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Old 12-30-2016, 11:07 PM   #31
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Posts: 1,180
Just a sneak peak of a project that is happening with my 14" top. This will be a pop top for the DIY folks (actually an electric pop top as a standard option with 4 actuators). More to come but it will be a few... before it's offered to the public. One thing is fore sure, it will not scissor when being raised or lowered like other electric tops. Other standard features will be Led lighting, insulated marine canvas in your choice of colors, insulated and upholstered top in your choice of colors, all aluminum frame. Available for Ford Econoline vans. More to come as the project moves along and we get and few out in the wild
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Opt Overland pop top van with 5280 top.jpg  

2004 E350 EB Quigley - aka MCSporty6.0
2013 Fiat 500 pop/abarth - Sold
2003 Land Rover Disco II
1997 E350 7.3l 2wd - Sold
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:14 AM   #32
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@MSD - looking forward to this build!

'04 UZJ100-LX
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:08 AM   #33
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Wow MSD, sure like the look of that top and looking forward to hearing more as well!
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:56 AM   #34
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Location: boise idaho
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Originally Posted by MSD View Post
...One thing is fore sure, it will not scissor when being raised or lowered like other electric tops... all aluminum frame...
This project sounds very cool and outside the current box of thinking. Definitely look forward to your future updates!
"understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of your car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of your car, horsepower is how hard your car hits the wall, and torque is how far your car moves the wall."
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Old 12-31-2016, 12:13 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Bbasso View Post
If mpg are not an issue then absolutely a fixed hightop.
If mpg are an issue, the motor choice was poor.
I don't want to sound like an ass, but I've driven 5.4 vans and they are gutless compared to either the V10 or diesels... which can easily handle the weight and still provide mpg.
My current rig is getting a solid 21.5 mpg here in the flats of Fl...

My point is, before you start investing a serious amount of money into a van maybe it's time to reconsider a different van with a different drivetrain.
Originally Posted by Brianjwilson View Post
Hah I won't respond to the comments about v10 and mileage. But at least the power delivery is better on the v10 with similar mileage.

My main advice would be to not think about the money. It's a vehicle, a depreciating asset and not an investment. If it's going to make you more comfortable, make the van more enjoyable and make you get out more, do it and don't look back.
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
I don't think the 5.4 is gutless, but it's no rocket ship in stock form. I put a 5-star tune on my old van with a heavy wood interior and a CCV pop top. It weighed about 10k loaded and it was still strong enough in most situations other than steep mountains. Larrie has it now and might like to weigh in.
I'm not a diesel fan only because I don't want to maintain one so I recently bought a v10. It's like cheating. It's unbelievably strong. All I'm saying here is that comparing a diesel/v10 to a 5.4 is apples to oranges. In the grand scheme of things the 5.4 is still a big, powerful engine capable of almost any job. And they run forever.

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Turned into a Ford Engine discussion lol. My .02 for what it is worth, I have owned all the motors in question and I ran a towing company that had the diesels with over 500k on them.
How I would rank them:
#1 -- No question 7.3 POwerstroke
#2 -- 5.4 and V10 -- It depends on your use..... so its a hard one
#5 -- 6.0 Diesel, its ranked lower because I would buy a Duramax or a Sprinter before going with one of these. They can be a decent motor but it costs way to much to mod them.

Bbasso has an 01 so I am assuming it is a 7.3 which is an amazing motor and it would be my choice if at all possible. The problem is that people know what they are worth so finding one under 200k miles for a good price is hard. I sold my 99 7.3 Crew Cab and that is a decision I really regret that was an amazing truck. NO complaints at all.

Engine choice really comes down to use, you don't NEED a diesel unless you are going to haul heavy or tow heavy on a regular basis. They can be nice but unless you are using the torque the MPG savings you get over the gas options are eaten up by the maintenance and usually higher fuel costs so it becomes a wash. Unless you are familiar with them they can be more complicated to repair as well where as the gas options are both fairly simple and strait forward to work on.

I now have a 99 SD Xcab and a 98 E-350 EWB both with the 5.4 -- I bought the truck with that motor option on purpose I was looking at 2 almost identical trucks one with the 5.4 and the other with the V10. Since I dont haul real heavy that often I went with the 5.4 (I have pulled 12k with no issues but that is a rare occasion.)
When I went looking for a van like the OP the 7.3 was outta my price range, but the 5.4 and V10s were doable since I knew them both I went for whatever I got the best deal on first. I ended up finding my 5.4 for 2600.00 and it had 130k miles on it ans was fleet maintained. I spent a few hundred on tune up stuff and it runs like a champ, not a racecar but plenty power and i got 23mpg all the way back from Colorado where i bought it. (My truck is 4x4 and I average 12-14)

I guess all that being said, I dont thing there is really a bad engine choice in the econolines from 1997-2001. So if the 5.4 fits your needs I would not worry about building it out, our roadside assistance Superduty had over 300k on it and it was the original motor and trans, and it was a 5.4! My current truck has almost 200k on it and it is the original motor and trans as well.

So if it fits your budget and your needs go for it. Need to see pics of the high top. I am building my bed first and seeing how the headroom goes, if it is unbearable then I will be headed to Fort Collins to see MSD

"The problem with common sense is, its not that common." Mark Twain
1999 F-250SD XCab 4x4 5.4 170k
1998 E-350 LWB (Being converted now)
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fixed top, quigley

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