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.