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Old 05-09-2019, 09:40 AM   #1
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'06 E-350 Newbie Conversion Questions

I have picked up a bulletproofed '06 E-350 6.0 extended utility van, two wheel drive.
130k on the chassis, ~10 on the engine work.
Bought it from a local Ford diesel fleet managing company.
He did the engine work and the owner baulked on paying and signed the title over to him.
Engine work: ARP head studs, all new lifters, new head gasket, EGR deleted, STC (?) fittings on high pressure oil pump, rear main seal, rear cover gasket.

I'm being "allowed" to build this under the guise of a camper to transport my wife to her triathlons. My real motivation is to ultimately end up with a 4x4 version to ski the Rockies in winters.

I'm a boat builder/carpenter by trade. I'm putting a "yacht" interior in with serious insulation, ventilation, A/C and heat with all the comforts for both Florida summers and Rocky winters. I'm building it out for ourselves but will hope to parlay this into something my wife has full head room in, a smaller diesel for the economy and 4x4. Read version 2.0 or 3 being a "Box Van"(can I say box van on this forum wit out getting excommunicated?)

I have just enough mechanical/welding skills and plain too little sense to not try to do a 4x4 conversion myself. I'm not attached to building this out 2 wheel drive retaining the option to convert to 4x4 or sell as 2wd as a Florida vehicle and look to the next or next to get my 4x4.

So several of my many questions that I hope you guys can help me with:

I'm always looking for a 4x4 donor. I have a hint of an idea that a number of years of E-series and F-series can cross pollinate. Can someone tell me if this might be true. i.e. can a 2002 F-250 4x4 running gear be used to convert my '06 E-350 to 4x4?

I'm using the '02 F-250 as an example because I found one listed being parted out. I called on the chance that the answer to my first question was yes. He informed me that the front axle had be sold. What he has left was the 7.3L that "he says" he has babied, has a new blower, a/c compressor, new alternator, new starter, chip, was not harmed in the wreck ... on and on. Nice guy so I'm sure the motor is a cream puff! This sitting on a frame with the transfer case, forward and rear drive shafts and the rear axle all for $1,000. I'm assuming that a front axle will be harder to find than a complete donor and I should pass. If it's something I should at least consider is there a market for the 7.3, are they desirable motors and if so what price might make it go away fairly quickly?

Back to my E-350: When the shop removed the body they cut the heads off the two body to frame bolts just behind the rear axle. obviously he had it in the air with every tool and cutter known to man so I figure these bolts and the frame are now as one and I would have no hope of replacing them. Any ideas or recommendations would be appreciated.

If I build this out as two wheel drive should I leave access to the body to frame bolts to facilitate a 4x4 conversion or for any other reason? Guessing that there is no need but figured I'd ask.

If I do proceed with the 2wd version could you guys guide me on provisioning for a 4x4 conversion in the future? The van sits "down by the head" about two inches so I know I want to lift that level. I need new tires and plan to get away from those lovely factory hub caps, so tires and wheels are in it's future. I'd like to know the least lift you can get away with to accommodate 4wd keeping in mind that off roading is not a primary goal for me. Traction in snow and road speed comfort are important. In my limited search it seems like 4 inches is deemed the shortest but would like to know if shorter is potentially an option.
So the question is: What equipment, tire size, wheel size, hubs, brakes etc should I/could I look into for minimum lift to accommodate 4wd in a 2 wd van with minimum replacement of already replaced gear upon 4x4 conversion?
(Long winded question I'd imagine:/)

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

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Old 05-09-2019, 09:45 AM   #2
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Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Posts: 1,157

Here is some reading for you...

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 05-09-2019, 09:52 AM   #3
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Thanks you MSD.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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Working off the top of my head, but I've got some F parts in my front end, done by Salem Kroger back in the day. Leaf spring suspension. A couple of oddities are that the brake discs are non standard since we wanted the rears to match, but there are other ways to achieve that I guess. Had to cut down the driveshaft, and needed to move some bits, notably smallerizing the gas tank (glad that was them and not me).

Might wanna look at the U Joint kit.
2001 Ford E250 Sportsmobile with Salem-Kroger 4x4 conversion
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:20 AM   #5
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Also note F series are 8 x170mm lug pattern and E series are 8 x6.5".....

If you end up with 8 x 170 in the front, rear wheel spacers that adapt 8 x 6.5" to 8 x 170 are readily available.

Something to think about before buying wheels.....

I don't think the body bolts are involved in a 4WD conversion.

Two companies that make lift kits for the van are Action Van in San Clemente CA and Camburg. A lifted 2WD and a rear locker can get you lots of places...
2008 E350 RB passenger 4WD SMB penthouse
2013 KTM 350 EXC
2008 KTM 250 XCF-W
2000 KTM 200 EXC
2003 Honda Element
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:49 AM   #6
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Donít forget Weldtec. They are in the SD area and make an amazing lift kit for a 2WD. Iíd grab that kit and a locker if I didnít have the funds for the full Agile 4x4 treatment.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:46 AM   #7
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Thank you guys! I'll work all this over and will surely have more questions to come.
Thanks Again!
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:44 PM   #8
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I don't want to thread jack or anything, but boywonder/Grampswrx, can you say a little more about the lift and locked differential option? What's the general cost difference between this and 4wd? I know that one wouldn't be overlanding or anything with the lift/locker option, but are there any other advantages to this option? Better MPG, for example? I'm a relative noob myself, and hadn't ever heard about this as an option for the more common snow/ice/mud/forest road type things that I'd be using 4wd for.
2010 E350 V10 RB50 2WD
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:26 PM   #9
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Locker Rear Diff - imho, Locker rear is not advisable if used in snow conditions, LSD is better for snow. If used in mud, sand, dirt then rear locker is good.

Good 4wd combo for snow - LSD rear and locker front.
Beastie 3: 2002 7.3 EB Cargo: Agile TTB, CCV Mid Top, Custom Walk Through, Lots of stuff added.
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:04 AM   #10
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'04 F-250 Super Duty 4x4, a donor for '06 E-350?

I have first right of refusal on a '04 F-250 Super Duty 4x4 with blown 6.0.
Pictures and sellers description attached.
This to convert my '06 E-350 Super Duty 6.0. (Same van from the thread titled:
"'06 E-350 Newbie Conversion Questions"
which I thought I was replying to but not sure now)

From what I have gleaned, with ya'll's help, this should be a fit as a donor ...?

Considering the lift wheels etc would it be right to assume I'd have most of what I need to do the conversion? I do know I can pick up any and all additional needed parts but am interested to know if I can, with modification use the donor's lift, springs, t-case, running gear etc.
Would I use the front and rear axle to keep the ratios the same etc?
Anybody see any downside to this truck for my donor?
It seems like a unicorn to me ... 3k
... and don't get any ideas, I have a deposit on it

"3,500 obo - 2004 Ford F250 4x4 6.0 Powerstroke Turbo Diesel (Not Running)
Read full post. New Bilstein shocks, 6 month old 35x12.5x17 TOYO AT II, Weld forged aluminum 17x10 wheels, new late model mirrors, newly recovered bench seat, new bestop soft bed cover, new Superchips Flashpaq F5 Tuner, leveled. Transmission shifts perfect and was just serviced with new fluids, both filters, and new shift solenoid and harness. Front and rear axles serviced with new fluid, friction modifier, and gaskets.

Not running. Truck was running great and began to build coolant pressure due to head gaskets. I pulled motor to bullet proof and found piston cylinder wear and some pitting and have decided not to continue studding or rebuild.
I have another truck and no time to complete repair.
Grill and all parts removed are in the bed under the cover."
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