About to get An Old Van. Excited and Anxious! Any advice?

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I wanted to congratulate myself for graduating by buying myself a camper van but as life goes… Things got delayed. So I said screw it, it has been a hard year and I have enough saved up to get an older van!

The van I am looking at is a 1988 Ford e150 conversion van with about 90k miles on it (asking 5.2k negotiable- depending on AC repair issues). Supposedly in good condition outside of the fact that the AC needs repair. They tried to recharge it but it didn’t take. He is taking it to a mechanic tomorrow for my pre-purchase inspection! He is also negotiable about the price due to the AC issue.

I’m excited but anxious because this van is as old as I am. Any advice for a newbie with an old van on the way?

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Greetings & Welcome!

You need to do your homework and call places in your area for prices. Often adapting an aftermarket A/C system could be cheaper than fixing yours, so get estimates for both ways.

My van never had A/C so I just use the same swamp cooler I use while parked while driving too. A perfect, cheap, reliable solution. It also has no ill effects on my gas mileage. Mine just uses a ciggy lighter plug, so I can easily switch between plugging it into the dash while driving, or my house battery when parked. Simple, easy, and extremely effective.


"Always avoid expensive solutions to cheap problems." ~ OffGrid

He’s doing a pre-purchase inspection for me tomorrow but the shop already informed me that they could do a basic look over because I need to go to a more specialized shop. The owner is willing to negotiate with me because of the AC issue so hopefully it all goes well.

Oof. Interesting solution to the problem that will be helpful when I need it for the back area. Depending on how the negotiations go I’ll probably be able to get it fixed.

Thanks for the advice!