1989 FORD E-350 4x4 Diesel Camper Van


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I never thought I would have to write this ad! We built this van as a keeper with no expense spared, all top quality components. Basically I added every awesome feature I could think of that I ever wanted. So then why am I selling it?? - We originally built it to take 6 people and all their gear to Baja surfing and other trips around the West Coast, it sleeps a couple very comfortably with a full + some size bed. You can sleep a small child easily as well but now we have 2 kids and that doesn't quite work so well! I have also since moved to Europe and not sure when I will actually be back to use it. I originally planned on a 2 year stay so held onto it. But 2.5yrs later and no return plans it doesn't make sense to keep it any longer, although my friend that is keeping it for me and using it regularly will be super bummed! We now have a VW Westfalia and a MB Unimog, so automotively are spoiled with cool Euro vehicles.

1989 FORD E-350 4x4 Diesel Sportsmobile Clone
155,000 Miles on chassis - New engine

Near new 7.3 liter IDI diesel engine (~20k miles!) - SMOG Exempt in CA
Rebuilt C6 Automatic Transmission
New Gear Vendors Overdrive Unit (~3k miles!)

4x4 / Suspension & Tires etc:
Borg Warner 1356 Manual Transfer Case
2wd + 4x4 High & 4x4 Low Range
Dana 60 Solid Front and Rear axles
Spicer manual locking front hubs
Bulletproof leaf spring 4x4 conversion done by North County Gear in Escondido, CA
Deaver Suspension in Santa Ana, CA re-arched and added leafs to rear springs
Bilstein Shocks all around
Rear driveline rebuilt and balanced
Rear anti-roll bar for stability
4x Brand new BF Goodrich All Terrain KO2s - (95% tread) 265/75 R16
1x Full size BF Goodrich All Terrain spare - (50% tread) - 265/75 R16
Sky Manufacturing (SORD) Dana 60 Crossover steering kit

Fiberglass Hi-Top with steel re-inforcement frame underneath
Full length custom aluminum roof rack - fits Yakima accessories
Additional front aluminum rack for even more cargo space
Go Rhino Bull Bar - made for E-series never seen another one like it
Hella 500 Driving lights - switched with hi-beam foot switch
Hella 500 Fog Lights
Ford Alloy Wheels
11 Flood lights all around (4 right, 3 rear, 4 left) - makes it easy to setup a tent!
2 Front windshield mounted spotlights
Hand held hardwired spotlight in drivers cab
Draw-Tite Trailer Hitch Receiver - tow stuff or carry your motorcycle!
Rear door mounted full size spare tire
2 x CARR Hoop Truck steps for the passengers to get in/out

Electrical System:
150 Amp Leece-Neville Alternator (recently re-built)
VDO Voltage guages + Amp guage
105 Amp Hours house / leisure battery (2x Deep Cycle)
100W Solar Panel
Morningstar SunSaver 20L solar charge controller
Vanner Bravo - 1000W 110v power inverter + 50 Amp multi-step charger + 2x hardwired outlets
External 110v shore power inlet by driver door
Intellitec Bi-directional isolator relay delay diesel-2
Intellitec Big Boy 500 amp Battery Isolator Relay (aux start button as well to parallel all 4 batteries)
Bogart Engineering Tri-Metric TM 2030-RV Battery Monitoring system
Hardwired Garmin GPS V - great for trip stats and has basic maps
Cobra CB Radio (+ weather stations) with dedicated speakers above driver / passenger
Rear 12v outlets
Battery cutoff switches for starting and house/leisure batteries
2x new starting batteries with warranty (Autozone)

Alpine CDA-7875 w/ remote and AUX in for your phone/ipod
2x Jensen A1000 External Amplifiers
6 Interior speakers provide balanced sound for all passengers
Fronts are Crunch 6.5" w/ separate tweeters
Middle of the van has Polk Audio 6.5" 2-way
Rears are 6x9 JBL
2 switchable Bazooka Marine M690 6x9 side door speakers - for chilling at the beach/bay!

Camper Features:
Essentially a EB-50 Sportsmobile-type layout + middle captains chair
Cabinetry all high quality birch plywood w/ light grey laminate (custom, not by Sportsmobile)
3 rotating captains chairs - cloth for easy cleaning
Seats 6 with 6 seatbelts
Full width rock & roll bed - folds out to full size+ bed
Fully insulated
Norcold 12v Fridge - Med. size / same as SMB installed at the time
10 Gallon water tank
ShurFlo automatic pressure sensing pump
Sink / folding faucet
Portable single burner stove - put on counter or outside
Fantastic Fan Roof Vent - 3 speeds w/ thermostat, motorized opening/closing (w/ manual override) + rain sensor (auto closes)
All camping / radio / non driving lights run off house / leisure battery
Curtains on all windows
Divider curtain behind front seats good for #vanlife & stealth camping
Reading lights above all back seats
Dome lights above cargo area - 2 brightness settings
Kitchen light above sink area rewired with LEDs
Thetford Porta-potti
Toiletry / Kitchen organizers / hooks
Large central trash bin in cabinet
Plenty of other cabinet / closet storage shelves
Side / back door storage compartments
Lockable storage compartment above passenger

On-board Air System:
VIAIR 450C air compressor - 100% duty cycle 150PSI - hardmounted inside van
VIAIR 9011 pressure switch 150psi
Quick disconnects on both sides of the vehicle to fill all tires
25ft Coil air hose

Bonus Stuff:
VDO analog clock originally from a Porsche 924
Tire chains for the snow
RARE - BWI slding windows with screens on side doors - I have seen a ton of vans and never seen these on another!
Sweet TURBO badges from a SAAB 900 Turbo (might add 10 horsepower!?)
Jack and tire iron
4 drink holders on the doghouse
Original FORD keys! + some dupes for you
Cargo net so you can fill the back behind bench seat and not have things fall forward
All manuals you will need to maintain it, Ford, Chiltons, Haynes etc..

Other stuff done in recent years (< 10k miles):
New brake master cylinder
New brake booster
Brake lines recently (pads still have plenty of life)
2 new fuel caps proper diesel green
Hella dual tone horns
New neutral safety switch
New accelerator cable
Rebuilt the entire steering system - new steering pump, steering gear and hoses
New fuel hoses
New lift pump
New custom speedometer cable by Foreign Speedo Inc. San Diego, CA

Sounds awesome but what does it need? - Every van needs something!:
Rust beginning to form at top of A-pillars, common weakspot on 4x4 vans over time
One front wheel bearing needs tightening / possibly replacing - new bearing set included
Tie-rod ends and fresh alignment - new tie-rod/ends included
Front springs could lose a leaf - are overly stiff unless you are fully loaded
Rear seat upholstery is starting to tear a bit
Some laminate chips
CB Radio needs the Firestik antenna re-installed (removed to add solar panel)
AC needs recharge and has a leak somewhere, works great when charged
Has rear AC/Heat but heat is not hooked up anymore
Reverse camera installed, but no display hooked up
Fog light wiring needs looking at - currently non-functional
Battery seperator relay seems to connect and disconnect more than it used to when charging (likely just a wiring issue to the controller)

Yes it is older, but almost all rebuilt - Plus everyone knows the '75-'91 body style is the best looking!
A lot of van for just $24,500.

I have tried to be as complete as possible, I can answer any questions over email or Skype/FaceTime Audio. Van is also available for viewing in San Diego, CA. No hurry to sell, and no I won't take 15k, I will hang onto it and put a pop-top in for the kids to sleep up top! ;-)

Thanks for looking! Contact me if interested and actually have the money and family member approvals!



New member
It's Diesel + It's 4x4 + It's a Full Camper - what more could you want! Turns heads and gets compliments where ever it goes.

Fully built and speced out like a 100k rig for a fraction of the cost, no it was not built by Sportsmobile but is a custom build. Most of the mechanicals have been refreshed over the time I have owned it (14+ years) Originally a Leader Industries Ambulance, it was converted to 4x4 around the turn of the century and everything checked over and transmission rebuilt. It then spent 2 years in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico slated for 4x4 rescue operations, when the ambulance service folded it was brought back to SoCal and I picked it up in 2004. I then used it as-is and slowy converted it to a full campervan with Sportsmobile-style layout and features over the next basically 10 years - are projects ever done??

This vehicle has been well maintained and constantly improved. Overall the body is in very good condition other than a couple of spots on the A-pillars that I mention below that do need addressing soon. There are a other minor scratches that could be touched up as well as the van has been used for it's designed purpose and even driven the length of Baja and back (1,000 miles each way). The rest of the body and paint is in good shape as you would expect in California. The engine is nearly new and runs perfectly. C6 Transmission shifts crisply and properly. I ran a previous Gear Vendors Overdrive unit on it for 10 years, but I had bought it used so the reverse mechanism finally wore out on it. So I have just replaced it with a brand new unit and it works perfectly and has maybe 3k miles on it.

The original engine ran strong, but here is what happened. A coolant hose split and it overheated, so that was one thing. Then not too long later some quickie lube place overfilled the oil and it was dripping out and may have blown the oil cooler out! Right after these events I went away traveling for 6 months and came back and not long thereafter there was oil in the coolant! Not good - but could be the headgasket or the oil cooler, or could even be cavitation (look it up). Would have to pull the engine to fix it most likely, so instead of pulling the old engine and throwing good money after bad to fix it since I had no history on it, I decided to just replace it with a new one, so that's what I did as once you are pulling the engine the labor wasn't much more. At the same time I put in new Ford glowplugs and a new Ford oil cooler, new radiator, new fan clutch and new block heater when it was installed. I have recently rebuilt the glow plug controller and the van starts on the button as it should. So the new engine went in at 134,000 miles so there is maybe 20k on it and I have kept the proper supplemental coolant additive (SCA) in it to prevent cavitation as well as regular oil changes and maintenance.

The 4x4 system works as it should and allows full control on and off-road using manual locking hubs and high and low range. With the on-board air system you can air down and drive on the beach in the middle of no where Mexico and be sure to be able to air back up without driving at 30 miles an hour to the nearest Pemex which is 2 hrs away! The roof rack is bolted to a steel frame that is under the fiberglass top. It will carry all your gear and kayaks, surfboards, windsurfers and stuff for an awesome trip with your whole family or group of buddies. You can do pull ups on it and walk around on it without a problem. When you get to the beach, use the floodlights to setup a tent or check the waves.

Camper systems all work properly, fridge works great and keeps the beers cold. Powerful power inverter to run your laptop etc. or you could put a small microwave back in, I had one for while but it didn't get much use. Van is fully insulated with fiberglass in the walls, fiberglass and reflective in the ceiling. The doors have storage so not in there. The fan works awesome and creates plenty of cooling flow and you can keep it open when driving. It will automatically shut as well if it rains! All surfaces are easy to clean and hold up to outdoor life well. Are the cabinets as good as an actual Sportsmobile? I guess it depends on the year, they used to use MDF and those reportedly haven't held up so well over the years, these are solid birch and are totally solid. Though SMB has made many more vans and undoubtedly slightly better design as well as fit and finish.


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It is approx. 5'3", probably not standing height for most, but makes living / camping a lot nicer!