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Old 12-19-2019, 12:06 PM   #1
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Never thought I'd own a Van....

So over the past several months the wife and I have been going back and forth on different camping options for ourselves. I currently own a 1996 Toyota 4Runner that has a RTT on it, and although that's great and all, I am ready for a cozier/more comfortable setup.

We discussed options such as vintage trailers, building a custom tear drop trailer, van builds you name it.

Finally we landed on a more Sportsmobile Style Build. When I was weighing the pros and cons, this option fit our needs the best.

So here we are (I am, she won't ever be on the forum lets be real), ready to learn and help give feedback wherever I can!

Our Van: I am currently in negotiations with a guy here locally in CA who has a 1994 Ford E150 5.0 V8 (180K Miles) the Van has already been converted with a bubble top of some sort. Super excited to get going on fixing it up once we agree on a price. (Is there anything I should be looking for ? for those of you who have more experience with vans?)



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Old 12-19-2019, 12:33 PM   #2
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Congratulations on joining the vanner club! I have an Xterra that we use for serious off road trips...but we just sold our Ď94 e150 and we had a ton of fun in it as well (see my welcome mat post for photos). The 94 with the v8 is a great platform and we sold ours with 184k miles and had no issues with it, and we really used it. The comfort factor is amazing, especially on cold, rainy nights....you canít put a price on the space . Our was a Winnebago van but we removed the cabinets and just used the bed and a captains chair for our son. It is nice being able to go anywhere and drive at highway speeds, and the v8 has plenty of power left over. When we bought ours with 160k miles we did have a new radiator and water pump put in, just to make sure the cooling system was optimized to prevent any issues so I would just have a mechanic look it over. With 31Ē tires, we got great gas mileage too...so enjoy that! We just bought a 2011 Sportsmobile because we needed a pop top for our growing family but I miss the e150. Welcome!
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Old 12-19-2019, 12:41 PM   #3
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Congratulations on joining the vanner club! I have an Xterra that we use for serious off road trips...but we just sold our Ď94 e150 and we had a ton of fun in it as well (see my welcome mat post for photos). The 94 with the v8 is a great platform and we sold ours with 184k miles and had no issues with it, and we really used it. The comfort factor is amazing, especially on cold, rainy nights....you canít put a price on the space . Our was a Winnebago van but we removed the cabinets and just used the bed and a captains chair for our son. It is nice being able to go anywhere and drive at highway speeds, and the v8 has plenty of power left over. When we bought ours with 160k miles we did have a new radiator and water pump put in, just to make sure the cooling system was optimized to prevent any issues so I would just have a mechanic look it over. With 31Ē tires, we got great gas mileage too...so enjoy that! We just bought a 2011 Sportsmobile because we needed a pop top for our growing family but I miss the e150. Welcome!
Thank you for all the information, it is nice to know that you were super happy with your E150, as we do not have a family quite yet...just our dog (85lb Black Mouth Cur) the space sounds like it should be plenty. However, we are planning on incorporating a bench that will turn into a twin size or something like that for the future.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:45 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard! I used to always tent camp growing up and also did a decent amount of backpacking. After just one trip sleeping inside of my van I knew I made the right choice. Completely changes the experience.

If you can, post some pictures of the van you are looking at. That will be the best way to get solid feedback. As far as what you should be looking for... that all depends on what you want to do with it and what your budget is. My only feedback based on your post would be that a 1994 is a 25 year old vehicle at this point. I feel like you could find something at a similar price point that is 10 years newer. There are so many ford econolines out there you can be pretty picky about which one you buy. Also, I would maybe consider an E250 or E350 if you plan on doing a full camper build out.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:49 PM   #5
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Welcome aboard! I used to always tent camp growing up and also did a decent amount of backpacking. After just one trip sleeping inside of my van I knew I made the right choice. Completely changes the experience.

If you can, post some pictures of the van you are looking at. That will be the best way to get solid feedback. As far as what you should be looking for... that all depends on what you want to do with it and what your budget is. My only feedback based on your post would be that a 1994 is a 25 year old vehicle at this point. I feel like you could find something at a similar price point that is 10 years newer. There are so many ford econolines out there you can be pretty picky about which one you buy. Also, I would maybe consider an E250 or E350 if you plan on doing a full camper build out.
Thank you for the feedback!

Here is the link to his Craigslist Ad at the moment...

https://slo.craigslist.org/cto/d/san...024699861.html

I know that I want to redo the interior a bit however, at this point it doesn't look like it needs a ton besides cleaning it up a bit. Let me know your thoughts, and I have been looking around for other Vans and this one seems very reasonably priced in comparison to the others that are listed in my area.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:58 PM   #6
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Another slocal! I would determine how bad that oil leak is. It would be an expensive fix (labor intensive) but it all comes down to what your budget is for the purchase and what you're wanting the van to have. I would also consider all the front suspension parts that wear (ball joints, bushings, shocks, etc.). The initial buy in might be lower than some other vans, but you also dont want to be putting in a bunch of money into wear items that don't increase the value of the van.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:01 PM   #7
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Another slocal! I would determine how bad that oil leak is. It would be an expensive fix (labor intensive) but it all comes down to what your budget is for the purchase and what you're wanting the van to have. I would also consider all the front suspension parts that wear (ball joints, bushings, shocks, etc.). The initial buy in might be lower than some other vans, but you also dont want to be putting in a bunch of money into wear items that don't increase the value of the van.
Hey man! Awesome that there is someone close by on this forum!

Yeah I plan to offer lower than his asking price (Since I have no idea how intensive that oil leak actually is). Now in regards to the front suspension parts etc, I am already planning on doing a UJOR 6" Lift, so won't most of that be replaced anyways?

Thank you for all feedback!
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:07 PM   #8
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If you're planning on putting that much money into it, I would recommend getting an E250 or E350 as a base. Also, maybe get a 97 and newer with the 5.4. The E150 has a lighter duty chassis, but also its a 5 lug rear axle which means you would have to change the rear axle when you do the conversion.

I had a 5.8 in a 95 sportsmobile (2wd) and it struggled on stock size tires. I know they're good motors, just not very powerful. Assuming you'd run 35's with the 6" lift, you would have to run a pretty steep gear and you would still be short on power (in my opinion).
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:11 PM   #9
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If you're planning on putting that much money into it, I would recommend getting an E250 or E350 as a base. Also, maybe get a 97 and newer with the 5.4. The E150 has a lighter duty chassis, but also its a 5 lug rear axle which means you would have to change the rear axle when you do the conversion.

I had a 5.8 in a 95 sportsmobile (2wd) and it struggled on stock size tires. I know they're good motors, just not very powerful. Assuming you'd run 35's with the 6" lift, you would have to run a pretty steep gear and you would still be short on power (in my opinion).
You beat me to it, couldn't agree more. Clearly there is some room in that budget and starting off with that E150 would not be a great route to go.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:12 PM   #10
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If you're planning on putting that much money into it, I would recommend getting an E250 or E350 as a base. Also, maybe get a 97 and newer with the 5.4. The E150 has a lighter duty chassis, but also its a 5 lug rear axle which means you would have to change the rear axle when you do the conversion.

I had a 5.8 in a 95 sportsmobile (2wd) and it struggled on stock size tires. I know they're good motors, just not very powerful. Assuming you'd run 35's with the 6" lift, you would have to run a pretty steep gear and you would still be short on power (in my opinion).
I appreciate your feedback and I will definitely take that into consideration....
We are trying to get the initial purchase for as affordable as we can because we do want to basically rebuild it and I like the conversion that this van already has.... so now I am torn. Guess its time to keep doing research. Our budget on the initial purchase is less than 4k so, as you can imagine. That's been tough for us
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