For Sale: The Cheap Starter Van that Changed his Life (SOLD!!)
THE VAN HAS BEEN SOLD, BUT I’M LEAVING THE POST UP BECAUSE IT’S SO HELPFUL
Today’s post is a little unusual, it was originally posted to the CRVL Forum as a classified ad. I was so impressed with the owners story and the work he had done I offered to post it here on the blog in the hopes that he can sell it. I tend I get emotionally involved with some of my vehicles and I hate the idea of them ending up in a junk yard being parted out, and I got the impression that the seller felt exactly that way about this van.
As I read his story I understand why he felt that way, at a low point in his life this van came along and turned everything around. That’s very similar to my story so I felt obligated to this van to see it go to a new home. If you are somewhere in the Pennsylvania area, and you need a way out of a bad situation, here is the answer to your prayers dropped into your lap!! Give the seller an email and let him, and this van, be a blessing to you. His email is twomenind
About this van. This van is a fourth generation Econoline 250 built in March of 1992 and the VIN is 1FTHE24Y0NHA92459. It has the 4.9L inline 6 with an OverDrive automatic transmission. The odometer reads 150K. This is the best engine ever built by Ford, it’s super reliable and gets good MPG. I fired it up and took it out on the road today. It runs very strong and the oil and coolant temps during and after an hour of running are all good. The transmission feels strong with no indication of slipping. The power steering works well and has new lines I installed recently. Most of the brake lines I replaced recently. The brakes work great and holds a hard petal.
For the $1000 purchase price I will put in a new heater core, tune up and fix anything that might be a safety or reliability issue including any body rust. (there is non-structural body rust along the bottom edges but there is no frame or suspension rust). I’ll even paint it if you prep it. If you want to take it, as is, you can have it for $700
I purchased it from a plumber in 2008 to live in because I had been living in my car for about 6 months and car-living had been hell on earth!! I had just graduated from college with $72,000 in debt, a crashed economy, and 2 practically useless degrees. I found myself competing with guys that had 5 to 10 years in the industry for entry level positions. I ended up working for 10 hours a day trying but not succeeding at making my debt payments. Living in this van made it possible to live though five eastern PA winters with little to no heat and pay off my debts in 5 years and finally get a leg up in life.
It was January and I had been freezing to death in my car, so staying warm was the number one thing on my mind. I emptied it out and encased the back in sheeting then added 2.5 inches of polyiso insulation and filled all the gaps with spray foam. The average R value should be about R-20. During the deep of winter I would run a propane heater for 5 minutes tops, then go to bed. My body heat would keep it comfortable the rest of the night.
I covered the insulation in carpeting which improved sound reduction and it’s really convenient as a base layer of Velcro. I put Velcro (hook side) on the backs of everything like pop-lights, lighters, carbon monoxide alarm, clock, etc and just stuck-em right to the walls and ceiling, including a string of led Christmas lights. It was very convenient to be able to re-position everything at will.
Then I built the bed, shelves, and counter inside. Having everything build inside the insulation shell eliminates conductive heat loss and condensation. As you can see from the pictures I never finished painting or put on the counter top. The red webbing nicely keeps everything on the shelves while driving. There is a hanging open closet next to the bed if you’re into such things.
The floor and bed top is covered in that interlocking rubberized padding that people use in garages. Under the bed panels are storage compartments.
There is a solar panel, controller and wiring. I only used it to run led lights and a fan during the summer. You’ll have to get batteries if you want to run it. I never got crazy with the electric as I found that less is more. I don’t watch TV etc so I have no need to run all that stuff. The food I ate didn’t need to be refrigerated so no worries there. I also had a cubical job at the time so I was able to keep a lot of stuff, battery charger, and a fridge etc at work.
Some people are worried that I used OSB and carpeting because of concerns about them off-gassing. After 7 years the off-gassing is minimal (I can’t smell it anymore). Plus, a counter-top and latex paint on anything else exposed would all but eliminate any minimal off-gassing, if there is any at all. In my opinion, it’s not a concern.
The cab interior is exactly as I bought it. I figured that if I left it looking crappy people would leave it alone. Used parts are easy to come by, so I can get a passenger seat and other things no problem if you want them.
I am in North East Pa and its located in the 18826 zip code. There is some body rust. For an interested buyer I will fix it up. I’m a mechanic and have a garage now, so getting it in good shape is not a problem. I’d rather see it used then parting it out.