Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing more people than ever before looking to enjoy life on the road in a converted van. While van life is not a new concept, the recent years of climbing house market and isolation have left many seeking a simpler life. From the affordable cost of living to taking the road less traveled, van life has created a practical and exciting way to see the country and find a community! As a result of the growing popularity, the Ford E250 (Econoline) camper van has gained a lot of attention from “vanlifers”.
The Ford E250 offers people the space and creativity to design their own home within their vehicle. The Econoline van provides drivers with a reliable and long-lasting home that can be used for decades. Let’s discover the history of the Ford E250, some common vehicle issues, and driver reviews!
Ford E250 Camper Van History
The Ford E-series first hit the streets back in 1961 as a replacement for their F-series panel van. Since this time, there have been four generations of the E-series, including a cutaway van option. These vans were the top-selling models in the U.S. from 1980 until 2015 when the model line was discontinued and replaced by the Ford Transit. The Transits hoped to offer more cargo capacity, improved gas efficiency, and better space for drivers. Of course, the discontinuation of this line came as quite a shock to many drivers, especially given the popularity of the vehicles.
Since then, the stripped or cutaway chassis versions of the E-series have been produced. In 2019, Ford released revised editions of the Econoline to improve the equipment functionality, steering, and drivetrain. While some drivers have switched over to the Ford Transit, many continue to stay with their original Ford E-series van.
If you want to learn more about the history and differences between the Ford E250 and the Ford Transit, watch the YouTube video below.
North America Sales History of Ford E250
From 1980 until its discontinuation, the Ford E250 and the rest of the E-series line were the top-selling models in this category within the country. Unlike many other discontinued vehicles, the E-series only continued to increase in popularity year after year. Today, you can purchase this vehicle on the used van market, thanks to the long lifespan of the van. Prices for a used van can range from about $6,000 to $16,000, depending on the mileage and condition of the van. For many vanlifers, this is an appealing price to replace a home or their current car.
What’s The Difference Between Ford E-150, E-250, and E-350?
The E-series features three different options, and the number that’s given to the model is a reference to the amount of weight that the van can carry. For reference:
E-150 can carry up to ½ ton
E-250 can carry up to ¾ ton
E-350 can carry up to 1 ton
Since some of these payload terms are outdated, the vans can actually offer a higher payload. Regardless, it is a safe bet to stick with the idea that the lower the E-series number, the lower the weight limit. So if you are planning on converting the van into a camper, the E-350 is the best option for anyone who needs a large cargo capacity. These vans are built with upgraded suspension, brakes, engines, and transmissions to accommodate the higher payload.
How Many Miles Per Gallon Does A Ford Econoline Get?
The range of miles per gallon for a Ford Econoline van will depend on the model and other factors. The combined gas mileage range stretches from 11.5 miles to 17 miles per gallon, making it a good option for anyone looking to travel around the country in a converted van.
Ford E250 High Mileage
Typically, a Ford E250 lasts on average between 200,000 – 300,000 miles. Most drivers hit 200,000 miles with few issues, which is why it’s the perfect van for long-distance driving. But, it’s not unusual for the vehicle to reach past 300,000 miles before it needs to be retired from the road. This is the point when many of them break down to an extent that they can’t be repaired, but we’ve heard stories of vans reaching even higher mileage levels. YouTube user Stephen Miller uploaded a video showing his 1999 Ford E250 hitting 400,000 miles! This is an incredible feat since some cars wouldn’t even hit half of those miles.
That being said, there are many factors that will impact this, including maintenance and the number of miles that the vehicle undertakes. You’ll want to ensure you book regular maintenance checks for your vehicle to extend its life, or you may not enjoy this many years of use. The great thing about the Ford E250 is that it often doesn’t need any repairs for many years, which is why it’s a reliable van conversion option.
Reviews From Econoline Drivers
The majority of drivers of the Ford E250 absolutely love the vehicle, and it has received excellent reviews year after year. The space it offers is why so many people are converting these vehicles, even years after it has been discontinued. There are a few issues reported with the vehicle, but the high mileage it offers to drivers often outweighs these problems. Check out this honest YouTube video review of the Econoline Vans and their reliability.
Common Problems With The Ford E250
While the Ford E250 typically has great reviews, you’ll find there are still some problems as the vehicle ages. Drivers report the following issues are the most common problems with their Ford E250:
- The cylinder head may need to be replaced as the vehicle ages, which is one of the more typical issues we’ve seen over the years.
- An exhaust leak due to broken manifold bolts is also common, and this can be more of a challenge with this type of vehicle due to the use of aluminum instead of cast iron in many of the engines.
- The steering column may also have troubles due to a shift linkage that comes loose, but this is a more affordable issue to deal with if you do experience it.
Learn more about these common problems and some additional mishaps in the YouTube video below. This video gives you a good overview of some of the most common issues that the Ford E250 experiences.
Replacing Cylinder Heads in an Econoline Van
Replacing a cylinder head in an Econoline van is a common necessity. As the vehicle ages, you are more likely to experience this issue, which can cost you up to $5,000 to repair. That being said, you may want to consider having a go at doing this yourself if you feel up to it, but this can be a challenging task to undertake if it’s your first time. The best option you can do is to get regular maintenance checks to ensure no problems go ignored for extended amounts of time.
The Ford E250 has become very popular due to the recent van life movement, with the used van market becoming more competitive for this reason. You’ll still find many used Ford E250 vans for sale today, thanks to the high mileage that the vehicle offers drivers. As you can see, it’s been very popular for a long time now, with only a few major issues to be aware of as the vehicle ages. You’ll be impressed by some of the conversions that people do with this van, allowing them to enjoy life on the road in a spacious converted van. We expect to see the Ford E250 on the road for years to come, thanks to all of the benefits we shared above.
Buy Cylinder Heads from Clearwater Cylinder
If you are a Ford E250 owner and need to replace the cylinder heads, we encourage you to call us at 800-572-1963 so we can help you with the head selection and ordering process. You can see some of our Google reviews at https://www.cylinder-heads.com/reviews/ and some of our eBay reviews at https://www.cylinder-heads.com/about-us/ebay-reviews/. We look forward to serving you so that we can extend the life of your Ford E250 (Econoline) camper van.