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Old 11-07-2014, 02:01 PM   #1
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Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

I have a 2005 E350 thats I use for my side business as well as a DD. I use the inside of the van to haul stuff around and also tote passengers. I also plan to take it camping since we sold our SMB, but a full interior build out is not necessary and out of the question. I am considering building a sleeping platform, but having enough height underneath for storage vs. having enough space between the ceiling and my face is becoming a concern. So getting a penthouse top installed has crossed my mind and also getting a 2wd lift (Camburg or Action Van). This is where I'm questioning what to do...

My van is a 2005 E350 Chateau with a V10. It has the aux battery option and 4:10 LSD rear end. It has 112k miles on it and is in fairly good condition. It has a few dents and some scratches but nothing that makes you think it looks like a POS, its just 10 years old. I know its a pretty rare van that seems desireable among van people, but I'm just not sure about putting that much money into something thats already 10 years old with 112k miles.

My other option is to sell my van and buy a newer van (2010+) with less miles (50k), most likely a standard 12 passenger van with a 5.4 V8. I don't mind the V8 since I have no plans to convert to 4x4 and will not be adding any cabinetry or other heavy additions. A newer vehicle naturally comes with a higher purchase price but again, its newer. I also like the updated dash and front end. The downside would be trying to find one with the options that my current van has.

So what would you do? Put money into a 10 year old van with 112k miles or get a newer van with less than half the miles and the newest body style? My plan is to keep the van for a while so I'm looking at what the vans will be worth 5 years down the road.
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Old 11-07-2014, 07:07 PM   #2
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

I personally think the 5R110/V10 combo is a far superior candidate to the V8/4R75 combo.

The front clip is a relatively easy upgrade if you like the styling, and I'm pretty sure even doing the '09+ dash is possible, since they are both CAN-bus networks.

112k is nothing. As long as there's no rust problems, I really can't see any reason to dump your van.

I'm at 393,000 and I'm about to send it to QuadVan (finally!).
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:54 PM   #3
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

Another vote for 'keep it' Jin, but you already knew that!

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Old 11-08-2014, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

We got the newest van we could find for our conversion. Ours is a full conversion and we will keep it for 20 to 30 years. If its just a sleeping platform it doesn't seem necessary to upgrade. We like the v8 but the v10 with 5 speed sounds sweet... I will say the upgraded brakes (2008?) are really nice.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:13 AM   #5
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
I personally think the 5R110/V10 combo is a far superior candidate to the V8/4R75 combo.

The front clip is a relatively easy upgrade if you like the styling, and I'm pretty sure even doing the '09+ dash is possible, since they are both CAN-bus networks.

112k is nothing. As long as there's no rust problems, I really can't see any reason to dump your van.

I'm at 393,000 and I'm about to send it to QuadVan (finally!).
Converting the front end would be sweet, but converting the dash is way over my capabilities.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:23 AM   #6
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

I saw this van and even considered it. Already has a pop top, 5.4, and 88k miles. If I add a lift, I would be all in for less than 15k. I know some people look down on the E150 because it isn't heavy duty, but for my purposes, it is still plenty. I would possibly have to regear it since I don't know what gears the 150's came with.

http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/rvs/4731545668.html
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Old 11-09-2014, 05:51 AM   #7
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

Let me be the first to more loudly say there's not a blamed thing wrong with your current van----nothing!! At 112K miles its barely broken in drive line-wise---I have a 2000 DD with 272K miles on its 5.4 and it runs perfectly. Please don't dump this one with that little mileage on it.

The 2005 E150 is still the "light weight" chassis version which would not be something I'd want in a van. While its cargo weight capacity can be increased you still have the less robust frame and chassis of the E150. If there's an upside to the one linked it's the existing upfitted SMB conversion, the proverbial turn key acquisition.

Your anticipated build-out plans say to me the linked E150 isn't something you'd truly benefit from, basically it has too much stuff, more than you believe you need or want. Yes that pop top is nice but do you really, really need or want it? Would it be something you can live without and still have a decent vehicle?

As for styling is that also that big a deal? While changing the front sheet metal is relatively easy for an advance DIY'er is the expense and trouble worth a bit of cosmetic surgery? Or did I miss the part where you're incredibly wealthy and cost doesn't figure into such decisions? Would new sheet metal make it run better, give it more dependability, add to its eventual resale value, make it less prone to normal mechanical issues?

You already have a well running van whose history of maintenance and upkeep is known to you. Its most likely paid which makes it a beautiful thing. As such its a great base to do your minimal build out now, the chassis and engine more than suitable for additional upfitting down the road.

Were this my choice I'd first have the current van thoroughly gone over; front end inspection, flush transmission, brakes, change plugs (if more than 50K on existing)---just everything that typically needs attention. You'll have an incredibly reliable van and can gloat at those with payments on something "new" to boot.
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:17 PM   #8
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

I'd put a top on it plus pre-wire for solar and lighting for the roof. Do your build like you want. A minimal build out might be an easy sell down the road for those looking to do a full conversion. Who knows, as these vans become fewer in number, it might hold a higher value in a few years. The new vans are a bit taller, have better braking and can have larger rims but that's about it. Unless you find a great deal on a newer E-350, I'd keep what you have. JMO
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Old 11-09-2014, 01:48 PM   #9
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

Thanks everyone for your input. It's always nice to hear what other people have to say and get some guidance. I'm the second owner of my van and the first owner basically took it to the dealer for every service (according to the carfax). I bought it from a dealer and oddly enough, I used the V10 as a negotiating tool to get it cheaper because "who wants a V10 with these gas prices?!".

At this moment in time, I'm convinced that I should keep this van and just get it dialed in to continue to run flawlessly. It needs a few items done like spark plugs and trans flush so I'll get to those items soon. I'm hoping to get the lift done in the next couple of months and if all goes well, I'll get the top installed in a year or so. I'm going to be taking it on a little road trip in a couple weeks to Bend, OR so I'll test out how I like sleeping in the back of the van vs. sleeping up top.
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Old 02-12-2015, 09:01 PM   #10
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Re: Mod my 2005 E350 or get a newer van to mod?

While I never had the V8/4R75 combo I did have the 5R110/V10 in my 05 and was even more happy when 5Star did the tune... I couldn't imaging going down in a gas powered van.

I'll say keep the current rig and make it how you want.
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