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curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
1/6/12 2:38 a.m.

I've always been a van nut and I finally got one. As much as I would have loved a mid-70s sport van with shag carpet, I needed a HD diesel van because I do a fair amount of heavy towing. So I bought a 99 powerstroke E350. Its a stripped down cargo van into which I plan on putting nice captains chairs and one bench/bed from a conversion van since it will serve double duty as a weekend RV.

I have been grabbing little parts here and there like nicer wheels and I wouldn't mind adding a windshield spoiler and chin spoiler to give it that 70s custom look, but I gotta get the stance right without killing the HD factor.

How would you go about lowering it? I thought about doing the leaf springs under the axle but that would be way too low. I also thought about removing a few leaves and adding air assist bags to regain the weight capacity. Front should be pretty simple - its coil springs on a twin I-beam. I should be able to find the right springs and then get the proper kingpins to correct the camber.... or find/construct some drop I-beams.

Thoughts? Photoshop tweaks? Random laughs?

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
1/6/12 4:55 a.m.

Here - I lowered it in Photoshop but I'm having difficulty adding the chin spoiler and windshield spoiler. Anyone better at photoshop?

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
1/6/12 5:25 a.m.

Not super-familiar with the E series of that vintage but it still uses Twin I Beam suspension, right? You can't just change the springs. The beams are what need to be changed, otherwise you end up with a massive negative camber problem that you can't adjust out. They make drop beams for the pickups but the E series are different and they won't swap. Unless someone out there makes drop beams for Econolines this won't be a simple thing to solve.

Toyman01
Toyman01 SuperDork
1/6/12 5:54 a.m.

Someone makes drop beams for Fords. Not sure who and don't have time to dig into the internets right now. Google should pull them up.

failboat
failboat HalfDork
1/6/12 7:05 a.m.

customvan.com

Has a bunch of van accessories. Or alternatively you can just strip fiberglass pieces off conversions in junkyards while you are grabbing seats. I doubt you'll find a visor there though. Pretty sure Lund makes a few differnt ones for the E series, with and without lights.

Maybe give the guys at customvan.com a call and see what they know about lowering, they are pretty knowledgable about vans and do lots of custom work for customers.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo SuperDork
1/6/12 7:18 a.m.

The shape of the front of the roof looks pretty damn similar to the 8-9 Gen F-Series. There are a ton of Lund visors that should fit. You could probably fabricate a pretty sweet fiberglass chin spoiler.

Monster Toad
Monster Toad Reader
1/6/12 8:18 a.m.

I plan to make my 4WD torsion bar Ranger spring under at some point. Altering rear ride height from there is just a matter of shackle / hanger length or flipping the rear hanger to gain back a little height.

Like dis.

In other words, DO IT!

Toyman01
Toyman01 SuperDork
1/6/12 8:34 a.m.

Found them.

http://www.airbagit.com/product-p/ibe-fo07xx-van.htm

Ranger50
Ranger50 Dork
1/6/12 9:41 a.m.

In reply to Toyman01:

Ugh, ChassisTech AKA AIM Industries AKA the shiny happy people in AZ..... But then again they are the only ones who make a dropped I-beam for my F250.

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
1/6/12 1:12 p.m.

Sweet stuff, folks. Thanks.

Re: rear axle drop by flipping the hanger... I've seen that done before for small adjustments, but wouldn't going too far upset the pinion angle? How far can I go before I mess up driveshaft geometry?

Re: front I-beams... I thought someone made offset kingpins to correct camber. I was just thinking that would be cheaper and less labor intensive than a complete drop beam swap.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks SuperDork
1/6/12 1:27 p.m.

There is another thread here somewhere about lowering vans...I'll add it on edit if I find it.

[edit: Here it is: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/dropping-an-econoline-van/18175/page1/ ]

What I mentioned there is that you may have good luck checking in with people who do "Accessible" vans. I don't know what the new PC term is for Handicap or Disabilities...but that's what I mean...

Check with whoever nearby refits vans to be driven by or accomodate people in wheelchairs and such. I don't know if they typically lower the suspension...but if they do, they'll have what you need. I know they lower floors and lots of custom work...so they'd be a good resource in any case.

Hope it helps, Clem

Ranger50
Ranger50 Dork
1/6/12 1:33 p.m.

I can tell you on the caravans they cut the floor out raise the back up to make a wedge and weld back together. Which makes working on them a PITA.

Now, the FS's I see are wheelchair lifts out the side door. They install a raised roof like a conversion van to give you space.

Neither of them have suspension mods. If they did, I do believe they have to be recert'd to be road worthy.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
1/6/12 2:56 p.m.

In reply to curtis73:

I've never seen them, but I never had much interest in lowering my van. $500 for the I-beams sounds very reasonable to me. I'm glad I never saw these...

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
1/6/12 3:52 p.m.

I love you guys. I also posted this on an Econoline forum and they are bashing me saying that its unsafe and I'm going to hell basically.

Econoline enthusiast forum? I think not.

ransom
ransom Dork
1/6/12 3:57 p.m.

At first, I had an kneejerk negative reaction, because I've seen so many stupidly lowered trucks that were effectively not trucks any more.

But I don't know why the 250s and 350s need to be as tall as they are... So what you're proposing looks to me to be pretty much a win in terms of load-in height and stability, with no real downside? Though I think I'd prefer to keep the rear leaf springs and not muck about with airbags.

I wonder if there's any bumpsteer weirdness with the lowering beams...

EvanB
EvanB SuperDork
1/6/12 4:10 p.m.

No dajiban photos yet? I will have to remedy that...

Ranger50
Ranger50 Dork
1/6/12 4:36 p.m.

I rike it. I rike it arot.

/me goes off to scour craigslist for a pedovan.....

a401cj
a401cj Reader
1/6/12 5:20 p.m.

no lowering. no. no. If I'm not terribly mistaken, that van isn't too difficult to convert to 4x4. Those Quigleys are awesome. I'm sure you could do it yourself for pennies on the dollar with a wrecked 4x truck

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
1/6/12 5:38 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: I love you guys. I also posted this on an Econoline forum and they are bashing me saying that its unsafe and I'm going to hell basically. Econoline enthusiast forum? I think not.

Don't worry you get bashed for plenty of other stuff here.

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar Dork
1/6/12 5:40 p.m.
EvanB wrote: No dajiban photos yet? I will have to remedy that...

Every time one of these gets posted I start wondering if a '70's Tradesman front would bolt up to the later Ram Vans. Or if it can be fitted with minor surgery.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
1/6/12 5:52 p.m.

I can't imagine why not... Considering the Dodge van hardly changed from '72 until its death in... 2004?

turboswede
turboswede SuperDork
1/6/12 5:58 p.m.
ransom wrote: I wonder if there's any bumpsteer weirdness with the lowering beams...

Well, by their very nature that would be true. Can't imagine it would be any worse than stock.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo HalfDork
1/6/12 6:03 p.m.

As I recall, the issue with flipping the rear spring mount is that it moves the wheels forward in the wheelwell as a lift, backward as a drop. Probably not by a lot though.

Could you just get some drop shackles for it so you don't have to modify the spring hangers in the rear? Is there a rear lift block on the rear axle? 2WD Ford trucks of the same era have a lift block in back. You could just pitch the rear block if you have one.

For the front you are going to be stuck with the TTB front end and custom beams or a very mild drop. There is a bit of camber adjustment in the front beams but not for a serious drop.

Are you going to be putting lower profile tires on it? Lowered on stock profile tires just screams HOOPTY to me.

A visor, while looking awesome, kills MPG and makes a lot of wind noise at freeway speed.

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
1/6/12 6:04 p.m.
Rob_Mopar wrote:
curtis73 wrote: I love you guys. I also posted this on an Econoline forum and they are bashing me saying that its unsafe and I'm going to hell basically. Econoline enthusiast forum? I think not.

Don't worry you get bashed for plenty of other stuff here.

I'm NOT cutting my hair, dude

nicksta43
nicksta43 Reader
1/6/12 6:08 p.m.

I really, really, really want a van.

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