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Old 09-02-2007, 04:54 PM   #1
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Econoline questions

I've been polishing this weekend - not the trailer, the truck! We have had it 4 years or so now, and it has gotten grey-er every year, despite washing it and trying to keep it clean. So the last two days I have been polishing it, and it is turning shiny black again, like it should be. Compare the back doors in the picture below.

I have a couple questions, since I've been out there staring at the van and thinking about it the last few hours.

I see the 2003-newer E150s have towing mirrors. They weren't available in 95, but they look like they would fit in the same place without any problem. I'm seriously considering switching. Has anyone got an E150 with these mirrors? I wonder if they're worth the trouble and cost. The stock mirrors are almost adequate with our short trailer, but a little more of a view back there would be nice.

The other question involves the rear end. The van did not come with a towing package. Would a towing package normally involve a differently geared rear end? Also, it has a regular rear end, where if one back tire begins spinning, the other one does not turn at all, resulting in us getting stuck just trying to get out of our spot at a park one time, when one tire got off the pavement and into the mud. I wonder if I could switch to a limited slip and change the gear to something more suitable for towing at the same time?

Anyway, just some random thoughts. Back to polishing...
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Old 09-02-2007, 05:31 PM   #2
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Hi, Stefrobrts. From grey to black sounds like paint oxydation. Clean it, compound it, and wax it; And some day plan on a new paint job. The new mirrors are great; I have seen them at the Ford dealer where I work. I don't see any reason why they would not fit on your van, but you'll never know unless you try it. Buy one, driver's side, and see if it will bolt on; If it does, go back and buy the other one, if not, return it. Trailer tow package usually comes with a 3:73 ratio differential with limited slip. Limited slip is just what it says. Limited. Maybe 90 to 210 lbs friction between the two axles. So if the traction difference is somewhere between those specs, it will help you move. After market companies make and sell "more positive" differentials, [like detroit locker etc.] for a price. Maybe consider buying a complete, used, rear axle assembly with 3:L73 marking on the tag. Might cost less.
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Old 09-02-2007, 06:48 PM   #3
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Bob, it's been years (decades?) since I worked for Uncle Henry. Did the E150 come with a 4.10 rear axle? I think 4.10 would be really good for towing, especially if it came in limited slip configuration.
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
I've been polishing this weekend - not the trailer, the truck! We have had it 4 years or so now, and it has gotten grey-er every year, despite washing it and trying to keep it clean. So the last two days I have been polishing it, and it is turning shiny black again, like it should be. Compare the back doors in the picture below.

I have a couple questions, since I've been out there staring at the van and thinking about it the last few hours.

I see the 2003-newer E150s have towing mirrors. They weren't available in 95, but they look like they would fit in the same place without any problem. I'm seriously considering switching. Has anyone got an E150 with these mirrors? I wonder if they're worth the trouble and cost. The stock mirrors are almost adequate with our short trailer, but a little more of a view back there would be nice.

The other question involves the rear end. The van did not come with a towing package. Would a towing package normally involve a differently geared rear end? Also, it has a regular rear end, where if one back tire begins spinning, the other one does not turn at all, resulting in us getting stuck just trying to get out of our spot at a park one time, when one tire got off the pavement and into the mud. I wonder if I could switch to a limited slip and change the gear to something more suitable for towing at the same time?

Anyway, just some random thoughts. Back to polishing...
Stephanie,

You have already been helped with the paint and the mirrorrs, and all I can add to that is that the tan bottles Meguiars product works very well. It's formlated for body shops,and has three steps - compounding, polishing, and waxing. I had a black Mercedes until recently, and after a once over with the Meguiars, it looked like a million bucks....
A limited slip rear end with a 3:73 axle ratio would work very well for towing. Especially the limited slip. Go to an off-road center and get advice. There are automatic uits, and manual units. The manual units are nice because there s no noise when driving with the differential open. Some lockers are exptremely noisy during normal operation. GM's G80 option is excellent, works really well for towing and in the sand. I don't know if Ford has an equivalent.
To change to a limited slip, or lockng differential, will set you back about $ 1000.00. Changing the gearing costs a lot more, because you need a new ring and pinion.
My brand new Suburban did not come with a limited slip, even though there is a factory towing package. I will have the GM option installed as soon as I recover from sticker shock.
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:03 AM   #5
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Is the locker a different part from the ring and pinion? I thought a locker was just a different type of gear that replaced the existing ring and pinion.

For $1000 we might have to get stuck a few more times before I can justify it

Oh, and Meguires polish is what I'm using on the truck. I didn't have a bottle of the cleaner handy so I went right for the polish. It looks a lot better, but now I can see some spots I missed. I'll work on it some more tomorrow. It looks a LOT better already though!
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Is the locker a different part from the ring and pinion? I thought a locker was just a different type of gear that replaced the existing ring and pinion.

For $1000 we might have to get stuck a few more times before I can justify it
Hi, for $1,000.00 I might just wait too; You might want to practice what I call "loading the axle." If you hit the throttle fast, the right rear wheel will spin or the wheel in the slipperyest area will spin. To avoid this you need to go real easy on the throttle, thus artificially locking the spider gears, makeing both wheels turn. And try putting you gear shift selector in (2) drive two makeing the van take off in second gear. Your owner's manual will tell you to do this (2) in slippery areas.
The ring and pinion are the two gears that make up your gear ratio. [example: a 4:10 ratio would have 10 teeth on the pinion gear and 41 teeth on the ring gear] Your differrential is an open or non- locking type. The carrier hub is in the center of the ring gear. An open differrential has spider gears and a limited slip [locker] has clutches on the spider gears connected to the axles. These clutches lock and unlock several times when turning or when one wheel is going faster than the other wheel helping to put some power to the wheel with traction.
There are many different types of lockers; if you're not confused yet getting into these might do it.
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Bob, it's been years (decades?) since I worked for Uncle Henry. Did the E150 come with a 4.10 rear axle? I think 4.10 would be really good for towing, especially if it came in limited slip configuration.
Hi, I don't think so, at least not this year; Maybe in the old, old vans with the famous 9" rear end. E-250's and E-350's yes. But they can be had from the after market. I know I have to go after market, to go 4:10's on my Navigator. [9.75"]
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Old 09-03-2007, 09:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Is the locker a different part from the ring and pinion? I thought a locker was just a different type of gear that replaced the existing ring and pinion.

For $1000 we might have to get stuck a few more times before I can justify it

Oh, and Meguires polish is what I'm using on the truck. I didn't have a bottle of the cleaner handy so I went right for the polish. It looks a lot better, but now I can see some spots I missed. I'll work on it some more tomorrow. It looks a LOT better already though!
Stef,
A somewhat counterintuitive technique to combat wheel spin inopen differentials is to put on the brake AND accelerator when you detect that one wheel is spinning.
Some differential lingo:
Limited slip differential - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Howstuffworks "How Differentials Work"
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Stef,
A somewhat counterintuitive technique to combat wheel spin inopen differentials is to put on the brake AND accelerator when you detect that one wheel is spinning.
Hi, the way this works [applying the brakes] is the spinning wheel will cause that brake to heat up and grab more, therefore transferring more power to the oposite wheel.
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Old 09-03-2007, 11:01 PM   #10
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Stephanie we have a 2002 150 econoline with a the tow package. I think it has 3.55 gear ratio but don't quote me on it. I too wanted tow miirors so I went to our local ford dealer and ordered a pair that is just like the superduty tow mirrors. The parts guy assured me that they would fit. Well..they didn't! The attach with four bolts verses the standard mirror's three bolts. I even brought the van in to see if the service dept. could install them. they could not and so I got my money back. The parts guy made an inquiry to Ford and found out that they use a completly differant door went they towing mirrors are ordered.
I've since then tried just about every attachable tow mirror out there and had the most luck so far with the tow n' see mirror.

I wax after washing the van with a product you spray on as you wipe off the water. Also I use only very mild car wash or car wash/wax type products.

That looks like an american eskimo doggy! We have 2 eskimos , Mac and Snowball!
Happy trails,

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Old 09-04-2007, 08:09 PM   #11
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Hi Paul, thanks for the headsup on the mirrors! I noticed that on a picture on ebay and wondered if there really were more bolts on the towing mirrors. Luckily our mirrors are adequate enough (we've been towing for four years with them without any problem). Maybe we'll just leave well enough alone.

Nice to hear from someone else with Pesky Eskies Snowball is such a great name for an eskie! Ours is Alki, and she has a thread in the pet section detailing her recent battle with cancer. Lots of cute pictures - because even when she's sick she can't help being cute!

Here's the van today after washing, polishing, and hand waxing with a meguires paste carnuba wax. I don't know how long it will last, but it sure looks good now. If you look at the first pic in the thread, there's no reflection on the side of the van - but now you can see the AS reflected in it!
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:29 PM   #12
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The van looks GREAT, Steph! Nice work! And nice new arm muscles, too...

Meguiar's is an excellent product. Myself, I swear by ColorBack (by Turtle Wax, I believe). I have used it for years. It is an all-in-one product (now - you used to have to follow it with wax) and does a nice job on oxidation. Black and red are the two worst offenders for oxidation. Keeping a vehicle waxed helps keep the oxidation down.

Susan
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:49 PM   #13
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Towing Mirrors Worked on My 2001 E-350

Stef,

I purchased some '04 towing mirrors (for E-series vans) off e-bay in 2004 and put them on my 2001 E-350 PSD 15 PAX van.

I did have to drill one, maybe two holes (or enlarge them) to make them work (it was over 3 years ago, and I did it the night before a 3300 mile trip).

I can't remember what I paid for them, but I did get the ones with the electronic adjustment and purchased a controller off ebay as well, and eventually got them to work. (They were $225 with shipping)

The mirrors are great, well worth the trouble. If the foot print of the mirror base is the same on the 1995 models as the 2001, then it can be done. (If you're squeamish about drilling/enlarging a few holes, stick with the strap-ons!)

Below is a pic of the E-Ticket Ride with our first Airstream ('72 Overlander)!
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:57 AM   #14
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Ooooo, you've got the E350 extended van - BIG! I'll bet you have a pretty high towing capacity with that bad boy! We're limited to a wimpy 6600# Luckily our trailer tops out at just under #3k loaded.

I must say, it's probably not the coolest thing on the road, but I do like the van. It feels like it's completely in control, and there's gobs of room inside for whatever we want to take along.

Later this week I hope to add a roofrack and a tandem kayak to the 'complete vacation-mobile'.
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