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  #1  
Old 01/13/08, 10:13 AM
r.h. in okla.
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Want to convert a utility van into a passenger van.

Any do's and not do's when placing seats in a 1 ton E350 Ford Van for passengers? I originally bought this van to do electrical work with and never did get around to building shelves and racks inside. But am going to do something different with the electrical business as far as transportation. So, I'm thinking of converting this work van for a recreation van. So my questions are do the back seats all have to face forward and have seat belts?

I'm thinking that right behind the front seats I might put in a couple of captain chair like seats that would swivel around to a table. Then behind the table would be a long seat and hopefully it would fold down to a bed. If there's such a seat like that. The table would fold up to the wall out of the way when not in use.

A little mini recreational van is what I'm wanting to convert out of it. Any ideals out there?

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  #2  
Old 01/13/08, 10:23 AM
 
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Location: East TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r.h. in okla.
Any do's and not do's when placing seats in a 1 ton E350 Ford Van for passengers? I originally bought this van to do electrical work with and never did get around to building shelves and racks inside. But am going to do something different with the electrical business as far as transportation. So, I'm thinking of converting this work van for a recreation van. So my questions are do the back seats all have to face forward and have seat belts?

I'm thinking that right behind the front seats I might put in a couple of captain chair like seats that would swivel around to a table. Then behind the table would be a long seat and hopefully it would fold down to a bed. If there's such a seat like that. The table would fold up to the wall out of the way when not in use.

A little mini recreational van is what I'm wanting to convert out of it. Any ideals out there?
Back when vans were popular I converted a van into a custom van camper. The seat belts are a concern and are required but if no one rode in those seats while driving I wouldn't worry about it. I built mine before the seat belt laws and when they came into being I had to add the seatbelts. I used captains chairs in the frt. and lower chairs behind that and they all swiveled. I had a table on a pedestal(pipe) that was removeable. In the back I framed a U shaped couch out of 2x2's and the table dropped in the middle of the U to make a bed. I have a suburban now that has a rear seat that folds down into a bed, it's and aftermarket seat installed at Victory conversions. I would search junk yards and such as vans aren't that popular and many had conversions done to them with seating like you're looking for. You might be able to buy the whole interior for very little if you remove it.
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  #3  
Old 01/13/08, 10:26 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: S.E. Ks.
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look around in junk yards for an old conversion van .
they often have bench seats that fold out into a bed removable tables and such. also dont over look RV salvage. .
We had an old dodge panel van we put a fold down bed seat in the back added an retractable awning to the side of replaced the front seats with swival captain type seats and had a small removable pedistal table . we used it for camping and boating at the lake before we had kids .
looked pretty good and was comfortable , we had less than $700 in the hole rig

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Old 01/13/08, 10:59 AM
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Your plan is certainly feasible, and can be done.
However, I would ask you to think about the unique market conditions of the situation. Most cargo vans are purchased new and totally used up and worn out before they are sold. If your cargo van is reasonably servicable, it is a readily salable item and could be sold direct to a private party for a good price due to the relative shortage of used cargo vans in the marketplace.
Then think about the product you wish to make out of this van. Literally thousands of conversion vans, suvs, and camper products were sold over the last 12 years. Due to changes in fuel prices and personal preferences, many of these vehicles are traded in or offerred for sale by private parties. Oversupply of this class of vehicle in the used vehicle marketplace depresses selling prices and makes it a buyers market.

The other consideration is this - An E350 one ton chassis may result in more expense for tires, licensing, and reduced fuel economy due to powertrain configurations used in one ton truck products. Also ride quality may be poorer than in a 3/4 or 1/2 ton chassis used in most conversion vans or people moving vehicles.

Some things to think about. If you wish to convert your van you certainly can though. Just be sure to clarify seat belt laws as the other posters have suggested.

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Old 01/13/08, 11:47 AM
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Location: Florida and South Carolina
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Be careful when drilling holes to mount the seats- there's some expen$ive stuff under there! And make sure you don't have any openings when you're done- you don't want carbon monoxide poisoning.

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  #6  
Old 01/14/08, 08:50 PM
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Location: Ohio
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We did it with an E 250 extended van. We got an older set that had only lap belts (bench seat). We did have a seat that folded into a bed but dh couldn't get it to fit without major modifications because of the brackets on the seat. The captains chairs with attached seat belts would be great, good luck finding some.

My stepdad had a wood bed in the back of his old van. It was a single bed, but back before seatbelt laws it doubled as a seat for us kids.

Our "bed" in the back of our cargo van was a piece of plywood on 6 5 gal buckets and an inflatable mattress on that. When our kids were small we took lots of road trips in that van.

If you use the proper brackets and hardware you shouldn't have any problem with exhaust leaking into the van. After all, there are holes and bolts through the floor of passenger vans anyway.

I'd ask dh if he wants to sell our old seat (and the long one from the very back of our passenger van) but right now they are in storage under a bunch of stuff. Besides the long seat from the passenger van won't have the seat belts, they are still in the van.

There should be marks on the undercarriage of the van for the places where the bolt holes are supposed to be. Or they might be on the inside, I can't remember. If you go with the corresponding factory seating configuration you shouldn't have any conflicts with stuff under the floor. You have to take the carpet or padding out too, and it never goes back in right.

Up North, actually our 350 van rides much better than the 250, and takes the same tires, gets better mileage, and actually costs less to license. But the license advantage is because the 350 is a passenger vehicle, the 250 is a cargo.

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  #7  
Old 01/15/08, 08:29 AM
Rockin In The Free World
 
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I'd agree that looking into a 1/2 or 3/4 ton conversion van may be a better option. Although markets are different everywhere, conversion vans here are plentiful - and if you're willing to go to something 10 years old, they're relatively cheap. One of the nice features of conversion vans is that many folks only use them for recreational purposes, therefore they're fairly low mile vehicles for their age.

Some conversion vans may qualify for "recreational vehicle" insurance - which is usually dirt cheap. To fully insure my 23' motorhome was under $300 per year.

.

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Old 01/15/08, 05:46 PM
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Oops, my mistake. The 350 requires different tires. There isn't much cost difference though.

BUT with a cargo/camper van, you can have privacy without having to put up much in the way of curtains. With a conversion van you sure can't get change clothes with any sort of privacy.

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  #9  
Old 01/27/08, 08:19 AM
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I had a conversion van made from a cargo van years ago. The thing I hated about it was the heat and A/C were designed for the driver and passenger alone. The rest of the van never heated well or cooled in any way. The dash vents just weren't enough.
I looked into installing a roof mounted heatpump to heat and cool the rear. About $1500 if I remember right. Sold it and bought a minivan instead.

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  #10  
Old 01/27/08, 11:05 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Wisconsin
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I did this to an 1972 Dodge van, this was the "cool" thing to do back then.
Added seats (yeah w/seatbelts), bunk in the rear.
Bought a pattern kit from J.C. Whitney, cut out the paneling, cabinets, kickin' stereo... those were the days.........
Also added a rear heater kit, also from J.C. Whitney, as the rear was cold in the winter.

Worked out well, but with out windows, the kids hated it, as there was only forward to see anything. Finally added some cool side windows.

Drove that van for a long time.
Moved to a crew cab pick up next.

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