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Old 10-11-2018, 05:50 PM   #1
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So I'm looking at getting a ford 250 or 350 passenger or wagon van. I will slowly convert it to a sportsmobile type van with my son as a project. I wanted to know any comments or insight about using this van as a daily driver. I love in Orlando and commute about 45min in traffic 5 days a week. Thinking of keeping it 2wd with a 4-inch lift for ride and reliability reasons. Are there any other mods or additions to concider?
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:07 PM   #2
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Be prepared for low fuel economy if you drive in traffic a lot. It can get into single digits. On the highway where you're not constantly accelerating all that weight from a stop, it's not as bad, but still not great -- mid to high teens, for gas engines.

Pre-1992 vans should be kept out of overdrive at around-town speeds. Otherwise they shift in and out of it a lot and eventually kill the overdrive brake band. I think the electronic transmission in the '92+ models is more robust.

I've driven both regular and extended-body E-series vans. The extended body is considerably more awkward to park. I love the extra interior space, but I'm not sure I'd want to daily drive an EB van.

When parking in perpendicular spaces, remember you can cut a much tighter angle in reverse.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I figured on the gas mileage. I was considering. 2003 or newer van. The other pia is parking garage. Any thoughts on 2ad vs 4wd?
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:40 PM   #4
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I posted recently about wanting a Eurovan Weekender style in a Sportsmobile. No sink, fridge, stove, just seats and a table. I would happily take one as a daily driver over my current Dodge diesel. I have a nice platform bed setup in my truck - I've done everything from take afternoon naps at work during very busy periods, to camping at the duck blind with it. A van would do all that - even better. So yeah - your sentiment is right on.

I would get 4wd only if needed and would use. Parking with a truck is a struggle in metro areas, and would be worse with a tall van. But there are ways to work with it and a little exercise never hoit anyone.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brianf7028 View Post
Thanks for the reply. I figured on the gas mileage. I was considering. 2003 or newer van. The other pia is parking garage. Any thoughts on 2ad vs 4wd?
Just assume that NO parking garage or car wash has clearance for a 4x4 van, no matter what clearance is posted! Do not ask me how I know this.

Thought I knew better but found myself backing up a curved ramp out of a gate on a surface lot just last week. People behind me did not seem too concerned, nor did they appear to be laughing.

OTOH I actually prefer driving HellBetty over my Accord if I need to drive into pittsburg- Can see just how long the inevitable lines of traffic are funky merge lanes on historic viaducts. I can now parallel park her better than honda as well. Its a doozy trying to alternate driving compact car vs. lifted van. Have Accord Coupe up for sale, however i no ionger need commute.

As SMB123 noted, it's not a bad thing to have your home away from home on hand! I have even camped in mine in friends' driveways if they own cats since I'm allergic. Well they always SAID they didnt mind!
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:15 PM   #6
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If garage clearance is a concern, I would stick with 2WD. My 2WD E-250 with penthouse top is 7' 1" tall, which will get it into some but not all parking ramps.

The 2WD vans also have independent front suspension, which improves the ride and handling a bit. Mechanics will be more familiar with a 2WD van with an unmodified drivetrain. Your insurance company will probably give you less trouble, too -- they tend to get nervous about modified suspensions.

Basically, unless you can complete the sentence "I'll really want to go to _____, and I can only get there with 4WD," you probably want a 2WD.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:58 AM   #7
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I figured parking garages are out any way.
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:45 PM   #8
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I've daily driven my 4x4 E350 EB for much of the past year to work out any kinks. I bought a passenger van so my two young daughters can look out through the windows instead of being cooped up in a cave while we're driving around. With only two captain's seats in the back, visibility is quite good--but if you start covering up windows, keep in mind that visibility will decrease.

My van also came with a backup camera, which I think is a must-have for around-town maneuvering. It has the extendable tow mirrors with separate blind spot mirrors, and I've found them adequate once set up correctly. I'm not sure how well the other mirror type works (no experience).
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Old 10-18-2018, 01:14 PM   #9
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I drove my E350 Quigley every day now drive my Chevy Express Quigley. Don't sleep on the GM products as every day drivers, they are much easier to live with in terms of ride quality because of the independent front end. I'm speaking solely about 4x4 by the way... I'd also suggest considering looking into one of the AWD models as a good compromise. As easy or easier than a suburban to drive with on a daily basis.
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Old 10-18-2018, 01:42 PM   #10
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I daily drove my van for a few years. Started out as a stock van, then 2wd lift, then 4x4 converted. In stock form, it is actually a nice cushy ride. Once you lift it or go 4x4, the ride definitely changes but its not bad in my opinion.

My van (lifted and/or 4x4) would be able to fit in most parking garages before I put the roof rack on. Even with the roof rack, I can fit in some. Almost all parking garages will display the maximum clearance so just measure your van and you'll know if you fit or not.
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