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Old 05-03-2018, 12:05 AM   #1
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About to buy 4x4 2003 E250

What do I need to take into consideration when going to buy this van?

link: https://boulder.craigslist.org/cto/d...565864140.html

About the van:
5.4 l engine
4x4 Quigley conversion
High top!
Brand new suspension
"Replaced quigley part due to rust damage" - yikes?
"some undercarriage rust"
66,000 miles
Already insulated, but very blank slate otherwise

I feel like this van is perfect for me, but I just want to make sure I don't buy a 6,000 pound piece of garbage. Should I try and hire a mechanic to come look at the vehicle with me? Would they be able to tell me anything? What should I look for myself that will make/break this deal? How much do you think it is worth?

Additionally, I would buy it and promptly park it for 3-4 months with only very occasional use - would that be a problem?

Thanks everyone. I know there are a lot of yuppies out there trying to join the vanlife, but I feel that I am a responsible, compassionate, and pragmatic individual who will give back to the community.
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Old 05-03-2018, 12:38 AM   #2
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All I've got to say is rust, dont get involved.
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Old 05-03-2018, 01:00 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum!

"Some rust" always means "lots of rust".

"No rust" always means "some rust".

The pictures are telling the story here.
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Old 05-03-2018, 04:54 AM   #4
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Get pics of the undercarriage and/or have someone go and look at it (evaluating beyond rust as well). Rust is obviously there but the price is good (and seller is willing to go lower). Nobody wants rust but you need to see how much is there and if the price/rust equation is still favorable to you.
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:20 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forum!

"Some rust" always means "lots of rust".

"No rust" always means "some rust".

The pictures are telling the story here.

So you're telling me to take a hard pass on any rust? How can I differentiate between normal rust, and unrepairable or killer rust?
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:22 AM   #6
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Get pics of the undercarriage and/or have someone go and look at it (evaluating beyond rust as well). Rust is obviously there but the price is good (and seller is willing to go lower). Nobody wants rust but you need to see how much is there and if the price/rust equation is still favorable to you.
wish 41 - the question is how much rust is too much rust for this to be a worthwhile investment?
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:30 AM   #7
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Unfortunately that is a personal assessment. If you look at his posts, 86Scotty took a rusted out Ford SMB and spent money/time into making it a nice, clean rig. If your goal is to actually make it an "investment" then you'll need to spend time/money. If your goal is to get a low cost, 4x4 high top rig that you can use now with only some money needed to fix severely rusted components, then it might be worth it to you. Sorry I can't be of much more assistance.
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:05 AM   #8
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Maxswasser ---
Hey this is tough. Everyone has their own personal "comfort threshold" for rust, to be sure. And depending upon what part of the country you're from (or live now), there's dramatically different ideas of what is a "rusty car." I grew up in Upstate New York and Michigan, so cosmetic rust/oxidation on vehicles was just part of the normal landscape.

That said, I have some iron-clad personal rules for the areas/amounts of rust on a vehicle that (for me) are OK, and which areas/amounts are "deal breakers."

TOTALLY OK:
1) Frame rails/suspension/axles/etc have a "coat of surface oxidation" that doesn't extend any deeper than the cosmetic outer surface. (If you took a grinder or aggressive sandpaper to it, you would reveal clean metal right away.)
2) Body: chrome/paint isn't perfectly shiny anymore. Possible tiny oxidation/rust bubble or two here/there under paint, but these need to be aggressively investigated to be sure they don't indicate actual internal rust.
3) Cosmetic (surface only) superficial rust on exhaust components and brake lines

DEAL BREAKERS:
1) Frame has actual ROT. Metal comes off in your hand in chunks. A grinder would actually go THROUGH the part if you attempted to clean it up.
2) Vehicle's Body is weeping rust out of weld seams (visible on top of paint!) If you see rust coming out of a body, run away. The cancer on the inside is likely incurable and widespread. You're looking at a nice coat of paint holding together a weak/rusty "van-shaped pinyata."
3) Brittle with rust brake lines / Frozen-by-rust e-brake cables

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

* Rockers/lower body on these vans (and also gutter area/roof rails) are areas in particular to look for the crusty brown cancer to have done their worst. Repairs in those areas are not easy / not fun.

* Introducing a vehicle that already has these "deal breaker" rust issues to more rain/mud/snow/road salt will just accelerate their rapid demise.

* Look at the hardware and nuts/bolts holding the shocks/suspension/exhaust hangers/brake lines/etc together under the vehicle. Do things look like you could actually disassemble/unbolt anything without them "snapping off" in your hands as you did so? Sure, a torch now and then is necessary to free old hardware, but give stuff a long hard look and ask yourself if you think the vehicle is actually practically serviceable....and not an adventure in torching/cutting/replacing all hardware for every job that should have been simple.

* If you're a determined welding/fabricating/sheet-metal/POR-15 wizard, then anything can be fixed....again look at what 86Scotty did with his van he nicknamed "Rusty"....but ask yourself honestly if you are "that guy," and is that how you want to spend your time/efforts?

Good luck/good strategizing/good vanning, good buddy!
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer View Post
Maxswasser ---
Hey this is tough. Everyone has their own personal "comfort threshold" for rust, to be sure. And depending upon what part of the country you're from (or live now), there's dramatically different ideas of what is a "rusty car." I grew up in Upstate New York and Michigan, so cosmetic rust/oxidation on vehicles was just part of the normal landscape.

That said, I have some iron-clad personal rules for the areas/amounts of rust on a vehicle that (for me) are OK, and which areas/amounts are "deal breakers."

TOTALLY OK:
1) Frame rails/suspension/axles/etc have a "coat of surface oxidation" that doesn't extend any deeper than the cosmetic outer surface. (If you took a grinder or aggressive sandpaper to it, you would reveal clean metal right away.)
2) Body: chrome/paint isn't perfectly shiny anymore. Possible tiny oxidation/rust bubble or two here/there under paint, but these need to be aggressively investigated to be sure they don't indicate actual internal rust.
3) Cosmetic (surface only) superficial rust on exhaust components and brake lines

DEAL BREAKERS:
1) Frame has actual ROT. Metal comes off in your hand in chunks. A grinder would actually go THROUGH the part if you attempted to clean it up.
2) Vehicle's Body is weeping rust out of weld seams (visible on top of paint!) If you see rust coming out of a body, run away. The cancer on the inside is likely incurable and widespread. You're looking at a nice coat of paint holding together a weak/rusty "van-shaped pinyata."
3) Brittle with rust brake lines / Frozen-by-rust e-brake cables

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

* Rockers/lower body on these vans (and also gutter area/roof rails) are areas in particular to look for the crusty brown cancer to have done their worst. Repairs in those areas are not easy / not fun.

* Introducing a vehicle that already has these "deal breaker" rust issues to more rain/mud/snow/road salt will just accelerate their rapid demise.

* Look at the hardware and nuts/bolts holding the shocks/suspension/exhaust hangers/brake lines/etc together under the vehicle. Do things look like you could actually disassemble/unbolt anything without them "snapping off" in your hands as you did so? Sure, a torch now and then is necessary to free old hardware, but give stuff a long hard look and ask yourself if you think the vehicle is actually practically serviceable....and not an adventure in torching/cutting/replacing all hardware for every job that should have been simple.

* If you're a determined welding/fabricating/sheet-metal/POR-15 wizard, then anything can be fixed....again look at what 86Scotty did with his van he nicknamed "Rusty"....but ask yourself honestly if you are "that guy," and is that how you want to spend your time/efforts?

Good luck/good strategizing/good vanning, good buddy!
Wow. Blown away. Thank you! This is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm hopeful that the rust is limited. A friend told me to be weary of any gear grinding when shifting the transfer case - how should I test that?
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Old 05-03-2018, 12:51 PM   #10
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It recently came from the east coast to Colorado as what looked like a good project van. Now he/she is selling it because "I was planning to build it out myself before realizing that I have no skills or free time"

Yeah I would take a hard pass unless you have lots of time and money to restore this WORK VAN. I would want to know where it was stationed and what it was used for.

It will likely last one year here in Colorado before everything falls to pieces.
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