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Old 06-11-2020, 08:41 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Boston
Posts: 5
Newbie - 1994 - Ford E250 - Lots of questions ;-)


So we just purchased our first Van! We are a family of 4, and we live in arllington MA, near boston.

1994, 130K miles, Ford E250.

We plan to use it to go camping in new england this summer ( cape code, white mountain, etc). And next year we will probably do a bigger roadtrip ( may be all the way accross canada to Alaska).
We occasionnaly go to some dirt road, but I dont need a proper 4x4. I conisreding to raise it a little bit to gain some clearance. But the cost to raise it seem really high.
And we will most likely resell the van at the end of next summer at the end of our roadtrip as we will go back to live in europe.

I think I got it pretty cheap ($6K), so I am willing to do all the required maintenance and few upgrades.

I know a little bit about car but I know nothing about this particular van.

pre-purchase inspection revealed the folllowing:
  • ABS light on
  • Tires dry and rotten
  • Rear Main seal is leaking oil ( that could be a big one)
  • Suspension is tight but it's rusty
  • Front Rotor are glazed
  • Alignement

Other thing that I know are absent or not working:
There are no clear water tank and the grey water tank need to be replaced
I don't know if the water pump for the faucet is working.

These are my priority:
  • Tires ( already ordered)
  • Brakes
  • Alignement
How urgent is the main seal?

  • Kids safety: I know seating sideway is not ideal, so what can i do to mitigate the risk and improve my 8 and 10 years old safety while we drive? I am thinking to buy some these safe travel vest. There is a latch that will kind of transform the lap seat belt into a safer setup.
    Alternatively I could weld some support to add a 3 point or 4 point harness.
  • I d like to get the water running, what tank should I buy / where?
  • I'd like to be able to connect a computer, what do I need to do? Should I add solar to the roof? why can't the computer run from the extra battery that is charged while driving?
  • I have all the documentation regarding starcool II and there is a broken thermostat that says Heat, cool, or off. I d like to check if that is working or not and if not is it worth fixing? The dash AC is working when the van is running.
  • Should I replace all light with LED bulb? Will that make a difference for the energy consuption?
  • I have a small leak on the back door, it look like it's just the seal that need to be replace.
  • one small rip on one of the pop up windows that is currently fixed with tap. I'm thinking to ask a local soft top specialist if he can do anything about it.

Do I have my priority right?
Do you reccomend something else?
Do you know a good and affordable mechanic in the arlington / boston area?

Sorry for the swarn of questions (maybe some are very naive) ! But I'm a newbie with this car, and I'm eager to learn!

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Old 06-20-2020, 04:52 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Posts: 387
I'm surprised you haven't received any responses. I don't have any answers for you but I hope my response bumps you back on the radar screen. Good luck.
2005 E350 Super Duty Ext Wheelchair Van
2002 Itasca 35U Motorhome
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:01 PM   #3
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marret's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: FL and VA
Posts: 1,885
Welcome and congrats. You might ask your questions in the appropriate forums.


How bad is the rear engine leak? Many vehicles in the US have leaking rear main seals.

I agree with addressing safety concerns first as you mentioned.

Can’t help with sideways seating. Room for forward facing single seats?

Batteries normally are set up to be charged by the alternator while the engine is running. Should be a charger/inverter to power AC. To plug in AC items, you need an inverter. Charge/power DC directly from battery.

Solar will definitely help, especially with you are powering things while boondocking or want to keep batteries charged while the van is sitting..

Yes on LED.

Many fresh water tanks in vans are under the sofa/gaucho. Gray and/or black tanks more likely to be under the van. Various sources for tanks to fit the space available. Did you check to see if the water pump is getting power? Many in vans are DC.
2008 GMC 3500 Quigley Weldtec 4x4 Savana SMB
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Old 06-24-2020, 11:56 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: San Clemente, CA
Posts: 1,376
Don’t worry about the abs light. In my 93 that light was on and after spending $700 to figure it out, I gave up and put tape over it.

You can charge a computer but you need and inverter. The battery puts out dc power and your laptop needs ac power (or maybe the reverse). You can buy an alternator at Walmart or wherever, which then plugs into the cigarette chargers you’ll find around the van. The van may also have a built in inverted but you’d have to find it and find the switch. Solar would charge the batteries, but you’d still need the inverter. Or you can get a battery pack that contains an inverter like the goal zero yeti and charge that off your alternator or solar.
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:41 AM   #5
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arctictraveller's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,145
Here is some info on the Starcool:
Arctic Traveller
2001 GTRV
Advanced 4wd
Agile Ride improvement package
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