Illustrations by Steve Austin
Question: I have owned vans for 25 years. Right now, I have a 2006 Ford E-350 Super Duty with the 5.4-liter motor and four-wheel disc brakes. I use it as a personal/work truck. While pickups have been lavished and glorified with everything from sport packages to the luxury treatment, the van has been one of the best-selling but most neglected vehicles in history. I can't find anything from computer chips to exhaust systems for my application; I can't even find better brake pads! Does this van share anything with the Super Duty pickups? I know there used to be interchangeable parts manuals for cars, as I used them when I did an engine swap. Is there something similar for trucks?
Answer: It can be tough finding performance parts for a van. But the E-350 Super Duty van is the same basic platform (frame, suspension, drivetrain) as an equivalent one-ton Super Duty pickup. Some (not all) stuff will be interchangeable. I did a little poking around and discovered that Hypertech produces electronic power-tuning products for a 2006 E-350 with a V-10 gas engine or 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel, but unfortunately doesn't offer anything for your 5.4-liter V-8. And Hypertech doesn't recommend using its products for anything but what they are listed for (even a common platform/drivetrain) due to the specific calibrations involved. Borla exhaust has a listing for a throaty stainless-steel exhaust system for an F-350 Super Duty with the 5.4-liter, but not for the E-350 van. Borla's tech support suggests welding its universal muffler to your van's stock pipes. If you have time to spare, when dealing with an exhaust and certain other parts, you can speak with Ford parts and compare part numbers. Let's say the Ford uses the same exact part numbers on the 2006 F-350 Super Duty pickup exhaust system as it does on your E-Series (which has the same drivetrain and wheelbase). I can't guarantee it, but it would be reasonable to assume that the Borla stainless-steel exhaust for that F-350 would also fit the E-350. Double check with a phone call, but EBC Brakes (www.ebcbrakes.com/automotive.html) does show listings for performance brake pads for your specific Ford van. As far as the parts swapping you did on your Ford/Mercury classics, the Hollander Interchange Manual (hollanderinterchange.net) most likely was involved. It's been around since 1934 helping customers figure out what parts are universal to multiple cars and trucks. Hollander is a staple of the auto recycling industry.
How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.
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