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Old 04-26-2014, 12:56 AM   #1
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Location: Terrebonne, Canada
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DIY campervan project vs 2001 Ford E350 7.3 diesel V8??

Ok so I'm getting close, my plans are getting clearer but I need a vehicle to get the ball rolling, I was thinking something recent like a 2011 model or maybe 2009 at worst but I just came across this thing and I wanted to get your expert's opinion on the subject.

For sale is a 2001 Ford E-350 V8 7.3L power stroke turbo diesel with 130 000miles on it + raised roof is already installed + crew cab + rear A/C + little bit of rust starting to show on bottom side panels + seams to run ok (I'm no expert).

I'm getting it inspected very soon and probably carfaxed.

Is this a good base vehicle for my project??
I did do some research and found a lot of good things about the 7.3L vs the 6.0, very reliable and lots of torque. also heard about a 16mpg average (city+hwy).

The seller is asking 4500$ but I think we have room for negotiations.


DIY conversion build, extended 2010 Ford 5.4L E250 + high top, from Montreal Canada, new to all this so please be patient and clear with me (never built or camped in a van yet)
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:03 AM   #2
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Re: DIY campervan project vs 2001 Ford E350 7.3 diesel V8??

Nice starting point, if you are up for the challenge.

Four time Baja 1000 winner, four time Baja 500 winner. Solo'ed the Baja 1000 to LaPaz/Cabo twice.
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:25 AM   #3
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Re: DIY campervan project vs 2001 Ford E350 7.3 diesel V8??

Great low maint motor, low miles,not even broken in yet, i could never get 16mpg. Mine is a 10k# rig. 9-10 mpg avg
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:02 PM   #4
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Re: DIY campervan project vs 2001 Ford E350 7.3 diesel V8??

For $4,500 I would be all over it as long as it checks out.
Read detailed trip reports, see photos and videos on my travel blog, luinil.com.
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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 04-26-2014, 01:01 PM   #5
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Re: DIY campervan project vs 2001 Ford E350 7.3 diesel V8??

That looks like a great starting point!

Really, as long as its been maintained well, the 7.3L can go a LONG time. One thing to verify is that service included "Supplemental Coolant Additive". This is pretty important. Without it, it can develop pinhole coolant leaks into the cylinders from acoustic cavitation. If its had regular service at a diesel shop, probably nothing to worry about. If you find a small bottle of coolant test strips in the van, that means whoever maintained it on their own probably knows what they are doing.

Other than that.... The glow plugs don't last forever. They are cheap but a PITA to replace.

Fuel Bowl o-rings like to leak. Again, cheap fix and this one isn't near as hard. They tend to leak out of a lot of places. If it still leaks after replacing the fuel o-rings, throw in a couple bottles a Bars-Leak Engine Main seal repair, and call it a day. That stuff works pretty good.

The big problem is the transmission.... Behind the 7.3L it will go out. The torque converter simply wasn't matched well, and the lockup strategy makes the problem even worse because it spends excessive time unlocked (there are programming fixes for this, or you can install a manual switch). If you plan for a replacement when you get the van, worst case you won't be surprised when it goes, and best can you have 3-Gs sitting in your saving earning some interest. A larger cooler will also help a lot, but the torque converter strategy seems to be the root cause for the excess heat.

Ford offers a 4R100-HD reman unit. I don't think it costs much more for that unit, and should hold up much better.
2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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