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Old 07-14-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
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1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

Hi everybody, I'm new to the forum. Slowly saving up for an older Sportsmobile for climbing trips. Here to learn as much as I can so I can decide what it is exactly that I want to save for.

Found this recently, and hoping to get some reactions on this vintage, price, the Gear Vendors overdrive in it, etc.

http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/rvs/3846366283.html

Major downsides to this generation ('83-'91) van vs. the next generation ('92-)?

Thanks in advance. Looking forward to learning more.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:26 PM   #2
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

Our SMB is an 89 E150 and we really like it. Had 72k miles when we bought it three years ago for $5,000. It now has about 78k. It runs great and gets between 13 and 14 mpg. When my mechanic looked it over he said it was and good shape mechanically. He also said the parts were much less expensive than he newer vans.

Am not sure that the upgraded transmission in the add is worth the added cost over what we paid.

It took us about 6 months to find the right van with the right layout. Take your time and look for the van and layout that works best for you.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with you search.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:09 PM   #3
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

INMNSHO they are asking 2x what it's worth. This comes from someone who looked at dozens a couple of years ago in that same price range. You will probably have to spend some time to find the right van but they are out there.

Nothing wrong with the old style vans though. Just be careful with the interior. All the older one's I looked at had issues. I don't think MDF or whatever SMB used back then holds up well to vibration, time and moisture. Good thing is that all the formaldehyde will have dissipated by now though
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:03 PM   #4
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

I have an 88 E-350 that already had a 4x4 conversion (not sure who did it, but it works great).

My only caution on anything before '92 is there is very little aftermarket parts support (bumpers, racks, etc...).

Based on this I would say the price on the van you posted depends on a few things. What engine does it have(didn't see it listed)? How good of shape is it in? Does everything work? Does it have the features you're looking for? An engine rebuild helps if it's in good shape otherwise.

From the looks of the CL post, it seems to have everything one might initially need. The price, as always, depends on what it's worth to the buyer.

12k seems a little high to some because it's an 89 and doesn't have 4wd, but if it doesn't need anything, you don't need 4x4, and you can go camping the day you buy it, it might not be that far off.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:36 PM   #5
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

^^ Yep ^^ Nice van. Offer them 6k.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:02 PM   #6
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

Thanks, everyone, for the input. A new OD kit from Gear Vendors is $3k, plus whatever installation would run.

What I really need is to see some different floor plans in person.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #7
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

Larrie,

wondering if you might have any more advice on the vintage Ford you have.
I ask because I see that you have given a lot of input on the site and seem very knowledgable. I'd love to get a late 3rd generation, 88-91. It would be great to find a 4x4, with the 3-gear C6, and with an OD kit installed. Might be a lot to ask. Any advice on engine displacement? Reliability is very important to me since I'm not inclined to spend the time working on anything major under the hood myself. 4x4 is not a deal breaker for me but I really would love to take it to the snow comfortably. Not going to do any rock crawling but it would also be great to be able to take it here, for example. http://www.expeditionportal.com/adventu ... t-two.html

Thanks much,
Santi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larrie
Our SMB is an 89 E150 and we really like it. Had 72k miles when we bought it three years ago for $5,000. It now has about 78k. It runs great and gets between 13 and 14 mpg. When my mechanic looked it over he said it was and good shape mechanically. He also said the parts were much less expensive than he newer vans.

Am not sure that the upgraded transmission in the add is worth the added cost over what we paid.

It took us about 6 months to find the right van with the right layout. Take your time and look for the van and layout that works best for you.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with you search.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:26 PM   #8
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

Santi,

Not sure how knowledgable I am but will share what I know. Our 89 E250 has the 351ci engine. I have been told that t is very rugged and reliable and is a good engine. On the trip to the Jackson meet and greet last month it ran great even thought the rear seal started leaking. Had to have that replaced in Idaho Falls at the Ford dealer. That has been the only problem with it since I purchased it three years ago.

The transmission is a three speed automatic. Have thought about looking for the ADO transmission but have not gotten around to it. Since I only drive it about once a month to go camping or to the beach am not sure that the money spent for the transmission would be worth it.

Not sure if the 351 has enough power to drive a 4WD rig up the pass. Fully loaded we tip the scales at just under 7,000 lbs. At that weight there is not a lot of acceleration off the line but once the rig is up to speed it has no problem holding 65mph for hours on end. It will slow down going up hills but there is enough reserve power to pop up to 70-75 to pass. On a two lane road I wait for a long straight stretch to pass. Again an acceleration issue. Adding another 1,000 to 1,500 for a 4WD could be problematic. I know they are out there but for me it is not worth it.

If you go with one this old look at the cabinets carefully. They are made out of particle board with a applied woodgrain looking thin wallpaper like stuff. Check for water damage at critical points like hinges and joints.

Mine has several door gaskets that leak in a wind driven rain. Have been chasing them and found some more on the Jackson trip. The old door gaskets also make the van noisier from air noise at higher speeds. Still working on those issues.

If I was going to purchase another one I might go for a newer model, more for driving comfort that anything else, and an extended body for a bit more room. Our layout is very similar to the RB12 with the dinette in the back, closets, fridge, and cabinets behind the driver. The sink and stove are behind the passenger. This layout works great for us because we have separate areas in the van to relax and do our own thing, One of us takes the dinette area and the other the rotated passenger seat.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:27 PM   #9
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

Yeah, maybe a newer one is in order. The seats in the previous generation don't look nearly as comfortable. I'm also of the idea that it makes sense to spend more on something that is higher quality that will last longer.

I hadn't even thought about how heavy a 4x4 conversion can be. My next line of research is to see what engines people have in their 4x4's and whether they wish they had more power or not.

I like the idea of my girlfriend and I being able to have separate areas to ourselves, like in the RB12 but I also really like having a more open and square floorspace such as in the RB50. I suppose only sitting in both will help me decide. If only Sportsmobiles weren't akin to unicorns, that would be easier said than done. Room sounds great in the EB but I'm hoping the RB will be enough, as I want a shorter wheel base and more maneuverability. Not to mention that she won't be excited to drive something 19.5' long.

I appreciate the insight. It's a luxury to be part of a forum in which I can pick people's brains like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larrie
Santi,

Not sure how knowledgable I am but will share what I know. Our 89 E250 has the 351ci engine. I have been told that t is very rugged and reliable and is a good engine. On the trip to the Jackson meet and greet last month it ran great even thought the rear seal started leaking. Had to have that replaced in Idaho Falls at the Ford dealer. That has been the only problem with it since I purchased it three years ago.

The transmission is a three speed automatic. Have thought about looking for the ADO transmission but have not gotten around to it. Since I only drive it about once a month to go camping or to the beach am not sure that the money spent for the transmission would be worth it.

Not sure if the 351 has enough power to drive a 4WD rig up the pass. Fully loaded we tip the scales at just under 7,000 lbs. At that weight there is not a lot of acceleration off the line but once the rig is up to speed it has no problem holding 65mph for hours on end. It will slow down going up hills but there is enough reserve power to pop up to 70-75 to pass. On a two lane road I wait for a long straight stretch to pass. Again an acceleration issue. Adding another 1,000 to 1,500 for a 4WD could be problematic. I know they are out there but for me it is not worth it.

If you go with one this old look at the cabinets carefully. They are made out of particle board with a applied woodgrain looking thin wallpaper like stuff. Check for water damage at critical points like hinges and joints.

Mine has several door gaskets that leak in a wind driven rain. Have been chasing them and found some more on the Jackson trip. The old door gaskets also make the van noisier from air noise at higher speeds. Still working on those issues.

If I was going to purchase another one I might go for a newer model, more for driving comfort that anything else, and an extended body for a bit more room. Our layout is very similar to the RB12 with the dinette in the back, closets, fridge, and cabinets behind the driver. The sink and stove are behind the passenger. This layout works great for us because we have separate areas in the van to relax and do our own thing, One of us takes the dinette area and the other the rotated passenger seat.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:28 PM   #10
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Re: 1989 Sportsmobile Ford E-250

Quote:
Originally Posted by santi
Room sounds great in the EB but I'm hoping the RB will be enough, as I want a shorter wheel base and more maneuverability.
Wheel base doesn't change between an EB and an RB in a Ford (it does in a Chevy).

Cheers,
Brent
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