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I'm about to buy a van for my painting business in Portland, OR (been working out of my truck until now) No mechanical knowledge, so I'm trying to get a feel for what I'm getting myself into. Been searching used Econolines, about the '95 to '08 range. I see than most vans that have more than 200k miles have had work put into them. I found an '03 econoline with 126k miles for a good price (4,800) , asked if there's been any work put into it and they said no, aside from fluid maintenance. Which leads me to believe there could be a host of things I'll have to get replaced or repaired in the next 50k miles or so. Could anyone with work van knowledge give a rundown of when certain systems start to fail on econoline vans so I have some educated questions to ask sellers? Thank you!
 

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I had an Econoline 150 (small six cyl) in the early 90's till about 2004..I bought it new...the upper/lower ball joint was a recurring repair issue...more so than other vans. I'm not a mechanic, but I remember paying for it 😉 and it turned me off from Econolines big time.

Have to mention that engine and trans were original (not without maintenance of course, but never totally replaced) when I sold it with 287000....$400..lol

That said, consider spending more for such a core bread and butter aspect of your business since you've stated your not a car person. I'm not one and decided it was best to find a good mechanic and figure how much vehicle maintenance should be part of your quotes based on what you choose to buy.
 

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The advice in the previous posts is solid and should be given strong consideration. A couple of other things to think about:
Prices for used vehicles are high and will continue to be so for quite some time so no getting around that.
Don't buy something that is showing signs of rust out. Nothing looks worse than pulling up to a client in a rust bucket. Look at other vehicles as you drive around. You'll notice which tend to rust out at the door bottoms / wheel wells and which don't.
Work vans are known for lack of maintenance since they are used for work and who has time to give them up for basic repairs or maintenance, right? If claims of maintenance can't be backed up with receipts, be wary.
If you're looking at something that looks like a good price but it needs work, add in the cost of brakes, tires, LOF's, etc to the purchase price. Does it still look like a good deal?
You must run a CARFAX report or the seller should provide it. Don't buy anything with a salvage title.
Lastly, to determine what is a good brand based on reliability look in your area at companies that are running small fleets of vans. HVAC, Plumbing, etc. Ask the appropriate person about the pro and con of the make/model. You'll learn what to steer clear from.
Almost forgot.... No Diesels! Dodge ProMasters are a nightmare!
FWIW, Son-in-law has a Nissan work van. It is rock solid. Never been back to dealer except for maintenance.
Nothing quite like a little bit of debt to light a fire under ones butt! :cool:
 

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I still have an ‘01 Econoline 250 (3/4 ton) that I bought new way back when. Only has about 150K miles since I have had other daily drivers since ‘14. But I use it for big load / unloads, dump runs etc. A friend told me go with the 3/4 ton instead of 1/2 ton and I’m glad I did. It has held up great. Really just have done the basics (knock on wood) fluids, tires, brakes etc. Ok I take that back I had to put a tranny in about 5 years ago. But still has been a great rig.
 

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I bought my 2000 e350 with 290K miles on it for $1500. It actually runs like a freaking champ, and has 330K on it now. Gas guzzler though.... I had to put $3000 in to it to have the plugs changed, and each ignition coil for each one(which I probably didnt even need), plus some issue with the intake manifold.

Maintanence is expensive, but it only needs it every 100K miles. Only other thing Ive done in 5 years, is brakes, tires, and a few little things, like worn bushings. Some of them econolines are friggin tanks, that can run over 4-500K miles
 
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