Just bought a used 98 Ford E350 Club Wagon (80k miles) and need to do some work on it. Got 2 different mechanic s opinions one very tidy, upscale, professional garage, one more casual, but a good mechanic, just maybe not for real serious jobs.
I need help prioritizing what jobs to do first. I m about to go on a 6000-mile, 40-day trip with a lot of weight (about 1300 lbs, including people). Anything that is gonna cause big long-term problems or be a safety issue for now, I want to fix.
I d really appreciate the help! Here are my questions:
1) Shocks -- The more professional mechanic said they re okay, more casual one said they re shot. What s the danger of driving on rear shocks that are on the way out?
Springs hold the van up, shocks prevent it from bouncing, replacing the rear shocks will only improve the ride quality and make for a more pleasurable journey.
2) Brakes more pro mechanic said they need to be totally done (rotors, bearings, pads), more casual one said they re fine and just need a cleaning (so, opposite to #1). To my foot, they don t feel too bad is this something I will notice getting slowly worse over time, or are the brakes just gonna go out on me?
Jack up the front end, grab the wheel and the top and bottom and try to shake it in and out, what you are doing is checking the pre-load on the front wheel bearings, if there is play it MUST be corrected. This is simple procedure of pulling the dust cover, removing the pin and octagonal washer holding the big nut in place, grab a wrench and tighten that nut down snugly but not over tighten, you are just wanting to bring those bearing surfaces together so they evenly support the load and don't wobble, put it back together and smash/smoosh/lol some wheel bearing grease into the hub before knocking the dust cover back on.
Measure the thickness of the rotor and the pads then check it with factory specs, it it's within or close you are fine. Road trips cross country are not as hard on a vehicle as day to day start and stop driving. Slam on the brakes when driving, if it comes to a stop without pulling to the left or right you don't need calipers so just take a look and base your own opinion.
3) Trans fluid replacement this thing is at 80k and I don t think the fluid s been changed. One mechanic said it s a good time to totally drain and replace. The other said that if it s never been changed, the trans may be used to running on thicker fluid, so if you replace it all, it could start slipping.
Absolutely without a doubt service the transmission and be sure to flush all the old fluid from the lines, fluid cooler, torque converter (should be a drain on the converter), replace the filter gasket then lay the pan up side down on flat ground and use flat punch and hammer to push all the dimples at each hole the other way so when you tighten the pan the bolts begin to start pulling against the pan sooner and help to provide a good seal, if there is no circular magnet inside or outside the pan buy one and drop it inside the pan before bolting it up, this will catch any metallic particles that travel through the system, I will be honest and tell you that quality trans fluid is worth it's weight in gold so be hesitant to splurge on the transmission.
4) Serpentine belt both guys said I need to replace it but I have a ripoff concern both quoted $200 labor to replace my serpentine belt and pulleys, but this says it should only be like $70?
Belt is a little pricey but you can do it yourself, there is label under the hood showing you how.
5) Spark plugs and air filter one mechanic (more casual guy) said they re shot, other (more professional guy) said they re fine again, something I ll notice?
Remove the engine cover and 2 spark plugs, right from the left bank and 1 from the right bank, the van is running fine so if they look good screw em back in. Other things I would change is the oil filter and fuel filter.
(USE ONLY K&N Pro Series PS-3001 or Performance Gold HP-3001 Oil Filters)
Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 AT 2:10 PM