Hello everyone, just discovered this forum a bit over a week ago as I was researching suspension options for Monique' my 2003 E350. Looks like another cool place with a good bit of information.
Monique the Supervan is my favorite rig of all rigs... bought new in Fall of 2003 she has somewhere between 240,000 & 275,000 miles on her rolling chassis now, with close to 120,000 on this second 7.3 (another story) and is on her 3rd body too... (more stories) Will have to add up all the notes and maintenance logs to pinpoint the exact mileage numbers.
I use the van for daily use as a Flooring contractor and adventurer, multiple trips back and forth across the US and into Canada road tripping. Used to pull sleds to the Adirondacks every winter until 2008 logging 35,000 miles on the sleds over a 9yr period, and pulled an aluminum 21ft Walleye/Bass/Steelhead boat all over N. America from 2004 until 2014 fishing as much as 200 days a year in some years.
On trips we usually put grocery boxes/supplies on/under rear bench, a 120/150 qt cooler in the rear and a bed of 3" carpet padding on the rear floor with sleeping bags, or if minimalist just my Thermarest and a bag. Last winter outing with windows and cab area blocked off, no heater and outside temps at -9 the inside temp stayed at about 29f. Have experimented with different heaters and still am out on whether to install an RV/SMB style or just keep roughing it
I've been running vans constantly since 1989.. one Dodge,w/318 (300,000mi) and 7 Fords, yrs 83,86,92,93,98,'03, and an '05 for donor body (9 bodies in total), 1-Inline 300, 3-351's, a 5.4 and 2-7.3's.
Layout is simple in this rig... Fully insulated interior roof and walls, with Adrian steel roof, wall and door panels, (I used to use 1/4" luan panels with upholstery material glued fast). Extra dome lights, a set of upholstered wood shelves for tools and gear while on adventures, barn doors (sliding doors would always wear out, clanged and forced a larger opening) tinted windows rear of the cab (I like seeing my mirrors in the dark and making eye contact with people, so I removed the front tint) A 2 person bench seat out of dads old 1987 Chrysler minivan, fastened with 1/2" Stainless eye bolts. A JVC stereo and 4 custom speakers.
The flooring felt padding would always hold moisture, causing rust in these vans.. I tried Luan w/carpet in some of the vans and the stock pad and vinyl w/ and without carpet in a couple others.
When I installed this last body body I filled the floor recesses up with commercial rubber back carpet scraps from a job rubber side up, cut to fit each trough, then installed 2'x2' rubber back commercial carpet tiles over the smooth surface. Now I have nothing to hold moister and made the floor tougher and quieter too.
Dana 60's... Front is 1999-2002 F-series if I remember right, Gearing is 4:10, both with ARB easy drain covers. Transfer case rebuilt at about 140,000mi. Several sets of Upper and Lower Ball joints, the last being the newer lower torque style. New harder sway bushings and Bilstein 46's since aroung 100,000mi.
Tires have been 305/70-16's/33x12.50's since the second week mounted on Mickey-Thompson 10 holes 8"wide, then a change to the new Sidebiters in 2013 . There's a light rub on the rear front fenders if the body isn't pulled back on the frame bolts during re-install.
I run Dick Cepek Radial FC II's almost exclusively... Tried BFG AT's and the wear/mileage was no where as good with no real difference in traction. Ran a set of Nitto Terra Grapplers... bad wear, bad ride and traction not impressive. Ran one set of Cepek Radial FC's in the 285/70-16 size just to test snow/ice traction in a narrower tire, the wear was a good bit less than the 305's so I went back.
Dick Cepek or should I say M/T re-did the FCII's some time last year so this latest set sports a slightly more open/mud lug pattern and 2 more ply's with higher inflation. Time will tell on the mileage compared to the last series. Road noise isn't much worse, ride is a bit harsher.
The van has had the factory Quigley lift with Motorhome/ambulance front springs and an added couple leafs in the rear for years. Class 5 Hitch and Prodigy 2 controller. Bushwacker flares trimmed, ground, sanded and fit up tight. Thin rigid front mudflaps and tractor trailer rear mudflaps.
Firestone Sport-Rite Airbags that don't inhibit travel quite so much, and don't interfere with the bump stops. They're not full floating like Chris's at U-Joint, (my ultimate choice) as I needed them right now, before hauling a 12,000lb 28' toyhauler across the country, I haul weight more than I crawl.
Arizona Beige paint since 2004 before it was even available except as an accent color, a powder coated stock front bumper and blacked out grill/light housings form the donor van.
Also new Headlight Harness that pulls juice direct from the AGM batts through relays and gives me High and Low beam at the same time, using Silverstar Ultras and new clean housings... let there be light!
Aluminess rear bumper since 2012, thanx Kenny! Front bumper and a roof rack to come... maybe.
Must add a that Tiger and Joyce have ALWAYS hooked me up whenever I needed anything for Monique and have went out of their way every time!!! Superb quality and friendliness.
After the OEM exhaust started looking a bit haggard a couple weeks ago I hung a Diamond Eye 4" turbo back and am pleasantly happy with the sound... still quiet enough to cruise high miles with a healthy note on acceleration and only the slightest drone/rumble from 60mph up, getting exponentially louder up to 74.5 or so where I normally cruise.
Also put 5 new Bilsteins on last week, the 5100 series off the front of an F series with the 6.0,(some drilling for larger 14mm lower bolts and widening of mounts or narrowing of the shock bushings needed) and a Dodge fitment stabilizer this time around. Then a pair of Moog CC880s progressive springs after coming upon Ramsey's thread here (That's how I found your site).
Am looking to add a set of new leaf packs as soon as I get the chance.
Would have used Ramsey's Fox's and spring setup had he not been so backed up, yet I totally understand and am impressed he is doing this for everyone!!!
Guess that about sums it up... I'll post a couple pics and then add a few after I get them uploaded of the new spring setup. She sits a bit higher now.
Chilling on Assateague checking out the Wild Horses after a carpet job...
Foot of the North Cascade Highway 2012...
New tiles going in...
Buddy John helping insulate the walls...
Tugging the hauler out to Washington...