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Old 10-03-2013, 08:03 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
We love vans, and I forgot I've owned two Ford vans so that brings it to 13 Fords in my history. also owned two Dodge caravans, so that tells you what my memory is up to these days. Must be the cookies.

I did a couple quick searches, and didn't immediately see any 4x4 or AWD vans big enough to tow the 27. Who makes a 3/4 ton 4x4 van?

We have to have 4 wheel drive. Won't even consider RWD only.
4x4 vans are not common and usually will take a hit on towing capacity due to the additional weight of the components. I'm not even sure what axle ratios are offered. I put a 4.10 axle with limited slip differential on my GMC. I've not been in a situation where I've ever needed 4 wheel drive, but if you go off road, camp on beaches, or tow in snow, I could see why that might be important.

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Old 10-03-2013, 09:45 PM   #58
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my two cents-- I have a 2000 Excursion V10. !55K on it now. It pulls great, and is super comfortable, get abot 12mpg towing at 60, and up to 18 highway not towing. Not great on mileage but it runs on REGULAR, which costs a lot les than diesel.
I have put on a set of tires, cost me around 450. No other repairs or anything other than oil changes in 6 years.
I'm out of the diesel vs gasser debate, but are you hand calculating those mpgs or going by the overhead gauge? I've never seen a V10 get more than 12mpg, towing or not.

Here's my take on the great debate... I posted this earlier tonight on the Excursion forums because the gas/diesel 6.0/diesel 7.3 argument breaks out in almost every thread.

I'll summarize:

The gassers will take their $5-7k less expensive vehicles, put 87 octane in it, forego the $100k diesel repairs and problems and come out ahead and be fine with their 8mpg.

The glowplug crowd will talk about HP, torque, tuning, 20-30mpg, towing capacity and how real trucks don't have sparkplugs.

In the end the Excursion is one terrific vehicle with a few modifications, regardless of engine.

They were delivered with soccer mom springs on them. Swap them out with F250 SD springs. If you're lucky enough to find the springs on the truck body still, look in the door jamb. You're looking for V/B codes. Those are stiffer and much better for the truck.

If you don't want to do that, you can add a Hellwig sway bar to the rear, or a roadmaster active suspension. Those two add ons will give you a darn near flawless TV that can tow a mountain, while storing your kids, your dogs, and all your gear.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:34 PM   #59
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I'm not in a diesel/gasser debate, either. I considered all the comments here, and elsewhere, and decided we want an Excursion with the 7.3 Powerstroke. I've got a new hitch for the trailer, haven't even installed it yet. The Reese anti-sway thing. I forget the model. Bought it thinking I would need it. Towed the trailer from Houston to Dallas to Taos to Ft. Collins..no issues with sway at all. And those were rented F-250's.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:05 AM   #60
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A Cummins-powered Dodge beats any year of Ford for economy of operation as well as capacity to work in this price range. Those who used them to make a living stayed away from Ford or GM as they would not last nor do the work at the higher weight ranges (30k). Todays automatics are better (one can barely use a manual behind the non-Dodge V8 diesels from the era considered which is why CTD pulled away from the pack and stayed there for getting close to 20-years), but aftermarket AT rebuilders are out there. A manual trans CTD is a marriage made in heaven and no A/S ever made is any sort of challenge.

As to reliability/longevity the same applies. At nearly 200k I have replaced the u-joints and an ignition swtich. Batteries lasted nine years, first tires/brakes lasted 120k, etc. At ten years it's time for me to start spending to get ahead of wear and tear, but the truck literally could not have been cheaper to own/operate. This is not at all uncommon (although 4WD wears faster).

The past 50,000-miles I have averaged 21-mpg. All gallons, all miles. Towing the TT sees 15-16 mpg and solo highway does not fall below 24-mpg loaded or empty. Around town for commuting or shopping I see 19-mpg. Stock, unaltered.

I kept up with diesel powered pickups starting in the 1980's. By the mid-nineties the turbocharged Dodge pulled away from the rest. Only now might the Fords or GM's be as good (the jury is still out for the oilfield hotshot/LTL owner-operator judgment). Emissions has changed the game. But its stil rare for me to see a Ford (and nearly never a GM) being used in heavy hotshot oilfield (where the empty GN trailer weighs more than 97% of A/S trailers)..

The 7.3 Powerstroke of ca. 1999-2003 has a "rep" as it is the only time in thirty years that Ford got everything right. But it still isn't as good a TV as a Cummins of that period.

I asked a similar question as the OP more than ten years ago when considering a truck for work and play: The greatest reliability over the longest life at the lowest cost per mile with the greatest capacity for work. Nothing else came close to Dodge when it came to numbers. And it has proven out . . . my truck (bought used) has [ha!] "suffered" less than $4k in depreciation in those seven years, besides being cheap to own/operate.

IMO, no matter what truck you buy, do not settle for other than 4-wheel disc brakes on that vehicle. And be sure you actually need a truck (too much junk carried along is the sole reason) and that the 10k weight is a valid number . . with this trailer type it may be unlikely.

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Old 10-04-2013, 08:00 AM   #61
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Each brand certainly has it's fans, doesn't it? my old die-hard Ford truck uncle in east texas now drives and loves his big Toyota.

In any case, I can't find a big SUV with the Cummins in it, so it's a moot point for me personally. The 7.3 has maintained this reputation as the best for 20 years now. The Dodge truck platform? Not so much. They figure out how to get the paint to stick to them yet?

Interesting that I'm not seeing much here in the way of Duramax defenders.
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:00 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
I'm not in a diesel/gasser debate, either. I considered all the comments here, and elsewhere, and decided we want an Excursion with the 7.3 Powerstroke. I've got a new hitch for the trailer, haven't even installed it yet. The Reese anti-sway thing. I forget the model. Bought it thinking I would need it. Towed the trailer from Houston to Dallas to Taos to Ft. Collins..no issues with sway at all. And those were rented F-250's.
Hey Gringo, If you get the Excursion, you might want to install the REESE for the weight distribution. The anti-sway is a bonus. If you load the EX up with heavy gear in the back and hitch up the 27FB you'll pull a significant amount of weight from the steer axle to the drive axle and overload the drive axle. It will drive OK on the flatlands but may put you in a bad spot in emergency maneuvers. Here's a post where I detail my setup which has been working great. Note the scale numbers on the steer and drive axles with and without the REESE hitch. Post 127 in the Airstream Forums > Airstream Restoration, Repair & Parts Forums > Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches
visited CAT scales - the numbers are in... Thread.

www.airforums.com/forums/f238/visited-cat-scales-the-numbers-are-in-17984-10.html#post1105856

BTW: When the Reese wears out I'm budgeting for a pro-pride.

Now, we've hit two of the three lightning rod debates on the forum (Tow Vehicle and hitch choice) in this thread, not counting the government shut-down thread which was shut down last night ironically, I might as well engage the third and tell you I replaced the original GY Marathons on my 27FB with BF Goodrich P235/75 R15 108T XL and love em. Now, that oughta do it! HA!

I think the EX is great gas or diesel. I loaded 1000 lbs of railrod ties in mine and took them to the recycling center a few weeks ago. They have a scale there and I was at 9600 lbs on arrival and 8600 lbs empty. The EX rides much better fully loaded with RR ties or hooked up to the AS. Unfortunately the charge is 17 cents a pound to discard creosote RR ties so as awesome at the load capacity is, it's not so good when you're pay 17 cents a pound!

Again good luck on your search and spend the bucks for Car Fax Too much or too little history on Car Fax indicates a problem with the vehicle.
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:15 AM   #63
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cool, and thanks for the link. I do intend to set the hitch up. I just never got around to it when we were renting and borrowing trucks to tow with. We've been lugging it around with us in the trailer for two seasons now. I think I lost the instructions.

I definitely want to set it up for the TV when we get it. It will be nice to have a setup, finally, where everything is set to work together and I don't end up doing all this last minute running around trying to find wrenches to change tow balls and trying to find a stinger with the right amount of drop etc. By the way, were DO you find a wrench big enough to take the 2 5/16 ball off? I ended up buying a pipe wrench and a big cheap adjustable at Harbor Freight. sucky tools.

On the gas vs diesel, I am not knocking gas engines ( no pun intended). I certainly like the lower cost of the V-10 and I have a lot of gas engine building experience.
But our AS lives in the Rockies. Not in Tennessee, or Louisiana or Texas. It starts it's day at 5,000 ft. elevation and our property is at 7300 ft. For the foreseeable future we plan to explore the mountains, every season. No interest in anywhere else. We get all the "coast" we can handle, living on this little island. So I am interested in a truck that I can leave sitting for one or two years at a time, without worrying about the fuel. I also want something that will pull us up and down the Rocky Mountains, and to go where the Class A's can't. 10,000 ft will be common. I think the choice is obvious. And I don't particularly dislike the RAM trucks, but we quickly saw the benefit of the big-A SUV for our own scenario.. Dodge doesn't make one. End of decision process.
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:48 AM   #64
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We've been lugging it around with us in the trailer for two seasons now. I think I lost the instructions.

By the way, were DO you find a wrench big enough to take the 2 5/16 ball off? I ended up buying a pipe wrench and a big cheap adjustable at Harbor Freight. sucky tools.
You can find reese installation manuals online
Reese

Yeah, I did the same thing. Bought a super big adjustable wrench at Orchard Hardware. I little bit better than Harbor Freight.

Good Luck

Found a 2002 7.3 EX on ebay with 132K on Ebay this AM for 15K. Looks like my investment is holding it's value! Ford : Excursion LIMITED 7.3 | eBay
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:53 AM   #65
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Trying to decide on a hitch for my 2014 30ft Flying Cloud ( Jan 2014 arrival). My considerations are: 4 Point Equalizer, Hensley, Or Propride. Tow vehicle is 3/4 Duramax Diesel. Dealer also mentioned a Dual Cam Reece? Hanks in advance for assisting on this.
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:13 AM   #66
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yeah, dual cam reese. Now I remember. That's what I bought. And haven't needed. still going to install it, though.

How far you reckon we can drift this thread?
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:34 AM   #67
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Yup, now that I mentioned government Shut-down the mod squad will be here any minute to redirect. Time to vacate the thread now that you've made your choice. Hey Luigi, head over to Airstream Forums > Airstream Restoration, Repair & Parts Forums > Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches > Hitches, Couplers & Balls thread for hitch discussions. I like my Reese but want a pro pride just like I like my Harley but want a Ducati. Capisci?
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:28 PM   #68
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Oh Gringo, one more thing since you mentioned high mountain roads where class A's fearcto tread, not sure about gas excursions (perry can report) but my 7.3 EX has leaf springs in the front instead of coil which limits the turn radius of the steer wheels so the EX and trailer combo have a tight turning ability just a little better than the Queen Mary. Doesn't bother me but I've gotten used to envisioning / ensuring a way out of a facility or road before entering. I think the F250s have coils on the front.

Brad
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:40 PM   #69
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Oh Gringo, one more thing since you mentioned high mountain roads where class A's fearcto tread, not sure about gas excursions (perry can report) but my 7.3 EX has leaf springs in the front instead of coil which limits the turn radius of the steer wheels so the EX and trailer combo have a tight turning ability just a little better than the Queen Mary. Doesn't bother me but I've gotten used to envisioning / ensuring a way out of a facility or road before entering. I think the F250s have coils on the front.

Brad
All excursions have leaf springs up front. The 250s switched to coils in 05.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:46 PM   #70
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I sold my 34' Limited in July (because of my age) so I am without a trailer, but I still lurk here a bit.

I'll preface by saying, when it comes to buying a vehicle I tend to be very exhausting in my research. Having said this, there is a point at which it becomes, “analysis to paralysis!” Remember, everything you read on sites like this is someone's opinion. This opinion cannot be totally objective but is colored by our own experience with a given brand or engine. Since I've had a career as a pastor (not known to be a very high paying profession) I've had to carefully balance my wants against financial realities. Although I'm a lifetime tee-totaler, I often describe myself as “having a champagne appetite on a beer budget.” I've had some of the best cars and trucks available, but always used (after all, when you drive away from the dealer they're all used anyway).

For what its worth, here are some of my methods when buying.

1. Determine what type and/or capacity it will take to do the job.

2. Evaluate the family budget to determine how much we can reasonably spend. Different families have different tolerances about debt, or if they're borrowing, how much debt they can afford to service. For thirty-five years we've chosen to live with no debt except a home mortgage. This greatly influences how we evaluate a needed vehicle. Example, Our main car is an '01 Lincoln Continental bought three years ago with 50K actual miles at a cost of $6,750. We kept our 140K '95 Continental for my wife to drive (it was bought in 2001 with 39K for $10,000 and is the best of all the fifty cars I've owned in my lifetime). Each of the cars has allowed us to have luxury and reliability that is far beyond what we could afford new.

Our TV since 2001 has been a '96 Dodge Cummins 5 speed manual, club cab. I bought it from a widow when the truck had 84K on it. I have absolutely loved this truck! It is a fantastic combination of power and fuel economy. With the 4.11 gears it doesn't do quite as well on fuel mileage as some but the power is awesome. Fuel mileage towing has reached as high as 18mpg (very rare), but most of the time was 14.5 – 16. As someone already observed, it is noisy, but for the diesel enthusiast it is a sweet noise! I've never regretted buying it.

3. If possible, take plenty of time to search for the right vehicle. When you're under time pressures you don't always make a wise decision.

4. When you find the one you think is right check it thoroughly. Do a CarFax report to see its history. If you like it and it passes the CarFax research, pay to have a professional mechanic do a thorough inspection. If the owner won't agree to this there is probably a reason to walk away. And if you're looking at a diesel be sure the mechanic knows diesels (this is really important!!).

5. Realize that it will be a rarity that whatever you buy will be perfect so expect to spend some money to do whatever small stuff has to be done when you first begin to use it.

6. Whether new or used, the secret to being satisfied over the long term is to be committed to good maintenance. I do most of my own because I enjoy it and it costs a little bit less. As the old Fram commercial used to say, “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later!” When you are looking to buy watch for signs of good maintenance. Its nice if the seller can show some sort of records.

7. Once you pull the trigger and buy the vehicle, quit looking! You'll always find something that will cause you to wonder if you could have done better. Just enjoy your ride.

Since I'm not replacing my trailer I have no need of my truck so I have it advertised for sale (just under $10,000). Just sayin' . . .

Gene
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