What should I fix on this 1998 E350 Club Wagon?

Tiny
FORDCLUBQS
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • 80,000 MILES
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?

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?

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.

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?

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?

Thanks!
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Sunday, June 16th, 2013 AT 12:15 PM

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Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
THIS IS MY VIEW ON STUFF----I HAD 5 JEEP CJ 5s PRIOR TO 1991 (ONE AT A TIME)---THEN I GOT MY "PRESENT TWO"!.......BOTH ARE DAILY DRIVERS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE....... FOREVER

SEE MY ANSWER IN THIS LINK

http://www.2carpros.com/questions/2000-ford-taurus-wondering-car-shakes-about-10-15-minutes-start-morning

ONE IS A 1977 CJ 5 W/ 6 CYL 258.......NOW 36 YEARS OLD

THE OTHER IS A 1946 WILLYS W/134 FLATHEAD.......NOW 67 YEARS OLD

I'VE LEARNED HOW TO "DO IT ALL" OVER THE YEARS......I RESURRECTED BOTH OF MY PRESENT JEEPS FROM NOTHINGNESS.....ALL BY MYSELF (I ALSO HELP OUT OTHER LOCAL JEEP GUYS, ALONG WITH OTHER "IN THE FAMILY" VEHICLES)

I DO NOT LIKE THE "STEALERSHIP"...NOR DO I LIKE A BIG SHOP (WITH LOTS OF OVERHEAD)....NOR DO I LIKE THE "QUICKIE" PLACES......WHERE MANY ARE OFF THE STREET FOLKS WITH LITTLE TRAINING AND REALLY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT "YOUR" VEHICLE

I DO HAVE A DECENT METHOD ON FINDING THE RIGHT "LITTLE GUY--LITTLE SHOP---AND REALLY KNOWS HIS FECAL MATTER (PLUMBING TERM--IMMA PLUMBER).........INTERESTED IN FINDING THIS 3RD OPINION????????

ASK THE 3RD OPINION IF YOU CAN PROVIDE PARTS?.....HE WON'T BE ABLE TO MARK HIS UP....YOU MAY SAVE $$$

http://www.2carpros.com/questions/2003-nissan-altima-gas-line-leak-near-tank-told-running-tank-tank-itself

DEPENDING ON WHERE IN THE COUNTRY YOU RESIDE, I MAY CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO SAVE $$$ WHEN PURCHASING PARTS.......LIKE MAYBE SAVE $4O ON EVERY $110 YOU SPEND?......SOUND COOL?..........I DO THIS ALL OF THE TIME.....I DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT AT ALL!

SEVERAL DAYS AGO I MADE 2 ORDERS TO FIX THE SAME VEHICLE......SO I SAVED $40 WHEN MY PARTS TOTAL WAS $119.27 ON ONE ORDER AND SAVED $40 OFF OF $111.98 ON THE SECOND ORDER......WHAT A DEAL!.......WORKED ON EVERY BATTERY I BOUGHT IN THE LAST 8 MONTHS OR MORE!

ALL 5 OF YOUR "CONCERNS" ARE IMPORTANT.....EVEN THE SHOCKS, AID IN "COMFORTABLE DRIVE-ABILITY" FOR THE DRIVER, AS WELL AS FOR CONTROL......IT'S NOT JUST "IT WILL BE AN UNCOMFORTABLE BUMPY RIDE

"HANDS ON" IS THE BEST THING--TAKE THE WHEELS OFF AND DO AN ACTUAL "VISUAL INSPECTION" OF THE BRAKES AND BELT(S)

IF YOU READ MY 1ST LINK----PLUGS, WIRES, AND FLUIDS (OTHER ALL OTHER NORMAL MAINTENANCE) ARE MY PET PEAVES .........I DON'T CARE WHAT "THEY SAID"----IT'S NOT "THEIRS" ANY MORE---"THEY" MIGHT SAY ANYTHING.........UNLESS THIS WAS YOUR NEIGHBOR'S RIG AND YOU WATCHED IT BEING MAINTAINED OR EVEN HELPED OVER THE YEARS!!!!..............I TRUST NO ONES HISTORY LESSON.......I CATCH UP, AS IF NOTHING WAS EVER DONE TO IT!!!

THIS GIVES ME "PEACE OF MIND", I ALSO GET FAMILIAR WITH THE VEHICLE.....AND SEE 1ST HAND....WHAT PROBABLY HAS NOT BEEN ADDRESSED

YOUR TURN

THE MEDIC

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Sunday, June 16th, 2013 AT 2:33 PM
Tiny
GMAN97005
  • MEMBER
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.
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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)
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Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 AT 2:10 PM

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