According to the website above, the Ford E-series vans will be discontinued at the end of the 2013 model year and will be replaced by its European styled Transit. Is it possible that a unit frame Transit can handle the loads the E series could haul, especially the E-350?
The Sprinter seems to handle many (all?) of the jobs the E350 did. If Ford provides Transits equivalent to Sprinters in cargo capability (they do in Europe), it could be a good thing. What would an E350 (or E250) be used for that a Transit counld’t be used for?
How capable would the Transit be at towing a trailer with its unit frame construction?
My other concern is whether or not the Transit will be available as a passenger van and if it is, how stable will it be? The E-350 passenger vans had bad publicity about 15 years ago concerning roll-overs. In fact, we had a college student killed at the university where I taught when one of these vans flipped on the highway. It did turn out that the college students were trying to change drivers while moving on the interstate. About that time, my son was a college sophomore and was on a work/study program in Appalachian country and driving children over mountain roads in an E-350 15 passenger van. He claimed that if the driver used common sense, these vans were as safe as any other vehicle. I did ride with him once. He wouldn’t start the engine until he made certain every child had the seat belt fastened and he drove very carefully. These new Transit vans look top heavy–I hope they are at least as safe as the E series they replace. I taught an extension class about 60 miles off-campus and had seven other faculty teaching at the same place. We were furnished an Econoline passenger van. When we finished at 10:00 p.m., I was always the one who had to drive back because my colleagues all wanted to sleep. The Econoline was quite satisfactory, I thought, as a people mover. I just wonder if the Transit will be as good or better.
Contractor vans around here are dominated by GMC/Chevy. If we are talking about full frame rwd with towing capacity, like the police cruiser, Ford is giving up another market to GMC and Chrysler. I’m sure it’s a bean counter decision.
It seems to me that Ford has been giving up a lot of markets recently. The Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser in my area has been replaced by rear wheel drive Dodge Chargers. The Ford Ranger compact pickup truck is gone. Now the E series van is gone.
I had a 1990 Ford Aerostar extended minivan. It was perfect for my needs. When I was ready for another minivan, Ford had dropped the Aerostar and replaced it with the front wheel drive Windstar. I finally decided the 2000 Windstar was the best minivan for my purposes, but it wasn’t as good as the Aerostar. When I was ready for another minivan, Ford no longer made any minivan, so I bought a Chevrolet Uplander. My son needed a better vehicle, so we sold him the Uplander at the family discount price and I shopped for a replacement. By this time, both Ford and GM were out of the minivan business, so I bought a Toyota Sienna.
I am certain that Ford has long since amortized the cost of the assembly lines to produce the Econoline vans. I just don’t understand giving up an established market for a product.
Perhaps, Ford will do what AMC did back in 1958. In 1956, AMC produced a larger Rambler. When the recession hit in 1957, AMC brought back the smaller Rambler produced through 1955, renamed it the “Rambler American” and had two lines of Ramblers to sell.
It might be a bean counter decision in that they weren’t selling enough of them to make a profit. IIRC that’s why they got rid of the Ranger. Doesn’t mean they won’t bring a small truck back, though.
Can’t be too sure they aren’t doing it to even out their global market, either. If you have tons of different models all over the world, it’d make sense, from a parts/assembly perspective, to consolidate everything. One vendor needed for the wire harnesses one for all their computers/sensors, etc.
The market is completely saturated with vans like this…If you want one, buy it now and keep it forever…With a little maintenance, they will last almost forever…
Ford has a new police interceptor the replaces the Crown Victoria PI, and competes with the Chevy Caprice PPV and Charger Pursuit. They didn’t give up on that market at all.
I don’t think they gave up on the van market, either, just the traditional full sized van market. The Transit (not Transit Connect) should be capable of similar hauling capabilities. We might expect the T350 to be equivalent to the E350, and so on. Ford has been selling the Transit internationally for decades, and it is far and away the most popular utility truck in Europe. This seems like a rational decision by Ford to me. I imagine they will have solutions for the heavy haulers and towers.
I imagine Ford will be sending all those Econoline jobs to Europe too.
At least it’s not like the Transit Connect, built in Turkey and Croatia.
What would an E350 (or E250) be used for that a Transit counld't be used for?
Handicap conversions. I imagine it’ll be tougher to lower the floor with the unit-frame than with the old body-on-frame design. Current E-series vans can have a 6" floor drop to accommodate wheelchairs.
That said, with gas prices what they are, a lot of people are going with minivans for handicap conversions.
All Ford would need to do is offer a small diesel option like the Sprinter. 2.7 or 3.0 liter turbodiesel. the Sprinter I have has more than enough power to do what I need to do hauling all the equipment and parts for an hvac service co. Unfortunately the Sprinters we bought have been a reliability disaster. The fuel mileage is about double what we got with Ford and GM vans but the repairs have been twice what the fuel savings are. We just bought 3 new Fords with Supreme body conversions. We know the fuel is going to be painful but can’t afford the expense and down time of the Sprinters.
The GM full size vans are uni-body and handle the C-3500 loads with no problem. And, as for the stability of the Econolines, that never seemed to be a problem for me and I have owned several and accumulated more than a million miles in them. The Econolines handled poorly if loaded heavily to the rear and they had poor traction on icy roads or even wet roads when empty. But the Ford vans were very safe, reliable and profitable in parcel delivery, mobile service and light bus businesses.
I’m not sure a diesel option is realistic. Diesels have never sold well in the U.S.
How many of the Econolines did Ford produce for the 1992- model years?
Old thread. Ford did the diesel transit and will do a diesel F150 shortly.
One thing I’ve thought about…with hard to meet cafe standards, how long will it be before there are no cab on chassis vehicles unless you step up to a 3/4 ton? Let’s be honest, most of the 1/2 ton trucks (including mine when I had one) are either driving around empty or hauling what a Buick could in the trunk if the space was there.
Another ancient thread exhumed.
I wish the software on this site didn’t have a popup that when new posters post says “your question is similar to…” and then lists ancient threads, complete with links, encouraging new posters to exhume them. That’s one software feature that IMHO should be turned off.
That day is a long time out, I would say
In our fleet, we have plenty of vehicles that simply can NOT be replaced by unibody vehicles
I’m talking vocational vehicles, to be clear
Are those vehicles E series vans? While Ford vans had frames Dodge B series vans were unibody. Both served in commercial service in there time.
I know this is an old thread but the conversation and information continues…
We do fleet work for a company that racks up miles on trucks and vans and has a few of the newer Transit vans that came in to replace old Econolines. They seem to be aging well, though I can’t answer the question about towing as they simply load the vans to the hilt and don’t tow. I can say that maintenance costs for the diesel powertrains is higher than the old gas engines. Part of that may be that this company “overmaintains” the fleet to avoid costly downtime for unscheduled repairs. Oil changes every 5000, fuel filters every 10,000. So I don’t know how the fuel savings vs. maintenance costs pencil out.
I can say, in my humble opinion, that the Chrysler offering seems to be a pre-packaged disaster. We recently had to remove the transmission to do an engine repair on a 2017 Ram ProMaster 2500. The size and shape appears to be identical to the Sprinter Vans–tall and long with large cargo doors. You can imagine my surprise when I opened the hood and found a gas Pentastar 3.6 and a FWD transaxle. This is nothing but an oversized glorified Caravan.
Here’s the broken flex plate
I suspect that motor oil that looks like this
And flows like this
may have contributed to the failure. Must take a lot of force to crank all that sludge on a cold engine. Then again broken flex plates on a Caravan are nothing new.
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