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Old 09-21-2019, 12:07 PM   #201
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For starters I would add about 10 inches to the wheel base. Find some Dana 60's or build up some 44's. Twin stick the Dana 300 if it has a 300 but a 20 will do! A 4.3 injected or simlar the 258 would work but the 4.0 would be better. You will be set! I had a Mohave heater for one but it is long gone!
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:01 PM   #202
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Thanks Vanimal. I am going to twin stick the Dana 20, but as for the rest of your suggestions... not so much. This CJ5 will be used as a mild desert explorer. To be honest I don't much enjoy rock crawling and/or breaking stuff.
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:24 AM   #203
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Well the end is here for this particular project. A new owner just drove off a couple hours ago in their new van. They were excited to take it out camping in the coming weeks. It's a bittersweet moment. I loved this van and loved the process of executing the ideas I had. Like every project, if I were to build another van with the same exact goals, I would wind up with a completely different van. But as times change I don't have the same goals anymore. This time around I want a van with excellent towing qualities, a more nimble driving attitude, and a more camping capable but not camping dedicated persona.

Since we bought a toy hauler last January to tow our CJ5 in, my thoughts on what I need in a van have changed considerably. The 5.4L in the Ford was not truly up to the task of towing the 5900 lb toy hauler with a 2500 lb CJ5 inside. The Ford Extended's axle to hitch length did not suffer the weight behind it well either. More like the tail wagging the dog.

It became obvious what I needed to do when I hitched up Lady Shadetree's Chevy Colorado 4 Door V6 and it towed the toy hauler (empty @ 5900 lbs) faster and with less drama than the E350 did. The Colorado has 50 more HP and slightly less torque than the Ford 5.4L, but it also has considerably less weight to haul around. The Colorado accelerated up hills pulling the toy hauler the 5.4 could only maintain speed on.

Now if I could just get even more power than the Colorado in a newer van. Chevy's 6.0L makes 341 HP and 373 lbs.-ft of Torque.

So we are now on a quest for a standard length Chevy Express 3500 LT, 6.0L passenger van.

We are planning on doing some mild changes, 3" raised spindles on the front, 1.5" lift in the rear, Fox shocks, tires, wheels, stereo, solar, batteries, chest style fridge, mulling over ideas for a tri-fold bed in the back.

So the Ford chapter may have ended but this never ending van story will continue with a new protagonist. Long live the van.

I will say this about the old E350, it's the only project vehicle I've built in the past 40 odd years that I didn't lose a butt load of money on. I got a lot of interest advertising on a couple of Facebook Groups.

Stay tuned... I'm hoping to test drive a Chevy tomorrow.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:48 AM   #204
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So I was looking at a Chevy 3500 too But went with a v10 e350. I tow a 9000 lb camper with 12 of us in the van (10 kids). Tows great with a blue ox hitch. Went to a removable dually system because my rear tires were overloaded. Installed a 2011 f250 4.30 gear elocker rear axle in it. Made my own dually fenders. When I don’t want to have a dually I just remove them and the fender and just put on single tires.
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Old 07-08-2020, 02:30 PM   #205
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Congrats on the sale. I have a friend with a GMC 3500 Quigley and the 6.0, drives nicely, sounds great, typically really reliable motors too.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:25 PM   #206
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Have you considered an older E350. I have been looking for one. I like the 75-79 models, I had a 75 in High School. My thought is a 5.9 Cummings conversion!!!
Another option is the 460. I missed out on a 94 with a 460 bad trans. I finally was going to bite the bullet and he scrapped it. It was 15 passenger with 210k miles. The 460 in the 90's was a beast.

Ok so here is another option: I have a 1983 GMC STX 6.2 I will swap in my 38k miles military Diesel (higher HP) This will do 23 + mpg all day. You can swap the year to 4.56 get a 6R80 auto Ford or Chevy 6L90 and swap it in. U S Shift makes the computers for about $800.00. The Ford 6R80 has a 4.17 first gear and a dbl O.D. at .87 then .69. The Chevy has a 4.02 and dbl O.D. 0.85 and 0.66 If you don't like the 6.2 you can swap in a 5.9 and no smog restrictions.And still use either trans. Phoenix adapters makes the trans adapters. Just a thought!
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:35 PM   #207
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Congrats on the sale Tim! Looking forward to the next season of this series
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Old 07-19-2020, 04:49 PM   #208
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Saturday morning I picked up this 2012 Express LT, 6.0 Litre. I wanted barn doors but this one was low miles and clean. Unusual from what I've seen, this van has vinyl seats. Plus it has been repainted, which on these Chevy's with their notorious peeling paint, may be a good thing. I've looked at every 6.0L Standard length Express within a 100 miles this week. Even a couple of Extended vans. This was by far the cleanest one.
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My first mod after getting it home was to wrap the emblems. Second mod was to replace the muffler with a MagnaFlow one. Man that Magnaflow stainless muffler is pretty, it's a shame you can't see it.
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Today I picked up some factory 17" alloys off a GMC Sierra. After returning home with them I ordered 265/70R17 All Terrains. These factory alloys should keep the tires tucked so they don't interfere with the slider door.
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Next week the parts to lift the van will be here.

Put a couple hundred miles on it so far, and many more miles on my 'puter ordering parts. I gotta say this 6.0L is fast. Plus coming from my tall, long, heavy E350, it handles way better. So far I'm very happy.

On the negative side, Chevy has these full length rails under the carpet for the seat brackets to clip into. Plus it has some box under the carpet between the front seats. Not a flat floor to be found. Fortunately we won't be hanging out in the van like we did the E350.
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:30 AM   #209
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Nice get, looking forward to seeing where you take it.
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Old 07-23-2020, 12:28 AM   #210
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Very nice journey so far! Looking forward to Chapter 3.
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