Kiki 06 Ford E-350, 6.0 Diesel, Van Conversion

kikisadventures

New member
Hello everyone,

This is Karen. She just to be really uptight, caused by years of being stuffed full of crap and used and abused commercially. Just when she thought she had enough, some ************** millennials got ahold of her, brought her out to California, and showed her how to shake that sweet dash. Now Karen has a whole new lease and perspective on life. She is ready for her makeover and to make new van friends. She's changed her name to Kiki and now lives by the motto "Grab life by the balls." -Kiki, or Karen, 2020.

Kiki is a 2006 Ford E-350, Extended Commercial Cargo Van, 6.0 Diesel. We bought this van to both adventure in and tow an offroad truck. That is why we picked this platform. There aren’t many vans with a great towing capacity. We aren’t planning to live in it so we don’t plan to go overboard on the electrical system. We're Jon and Mara. Nice to meet you all

Plans:

Platform -

30” Hightop from Fiberine. Wood reinforcements. 48” windows
CL rear side windows on drivers and passengers side
Polyiso Insulation
Sound deadening
Laminate Flooring
Roof rack (ideally one we can sit on for when we go to races)

Motor -
Replace head bolts wth ARP Studs
Bulletproof EGR
Tuner
Oil bypass filter
Coolant filter

Front Suspension -
I’ll either buy weldtecs 4” ocotillo lift or build my own beams and radius arms that raises it closer to 2” and pushes it forward ~1.5”. I don't want to lift it too much because I'll be towing and it will have a lot of weight up top. Fox Shocks. I’d like to run 33” tires.

Rear Suspension -
1-2” lift blocks. Airbags. Fox Shocks. Differential Locker

Kitchen -
Full size sink
Accumulator
Induction Stove
10 gallon tank, under cab
5 gallon drinking water
Fridge
PEX plumbing

Wet Bathroom -
Compost Toilet
2.5 Gallon Boush heater
10 gallon tank, under cab

Sleeping -
Main bed will be on a lift and stored against the ceiling
Table will turn into a bed

Climate -
Eberspacher diesel heater
Roof Vent
Roof AC

Electrical -
400 Watt solar
TBD Ah Battery bank

Details and part numbers will be added as we figure things out. We're super excited to start this build (after I finish the truck)

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ITTOG

Well-known member
We definitely need to see more of the truck. Look forward to watching the build.

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kikisadventures

New member
Here's the truck back when it was running
1593387998942.png1593388561820.png

So this person put land rover windows into their van (https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/the-van-of-mayhem.158726/post-2095183). Retrofit land rover windows are fairly inexpensive compared to the CR Lawrence windows (https://rimmerbros.com/Item--i-LL1136BPDL). I haven't seen anyone else do it. If it works, why don't more people do it? The only thing I can think of is that the windows appear to be flat/non-contoured so you'll either get a gap at the top and bottom or it's will pull the sheet metal to fit and warp the walls.
 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
With regards to the lowering bed. With the bed over a split dinette like that, it seems there is a bunch of redundant functionality, and thus wasted space. You may consider using a sportsmobile style conversion dinette. The back cushions are attached to the bottoms ones by a fabric hinge. You use a fold out or similar base to bridge the gap between the sides, and pull the cushions together to make a contiguous mattress. This not only reduces your weight, but also multiple cubic feet of additional storage. overhead. Alternatively you can raise the dinette/bed by about 10-15", and use the area below for storage, water tanks, etc. This keeps the center of gravity low and maximizes space usage.

After many years full timing in vans, I have found that storage space is a major premium. I do understand the desire for a permanently made bed, which has usability advantages.
 

kikisadventures

New member
The dinette will also serve as a bed already and probably be our primary bed for awhile as we build and use the van. We would like the option to sleep 4 people in the van since the truck can also seat 4. That, plus any kiddos that happen :) The high top we are planning extends over the windshield a little (fiberine 30"). It looks a little goofy but helps with storage.

I plan to put the water tanks under the cab between the frame so that should also free up some space in the cab.
 
My wife and I just bought a 6.0 van to convert after doing a 5.4 gasser. We needed additional towing power as well.

Working on the engine now. Wanted the know if you planned on running a hot tune and if that's why you are going with new head studs?

Everything I have read is that they aren't needed with the detuned van as long as you take care of the coolant/cooler issue. Also pretty sure it requires removing the engine to change studs on the van? I changed out the engine on our 5.4 and it was a PITA. Imagine the 6.0 is worse.

Very nice truck!!

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kikisadventures

New member
My wife and I just bought a 6.0 van to convert after doing a 5.4 gasser. We needed additional towing power as well.

Working on the engine now. Wanted the know if you planned on running a hot tune and if that's why you are going with new head studs?

Everything I have read is that they aren't needed with the detuned van as long as you take care of the coolant/cooler issue. Also pretty sure it requires removing the engine to change studs on the van? I changed out the engine on our 5.4 and it was a PITA. Imagine the 6.0 is worse.

Very nice truck!!

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I would like to run a tuner but it's more so because I'm going to be towing ~8000 lbs along with the extra weight I add to the van. I feel like that will be pretty taxing on the motor. I thought the head bolts need to be addressed if you're planning on towing or you plan to run a tuner. But if you have other info I would love to not change them even if that means I don't run a tuner. It can be done without removing the motor all the way but any mechanic you take it to will pull it since that's quicker/easier for them.
 
I would like to run a tuner but it's more so because I'm going to be towing ~8000 lbs along with the extra weight I add to the van. I feel like that will be pretty taxing on the motor. I thought the head bolts need to be addressed if you're planning on towing or you plan to run a tuner. But if you have other info I would love to not change them even if that means I don't run a tuner. It can be done without removing the motor all the way but any mechanic you take it to will pull it since that's quicker/easier for them.
I am far from an expert on this engine so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Sportsmobile forum has a lot of great reading on the subject and is more helpful than most places because it focuses on the detuned van 6.0 (240hp-ish) and not the truck one that was bumped up in power (330hp-ish) to try and compete with the Ram. It appears that most of the the head bolt issues are linked to hot tuned trucks.

Based on my readings, the root issue is silicates in the Ford Gold coolant clogging the oil cooler and destroying the EGR system. Eventually the coolant leaks into the cylinder and causes excess pressure which lifts the head and stretching the bolts.

My plan is to monitor the oil and coolant temp with the newly installed Edge CTS monitor to make sure they stay close. Supposedly anything over 15* temp difference at operating temp shows that you have a cooler blockage. I will do a coolant flush ASAP knowing that it will kill the cooler. Then install a new OEM cooler and EGR delete. Install a remote coolant filter to help filter out the remaining coolant junk. Do the "blue spring" mod to keep fuel pressure up. Add hood louvers to help with excessive under hood heat and then do a +40hp tow tune.

This plan addresses 2 of the 3 "bullet proofing" issues and even with a tow tune comes in 50hp under the stock truck hp which in my mind would make the 3rd bulletproof issue (head bolts) a non problem.

Once again, I am not a mechanic or diesel expert, just have done a ton of reading over the last 3 months.

Hopefully that helps some.



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kikisadventures

New member
An 04 with 37k?! That's awesome

I am by no means an expert either. I didn't realize the coolant leak was the cause of the head bolt failure. That's good to hear actually. I checked the temp difference before I bought the van and it was only ~6-7 degrees so I should be good there. I was already planning to do a Bulletproof EGR and a coolant filter. Good news is that I can easily do those myself. I was planning on having someone else do the head bolts at ~5-6k (which included all the bullet proofing items). I'll be sure to keep the tune mellow. I was planning to run this which does the monitoring and tuning (https://edgeproducts.com/shop/diesel-evolution-cts2). What were your plans for the tuner or were you planning to flash the ECU with the tune?
 

bgflyguy

Member
6.0l's unite!

I use torque pro on Android and a cheap bluetooth obdii dongle off of Ebay. Its great for EOT vs ECT. You can actually add a lot of other sensors as well. First time I hooked it up, I learned my FICM needed replaced.

Mine hasn't been bulletproof'd, and the first time there is anything major I'll probably pull the engine and have the whole thing done. No issues yet though. When it hits 184F there is less than 5 degrees difference between the temps.
 

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whith

Active member
I had an '05 6 liter for a number of years before my current rig. Great van for the most part but I did have to do some work to it over the years, no head studs though. I ran a mild, 40 hp I think, tune on it the whole time. I would recommend also looking into the stand pipes and dummy plugs if you do have to take the lid off of it. They have a tendency to fail on some years and the parts are cheap if you're already in there. Coolant filter and addressing the EGR in some capacity are must dos.

I'd say stay away from the Bulletproof oil cooler. A nice clean factory unit will do the job on mildly tuned vans. Nowhere near worth what it costs to do the BPD oil cooler. My brother inlaw just had his fully "Bulletproofed" with cooler, EGR, etc. and it actually runs hotter and with a higher delta now although the shop that did it is going back in to make sure it was installed correctly.

Scangauge II is a good monitoring device for these if you don't need a fancy display. I'd also recommend an EGT gauge. Its not something the OBD reads so you'll need to get an analogue one installed. Autometer makes a pillar mount and gauge that I used that was really clean looking.
 
An 04 with 37k?! That's awesome

I am by no means an expert either. I didn't realize the coolant leak was the cause of the head bolt failure. That's good to hear actually. I checked the temp difference before I bought the van and it was only ~6-7 degrees so I should be good there. I was already planning to do a Bulletproof EGR and a coolant filter. Good news is that I can easily do those myself. I was planning on having someone else do the head bolts at ~5-6k (which included all the bullet proofing items). I'll be sure to keep the tune mellow. I was planning to run this which does the monitoring and tuning (https://edgeproducts.com/shop/diesel-evolution-cts2). What were your plans for the tuner or were you planning to flash the ECU with the tune?
Running high horsepower tunes will lift the heads too but coolant is one of the overlooked issues.

Double check that Evolution unit you linked works on a van. I got the regular Edge CT3 monitor and will have to get a separate tuner. Edge also will tell you that they design their stuff for the truck and do not offer any support for the vans.

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