E-Series 4x4 Conversions
In this section, you will find a list of our available parts for E-Series 4x4 conversions. Please click the tabs above for more info and resources.
The Ford E-Series van is the most common and widely available platform for 4x4 van conversions. The body-on-frame design is super durable, and when paired with a solid superduty axle, the Econoline can be very capable in the offroad environment. E-series vans have fortunately been very similar throughout the years, parts are widely available, and there is a good deal of support from the vanning community.
The conventional Econoline van ceased production in 2014, so availability of these vans in good condition with low mileage continues to wane, but the production was very high so there's still a lot of them out there.
The chassis design makes it ideal for a solid axle front end conversion which means maximum offroad ability and ground clearance. If you're up for adventure, the cab and chassis models are still made today, and Sportsmobile even has its own retrofit body conversion if your checkbook is up to the task.
We started with the E-series and have a lot of experience building and selling them, so when you run into that quirk with your build, there's a pretty good likelihood we've run into it before and can sort through it with you.
There are various motor options all of which are inherently reliable or can be made so. The E-series is not available with a high top from the factory, so it's expensive to add that after purchase, or pop the top. Cab and chassis models obviously open up box-truck type options.
Coil V Leaf
Coil Springs Vs. Leaf Springs for 4x4 Vans... There's the big question, isn't it? We've met many people who were very happy with their leaf spring vans and we've had people ask us to build leaf spring kits, so there's got to be something good about them, but we chose to lean into the coil spring design. Our opinion on this isn't gospel, it's just an opinion, so here's why we do what we do:
1) Availability- the 2005-2016 Superduty axle is one of the most widely available axles in the country. Ford built scores of these trucks over a long period, and they're everywhere. You won't find Ford telling you parts are obsolete, every corner parts store carries parts for them, and they are very easy to work on.
2) Ride quality - Coil springs, your van came with them, that's how Ford designed it, and they've already picked out a coil spring rate for you in the front of your van that matches the basic weight and usage of your van. Can this be done with leaf springs? possibly, but we haven't driven one that felt right. This becomes a particular issue on lighter-weight vans. A dead empty gas 4x4 E-series cargo can weigh as little as 6,000lbs, and a fully built diesel high top can often weigh closer to 10,000lbs loaded. Bolting up a Superduty axle in place of your existing front end only adds about 200lbs per front corner, basically like adding an extra passenger, so keep your springs, and keep your ride quality.
3) Turning radius - Is this a big deal? Probably not for everyone. In the shortest answer, we've driven (and built) leaf spring vans and coil spring vans and there is a noticeable difference in the last bit of the steering that feels like the later model axle has the capacity to allow the vehicle to turn tighter. Ford vans have a 135" wheelbase which is not super long, so either choice is fine, but you can roll up to a standard American intersection and make a u-turn easily across 2 lanes and that's what makes our design feel like it works.
4) Compatibility - It takes exactly 3 different abs sensors to cover the entire program of E-series vans that all interface equally with the 05-16 Superduty axles. There is no additional programming required, RSC, ESP, TCS, 2WH ABS, 4WH ABS, whatever flavor you have, there will be no complications in the operation of your system. It just works. You won't need a drop pitman arm, we have steering solutions up to 8" of lift that requires no drop-pitman arm so even in RSC vans, it just works.
Please visit our "how do I convert my van to 4x4" page for a good overview of the options, process, and budgeting.