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E150 Handicap Moto Van? - Reliability Questions From A GM Guy

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I've done a lot of research on moto vans over the past few years and have been looking for a Chevy Express/GMC Savana Cargo or even passenger van, but my requirements are that it has the 5.3 and be 2wd. Well, I've been looking far and wide and can't seem to find one that I like for a reasonable price that isn't rusted out or has 250k+ miles.

With that said, I am starting to consider a Ford E-150 handicap accessible/wheelchair van for several reasons. The Ford's are consistently about 2k cheaper than a comparable model/year/condition GM cargo van, and the high-top conversion would make it much more comfortable and give plenty of storage space or even sleeping accommodations.

I just started researching the Ford vans, so I don't know nearly as much about them and what quirks/problems they may have compared to GM (my father is a long time GM mechanic). I've pretty much narrowed it down to 2009 (2WD only for MPG sake) and newer because according to the Ford bulletins they had head/spark plug problems up to the '08 models. However, I'd still like to keep it on a budget, so I'll probably be looking at vans with higher miles.

So, I guess my question for you Ford E150 owners, how reliable are they and what should I look out for if I consider buying one?

Thanks

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I say just go for the chevy, if you like gm enough to label yourself a gm guy and with a dad who is one, any little problem with a ford will just be "oh god stupid ford crap" so save all that and get the vehicle that won't be your red headed step child. Sorry if that sounds overly firm, that's just my opinion on what anyone should do who labels themselves as "____ guy". That goes for all brands of vehicle or bikes, I say stick to your brand unless your a truly open minded person, most say they are, most are not.

should you choose to buy it, I'm sure it will be a good vehicle if it has been taken care of, you sound like you know enough to at least research before buying. Both gm and ford make good work trucks/vehicles so buy whatever makes you happy. Good luck in your search!

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Thanks for the reply. Funny you brought this back up now because I just looked at an '08 Chevy wheelchair van and plan on picking it up tomorrow. It has the 6.0 with 200k, but is clean for a MN vehicle. It's an extended passenger van and has pretty much all the options an Express van can have, but it has a couple big jobs that need to be addressed. The high-top fiberglass roof has a hole and crack in it (it's currently taped-up), so that needs to be repaired. The exhaust manifold has a leak, most likely caused by a broken bolt, so that will be a fun job to fix...... Other than that, it's just tires, replace all fluids, then drive it to see what else it needs. 

Side note; I don't plan on doing much off-roading unless I need to with this van, but this will be used for trips out west in the mountains, so gravel/dirt roads for a few miles to get to a campground is common. Do y'all recommend just some all-season or all-terrain tires?

The biggest hurdle is finding a place to do all this work because our garage door isn't tall enough. I don't know the exact height, but the rear of the roof is about 20 inches taller than the stock roof. I'll try and remember to post pictures tomorrow.

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Awesome! I'd get rid of that striping if you can and maybe some all seasons or all terrains if you can put up with a little extra noise and shorter wear, but if you'll be venturing a bit I'd say use them.Seems like a cool buy. Maintain it and it will probably be great to you!

also, your family member who was a gm mechanic probably has parts and knowledge for you to pick up, absorb the info like a sponge! 

Edited by RawbW
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Nice van...6.0 is a bit thirsty but the extra power is nice to have. I’d recommend regular highway tires. Most all terrain tires get considerably worse gas mileage. Plus vans with limited slip rear diffs are pretty sure footed.

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On 12/7/2017 at 7:59 AM, souliog said:

Nice van...6.0 is a bit thirsty but the extra power is nice to have. I’d recommend regular highway tires. Most all terrain tires get considerably worse gas mileage. Plus vans with limited slip rear diffs are pretty sure footed.

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind regarding the tires... MPG is the reason I wanted the 5.3, but I have been looking for 2 years and couldn't find anything I liked. Avg MPG on the readout showed 12MPG, but not sure how it was driven. I'd like to get the HPTuner for it since I had planned on getting one for other vehicles with similar engine.

The extra height will be nice for room, especially when I decide to pull the 6x12 for bigger trips. I'm still trying to figure out how to use the added space because there are so many different ways to use it.

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Thanks, I'll keep that in mind regarding the tires... MPG is the reason I wanted the 5.3, but I have been looking for 2 years and couldn't find anything I liked. Avg MPG on the readout showed 12MPG, but not sure how it was driven. I'd like to get the HPTuner for it since I had planned on getting one for other vehicles with similar engine.
The extra height will be nice for room, especially when I decide to pull the 6x12 for bigger trips. I'm still trying to figure out how to use the added space because there are so many different ways to use it.

IMO...GM’s 5.3 liter V8 is the ultimate balance of power and fuel economy along with phenomenal durability.
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1 hour ago, souliog said:


IMO...GM’s 5.3 liter V8 is the ultimate balance of power and fuel economy along with phenomenal durability.

Yep, it's too bad more weren't sold in the Express vans... The 4.8 w/ 4l80 is not the most efficient combination. I'll still keep my eye out for one though.

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Small update. Haven't done any repairs yet, but I did use the van for a couple races that were close to home. I like the S-track/L-track that was already in the van. Just got some loop mounts and I can position my bike in various spots without needing a wheel chock.

Looking at stereo/radio options because mine has nothing, I can swap one out for an Oem radio that has an aux input/CD player. I then started considering a double din, but don't have any experience with them. I tend to shy away from anything aftermarket on vehicles, but it would be nice to have aux, GPS, Bluetooth, and a backup camera all on one display. I'm just wondering if it's worth the effort to install one, and I don't want to spend much more than a couple hundred on one if possible. So I may end up just getting the other Oem radio and installing a backup camera separately.

Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome... I think I will really like this van after getting it more setup to my liking. Hoping to pick up a folding bench seat/bed from a Ford econoline van this week. Don't know how I am going to mount it though. 20180428_202053.jpg

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On 12/8/2017 at 10:26 AM, souliog said:


IMO...GM’s 5.3 liter V8 is the ultimate balance of power and fuel economy along with phenomenal durability.

To bad you can only get it is the 1500 express we have one and it is dead reliable.

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4 minutes ago, gedakbx said:

To bad you can only get it is the 1500 express we have one and it is dead reliable.

They're actually available in the 2500 as well. Definitely hard to find, but I have seen a couple.

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