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2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion

Posted By: Dw89xj

2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 1:56 am

This is going to be a slow process because of me being paraplegic and my friends have families and lives to live too. But, this is going to be my 02 Econoline build.
It's ultra budget because of me being on disability and most of my income is spent on bills, but so far I'm doing pretty well for the budget.
I'm starting with an 02 e250, 5.4, ex medical transport van, which is nice because it already has a side load hd bus wheelchair lift, hightop, tie downs and s clean plain interior. It's regular length but that doesn't bother me and I'm glad it has jump seats for 4 extra riders in back if the need comes that I want to haul 4 extra people. It's rusty on the rockers and quarters and high mileage (191,xxx mi.), but it runs excellent and shifts perfect and doesn't make any funny noises, although it does show a lean and rich code on bank one so I'm guessing o2 sensors, an egr code, and cam sensor circuit code. But the price was right and I already have panels ordered for the rust and have body work lined up through a local guy with good prices and good quality work.
I started with eraser wheeling the red stripes off, I need a couple more wheels to get the gray vinyl off but for now getting rid of the red will do.

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Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 2:01 am

Eraser wheeling the red off and the hood stripes. Getting rid of the red really makes a difference in a good way to me

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Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 2:14 am

Scored an 01 f250 parts truck with everything I should need for 200 beans. Has axles, driveshafts, t case, 4r100, all the frame brackets and a spare 5.4. other than the stuff I need it's been picked over pretty good but I definitely got my money's worth just out of the tires on it alone. Going to take the front hubs apart and clean and lube them up, there's no leaks that I can see anywhere under this truck. So I'm not real concerned with rebuilding everything just yet, I'll let my differential guy take care of that when I regear but for the time being I'll just change the fluid and run em. I'm pretty impressed with how clean it I'd overall under the parts truck not rusty not muddy, I'm sure this was a nice truck before the gentleman I bought it from stripped the body for his diesel super duty.

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Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 2:18 am

I really wish I could figure out how to add multiple pictures it's only letting me add one per post, and only certain pictures so I'm trying to use the best of what it will allow me to add.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 2:40 am

For some reason all of my pictures say they exceed 4.81mb, any tips to load my pictures up? I'm using an Android not desktop. I'm not real savvy with this electronic technology voodoo but I'm hoping my build can help someone else. I'm basically copying the power line party bus build over on pirate off road forums, but trying to stay as low as possible and I'm going to change up a couple things but basically I'm just copying his build but trying to do it a little different.
I really hope I can get away with using the leveling kit that's on the f250 to get the height I need but if that doesn't cut it I'll be ordering 4" springs.
So far I know I need to extend the front of the van frame, I'm going to try to accomplish this by using the frame "horns" from the f250 because I'd like to use a super duty truck bumper. The truck bumper sticks out quite a bit when used on the vans and lined up with the fender opening. This will give me a great spot to mount a 12k lb winch and hide some storage for shackles and clevises and tree straps and such. Plus I like the look of the truck bumpers on the van, but that's just me, I'm a bit weird I guess.
I'm also open to any experiences or tips on doing what I'm doing. I know Jared with the e350 party bus and me aren't the only ones who have/are swapped/swapping an Econoline in this manner. It all seems very straight forward if you've done anything like this before. It doesn't seem any more difficult than doing a b52 swap on an old Chevy to make it really flex. Although that's not my goal here because I don't want to sacrifice too much driveability. I'll be able to go more places than I need to with 4x4 and good tires. I don't need crazy flex, if I have it I'll try to use it and just end up with another can of worms opened up.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 6:54 am


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Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 7:08 am

The tow hook bolts were tight the whole way out. They were the worst bolts so far. The brace across the bottom on front, the brackets are welded to the spring hangers, just an FYI for anyone else, this will help keep everything square during the conversion, I hope. Also use plenty of penetrating oil, I'm sure it's helping that as I go, I am spraying the bolts and stuff down to soak every couple days.
The vans frames are boxed in whereas the truck frame is a channel where the front shackle hanger is, this will require a hole to be cut on the insude of the frame and a holesaw on the outside. The frame has a bend in it in this area also so the shackle hanger will need shimmed to be square with the springs, rather than square with the frame which would create a bind. You could also holsaw through both frame rails and weld a tube in and put spring bushings in it, just be sure to drill it square to the spring NOT the frame. It's not rocket science so don't let it intimidate you just remember it's better to measure a dozen times and be sure of where everything will be than to have to add and cut metal to fix a mistake. There will be detailed pictures showing everything to come, I'm just kind of thinking out loud and sharing my plans with all of you who care to see the progress.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 7:15 am

The front spring hanger has a bump wgere it was stamped, this bump will be just about where the van bumper brackets will be. This is why the frame will need lengthened a bit, thus is if using tge brackets from the truck. U joint off road makes a killer bracket that gets around this issue but again budget build and my plans this doesn't really bother me because I want to use the truck style bumper. The rear most spring hanger bolt hole is also the only that catches the van frame if using the truck brackets, again U joint off road gets around this if you'd rather take that road, I would have but again, budget build.

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Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 7:36 am

I'm going to try to use a section of the truck frame in front to stiffen the front frame up where the van frame crumple area is. There's not really anything going on in front of the suspension on the van frame so it's a pretty straight clean slate to work off of. I'm pretty sure anybody motivated with a couple 30 packs and 2 or 3 buddies to help muscle stuff around could do the major part of this swap in a weekend. Then spend a couple weeks working out the little stuff.
If I had the cash I would definitely suggest the U Joint off road kit or at least using some of their brackets, they put in tons of hours on r&d and testing in the real world and pushing these vans to the limit. Also they take out any guess work in what you are doing. I don't want to steer anyone away from them but do want to show the guys on a tighter budget there are options, but you're going to have to work for it. I can't stress enough how important accurate measurements and maybe even writing you're measurements down is. Measuring and being accurate is probably the most important part of this whole undertaking. You don't want your van to "crab walk" or have wonky steering.
None of this really takes any fancy tools, most guys probably have everything needed in their shop or garage. My build is happening in my driveway in a trailer park. The fanciest tool needed is a decent welder I'm lucky and able to have my son in law bring his over, if needed though you could have a shop do the little welding needed and drill the holes at home and mount all your brackets. If you take your van to any decent welding shop with the bumper removed and ready to go should be able to hook you up for a reasonable price .
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 08th 2019 7:56 am

On my side barn doors I will be using linear actuators and eliminating the latches. I will be using a remote so I can hit the button on my way to the van so it's ready to fold out the ramp when I get there. I will need to wire in a fail safe switch too in case the remote dies. I've been reading up on this sort of thing on the12volt forum. It's sort of confusing for me to read but after seeing some simple schematics it shouldn't be hard at all. This takes care of the brackets bolted to the doors and being able to close the doors after I load into the van, also the idea of hitting the button from a distance and being ready to load in when I pull up in my chair will be nice too, especially when it's raining out. Being in a chair your whole body gets wet instead of just your head and shoulders.
If anyone has suggestions on good actuators for a budget price I'm open to suggestions, thus is my first go with them so it's all new to me. Also if anyone has experience with setting up actuators on the doors like I am doing Id love to see or hear about it.
Posted By: newkirkinc1

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 09th 2019 10:59 am

Looking good and a lot of work.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 09th 2019 6:47 pm

It sure is but hopefully we can get it done by September. Then I'll feel safe the bugs and fine details will be all smoothed out by pa rifle season.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 10th 2019 2:16 am

Alright alright, rockers and quarters delivered today. So the e250 will be heading to the body shop soon. Hopefully the inner rockers aren't too hateful, I couldn't find them anywhere online but my body man said he can fabricate them and just add it to the bill. I'm not entirely decided what I wanna do for paint. I was gung ho on coating it nice and heavy in monstaliner to help keep the top in good shape from low branches and avoid scratches from some of the narrow sections where the laurel is real thick. But I've heard guys claim it will make it rust faster, so I'm thinking just freshen up the fleet white. Any insight on this? I figure with proper prep and curing time what's the difference as long as the metal is all sealed up. The paint will be easier on the eyes up close but the monstaliner will be more functional. I think, I don't know, any experiences long or short term with this product is appreciated. Let me know what you think.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 15th 2019 5:44 am

Cab is finally gone this will make it all easier and much faster. It was quite a show and the gentleman wasn't too open to ideas to make it easier but hey the cab is out of my way and he got a good cab that has a broken windshield and some dents now, he didn't seem to mind much since it was free and dents are better than rust, plus it's going on a work truck.

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Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 19th 2019 4:15 am

Workin on the night moves....

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Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - April 19th 2019 2:22 pm

Ford sure did make it nice for someone on a budget willing to do a little extra work. Literally every single bracket except the rear spring hangers are a bolt on. After pulling this swap if I were to straight axke anything on a tight budget I'd start with a super duty parts truck. Now the fun begins. I should note that I took my measurements from the parts truck frame, I measured from the center of the rear most hole on the spring hanger to the center of the shackle bushing on the frame. I came up with roughly 47", but there will be a little fine tuning I'm sure to get me castor and angles all right. I considered using the f250 gas tank but after some consideration, I think it will be almost on the ground under the van since the frame doesn't hump up like the pickup does. So after I run the gas out and drop the tank I'll be dropping it off at my Mennonite buddies place to be shortened.
The wheel bases are close-ish in length I'm anxious to see how my axle will sit in relation to the engine and if the stock driveshafts will work. I'm trying to stay with as many off the shelf parts as possible, then when I need parts I just say 01 or 02 f250 instead of e250. I m glad I found a truck so close in year to my van, makes less to have to remember. I'm getting so stoked this project is rolling along faster than I anticipated.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - May 05th 2019 12:58 am

Not alot new on the 4x4 cripple cruiser, got the parts truck totally broke down and got rid of the things I don't need. Scrapped what was left over. I cut about a foot off the front of the truck frame to make it easier to mount the spring hangers and super duty truck bumper. I saw another van a guy used an 08 chrome truck bumper and it looks pretty nice on the front of an Econoline. My body guy came to check out the panels I bought and get a game plan going, so sometime this week the van is going out for a couple weeks for paint and body work. The rear lower quarters are going to be cut off where the top of the bumper is and then boxed in. Less to worry about rusting later and it will totally eliminate that rust. When we build the bumpers the rear will wrap around and extend in the area where the quarters were cut off.
Also I figured out why my rear A/C doesn't work, while digging rust out of the driver's lower rear quarter I found both lines rotted off, bummer. So I guess I will be tracking down new A/C lines and having it vacuumed and charged. Does anyone know of a good place to find new rear A/C lines for an 02 Econoline? Or is it something I will just have to have a shop custom make? I have a rooftop unit from an RV but I am trying to not have much up high so I don't hit low limbs and such when we go camping or on trails to get to hunting spots.
I went ahead and ordered extended shackles for the front, just in case the leveling kit and x-member trim won't cut it for clearance. Between shackles and the leveling kit on the stock super duty springs I'm guessing I will be just about at the 4 inch minimum that is being said that I will need for the punkin to clear the cross member. If that's still too close for comfort I will break down and buy 4" or 6" springs. I'm hoping to not go too tall bc I don't know for sure how much reach my wheelchair lift has. I will cross that bridge when the time comes. It's a shuttle bus size lift.
I'm still undecided on gears, I will be running 33-35" tires, with a stock 5.4. I'm not sure if 4.56-4.88 or maybe even as low as 5.13. I don't want it to be screaming at highway speed but I don't want be too high and have no power either. I don't spend much time on highway but will be making the occasional road trip with a trailer and atvs or camper or possibly occasionally haul a car. Mostly just my small trailer with atvs, coal, or a load of wood. I'm hoping to not have to buy more than one set of gears to get a setup I'm happy with. Any experiences with 4x4 5.4 van gearing or suggestions are welcome. As always thank you guys for any help and apologies on my slow build.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - May 11th 2019 4:58 am

Ugh double bad news. Now I need a fender and door on the passenger side. My poor wife was moving the van and cut the wheel right into my ATV rack putting a nice scuff on the door and creasing the fender, it looks pretty rude, my heart sank. Oh well good reason to update the front clip I guess. My second bad news, what I was sure was a 5.4 is actually a 4.2. I felt like such an asshole after figuring this out. I'm kind of amazed at the power still, but I'm pissed all the parts I gathered half of them won't do me much good. I'm moving forward with the swap to 4x4, but I'm going to need something quite a bit lower than 4.10 that's in the van rear to keep it happy on 33s let alone 35s. My truck axles are 3.73. so now I have to decide sell the rear to buy adapters for the rear and gears for the front or keep the axles together and run baby tires. I'm all about function over form but running a tire small enough to keep it happy until I get gears is going to look pretty silly I think. And I don't know alot about the 4r70 transmission, are they a sturdy transmission? I've had e4od and 4r100 in all my ford trucks and one other van and they did fine for me except my f150 had something wrong it went through 3 e4od in one week before I got mad and just parted it out, this was after new lines,cooler, 3 ecus all new, and new harness for trans, all 3 tranny's were working driving out of rusty trucks, that truck was a polished turd, nice on the eyes hard on the wallet it was a constant battle of nickel dime issues until the transmission went out, the first time. Maybe I was doing something wrong or maybe it was just a coincidence I got three transmissions on their last legs idk. But that was the only vehicle I had an issue on e4od transmissions. Now back to 4r70w, are they pretty decent? There's alot of f150s out there being abused with high miles still going strong, but my concern is being in an already heavy van, that's gaining weight being converted to 4x4 using a 33" or larger tire. I don't need to be fast since I don't run the highway much but I'd like to be able to cruise 65 to 70 without the engine screaming and still have decent acceleration and low end power. Would 4.56 gears do it or should I just go right to 4.88 or 5.13s? My buddy says he doesn't see why the 4.10s won't do and make less work overall, Im just not sure with 33s how it will perform. But only having the front geared to match the rear would keep my costs down for now, then I can slowly go at the Sterling to match the front. But if I need to go lower than the 4.10 rear in the van I might as well setup the Sterling now. Decisions decisions, any and all opinions or experiences are appreciated, whether it's how reliable the 4.2 and 4r70w are or suggestions on gearing, or just how to make the most of my setup overall. Any help or helpful criticism is welcome, I know a 6 cylinder van isn't ideal for my plans but it is sentimental to me because my pap bought it, so I'm making it my ultimate cripple camping cruising hunting van.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - May 18th 2019 6:40 pm

Does anyone know if there is a difference in the motor mounts and frame in the engine area between 92 and 02 vans? I found an driveline swap candidate for when the 6 cylinder gives up. From what I found in Pennsylvania, I can do a diesel swap on this van without a bunch of hassles, there are actual a few Mennonite outfits not too far from where I live who specializes in cummins and other diesel conversions. So any insight on motor mount and frame difference would be awesome and greatly appreciated. If the frames are the same from 92 on this will make my swap much simpler.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - May 27th 2019 1:32 am

Finally going for paint and body, nothing special but there won't be rust anymore.
I know most would advise against it but I'm going to do an idi swap. I know they're not fast or as powerful as a modern diesel but they are a ton simpler and I think more reliable without all the electronic stuff. I know most would say just start with a diesel van if that's what you want or why not a power stroke? Handicap vans are expensive as is, even though this one isn't what it was supposed to be, it is set up almost perfectly for my plans. It has the hightop and shuttle bus lift and all the tie downs. Plus it has a sentimental value to me because my grandparents made it possible to get this van and now they are both passed on. I considered just swapping a 5.4 in but from what I've read that's pretty much s total rewire plus I wouldn't be able to get it inspected due to emissions but if I swap to diesel I would be exempt from emissions.
Big plans and alot of work. I can hardly wait to get it back from body so we can start putting the axles under it and make it fake 4x4 for awhile. My wife is cool with my plans and spending so far. Hopefully she's this enthusiastic when I save enough to add turbo and supporting mods....
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - May 27th 2019 1:36 am

Oh and if anyone is looking I have a 4r100 nv271 combo for sale from a 5.4 gas truck, for sale or trade.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - June 02nd 2019 11:48 pm

Back on track found a 4x4 4r70w with the correct bell housing so I might not be rolling fake 4x for long.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - July 26th 2019 3:57 am

Waiting sucks, I'm waiting to get my van back from the body shop still, oh well the body man has a life too and things happen, but hopefully he gets done with it soon, it's setting me back a little on my conversion, I'm hoping to have 4x4 by rifle season.
Also does anyone have any suggestions on a power programmer for 4.2 equipped econolines that will work on a 2002 model? I'm content with the power it has for now with the van empty aside from a set of tires in back, my wheelchair and my wife and I. It kills my dodge on take off cruise speed and pulling hills. My dodge is shorter and a 3.9 v6. I haven't got to haul a real load with the Ford yet but basically empty vs empty the Ford blows dust all over the dodge.
I'm considering building a turbo kit but not anytime soon. I think being a v6 and if I ran electric fans a turbo would fit in that area if positioned right, I think a scoop and or louvers in the hood would be in order to aide cooling though. There are a few impressive f150s on another forum I frequent and alot of 4.2 swapped and 3.8 mustangs putting down some impressive numbers, more power than I need.
I've decided on 4.88 gears, if the calculator I used is accurate I should be within 100 rpm of what it is on stock tires and 4.10 r&p it has now. I will be running 285-75- 16 or 315-75- 16. I have a set of each. I don't do alot of highway travel and everything I need and enjoy is pretty local. So I'm not real concerned with if it revs a little higher at cruise speed. I'm having a hard time picking out a nice all terrain, I've always loved bfgs but saw a couple other patterns that look like they would suit my needs pretty well and save a couple bucks over bfg, but in my experience bfgs do everything I have ever asked of them on everything I had them on. I'm open to suggestions, if anyone has experience with a little bit cheaper tire or different a/t pattern. I've seen a few Chinese specials on eBay with too good to be true prices but don't know anyone who's been brave enough to run them.
I've also reevaluated my project and decided to not swap the engine, between gears and if I decide to go forced induction this thing should do just fine. The stock power numbers aren't far off from Chevy 5.7 equipped vans. And adding forced induction I won't need as much help and working around my buddies schedules as I would to diesel swap, if I add forced induction at all. If I can get a power programmer or find someone to do a good tune local, and do a few simple things to up the power and swap to lower gears I should be real happy with it.
I'm up to $1647 invested so far but I'm selling the 4r100/nv271 combo tomorrow for $150 to help a younger guy out and get the stuff out of my way. Then i will be picking up an engine trans and transfer case for 450 as soon as I go get a trailer tire. That engine will be a very long build that will be in another thread somewhere on internet land.
Posted By: Dw89xj

Re: 2002 Econoline 4x4 conversion - August 27th 2019 2:26 pm

Yay got my 4wd trans transfer case and extra engine. Does anyone see any reason I can't use the 4406 transfer case? It has what appears to be a vss on the tail housing, also when cross reference parts between my 02 van and the 01 f150 donor these parts came from, shows that there is a vss with the same part number between the 2. My understanding is that if I use a 1356 t case I won't need to do any voodoo to make my speedometer work, but my thinking is if the 4406 has a vss why can't I use it? It's not by any means going to be a heavy hauler and I will be going with 4.56 or 4.88 gears so that should certainly help with any lack of power. It's getting a very basic interior treatment with an easily removable bed and under bed storage in case I need to haul anything in the back of the van. If I can run 65 with a small trailer and atv on back I will be going fast enough for a lifted 4x4 van I think, also I will be running 285-75-16 or 315-75-16 tires, not positive which yet, I have a set of each, pretty much whatever fits and looks better.
But any insight on using the 4406 t case will be greatly appreciated.
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