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A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
3/23/20 10:34 p.m.

The tune changes how it shifts.  It bangs the next gear fairly hard sometimes.  Not annoyingly so but you can tell.  Feels like the old days with a “shift kit”.  I’m told this is actually better for the transmission although I can’t explain exactly how.

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/24/20 6:13 a.m.
ntsqd said:

About the shift points, does this van have the PSOM type of speedo? If it does you need to check the calibration of the speedo. Since the PSOM's draw their input from the tone ring in the diff the R&P ratio change that you made makes no difference. But any tire size change DOES make a difference. AND the PSOM then feeds the corrected signal to the ECU/PCM which controls the shift points. I just went thru this on my '96 OJB. Correcting the PSOM made a huge difference in the way that it runs and drives.

Now that you mention it, this is very likely a cause of my shifting issues. Since I got it, the speedometer in the van has never worked correctly. Seems to just bounce around until I get up to about 45mph, at which point it reads accurate. When I swapped the axle, the VSS was changed with it, but had no effect on the speedometer. This would lead me to believe that it's a PSOM issue (from the little reading I've done), but it seems like all the PSOM information I'm finding is for 92-97 ford trucks/vans. I'm wondering if there's a similar system on this van. I'll definitely need to do some more digging, but I appreciate the tip!

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/24/20 6:50 a.m.

Access to the top of the engine in the van is already limited just due to the placement of the engine, but the factory air intake system has this huge resonator that covers essentially the entire top of the engine:


Not wanting to work around it every time I need to do something on top of the engine, I found some scrap exhaust tubing and made a simple cap to plug the hole in the intake where this resonator would attach:


I was really happy with how it turned out once installed:


However, it turns out the engineers at Ford knew what they were doing when they designed that resonator. With it removed, there's a pretty substantial drone at low RPM. The excitement of not having to deal with that resonator anymore was fun while it lasted, but unfortunately it's going back in because that noise was not worth it...

AWSX1686 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/24/20 7:53 a.m.

Following along!

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
3/24/20 6:44 p.m.

It’s always neat to learn that they weren’t just sitting in the office burning weed when they designed something that doesn’t appear to have an obvious use.

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/25/20 6:01 a.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

On the other hand; had they designed the rest of the intake differently, that resonator box might not be necessary. The trucks with the same engine didn't have a resonator box...

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/25/20 6:23 a.m.

In reply to artur1808 :

Trucks with that engine have more space to play with intake configurations.

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/25/20 7:26 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Very valid point. 

preach GRM+ Memberand New Reader
3/25/20 9:23 a.m.

NACA duct on a van hood and some creative piping?

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/29/20 12:48 p.m.

It's not perfect, but the van has a continuous stripe across the back again. 


oh and a hitch!

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/29/20 4:49 p.m.

This weekend the van is getting some audio/NVH upgrades. I replaced that android headunit with a conventional double-DIN unit (which I forgot to get a picture of). The android one had a terrific screen, but it was running on some seemingly bootleg automotive specific android hardware that was unintuitive, it needed an additional adapter to get CarPlay to work, and didn't have a rotary volume knob. That last one drives me nuts. I can deal with touch/capacitive buttons for a lot of infotainment controls, but Volume needs to be a physical, rotary dial. Anyway, I won't ramble on that too long. I replaced the front door speakers, one of which wasn't working, and added some sound deadening material to the doors:



On the actual cab; I pulled the passengers seat and removed this sliding bulkhead door that I don't intend to use. Also, check out that hardwired 12v spotlight! 


pulled off the doghouse and carpet:


and laid down some more sound deadening material:



There's a ton of wiring under the front seat and I didn't have time to dive into all that today. 


The van has two overhead speakers, two in the doors, and this little powered subwoofer will be the extent of the speakers in here. Just enough to make it feel less like you're riding in a 21 year old ambulance. 

JAGwinn New Reader
3/31/20 9:38 p.m.

In Illinois you must be careful with that spotlight...especially in deer season. Arrest is immediate and a charge of spotlighting for deer by the IDNR.

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/1/20 6:02 a.m.

In reply to JAGwinn :

Good to know! To be honest, I'm not really sure I'll keep it around because I don't know that'll I'll actually get much value out of it. I do want to turn it on in the dark at least once to see how effective it is though...

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/1/20 6:37 a.m.

Man... this thread almost makes me want to keep my van.

4/1/20 11:19 a.m.

The spotlights aren't that good either; more of a utility tool to check the interior than anything.

I wish we could have upgraded the stereo in my department; the single-DIN unit has to be one of the worst stereos i've EVER used.

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/1/20 11:55 a.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

I believe it. I tried pointing it into the back of the van and it didn't seem terribly bright, but it was daytime so who knows. I will likely get rid of it because I plan to keep the "scene" lights on the sides/rear of the van for lighting up the area around the van anyway. 

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/1/20 3:38 p.m.

Had a few minutes to pull out the drivers seat today and unearthed what might be the largest glob of glue in recorded history


artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/1/20 3:56 p.m.

Did some digging and that glue was partly plugging a big hole in the floor that wires are routed through as part of the ambulance conversion. 

Also, here's a shot of the wiring that's above the drivers/passengers heads:


all of the relays and breakers are numbered and labeled, but I'm sure it'll still take some work to understand this system in its entirety 

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/3/20 8:56 a.m.

Question for those that are familiar with Ford electronics from this timeframe. I'm trying to track down my speedometer issue, here's what I know:


-Speedometer jumps around and is generally erratic until about 45mph, above which it works normally.

-Cruise control works (at least at highway speeds, haven't tried it at speeds below 45 yet)

-No warning lights on dash

-Transmission seems confused about what gear to be in. It'll stay in a gear for longer than it seems like it should when accelerating, and the shifts aren't smooth.

-VSS is in the rear diff. When I changed out the rear axle, the VSS in the new axle did not result in any change to the speedometer condition. 

-Tried a new output sensor on the transmission - no change. 

-All fuses are intact


As far as I can tell, the only things involved in the sensing/presenting of vehicle speed data are the VSS, speedometer, and PCM. This van does not have a PSOM speedometer (as far as I can tell from online research). My thoughts for next steps:


-I have another diff-mounted VSS I grabbed at a junkyard that I'm going to try, but the resistance measured very similar to the one that's in the van now so I'm not optimistic that this will do anything.

-Need to change the gear oil. Maybe there are some metal shavings in there that are throwing off the reading?

-I have a spare PCM that I grabbed from a junkyard as well that I'd like to try. Just a bit nervous about whether or not it'll support the dual alternators on this engine, as the van I grabbed it from was a 7.3 with a single alternator. I can't seem to find any information on whether or not the PCM's are different for single vs. dual alternator 7.3 vans. 


That's the extent of what I know. Maybe someone here can offer some more insight? Am I missing something? 

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/5/20 6:47 p.m.

Goodbye shelf/wall that blocked half of the side door (forgot to take a better before picture)


and hello big, open entryway! 


having this gone will also allow me to put a swivel base on the passengers seat


artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/13/20 9:23 a.m.

Finished wiring up the new head unit yesterday, including the high-mount backup camera.


And I spent some time removing the bench and generally cleaning up the inside of the van a bit. It's starting to look like a blank canvas:


Now I have a question for the class. The cargo area had two layers of "tile" on it; the top layer peeled off reasonably easily as it was just stuck to the bottom layer, but the bottom layer is putting up much more of a fight. This is what it looks like in the small area that I started trying to pull up:


The floor of the van is thick particle board, and I'm guessing that's some sort of contact cement holding those "tiles" on? Is there any good way to remove these? Should I even bother or just try to level it out and put new flooring over the top?

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/13/20 9:47 a.m.

How is the particle board mounted? That might be an easier route.

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/14/20 7:25 a.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

Good call! I believe it's just screwed right to the floor of the van, but I'll have to look at it a bit more closely. I'm also worried the cabinets along the drivers side of the van are attached to the floor... 

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/20/20 8:29 a.m.

Got a bit of cosmetic work done on the van this past weekend since the weather was nice. The van has basic steel wheels, with years of grime on them:


Cleaned up the wheels and painted them with some gloss black. Also undercoated the wheel wells and as much of the frame as I could while I was at it. 



I've always hated that the ambulance lights had their lenses removed when it was decommisioned, and new lenses are $40 a piece. So I decided to remove all of the lights off the back of the van and replace it with a simple panel. This will clean up the look once I get the raised roof painted, and increase visibility in the back up camera a bit. 

Old picture because I suck at taking "before" pictures:



I was able to reuse a nice piece of stainless steel that had previously been part of the bench in the back of the ambulance. Riveted it on and sealed with RTV. 


Finally, the exhaust got some attention. A lot of diesel folks like to upgrade to 4" (or larger) exhaust to bring down EGT's when towing a lot. I didn't feel like spending $350 on an exhaust system when the factory exhaust is already 3.5". So instead of a whole new exhaust, I found a "big truck" muffler which is a straight-through design. The internet claims that this muffler will yield a significant reduction in EGT's. Maybe not AS much as replacing the whole exhaust system, but my car trailer isn't that heavy (relatively speaking) so I'm going to try just changing out this muffler for now and see if I have any issues. 

New muffler is bigger than the factory muffler, and the factory one has an offset outlet so the tailpipe doesn't line up with the new muffler. I've always hated how low the factory tailpipe hangs:


So once I got the new muffler positioned, I repurposed some of the factory bends to make a simple side exit in front of the rear tire. Might go back and revise it at some point so it's on less of an angle. 


Now that I'm looking at the picture, it's hard to see the new exhaust. However, that was kind of the idea so I guess it's a success. The overall noise level is about the same, but it allows a bit more turbo noise to come through, which is nice compared to the clack of the engine itself. 

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/20/20 8:33 a.m.

Found a picture of the muffler. Easily the biggest muffler I've ever dealt with. 3.5" inlet/outlet, 37" end to end. 

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