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

First Econoline; '87 and an engine swap

 
  #1  
Old 06-17-2019, 04:19 PM
Thakmere
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First Econoline; '87 and an engine swap

Hello! This is my first post, my first van, and my first massive project. I've always been a van guy; grew up with various vans as a kid. Nothing too funky, just old 80s and mid-90s ones that always died within a few years... I'm 27 now and with my first car (1990 Buick wagon) having just died the death of Salt I was in search of a BETTER station wagon (I need lots of covered space all the time). I found a 1987 cargo 150 which had lived its entire life in the California desert save for the last couple years. Was owned by a guy who had a wheelchair lift put in it and never drove it much but also never changed the oil...

Prepare yourself for way too much information. But this is what I got:
  • Has a 302 in it (EFI). Bad rings. Especially bad cylinder 2 (wet plug vs others being dry). Has AOD and a sliding door. Glass on the doors, nothing on panels. AC unit but I believe the lines have rotted away.
  • Not a lick of rust on this van at all. The belly of the body is still painted; couple of rusty dots where a rock hit it or a hole was drilled for the wheelchair crap. The frame effectively just has surface rust. You can wipe it off with your hand. The last two or three feet of the underside is covered in ancient oil from the rear diff I believe having a malfunction at some point (there's a service sticker on the van).
  • The oil smoking thing is mildly out of control. The crankcase breather tube thingy that goes into the air cleaner doesn't really seat and usually blows lots of smoke when you step on it and a fair amount of oil also comes out of it. When I first opened up the cleaner the filter was saturated. Now the tube is off but I believe it still comes out occasionally. I changed the oil with some very heavy Rotella T6 and it seems to have actually helped a bit. It still smokes but not as badly and mostly just when you stomp on the gas.
  • First and second gear seem fine, maybe a bit lumpy in first if you're on a hill, but don't usually notice it. The van naturally kicks into 3rd gear at 20 mph. If your foot is on the gas and you're not going down hill--serious shakes. Take your foot off (or very little gas), going downhill, or hit about 30 mph it smooths out. Stomp on the gas and the transmission reacts very quickly, downshifts, and everything is peachy-keen. Let go at 30+ and it's fine. Overdrive does the same thing (I usually leave it in drive unless I'm going 45-ish (which I avoid if I can)). I am assuming this is the misfiring in cylinder 2 causing a bad unbalancing at low RPMs and high load. Unless someone knows otherwise.
Now, all of this is somewhat irrelevant, because I don't want a 302. Since the day I got it, I had almost a dozen people tell me "go get the straight six, trust me". Some suggested I get it with fuel injection for the outtake and slap a carb on it. Well, I found one within a month. Out of the same year truck, stick shift. I got all the goodies that went with it (wiring harness, ECM, bell housing plate, manifolds, cat, etc etc). Dirt cheap, guy got a truck and threw a 352 in it and just wanted it gone. Obviously need a new starter and I intend to get a 100 amp alternator and new water pump etc. He said it was just fine (was a big-rig mechanic, no reason to believe he'd lie or not know what he was talking about). Having it tested at a local shop next Tuesday by a speedshop. Currently the plan is "try to do as much as I can in my driveway and when I hit a problem (wiring and fuel) I bring it to the speedshop who said he can fix whatever I can't".

I can go on for another 3 paragraphs but I'll start with that.

So, hello! Hi! Give me all the information you can towards this project. Things I should do now. Things I should do later. Things I should avoid. Brands I should avoid. I'm poor but I'm dedicated to "doing it correctly". I don't care about 30 dollars vs. 60 dollars. 150 vs. 320 is a bit tougher.... And I DO have a parts-request list started.

Lovely to be here,
Ian
 
  #2  
Old 07-07-2019, 03:40 PM
EarlT500
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Great Idea

I have the Same idea!
I was looking while at a junkyard,today.

my idea is to Look for a E or F series
'87- '91, for parts,
to make an E with 6 cylinder.
(I did see an '86 today 5.0 fuel injected)

I don't know how Different
Truck engine wiring harness
is from Van engine wiring harness,
it can be made to Fit
since truck should have Longer wires
than the vans.
Van would be easier.

There are not many wires
that go to that Engine,
from memory:

Starter solenoid
Alternator
water temp
oil pressure
Distributor from Electronic Ignition box
coil

as I think about it
the 5.0 should have the Same wires
they may be Long enough,
just add wire length where it's needed.

Be sure the wire diameter/wire gauge
is the Same or larger diameter.

you could uses wire
of the same Color combination
and same diameter
from another truck or car
of any make or year.
(just to make troubleshooting easier)

6 cyl Frame mounts may be different
than 5.0 frame mounts.

frame mounts attach to frame,
motor mounts go between frame and engine.

any other Questions?



BTW
Good generation choice,
Probably the BEST.

.


.
 
  #3  
Old 07-08-2019, 04:13 AM
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JWA
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Wow----not to even slightly discourage either of your enthusiasm but you're both facing a lot of work---I do have to ask with respect what's the goal? Will the resulting van(s) be a daily driver with huge reliability or are these projects you'd like to tackle "just because....." , something to do just for the sake of doing it?

Do either of you have the time, money, space, tools and experience how to accomplish all this? If you're looking for a daily driver are there no other choices in your local areas, something dependable and not too costly, something that doesn't need such huge conversions?

Lots of work and plenty of challenges ahead---hope you're prepared for what lies ahead.
 
  #4  
Old 07-09-2019, 01:56 PM
EarlT500
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Men Love Challenges

Originally Posted by JWA View Post
Wow----not to even slightly discourage either of your enthusiasm but you're both facing a lot of work---I do have to ask with respect what's the goal? Will the resulting van(s) be a daily driver with huge reliability or are these projects you'd like to tackle "just because....." , something to do just for the sake of doing it?

Do either of you have the time, money, space, tools and experience how to accomplish all this?
If you're looking for a daily driver
are there no other choices in your local areas, something dependable and not too costly, something that doesn't need such huge conversions?

Lots of work and plenty of challenges ahead---hope you're prepared for what lies ahead.

Men love Challenges.
This will be a Useful project.


.


.
 
  #5  
Old 07-09-2019, 07:23 PM
Spaznaut
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Think you may want to post this in the straight 6 forums for a little better insight.
 
  #6  
Old 07-10-2019, 04:18 AM
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JWA
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Originally Posted by EarlT500 View Post
Men love Challenges.
This will be a Useful project.
True enough---Don Quixote comes immediately to mind though. I love a challenge but it has to come with a pay off far, far beyond doing something---IOW I have to produce something practical and useful.

Which brings me to ask HOW would this be a useful project?
 

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