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Thread: Ford E-Series (3rd gen) 1975-1991

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    Ford E-Series (3rd gen) 1975-1991

    The Ford E-Series (also known as the Ford Econoline and Ford Club Wagon throughout various stages of its production) is a range of full-size vans produced by American automaker Ford. Introduced for the 1961 model year as the replacement for the Ford F-series panel van, the model line is currently in its fourth generation.

    Produced in multiple design variations for both retail and commercial sale, the E-Series was developed as a van for either cargo or passenger use, and as a cutaway van chassis and stripped chassis (a chassis without bodywork). Since the 2015 model year, only the latter two designs are offered, as Ford replaced E-Series vans with the Ford Transit. From 1980 to 2014, the E-Series van was the best-selling full-sized van in the United States.

    The model line entered its 60th year of production for 2021, second only to the Ford F-Series (in production since 1948) within Ford Motor Company in terms of longevity. The E-Series is assembled by Ford at its Ohio Assembly facility at Avon Lake, Ohio, which has produced the model line since 1975. Prior to its closure, Lorain Assembly (Lorain, Ohio) assembled the model line from 1961 to 2005.

    Third generation (19751991)
    For 1975, the Econoline/Club Wagon were given a complete redesign. Based on an all-new chassis, Ford became the first American manufacturer to adapt body-on-frame construction to a full-size van.

    The new-generation Econoline would become common not only in its own right, but as the basis for other vehicles. With a full frame, the Econoline became popular as a cutaway van chassis; the design served as a basis for many ambulances, and various types of trucks and buses. The shared drivetrain with the F-Series marked the beginning of aftermarket four-wheel drive conversions. During the 1970s, the Econoline became popular as a basis for van conversions. Using the sparsely-equipped Econoline cargo van as a basis, a luxurious interior was fitted, along with extensive customization of the exterior.

    Chassis
    To increase the versatility of the full-size van line, the Econoline was developed using body-on-frame construction for the first time. In addition to increasing the strength of the chassis, the configuration allowed more commonality with the F-series trucks. As before, the Twin I-Beam front suspension was used. In its new configuration, the engine was moved further forward and lowered relative to the body. The van grew in size: the 124 inches (3,150 mm) short-wheelbase configuration was a half inch longer than the previous long-wheelbase chassis; the new long-wheelbase chassis was 138 inches (3,510 mm), the longest wheelbase full-size van sold until 1990. After the 1984 model year, the 124-inch wheelbase Club Wagon passenger van was discontinued, and the 124-inch wheelbase Econoline Cargo Van was discontinued after the 1990 model year, leaving the 138-inch wheelbase as the sole option.

    In 1982, to increase the fuel economy of the Econoline without a major loss in engine output, Ford introduced the option of a 6.9 L IDI diesel V8 produced by International Harvester; in 1988, this was enlarged to 7.3 L. The diesel V8 engines were available only in Econoline 350s (or Club Wagons sold on the same chassis). The cutaway version was available with the larger (5.8 or 7.5 L) gasoline V8s or the diesel V8.[14]

    Due to the popularity of automatic transmissions in full-size vans, Ford discontinued all manual transmissions after the 1989 model year. The column-shifted 3-speed departed after 1986, leaving the floor-shifted 4-speed overdrive manual as standard. The four-speed was replaced by a Mazda-sourced 5-speed M5OD for 1988.

    Body
    Unlike its predecessors, Ford designed the 1975 Econoline with a "two-box" layout. Similar to the Ford Transit of the time, the configuration moved the engine as far forward as possible and lower in the chassis than in its predecessor; although the hood was nearly twice as long, the hoodline was much lower. A higher degree of parts commonality with the F series made itself known in the bodystyling: the vent windows, taillights, bumpers, and wheels were common items between the two vehicles.

    During its sixteen-year production run, the exterior of the Econoline/Club Wagon would remain nearly unaltered. In 1978, the Super Van/Super Wagon was introduced; based on the 138-inch wheelbase, it was a rear body extension allowing for extra cargo room or an extra row of seating (for up to 15 passengers). In 1979, a minor facelift updated the grille design; round headlights were replaced by rectangular units. In 1983, the Ford Blue Oval was added to the grille, replacing the "FORD" lettering on the hood.

    Although the 1986 Ford Aerostar minivan would introduce styling far different from the Econoline, the basic styling of the full-size van would heavily influence the Ford Ranger (and its SUV offspring, the Ford Bronco II).

    Interior
    Inside, the redesign of the chassis expanded interior room, though the rear of the engine still remained between the front seats; an engine cover still provided access for servicing. Sharing many controls with the F series, the new design also improved interior ergonomics. In three body sizes, the Econoline was produced in a cargo van and passenger van, with the latter produced in three trim levels; base, Custom and Chateau. In addition, the Club Wagon was produced solely as a passenger van. After 1980, this was replaced by F-series nomenclature of XL and XLT. In line with the F-Series, the Econoline/Club Wagon was sold in 100/150/250/350 variants, with the Econoline 100 discontinued in 1983 (Club Wagon chassis variants were not denoted).

    Source : Wikipedia

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