Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2004 Ford Econoline Overview
Got a Big Job? Ford's Got a Big Van
Have you got a lot of people to move but just one driver? If so, you know you'll need more than just a full-size SUV: you need an Econoline van. Ford's full-size vans have been moving people, transporting goods and serving as mobile shops for working men and women since their introduction in 1979.
The E-Series' show a tremendous range of flexibility. The model line includes a passenger van, commercial van, RV van and cutaway/stripped chassis models. All E-series vans are available in either regular or stretched wheelbase with a huge assortment of optional equipment ranging from 15-passenger seating to a host of optional interior racks and storage bins to help keep tools and materials in place. You'll find that both the E150 and E350 make excellent conversion vans, helping you to create a miniature home on wheels; Ford even provides a list of van conversion companies on their Website. Even in their most utilitarian forms, the E-Series still provide a comfortable and roomy environment for both passengers and driver.
Model ranges for the E150 and E350 include a full-size and extended-body chassis; trim levels are limited to XL and XLT. On passenger vans, the XL trim includes air conditioning, vinyl front-bucket seats with two rows of three-person seating, rear anti-lock brakes, AM/FM stereo, dual power mirrors, power steering and a tilt wheel; new this year are standard four-wheel disc brakes and a tilt steering wheel. The more upscale XLT trim adds high-back cloth bucket seats, a high-capacity front and rear-air conditioner, cruise control, full carpeting, an engine console cover, power windows, power door locks, a cassette player and illuminated entry. You can opt for all sorts of options including a flip-down entertainment system, bigger chrome-plated wheels and a special Chateau package that includes leather-wrapped steering wheel, two-tone paint, running boards, bright alloy wheels and an AM/FM/CD with cassette. The XLT also features captain's chair seating with individual folding armrests and a set of four huge cup holders complete with slotted sides to allow for cups with handles. A cool new option is the 11 and 14-passenger seating that provides an easy access center aisle between all but the rear-most bench seat.
For 2004, the standard V6 engine has been dropped from the line, replaced by the 225-horsepower 4.6-liter V8. Ford will continue to offer as optional the 5.7-liter V8 (rated at 255 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque) as well as the 6.8-liter V10 (rated at 305 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque.) Later in the model year, the all-new 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel will become available, teamed to an all-new five-speed transmission. The Power Stroke is Ford's most powerful diesel engine with 235-horsepower and a stump-hauling 440 lb-ft. of torque. Even though the V10 produces more horsepower, you'll find that the Power Stroke diesel is still the best engine for towing and hauling heavy loads and when it comes to fuel consumption, it certainly is less thirsty than the V10.
Driving an E-Series truck is somewhat like piloting a big SUV, only there is bit more rear overhang to deal with. Ford has done a good job of making sure that certain aspects of the E-Series are not as gargantuan as the rest of the vehicle, such as placing the door handles down low so you don't have to reach up to operate them. In a nod to better visibility, the lower edge of the side glass extends far down along the van's side, giving the passengers a good view in all directions and allowing the driver to see objects that might not appear in the side-view mirror.
Trying to put the E- Series ride and handling into some context that makes sense is difficult because what else can you compare an Econoline van to except another Econoline van? The steering is moderately dampened as to give the driver some sense of the road and the ride is fairly smooth when fully loaded. If you're behind the wheel, you'll find you have a pretty good view of the road and that most of the controls are within arms reach (depending greatly of course on how long your arms are). Ford has done a good job quieting the usual squeaks and rattles that accompany vehicles of this nature, especially in the areas of the side doors, which are prone to rattling over time.
Simply stated, if you need to move it, and Econoline van can do it. Now the only obstacle you face is how to choose from the numerous body styles, colors and options.