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Old 04-20-2016, 05:21 PM   #21
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My advise be patient on buying your rig and don't be afraid to get on a plane to buy the van you want once you see it. A $300 plane ticket might save you $1,000's. Make a list of items you would need to do to a stock van to make it what you want. Buy a rig that checks at least one item off the list. It will likely be the cheapest upgrade you "pay for" and the fastest completed project. Also SMB in Fresno isn't that far away. They tend to have a couple models on the floor and often some used rigs. Make a trip there and climb in lots of van.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:47 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Sierrasclimber View Post
My advise be patient on buying your rig and don't be afraid to get on a plane to buy the van you want once you see it. A $300 plane ticket might save you $1,000's. Make a list of items you would need to do to a stock van to make it what you want. Buy a rig that checks at least one item off the list. It will likely be the cheapest upgrade you "pay for" and the fastest completed project. Also SMB in Fresno isn't that far away. They tend to have a couple models on the floor and often some used rigs. Make a trip there and climb in lots of van.
Trust me, you don't have to ask me twice to travel for a vehicle! When I lived in Cleveland, I shopped for almost 3 years and flew out to Ventura, CA to buy my car. Right car, right seller, right price. Pretty hard combination when you're hunting unicorns.

When you say SMB in Fresno, are you referring to a SMB dealer? I'll do a search for them in a minute.

My biggest issue right now is getting rid of my truck and my toy hauler. My storage lot is closing so it has to go soon, and moving to another lot will likely cost me more than I'm paying now, and I'm already forking over a load every month. Once I can get rid of at least the trailer things should start falling into place. I may have gotten a little far ahead of myself, but reality says those two things need to go first. Trouble is nobody is biting despite me lowering the price by quite a few grand.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:23 PM   #23
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As mentioned I'm local (OC) and I flew Wyoming new years day 2014 when I bought my van.......

I purchased a round trip plane ticket so that I wouldn't be biased into buying a van that I wouldn't buy locally.....worked out great......pretty much exactly what I was looking for.....bought it and drove it back in sub-freezing blowing snow conditions.....and ate the cost of the return flight.
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:56 PM   #24
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I've been out of the hunt for a while since I was busy trying to sell one of my motorcycles when its engine exploded (literally) and had to replace that. Then got really busy selling my truck. Bike is still here and all up and running better than ever but the truck is gone! Now I have room for a van and have been searching full time.

I'm still back and forth between gas and diesel but have a question for all the Ford owners. How is the steering post conversion? My F350 had a huge dead spot at the center causing it to wander about the road even after I replaced all tie rod ends, steering stabilizer, and steering gearbox. And plenty of people talk about the Super Duty trucks having sloppy steering.

Are the vans the same way? I haven't test drove one yet but did test drive a Chevy Express (2wd) and the steering felt like a sports car in comparison to my truck. If the vans are vague, is there anything that can be done?
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:07 AM   #25
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Are the vans the same way? I haven't test drove one yet but did test drive a Chevy Express (2wd) and the steering felt like a sports car in comparison to my truck. If the vans are vague, is there anything that can be done?
I have a Leaf spring conversion with an older kingpin Dana 60 axle, and it drives/steers fine.....haven't spent much time driving a 2WD E series in a long time so nothing to compare it to....

My van drives better than I would have expected...whatever that means......
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:18 AM   #26
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Ive owned several of both ford and GM fullsize vans (2000 era). both had low miles and well maintained. Without a doubt, the GM vans drive infinitely better than a 2wd ford van. GM knows how to build nice suspension.

I think GMs are a better built product all around. More reliable powertrain, more comfortable interior, better quality components, more interior room...etc etc

That said, when It came time to step up to a 4x4 van, I built a ford. IMO they are much easier to convert, with everything being modular. As such, Fords have more 4x4 support- Again, I believe its because they are simply easier to convert, not because they are a better platform.
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:22 PM   #27
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Ford van wander: I've had several 2wd E-series chassis. They all wandered to some extent. Our 2009 E250 is a bit better than the older ones - I think they updated the suspension in 2008. The brakes are a LOT better on the 2009.
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:47 PM   #28
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I found this monster and it's in my price range. It has a Dana 60 front/14bolt rear with soft lockers on both ends. Downsides are is it's a 2004 so it has the old 5.7L gasser. I'm enamored with the idea but fear it may be a bit much with 36" tires, a 38" floor height, and he says he cheats a little with smog. (it needs cats installed) But I love that suspension work!





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Old 06-27-2016, 05:10 PM   #29
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Without knowing too much about it, it looks like a great dual-use van on a budget.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:12 PM   #30
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The more I think about it the more I may just continue my hunt for a Duramax van. A couple other people I showed this van to mention the geometry may be fine for the highway but has potential for issues off road. They may be talking rock-crawling which I'm not too interested in doing but the van is a little older than I'd prefer and has an older engine. Plus, the A/C isn't 100%. It's cool but not cold according to the owner which to me says it's one missed refill from not working at all.

So...the hunt continues. The nearby Penske lot has 3 2014 Duramax vans with varying mileage that I plan to look at this weekend. If they have satisfactory service records I may consider one of them. We'll see.
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