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Old 05-07-2021, 05:28 PM   #1
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Body Swap or Body Work?

I bought my dream van, or so I thought... The van is a 1999 7.3 high roof extended econoline 220k miles that was a cargo van from Ford built into a coach from Custom Coach Works. The van started its life on the east coast. The company that did the coach conversion didn't paint any of the holes they drilled and exposed bare metal in many places. The rust started from day one.
There was a body kit on it when I purchased it, hiding rust damage. There was also a electric seat/bed in the rear with bolts drilled through the body. I think the rust started from there but it has taken out the metal all around the body mounts on both sides. I already bought replacement sheet metal panels for most of the outside body but for the van floor I don't have anything.
I am wondering if I should try to fix the rust or do a complete body swap. Finding a van with a blown motor but a good body? I just already have the high top and nice windows.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:12 PM   #2
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Body swap. How long do you plan to keep the van? How much will you spend on the interior and other upgrades? That body is well along to being scrap metal. Sorry you had to find this out after the purchase but at least you know now.
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:00 PM   #3
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Body swap. How long do you plan to keep the van? How much will you spend on the interior and other upgrades? That body is well along to being scrap metal. Sorry you had to find this out after the purchase but at least you know now.
I was planning on keeping it for as long as possible hopefully my whole life maybe. I have always wanted a 4x4 adventure van so I was planning on putting a lot of money into it over time. I'm fresh out of college so nothing soon but now I can't even lightly build out the inside. I was thinking about cutting my losses and selling it but I don't think anyone would buy this van for anything close to what I paid. As far as I can tell the engine runs very nice and I just did a bunch of work to it. A body swap sounds very expensive and might be cheaper to just buy another van. Thank you for your insight!
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:07 AM   #4
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Or buy a van with a clean body that you can swap engines with. Unfortunately there aren’t any inexpensive options. Many of us older folks have bought vehicles that had unknown problems that required $$ to fix. Have to learn as we go and gain experience. I always crawl underneath any vehicle before purchase and look for tale tell signs.

A couple years ago a friend bought a used Ford Ranger. Paint looked good, until you started looking closely at the rockers, bed, underneath, etc. The vehicle had extensive rust that even required brake line replacement. Bed floor had a poorly patched hole and the bed supports were rusted through. Body shop said not worth fixing, replacement necessary.

Anyway, sorry about your experience and wish you the best.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:10 AM   #5
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I can see your disappointment in the floor condition if that wasn’t visible initially, but the rocker’s and lower body panels all look like the rust issue was obvious when you bought the Van. I would cut my losses now, and move onto another project.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:29 AM   #6
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Body swap. Engine swap in to a non diesel van is much more work.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:07 PM   #7
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I can see your disappointment in the floor condition if that wasnít visible initially, but the rockerís and lower body panels all look like the rust issue was obvious when you bought the Van. I would cut my losses now, and move onto another project.
Well actually no, the rust was not obvious. Everything was covered with a plastic body kit and the whole under body was painted with undercoating so it looked clean when I bought it. I know I messed up but it was no obvious.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:10 PM   #8
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Or buy a van with a clean body that you can swap engines with. Unfortunately there arenít any inexpensive options. Many of us older folks have bought vehicles that had unknown problems that required $$ to fix. Have to learn as we go and gain experience. I always crawl underneath any vehicle before purchase and look for tale tell signs.

A couple years ago a friend bought a used Ford Ranger. Paint looked good, until you started looking closely at the rockers, bed, underneath, etc. The vehicle had extensive rust that even required brake line replacement. Bed floor had a poorly patched hole and the bed supports were rusted through. Body shop said not worth fixing, replacement necessary.

Anyway, sorry about your experience and wish you the best.
Thanks for the reply. I did crawl underneath and it all looked pretty clean. The guy painted it all with undercoat. I was just too excited to finally buy my dream van and didn't look hard enough.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply. I did crawl underneath and it all looked pretty clean. The guy painted it all with undercoat. I was just too excited to finally buy my dream van and didn't look hard enough.
Sorry it turned out this way. Of course this is a lesson on why not to buy vehicles with recent undercoating or paint. Yep, been there and let excitement over take rational thought. As an older guy, Iím ever more careful these days.
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Old 05-09-2021, 02:36 PM   #10
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Parted out vans with a better body then yours is not that hard to find (ext vans are a little harder), or that costly.
The question is how much space, time, ability and money do you have?

If you answered "not much" to any of the above questions, you might consider if your 7.3 is in decent shape and you have a FF rear axle consider parting it out and using that money to get a better condition van.
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