Introduction and future (hopefully) build thread - E350SD Ext Cargo

hobovan

'00 E350SD PSD
Hello All. New members just dropping in to say hello, as the Girlfriend and I have been lurking here for info for a while. We've been on the hunt for a van for a bit for two reasons...first, mom has a 28' tow behind camper, but she sold her truck and can't move it anymore and two, we wanted something we could build out and use for the two of us plus pups and maybe the occasional guest to come and join us on adventures. We both travel for work, and when we're home, we like to get outdoors and enjoy ourselves. We're avid mtbers, hikers, campers, divers...trekkers in general. Right now, it's just the two of us and our two pups.

So the hunt...we narrowed it down pretty quickly to the diesel e-series vans. We both have backgrounds in diesel mechanics, and the possibility of towing the camper long distance made it an easy choice. The chevy offerings don't blow my skirt up for offroad, and the new sprinters are just too damned expensive for what we wanted to spend. We really wanted a 7.3, but eyed a couple 6 liters good and hard. We also were back and forth between the regular van (will it be enough space?,) a box truck (will we bury ourselves in a buildout?,) and a short bus (is it TOO big?)

Ultimately, fate made the choice for us, as we found a deal just too sweet to pass up. Posting went up for a '00 extended cargo van, not running, sitting for a year with a diesel. Guy was ready to send the thing to the junkyard, so we went down and took a look at it...turned out to be a relatively clean 7.3...he claimed it was running when it was parked, so we took the chance and ended up walking away with her for seven hundred bones. 245k on the clock.

Now...best guess is that the battery died, they didn't realize it had a second one under the frame, and gave up when it wouldn't start. I say this because they had tried putting a new battery under the hood at some point, but it was gone when we got there. So off to Firestone and away with two Megatron Plus', and the beautiful thing fired right up. About 5 mins in and there was smoke from under the hood. It turned out to be that the vacuum pump was gone (not sure if previously broken or if it was from sitting) and the pulley was crooked and not spinning. Ran out, grabbed some tools, a new pump and a new serp belt, and threw all of THAT in her. Fired the ole' girl back up, and she went all the way to temp without acting up, so I put away the AAA card and jumped in. G/f followed me home, and she made the 60 mile trip home under her own power and without issue.

Plan for right now:
Still waiting on title. Seller had to order a replacement, as he couldn't find the original. After that, reg her. She's already insured.
Dropped a set of paper filters in for the trip (the ones in her were pretty rough) but k&n's are in the mail.
Have to source a new airbox top, as there is a piece missing that means unfiltered air is making it to the turbo. She's parked until I can find.
She's got 1000 miles on a year old oil change. I just filled her up and added power service plus...plan is to toss some Marvel in the oil and run through the tank, then do oil/coolant/fuel filter change.
Strip off old decals
Inspect her
Body work
New locks/keys
New radio
Driver door hinge pins
Weather stripping/windshield wipers
A friend of mine is also the top diesel guy in Ford's network within like 500 miles, so the van is going to him when his schedule allows for a once over so I can add to the list.
Also figure out if the rear is locked and, if not, locker her up.
Up 4 inches.

That should get us to a solid starting point. Once that's done, we're going to start using the van in order to determine the best way to modify and fit her out for our purposes. We also have a little guy that would be used from time to time, especially when we're hoping to host guests. She'll get lifted, ujor conversion if we end up needing it. Rooftop for now, with a sportsmobile popout style possibly in the future, depending.

Any way, here's hoping that this is the beginning of a long adventure. Cheers!

Only one pic for now. More to come.

i64.tinypic.com/25henwx.jpg
 
Last edited:

teehee

Adventurer
Welcome and WOW:Wow1:...did you steal that thang or what! Now you have plenty of room to dump bookoo's of cash into her, Keep us along for the ride.
 

hobovan

'00 E350SD PSD
Made out like bandits. Pretty sure their jaws were on the floor when I drove it away instead of tow. Time will tell if there are any more issues, but we're pretty stoked right now.
 

hobovan

'00 E350SD PSD
Started plucking away on the van today...pulled the old stickers off. We still have to figure out how to clean all the sticky residue off, not sure if it'll be acetone or what. Put some marvel in the oil. Dogs approve. Thought we'd throw up some pics of what we've got going on. Sorry about the filters...used the wrong cam app, and the site won't let me post links yet.

Here's the old vacuum pump when we pulled it out.

i68.tinypic.com/2e3x4le.jpg

Here's her now, with the big bag of sticker trash hanging on the back.

i65.tinypic.com/292vjab.jpg

From the rear, pups checking out the van.

i65.tinypic.com/2hrihaf.jpg

That's all for now. Tracked down a new airbox and it'll be in the mail on Monday. Also ordered some hinge pins from Rock and got some new wiper blades on. Need to take the cowl off to replace the washer tubing though...squirts all kinds of funny directions when you push on the button. Hope you guys are having a great weekend and getting some exploring in.

- h
 

teehee

Adventurer
Lacquer thinner usually works pretty good and I don't think it evaporates quite as fast as acetone, which might help. They do make adhesive removers that dry even slower, to give to to dissolve the glue. Your lucky...my graphics are painted on
 

hobovan

'00 E350SD PSD
Sweet, thanks for the tip. I'll grab that tomorrow at the hardware store. I've tried goof off before, but no luck there.

I hear you on the graphics. All in all, not too bad as long as the residue comes off easily. It was only about 2 hours so far to strip the decals. Ours was rug delivery. What's yours?
 

Bbasso

Expedition Leader
I've heard from multiple people over many years that k&n filters on the 7.3 is bad news, use the stock paper filter for best results it's what I do and I've never had a problem.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Awesome deal... :D At the current exchange rate it's a slightly better price Than I paid for my 97 AMBO. It also needed two batteries (covered by existing warranty), a brake line, and I soon discovered it needed an alternator. Mine was running before I bought it, and has been very good to us. I hope you have as good luck.

I'd highly recommend replacing the brake lines, and inspecting the rear brakes (all for that matter)... my PO didn't replace the rear drums when they were due, and one was paper thin when I got it pulled off to have it inspected. The rear brakes didn't make any death noises which I'd expect before a drum was worn completely away. Having the rear brakes 100% replaced, I realize how much braking power I was missing.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
X2, I've read the same... turbo sucks the oil off them. Stock paper have worked fine.

Where'd you get a new top cover? Has come up a few times for 97ish... not sure if the 2000 is the same.

Keep the posts coming... we look forward to them... also extra Diesel knowledge is always an asset. (Although I've been impressed by the amount already here... but more is better :D)
 

hobovan

'00 E350SD PSD
Bbasso - Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. We're going to send both batteries to the frame rail, and then see what we can do about redesigning the intake a bit.

Bikersmurf - We thought about an ambo, but I was worried about crazy high idle hours and it didn't seem that we'd gain that much, so we passed. Glad to hear you got her straight and she's treating you well. Brakes seem decent, although I'm still grinding rust off the rotors every time I brake. I'm careful to brake early for sure, and she'll be up in the air shortly for new brakes and to get inspected. Also, regarding the airbox, I had to replace it because a piece was broken off on the top side, which meant unfiltered air/dirt/small mammals have a direct line to the turbo. I looked around and you can get them on ebay for $340 shipped, new. That is for the complete airbox with the metal brackets that hold it in place. I don't mind used parts though, so I searched it on car-part.com (make sure the hyphen is in there) and found one complete and in "A" condition with all the tabs and what not for a cool $75, plus 15 to ship it to me. The places that list on there do local pickup too. I opted for that as opposed to JYing it up, as the closest diesel yard to me is a good three hour drive.

Most of the diesels we work on are much much bigger, but the principles are the same any way. Thank you guys for welcoming us.
 

hobovan

'00 E350SD PSD
quick question for you guys...rock auto is telling me these will fit, but i'm under the impression that they will not. Is that correct?

rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=5797092&cc=1362394&jsn=469

Thanks
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Thanks for the link... mine has a crack but is patched up for now. If I'm going on a road trip I'll see if I can find one en-route somewhere. On car-part.com most of them were 2000+ miles away... but they did have them.
 

hobovan

'00 E350SD PSD
Thanks for the link... mine has a crack but is patched up for now. If I'm going on a road trip I'll see if I can find one en-route somewhere. On car-part.com most of them were 2000+ miles away... but they did have them.
Is your crack in the lid or the base? My lid has a missing chunk, but if your crack is in the base, I'll mail you mine.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
quick question for you guys...rock auto is telling me these will fit, but i'm under the impression that they will not. Is that correct?

rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=5797092&cc=1362394&jsn=469

Thanks
Those look like the mirrors that others on here have modified to fit F350 mirror heads onto. Others should be able to comment since they know them very well.


Our Ambos are maintained very well with a no expense spared mentality. All parts are repaired or replaced at regular intervals even if they're still operating, and tires are even replaced at or before 50% wear... the up side to buying a government maintained fleet vehicle which lives depend upon... they'd be so sued if a patient died because of a breakdown... preventable or not. Even the legal bill would cost more than the extra maintenance costs.
 

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