One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

Like it or hate it the US Government Cash for Clunkers subsidy has provided us with a large
quantity of used parts for our 4×4 van builds.

1999 conversion van

This van has seen better days

A trip to the dump. Cheaper than Ebay and NO shipping charges!

ford van parts

These donors are nicer than my project car.

Today’s Goal? Locate some plastic trim and side windows that open. I may be back for the high top later this week.

Military Truck Morgan

Just play with the M35A2 Military truck while Dad pulls some van windows...

Nothing like some father-daughter bonding at the salvage yard.

ford van rear cooling

What is this? Heating? Cooling? Both?

Question for my readers. Is this unit for heating? Cooling or both? Is it more or less plug and play
or are there other parts required to make if work?

That’s the Breaks, F350 Brakes that is.

ford f350 brake calipers

ford f350 brake calipers. Old vs. New

I could have spent two hours cleaning the rust off the old ones, another hour installing a rebuild kit and then a little more time putting a protective coating on them. Instead of that I went with the $50 each option and just purchased re-manufactured Ford F350 Brake Calipers. Now all I have to do is remember to ship back the old cores so that I do not get charged a core fee.

Ford F350 remanufactured Brakes

Ford F350 remanufactured Brakes

Dana 60 Knuckle Sandwich & Other Photos

Ford f350 dana 60 knuckles

2002 Ford f350 dana 60 knuckles

ford F350 front Hubs

Ford F350 front Hubs New vs. Old

Notice the wheel studs on the new hub are a good deal longer than the original.

Ford F350 2002 Front Wheel 4x4 Hubs

Ford F350 2002 Front Wheel 4x4 Hubs Top View

front view 2002 F350 front wheel hubs

front view 2002 F350 front wheel hubs

Raped by the ford dealership

Here's why I hate the Ford dealership. 8 Bolts 41 Dollars.

I purchased my entire Dana 60 front differential for $300.  Hubs run about $80 dollars each, rebuilt brake calipers are about $40 each. Brand new rotors are just over $50 each.  Somehow when you go to a Ford dealership prices travel through a time space continuum and end up being five times more expensive than they should be. Hopefully these will be the last items that I have to purchase from a Ford Stealership.  If the parts were 5 times better or the service were clearly superior I might understand it but such is not the case. Usually the discount on line parts place has better knowledge and customer service.

Dana 60 Front Axle U Joint Install

They certainly went in a lot easier than they came out. Even with a ton of Liquid Wrench the old U Joints were rusted in place and a real pain to remove.  The new ones took a bit of pressure with a C-clamp and a couple of whacks with a BFH.

dana-60-ball-joint-install

Stick U Joint between axle ears.

Push in U joint caps with hand pressure

Tighten the caps with a C-clamp and finish with a BFH.

Repeat as nessessary, don't forget to install the c-clips.

Dana 60 front end almost complete

E250 4×4 Van Build Photos – July 1 2010

Milwaukee Grinder

One Rusty Differential vs. 4" Grinder Wheel.

When I started cleaning up my rusty dana 60 the grinder wheel on the left was brand new.

por 15

I tiny 4oz can, can cover an entire Dana 60 with two coats.

I was skeptical but one 4oz can had enough paint to cover the entire differential with two coats.

santa pays a visit

FedEx made a visit and brought new rotors, u joints and brake pads.

Behind my daughter you can see that the engine and passenger seat have been removed. As soon as I get the engine running again I’ll start working on the interior.  I’m thinking solar panels and a good sized flat screen TV would be nice.

The Passenger side of my 1997 E250

The Passenger side of my 1997 E250

Ford 4.2L Throttle Body

Cleaning up the Ford 4.2 Throttle Body

riddler dana 60 diff cover

I now have an orange pumpkin. POR Engine Enamel. Chevy Orange over the POR15 RPP.

Dana Spicer 60 U-Bolt Pinion Yoke 1350

The Pinion Yoke on my junkyard dana 60 differential was badly rusted and the bolts were stripped. I tried drilling them out but just made things worse by drilling a crooked hole. I decided to just buy a new one. The good news is that this design with u bolts is significantly stronger than what came stock with straps.  I picked this one up on Ebay for $59.95

dana 60 1350 pinion yoke

1350 yoke for the dana 60

Vehicle Applications:

  • Ford F250 Pickup Truck
  • Ford E250 Van
  • International 3/4 Ton Pickup Truck
  • Dodge D200
  • Dodge D250
  • Dodge D2500
  • Dodge W200
  • Dodge W250
  • Dodge W2500 Front or RearDodge W3500 Front or Rear1978-1979 Ford F250 & F350 Snow Fighter1985-1998 Ford F350 with Dana 60 Front1999-2001 Ford F350 Front (Dual Rear Wheels Dually) 2002 & Newer Ford F250 F350 Superduty Pickup FrontGMC 3/4 Ton Pickup Truck C20 K20 Rear 1977-1985 Chevy K30 1 Ton Pickup Truck Front 1977-1985 GMC K30 1 Ton Pickup Truck Front1984-1988 Chevy & GMC CUCV Military Blazer Jimmy

Warn Premium Locking Hubs 38826 – Best Price?

I have not heard anything good about the stock locking hubs from Ford and after doing some research it seems as though the 4×4 community really likes these Warn Premium locking hubs. As I’ve mentioned before I’m a cheap ass and would happily spend an extra 30 minutes searching the web for the best price rather than spend an extra $30.  Today my search paid off. The best price I found on Ebay was $234.  A little more searching and I found the same thing on Amazon for $207.40 with free shipping.

Warn Premium Locking Hubs

Warn Premium Locking Hubs - Dana 60 - Ford F350

Price: $207.40 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Only 1 left in stock–order soon (more on the way).

Which U Joint for my 2002 F350 front axles?

After about half an hour of searching the net it looks like the Spicer 5-806X is the way to go if you have a late 90′s – 2008 Ford high pinion Dana 60.  I’m always looking for a bargain and found two of them for $64.00 + 7 dollars shipping on Ebay for a grand total of $71.00 This is $20 less than what many other companies listed on Ebay were charging for the same thing.  If you are looking for a bargain on Spicer U-Joints check out Drivelinesource on Ebay.
If you are really looking to spend less you can get the AC Delco  Joints for about $20 each and if money is not an object CTM makes a U Joint that runs about $350 each.

DANA 60 FRONT AXLE UJOINT SPICER 5-806X

DANA 60 FRONT AXLE U JOINT SPICER 5-806X

“Congratulations, your best offer price of US $64.00 (2 x US $32.00) was accepted!
You saved US $6.00 (2 x US $3.00) off the Buy It Now price”

Trying out POR15 Rust Preventive Paint

My Dana 60 front axle was pretty rusty before I spent two days working on it with a grinder.  To keep this from happening again I’m trying out POR15 Rust Preventative Paint which is a four step process. If I’m happy with the results I’ll do the entire van frame as well as any parts prone to rust.

Dana 60 front axle almost ready for paint.

First the people at POR recommend using their degreaser followed, by a metal etching chemical followed up with the Actual POR15 and then for parts that will be exposed to the suns UV rays they recommend a top cote.

Parts ready for paint

Parts ready for paint

I decided to do my first test on my new diff cover and inner and outer axle shafts. I taped off the axle shaft U-joint openings so that I would not have to remove the paint later to get the new U-joints installed

por 15 dana 60 shafts

Axle shafts get por15 on areas prone to rust

POR recommends not using their product in high humidity so I moved the project into the garage with a dehumidifier and air conditioner.  Don’t breath the fumes, they are supposedly bad for you.

Junk Yard Dana 60 Axle Rebuild

After a recent trip to Moab Utah with my father I decided to turn my non-running 1997 ford work van into a 4×4. After a good deal of research on the web I decided upon using a Dana 60 Axle up front. The Web told me I needed to locate a late 90′s – early 2000′s Dana 60 from a F250 or higher series 4×4 pickup. Surfing Ebay I found an E350 dually axle list at $600 two states away and I made him an offer 0f $300 not expecting him to accept it. To my surprise the next time I checked my e-mail he agreed to the $300 offer.  Shipping was going to be rather expensive so I borrowed a friends pickup and drove 6 hours to pick it up near Rochester New York.

Photos from the original Ebay Dana 60 listing

Photos from the original Ebay Dana 60 listing

If you’ve never seen one in person I have to tell you these things are HUGE, especially with the dually gear on them. This thing barely fit in the bed of my friends mid sized pickup. Two big guys could not lift it. We needed to use a fork lift.  Did I mention the seller also had an NV273 transfer case from the same F350 for sale for $600? I offered him $450 cash which he also accepted, which was a dumb move on my part. I needed a NV271 which is the mechanical shift. The NV273 is Electric Shift and will be a real pain to get working. Anyone want to buy or swap an NV273 with about 69,000 miles on it?

NV273 Transfer Case Ford E350

NV273 Transfer Case Ford E350 for sale or swap for an NV271

Once I got home the first challenge was getting it out of the pickup by myself, the second was cleaning up all the rust.
Don’t waste your time with rust dissolver as I did. All it does is turn the rust black and make it more difficult to sand off.  I then pussy footed with a light weight random orbit sander before I smartened up and used a 4 1/2 grinder with a wicked roll of steel coils on it.  Make sure to wear a long sleeve shirt. long pants, safety glasses and a dust mask. I skipped the long pants and paid for it with dozens of projectiles being launched into my skin and making a bloody mess.

rust remover is a waste of time.

Crappy rust removing chemicals suck. Use a grinder.

This Kicks Rust's Ass

This thing chews up rust but not the metal below it. A++

I’ve got a decent set of tools but almost everything on this front axle uses larger than I had laying around. I had to buy a few extra large sockets and a heavy duty pickle fork because I broke three cheaper ones trying to get the ball joints off. I wasted two afternoons babying the Ball Joints with pickle forks & ball joint removal tools when what finally worked was three hits with a 25lb BFH (Big F*cking Hammer)

Big Fucking Hammer

BFH used to remove ball joints.

My plan is to tear this Dana 60 down 100% and then build it back up with mostly new parts. I’ll be painting it tomorrow with POR15 to keep it from ever rusting again. The outer 30 & inner 35 spline axles themselves are in good condition but I’ll be replacing the U Joints, Ball Joints, calipers, break pads, seals, WARN locking hubs and diff cover.  My Riddler Diff Cover just arrived yesterday and I’ll be painting it with POR15 tonight.  All in all I expect to spend between $1200 – $1500 on the front axle rebuild and have almost a week of part time work into it (evenings and weekends) I contemplated going with the larger/stronger 35 spline outer axles but they will add almost $500 to the project and this is not going to be a rock crawler, just a van I can drive on beaches, through deep snow and mild 4×4 trails in and around places like Moab Utah.

Tools you may need:

Cheater Bar – Buy a 4 foot length of 1″ Diameter Black Pipe from Lowes or Homo Depot for about $5.00
Sledge Hammer AKA: BFH – The bigger the better.
32MM Wrench to loosen Ball Joint Nuts.

32MM Wrench

32MM Wrench

1 5/16 Thin wall socket to remove pinion nut. The first one I bought from KD Tools was too Wide. The Cheaper one from Harbor Freight fits just right.

dana 60 pinion nut socket

Dana 60 pinion nut socket

4×4 Ball Joint Kit from Harbor Freight. I’m skeptical about the quality of anything from harbor freight but this seems to be decent quality and had lots of good reviews from other Dana 60 enthusiasts.

4 x 4 ball joint kit

Harbor Freight 4x4 Ball Joint Kit in Action on my D60 U Joints

KD 3316 Ford Ball Joint Cam Tool – Quite honestly I had better luck with the BFH but at least the KD pickle fork /Cam Tool could take a beating unlike the crappy ones I purchased from Harbor Freight and broke 15 minutes after I unpacked them.

Pulling the engine from a 1997 Ford E250 Van

1997 Ford E250 4.2

Wife said throw it out or fix it.

The Haynes Repair Manual was nearly worthless when I went to pull my van engine. These manuals were not written for professional mechanics but they also don’t have enough info for weekend warrior mechanics like myself to be very useful for anything other than torque specs.

There was no mention of which crane to use, how to make room for an engine hoist or which parts were likely to get in the way when trying to remove the engine.  In true guy fashion I said “f*ck the manual” and disconnected anything that looked like it might make it difficult to get the engine out.

ford e250 engine removal

Almost time to pull the engine, Have to modify the hoist.

I put all the nuts and bolts into zip lock bags and labeled them, I took pictures every 5 minutes so that if I needed to, I could always go back to the photos to see where parts were originally. I also labeled both sides of any hoses or wires that I disconnected.  Surprisingly it only took me two evenings to get the majority of pieces and parts out of the way to give myself unhampered access to the bulk of the engine.

Modified Engine Hoist

Modified Engine Hoist

I’m 40 now and have not pulled an engine from a car since I was 17.  Rather than afro engineer a home brew hoist I coughed up $170 and ordered a cheap hoist from Harbor Freight.  Anyone who’s ever worked on a Ford Van engine knows that there are only a few inches between the top of the engine and the ceiling of the engine bay.

Using the hoist the regular way would not give me enough room to lift the engine out of the bay.  To make it work I ran the hoist chain over the top of the hoist rather than under it. This gave me at least three additional inches of lift. I also had to remove the upper manifold, but once I did so I had more than enough room to get the engine out.

Green stuff in the manifold

Green Stuff, Maybe that's why it quit running?

Aluminum engine parts clean up easily

Here’s a before and after of shot of the bracket that holds my power steering pump.

Power Steering Pump Bracket Ford 4.2L

Aluminum Polish

120,000 miles on the engine and two years of sitting in the yard had left all of my aluminum parts in pretty nasty condition. I’m a bit of a clean freak and since I’m rebuilding the entire engine I thought I might as well do it right.  It’s a shame no one will ever see all my spotless part since the entire van engine is hidden from view even when you pop the hood. At least if I have to do some engine work on a trip I’ll have a clean engine to work on.

My aluminum cleaning technique included a quick dip in a degreaser, followed by a spraying with the powerwasher. This removed all the dirt and grease. To get rid of the heavy oxidation I used stainless steel brushes mounted on a power hand drill as well as 200 grit sandpaper. To reach some of the small nooks and crannies I used a pencil sized air die grinder with 1/8th inch grinding bits.  Most people would have stopped there. I followed this up with a 4oo grit sandpaper and some work on the buffer with Brown Tripoli  and white rouge buffing compounds that I purchased from Eastwood Automotive. I may even coat them with a clear coat to keep them from oxidizing again.

I’m in the process of doing this to every aluminum part on the engine which includes the upper and lower manifolds, belt tensioner bracket,  water pump bracket, oil pan, engine cooling fan, transfer case and transmission.

Make sure to wear a respirator or at least a quality dust mask and some safety goggles.


Sterling 10.5 Rear Axle

I’ll be replacing my stock  1997 Van Rear Axle with a Sterling 10.5

Why?  For a couple reasons.

  • My new junkyard front Dana 60 axle is about three inches wider than the stock rear end.
  • The Sterling 10.5 is the same width as my new front axle.
  • My stock rear has different gearing than my new front.
  • I can pick up a Sterling Junkyard rear for close to the same price as spacers for my existing axle. I might as well  find one with the same gearing as the front and I might even be able to find one with a locker for less than $300.
  • Even though both my old axle and new axle are 8 bolt, the bolt patterns are different. The Sterling 10.5 has the same bolt pattern as my front axle.

Rear Hub Axle Seal Replacement Write-up with photos

Parts Required:

Hub seals are PN: 2C3Z-1177-AB

O-rings are PN ESTZ-4A331-A.

Hub seals run around $16, the o rings are about $1.50.

About The Ford 10 1/2-inch
The 10 1/2-inch (commonly referred to as the “Sterling 10 1/2″) is a full-float axle with disc brakes found in 1999-2010 Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks. It weighs in at approximately 333 pounds in single rear-wheel versions. The ring gear diameter and pinion shaft length are both 10 1/2 inches. It has a pinion shaft spline count of 31 and an axleshaft spline count of 35. Compared to its predecessors, the first- and second-generation 10 1/4-inch axles, the 10 1/2-inch axle obviously has a larger ring gear, which improved its overall strength and addressed the premature failure issues of the of the 10 1/4-inch axles when used with 4.10:1 or numerically higher gear ratios. There are a number of limited-slip and locker options available, and there are even aftermarket axleshafts available.

Sterling 10.5 Rear End

The 10.50-inch rear axle uses SAE 75W-140 Synthetic Rear Axle Lubricant F1TZ-19580-B or equivalent meeting Ford specification WSL-M2C192-A.

Traction-Lok Parts List
Item Part Number Description
1 — Rear axle identification tag (Part of 4001)
2 4346 Differential housing cover bolt
3 4033 Differential housing cover
4 4241 Differential pinion shaft lock bolt
5 391973-S1300 Differential case bolt
6 4230 Differential pinion thrust washer
7 4215 Differential pinion gear
8 4211 Differential pinion shaft
9 4236 Differential side gear
10 4228 Differential side gear thrust washer
11 4067 Differential bearing shim
12 4222 Differential bearing cup
13 4221 Differential bearing
14 4216 Ring gear bolt
15 4204 Differential case
16 4B409 Anti-lock speed sensor ring
17 4209 Ring gear and pinion
18 4663 Drive pinion bearing adjustment shim
19 — Bearing cap and bolt
(part of 4010)
20 4630 Pinion bearing— (inner)
21 4628 Inner axle pinion bearing cup
22 9E731 RABS sensor
23 4616 Outer pinion bearing cup
24 4662 Collapsible spacer
25 4621 Pinion bearing (outer)
26 4670 Rear axle drive pinion shaft oil slinger
27 4676 Rear axle drive pinion seal
28 4851 Pinion flange
29 389546-S100 Pinion nut
30 1244 Rear wheel bearing inner cone and roller
31 1177 Wheel bearing oil seal
32 1107 Lug bolt
33 4234 Axle shaft
34 N811648-S100 Axle shaft nut
35 1012 Lug nut
36 2C026 Rear disc brake rotor
37 1109 Rear hub
38 390258-S Gasket
39 1240 Bearing
40 1A034 Hub and bearing cup
41 1113 Rear brake hub and drum (DRW only)
42 4947 Differential clutch pack
43 4A324 Rear axle differential clutch shim
44 4214 Differential clutch spring
45 390943-S100 Filler plug
46 4010 Rear axle housing
47 2209 Brake adapter plate

Conventional Parts List
Item Part Number Description
1 — Rear axle identification tag (Part of 4001)
2 4346 Differential housing cover bolt
3 4033 Differential housing cover
4 4241 Differential pinion shaft lock bolt
5 391973-S1300 Differential case bolt
6 4230 Differential pinion thrust washer
7 4215 Differential pinion gear
8 4211 Differential pinion shaft
9 4236 Differential side gear
10 4228 Differential side gear thrust washer
11 4067 Differential bearing shim
12 4222 Differential bearing cup
13 4221 Differential bearing
14 4216 Ring gear bolt
15 4204 Differential case
16 4B409 Anti-lock speed sensor ring
17 4209 Ring gear and pinion
18 4663 Drive pinion bearing adjustment shim
19 — Bearing cap and bolt
(part of 4010)
20 4630 Pinion bearing— (inner)
21 4628 Inner axle pinion bearing cup
22 9E731 RABS sensor
23 4616 Outer pinion bearing cup
24 4662 Collapsible spacer
25 4621 Pinion bearing (outer)
26 4670 Rear axle drive pinion shaft oil slinger
27 4676 Rear axle drive pinion seal
28 4851 Pinion flange
29 389546-S100 Pinion nut
30 1244 Rear wheel bearing inner cone and roller
31 1177 Wheel bearing oil seal
32 1107 Lug bolt
33 4234 Axle shaft
34 N811648-S100 Axle shaft nut
35 1012 Lug nut
36 2C026 Rear disc brake rotor
37 1109 Rear hub
38 390258-S Gasket
39 1240 Bearing
40 1A034 Hub and bearing cup
41 1113 Rear brake hub and drum (DRW only)
42 390943-S100 Filler plug
43 4010 Rear axle housing
44 2209 Brake adapter plate

Which transfer case to use for your 4×4 Van?

Since I’m building a ford I’m going with the NV271.

The NV271/273 transfercase is the strongest transfer case made by New Venture (formally New Process). The Ford NV271/273 is rated for a GVW of 17,464lbs and is used in F250-F550 SD trucks.

The NV271/273 is an aluminum case, chain drive transfer case and has a 2.72-1 ratio.

UPDATE: I jumped the gun on this one.
The NV271/273 is not a direct bolt on for the 4R70W transmission that came with my 1997 E250 but it will fit some of the later E series van transmissions without any special adapters.

From Chris at U-Joint Offroad:  “For your t-case, I’ve had good luck with the BW1356 behind the 4R70 & 4R75 transmission. If you get one from a 1992 – 1996 Ford Bronco, they have fixed yokes front & rear, which is much better than a slip yoke.”

4 Wheel Drive Vans are not inexpensive

4 Wheel Drive Vans are not cheap.

Both Quigley and Advanced 4WD systems quote prices around $10,000 to convert a standard 2WD van into a 4WD.
You can easily spend a mint if you go with a Sportsmobile Custom which can set you back anywhere between $65,000 and $100,000.  If you have more money that you know what to do with you may wish to take a look at the Earth Roamer. Prices can be as high as $210,000. Looking for something even more extreme? Take a peak at the trucks from Global Expedition Vehicles.

Your other option is to build one yourself for about half the cost of a factory installed system.  Companies like U Joint Offroad sell all the parts you will need as well as provide detailed instruction to assure a proper fit.

A big thanks to Survivalblog.com for all the traffic!

I was just looking at my web statistics from Google Analytics and noticed a huge spike in traffic. A quick check and I found that the traffic was due to a mention of my site on SurvivalBlog.com

I did not set out to create a survival site but I guess you could take a lot of the things I enjoy doing for fun and apply them to staying alive in lousy situations.

I see a lot of people choosing Jeeps and other SUV’s as their ultimate Bug Out Vehicles. You can keep your Jeeps and Ford Explorers. I’ll take a 4 wheel drive van with solar panels on the roof. The Jeep or Explorer may get you out of town but it will not provide you a place to live once you get there.  You can find vans similar to mine on Ebay for anywhere from $800 – $5000.  I keep enough  food & water in the van at all times to disappear for two weeks at a time if the need arises.  I live directly on a bay connected to the ocean and flooding or a tidal wave are always a possibility. I also always keep the gas tank topped off. If the SHTF I don’t want to get stuck trying to find an open gas station.

I have served in the Military and went through the survival school in Washington State. It was a fun filled three weeks of being dropped off by a helicopter, chased by the AK47 toting ‘enemy’ forces , eating bugs and then being smacked around a bit in a simulated POW camp.  Other than the ‘being smacked around’ part it really was a good time and I learned a lot.

Here are a few articles you might enjoy:

If you are visiting from Survivalblog.com thanks for dropping in and thank you again for all the traffic!


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