Bros, I need to make my mind up on this van. Make decisions for me - Page 4 - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

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Old 01-03-2012, 07:04 PM   #61
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I don't want to spend $5k on a van I will drive 10x per year. What are the soft spots on the Ford? I almost exclusively pulled with 1-tons when I worked for the wholesale car guy. However, I used an F150 occasionally and thought it pulled fine.

I will not buy a truck because I plan to party in the van at the track.
Speaking as an F150 owner (2000 model), they seem pretty goddamn reliable. Problem spots? I think the coil packs burn up, and they might be a real bitch to get to in a van - double check the access just in case. I replaced the plugs and 3 coil packs in the truck, and it's a bitch - a lot of crap has to come off to get to everything. However, it's done and it runs like a champ. The other thing I need to sort out on mine is an intake manifold oil leak that's allowing some oil to drip into one of the spark plug wells. It makes a little mess but hasn't caused a misfire to date. Don't know if they all do that, but mine's got 210K miles on it, so I imagine it's a down-the-road thing for these motors. The 4.6 should be okay for towing a Miata, but you won't win any speed contests. Power-wise, it's about on-par with the EFI Chevy 350 that ran up through '95 - perfectly adequate.

Other than that, the thing runs like a top. Wags said he thought the transmission was a little snatchy when he drove it, but I haven't noticed any problems with it - and it's the original. That's more than I can say for any GM truck made in the last 30 years.

As for the van-specific stuff, the chassis is bulletproof. The "I-beam" swing axle front end will chew up tires if you don't rotate them every now and then, but it's dirt-simple and parts are cheap. A blacksmith could probably align it in a pinch. My folks had an older E350 with a 460 and a C6 trans and it would pull a house, but it got about 8 mpg no matter what. Also, my first job out of college had a '96 or '97 E350 with the same 460 and the new 4-speed auto. It was effing bulletproof and had about 350K miles on last I heard. It might've needed a transmission, but I can't remember. It just ran. And ran.

$1700 sounds like a good deal with miles that low. What's the presumptive value (and TT&L) on that thing? I know we can't cheat the value any more, but I can't imagine that thing would cost a whole lot to register.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:12 PM   #62
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$1700 sounds like a good deal with miles that low. What's the presumptive value (and TT&L) on that thing? I know we can't cheat the value any more, but I can't imagine that thing would cost a whole lot to register.
Random side question, what are roughly the costs of registering an older mid 90's vehicle in Texas? You guys keep making it sound like it is expensive.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:33 PM   #63
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'nuff said
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:00 PM   #64
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I have a love/hate relationship with ford trucks. Being a mechanic in the dirty D, the ford f-series, explorers, and taurus's usually make up about 80% of my yearly income.

They all suck! Front end parts fail at an alarming rate, even with top of the line replacement stuff. The v8 engines are difficult to work on, especially on the Econoline's, and they have numorous issues with cop's, spark plugs that like to snap off in cylinder heads (3v 5.4L tritions are the worst), oil starvation issues to the top end unless oil changes are performed miticulously(and on a work truck, they never are) brake parts are expensive, if you happen to have one with rear discs, there is a 100% chance that when you remove the rotor, the parking brake linings will come with it because they bond them to the shoe with elmers glue.

Don't even get me started on the taurus.

If you're looking for a tow vehicle, I would suggest an older chevy silverado with at least a 5.0l. If you don't need a 4x4, don't get one. Just more parts to wear and replace and you'll get worse mileage to boot.

Last edited by flounder; 01-03-2012 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:24 PM   #65
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Know how you're always paranoid about driving your $25,000, fully rebuilt, meticulously maintained Miata to the track because it might break down and leave you stranded?

Take a step back and look at the $1700 15-year old E250 you're about to buy and ask yourself if your Miata is more or less reliable than it will be.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:29 PM   #66
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A work van?

I think it should say in giant letters "MOBILE ORIENTAL MASSAGE" and under that in small letters "racing". I bet you'll get lots of attention.

An E250 should have all of the heavy duty kit under it including bigger brakes and suspension components. Put any sort of oil cooler you have handy in front of the radiator with the tranny oil running through it and it will last nearly forever unless it was abused much. Just cut the tranny cooling line on the side where the oil is leaving the radiator and on its way back to the trans. Put one hose on each side of the cut and have them go to your cooler. Don't accidentally get the side that is going to the radiator. I loosen one of the lines and have somebody crank it for a second and see if the trans oil is coming in or out from that line to tell which is which.

For $1700 anything that at least runs well in that size is a deal.
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:49 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by flounder View Post
I have a love/hate relationship with ford trucks. Being a mechanic in the dirty D, the ford f-series, explorers, and taurus's usually make up about 80% of my yearly income.

They all suck! Front end parts fail at an alarming rate, even with top of the line replacement stuff. The v8 engines are difficult to work on, especially on the Econoline's, and they have numorous issues with cop's, spark plugs that like to snap off in cylinder heads (3v 5.4L tritions are the worst), oil starvation issues to the top end unless oil changes are performed miticulously(and on a work truck, they never are) brake parts are expensive, if you happen to have one with rear discs, there is a 100% chance that when you remove the rotor, the parking brake linings will come with it because they bond them to the shoe with elmers glue.

Don't even get me started on the taurus.

If you're looking for a tow vehicle, I would suggest an older chevy silverado with at least a 5.0l. If you don't need a 4x4, don't get one. Just more parts to wear and replace and you'll get worse mileage to boot.
Agreed for the most part.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:25 AM   #68
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I'm still not sure how I got away with towing my miata with car dolly on a 6 cylinder 1500 and a failing clutch. Apparently it's impossible.

Good luck with the van though.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:33 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Savington View Post
Know how you're always paranoid about driving your $25,000, fully rebuilt, meticulously maintained Miata to the track because it might break down and leave you stranded?

Take a step back and look at the $1700 15-year old E250 you're about to buy and ask yourself if your Miata is more or less reliable than it will be.
This.

You've got to remember your entrusting the van with more then just your life bro, it's towing your racecar. If you get in a crash and your car gets f*cked up, does insurance cover it? And does it cover the value of it as a racecar with all the modifications or just as a stock miata?
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:43 AM   #70
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I'm still not sure how I got away with towing my miata with car dolly on a 6 cylinder 1500 and a failing clutch. Apparently it's impossible.
Srsly! For a bunch of cheap bastards they sure do have wine and cheese attitudes about tow vehicles. It does not need to be able to accelerate like a Porsche from 70 to 90 when pulling a loaded trailer up a grade.

Back in college my roommate and I pulled a '72 GTO on a tandem axle trailer from Georgia to Tampa, Florida. Then we towed it over and dropped the car off in Orlando and pulled the trailer back to Georgia. We did it in his rusty old '65 Chevy pickup with a 305, a Saginaw 3-speed manual, 4 wheel manual drum brakes, and rust holes in the floorboard. It would only pull it about 65-70 mph because of the gearing. Was it a 40 foot motor coach with a 380hp Cummins? No, but it worked and we had fun on our road trip.

And I have pulled 3-5000lbs. loads many thousands of miles with 6 cylinder pickups and vans. Colorado to Virginia, Virginia to Key West and back, Georgia through The Rockies to southern Arizona to name a few. Hustler will have more power, stronger suspension, and better brakes than I did for a lot of those trips.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the E250 with any available engine will be a more than adequate tow vehicle for one of the smallest cars on the road and a decent little trailer. Hell, you can't buy a lot of used trailers for $1700! I consider it a win. Good job, Hustler.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:51 AM   #71
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Random side question, what are roughly the costs of registering an older mid 90's vehicle in Texas? You guys keep making it sound like it is expensive.
After a little research the "standard presumptive value" is $4200 ($1700 over KBB and NADA). My white shitbox Miata was valued at $3400 ($1300 sale and a fair price) and after bullshit "license plate reflectivity" and other dumb charges it was $475 to register that car. Yeah, I paid a 36% tax rate to register the white Miata.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:53 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Savington View Post
Know how you're always paranoid about driving your $25,000, fully rebuilt, meticulously maintained Miata to the track because it might break down and leave you stranded?

Take a step back and look at the $1700 15-year old E250 you're about to buy and ask yourself if your Miata is more or less reliable than it will be.
Ever notice that people who use a $30,000 1-ton Duramax/Allison to pull a 2100lb tag are somewhat disillusioned?

I'm sure it will be perfectly reliable. Pulling the Miata home is not my #1 motivation, getting crunk and sleeping in the van at the track is my motivation.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:59 AM   #73
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And I have pulled 3-5000lbs. loads many thousands of miles with 6 cylinder pickups and vans. Colorado to Virginia, Virginia to Key West and back, Georgia through The Rockies to southern Arizona to name a few. Hustler will have more power, stronger suspension, and better brakes than I did for a lot of those trips.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the E250 with any available engine will be a more than adequate tow vehicle for one of the smallest cars on the road and a decent little trailer. Hell, you can't buy a lot of used trailers for $1700! I consider it a win. Good job, Hustler.
I'm also only doing the flatland-boogie through TX an OK.

I love these guys that keep telling me to finance a $20k plus 1-ton oil burner for a 3000lb tag pull is required. If I had the money I'd already have a Cummins.

I will put "Mobile Oriental Massage" on the sides, thanks.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:01 AM   #74
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:42 AM   #75
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One of these days I may purchase a vehicle worth more than 2-weeks pay (1 paycheck). However, I seriously doubt it.
I'm serious. If I didn't live such a metropolitan lifestyle and had space to store it (or could justify paying storage fees somewhere), I would totally buy a cheap panel van for a tow vehicle. I used a buddy's to tow my 1G Talon to a ProSolo in Ft. Myers one year and it was, as you say, quite bauce.

I would, however, probably spend at least as much as the purchase price on decking out the interior with cool storage solutions (IKEA?!) and would likely look into a sweet urban camo (or possibly paisley) vinyl wrap.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:58 AM   #76
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I'm serious. If I didn't live such a metropolitan lifestyle and had space to store it (or could justify paying storage fees somewhere), I would totally buy a cheap panel van for a tow vehicle. I used a buddy's to tow my 1G Talon to a ProSolo in Ft. Myers one year and it was, as you say, quite bauce.

I would, however, probably spend at least as much as the purchase price on decking out the interior with cool storage solutions (IKEA?!) and would likely look into a sweet urban camo (or possibly paisley) vinyl wrap.
My van will eventually have a few, unique features:
  • The longest extension cord you've seen in your pathetic lives (Serious about this one)
  • bar
  • kegerator
  • massage table
  • gun-rack for long-guns (serious about this one)
  • ammo box racks (serious about this one)
  • possibly a folding bunk on the side (serious about this one)
  • fireplace
  • rope swing
  • water feature
  • dixie horn (serious about this one)
  • three subwoofers with speakers in the front doors and rear doors so we can jam GnR at the track, because there is simply nothing else you listen to at the track when American Iron is running (serious about this one)
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:16 AM   #77
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If you need a roof A/C for it, let me know. I am a distributor for Dometic RV A/Cs and get them cheap. They have a new high efficiency model that I am excited about that only pulls 8.6 amps on compressor start up. Also, remember that the long the extension cord you have, the less load that it can handle. Try to stick with a 10 gauge 50' 110v cord and it will make it much more manageable.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:25 AM   #78
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You could just buy a new cummins, just to blow the Head Gasket at 15k and have to be towed from Dallas to Austin by an Excursion.

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Old 01-04-2012, 11:33 AM   #79
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Just make sure it's the 6.0 diesel excursion in a gas body lol
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:36 AM   #80
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It was a 6.0
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