Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
10/10/19 1:06 a.m.

For a variety of reasons I need a full-size HD 12/15-passenger van. One that will allow me to haul more people and/or stuff than our ‘14 Grand Caravan, and have the ability to tow more too, if needed. Fortunately it will not see many miles(5k/year or less), but will occasionally see longer trips. My budget is $5k all-in. 

Unfortunately, anything within a couple hour radius is out of my price range, especially once I factor in what it might need. Seriously, the best deal I found was $5500 for an ‘08 Chevy with 180k on it that needed a cat, tires & an alignment(so likely front end work too).

I expanded my search radius & today found a 96 E350, former church van, with 81k on it for $3500. It’s exceptionally clean, has a recent brake job, good tires & no problems...except that it’s an(almost) 24-year old vehicle, and is 5-1/2 hours away.

I’m familiar with this generation of Ford - we had an E350 box truck at my old job that I was basically responsible for. I remember coil packs needing replaced about as frequently as plugs, and it taking a while to find a shop who was competent with the twin I-beam suspension, but overall it held up well to abuse.  

Will I hate myself for buying this & end up constantly chasing down problems due to its age(and possible low miles)? Or does this seem like a good buy & worth a day’s drive to go pick it up?

Ranger50 UltimaDork
10/10/19 3:44 a.m.

96 is the last year for pushrods.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
10/10/19 5:25 a.m.

In reply to Ranger50 :

Would you consider that good or bad?

Ranger50 UltimaDork
10/10/19 6:21 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

Decent. Still has distributor and plug wires. Not a high mileage candidate like the mod motors. Some would argue "better serviceability.

keithedwards New Reader
10/10/19 6:40 a.m.

The benefit of a nearly 24-year-old vehicle is how close it is to being eligible for antique plates. How lenient is your state for antique car usage?


Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/10/19 7:08 a.m.

We had two of them where i worked. 

They were damned tanks. One was a pushrod van, one was a 4.6

The 4.6 van steered and stopped better than the pushrod (i think it was a 351, but its been a decade). Pushrod dealt way better with 15 200+ lb adults crammed in. 10 plu tires were mandatory and not cheap. 

The white paint stained easily, but the interior was made out of indestructible. 

Gas mileage was horrible. 

Never any issies in the 60k combined i put on them. However i never tried twoing. 

Both were 15 passenger vans if i remember correctly. May have been 18. Again, decade ago. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
10/10/19 7:17 a.m.

Pete, I'm finally ready to sell my full-sized van. Shoot me an email? 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
10/10/19 7:30 a.m.
keithedwards said:

The benefit of a nearly 24-year-old vehicle is how close it is to being eligible for antique plates. How lenient is your state for antique car usage?


It’s awesome - lifetime registration with zero restrictions on use. Still, even a 2006 would likely be 100 or less per year to register. Our state really gets you on late-model vehicles though. 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
10/10/19 7:31 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

I’m anticipating low double-digits for mileage. Is that realistic?

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