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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/25/20 7:12 p.m.

Don't be scared of that engine bay! As soon as you pull the air filter off there's plenty of room. Granted, I never changed a tensioner, but it shouldn't be too hard. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/18/20 8:30 p.m.

The tensioner still is occasionally noisy, but never for long, and never while it's idling, so I've been continuing to ignore it. 

However, I've had several occasions where the LF caliper has started dragging. The first time was after a panic stop & I made it the few miles home no problem. I pulled the wheel & checked the caliper after it had cooled down, but there was nothing odd. It happened a couple other times seemingly randomly, but again I was just a few miles from home & then it would be fine for weeks at a time.

This past weekend I had to go about 10-miles away for rescue a possum(that was unfortunately DOA when I got there), and the van started pulling to the left pretty bad along the way. I thought it was just the wind as a storm was blowing in, but as soon as I got off the highway the smell of burning brakes filled the cabin. I drove slow & babied it back home, and they'd stopped dragging by the time I arrived. However, with us entering the peak of storm season & this being our main evacuation vehicle I needed to get it fixed. 

Unfortunately with the DSM sideways in the garage there's no room to pull the van inside, my HF floor jack is straining at its capacity lifting it, and I don't really care much to be manhandling HD truck parts, so I dropped it off at the mechanic today. $450 and a pair of loaded calipers w/brackets later & it's all set. I instructed him to do whatever he had to fix on the driver's side, also to the passenger's side, so I wouldn't be back in a few months, nor have to deal with imbalanced brakes. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
8/18/20 9:13 p.m.

Huh, glad you got it fixed. It had fresh calipers and lines at about 200k miles if I remember correctly, but then again that was like 50,000 miles ago. 

03Panther
03Panther HalfDork
8/18/20 11:47 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

In reply to Pete Gossett :

Mine never had any issue with it, all 5' 4" of her. Slide the seat up, trust the mirrors and away she went. Pretty funny to see her driving it but she did fine. I've never seen a more mismatched vehicle/driver combo. 

From the late 70's, into the late 90's, my Great Aunt, at 4'11", drove a Ford Hi Top conversion van. Absolutely hilarious to see this little bitty old lady climb down outa that thing!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/19/20 12:58 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Just over 60k now. It's hard to believe I've put 10k on it since late last October, especially considering we got SWMBO's Fit a month later & it only has 3300 miles on it. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
8/19/20 7:19 a.m.

Wow! I can't wait to see it break 300k!!

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/19/20 8:18 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Wow! I can't wait to see it break 300k!!

It's been fun following this from the original build thread to now.

I was a skeptic when Ford first started building the modular engines. I was wrong.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/20 7:35 p.m.

It looks like I have a project on the van. I noticed back when I picked up the DSM this spring that towing uphil sometimes the a/c would kick off. I thought it was probably just a "feature" related to trying to conserve power on the 4.6. I'd not really noticed much problem towing around town, or what little I've driven the van on the highway, but towing the trailer home last night the a/c was barely working, and about the only time it worked today was coasting downhill. 
 

Apparently there's a vacuum reservoir & T, and this is a pretty common issue with cracking lines, or a failed check valve. Some of they are accessible underhood, but eventually the line runs up underneath the dash, so I'm sure that's going to be a fun job...

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/30/20 3:35 p.m.

Hurricane Zeta left us without power from around 7pm Wednesday until 1:30pm today. Fortunately one of the reasons I bought the van from Tom was due to the HF 4000-watt power inverter he'd installed. 
 

I ended up idling the van about 12-hours yesterday, and another 8 hours today. That used about 3/8 a tank of fuel, so about $20. That's way better than I anticipated. 
 

Fortunately we didn't receive any damage, just a mess in the yard that took all day yesterday to clean up. 
 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/30/20 4:36 p.m.

Glad to hear the vangenerator is serving its purpose! I was always shocked at the fuel economy, too. IIRC it's on par with a one of those loud 6500 watt generators. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/30/20 6:20 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

It's funny, knowing it gets 10-12mpg makes sense because it's a brick, but it still seems like it should use way more gas while idling. Especially since turning off the inverter makes a noticeable drop in idle speed. 

03Panther
03Panther Dork
10/30/20 9:12 p.m.

Glad y'all didn't get much storm damage. 'Bout the same here in the S. E. corner of AL. The coast between us is sure getting a beating this year.

Good to see the van is going well... I remember the purchase at the time, but had not not made the connection as to who had bought it

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/30/20 9:51 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Theoretically the van has a built-in ability for a stationary elevated idle control strategy based on resistor values in some wiring on the firewall, but I never got past probing some stuff and reading manuals. But that would give you the ability to pull 2000 watts for extended periods without draining the battery if you want to investigate. Ford calls it SEIC if you're googling.  

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/31/20 6:33 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Wow, intriguing I'll definitely check that out - thanks!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/16/20 1:05 p.m.

The van turned 260k on the way home from the autox yesterday, so that puts me right around 12k miles over the last year. That isn't too bad, but it's almost comical compared to the 4K we've put on SWMBO's Fit in about the same time. 
 

I woke up this morning & found this in the yard. After reading John Welsh's comments about his truck, I tossed the cone into the back of the van just in case I ever have trouble finding a parking spot. 
 


 

Then I went to unload the Miata at lunch & discovered this...


 

I'm glad I always set the parking brake & leave it in gear. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/2/21 11:34 a.m.

The van keeps doing van stuff. Just got back from a ~1800mi trip, averaged 12.5mpg at ~80mph on the way up & 11.5 on the way back(with strong headwinds most of the way). I hit the 85mph speed limiter a couple times, might have to see if there's a way to disable it. 

I had the idler/tensioner pulleys & belt replaced before the trip & I replaced the check valve for the vacuum reservoir too. I still have the same loss of vent airflow under load though, so I'm going to need to do some actual troubleshooting & see if it's a leaky line, reservoir, or the vacuum servo/can. 

Also, I may be turning the van into a rather large project. After spending a few months studying & leading about RVs, schoolie conversions, etc. we keep coming back to building out this van - Tom already started down that path, we know the history & that it's likely way more sound than any other vehicle we'd start with, and the Hellwig suspension Tom installed is definitely a plus too if I'm going to add several hundred pounds of permanent weight to it. 

However, the biggest downside to us of using the van as a base for our buildout is the ~52" interior height. I've looked into getting a raised fiberglass roof, they're about $5500 delivered. I'm not really liking that idea though - I checked out a nursing home van/bus conversion at the junkyard last week that's also a 2006 & the corners of the roof were so rotted I poked my finger right through them. Without being able to keep it inside, and since it'll still be used as my main vehicle post-build, covering it or paying for storage really isn't an option either.

So I'm probably going to take the logical route & saw the roof off the van, then build a new one from 1" steel tubing & skin it like a semi trailer...

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/2/21 11:42 a.m.

Awesome!!!! I'm glad you're going to make the jump I wasn't willing to make!!

I, too, wanted to cut the roof off, and finally decided that the cheapest way to get one would be to buy a crashed or rusty donor van. Otherwise, yeah, they're all $5000 for some reason.

The speed limiter is tunable; I plugged HP Tuners into once and it was just a setting like any other part of the tune. But I didn't want to pay for the credits to make any changes, and I figured it wasn't a bad idea to keep that thing under 85 anyway. Some manufacturers do that for driveshaft length or tire rating limits, too, so I didn't want to risk it.

 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/2/21 2:07 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

That's a good point about potential driveshaft issues. Though I was definitely above 85 on some downhill sections a few times...

I found an installation vid from a company in BC who makes fiberglass van tops & the install process is stupid-easy. That eased a lot of my fears. I haven't welded in years, so I'll need to get the new welder setup & spend some time practicing on scrap before I start buying materials. It looks like I can build a steel & aluminum roof for under a grand.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
3/2/21 2:08 p.m.

Do It GIFs | Tenor

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/17/21 5:49 p.m.


Drove up to Cloudcroft, NM today. The 4.6 in the van gets a bit wheezy at those altitudes. Might have something to do with the ~100 miles of sandstorm we drove through west TX in yesterday. There were damn near brown(?)-out conditions in a couple places & some drifting. It was very much like a blizzard, but warmer & more abrasive. This was about 1/2-hour before we actually hit it. It reminded me a bit of the Mars scenes from Total Recall. 
 

 

nocones
nocones UberDork
3/17/21 5:58 p.m.

I can't believe we haven't created mural ideas for this van yet..  

I'm trying to decide between making you one of Bumble or Gizmoduck...

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
3/18/21 1:08 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

 It looks like I can build a steel & aluminum roof for under a grand.

I'm def. interested in seeing more of this plan!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/18/21 6:31 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

Oh I have plenty of mural ideas... Of course they're almost all ridiculously tacky & likely to increase my odds of getting pulled over exponentially. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/18/21 6:34 p.m.

I decided to change the air filter before heading back up to Cloudcroft today...

...there was a pile of sand that poured out air filter box when I opened it too. 
 

It felt like a new van on the 13-mile/4700ft change in elevation drive up to Cloudcroft though!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/19/21 3:04 p.m.

I had to stop for a selfie with the world's largest pistachio today. 
 

 

And I found this Model-T(I think) spark plug in the hotel parking lot this morning. 

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