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artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/21/20 11:31 a.m.

More lighting upgrades! 
 

The Hella 700FF's were, quite frankly, a bit underwhelming out of the box. A common upgrade is to fit an HID bulb into them for a significant increase in light output. I'm a big advocate against HIDs in non-projector housings, but in this case since it's just an auxiliary light I'm going to break that rule. 
 


 

Some very minor trimming is required to get the bulbs in there, but they are in and the sealant is curing now. Then I'll just need to route the wires through the grommet in the plastic housing, solder connectors back on, and plug it all in. Fingers crossed that it all works like the internet has lead me to believe.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/21/20 2:15 p.m.


 

got them all wired up, ballasts mounted inside the bumper, and it should be good to go! Maybe I'll get out of the house tonight and aim all of these lights

mdshaw
mdshaw GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/21/20 4:07 p.m.

It you need any tips on the 7.3 I've done a lot to mine. It's a 97 so ditched the mechanical pump for a Bosch with dual filters, upgraded hpop, new low pressure oil pump, water pump, Rosewood 185/80 injectors diy water/meth (washer fluid) injection. It was a van so no room for an intercooler. New aluminum radiator. PHP 8 tune tuner. Also added a Doug Nash double over drive since it's also a 4.10 Dana dually rear. 
Also had the transmission built for towing. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/21/20 4:37 p.m.

In reply to mdshaw :

Wow that's awesome! But out of curiosity, why did you start with a van instead of a truck? Seems like you essentially built a truck out of it in the end

mdshaw
mdshaw GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/21/20 6:42 p.m.

My son actually found it in California. A helicopter jet engine repair company built it with aluminum bed & boxes to be under the weight limit & be able to haul the engines legally. He went through all the weights & limits but forget what they are now. My son just wanted a 2wd diesel at the time & this was a good deal. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/29/20 5:22 p.m.

In reply to mdshaw :

Very cool!

 

Today I did an upgrade that I've had in my mind pretty much since I got the van: swivel front seat!

naturally I didn't take any pictures throughout the process, but here's the end result in all its glory


 

the ambulance originally had a swivel mechanism on the medics chair in the back, so I cut that apart and made it work on the passenger front seat. Very excited to have a spot to actually sit when the van is parked

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/29/20 5:40 p.m.

Awesome swivel seat, that is one thing i have planned for my van.

03Panther
03Panther Dork
11/29/20 9:22 p.m.
artur1808 said:

In reply to mdshaw :

Wow that's awesome! But out of curiosity, why did you start with a van instead of a truck? Seems like you essentially built a truck out of it in the end

' Cause dually extended cab van/truck conversions have been the "cool" button for rv haulers since the late 60's! I've always loved em. smiley I guess only real advantage is turning radius and overall length, but no one seems to mind either in today's truck market. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/10/20 5:42 p.m.

Got around to installing a step along the passenger side. The vans not super tall, but sometimes it feels like it could use an additional step, so I snagged this from the local pick and pull for $29


 

and then I added a couple of cheapo amazon lights underneath to light up the ground in case nature calls in the middle of the night

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/13/20 7:28 p.m.

It's almost snowboard season so I got to work on some more insulation. I'd previously added some basic plastic sheeting to cover the windows from prying eyes, but it didn't do much to keep the heat in. 
 

today I grabbed a roll of reflectix and did about 5 layers per window. I understand this probably isn't the best way to use this material, but I think it'll be a bit improvment


 

then I had some Coroplast lying around from a previous project and closed the whole area up with that


 

Not the prettiest execution on earth but I think it'll be a substantial improvement in keeping that end of the bed warm. Plus I won't lose pillows in the recesses that used to exist for the windows

java230
java230 UberDork
12/14/20 4:36 p.m.

I like the tow strap holder too :)

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/16/20 8:41 a.m.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy

 

 

Anybody here been to Elk Mountain in PA? I'm thinking of heading out there this weekend to take advantage of this snowstorm and get back in time for Christmas

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/16/20 4:41 p.m.

Grabbed a few eye bolts and bungees at the hardware store to secure the traction boards and snowboard under the bed. Also cut a quick piece of plywood to act as a barrier under the bed. We normally throw our weekend bags under the bed from the front and without anything there things sometimes slide to the back and are a pain to retrieve

 


 

(this is looking forward from the rear doors)

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/4/21 8:55 a.m.

The trip out to PA was successful! No issues on the drive, parked the van in this back corner of the parking lot on a Friday night and didn't move until Monday morning. It was real cool being able to park my little cabin at the base of the chairlift, I was totally self-sufficient in the van and could be the first one on the lift with little effort. Unfortunately the snow wasn't as great as I'd expected, and they didn't have all of the runs open at the time. Guess it's time to start planning another trip!

 

I did notice that when I got home I could see a pretty substantial oil leak had developed. Tracked it down to the oil cooler, which is a very common failure on the 7.3's - especially in cold climates. The repair itself wasn't particularly interesting, but I thought the size of these o-rings was kind of neat. Probably the biggest o-rings I've encountered on a "car"

orthoxstice
orthoxstice New Reader
1/4/21 12:54 p.m.

I forget, do powerstrokes have that cylindrical oil to water cooler cylinder under the driver's side exhaust manifold like the IDIs? I remember that not being very fun to do.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/4/21 2:05 p.m.

In reply to orthoxstice :

Yeah, same sort of thing on the powerstrokes. Replacing the actual seals wasn't bad once I got the oil cooler out of the van. I read about people trying to replace the seals with the oil cooler still attached to the engine, which sounds like a nightmare. I did it all on the bench and pressed the ends back on.

The worst part by far was the fact that I had to drain about 8 gallons of oil and coolant so naturally there was a ton of cleanup from the inevitable spills. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/14/21 10:10 a.m.

Im back for my semi-annual updates to this! Noticed that it seemed to crank a bit longer than usual in the cold, so I tested the glow plugs and only 3 of 8 were functioning. Whoops. 
 

Luckily genuine motorcraft glow plugs are cheap. Unluckily they are a colossal pain in the butt to get at. 
 


 


 

 I got them replaced just before our recent cold spell here in Michigan and the van is back to trouble-free starting!

Next I turned my attention to the neverending process of quieting the cabin down. I initially put a bunch of sound insulation on the cabin floor, foot wells, and doors, but didn't do anything with the doghouse for fear of heat. Well I did some internet digging and apparently people have insulated the engine side of the doghouse without issue (even with the powerstroke), so I decided to do the same. 
 

pulled the factory reflective heat shield off and found that Ford already had some butyl rubber insulation in there


 

i added a whole bunch (about 8 square feet) more


 

then a bit of reflective thermal insulation 


 

And finally covered it all up with the factory heat shield 


 

finished it out with the leftover sound sound insulation on the cabin side


 


 

And after all that: it sort of worked. Engine noise is definitely reduced, but far from gone. Regardless, I'll take what I can get. Any noise reduction will help on long highway drives, so I'm glad I did it. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/28/21 3:31 p.m.

Noticed a few drops of red under the front of the van one day. Traced it back to a leaky transmission cooler hose. Luckily we got some nice weather so I decided to capitalize on it and upgrade the trans cooler. 
 

Reasonably easy job; got the front end taken apart:


 

Heres a comparison of the stock 7.3 transmission cooler laid on top of a transmission cooler for a 6.0 powerstroke:


 

not bad for a $40 junkyard upgrade! 
 

Needed to run to the store to get an adapter to go from the stock 3/8" lines to the 1/2" lines that the bigger cooler uses, but then it slid right in and I put it all back together. Took the van for a drive today and didn't see a single drop so all seems to be well. I never really had issues with the trans getting hot so it may not be a particularly important upgrade, but I figure it can't hurt to have a little extra peace of mind!

orthoxstice
orthoxstice New Reader
3/1/21 8:02 a.m.

I blew up an E4OD sitting in mid-July Connecticut traffic on 95 once when ambient temps were probably close to 100 degrees. 
 

I'd say you made a smart choice. 

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/29/21 9:42 a.m.

I recently started having some issues with the rear door handle not always unlatching the door. Sure enough I opened it up and found that the rubber end on the cable had broken. I took the exterior handle and the actual latch mechanism out and found that almost all of the rubber ends were destroyed. 
 

 

went through and replaced all of the cable ends with these aluminum ones. Awesome recommendation from the GRM van build.

 

 

Got it all back together and the door is working well again. Easy fix and I will echo the GRM recommendation for these aluminum ends. If you have a Ford van, here's the pack I bought:

Amazon link

 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
3/29/21 3:04 p.m.

Cool tip, thanks.

I recently picked up a 2006 E250 extended hightop that formerly a wheelchair van. Just the 5.4 though. We are going to live out of it.

Appreciating the stuff you’ve done!

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/30/21 2:11 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Awesome, enjoy! Honestly, if I hadn't originally bought the van with the intention of pulling a trailer I would have been perfectly happy with the 5.4. 

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
3/31/21 7:29 a.m.

I haven't tried it but I'm told that a fuel/air separation system does wonders for quieting a 7.3.

 

My wife: this thing sounds just like a tractor in the field when you drive up the road.

 

Me: well, it is an International HARVESTER.

artur1808
artur1808 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/31/21 8:17 a.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

Interesting, I'll have to look into that. At this point I've sort of made peace with the noise level. The sound deadening has definitely made an improvement, and I think that being a 7.3 it'll just always be loud. I'm just glad it's quiet enough now that you can have a conversation with your passenger at highway speeds. 

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