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Old 01-14-2015, 09:15 PM   #1
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2002 Ford E250, 128k Miles - Life expectancy?

I am currently looking into getting a 2002 Ford E250 SMB, gas with 128,000 miles. It was very well maintained.

I was wondering if anyone with a similar van can share their experiences with me.

I work remotely and plan to use the van for weekend trips. Not really as a daily driver. Based on your experience with your van, how long do you think I can sustain this type of lifestyle with the mileage it has now white having it normally maintained along the way.

Can you share me some experiences with your van; the good and bad. What are its limitations as far as how far you can push it to drive?

How long til I start experiencing major problems?

I'm hoping to get a lot of good years out of this van.

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Old 01-14-2015, 10:04 PM   #2
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Re: 2002 Ford E250, 128k Miles - Life expectancy?

It could last you at least another million miles.

Many of the common problems seem to be more age related than miles. Common items that may fail at that time may include heater/radiator hoses, fuel pump, and ignition coils. I wouldn't consider any of them really major, and not everyone will have to replace those parts. But, labor can add up if you don't want to wrench yourself.

To answer your question "how far can you push it".... All I can offer is my van has has 401,000 miles, I tow heavy (up to 18,000 pounds) about half of those miles, and I spend a lot with the gas pedal mashed to the floor. It's spend hours on end cruising well into triple digit speeds in summer dessert heat, and idled for days to provide stationary power. It's been jumped high enough to bury the bumper on landing (usually intentional, once not so much) and un-installed 600' of guardrail in Illinois. It keeps on running, well enough I think it's silly to consider a newer van for now.

As far as negatives - The doors and some of the interior trim panels have developed squeaks rattles with age. I wish the transmission had more gears because when full loaded sometimes it would benefit having some in-between gears. I also wish I had PTO on the transmission like the TorqueShift transmissions have, so I could run a larger generator off it since its quieter than my inverter generator is at full load. And double OD would be nice for empty driving. Those last three things could be remedied at some point by installing a Allison transmission. But there's some camping upgrades I'd like to get done first, along with installing an F550 front axle.

2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:03 AM   #3
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Re: 2002 Ford E250, 128k Miles - Life expectancy?

I had a 5.4 in my last van, a 2002 E350. I'm thinking that is probably the engine in the one you're looking at. I had an engine failure (rod bearing) at about 140k, but that was VERY unusual. Don't let the occasional internet horror story scare you. Remember that people complain on the internet about problems with vehicles, but don't get online and say anything when they are running ok usually. The Ford van is probably the most durable vehicle on the planet. That's why they are the choice of pretty much every fleet, rental company, moving company, RV converter, etc. They are plentiful, inexpensive to repair and just downright tough. And I'm NOT a Ford guy! I've been driving them at work for about 15 years and our work vans get beat on daily. Hundreds of starts per day on the starters, stop and go driving, drag racing more or less. They keep going. The only thing I would expect to have to replace, other than basic maintenance stuff, is the transmission. Some last 150-200k and that's about it. Others go further but I think you're on borrowed time, especially if you don't know the exact history of the vehicle including what it might have towed and where it was driven.

Good luck, I don't think you can go wrong.


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Old 01-15-2015, 12:44 PM   #4
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Re: 2002 Ford E250, 128k Miles - Life expectancy?

Originally Posted by carringb
[A]nd un-installed 600' of guardrail in Illinois. It keeps on running, well enough I think it's silly to consider a newer van for now.
Looking forward to hearing that explained in campfire some day...

From the million mile van Toledo newspaper article:

"Mr. Schell's van has an automatic transmission and a 5.4-litre V-8 engine."
2002 E350 ext.; 160K; 7.3L; 4R100 (w/4x4 deep pan & filter); 4x4 conv. w/2007 F250/F350 coil frnt axle (oppos. dual Bilstein press. shocks cured DW) diff chg from 3.55 to 3.73 (bad!); BW1356 t.c. (bad!); LT265/70R17/E Michelin LTX M/S2; Engel MT60 Combi Fridge-Freezer; 4 BP 380J pv panels; Auragen 5kw AC gen. in top alt. position; Webasto Dual-Top; Voyager top. 1995 5.8L EB Bronco, bone stock.
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:54 PM   #5
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Re: 2002 Ford E250, 128k Miles - Life expectancy?

We put almost 300,000 on our old 1990 Chevy van. We already have 120,000 on our 2008 E350, V10 with Quigley 4x4. It seems to run and drive quite well. Quigley said they have several vans with their 4x4 conversions running with 300,000 to 400,000 miles on them. We have spent about $9,000 on service, tires, parts, etc. in the last 7 years. New ball joints and spark coils were the most expensive items ( tires also I guess). Also just spent $4,000 on an interior refresh including batteries and lots of other stuff. Still, much less than another $100,000 for a new one. Only downside to an older van is the increased potential for a breakdown in the middle of a trip. Had to remove the dash from the old Chevy van in New Mexico on a Sunday once. Got it back together though.
2008 Ford E-350 Quigley 4x4 V10 - 164,000 miles
RB50, PH Top, Dual AGM Group 27 Deka, 2000 Tripplite Inv., No Propane or Water Systems
Van Weight 8,100 pounds, added one rear leaf spring, BFG AT KO LT265/70R17 E Tire press 50psi.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:54 PM   #6
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Re: 2002 Ford E250, 128k Miles - Life expectancy?

Not unusual for most cargo vans to run up to 300,000 miles, but that's with commercial use. I think 250,000 miles is pretty realistic IMO.
2002 Chevy 3/4 ton Explorer Conversion Van with Quigley IFS.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:27 PM   #7
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I'm picking up a 2002 Ford E-250 on Saturday morning. It clocks in at 181k and I thought it was a little high. Of course, when I called my mom to tell her the news that I finally found the van of my dreams, she told me I was in for a mess of maintenance and breakdowns. Keep in mind, she has no idea what she's talking about but still... not what you want to here.

Finding this thread put me right at ease and this...

Originally Posted by carringb View Post
un-installed 600' of guardrail in Illinois
Oh, man. I got a good chuckle out of that! Thank you!
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:31 AM   #8
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My SMB is a 1998 E250 (2WD) 5.4l with 113,000 miles on it. I'm the second owner and have all receipts since new. Granted, most of the miles are highway miles (multiple cross-country trips), but the van has been remarkably problem-free for me and the original owner. There have been a few small things, and I've also done preventative maintenance probably beyond what is necessary (e.g., replacing the starter and water pump while they were still good), but it's never left me stranded or failed to start, except for one time with a bad starter solenoid (easy and cheap fix, and I was still able to drive it home from New Hampshire with the bad part). The E-vans are built to survive as fleet vehicles, being driven hard by whomever happens to pull the key that day. The mere fact that there are so many older ones still on the road is a testament to their longevity IMO.

My dad is a contractor and has always had Econolines. He's on a 2012 now, but he sold his previous 1995 with something like 150k on the odometer. Still ran fine, he just wanted a newer one.
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:04 AM   #9
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I'll hit 450,000 this week!

Engine and Transmission still doing great. Hopefully my new E450 axle will be my last.
2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:22 AM   #10
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I have a 96 E250 I bought in 08 when I started my company. When I shutdown and moved it went to my brothers company, now it is parked for the moment till I give it a use again. It shows 280,000 some miles, and still starts every time, except that one time the starter went out... and rides like new.

It spent it's life as a work van so it wasn't babied, but I know the company I bought from is a stickler for fleet maintenance. As my brother said a work van is like a tank, only faster.

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