1990 FORD ECONOLINE 150 VAN Questions!

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my mammoth post.
I bought a Ford 1990 Van about 6 months ago. It only had 80,000 miles
on it, bought it from an old couple who just used it to take trips to Florida. Anyways, the van runs great, never gave me a problem (besides the fact that after driving it very long distances - 1500 miles or more - or sitting in traffic for a few hours - it would idle low, cut off, then not start up right away - it would be a click - then nothing for 2 minutes - then start right up - only happened 3 times total in 6 months - and I had the alternator and battery tested - they were fine. The techie concluded that when the starter got too hot, it would temporarily malfunction). Then I stopped driving the van much during the winter, as I acquired other wheels. The weather was very mild during the winter, however it fluctuated from 80 degrees one day to 30 degrees the next.
After letting it sit for about a month-long stretch about 6 weeks ago - I started the car on a hot day & it overheated on me on the freeway. Found out that there was a leak, added water & drove home without a problem. I put off getting it looked at, but I drove the car twice anyways - just adding water at filling stations periodically.
Then about 3 weeks ago - the third time I drove it - there was a light on in the dashboard that didn't go off when I turned off the car - it's a little light that's connected to the cruise control button - but ever since I had an alarm installed - twice the blinkers didn't work on the dashboard - but they worked outside - so I didn't think anything about the light, just figured it would go off eventually.) However, when I tried to start the car next - the battery was dead. I jumped the battery & the alarm chirped - but I couldn't get the engine to turn over. It had juice because the alarm kept chirping its ass off.
I called AAA to come jump the battery - since I figured the little car we tried jumping from just didn't have enough juice for the van - the AAA guy tried unsuccessfully to jump me a few times before concluding that the starter probably froze up (he said it may need cleaning or replacing) - it had been particularly cold the night before. He said there had been a few AAA calls about batteries & it was starters.
Since I was taking a trip out of town, and the wind kept tripping up the alarm & it kept chirping - I finally had to just turn the car on to drain the battery so the alarm would stop chirping before I left.
SO after all of that drama - wondering 3 things. Someone's interested in buying the van - and I've related all of this information to them. I want to know if A) The battery is dead since I just left the car sitting with the battery drained for 3 1/2 weeks. B) The leak sounds like it's a hose (like a friend suggested) or the actual radiator. C) Whether a starter is a hard thing to clean or replace. I've heard you can tap them with a hammer sometimes and they'll work temporarily.
The couple that are coming to look at her - is semi-handy with fixing cars - I just want to know if anyone thinks they'll be able to get it running enough to take it - or if I should just try to get it fixed myself before selling (I'm REALLY hoping against the latter.)
If anyone has any advice - it would be GREATLY GREATLY appreciated.
I should also probably mention that the starter pump plug was rigged to the windshield wiper fuse area before I had the alarm installed. The car would start on the third try - but the alarm guy rigged the starter to the same place he wired the alarm to - and the car started up on the first try ever since. The starter cable hangs out under the car though...you can see it hanging if you look under the car.
Anyways, thanks for reading & if there are any Ford Gurus out there - any advice would be stellar!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
gigi wrote:

advice? here goes: replace the ignition switch.
have a discount store put in a new battery and cables AND check the charging system output, AND the starter draw.
rip out the alarm and/or have it redone by a reputable installer.
Ford's my alley
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.