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89 Quadravan Prebuy Questions

Old 07-06-2018, 06:35 PM
vandreams is offline
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89 Quadravan Prebuy Questions

Hey all,

Apologies if this is the wrong place for this.

I'm looking at an '89 Quadravan - it's an e250 body with c6 trans and 351w efi converted straight out of the factory by Pathfinder to be 4x4 monster. So it's got a Dana 60 and I think 44, big lift, big wheels, 4x4, springs up front, leafs in back, some other stuff that I don't know about (stabilizers?) - lots of custom fab stuff from Pathfinder, now completely defunct as a company.

The good:
- the price! it's wicked cheap.
- it runs, drives, stops, and steers, lights and windows work, windshield is pretty good, etc.
- bumpers are damn shiny.
- it's fully built! 4x4 monster. from my test drive, it seems like suspension is in order
- Slider door works better than the new ford transit ones do.

The bad:
- no title - I'm gonna get plates from VT, but it won't be able to move until then (storage)
- body is pretty rusty - holes in the corners and door wells. Doors are good.
- Frame and underbody has lots of scale, but is solid.
- Little things: 4x4 shifter needs a rubber piece, can't be shifted from the cab right now; steering is REALLY loose - may be the steer box, probably needs tie rod ends etc.; needs some linkage adjustment - won't stick in park; no a/c - whatever; has a grey oil pan, which I'm told means it will need replaced
- There's a click on the passenger side of the engine. The scrapper who has it now thinks it's a lifter, but he's had others think it's a pushrod.
- Needs tires... big ones...

The questions:
- Anybody have an hour estimate for the click if it's a lifter vs a pushrod?
- Any consensus if it's worth it to go through all this? I don't know what it would take for the underbody to be in better shape, except for a full body-off job, which i definitely do not have the funds for. I wouldn't mind doing a body swap down the road (year from now or so) - other opinions/thoughts appreciated. I personally think the current body is not worth going after because of the door wells. That's fine for now, it'll pass inspection.
- Down another route, which I would really prefer to avoid, is it worth picking this up just to part out? The axles, trans, engine, maybe doors? Would be a waste of the frame mods, but I'm always down for a good flip.

I'm not a big car guy, but pick up things pretty quickly - have no space or tools of my own to work on this. Another thing bothering me is there are similar vans out west with very little rust for $3-8k - could the work to get this up to use be within that bracket? If not, I may as well just fly out there and get one of those.
Old 07-07-2018, 07:52 AM
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You detailed a decent quantity of reasons to pass up this van. Most notably your self admitted lack of skills and space and tools.

Best case scenario- you get a fun, 30-year-old toy to play with and pay some other people to do improvements.

Doesnt seem wise to me.
Old 07-07-2018, 08:05 AM
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Probably the best option is to flip it and save up for one that's up an ready to go.
Old 07-07-2018, 10:19 AM
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Thanks for your responses. I've been thinking pretty heavily about the last few days. Think I'm gonna pass on this one.
Old 07-08-2018, 11:53 AM
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Let me tell you a story. When I was about 20, I lived in an apartment. There was this ole '68 Mustang I just had to have. It was pretty beat up. Like you, I had no place, nor tools, nor money to work on such a thing. Had to have it. Borrowed $500 from my mom to buy it. To my credit, I actually did a pretty good job restoring the interior - which should always be the last thing you restore. In the end I ended up selling it for junk as a parts car.

Rule number one of car restoration: Unless there is some collectible reason to do so, never start with junk. You will spend more money than if you had just started with non-junk to start with.

Rule number two: Have a garage and tools.

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