So here it is almost 2 years later and I have yet to leave.
A lot has changed for me. I've gone through a lot of personal stuff that I'll spare you from reading. I also just had surgery to fix a shoulder injury that was keeping me from climbing and thus keeping me from driving off to be a van-dwelling climbing bum. Having to pay for the surgery has hampered my enthusiasm and also completely taken the van budget to $0.
I'm recovering well and should be good to go by summer. One problem. My van now needs some surgery of its own.
The van is not running. During the summer of 09 I left for three months to work at a summer camp and let it sit. When I returned it was not happy. Now it has been sitting for almost a year and I'm just now getting my shit together enough to start thinking about what I should do with it.
Whatever happens, I'm ready to go for it and truly let go of a lot of the unnecessary comforts and luxuries that I was previously planning on taking with me in the van. Even if the van runs, I'll be making the conversion much more humble and simple than previously planned.
I've already invested a considerable amount of time and energy into it yet many aspects of my original plan have changed. I'm not sure what is wrong with the van so I'm not sure if it will be salvageable. I sure hope it is. At the same time I realize I could live with much less, like a pickup truck or small SUV/wagon with minimal modification. Though I really really really don't want to go through the hassle of finding another vehicle and trying to sell the shell of my previous attempt.
It could be a simple fix. It could also have already been kissed by death. Each day it sits and I'm frustrated knowing that things aren't getting better in there, yet I have no money to get it towed to a shop and no money to pay a mechanic once it gets there. Not yet anyway.
I'm very mechanically inclined and I'd love to get in there and fix it myself but I'm not sure where to start. If anyone out there reads this and knows their way around old fords, please help!
Here are the symptoms:
Before it completely died it would not idle smoothly.
When it started it would almost immediately stop running unless I gave it gas.
When I gave it gas, the throttle was very jumpy and the engine revved up and died down uncontrollably even when the gas pedal was held in a stationary position.
It would die as soon as the throttle was released.
Signs point to the TPS and vacuum sensors. I checked the vacuum sensors with a multimeter and they checked out fine. Not sure where to find the TPS, I'll have to check the repair manuals.
I know the old gas that has been sitting in the tank is probably another culprit but the van is parked 6 inches from my house on the tank side and I can't get to it. My brother suggested pouring something straight into the fuel injectors... I forgot what he said. I'll have to ask him again.