1986 Ford E350 Van Specsby Natasha Parks
Ford's Econoline (E)-Series fleet of wagons or vans have been manufactured for 50 years. They are considered to be America's favorite full-size van, and have been voted the best for the past 30 years, according to the Ford website. During the 1970s and 1980s the van was designed to encompass more ergonomic controls, a full frame allowing it to be used as a truck chassis and a modern, pronounced hood similar to the new 2011 model.
Dimensions and Build
The standard version was 216 in long, 83 in high and 95 in wide. The extended version was 236 in long, 82 in high and 95 in wide. The front grille and headlights were updated from the original design to include square headlights and the "Blue Oval" logo appeared on the grille as of 1983. All vans had a sliding rear door mechanism for ease of cargo movement. Often, they had brown interiors, although white and cream were also popular.
Standard eight-cylinder, 255 break horse power (bhp), 5.4 liter V-8 engines were present in 1986 vans. Upgrade options, such as the 305 bhp, 6.8 L V-10 engine only became available for later models. Although the engine in earlier models was bulky and sat between the two front seats, it was soon moved under the hood. 1986 vans used gasoline.
Standard models came with a four-speed automatic gearbox with overdrive or an upgraded five-speed automatic with overdrive. Overdrive allowed the engine to achieve a higher fuel efficiency and reduced wear and tear on the individual components. In the late 1970s, the van was converted to a four-wheel drive type vehicle.
Regular models had a seating capacity of 12 persons, while the extended cab versions fit 15. As a result, the payloads were limited to 4,040 pounds and 3,800 pounds, respectively. Standard cargo capacities included up to 236.5 cubic feet of rear space and 275.1 cubic feet in extended vans. They protected cargo using wall-filling high-density polyethylene panels, which interestingly also offered insulation. The van allowed the owner to hold tools in place for transit purposes using steel shelving units fixed to the walls.
From 1968 through to the present day, the E-series has had a Ford-developed, innovative Twin I-Beam front suspension package. Twin I-Beam suspension is a combination of trailing arm suspension and solid beam axle suspension where the beam is split in two and mounted offset from the center of the chassis. Ford claims that this design is a more heavy-duty independent front suspension setup capable of handling larger loads.
- van fano denmark image by david harding from Fotolia.com