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Old 04-11-2015, 08:49 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 35
My new old van

Here are some long-overdue pictures of the van I bought in January (which immediately broke down). Thanks to the help of many on this forum (especially E350 and BajaSportsmobile) it is more roadworthy than it's been in a long time.

This van is a full Sportsmobile conversion on a a 1994 Ford E250 with a 5.8L gas engine (Windsor V8) and 86k miles. It's 2WD with a 4 inch lift kit installed (poorly) by the second owner. Rendering it road-safe and possibly even reliable is an ongoing and very educational quest ;-)

The interior has a gaucho and a central aisle that I will use to haul long bicycles on occasion. Under the gaucho are the 20 gallon water tank, second 12V battery, and inverter.

With the extension, the gaucho is long enough to sleep adults, but the penthouse is more comfortable. The little shelf that lifts up doesn't support the full width of the extension so it is very tippy; maybe you're supposed to pile luggage underneath to bolster it?

The penthouse fabric is good except for a tiny tear at the back. The rear U-tube in the scissor linkage is noticeably bent, which I may someday try to fix. In the mean time there are wooden struts that help back corners rise up the last couple of inches.

The kitchen has a two burner stove, microwave, sink, and electric water heater. The microwave and water heater need 120VAC, so they only run off the built-in Onan generator (which needs a tune up) or shore power. I'm not a huge fan of generators, so if I get motivated at some point I could see yanking it out (along with the microwave and electric heater) and going tankless for hot water.

Plenty of cabinets, Norcold fridge, and Starcool AC (that needs a recharge).

Propane heater under the pantry.

Trailer hitch tire carrier, since the generator occupies the standard spare tire location. The generator exhaust pipe is visible in front of the engine exhaust.

There she be, warts and all. As I gain confidence in the mechanical fixes I'll be venturing farther from home and farther off the beaten track...

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Old 04-11-2015, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: My new old van

Nice looking rig. Gaining confidence in a used vehicle is an ongoing process. Wishing you fun adventures.

Read detailed trip reports, see photos and videos on my travel blog,
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Current van: 2002 Ford E350 extended body camper with Colorado Camper Van pop top and Agile Offroad 4WD conversion.
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:15 PM   #3
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Re: My new old van

Nice! Hope you have lots of fun in your new old van!
2010 E350 6.0 4x4 EB 50 SMB
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:01 AM   #4
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Re: My new old van

Holy countertop space!

Old van: 1997 E250 EB30 (Stolen)
New van: 2003 E250 EB10
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:08 AM   #5
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Re: My new old van

Awesome! Looks fantastic! GL with getting everything dialed in.
1999 7.3 4x4 RB50 SMB
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:39 AM   #6
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Re: My new old van

Thats a great looking rig and you got lucky in the fact that you got an interior color that looks modern for a 94. My 95 had teal interior and theres a hideous salmon color too.
2005 E350 Chateau - V10 - Agile Offroad 4x4
2012 CTS-V Wagon - For the baby...
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:44 AM   #7
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Re: My new old van

Very nice van! I really like the black T-molding with the white cabinets vs. the white/white mine had. Also, the electric heater and water heater aren't so bad with a fixed generator.

Edit: Oops, your heater is propane I guess, and now I see that you have propane since you have a propane stove. Even better! I have an instant propane HW heater and it does great, just remember to winterize if you get one. I already ruined one because I didn't get all the water out of it.


Currently vanless. Weird.
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:49 PM   #8
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Re: My new old van

Nice open layout! Also love the big frig. Wish ours had a bigger one.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:13 PM   #9
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Re: My new old van

Nice! There's a good thread here about straightening the bent bows in situ.. Or you can totally remove them, straighten them, and sleeve a smaller diameter tube inside... That makes them extra super strong!
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:10 PM   #10
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Re: My new old van

Thanks for the kind words y'all! This weekend I'm planning to take it off pavement for the first time; let's see what shakes loose!

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