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Old 07-04-2015, 02:32 PM   #1
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F250/350 questions

We're seriously talking about getting a late-90's 34' Airstream, which has a gross weight of 9800 pounds or so. Call it 10,000 for ease of calculation. We saw a nice 2008 F250 King Ranch with the diesel engine, automatic transmission, and short bed that Jo Ann liked. They also had a 2011 F350 King Ranch for many thousands more. We didn't look at it as it started to rain, so I don't know if it has the short or long bed.

Anyway, I realize that both an F250 and F350 can be built with various weight capacities, so that it is possible to have an F250 be more capable than an F350, but I believe that an F350 will have more capability than a similar F250. Am I right? Also, is there any real difference between the two, or is an F350 basically a higher-capacity F250 that offers duals?

Now the real questions. For various reasons we'll be looking at 2006-2010 trucks. We need a crew cab, and will probably look for the King Ranch (if Jo Ann likes it that's what we'll get). I'll have to check the numbers on any truck we look at, but what would the ideal specs be for these two? What axle ratio, FAGWR, RAGWR, etc. do I want? Any preference for a particular year or a year to avoid? What sort of real-world fuel economy can I expect from these trucks? I'm looking at both towing and solo.

After reading the long thread about the roll-overs I'm reminded again that (within reason) one can't have too much truck.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:45 AM   #2
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the engines in those years you are looking at were built by International and they didn't perform very well. it was not until the 6.7 diesel was introduced, don't know the exact year but should be pretty easy to find, that you have an engine that is worth the price of admission. so my first question would obviously be which engine in the choices you are looking at.

the f350 does not necessarily mean dual rear wheels, mine does not have them. what you get are an increase in spring capacity along with a whole bunch of other heavy duty items that the 250 does not have.

in my application, towing a 10k boat and trailer as an example without a equalizing hitch, i know from past experience, i would have had to add air bags to a 3/4 ton truck. with the weight you are noting, you might have to do the same. with this 1 ton, i hook up and go, extra spring in the rear set make this possible.

this is the first 1 ton i have ever owned but i can tell you this is potentially the best truck i have ever had, bar none and it is either number 9 or 10 and that includes 2 tundras.

you are correct that what options you add will reduce your GVWR so pay attention to that particularly with the weight of your trailer.

so run the weight numbers, check which engines are in the choices, that 2011 may be the 6.7, you are looking at and go for it.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:22 AM   #3
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As a die-hard Ford man, I would not look at the diesel engine from 2003-2011. From 2012 up is an absolute Ford designed and built diesel engine and has proven itself to be a very reliable engine. The Ford transmission is actually better than the Allison and has no TSB's.

Also, if you can find a good used 6.8 V-10 or 6.2 V-8, you will save a lot of initial money even with the lower mpg, either one will keep up with any diesel except for long high-altitude hills. My V-10 has been flawless for 160,000 miles.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpt View Post
the engines in those years you are looking at were built by International and they didn't perform very well. it was not until the 6.7 diesel was introduced, don't know the exact year but should be pretty easy to find, that you have an engine that is worth the price of admission. so my first question would obviously be which engine in the choices you are looking at.
As an owner of a 2005 F250 6.0 CCSB, I'm guessing you've never ridden in or owned a properly maintained 6.0, mine is bone stock, runs great, tons of upgrades available and I don't have to deal with DEF or Regen CAT.

So, for a run down..
1999-2002 7.3L (my brother claims best diesel Ford ever used)
2003-2007 6.0L (much maligned, easy to maintain or upgrade aka IH VT365)
2008-2010 6.4L (based on 6.0 with a few upgrades, first compound turbo)
2011-2015 6.7L (complete redesign, Ford engine)

Front Suspension
1999-2004 F250-350 leaf sprung
2005-2015 Radius arm and coil spring suspensions.

Rear Suspension
1999-2007 Asymmetric rear leaf springs, 4" shorter in the front (roughest riding, upgradable to 2008+ by changing springs and front leaf hangers)
2008-2010 Symmetric rear leaf springs, thinner multi-pack leaves
2011-2015 Symmetric rear leaf springs, thicker/fewer leaves (rumors that they ride rougher than 2008-2010)

Every motor has its weak points, the key is to know which ones you are willing to put up with. A new truck wasn't in my budget, my old Daily Driver was t-boned by a semi and I had no choice.

I test drove a 2004, it was nice but it had a terrible turning radius, something that Ford fixed in 2005 with the 'Super 60' front axle.

I test drove a 2008 F250 King Ranch Edition 6.4L, it was a really nice truck, the motor is a lot quieter than the 6.0 and the compound turbo setup worked very smoothly between low RPM and interstate speeds (75mph). At $28,500k it was very much out of the range that I wanted to spend. But it was nice.

I did not test drive a 2013 at the time, but I did have the sales person look for the cheapest NEW F250 he could find. And what he found me was a
2013 CCSB XL 6.7L (rubber mats, vinyl seats, manual crank windows, only options were AC and Cruise Control) with 3.31:1 rear gears, I could have gotten it out of Minneapolis for $33k

Back to the one I bought, I found it on craigslist from a private seller
2005 F250 CCSB 6.0/auto it is an FX4/Lariat with the Camper Package, and it already had a BW 5th wheel hitch. 3.73:1 gears.

Mine is one of those oddballs with increased carrying capacity.
Fx4 gave me the extra skid plates and a locking rear differential
Camper Package gave me the rear sway bar and overload springs.

The overload springs is what really separates a F250 from a F350 of this vintage, and since I have them, there is no reason for me to upgrade.

I bought it with 176,000 miles in 2012, and just last week the odometer rolled 217,000. The 6.0 is a bit of a prissy motor though, it likes to be maintained and monitored. Use only Ford/Raccor fuel and oil filters, a good synthetic oil, at minimum change out the Ford antifreeze for some good Cat EC1 (or similar) and monitor the EOT/ECT difference (EOT should not be more than 15 degrees above ECT, if it is, change the Oil Cooler ASAP)

I have no grudge against other motors, I'd actually like to own a Cummins one day, I just wish they didn't come in Dodges

If you do decide you are going Ford and PowerStroke, please at least to read the motor problems forums over at
Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
I'm over there as the same username in the 6.0 section, I've had a couple issues, nothing that I couldn't overcome.

I really like my truck, I have educated myself enough about it that I will be keeping it as long as I can, but that doesn't mean it is the end all/be all of the trucking world. It just means we are happy together . And I know that if I get crazy for wanting more power, I can always install a set or ARP head studs, bigger injectors, and a larger capacity turbo, plus tuners for both the FICM and ECM to increase the power from the stock 325 up to 600. Without adding another long term car payment, or having to rely on the dealership for repairs under warranty.

I figure anything that I am willing to drive long distances, I should at minimum be able to diagnose, if not repair while on the road.

My brother in law bought a brand new Dodge 250 with a big gas motor last Fall, claims it makes within 20hp of the Cummins in the same year truck. He doesn't have to deal with DEF/regen/turbo issues and *claims* it still makes 14.5mpg @ 75mph. Also claims he got a lifetime warranty on the drivetrain.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:02 AM   #5
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I agree with pappy19. If going diesel nothing prior to 2012 in Ford, and I too am Ford all the way. We had an 2012 F250 Ford 6.7 Diesel, no problems, now for a number of reasons we have a 2015 F350 6.7 Diesel. Both Crew Cabs. For your application in my opinion it does not matter 250 or 350. Be advised, however, that the Ford Super Duty Diesels only come with a 26 gallon fuel tank. We had an aftermarket 50 gallon replacement tank put in our 2015. We love the F350 as much as we did our F250. Just noticed we plan on passing thru your city towards the end of next week.

Good luck, ours by the way is a Platinum, LOVE the heated and cooled seats.
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:51 PM   #6
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As an owner of a 2005 F250 6.0 CCSB, I'm guessing you've never ridden in or owned a properly maintained 6.0, mine is bone stock, runs great, tons of upgrades available and I don't have to deal with DEF or Regen CAT.

had a box stock 2010 f250 diesel, didn't like it one bit. i called the truck 'smokey joe'. now the 6.7 engine in my 2014 f350, what a difference.

make sure you note the proviso regarding the 26g tank in the crewcab. i also had a 50g aftermarket tank installed, very good choice on my part. Ford also allows the onboard computer to be programmed as to tank capacity so the fuel gauge continues to work, very neat on the part of Ford.
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:51 PM   #7
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For whatever it's worth ...

Several years ago I bought a 1999 F250 Super Duty 4x4 extra cab short bed no dualies with the idea of maybe a 5th wheel someday. At the time this was the highest rated tow vehicle available.

I've towed up to 10,000 with no equalizer in the Colorado mountains and it doesn't know it's pulling a load.

Unloaded mileage 20mpg, loaded 18mpg @ 60-65 mph (remember the speed limit was lower in 99 so it's geared different than a new one). It has ~140K miles, with no major repair issues.

Currently it has a camper shell on it. The only thing I would change if totally bored and needing to spend money is swap out the 28 gallon fuel tank for a 50 gallon tank. The steering on these is a little loose which was fixed a few years later.

When we brought the 75 Overlander home, the truck bed was full of misc. junk, the trailer was level as was the truck with no equalizer hitch, and the truck didn't know the trailer was there.

The only time it knew it was hauling something was a pallet of adobe bricks over the axle at slightly over a ton.

This one's a keeper and I'll likely drive it until 3-400k miles then rebuild the engine. The current price of admission on new ones is too much for me.
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Old 07-06-2015, 04:43 PM   #8
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For whatever it's worth ...

Several years ago I bought a 1999 F250 Super Duty 4x4 extra cab short bed no dualies with the idea of maybe a 5th wheel someday. At the time this was the highest rated tow vehicle available.
yes sir, that 7.3l engine was a gem. right now, i think the 6.7 is right in the running for best engine. a friend worked for the company that designed and built the air intake system for Ford. he agrees this engine is a work horse. another friend also has that 7.3l with over 200k and going. i don't see him ever parting with his truck.
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:41 PM   #9
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Thanks, gentlemen. This is exactly what I'm looking for. Keep the comments coming.

phlegm, I'm printing out your answer because it really breaks down what differs each year.

nrgtrakr, I like those mpg numbers. That's the speed I run, too. I suspect that I'm looking at somewhat higher weights than you, but even if I get 15 mpg towing I'm ahead.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:01 PM   #10
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One can easily have "too much truck" as in as bad as trucks are already, 4WD and off-road tread tires only make things worse. Weight becomes a detriment somewhere past 4000-lbs.

For a truck, when the adhesion of the contact patch is lost at the Drive Axle, so generally is the combined rig once at speed. The truck becomes the reason for the rollover. It goes over where a sedan spins out.

A VPP hitch should be an automatic purchase. Those who've never used one can be safely ignored as to the benefit. Whatever relieves the stress against the Drive Axle tires is all to the good. There is no adequate substitute when the rig is this size.

As to what Ford, the more sophisticated the suspension, the better. With a leaf sprung rear an antiroll bar is worth the expense. But the front bar must be matched to it in order that oversteer isn't worsened. A Panhard Rod is also good.

In the thirty years of light diesel trucks, Ford has gotten it right only once with the 99-03 7.3. But the auto trans wasn't too great (no one had one that was), and V8 diesels are none too good with a manual trans.

The new chihuahua motor may work out. Do the research on HPFP problems. The expense of the interim motors isn't worth the effort just to own a Ford. No individual in commercial service was willing to own one.

As to fuel economy 18-mpg highway is none too good, it's just okay. I get 19 inside city limits. 24-27 highway depending on road and load. 14-16 towing at 63-66. Nearer 17 at 58-mph with my '35 at just under 18k gross.

But I spec'd for fuel economy from the first. 2WD, rack & pinion steering with IFS. The triple nickel Cummins. Dead stock. Replaced ujoints at 150k, and just changed to second set of replacement tires. That's it thru 205k and twelve years.

If operational costs matter, then cast a wider net.

But don't misunderstand the value of weight. It's not the most important part of stability in controlling a combined rig. It can be the thing that worsens an already serious situation.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:21 PM   #11
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I'm interested to hear what kind of MPG people get with the ford gas v10 and a f350 diesel dually. When I get a new truck it will have to be my daily driver, and I drive about 30 miles per day, mostly highway.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:35 PM   #12
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My V-10 gets 8.5 mpg hauling our 30' Classic with a slide, averaging 70 mph. When I bought my 2008 in September of 2007, the diesel option engine cost was an additional $7,800. People might say that the diesel engine holds more equity down the road, but there is also the added maintenance cost. My oil change is $19.95 and fuel filter is $10, plus I can find a gas station any where. I've had diesels and I'll take my gasser any day.
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:06 PM   #13
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Pappy what do you get when not towing?
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:23 PM   #14
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Our 2500 Duramax, 2012 model, does great. See my avatar for a side by side pic ...

I would go with the "Ford" designed engine.
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