mdshaw Reader
12/16/20 1:39 a.m.

Last year I finish upgrading our e350 van/pickup out of necessity to move from Idaho to Florida. Wasn't going to rent a uhaul when I could make my own. I built a 5th wheel 35ft trailer out of a wrecked 5th wheel that was a lot more work than planned and I'll post that one also on a different post. 
Anyway the E350 was found in California by our son. It's a 2wd e350 dually powerstroke auto. It was sold by Ford as an "unfinished vehicle" with the ambulance package. It never became an ambulance.   
Someone had the cab extended with a fiberglass extension. Then a helicopter jet engine repair company built the curved bed with service boxes out of aluminum.

It also had the stock steel wheels not the aluminum Ions above.

They built it this way to be able to haul the very heavy jet engines because it allowed them to under the weight limits. An F350 pickup would have put them over the limit. The guy explained it down the lb of the engines but I don't remember all the details. Anyway after years of using it, we bought it. It had 251,000 miles on it. Our son used it to move here first. The motor & transmission were stock. It was ok but the potential was much greater, especially since the 97-98 International 7.3 has forged rods & pistons. The improvements began.  Since the e350's have bigger turbine housings than the f350's due to the e350's not having room for an intercooler, the power potential is better as long as one can cool the charge air another way. 
Also the 97-98 have the mechanical fuel pump & filter in the valley so it was very cluttered & had some leaks, so that was a priority to go electric pump & better filtration, not in the valley.  
So here is the list of upgrades: 

Relocated the batteries to a tool box to make room for the 4" intake & large air filter. Made my own power & ground cables with the military ends. 

Filter & 4" intake test fit.  
Then removed the pump, filter & lines from the valley.  Used a partial kit from Mark Fugazzatto that includes new lines, a fuel pressure gauge block & a freeze plug to block the hole where the pump drive rod goes through the block when the pump is removed. 

No more leaks & a cleaner valley. Now for the new Bosch electric pump, filter & water filter. 

I made the mounting bracket & mounted the filter adapters.

Then removed everything from the front of the motor to replace the water pump, oil pump, high pressure oil pump, power steering pump, fluid damper dampener, Mishimoto aluminum radiator. 

Made a new stainless hpop (high pressure oil pump cover).

Removed the injectors & sent to Rosewood Injectors in Ohio to get rebuilt & converted to 185/80 injectors. Since the injectors were increased, this required new tunes. Got 8 tunes & PHP Hydra from Jeli-tuned. Have - Low idle, High Idle, Normal Tow, Heavy Tow, Economy, Street, Extreme Street & Race tunes. 
Also added gauges & a gauge pod. There is no pillar pod kit for e350's so had to adapt an F250/F350 pillar pod. Gauges are  - EGT (most important for diesels), Transmission temp, Boost. The top gauge pod is the PHP tune selector.

Since there is no room in a van engine compartment for an intercooler, I made a dual stage water/methanol injection system using a 120psi AEM pump, solenoids & Hobbs switches set at 5 &20 psi. At 5 psi, 1 gph is injected, at 20 psi, 5 more gph is injected for a total of 6 gph.
Added an 8 gallon tank to hold the washer fluid or straight water. Added a red led to the gauge pod  to indicate when thank has @ 1 gallon left. Welded adapters to the turbo outlet elbow for the water spray nozzles & the water line push connectors.

Then installed a full 4" exhaust. 
Installed a air compressor from a friend's old air ride system & a 2 gallon tank for onboard air. 
Installed air helper springs, Bilstien shocks all around,  a new block heater plug & a 5th wheel hitch. It was interesting that the holes for the hitch were in the frame. Must be the same frame as the short bed F's? 

Now with all this additional power & towing requirements necessitated a stronger transmission. I found an old story online from a 4x4 magazine about a shop in Eugene, Oregon called Geezer Garage. At the time they had rebuilt 1500 E4OD's & are experts about building them strong. I setup a weekend that they could rebuild it so we dropped it off on Friday & picked it up Saturday afternoon with the strongest clutches, planetaries, Tugger shift kit & every trick they knew. I also added a huge transmission pan & extra oil cooler. 
Gary the owner also has one of the largest & nicest private collections of Sunbeam Tigers also.  
For the interior I added a Suburban seat in the back & made 2 side tables with cup holders. The tables double as supports to sleep in the back also.

Now cruising cross country with a 4.10 rear end sitting on a 7.3 power stroke would be very noisy so I found something to improve this. 
A Doug Nash overdrive unit. Found a good used one but it didn't have the correct adapter for the E4OD. After searching daily online finally found one. 
Did a test mount & got a used drive shaft since this requires a short drive shaft, plus they used Chevy output spline pattern. 
Also to attach the od unit to the E4OD requires removing the stock tail shaft & installing the adapter, then the od unit. The original tail shaft has the electronic speedo output & it's not just the signal for the speedo. The ecu uses it to control the transmission. So I found a vss drive which used a Chevy based drive gear, then had to try a few different gears to get close to the correct speed. I used a new boat trim switch to shift it down (1:1) or up for a 30% overdrive. Now at 75mph, rpm is @1800. Makes it much nicer on the highway. 
Finally it was working great. 

Here was the first trip to Florida towing the CVCC & the MR2 Turbo on the trailer I built.

On the second trip I built a plywood box to move everything here.

It's a very fast van & great for towing cars.




LopRacer Dork
12/16/20 8:49 p.m.

Nice, I saw your van in TSX thread and was glad to find you had posted more info. Very cool set up.

RevolverRob New Reader
12/16/20 10:53 p.m.

Man that is a nice tow rig. 

I'm not much for towing overall, but if I had to do so - a rig like this would be hard to beat. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
3/7/21 10:29 p.m.

It's even better than I would've imagined. 

accordionfolder SuperDork
4/12/21 1:25 p.m.

This is cool.... I've picked up a 94' f-SuperDuty so this is interesting to me. 

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