So, I have an update! The screwdriver does nothing. I've found out that when it'* really, really cold, there'* no chance of starting the van. However, if it'* nice outside, it starts immediately. I'm going to change the fuel filer to see if that does something.
I started the van one morning, and the engine died. Then, I started it again. I backed out, but when I started turning the steering wheel, the engine died. The power steering pump makes the car shudder, and the lights dim at night only when the car is sitting in park or drive while I turn the wheel. Time to try first a power steering fluid flush.
The engine now also gurgles like it'* low on antifreeze, and it stinks accordingly. We haven't found the leak, and it'* not around the radiator. It could be around the thermostat housing gasket because there are dips on the engine that prevent a proper mating of the gasket and housing with the rest.
When accelerating or applying the throttle while the van is moving, there is a whining sound from the back. It'* been identified as a bearing, and it makes your acceleration sound like you're being chased by T-Rex from Jurrasic Park or something of the like. Kind of cool. I took out the wee bolt that holds back the fluid and did a bit of a flush with Valvoline 75W-90 synthetic blend, but I think the fluids in there were fresh. The rear end had been replaced before.
Seems like fun. But to get started, I should be able to "start" the van.
Oh, it'* too far from funny. I think this is about as ghetto and money sucking as an Aerostar gets without a transmission failure. Actually, speaking of that, I now remember that after the engine died the second time, the car had trouble accelerating, and I heard the dreaded transmission whine. It was only momentary, and after that, the van went strong. Could be transmission fluid.