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Old 01-19-2010, 06:25 PM   #1
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1963 24' Tradewind
Pittsford , New York
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Ford e350 Van versus Chevy Express 3500 for Towing

I know this may ignite a big chevy/ford war but I would like any opinions regarding the pros and cons of each. I have ruled out the Dodge sprinter for a variety of reason.

I will be using this truck to tow my 63 Tradewind and put my family (wife + 3 kids under 7).

Any opinions most appreciated!



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Old 01-19-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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The Ford will last longer, the Chevy will ride smoother.
Not much longer, and not much smoother. My recommendation would be to go with the one with the longest wheelbase, but steer clear of the vans with the long overhang on the back.

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Old 01-19-2010, 06:32 PM   #3
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Lorton , Virginia
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Hi! I have a 2006 E350. I have also driven the Chevy and the Dodge a few years back that were comparable...because of that experience that is why I purchased the Ford. First, parts are a dime a dozen. Second, the rear end just has more weight to it and the whole package feels more stable on the road. Interior wise, I have no complaints about my van at all - rear air/heat and cloth, but the chevys and dodges we used always seemed to break at inopportune times.

I will also thrown in the caveat that I am a Chevy girl the whole way...but I love my Ford E350.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:34 PM   #4
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Oh, I have a 12-pac not the 15-pac and I carry as much as a ton it's supposed to carry in the back along with my kids, dogs, and towing.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:42 PM   #5
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I have blown the engines out of two 250 ford vans at about 125,000 each. I now have a Chevy 8.1 liter dually. I had the fuel pump and timing sensor blow out at 35,000 miles which was past the warrenttee coverage. I originally chose Fords because of long wheel base and smaller overhang.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:18 PM   #6
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Be sure to check that GM is still offering the 8.1L. I think that engine is to be discontinued.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:07 PM   #7
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Over tow???

Originally Posted by sigv View Post
...I will be using this truck to tow my 63 Tradewind and put my family (wife + 3 kids under 7)...

I would suggest to match the tow vehicle to the trailer....

the 350 series (one ton) MIGHT be a bit more than you need.

The 80% tow/load rating estimate works with both of the vans you had referenced.

Double up on what Terry said about the short overhang - for towing the short overhang is MUCH preferred over the long overhang.

I have towed with two different "Conversion" vans - one Dodge and one Ford - I found them to be great tow and travel vehicles. Both had the "convertabed" in the back and 4 Captains chairs. The middle captains chairs are easily removable for customizing the travel requirements...the convertabed comes in handy for all sorts of uses - both as a bench seat and a bed. The extra head room is a definite plus.

I was actually looking for an appropriately rated van when I fell into the Excursion as a tow vehicle - different vehicles, for sure, but I still have the Dodge van for my daily driver and for certain travel requirements.

Look hard at the 250 (3/4 ton) series for your requirements. They will probably give you a bit better ride than the one ton series, and I suspect would still keep you in GVWR and GCVWR parameters.

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Old 01-20-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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no chev experience

I have towed with a 92 hd250-it was a 6 cyl and although a little underpowered, it seemed to do the job quite well. It was an extended cargo van and was quite rough riding. I purchased used a 94 e350 cargo van with the heavier front axle rating, 460efiV8; 4 speed auto trans. it has every option except diesel, rear A/C-it is a formidable tow vehicle. This van rides with exceptional smoothness-it is a one ton and has the smoothest ride of any truck I have driven. Empty it is a little "oversprung", but with a load of 500+ lbs is a joy to ride in. This van tows my 85 excella (31") with no reservations. Recently I have investigated a new van. Ford doesn't build what I want-a short cargo with the new 6.2v8 and 6speed torqshift trans. so I managed to find a 2007 licensed to the dealer-never sold to the public with 3300 miles on it. v10 with 5 speed torqshift trans-4.10 rear axle ratio. I will drive the heck out of this van until Ford introduces the newer stuff in the E series. I heartily reccommend the shorter body, 138 inch w/b e350 as a tow vehicle.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:20 AM   #9
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After I got on the GM internet sites, I realized GM does not offer the 8.1 gasser in the vans, or at least the window (passenger) vans. It does offer the diesel, an excellent tow engine. Ford does not appear to offer their diesel in a passenger van. For towing get the most engine you can especiually if you live or plan to tow extensively in the mountains. A turbo diesel loses virtually none of its sea level rated power at higher altitudes, gas engines do.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:50 AM   #10
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It is my understanding that the Ford diesels can again be ordered. There was a hiatus for several months.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:05 AM   #11
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Just consider that a one ton van has less towing capacity than a 3/4 ton equivalent (due to the weight of the one ton frame and components). I did the research when I bought my 3/4 ton GMC van and unless you have other needs, a one ton is a definite overkill and rides rougher than the 3/4 ton. At the time I drove a Ford and the GM and liked the GM better. My GMC 3/4 ton passenger van has a 6.0 liter engine and a 4.10 axle. Towing capacity is 9,900 lbs. Also don't forget that a custom van usually has lower towing capacity due to the custom interior components.


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chevy, ford, tow vehicles

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