I'm looking at buying a '96 E350 15-pass van, powerstroke, auto, 200k miles. It's a minibus, not a standard 15-pass, and was part of a fleet. It's a dually. It has 4.10 gears. The sticker says it's "equipped with the ford rv prep pkg". The previous owner, who bought it last april from a local transit company, has done a partial conversion: ripped out seats, added a bunk bed in the back, fridge, microwave, AC, table and chairs. I'm not planning to fully convert it, though I like the idea of it as a spare room. I'm planning to tow a travel trailer, somewhere in the range of 24 to 32 feet. I was looking for a powerstroke truck, but I haven't had luck finding one, and this is cheaper. Here's a pic:
The seller is asking $3500. Thought that was pretty good at first; but I've since wised up. It's looking like it's worth closer to $2000, give or take a couple hunded. Does that sound like a fair amount? Someone in my area just sold a PAIR of these -- same year, model, etc -- for $3000, and while one wasn't running, the other ran fine and had had the tranny replaced and motor rebuilt only a few thousand miles ago. I don't know what has been rebuilt/replaced on the one I'm looking at; the seller has called the transit company to get the service papers, but it's gonna be a few days til they can get them. What are the odds this vechile would still have the original trans? Assuming best case scenario -- both trans and motor rebuilt in the last few thousand miles -- what other big repair issues should I be on the lookout for?
Finally, has anyone here ever towed with one of these? I'm pretty sure the powertrain could handle a small/medium camper, but I'm worried that any hitch I could put on it might be too far behind the back axle. I'm hoping a weight distribution hitch would solve this problem, but I don't know. Also, do these buses come with a pseudo-tow package due to their heavy-duty use, or would I need to add a trans cooler to be safe? Would it be hard to add a trans cooler myself? If anyone here has actually towed a camper with one of these, I'd love to get their two cents. I've never bought a vehicle like this before, and I'm feeling over my head here. Anyway, thanks in advance, and happy turkey day...