is elsewhere. If it doesn't run replace the motor. If the motor is good, then it's time to start checking fuses, switches and harnesses. If you don't have one get a digital multi-meter and if it's in your budget a power probe is also a great tool to have.

The simplest solution for the seat is to find some factory seats and brackets out of another 3rd gen Econoline ( 75-91 ) . anything else may require some modifications/fab work to mount.

I hate the stock temp gauge with a passion! Even when they are working they aren't that great. I always prefer to run a nice quality aftermarket gauge for the water temp, oil pressure and voltage. And it's also not a bad idea to also add a transmission temp gauge too.

On the GV unit I would check the switch first. Unplug it and check it with a multi-meter to see if it's working. It may just need a new switch. If the switch is good then check the wiring. If it's good then you may need to look at the unit itself.
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by fordman75 View Post
Man you've got a nice looking van there!! I wish mine was in that shape!!!


The steering will never be as tight as a newer vehicle with rack and pinion steering. But you can make it better. First check over everything to do with the steering and suspension. As noted check the steering coupler for slop. Check and make sure all the tie rod ends/drag links, etc are nice and tight. Replace anything that is sloppy/worn. Make sure to check the condition of the kingpins, I-beam pivot bushings and strut rod/radius arm bushings. Any of those that are worn/bad will lead to sloppy feeling steering. Lastly if the steering box has a lot of play and it can't be adjusted out don't just replace it with a parts store reman'd box. Most of those are crap. If you need a replacement spend the money on a good rebuild like one from Red Head Steering.https://www.redheadsteeringgears.com The do a great job of not only rebuilding the boxes but also re-engineering them. So if there is a known issue with a certain box they fix that problem when they rebuild them. Lastly if it doesn't have one add a steering stabilizer kit. These also help out a lot.


On the blower motor I would unplug the connector at the motor. Then hook up a jumper wire to supply power right from the battery to the motor. If the motor runs then the problem is elsewhere. If it doesn't run replace the motor. If the motor is good, then it's time to start checking fuses, switches and harnesses. If you don't have one get a digital multi-meter and if it's in your budget a power probe is also a great tool to have.

The simplest solution for the seat is to find some factory seats and brackets out of another 3rd gen Econoline ( 75-91 ) . anything else may require some modifications/fab work to mount.

I hate the stock temp gauge with a passion! Even when they are working they aren't that great. I always prefer to run a nice quality aftermarket gauge for the water temp, oil pressure and voltage. And it's also not a bad idea to also add a transmission temp gauge too.

On the GV unit I would check the switch first. Unplug it and check it with a multi-meter to see if it's working. It may just need a new switch. If the switch is good then check the wiring. If it's good then you may need to look at the unit itself.
I'll be looking into the steering shortly, I've dealt with parts store reman steering boxes before and they have been a nightmare, so i'll definitely check out redheadsteeringgears.

I have yet to look it up, but I'm guessing that the blower motor is in the engine compartment? I've not worked much on vans, but man, it looks as though it's all packed in pretty tightly. I'll probably get a chance to do this, this evening. I do have a multimeter, so I should be able to test the motor as well as test the solenoid on the Gear Vendors unit.

So far, i'm having some issues finding seats at all. Im curious if these vans are scrapped much more quickly because they're heavier. Our local "you pull it" places are just plain out of them, so I've been roving Craigslist and Facebook marketplace. Hopefully I can find something semi-era correct. I have been looking at the way the seats mount to the vehicle though and have thought about picking up nicer seats out of another vehicle and fabricating some mounts for them.

Lastly, I contacted Gear Vendors. They've given me some instructions on how to troubleshoot it and some schematics, so whenever it stops raining in Indiana, i'll get to checking it out more thoroughly.

Last night my girlfriend and I replaced the front door speakers with JVC units, we also installed a JVC Head Unit, and I fixed the drivers side window motor with a kit from Amazon. It was much easier than I expected and now the window works wonderfully!
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:52 PM
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My gearvendor controller stopped working years ago. Now I just ran a fused power supply wire from the battery to the solenoid with a toggle switch to turn it off and on. So it doesn't come on automatically with the controller. I got rid of the controller since it was kind of useless. Having the switch is ok for highway driving, but a little annoying in the city. Also, the toggle switch is better than that dumb foot pedal. The foot pedals are notorious for getting rusty and corroded. Also, i upgraded to the Maximum Overdrive Deep Sump and that was a wise upgrade. Keeps the GVOD cooler.

If you run a switch, make sure to power it to the "Key-on" power, because if you leave the OD on with the vehicle in park or off, it'll still roll. Always turn the OD off long before you are stopped. Also, never run a GVOD in reverse. I ran a NC Relay from my reverse light circuit so that whenever my reverse lights come on, it'll automatically turn off the GVOD power supply. This is more for people who are driving my van who aren't familiar with the push-button OD.

"The coolant temperature gauge doesn't work, so I'll want to figure that out before any long road trips."

Get an aftermarket gauge asap. Also get an oil pressure gauge too. The stock ones are terrible.


If the blower motor works on high only, then your resistor is busted. If it doesn't work at all, then its likely the motor. Or both.
 
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by genscripter View Post
My gearvendor controller stopped working years ago. Now I just ran a fused power supply wire from the battery to the solenoid with a toggle switch to turn it off and on. So it doesn't come on automatically with the controller. I got rid of the controller since it was kind of useless. Having the switch is ok for highway driving, but a little annoying in the city. Also, the toggle switch is better than that dumb foot pedal. The foot pedals are notorious for getting rusty and corroded. Also, i upgraded to the Maximum Overdrive Deep Sump and that was a wise upgrade. Keeps the GVOD cooler.

If you run a switch, make sure to power it to the "Key-on" power, because if you leave the OD on with the vehicle in park or off, it'll still roll. Always turn the OD off long before you are stopped. Also, never run a GVOD in reverse. I ran a NC Relay from my reverse light circuit so that whenever my reverse lights come on, it'll automatically turn off the GVOD power supply. This is more for people who are driving my van who aren't familiar with the push-button OD.

"The coolant temperature gauge doesn't work, so I'll want to figure that out before any long road trips."

Get an aftermarket gauge asap. Also get an oil pressure gauge too. The stock ones are terrible.


If the blower motor works on high only, then your resistor is busted. If it doesn't work at all, then its likely the motor. Or both.
Thanks for the great advice. I'm still troubleshooting the Gear Vendors unit. The foot switch does work but there are no lights on the control box. I crawled underneath it yesterday at the gas station and the wiring down there seems to be sound, but I'm going to start working on it soon. My girlfriend is off work this week and when I get off work she doesn't seem TOO interested in spending the entire evening wrenching on the van. Haha.

I did find some of the van's past owners recently though. I joined a local van group on Facebook and it sounds like she's had quite a few owners. I'm thinking of naming her Roxanne.
 
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Old Yesterday, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by genscripter View Post
My gearvendor controller stopped working years ago. Now I just ran a fused power supply wire from the battery to the solenoid with a toggle switch to turn it off and on. So it doesn't come on automatically with the controller. I got rid of the controller since it was kind of useless. Having the switch is ok for highway driving, but a little annoying in the city. Also, the toggle switch is better than that dumb foot pedal. The foot pedals are notorious for getting rusty and corroded. Also, i upgraded to the Maximum Overdrive Deep Sump and that was a wise upgrade. Keeps the GVOD cooler.

If you run a switch, make sure to power it to the "Key-on" power, because if you leave the OD on with the vehicle in park or off, it'll still roll. Always turn the OD off long before you are stopped. Also, never run a GVOD in reverse. I ran a NC Relay from my reverse light circuit so that whenever my reverse lights come on, it'll automatically turn off the GVOD power supply. This is more for people who are driving my van who aren't familiar with the push-button OD.

"The coolant temperature gauge doesn't work, so I'll want to figure that out before any long road trips."

Get an aftermarket gauge asap. Also get an oil pressure gauge too. The stock ones are terrible.


If the blower motor works on high only, then your resistor is busted. If it doesn't work at all, then its likely the motor. Or both.
I've been trying to figure out how to wire the toggle switch. Could you possibly elaborate more on how to wire it?
I've ordered some gauges to monitor transmission and coolant temperatures.
I've also contacted a local automotive shop, one that i trust, to look into getting the A/C fixed/replaced on this old beast.
 
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