85 Ford Fiesta Camper Van

Photobug

Well-known member
We currently camp in the shell in my truck or in a tent. Looking for some kind of upgrade either a custom trailer I am considering or an RV/Van of some kind.

This popped up near me. It has 60k miles on a 351 with 4 barrel Holly Carb. It has been sitting in a field for a decade. The windows have leaked and there is some water damage but other than that seems like a good platform. Having worked with sailboats I am comfortable with resealing all the windows and the carpentry for replacing any water stained trim.

I have only worked with carbs in outboard motors. Can a carbed engine be reliable for long distance cruising?

How would this be for a platform for rebuilding and refurbing?

What would it take to add 4WD to this van?Screen Shot 2020-11-12 at 10.34.12 AM.png
 

VanIsle_Greg

I think I need a bigger truck!
Carbs are one of those things that I try to avoid at all costs...heh. I am spoiled I guess, all these years with fuel injection on everything I have owned. Having said that, a properly maintained, properly sized and jetted carb can be a very reliable option. There are probably some decent injection mod setups (Holley and others) that would give you better mileage and reliability long term, but they are spendy.

As far as I know that could be made into a 4x4. All that you would likely need is a similar vintage F250 or F350 donor pickup, and a bunch of space and time? I have never attempted this, but I have seen a number of vans of a similar vintage that were indeed converted.

Pretty cool project! Looks fairly rust free.
 

Photobug

Well-known member
Pretty cool project! Looks fairly rust free.
Thanks for the info. THe guy selling just called me back and next time it is not snowing I am going to take a look at it it is 3 hours away but I need to visit a big city soon, anyways. The search for it just got me looking at other options like a Chinook. This has a great layout. An overhead bed and a second bed or dining are in the back and a second dining area just behind the driver/passenger area. It provides some useable area I don't see in other even larger RVs or vans.
 

86scotty

Explorer
I wouldn't buy any Ford van older than 97. You are essentially looking at a classic car here. No OBD2, no fuel injection, older air conditioning system, etc. etc. I just wouldn't do it, no matter how cool. To me, there is a threshold when thinking of something that I want to be reliable to go exploring in. It needs to be fairly modern and easy to work on, find parts for, etc. There are many things on this van that are not.

4wd on an Econoline of that vintage will have to be completely custom. No one is making parts to fit it anymore, and none of the known converters can help you unless you are writing very large checks. 92 and up Econoline/E-series gets you modern enough for DIY parts at least......I think. Ujoint, MGMetalworks, Weldtec can answer more specific questions.

A more modern Chinook or Airstream B190 (same specs, 92 and up at least, 97 up preferred) would apply.

I wish you luck in your experiment!
 

OverlandNA

Well-known member
It needs to be fairly modern and easy to work on, find parts for, etc. There are many things on this van that are not.
These vans were pretty easy to work on as far as vans go. Still has a bolt on fuel pump, no need to drop the tank. Many parts are still stocked at most auto parts stores, things that need to be ordered are usually only a day or 2 away.
AC can be converted to R134A if needed. R12 is still available in small cans at least in some states.
 

Photobug

Well-known member
You are essentially looking at a classic car here. No OBD2, no fuel injection, older air conditioning system, etc. etc. I just wouldn't do it, no matter how cool.
Isn't an OBD2 a factor of needing a computer to evaluate a computer problem of a complex modern auto? I had a 2003 Explorer that a friend who was a computer expert couldn't solve the issues.

My biggest attraction to this style is the overhead bed. I am a bit of an insomniac and want a small camper or van that allows a place to sleep up top with room to hang out and read if I wake up early. Is there any more modern camper that offers an overhead place to sleep and a dinette or couch to hang out away from the bed?
 
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marret

Active member
Isn't an OBD2 a factor of needing a computer to evaluate a computer problem of a complex modern auto? I had a 2003 Explorer that a friend who was a computer expert couldn't solve the issues.

My biggest attraction to this style is the overhead bed. I am a bit of an insomniac and want a small camper or van that allows a place to sleep up top with room to hang out and read if I wake up early. Is there any more modern camper that offers an overhead place to sleep and a dinette or couch to hang out away from the bed?
Sportsmobile poptops have upper beds. One can also have an upper bed with Colorado Camper Van pop tops.
 

86scotty

Explorer
Nobody had OBD2 until 1995. Econolines got in 96.




All Fords were fuel-injected by 1987



They're all R134a from 1994 onward

Get a clue
Get a clue? Howbout you get a clue, dude? The van posted is a pre 92, stated to have a carb, no fuel injection.

The van posted is a pre 92, no OBD2. I stated that I would go 97 above for all of the improvements to the E series, not necessarily OBD2. I know that OBD2 was 96, everyone knows that.

On air conditioning, this van would be the old system unless already converted since it is pre 92.

Howbout you read the ad before you urge people to get a clue, which means get a clue!
 

86scotty

Explorer
Isn't an OBD2 a factor of needing a computer to evaluate a computer problem of a complex modern auto? I had a 2003 Explorer that a friend who was a computer expert couldn't solve the issues.

My biggest attraction to this style is the overhead bed. I am a bit of an insomniac and want a small camper or van that allows a place to sleep up top with room to hang out and read if I wake up early. Is there any more modern camper that offers an overhead place to sleep and a dinette or couch to hang out away from the bed?
For most things you just need a <$20 OBD2 scanner, widely available online or anywhere. This would be on any 1996 or newer vehicle.

As for the overhead bed, that's why I was recommending at least a 92 up Airstream B190 (or similar) or preferrably a 97 up which gives you the Triton engines, OBD2 and much improved suspension/handling.
 

Photobug

Well-known member
For most things you just need a <$20 OBD2 scanner, widely available online or anywhere. This would be on any 1996 or newer vehicle.

As for the overhead bed, that's why I was recommending at least a 92 up Airstream B190 (or similar) or preferrably a 97 up which gives you the Triton engines, OBD2 and much improved suspension/handling.
I have an OBD2 scanner as all my vehicles are fuel injected. What i was intending was an older vehicle might not need one because they are less complex. On a 2003 Ford Explorer with about 150k miles on it started acting unreliable. I had a friend that was a vehicle computer specialist, hooked up his laptop to the OBD2 ran a series of tests to find a sensor in the exhaust was confusing the truck's computer. This part was so deep in the vehicle my mechanic could not get to it and had to send me to an exhaust specialist to replace it.

I really like the Chinooks, I bought a sailboat once from a guy with a warehouse full of cool vehicles including two 4wd chinooks. Wish they had an upstairs bed.
 

Photobug

Well-known member
SPEND $15K to make it 4WD on an OLD $5K van to make it worth $10K maybe when you done if you are lucky.

I don't think so!
I'd likely just add springs and lift it to get some clearance. Where I go I seldom use my 4wd even on my truck. Show me where I can buy a van like this with 4wd for $10k and I'd buy it.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
I'd likely just add springs and lift it to get some clearance. Where I go I seldom use my 4wd even on my truck. Show me where I can buy a van like this with 4wd for $10k and I'd buy it.

It's still a 35+ year old van!

Camper or not, 4WD or not it ain't worth a lot of money with even fewer people looking for a very "Vintage" OLD van camper!
 

86scotty

Explorer
@Photobug, are you willing to share the price on this one? It might help folks decide if it's worth it or not. Interior condition means a lot too. It does look taken care of. I'd still look newer for the reasons I've stated above but at the same time I appreciate classic stuff. I know, hard to think that 1985 is classic but it's getting to be. It sounds like you are realistic about what you want and are willing to do rehab wise, if anything is even needed. Finding what works for you is all that matters.

You got me looking for Chinooks again from this thread. I've looked on and off for 15 years. They are holding their value, assuming you are talking about Concourse/Premier. Still mid 20's at the least for higher miles with more needs and 30+ for nicer ones leaning towards the 2005 cut off. If you weren't aware, that's when they stopped making them. If you're interested I found an excellent page on them earlier.

.
 

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