2009 E250 Family Adventure Van Build - Stella

Bobfab

Observer
The 2v 4.6 is about as bullet proof of a V8 you can get, won’t be the quickest but they never die. Nice find.
Thanks for that insight! When you look in these forums there are so few gas builds and never any 4.6l, so I was a little weary about that. It feels tight and powerful enough at least with the van empty. One thing I love about this rig so far is parts availability! There are simply so many still on the road and cheap parts too!

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Bobfab

Observer
played with the Android receiver last night and for the life of me cannot get the keyboard functionality to work, making it almost worthless... so back to amazon it goes and another Chinese android unit is on the way. Also got the dash kit in hand, which doesnt quite fit the receiver (too small a hole). Also i love how Ford changed the antenna plug, i bought an adapter which didnt work out either. So that too goes back to amazon.... one step forward, three steps back.

factory radio plug:


factory antenna connection:


Failed adapter:


on a positive note, i picked up my transit bench seats from the shipping depot and they are really nice! Hopefully some photos to come soon.

A question for E-van owners: How long do the dome lights stay on when you leave the car? I have a feeling this wheelchair controller thing has a function to keep the vechicle "on" for a fixed amount of time so the lights stay on. It is very strange...
 

Bobfab

Observer
Hi everyone, the first step in motivating myself is always making an update post to try to get some encouragement. Alot of updates since the last post!

another motivating factor saw one of these at the RV dealer when dropping off our trailer for consignment:


Hows that for 200k$ worth of motivation to build something on the cheap!

First off. Finally got the correct antenna adapter and a working Chinese Android head-unit. This fine piece of electronics has no name brand and was sourced from Ebay: I also got the metra dash kit which doesnt actually fit a double din. Alot of shaping with the dremel and sander and we got it to fit.



All installed and we are hard at work watching some live String Cheese:


Next we turned our attention to some family friendly seating. After scouring the internet, Facebook Market and CL; I decided i simply wasnt going to fuss with putting strange seats in the vehicle. I looked long and hard at minivan seats, looked at some junkyard seats and really anything that i thought could bolt in easy. After deciding the kids are worth it, we splurged on some 2019 transit takeouts with rails. They were pricey but had all the car seat anchors, seatbelts and other hardware we were looking for. We ended up spending a little shy of 500$ to get them to our door, however they were in brand new, never used condition. I think we did pretty well. In order to get them mounted, we decided to do some exploratory surgery and rip our the vinyl sheet flooring to see what we were working with:




Test fit:



Since the plywood was in decent shape and glued down really well, we decided to notch it for the seats and leave it in place for the future build: Enter the oscillating tool (wish i bought one of these years ago!)


and Ta-da! Seats are in. With that taken care of we could start to use the van and do some day trips to the park enjoying the fall weather: This is what this project is all about: great day trips and long vacation get-aways!




With the maiden family voyage complete. We realized we needed to turn our attention to some items:
- The vibration was horrible about 40mph. I ordered a new "used" driveshaft and u-joints
- The sound deadening was non-existent - This is going to need some work.

So this is the new shaft being torn down with new U-joints: Pro-tip, they are different between the front and back... dont make the same mistake i did while installing!





With 3 kids, 2 dogs, grad school, a demanding job and oodles of other hobbies it took about 5x longer to install than i was hoping! But eventually got it in! Vibration gone!! Thanks to all who assisted. I wanted to make note of two repercussions:
- While the shafts were the same length and swapped fine, the old one was about 1" larger in diameter, do you think that matters? Is that a "superduty" thing?
- The van now makes a bit of a clicking / clunk, when it gets shifted out of park. My research indicates not catastrophic, any thoughts guys?

So to test the shaft, I did about 40 miles to get to a biking spot (French Creek PA; holy rock gardens!)



So nice to just throw the bike in the van and also to get changed out of cycling gear in a dry, clean place!

Another question for the masses, the van wanders big time on the highway, perhaps as a result of the initial accident. I had it "aligned" by the seller and while it drives okay at lower speeds, it wanders like crazy at highway speeds. Ideally these vehicles should be able to do long distance highway cruises pretty effortlessly. I am seeking to a reputable alignment shop to really dig in and tell me if anything is wrong.

Also another issue, this silly handicap interlock is occasionally preventing starting in park and locking out shifting. I am sure hoping removal will alleviate these issues.
 

PhillySMB

Member
Build is coming along nicely! Looks like you are located in my general area... I’m guessing that Revel van was up at Fretz RV? And yes, French Creek has way too many (sharp) rocks for my taste when biking.


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Bobfab

Observer
Okay minor updates here since I am bored at work covering a shift... I was able to yank the handicap interlock. This thing was causing all sorts of problems; draining the battery, preventing shifting out of park, all sorts. So happy to see it go! Also discovered that a door sensor was keeping the overhead lights on, which was also draining the battery. Two minor things that will make a huge difference. Next obstacle, the shifter seems to be out of alignment and will prevent shifting out of park and starting the van, anyone have experience in adjusting that or a DIY?




This thing was all over the front wiring harness, door sensors, lights, ignition electronics, crazy stuff. Must have cost alot when new.

I really like taking the van for ebike sessions, gives a great place to securely store the bike and get changed out of muddy clothes.


Unfortunately, I made the mistake of parking it down the road at my barn, so it is out of sight, out of mind. I have to get back on it and the first stop is to a shop that can hopefully sort out the front suspension and perform a state inspection.
 

GlennA

Adventurer
Your wandering at Highway speeds probably can be corrected by adding camber. Camber bushings are cheap online. If you aren't confident changing them, contact an alignment place that does motorhomes. Specifically class C motorhomes.
 

Bobfab

Observer
Okay, well our bunkhouse camper sold on consignment finally! New Year, newly renewed interest in the van!

Can't seem to get the battery to stay charged, not sure if it is battery itself or a parasitic draw. I was sure that handicap interlock was the source but sounds like there is something else afoul here. Any suggestions on how these have ben traced down, I am all in!

Alignment is still a mess, still seeking the right shop to tune it up! Also state inspection has been botched, my shade-tree mechanic went out of business! So now i am back to the drawing board of finding a reputable and reasonably priced shop! Hopefully more updates to come!
 

kikisadventures

New member
you can go to an autozone or equivalent to get your battery tested for free. that's probably the easiest thing to check first.

When I first bought my van it liked to jump all over the place. The balljoints were in really bad shape so it was night and day different after I replaced those. It still seemed to wander more than I liked so I replaced the tierods which were also on the worn side and got an alignment. I'll see if that doesn't do the trick but the last step would be to check the steering box for excessive play, hopefully it doesnt come to that.
 

Bobfab

Observer
Okay... more very slow progress here but starting to finally get some traction...

Found out not only did we have a bad battery but it was approximately half the size of what it needed to be. Got a new one (proper size) from autozone and havent had any issue getting the van started under its own power since. So that is a good thing. Also took the vehicle to a shop to have the state inspection performed and have it professionally aligned (with some of the commentary in this thread in mind). It passed emissions but failed the safety inspection. It needed the following replaced:
- Both front calipers
- Drag link
- Rear spring shackles

Got the van back and knocked out the install with my old man. Also in the meantime we have been installing some sound deadening all over. We have the passenger side all done, front doors done and also side door areas done. The van goes back to the shop next week to complete the inspection and alignment... hopefully we will get started on the interior build shortly!

A couple progress photos.
before:








 

nsmith

New member
My shackles have rust holes in them and will fail inspection. Any reason why you did not do the springs? Thinking of making the drive down to ATS to save on shipping.
 

Bobfab

Observer
Didn't do the springs or bushings because it was gonna be a lot more work to get them off and the shop only cited us on shackles which were showing signs of wear.

More soundproofing yesterday the sides of the vehicle are now all done. Gonna move onto some more fun projects now, flooring and wood door cards.

Also dug into the rear hvac unit, might be a good spot to tie in a diesel cabin heater or replace it all together. I think we are gonna wing it a summer and see if we use the rear heat/AC before we replace it with something more camper dedicated.

Photos soon can't get the smug links to copy correctly on the phone






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