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Econoline pickup as a daily driver?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by peter schmidt, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. peter schmidt
    Joined: Aug 26, 2007
    Posts: 657

    peter schmidt
    from maryland

    I have a chance to trade my current daily o/t truck it's a 98 f150 v8 5 speed for a econoline pickup. It's pretty solid some rust needs the basics from sitting tune up brake work ect... But it's a real cool truck. It's a 6 cylinder 3 on the tree. Now I love my current truck it's paid off never gives me any trouble but the econoline is just too cool to pass up. Who here has driven one daily? I only drive about 10 miles to work but travel farther for shows to buy parts ect.. Will these trucks tow anything it seems kinda sketchy to tow with but idk I've never driven one. Just looking for some people's opinions on picking it up for a daily. I would only fix the rust bolt on some different wheels and try to lower it some after getting it running up to par first. Also anyone do an axle flip on the front of one of these? What you have to do as far as steering ect.
  2. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,612


    I drove a dodge version for a few days, weird driving position, not much power, 3 on the tree, no power steering, small drum brakes. I had to stay focused on WTF was going on, I guess I would have gotten used to it after some time, maybe the Fords drive better. Other than the cool factor the dodge wasn't a great driver.
  3. 1951Streamliner
    Joined: May 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,872

    from Reno, NV

    My friend drives a stock 64 Econoline van daily in the bay area.
    It never let him down, with several trips to LA and Reno, which are all couple hundred mile trips. Its comfortable on the highway around 55, and they do get pretty good gas mileage, in the 20s.

    I'd say that they're good little trucks to drive around town, but definitely not for longer, high speed trips.

    If its in good shape, go for t.
  4. Crookshanks
    Joined: Dec 16, 2010
    Posts: 279


    Keep your paid off daily and save up for a project. Stop and go traffic will kill ya! Those Econolines have zero traction on wet roads too. I had every intention of doing that with my '64 pickup. You really gotta have a backup in case of repairs and such. We all know simple repairs can take days!
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  5. 63comet
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 508


    I basically use my Comet as a daily but without the OT shytebox I'd be riding the bus a lot more. '64 Econoline is sort of a Falcon, right?
  6. peter schmidt
    Joined: Aug 26, 2007
    Posts: 657

    peter schmidt
    from maryland

    My work drive is one strait road no traffic. We have a van and scion that i could drive if the econo broke i drove a 66 chevy pickup daily for 6 years but i figured tge econo was a whole different animal. I need another project like a hole in the head but im pretty sure i can have almost everything sorted out in a weekend and just enjoy it in its ruff around tge edges look two thing im real concerned about is no center seat and i dont like to borrow other peoples stuff so if need to pull a car trailer or something i dont think its gona work. might pull a dolley tho idk. its one of those things that youll know youll regret if u pass up.
  7. Terrible Tom
    Joined: Feb 15, 2010
    Posts: 571

    Terrible Tom

    They are cool little trucks. I had a few of those old Econoline vans. The big problems are no power, poor traction, and the steering can be dangerous. The kingpins and other steering parts tend to wear out early and they will change lanes when you don't want to.
  8. I drove a '62 Econoline van, its like the truck if it had a camper shell on it. It had a hitch and I pulled a trailer behind it more then once, it was my dailey for over a year.

    A note of caution if you are going to pull a very heavy load you should have trailer brakes.

    I would like to have an econline pickup myself. The sit lower then most pickups. Makes it easier to load stuff in them.
  9. Moon Rocket
    Joined: Dec 26, 2012
    Posts: 540

    Moon Rocket
    from GA

    peter, if it were your son asking this question what would you advise him to do? :rolleyes:
  10. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,814


    I had a '65 Chevy Van, same driveline layout as yours but with even more weight in the rear. It was so light that my buddy and I could lift the tail end off the ground with our bare hands.

    No wet/winter traction, no front end collision protection (sitting in front of the front wheels, no engine up front, and you have a big flat windshield to fly through). Steers like a city bus. Brakes like an old car. Straight axle and leafs for front suspension. Fatiguing on long (2+ hour) trips because you have to stay constantly tuned in to what's happening around you.

    That being said, it'd be cool for a short daily commute. They're great at stop-sign intersections because there's no nose to stick out. It's a six that can do burnouts at will because there's no weight on the rear. They can do wheelies just by pumping the throttle in first and bouncing the front springs, what else do you need?
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  11. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,413


    Do a search. There's lots of Econo info on here.

    What year is it? It will either have a 144, 170, or 240ci inline 6. Despite what everyone says, they make plenty of power for a 10 mile commute. I hauled 2 v8s in the back of my '65 van and it did just fine. It actually drives better with more cargo weight.

    Are you in Western MD? I'm not sure how it would do in the mountains, but it would have been ok when new. These were mainly meant for shorter, around town trips, I think.

    Keep in mind that it has a short wheel base, nose heavy, and everything is fairly small on it (think "economy"), so towing may be iffy, especially in the mountains.

    The brakes aren't great, but you can easily upgrade to a dual MC and disk brakes. There are a few kits available.

    Unless you have a truck with a 240, you almost certainly have a puny 7" rear end. Yes, 7". They don't like a lot of abuse or highway speeds, even with the small 6. I used to occassionally drive mine around 70-80mph before I upgraded to 9" rear and a v8. It feels a little unstable at those speeds. I'd be nervous driving it on ice.

    Engine parts and most mechanical parts are still available, but body panels are very limited. Much of the truck used galvanized steel, but they rust pretty bad, and they're unibody, so check everything really well.

    My van is comfortable and fun to drive (even before I put a 302 in it).
  12. I love the early Econoline vans and pickups and drove a van daily back in the 60's and they make great every day drivers but do yourself a favor and keep what you have and save up for the econoline.

    The truck is gonna have some problems every now & then due to the age. HRP
  13. Reelsnrods
    Joined: Jul 10, 2007
    Posts: 23

    from Ack, MA

    I drive mine to work daily, but had the 240 swapped out for a 300 when the time came for a rebuild. Lots o power... Never a speed demon. I live in a small town though... Not sure I'd love it on the highway for very long.

    Attached Files:

  14. Just a few years back we drove one daily - a 3 mile commute. It had the stock 170 and a three speed and it was GUTLESS! The brakes also pretty much suck. Towing? Forget it! I hauled a Chopper to Vegas in the back and the drive that normally takes me about 3 hours, took over 4.
    Was it FUN to drive? Yes. Was it CQQL? Hell Yes
    Would I have it as an ONLY daily? Hell NO!
  15. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547


    had one for a while , even with new front tires , thing was scary in wet weather , and I was a truck driver by trade , power wise , in the flatlands ok with the 240 but going thru the river illinois and mississippi valleys it had a chore climbing the grade getting out of the bottoms , towing , unless its a single axle trailer under 3000 pounds , no way even with brakes on the trailer , a couple of engines in the back ( 1800-2400 pounds ) it would tax them little drums to the point of smoking . as a daily if you lived on the farm . maybe , but park it once it gets wet or slick out unelss your going to keep a bunch of sand in the back end , IMo I would do like others said , keep the O/t truck , and save up for the econo for a toy .
  16. goodturn
    Joined: Sep 3, 2010
    Posts: 92


    I had a 61 and put a 300 six from a 67 Falcon in it. It would jam in first gear if you shifted to fast. Buy it, because you really do want it, don't you.
  17. Falcon never came with a 300", 200 was the biggest they ever put in the Falcon's
  18. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,538

    from Oregon

    Drove a E100 PU for a couple years as a daily back in the late 70's. The old 6 cyl. was tired, and the trans broke and had to replace it. Overheated every so often. Just wasn't a great rig for me, but not the truck's fault. Just wasn't well maintained before I got it.
    I'd hesitate to give up a good late model reliable for a 60 year old vehicle. I'd sure try to buy it outright though!
  19. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,560


    Drove them in the Airforce wouldn't call them a tow vehicle. They did get good milage. They preform about the same as an older Jap pickup.
  20. scrubba
    Joined: Jul 20, 2010
    Posts: 938


    Just a quick question here . Did you have the ALL IMPORTANT "Louvered "sheet metal pan in front of the radiator mounted ?? If not , oh yes, those trucks WILL overheat - BIG TIME ! That is one piece that needs to be reproduced as folks would remove the pan to work on the front end . Because it could be a pain to re install, it was often discarded . Both the Chevrolets and Dodges used them too. scrubba
  21. goodturn
    Joined: Sep 3, 2010
    Posts: 92


    Sorry. I hit the wrong button. 200 it was.
  22. Scrubba,

    You have a photo of this piece? Sounds like it would be easy enough to make....

    Thanks, JH

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  23. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,413


    The funny thing is that some people say they improve air flow, and others say it hurts.

    Mine was missing, but a PO replaced it with a piece of sheet metal. It doesn't have the sides, but it's better than nothing. Even driving it in 90+ degree heat and in traffic, I never had a cooling problem. I replaced the stock radiator with a 6cyl Mustang radiator ($100), and then with an aluminum radiator when I swapped in a v8

    These are some photos I found online of that belly pan

    Attached Files:

  24. Has anyone ever clipped one of these? Say an S-10 clip with an Astrovan steering box?? A friend called to pick my brain on what I thought would work and this was my idea without driving to his place to measure it up...
    Or I guess one of those Pinto dealios may work too;)

  25. 65EconoPU
    Joined: Jun 14, 2011
    Posts: 8


    Using my 65 as my DD. It has the 240, c-4, 9 inch rear, drum brakes front and rear. I'm in the process of fabbing a receiver hitch to tow a two wheel trailer for lawn equipment, etc. It is a kick to drive and really gets noticed.
    Doesn't have any creature comforts. It's noisey, smells like gas, hot (I'm in Florida), and steers like a bus but it suits me. My previous daily has been a Jeep Wrangler for the last 10 years so it's like a step up.

    Attached Files:

  26. I had a 67 Dodge window van (window vans were a little heavier on the rear) with a 318 and 3 on the tree. It had been used all its life as a daily driver by a family that needed lots of seating. (I don't think Ma and Pa had figured out where the rug rats were coming from)
    It was a blast to drive, but seating position would get you on a 200 mile trip.
    My Dodge was full framed, looked very similar to the 1/2 ton pick-up frame.
    If you are worried about safety, think about the idiots riding bicycles on the highway!
    Rear weight can be fixed with a nice heavy rear bumper/sandbags, but that will cut into hauling capacity. I had mine loaded with fieldstone about 2 feet deep one time, did handle a little funny. LOL
  27. econolineherb
    Joined: Apr 12, 2010
    Posts: 121


    Hi . Look in the files on the econoline groups on how to make the belly pan .
  28. derbydad276
    Joined: May 29, 2011
    Posts: 1,288


    I just threw up !

    I remember reading somewhere once
    That the later ones had a ballast plate in the rear to take care of the tip issue
    I remember my father put a 289 in a 67 van that he set up as a camper
    Never overheated I wish he would have kept it

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  29. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,413


    They all (vans & P/U) have a large cast iron weight bolted under the floor above the gas tank. They were different sizes/weights depending on the year and application. As with the belly pan, some guys think it's better not to have them, but I can't see how. Mine handles better with more weight in it
  30. It's a unibody. A frame clip would be tuff. I think M2 might be a viable choice.

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