Green four-wheel-drive Ford Econoline Campervan Conversion by Sportsmobile

15 Amazing Overland Ford Econoline Camper Conversions

Key takeaways

Considering a Ford Econoline Camper Conversion for Van Life?

With an inexpensive upfront cost, stealthy exterior, & lots of aftermarket parts, the Econoline (E-Series) van is a great option.

But how does it stack up against other popular Budget Americana builds like the Chevy Express, GMC Savana, Dodge Ram van, or Chevy Astro van campers?

In this post, we’ll find out.

15 Amazing Ford Econoline Camper Conversions

With a long cargo length, heavy towing capacity, & lots of aftermarket parts, the Ford Econoline provides a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 15 of the coolest Ford Econoline conversions ever:

Build #15: Green Econoline with Full Indoor Kitchen


 

Build #14: All-Wood Interior Econoline with Fixed Bed

  • Highlights: This Econoline has a high fixed bed in the rear with storage underneath. The large wood countertops for the kitchen area include a huge sink below a tiled backsplash. The awning provides comfort for outdoor cooking and eating.
  • Van: Ford Econoline
  • Owner: @never_lookinmy_rearview_mirror

 

Build #13: Spacious Econoline Build with Side-Facing Rear Bed

  • Highlights: This beautiful open floor plan includes a large bed at the back next to a bench seat, and two countertops. One countertop includes a sink, and the other has room for a stove and a fridge underneath.
  • Van: Ford Econoline
  • Owner: @dominiqueclairemarie

 

Build #12: Econoline with Raised Fixed Bed and Full Interior Kitchen

  • Highlights: This extended-roof Econoline has a high bed in the back with storage underneath. The large countertop includes a sink, and room for a stove. The van is lined with overhead storage and LED lighting.
  • Van: 2006 Ford Econoline
  • Owner: @wander_woman_go

 

Build #11: Vintage Econoline with Fold-Down Bed and Rear-Door Kitchen

  • Highlights: This gorgeous vintage Econoline has cool green rear bench seats that fold down into a bed. The interior is built out with wood countertops and side tables, and there’s a kitchen area that pulls out of the back doors.
  • Van: 1965 Ford Econoline
  • Owner: @econo_camper

 

Build #10: Econoline with Indoor and Outdoor Cooking Area and Awning

  • Highlights: This Econoline has a single rear seat in front of its queen-sized bed to seat three during the day. The kitchen can be used either inside or outside, and they have a cassette toilet hidden between the front two seats.
  • Van: Ford Econoline 350
  • Owner: @sitka_the_van

 

#9: Econoline with Slide-Out Bed, Tons of Cabinetry, and an Outdoor Shower

  • Highlights: This DIY Econoline build has gorgeous wood cabinetry throughout with tons of nooks and crannies for storage. The slide-down bed acts as a bench seat during the day, and there’s a full interior kitchen with a sink and camping stove.
  • Van: Ford Econoline 350
  • Owner: @zookeeperkyle

 

#8: Five Passenger Econoline with Rooftop Tent

  • Highlights: A whole family of five can travel and sleep in this Econoline. The large convertible bench seats sleep three, and the Roofnest on top sleeps another two. The kitchen area sits at the rear and has a sink, stove, and fridge.
  • Van: Ford Econoline
  • Owner: @contravans (more photos at contravans.com)

 

#7: Econoline with Indoor and Outdoor Kitchen Areas and Overhead Storage

  • Highlights: This gorgeous Econoline has a large front-facing bed with under bed storage and a side table. The kitchen has a large countertop, sink, and drawer fridge. The side door swings out for outdoor kitchen use.
  • Van: Ford Econoline E350
  • Owner: @amythevan_e350

 

#6: Econoline with Back Bed and Double-Wall Kitchen

  • Highlights:  This Econoline has room for two humans and a dog with a large back bed. The double-wall kitchen has lots of counter space and a sink. The owners have also added a fridge between the front two seats.
  • Van: Ford Econoline
  • Owner: @crazybrave.adventure

 

#5: Econoline with Extendable Bed and Slide-Out Kitchen

  • Highlights: This all-cedarwood Econoline build has an extendable bed behind that converts from a twin to a queen. The side door opens up to the slide-out “kitchen” with a stove and oven. The side wall has tons of cabinetry, a fridge, a sink, and even a hidden toilet.
  • Van: 2005 Ford Econoline 350
  • Owner: @wildwoodcampervans

 

#4: Econoline with Pop-Top and Two Sleeping Areas


 

#3: Econoline with Huge Convertible Bed and Lots of Countertop Space

  • Highlights: This simple and spacious Econoline has a huge rear bed and a large countertop with a sink. The bed tucks into a couch for a few feet of extra room during the day.
  • Van: 1999 Ford Econoline 150
  • Owner: @our.econoline

 

#2: All-Vintage ‘88 Econoline with Interior Surfboard Storage

  • Highlights: The two front brown seats of this vintage Econoline swivel around to make a comfy lounge area. There’s a large side-facing bed in the back, a countertop and sink area, and a fridge. The owners tied up a rope to the ceiling to store a surfboard.
  • Van: 1988 Ford Econoline 150
  • Owner: @vintagevanproject

 

#1: 4×4 Pop-Top Ford Econoline Overland Van

  • Highlights: This 4×4 Ford Econoline conversion by Sportsmobile is overland ready thanks to it’s aftermarket axles, transfer case, and suspension lift. Inside, the vehicle features a convertible bench seat, as well as a full kitchen with a sink, stove, and small fridge.
  • Van: 14′ Ford Econoline
  • Owner: @sportsmobile

 

13 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like the Ford Econoline

The Econoline is reliable, inexpensive, & easy to convert – but is it the smartest older van to convert?

Here are 13 reasons why vanlifers like the Ford Econoline:

  1. Inexpensive to Buy: Ford Econolines go for as low as $4,000 these days. If you’re on a budget, this is a huge factor as they’re way less expensive than Sprinters and Transit vans.
  2. Good “stealth” Factor: Econolines are a very common work truck, so it’s easy to blend in when you’re in these vehicles (unlike in a VW camper conversion or similar vehicle).
  3. Great Cargo Length: The Econoline has a lot of cargo length (over 12 feet) to play with. That means you’ll likely have room for a bed and a full interior kitchen.
  4. Lasts a Long Time: Ford Econoline engines are known for lasting a very long time. These vans can go 200,000 miles and beyond without any major issues.
  5. Easy to Repair: The Ford Econoline is a very popular van around the U.S.. If you need a repair, it’s easy to find a mechanic or to look up DIY repair info online.
  6. Inexpensive Parts: Ford parts are known for being inexpensive. If you need to do a minor repair yourself, you can find Econoline parts online for pretty cheap.
  7. Durable: These vans are heavy and strong, and they can really take a beating. You don’t have to worry about beating them up like you would a brand-new Mercedes Sprinter.
  8. Can Handle Heavy Builds: The Econoline 350 can handle over 4,000 pounds of added weight, and can tow up to 7,500 pounds.
  9. Lots of Conversion Info Online: The Econoline is a relatively popular small van to convert, so there’s a good amount of inspiration for van builds online.
  10. Many Aftermarket Add-ons Available: Many Econoline owners get aftermarket add-ons like roof racks, light bars, larger wheels and tires, and lift kits for their vans.
  11. Good Handling for its Size: Although these vans are big, owners say they have impressive handling.
  12. Good Visibility: The front windshield in the Econoline is very large, giving both driver and passenger great visibility.
  13. Powerful Engine: All Econolines come with either a V6 or V8 engine. These engines have the horsepower and torque necessary to handle heavy builds and to pull the vehicle up mountains or gravel roads.

7 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike the Ford Econoline

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to the Econoline.

Here are 7 reasons why vanlifers dislike the Ford Econoline:

  1. Low Ceiling Height: The Econoline doesn’t have a ton of headroom (about 4’6”), so you can’t quite stand up inside without extending the roof or adding a pop-top.
  2. Not as Visually Appealing as a Transit Van: The Econolines just aren’t super pretty, and the external aesthetics aren’t as clean as a Transit or Sprinter van.
  3. Can Have Rust Issues: Econolines last a long time, but beware of frame rust in older models that have been on the road for 20+ years.
  4. No New Options: Ford stopped making the Econoline Cargo and Passenger in 2014 in favor of the Transit. So if you want an Econoline, you’ll have to buy it used.
  5. Bad Gas Mileage: The Econoline gets just 15 MPG combined, so if fuel efficiency is a top priority, this van may not be the best option.
  6. Can’t Quite Fit Into Small Parking Spaces: The Ford Econoline is about 17.5 feet long. It won’t fit into more compact parking spaces, and it’ll be difficult to park in big cities.
  7. Can Have Engine Oil Leak Issues: One of the bad parts of van life is dealing with repairs. Owners say that Econolines commonly have issues with engine oil leaks, which are difficult to diagnose and costly to repair.

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about the Ford Econoline, let’s see how it stacks up against Chevy Express, Chevy Astro, GMC Savana, & Dodge Ram van.

 

Ford Econoline Cost

Cost: Ford Econoline vs Chevy Express vs Chevy Astro vs GMC Savana vs Dodge Ram

Model New Used Price
Ford Econoline N/A $15,750 Check Price
Chevy Express $38,100 $26,995 Check Price
Chevy Astro N/A $7,750 Check Price
GMC Savana $38,100 $26,700 Check Price
Dodge Ram N/A $8,795 Check Price

 

Ford Econoline Dimensions

Dimensions: Ford Econoline vs Chevy Express vs Chevy Astro vs GMC Savana vs Dodge Ram

Model Interior Height Interior Length (cargo) Interior Width Ext Length
Ford Econoline 53.9 inches 121.4 inches 73.6 inches 212 inches
Chevy Express 55.1 inches 126.8 inches 62 inches 224.1 inches
Chevy Astro 46.9 inches 126 inches 55.9 inches 189.8 inches
GMC Savana 55.1 inches 126.8 inches 62 inches 224.1 inches
Dodge Ram Van 56 inches 124.8 inches 73.5 inches 192.6 inches

 

Ford Econoline Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy: Ford Econoline vs Chevy Express vs Chevy Astro vs GMC Savana vs Dodge Ram

Model City Highway Combined
Ford Econoline 13 MPG 17 MPG 15 MPG
Chevy Express 11 MPG 16 MPG 13 MPG
Chevy Astro 16 MPG 22 MPG 19 MPG
GMC Savana 11 MPG 16 MPG 13 MPG
Dodge Ram Van 11 MPG 14 MPG 12 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is the Ford Econoline Right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to like the Ford Econoline: It’s widely available, stealthy, & easy to work on – but it may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to Repair
  • Durable
  • Good “Stealth” Factor
  • Low Ceiling Height
  • Not As Appealing As Transit
  • Bad Gas Mileage

So should you get one?

Yes! We’d recommend the Ford Econoline for vanlife over other budget Americana vans (Chevy Express, Chevy Astro, GMC Savana, & Dodge Ram van) for vanlifers who like the Ford brand and want to get into vanlife on the cheap. With tons of aftermarket support, and a long history of vehicle services available, the Ford E-Series is a no-brainer.

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