I recently bought a 2001 E-150 Chateau. I like it--though it makes my
Explorer seem like a sports car, as one might expect. I notice there is
little to no discussion of the E-150 on USENET. Is that because they are
bullet-proof, or because there are so few of them? I would think neither
is likely to be the case, but I'm hoping for the former.
They're great vehicles. I've had 5 E Series vans. They have their quirks,
but are very solild overall. The biggest problem you'll face is that it's
hard to do much of anything to the engine because it's buried. Repair book
times are higher because it takes longer for the mechanic to get in there
and replace parts if they need it.
Enjoy your van. I have a 2003 like yours with a 5.4. Mine's pretty quick,
but is a dog on gas mileage here in the city.
They are pretty good - but if you'd asked ahead I would have warned
you. DO NOT buy the E-250 for one reason - the 'Twin I-Beam' front
end. That accursed front suspension chews up tires faster than
bratwurst at a Minnesota Rangers game.
Every time the suspension cycles on a bump or grade change on the
freeway the track and camber changes, and they scrub off the inside
edge of both front tires. Stay with the E-150 or jump to the E-350.
I go through two to three sets of tires on the front to each set on
the back - and that's with flipping the tires over on the rims halfway
through to wear them more evenly.
The only good part is the Boss pays for the tires, it's his van.
Which he wouldn't own if he'd have consulted me before signing the
papers, instead of getting a 1-ton truck with an 8' utility bed like I
ASKED for... (Grumble...mutter...razzle-fratzing...)
--<< Bruce >>--
I had the same problem on a 94 E 150 the solution was quite simple. Get
some new ball joints and have installed by someone who knows how to set the
camber while they are doing it. The camber is controlled by shims on the
ball joints when you get that right you should be over that problem. I
routinely picked up 12000lbs of cargo and drove 45 miles 3 times a week for
60,000 miles on one set of Michelins (rotated after every 3rd oil change of
course) and never had an issue after fixing the ball joints PROPERLY. Don't
let some hack bend the I beams to change the camber as it will never be able
to be aligned after that.
That is very strange with the tire wear as on both the 01 and the 03 three I
drive now we got over 100K on the Michelins.... I don't want to go much
further on them though LOL. They are still pretty good in the dry but on
snow they could be better.
The front brake pads especially will wear too fast if you don't make sure to
manually adjust the rear brakes every second oil change. For some reason no
matter how many times I back up I can't get the auto adjusters to work right
so I take the time to manually adjust the rears about every 10 K otherwise
they aren't doing any braking at all. Which makes the fronts work twice as
hard.... The funny thing is on the 94 we took and replaced the adjusters we
found them and they look identical to the 03 design, to my eyes so I guess
no one complained loud enough to warrant a redesign.
Ahhh...so I'm not the only one with drum brakes with adjusters don't
work right. I have gone through 2 sets of front pads in 51K and I
firmly believe it is because the rears don't adjust and whenever I touch
the drums after a long city drive they are hardly ever even hot except
for the first few weeks after adjusting the drums...
Ideally you should get someone to show you how to do it the first time.
You want the shoes to contact the drum then you want to back them off
so that there is no drag on the drum but that they will engage properly. It
really isn't that uncommon to have them so out of adjustment that they
working at all.
Once you have it done it right, you should have good pedal feel but no drag
from the adjusters or the parking brake as either will wear out the rear
faster than normal....
If you get your oil changes done commercially what I find works the
best and cheapest is to every 3rd oil change or 15 to 20K I go to Midas
and buy the seasonal maintenance package. For about 18 dollars extra over
the standard oil change they do a free brake inspection and adjustment,
the tires and a few other checks.... Very good value. However you do have
to trust the Midas you go and of course they are going to be looking for
to fix while doing the inspection..... so don't just blindly accept a repair
they point something out. However on a couple of occasions they have
pointed out real problems that I was unaware of.... I just told them that
I would take care of the other repairs which I did.
Your theory is great, expect with drums that have the ratchet self
adjusters, meaning you can only adjust with the drum off. If I had the
old starwheel adjuster that you could access from the back of the drum
via a removable plug that would be ideal then you could do exactly what
you say, I don't know why car manufacturers went to the stupid ratchet
mechanism for adjusting. That way you never really feel like you are
getting the shoes adjusting right. When you slide the drum back on it
is either too tight or too loose it seems...
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