I gotta tell you what Marty (wife) & I did last Friday after supper. While doing the shocks on my Van I pounded off huge amounts of rust & after measuring with my micrometer I had an urge to go compare my frame & front end with the new ones. I wanted to know just how much frame I have lost to rust. I took my creeper, micrometer & note pad & off to the Ford dealer we went. Well, it was a futile trip as the new ones have been redesigned and are actually MUCH heavier than my '97. I think in '97 the E-150 was lighter than the 250's, but now they use the same frame members for both. I did not look at the 350. So, I still don't know how much steel I have lost off my front strut thingy, but I think new it was .25" & now it's down to .19. (The new ones are .375) BUT.... the point of this story is that after we did that we went to the Chevy dealer to check out the Chevy Vans. I had never looked before... I was under the Chevy and yelled to Marty....she was in the car with the windows down... "Hon! Start the engine!" I pushed off the axle & came rolling out from under the Van.... "Put it in gear NOW, prepare to depart!" I jumped up, stuffed the creeper into the car & as I dropped into the seat and as I was closing the door I shouted "Accelerate! Accelerate!". She hit the gas, the door slammed shut & she asked "What???" I said "Oh, good gosh, when I was under there & saw what it was made of, I suddenly realized that if a strong wind came up, that vehicle might have folded down on me!". She laughed, but, wow, compared to the Ford... Wow. When they say "built Ford tough" they ain't kicking horse poop. The Chevy is about $3,000 cheaper than the Ford & I speculate that the extra $3,000 for the Ford is the actual cost of the extra steel.
While we are here.... my Ford '97 E-150 Van. First new vehicle we ever bought. It now has 103,000 on it and in one paragraph I can tell you every repair it's ever needed (not including brakes, tires, oil etc): in order, head gasket, 82,500 miles. Just under $100. Blinker switch, 87,000 miles. $65. Heater door control arm. 99,000 miles. They wanted $350 for a heater box, I skipped that & added a string & a cleat. I want heat, I pull the string & cleat it. I want AC, I un-cleat the string & the door flops shut. Front shocks, 103,000 miles. $72. I do my own repairs.