OK I have to admit that the van broke down on me. Thankfully my brother in law Steve was with me with transportation so I wasn't stranded. I made an on the spot decision to tow the van to a Ford dealer that I kinda trusted. I had wanted to have it checked out anyway so it wasn't too bad of a experience except for the 103.00 towing charge.
The Ford dealer found I had a bent valve cover and I was down 5 quarts of oil which made the engine shut down with no low oil light (odd)
The complete inspection yielded a mixed results of good/bad news. The good news was that the engine and drive train were in good shape except for the valve cover. Compression was good as well as the glow plugs and injectors. Keep in mind the van has a 7.3 powerstroke diesel.
The bad news was that the front end was shot. In the end I authorized 2600.00 in repairs including towing which included a long list of maintenance items. I generally don't go to the dealer but I must admit they were extremely professional and I feel good about having OEM parts. I anticipate further work being done at independent garages.
I had anticipated money being spent when I purchased the van but not quite that amount. I had saved some money so I won't have any debt and I feel good that the van is now (or should be) sound. That money buys me a lot of piece of mind. My goal is 100,000 additional miles of dependable driving.
So I get to pick the van up tomorrow and look forward to checking it out. Hopefully it will drive most excellent and I'll feel as my money was well spent? Time will tell.