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Old 12-12-2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

Next summer we are planning another month-long, 8,000+ mile trip across the country with the SMB (we did 8,300 miles out west in 2013). For the last trip I did a lot of mods and small repairs/updates to the new-to-me van, and everything worked pretty well.

The 98 E250 5.4 2WD now has 89,000 miles, and no major issues that I know of, although I don't drive it that much recently.

I'm wondering if there are common things that I should "fix" as preventative maintenance before they possibly break. I don't want to spend money stupidly, and I know the chance of a breakdown are low for a well-maintained van (which this is), but on the other hand there are a lot of things that are fairly cheap and easy to DIY at home, but when they show up in the middle of a long trip in the middle of nowhere can really ruin your day(s) and cost a small fortune.

Here's what I've already crossed off the list and have done:

1. Complete front end update from a 2012 van, with new brakes, sway bar, ball joints, etc.
2. New starter and starter solenoid.
3. New multifunction switch.
4. New MAF sensor, fuel filter (chasing a check engine light that turned out to be a vacuum leak).
5. New serpentine belt and all pulleys.
6. Radiator and hoses were done by the PO and look in good shape (he hit a deer and had it all replaced).

Here's what I'm thinking about changing out. What do you all think, as far as a cost vs. likelihood to break tradeoff?

1. Water pump
2. Power steering pump (as long as I'm in there)
3. Steering column ignition switch lock cylinder
4. Fuel pump? (This wouldn't be a DIY and I'm on the fence about this one in particular)

Any other easy DIY parts that I should consider replacing?

Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2014, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

"If it ain't broke - don't fix it!"

You're not going on a expedition across Central Asia. Just keep up with your regular maintenance and when something brakes, then fix it.
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Old 12-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #3
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

Spark Plugs? They are normally due at 100k.

Other than that you have already replaced more than I have on my van with 4.4x the miles. I think you're fine. It's pretty rare for the P/S to fail without having a run low on fluid. Water pump fails so rarely NAPA doesn't even stock it.
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Old 12-12-2014, 04:11 PM   #4
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

There are Ford dealers everywhere. If something breaks it will make it more of an adventure!!
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Old 12-12-2014, 04:53 PM   #5
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

Yup, forgot to add spark plugs on the list. That's a must-do, regardless, as they have never been done.

I'm generally of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp, but this thought process is partially because of my wife. On our last trip the check engine light kept coming on and it stressed her out a lot as she worried about the van stranding us somewhere. We also wasted a day or two having a few repair shops chase it to no avail.

With limited vacation time, too, sitting for four days in the middle of nowhere waiting for a part to replaced at a jacked-up cost doesn't add a whole lot to the adventure. Been there, done that, several times with on other road trips with other vehicles.

All the stuff already replaced was due to necessity, not preventative maintenance, btw.

To a certain degree I enjoy it, as I get to know the van better. Parts sourced at home and replaced in the driveway are WAY cheaper than having it done at some remote mechanic. I'm fairly mechanically minded, but don't have the skills to do it by the side of the road somewhere like some of you do.
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Old 12-12-2014, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

I would try to put some more miles on it in the next couple of months before your trip to see if anything shakes out. In all the forum reading I've done, I don't think I've ever come across any threads about needing to replace a water pump or a fuel pump on these motors. Maybe its just me being selective in what I read though...
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Old 12-12-2014, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

On a 5.4 with only 89k, I would do the plugs and skip everything else on that list. I think it's all overkill, especially the PS pump and fuel pump. As for the ignition part, I might take one with me. Ford vans are bombproof. My 5.4 engine failure at 130k was super rare. All the reading on this forum and others are the people who've had trouble, and I think most would agree that it's mostly diesel related, even the diesel owners. The 5.4 vans are a big part of our fleet at work. I just read yesterday that we have 100,000 trucks on the road right now. I bet 30,000 of them are Ford vans, all with a 5.4 or a very similar 4.6l. The maintenance guys, who I love to talk to, might do some of this pm on a Sprinter or something, but on a 5.4 they would send it down the road without a second thought.

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Old 12-12-2014, 06:37 PM   #8
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

My van is a 2008 5.4L with 87K miles, and here's what I pack:

1 extra coil-over-plug (COP)

extra serpentine belt

OBD-II scanner (and I usually have a laptop+hotspot with me to look up codes)

small bag of tools

I've considered buying a spare O2 sensor but I have not yet. It would be nice to know if I can limp somewhere if an O2 sensor pukes......

I've also gone through the motions to make sure that I have everything to change a flat.

EDIT: This thread appears to be in the wrong place......
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:20 PM   #9
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
...EDIT: This thread appears to be in the wrong place......
Moved the thread. Open to ideas of better folders to move it to.


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Old 12-12-2014, 07:53 PM   #10
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Re: What kind of preventative maint repairs for a long trip?

I do highly recommend a scanner as well. A ScanGauge will let you look at codes and clear them if its a simple nuisance codes that you can fix when you get home. Plus, then you can see some actual numbers.
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