Replace Engine or Move onto Newer Van?

Hello,

I haven't been on here much because I have been out enjoying the van and working hard on my knife business.

Unfortunately, having some engine issues now and would appreciate some advice.

On the way back from a 3200 mile road trip to the MotoGP race the engine in my 2004 e350 developed a loud ticking/knocking after a hard acceleration up an on ramp to pass a lumbering truck. I was hauling a small trailer too.

The sound was sudden and persistent. It gets louder and faster with engine RPM and sounds like it is in the passenger cylinder head. Does not sound like something pleasant.

The engine is the 2v 5.4l with 128k miles on it. It has been consuming a lot of oil recently but I have had great MPG and usual performance. No noticeable performance loss on the way home after the ticking started.

I am getting a bit ahead of myself on a dead engine but it doesn't sound good and I really hate trying to work on them. I do not want to dump money into something that will have little return.

The van is in decent shape and set up pretty well, although 2wd. It has a full camper set up with solar, house baterry, roof rack, roof vent, etc.

My mechanic buddy says that the 5.4 is horrible to work on and that I should cut my losses now.

I planned on trying to take this van to South America in the next year or two so I whatever I do it needs to be reliable.

So my question is do you think it would be better to try and replace/fix the motor on a this high mileage van or cut my losses and get a used Transit to start over on?

Really unsure what would be the best way to go.

Thank for the help!



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If you love the van put an motor in it, reman 5.4s from Ford aren't crazy expensive. Or, get a low mileage used unit.
You are right, didn't realize how cheap they are. Thanks Chris!

You think a single person without a lift could remove the engine with an engine hoist? I read a post on here where a guy was struggling getting a 7.3 out (which I realize is double the weight).

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Corneilius

Adventurer
Yeah lets not nail down the coffin lid yet. Mine has 225000 and just did 5500 mile trip. I developed EXACTLY what you're describing (last year) and it was the serpentine belt. A chunk had come loose and was slapping one of the accessory brackets. $15 fix. Even if it needs a motor, 5.4s are cheap, and can come out the front.

Separate anecdote; A friend of our shop bought a 5.4 with a knock at an auction, put 100k miles on it, then sold it, still knocking.
 

Bbasso

Expedition Leader
Skip that mechanic and get one that can properly diagnose the problem first. But yes I agree with everybody above, if need be replaced the 5.4 through the front. If my 7.3 can fit.... anything else will lol.
 

Mat Mobile

Adventurer
You really need to find out what the issue is before throwing in the towel on this awesome van. Don't jump to conclusions. To the very least to make some money selling it if you move to a newer van!

 
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Now that I have had some time to cool down I do think all of you are right. I will look into the sound further and if I have to, replace the engine. Then I would be good to go for quite a while!

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Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
I know the sinking feeling you get when you have a loud knocking noise that shouldn't be there... so I understand the kneejerk reaction. I recently replaced the SBC in my FJ40 that did something similar on a trip up the highway in the mountains. It got a $300 low mileage unit and we are back in business.

128K isn't very high mileage... so I'd definitely fix the 5.4 or replace it with another. If a 7.3 can come out through the front... a 5.4 can certainly also. 7.3s are huge and shoehorned in.
 

Jo_Duval

Observer
my van has about 70 000 miles, it runs great but always in the back of my head is engine failure or transmission. or dreams of a 4x4 sprinter...

the van is paid off, a new engine would be less than 5000$ put in by a mechanic a rebuild even less .. ( not exactly sure of costs but i believe thats a high number)

a new van would be monthly payments of 1000$ a month for 7 years. ... a new engine would be 5 of these payments at the most and then it would be reliable like a new van for an other 10 years at least. plus insurance is also cheaper on older vans.
 
my van has about 70 000 miles, it runs great but always in the back of my head is engine failure or transmission. or dreams of a 4x4 sprinter...

the van is paid off, a new engine would be less than 5000$ put in by a mechanic a rebuild even less .. ( not exactly sure of costs but i believe thats a high number)

a new van would be monthly payments of 1000$ a month for 7 years. ... a new engine would be 5 of these payments at the most and then it would be reliable like a new van for an other 10 years at least. plus insurance is also cheaper on older vans.
That logic helped as well. I was looking at low mileage transits and they were @ $25-30k completely empty. I then started adding up another interior build and the hours spent figuring it all out. That has encourared me to keep this van.

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