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What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - Printable Version

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What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - flushingdemons - 05-21-2020

Hello, first time poster here. I'm in the market for a used conversion cargo van. Looking to go from coast to coast and back for a few months late this summer. I think I found what I'm looking for but also not confident in my ability to recognize potential landmines. I know it's a vague question but do those with experience have advice on some questions I should be asking as I'm going through the specs of a vehicle? What are the bottom lines for solar/batteries, AC/heating, fridges, water tanks/pumps, etc? More specifically, does anyone have experience with an early 2000s Ford cargo van? I've found one that is on the top of my list and I'm ready to make moves but I'm trying to ask the right questions before stroking a check. Thanks!


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - doublegregg - 05-21-2020

all i no is bob wells and others have commented on spark plug threads being insufficient in those ford cargo vans... i forgot which kind of engine, but the years you're looking for sound like that's the years for that issue....... but i guess if the van is in good shape and has been taken care of, but you are saying you're not good at seeing what is good or bad in a particular vehicle.


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - nature lover - 05-21-2020

ditto - The above comments. I am confident that some more posts will soon be on this thread (from those much smarter than me) about what years ford engines are prone to the spark plug problem. As to all the other questions go to Bob's CRVL youtube channel for a huge library of videos addressing each of the things you mentioned. Or search his web page and threads on this forum for the answers -"seek and ye shall find". I hope all goes well with you and maybe we will see each other on the road. By the way - where is home base now?


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - slow2day - 05-21-2020

(05-21-2020, 12:16 PM)flushingdemons Wrote:  Hello, first time poster here. I'm in the market for a used conversion cargo van.....What are the bottom lines for solar/batteries, AC/heating, fridges, water tanks/pumps, etc? More specifically, does anyone have experience with an early 2000s Ford cargo van?

A conversion van is different from a converted cargo van.  A conversion van is a fancy passenger van with larger windows, upgraded interior and seating,etc. A converted cargo van with solar, tanks,etc. is what you seem to be looking for. With summer coming up and with the popularity of  vanlife, finding one already fitted out and in decent shape will be chancey and you will probably need to pay a lot.

As for early 2000's Ford vans, Google "Ford sparkplug problems". Lots of info on the subject.


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - flushingdemons - 05-21-2020

(05-21-2020, 01:31 PM)doublegregg Wrote:  all i no is bob wells and others have commented on spark plug threads being insufficient in those ford cargo vans... i forgot which kind of engine, but the years you're looking for sound like that's the years for that issue....... but i guess if the van is in good shape and has been taken care of, but you are saying you're not good at seeing what is good or bad in a particular vehicle.
 Ok, thank you. That's helpful and something I will inquire about. My weakness lies more in not knowing what a good value is in an already converted van. Less about the vehicle specs and more about the tiny home in the back (i.e. solar power, climate control, water, kitchen, etc.). With no experience living in a van, I can look at a lot of pictures and say "yep! looks good to me!" but I know in reality, there's got to be deal breakers to living in a van that I don't know about yet.


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - flushingdemons - 05-21-2020

(05-21-2020, 01:49 PM)nature lover Wrote:  ditto - The above comments.  I am confident that some more posts will soon be on this thread (from those much smarter than me) about what years ford engines are prone to the spark plug problem.  As to all the other questions go to Bob's CRVL youtube channel for a huge library of videos addressing each of the things you mentioned.  Or search his web page and threads on this forum for the answers -"seek and ye shall find".  I hope all goes well with you and maybe we will see each other on the road.  By the way - where is home base now?
Ok thanks for the tip. I'm sure there's a ton of threads on the forum addressing similar questions. I'm just being lazy and cluttering the forum with the same repetitive questions!  Tongue Thanks for the well wishes. I feel the dream getting closer! South Carolina is home.


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - flushingdemons - 05-21-2020

(05-21-2020, 01:50 PM)slow2day Wrote:  A conversion van is different from a converted cargo van.  A conversion van is a fancy passenger van with larger windows, upgraded interior and seating,etc. A converted cargo van with solar, tanks,etc. is what you seem to be looking for. With summer coming up and with the popularity of  vanlife, finding one already fitted out and in decent shape will be chancey and you will probably need to pay a lot.

As for early 2000's Ford vans, Google "Ford sparkplug problems". Lots of info on the subject.
Thank you for the terminology run down. I'm working on memorizing the jargon and being more specific. But yes, a converted cargo van is more along the lines of what I'm looking for. You're right about an already outfitted/decent shape option being dicey. Those options are plenty but are well out of my price range...unless I took out a loan...which, after some research, seems near impossible to do. But I've found a few creative, budget-friendly options for sale and this Ford e250 seems like the perfect fit/too good to be true...that's why I'm on the forums! I'm searching for "the catch"...gotta be something I'm missing because if not, I think I've found my new home!


What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - rvwandering - 05-21-2020

Welcome to the CRVL forums flushingdemons! You are welcome to post links to the vans you're considering so that forum members can point out the pros and cons of each one.

To help you learn the ins and outs of these forums, this "Tips, Tricks and Rules" post lists some helpful information to get you started.

Most of our rules boil down to two simple over-riding principles: 1) What you post should provide good information (like your introductory post), and 2) Any response to someone else's post should make them feel glad they are part of this forum community.

We look forward to hearing more from you.


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - highdesertranger - 05-22-2020

the Ford spark plug issue went on for ten years. from 1998-2008. the problem could happen on any of the Ford V-8s and the V-10. not every engine has a problem and many never do. however many did and you never have a warning the engine could seem fine one day and blow a plug the next. a new engine could have a problem right off the bat or the engine could have a couple hundred thousands miles on it and blow one out, you just never know.

BTW many of the shops doing the repairs did so in a sub par manner to maximize profit, Dealers are included in this group. so if someone tells you "it has been fixed", that is not necessarily a good thing.

BTW Welcome

highdesertranger


RE: What should I be looking for when choosing a van? - crofter - 05-22-2020

Welcome to the forum!

What you need will depend on you.

The RAM cargo vans are wider and taller, and you can get them used and do a basic build yourself. They are front wheel drive. Is that a deal breaker for you?

Do you really need all the fancy stuff for your travels, or can you do it on the cheap and use more of your outdoor skills. For example, do you need an elaborate bathroom setup, or can you get by with a bucket, some garbage bags for the toilet, and a basin bath for the bathing?

Same for the kitchen setup. Bins work great for food storage and bugs and rodents can't get into your food.

Choices, choices, but the only one you need to please is you.

-crofter