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Roamin Cat 03-18-2008 07:13 PM

'08 F250/350 vs 2500/3500 diesel 4x4(?) crew cab
Hi again! I so appreciate the feedback and advise so far in my search for our TV, and hope (someday!) I can actually be a help and not just a seeker of help :blush:

Hope you all don't mind, but I have more questions and am looking for some voices of experience again!

Watched Ford's sales DVD today - rather impressive, claims the Ford HD vehicles are way better built than their Chevy and other competition. Maybe so, haven't looked into the facts behind it yet, and am not totally sure it actually matters anyway (built better or overbuilt? Hmmm...

So, went and test drove an F250, liked it a lot, though found the noise in the crew cab to be a lot for me (sounded like wind). Sensitive to smells, no discernable odor when outside the running vehicle, so that seems much improved. Also sensitive to noise, so this could be a problem. Liked the power fold mirrors, the step to get into the bed.

Also like the looks of Chevy's 2500, will drive it in a couple of days.

Question: the '08 F250HD diesel seems to get very low MPG, around 11mpg or so, NOT towing. Sales guy insisted it would double when broken in. Not much faith in sales guys (or gals)!

Opinions? Towing a Safari '08 25FB, so 3/4 ton will be lots of great power and room to go longer on the AS if ever desired. We drive our cars until they die, so are willing to go new. DH concerned about me being on the road with a used, potentially problematic non-warranteed truck, though I like the $$$ savings aspect. Not that I will turn down a new truck, but wouldn't mind keeping the costs down or doing without an extra payent for a few more years!

Will keep my minivan for another year or two, probably, but eventually the TV will become my daily driver (no regular commute at this point, but still manage to rack up miles!).

Oh! Forgot to ask - is 4x4 needed or not? When and why do you use it?

Greatly appreciate any thoughts and experience you care to share!
Cat and crew

2airishuman 03-18-2008 07:22 PM

hi cats...

there are several threads on 2x4 vs 4x4...

really depends on where u live, travel and camp.

i NEED the 4x4 about 3-4 times per year for some loose gravel campsites...

and the occasional SNOW...

the 2x4 will ride better and get slightly better mpg, but not many are available...

so one usually needs to ORDER a 2x4 truck.

i'm not sure how u can determine mpg on a test drive, the dash computer is not gonna give u much accuracy.

expect 10-13 towing and 13-15 not (city) or 15-19 not (highway)

go fast and the mpg will be at the low end.

yes the mpg improves as the engine breaks in (15-40,000 miles) but it won't double.

be very skeptical (don't believe) of high mpg stories with ANY of these big trucks...

and here's a thread on the truck in question...


JackMac 03-18-2008 08:09 PM

After talking to a friend with an '08 Ford 350, I believe the Chevy will get better fuel mileage. My friend traded an '05 King Ranch version for the '08 King Ranch version and the best mileage he is getting now is 8 mpg. The mileage was better with the '05. I understand this is the norm for the new engine.

Roamin Cat 03-18-2008 08:17 PM

thanks 2air'!
Thank you, 2air', I missed that one in my searches. Do you still feel the same about it?

Other than being a little freaked by the size of the thing, and the fact that the sales guy dented the rear bumper by backing into a rock (!) - I heard beeping but didn't know what it meant :angel: - I liked it a LOT! He better not blame me, I was NOT driving! Anyway, What a pretty truck! DH keeps telling me I cannot call it pretty, but I cannot help it! Well, getting used to the size will be an issue for me (did I mention new to towing along with a depth perception problem?!), and getting used to the noise. I get that they are much quieter, and haven't compared/driven anything else yet, but it is still noisy to me. Like the larger tank size on the 8' bed, as well as room for toys I don't even own yet (dreamin' of my Harley, but promised to wait until the kiddo is out of the house!).

Have you, by any chance, seen the sales DVD that Ford put out? They show comparisons of all sorts of parts of the Ford HD compared to Chevy and (I think) Dodge, and the Ford is just way more impressive (at least in the video).

I know you like and drive a Ford, but also see that you are objective, so just wondering what your take is on the sales DVD?

Since I anticipate winter camping in VT - SNOW! - maybe the 4x4 would be a good thing for me then?

Continuing the search, which continues to be clear as mud and a constant vacillation between assorted variables, but that is part of the fun! Right?!

Thanks again,
Cat :)

Roamin Cat 03-18-2008 08:21 PM

Thanks JackMac :-)
This is exactly my concern.

Gotta say, I am very drawn to this new Ford, but what I have been reading about their latest diesel seems to indicate that the mpg is poor. Hard to justify the added cost of the diesel engine AND the higher costs of diesel right now, when looking at the low mpg.

Hoping to be convinced otherwise!!!


osolow 03-18-2008 08:59 PM

Used truck
you said you did not want a used truck due to lack of warranty.
I would suggest looking for a certified used truck most dealerships will certify a used truck if your really wanting to buy.
that will usally set the powertrain up to 100k unless it's a 06 or newer GM product which is 100k already. but the certify warr or an aftermarket warr will cover most of the other stuff up to 60-80k. then with the money you save buying a used truck i would give BANKS performance a call and have them set you up with one of there performance packages this will then incress your performance and fuel mileage.

2airishuman 03-18-2008 09:29 PM

hi r'cat

the dvd is fun IF u r a ford fan, but all the brands twist data to their advantage.

i like the ford but it is my first domestic in 30 years, and i looked at the others closely when the purchase was made...

it just seemed (and still does) that the superduty is focused on towing.

the best mirrors, the best receiver, 7pin connector works and the integrated brake controller is great...

it took 3 years before the general included a brake controller and i've yet to see anyone post about actually USING it.

now the ford mirrors are power folding/extension and gas/brake pedal can be adjusted for drivers long or short.

the ge'em interior is 'prettier' the ford more 'techno' looking and LARGER inside.

i also like the way the ford rear seats fold/stow better, while the ge'em front seats are more comfortable...

IF you want less noise try the v10 ford f-250, it's a gasser with a LOAD of power...

did you turn the a/c on? the fans blow louder than the drivetrain on this new generation of diesels...

again there are 05-07 superduties that will still have warranty AND the diesel engine coverage is 100,000 miles

also a 200,000 mile extend, ford authorized warranty is available on these used trucks...

as for size, sure they are big but drive 'em for a week and your brain adjusts...

and other folks give a wider birth when the big trucks roll! :lol:


a few other threads on recent years, fuel economy and truck sections...

Reganzo 03-18-2008 09:40 PM

This thread is close to my heart as I purchased the new 08 F-350 with the 6.4L diesel engine. Around town, on the usual errands and food runs I am getting 12mpg. I went to Vermont from New Jersey a week back and I set the cruise at 65 and kept to the right lane most of the way and I was surprised that I got 17.3 mpg going there. I wasn't towing , and on the return trip I got 16.5mpg. This is with only 3,000 miles on the odometer.

I was told that once the break in was finished it would go up a bit more. Fuel has hit 4 bucks a gallon where I am so filling up is an eye opening experience. I am lucky as I'm retired so a tank of fuel lasts me two weeks or more as i do not have any commute.



nilesrob 03-18-2008 10:20 PM

I've had my '08 King Ranch (quad cab, reg bed, 4x4) F250 for about 10,000 miles so far. It seems the mileage is not as good as my '04 Excursion with the 6.0L diesel. I do expect mileage to improve over time, though. If I recall correctly, with the F250 I've been getting about 14 mpg on the highway, probably closer to 11 mpg towing - something like that. Around town - who knows.

Mileage aside, this is a great vehicle to drive. Very much a comfortable vehicle to cruise with - great on the highway, and of course it is a terrific towing machine. The retractable mirrors are great - particularly when parking in tight spots. And the step and handle on the tailgate, items I thought I'd never use in a million years, I use contantly.

The other thing they did which I do not recall on my Excursion, is they installed a valve under the front rail to drain water from the diesel fuel filter. Very handy, reachable, no mechanical genius needed.

I also installed a 50 gallon supplemental fuel tank in the bed, which at $4.00 a gallon today almost requiires a mortgage. But it is really handy to reduce the number of times you need to re-fuel.

All in all - F250 - good!

thecatsandi 03-18-2008 10:57 PM


Originally Posted by JackMac
After talking to a friend with an '08 Ford 350, I believe the Chevy will get better fuel mileage. My friend traded an '05 King Ranch version for the '08 King Ranch version and the best mileage he is getting now is 8 mpg. The mileage was better with the '05. I understand this is the norm for the new engine.

Any one who can afford an King ranch should not need to worry about the cost of fuel for the truck.:lol:

Your fuel milage will depend greatly on how you drive the vehicle. If you like to show off your new found power your milage will be low.

BillTex 03-19-2008 07:21 AM

Welcome, you will soon find out that traveling with your AS (and a big honkin truck) is traveling in style. Looking at ¾ ton’s to tow 25’ or larger is certainly your best bet.
We have been very please with our DuraMax/Allison combo, both for its towing prowess and economy.
GM also has integrated brake control, new 2 + 2 ½ “receiver, tow mirrors, and of course all the other goodies. All the diesels offered now are very clean/quiet. The new Ford Super Duties are also very sharp. You should drive them all before you pull the trigger and see what you like.

Check out the threads mentioned above and elsewhere (tons of info/opinions when it comes to TV’s).
Here is couple more interesting posts/links;

We are right up the road from you if you need any assistance or would like to see our setup.

Good luck, Bill

Dawgfan 03-19-2008 07:39 AM

We have a 2007 2500HD 4x4 Ext Cab Duramax and a 2007 25'FB Int. We get 18 mpg hwy not towing and 14 mpg hwy towing. Great power and handling.
We towed around 3000 miles last year.

Jimandrod 03-19-2008 08:39 AM

We have a 2004 F-150 Supercab 4x4 with the 5.4 Triton V8. It's rated to tow 9300 pounds so it can handle most of the AS models. We'll be towing a 28 ft Safari and expect it won't be a problem. We're getting close to 20 mpg on the highway.

There are several threads here covering towing with the F-150 and none of the people towing with the F-150 report any problems associated with a lack of power. Personally, with the price of fuel, I'd rather have a truck that will adequately pull the trailer rather than have a lot of unnecessary towing capacity that will cost me in fuel efficiency. With diesel it's also not an even comparison of miles per galoon since diesel can cost as much as $.70 more per gallon than regular gas in our area. When you do the math, it's pretty scarey.

As for Ford in general - the F Series trucks - IMHO - are the best on the road. Our truck has given us no problems whatsoever. We take it in for regular service and the service we get from our dealer is fantastic. We plan to keep it until it runs into the ground.

As for 4x4... it cuts into the towing capacity about 200 pounds but I think it's worth it. We live in New Mexico and we have a lot of off road opportunities. It's also nice to have the extra traction when you need it.

altamont 03-19-2008 10:14 AM

We bought a 08 Superduty Lariat Crew Cab, short bed last year and are totally in love with this truck. My wife actually picked it out and preferred the interior to the GMC. Mileage while towing is about 13.5 with 13k on the odo. Mileage is a factor of speed, 60 mph = 20 mpg, 72 = 17. Around town with no load is bad at about 8. Remember, this thing weighs 4 tons before loading it up. We also bought a retractable bed cover and would not do without that. Makes for a big trunk to put the generator and all sorts of stuff you don't want seen or stolen.

Minnie's Mate 03-19-2008 10:49 AM

Welcome to the forums Cat. I have one of the seemingly rare 2X4 Crew Cab '08 F-250's. I previously had a '95 F-150 for 11 years that I put 186K miles on and sold to my neighbor who is still driving it. I kept it a year after buying my '05 F-250 PSD because it was such a good truck.

I was really impressed with my '05 F-250 except for the seats and general ride. It was my daily driver and I have a back injury from about 20 years ago that flares up every once in a while. Last fall I spent 6 weeks in physical therapy and the hard ride and less than form fitting seats of my '05 led me to try out the newly designed '08's. I also contacted Brad (nilesrob above) for advise on the ride and comfort of his recently purchased '08 F-250. In December I traded my '05 for an '08. The great thing about diesels is that they hold their value much better than gassers seem to.

When we camp, we have our two sons and our cocker spaniel with us so I needed the full bench seat in the rear so we went with the Lariat (one trim level below the King Ranch which has bucket seats in the rear) so I would have a place for the dog to ride.

I have put a little over 6K miles on my '08 F-250 so far and can tell you from a ride and comfort stand point I made the right decision. When I sat down in the captain's chair and used the power inflate lumbar support, it fit my back perfectly. I can tow for 8 hours without being totally wiped out when I arrive at our destination. I came to the realization the other day that actually enjoy driving this truck where as I didn't enjoy driving my '05.

The noise level is considerably less than the noise my 6.0L '05 made. From an environmental stand point, the 6.4L diesel's emissions are the same as a gasoline engine. The down side is that my '05 got between 18-19 MPG on my daily commute (half interstate and half stop-n-go) and I got 12.6 MPG towing on the interstate. With my '08 I get between 16-17 on the same daily commute and my towing MPG's started out at 9.6 MPG's. I had the Ford dealer do a programming update and that has delivered another 1-1.5 MPG's towing on the interstate and my regular service writer told me that the mileage would improve when it got broken in. He didn't make any claims as to how much. But, my most recent fill up was at $3.89/gallon and 24 gallons cost me $97 so any improvement will be greatly appreciated.

I have had trucks for 13 years now and have never needed 4X4, but we don't have any significant snow and I don't do off-road. When my salesman did an inventory search for an '08 F-250 Lariat with navigation system and sunroof (both were deal breakers for me) I told him that I was neutral on the 4X4, but I would prefer the 2X4. He found the truck I have in a 2X4, and I actually preferred it that way since it would be one less expensive thing to break down and would be less weight to haul around.

The power fold mirrors are to die for! My wife's Expedition has them and they really do come in handy. On my '08 F-250 they power fold and power telescope. I fold them when I park in the parking deck at work so they aren't in someone's way getting in and out of their car when they park next to me. Because of the wide turning radius, I back into the parking space so I can get out of the space without 10 minutes of backing up and pulling forward to reposition in the aisle to get clear of the parking space. The mirrors would be more likely to be in someone's way at the rear of their car as they go past them to get to their front doors. However, the mirrors are expensive to replace. My mirrors are heated and have the turn signal on the outer edge. One morning on the way to work I was in the right hand lane of a narrow street with the utility poles directly behind the curb. I was passing a garbage truck and got a little too close to the curb and my passenger side mirror hit one of the utility poles. The impact ripped the mirror off and it was dangling by the wires running to the electricals in the mirror when I got to work. Cost of replacement would have been $618 for the mirror and $90 for labor but I do a lot of business with my local Ford dealer and my service writer requested a discount from the service manager and saved me over $100. However, the mirrors are made in Australia and the ones with the heater and power fold/extend and turn signals were on back order with a delivery date of over a month away. The only one available was at a dealer in N.C. My local dealer got it transferred and installed the following Friday. It pays to establish a relationship with your local dealer.

I have no real experience with GM trucks except my father had two Chevy's. He was a Ford man through-n-through and, even though he enjoyed his two Chevy's and had no bad experiences with them, he always went back to Fords. Chevy trucks, in my opinion, are every bit as good as a Ford and I would say the same for Dodges. However, my personal experiences have all been with Ford trucks and they have all been good ones. I have no doubts that I would say the same about Chevy and Dodge if I had owned one, or two, of them. It really comes down to personal preferences and aesthetics when you purchase your first one. My wife went from a Honda Civic to an Expedition in '99 and after a week she said she would never go back to a sub-compact. When it was time to replace it last spring, she tried out a Lexus 400h, Volvo XC90, and an Explorer and went back to the Expedition again. Once you get used to the larger vehicle (and as 2air said, that takes about a week) you'll probably never want to go back. That's why so many full sized SUV's have been sold.

Good luck with your decision.

BTW, my personal opinion: A half ton will pull you 28' Safari, but I personally think that when you pass the 25' mark, you have really entered the 3/4 ton arena as far as comfortable towing.

BillTex 03-19-2008 11:31 AM

Minnie really summed up the whole thing pretty well.

I'll add; one is not “better” than the other (gas vs. diesel)…it really depends on your usage. But I have run both gas and diesel, and even with the cost of diesel today, I am still ahead of the game. Highway and towing mpg are much better with diesel. Around town, they are about the same. Look at some of the other threads for more detailed analysis.

Hope this helps.


Minnie's Mate 03-19-2008 11:45 AM

Wow. I really didn't realize how long winded I was.:blush:

Midamrail 03-19-2008 12:11 PM

Minnie's post is a very good one.

We're an odd couple (in more ways than just this one!) in that I have an '05 F250 with the 6.0 diesel, and Ben has an '07 GMC 2500HD with the 6.6L Duramax. Therefore, we both have the previous generation of our respective makes/models, but the comparisons between the two are inevitable in our family. Both are crew cab shortbed models; mine's a Lariat, and his is the more mid-level SLE.

In a nutshell:
  • The GMC rides smoother and sits lower
  • The GMC is quieter, and the Allison transmission is a wonderful thing
  • The GMC gets slightly better fuel economy
  • The way the GMC seat folds in the back is preferable to us, but I think for '08 they fold the same way as the Ford
  • The Ford's interior is better quality - better materials and ergonomics, no rattles
  • The Ford mirrors are head and shoulders better
  • The Ford seats aren't quite as comfortable
  • The integrated brake control on the Ford is outstanding, although on our Classic with disc brakes, the readout malfunctions (the controller itself works fine)
  • The Ford cab feels bigger
  • Both trucks are great pullers
Both have been good trucks; the GMC has been in the shop slightly more than the Ford (pinched transmission line, blown radio speaker for the GMC, bad ignition computer on the Ford). They have almost equal mileage, as the Ford is used more for pulling the Airstreams and casual driving, whereas the GMC is more of a daily driver for Ben (well, was until diesel hit $3.90 a gallon and he started driving his beater gas truck).

It's hard to go wrong with either. The GM powertrain is more proven, but we've been happier with the interior, paint, and body build quality of the Ford.

Jimandrod 03-19-2008 12:32 PM


Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Wow. I really didn't realize how long winded I was.:blush:
BTW, my personal opinion: A half ton will pull you 28' Safari, but I personally think that when you pass the 25' mark, you have really entered the 3/4 ton arena as far as comfortable towing.

Nothing wrong with long winded - particularly since you shared a LOT of good information in your response!

Clearly, I would have more pulling power with a F-250. But - I think I may be OK with the F-150. Time will tell. I may be back to this thread in a few months saying "guess what? I just bought a 250" Then again, maybe not.

As for the 28 footer throwing me into the F-250 arena... conider this... the difference in the UBW unloaded base weight between the 25' Safari SS and the 28' Safari is only 115 pounds (yes 115 - I didn't leave out any digits) They both have a GVWR of 7300#. I was surprised to see a difference of only #115 when one is 2 feet longer (25'-11" vs 27'-11").

I guess the difference is so small because the 28 has less cabinetry and casework than the 25. Less casework & cabinets = less storage = less junk hauled! The 28" may actually be lighter to pull!!! :D I think the 28 ft Classic is a whole 'nuther story though.

Since the truck is used every day I have to take the fuel costs into consideration. I still hold the opinion that mile for mile I'll be better off with my F-150 with the 5.4L V8 - but I could be wrong.

Minnie's Mate 03-19-2008 01:15 PM

One of the factors in my "25 foot" rule of thumb is the length of the trailer vs. the length of the truck. The F-150 has a little shorter wheel base than the F-250 so there is a little of the tail wagging the dog scenario should you ever have to make emergency maneuvers. The F-250 is also a good deal heavier than an F-150 which off-sets this phenomenon to some degree. Also, take into consideration that 3/4 ton trucks typically have heavier duty brakes, suspensions, and transmissions, I just think they make more durable tow vehicles.

A lot will have to do with towing styles when you decide which is better for your situation. A 1/2 truck will ride better as a daily commuter because of the softer suspension. If you tow less often and not in mountains, the 1/2 ton should be satisfactory. If you take lots of short weekend trips, you may eventually decide the 1/2 ton is too lite or needs more power. If you tow in higher altitudes or on steeper grades, you will appreciate the steady power curve of the diesel over the gasoline engine. You have to really get high up in altitude before the diesel will be affected where as the gasoline engine will be affected at lower altitudes.

Our Appalachian Mountains don't compare to the Rockies in steepness or height, but in our first summer I towed our 30' Safari on the interstate through the Blue Ridge Mountains through Tennessee and Kentucky with the cruise set and the air conditioner set on 72 degrees in July with an outdoor temp in the upper 90's and never lost speed even on one particularly long steep stretch in Kentucky. Half ton trucks with smaller SOB's were falling behind.

I am not trying to say that everyone should have a 3/4 ton diesel. I don't think they are for everyone. But, for me it is the preferred set up. I appreciate being able to put my 1,000 LB golf cart in the bed of the truck, load up for a week long camping trip and head down to Ft. Wilderness and not have to worry about having the truck over loaded or not being able to keep up with the flow of traffic. I also like having enough heft in the truck that there is no tail-wagging-the-dog experiences when a semi passes and when braking.

A few months down the road, you may come back to this thread and post that your F-150 is performing satisfactorily and you don't see the need for anything larger. That wouldn't surprise me at all. There are lots of folks towing with 1/2 ton trucks and 1/2 ton SUV's that do so with great pleasure and satisfaction. For a lot of Airstreams, a 3/4 ton tow vehicle is overkill. You just have to weigh all of the factors to the best of your abilities and decide for yourself.

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