Help me evaluate this van...


I am taking a hard look at this van and need some advice. I have looked for a couple of years for a van that could be a fun project as a camper van/adventure mobile that fits requirements. I stumbled upon this 1996 E350 with high roof and 5.8L gas engine (195k miles). Any issue I should look for? I have not been able to test drive the van yet but plan to in the next couple of days. List price is $5k. Is this offbase or pretty close to where it should be?



Look for rust. See how it runs. I thought by 96 they had gone to the v10 and the 5.4, but I might be wrong.

Make sure all the aux systems work like ac, power steering etc. check for rust around the windshield too.

Good luck!

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FWIW: I sold this one last June for $6500. Bought it for $2000 from a wholesaler, put about $800 into it. This is the video I added to the CL ad. I'm in Colorado and the market may be different here than where you are at.

Here's the other I did last year. Got $6k out of the regular top. Bought it for $1600 with ABS issues, ended up being the sensor on the rear pumpkin, $12 repair that the dealership quoted the previous owners $1000 to repair, that's why I got it cheap.



Active member
when asking the WORTH of a vehicle IMHO one needs to figure out how much someone else's insurance company would pay you if they hit you and totaled it(no need to ask how i have come to this conclusion)

i'm guessing you would be lucky to get $3k in that scenario based on KBB pricing

insurance companies don't usually pay extra for after mkt add ons like the roof

just be carefull what you spend your hard earned coins for

^^^^A lot of truth in that statement!

My son's 82 BMW was totaled in a hit-and-run. My son had $8,000 into the car and couldn't find a replacement for less than $10k, insurance valued it at $2200. My 2010 E350 I've got roughly $20k into the vehicle and mods combined. If it were ever to be totaled, Allstate will pay me book for the van, they don't care about the lift, interior work, ect.

Market value and book value are two different things. Here in Colorado you will look at tons of junk that have a book value of $4k that people literally want $10k for.


^^^ hates cars
when my sister totaled her very low mile Camaro ss the insurance company said it was only worth 5k. Her hubby immediately took over the operation and told them to find him the same car for that price and he would gladly close the claim. They told him to find 3 examples of camaros in that year with similar mileage and they would up their offer. he ended up getting just shy of twice their original offer.

I have my van insured with agreed value not to exceed 30k. they are well aware of the mods and why it would cost that much to replace it. I highly suggest all van owners with heavy (expensive) mods to look into that type of coverage.

Scotty D

Active member
Vanagon owners have dealt with this for years.
Get stated insurance and have them fight the other company for you when you get hit.
Also you fight any settlement you dont like. I have seen guys battle for a year over a syncro westy that an insurance company thought was worth no more than a 2wd tintop.
Took forever but the guy got his money in the end.