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Old 09-12-2013, 04:38 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Best used TV for $10-20k for 10k# towing & mpg

This forum has been incredibly helpful as we get ready to begin our maiden airstream voyage. So thanks in advance.

Here's my question. We're looking to balance mpg and a towing capacity of 10k+ pounds (28' Safari) for a used vehicle in the $10 - 20k range. The vehicle will be our daily driver as well TV, hence wanting to get the best mpg possible. We will be hitting mountain passes, though not that frequently. Any suggestions of make, model, and year to look at?
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:04 PM   #2
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Start an Excel table. TV makes and models down the first column, Year, GVWR, mpg (city, hwy, towing), Airstream/length towed, etc., across the top row. You'll get many, many responses. Results will be interesting.
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:47 PM   #3
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Most vehicles in that price range are going to be too wimpy or too fuel hungry. You can buy two cheap vehicles one small and one large cheaper than finding and maintaining something like a 10-15 year old diesel which can get into repairs approaching what you paid for the vehicle. I already had a couple of cars and a small truck when I bought a 2000 V10 Ford Excursion for $7000 with 94k on it. I can buy alot of gas for the extra $33 k a newer truck would cost and I don't drive it everyday. If you get a 10 year old gasser most of them will get 15mpg or worse empty. My Excursion get about 10 mpg empty and not much worse than that towing. It has a 4.30 rear end which makes it drink the gas. You can get them with a 3.73 rear end but they don't have a bigger trans cooler and towing mirrors. A buddy has one with the 3.73 rear end and he get a few mpg better mileage than me empty. Since I bought it mainly to tow I don't care so much about the bad mileage driving around.

Perry
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:01 PM   #4
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Perry, how is that V10 on the Excursion? I've been shopping around for an Excursion just for towing also. I'm leaning toward the Power Stroke Diesel, but curious to know how the V10 works for you?

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Old 09-12-2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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FLCrackers - Good idea. Here's a google doc that lists Make & Model for 2010 by towing capacity in descending order. It's simply the data from onlinetowingguide.com arranged into something more readable. I'll probably create a separate doc to track specific makes, cost, and details as I research a bit more.

Perry - I suppose I'm looking for the least bad option.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:43 PM   #6
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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It works just fine. The V10 is a good engine and will last as long as a diesel. It has no problem pulling my trailer. The maintenace is pretty minor but I did spend about a $1000 on tires and a bigger trans cooler and a few other odds and ends.

Perry

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Originally Posted by J&G22argosy View Post
Perry, how is that V10 on the Excursion? I've been shopping around for an Excursion just for towing also. I'm leaning toward the Power Stroke Diesel, but curious to know how the V10 works for you?

Regards,
J & G
So. Miami
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:54 PM   #8
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If you are looking for an excursion to pull with don't get anything other than the 7.3 diesel. It has plenty of power for pulling the mountain passes and will get a lot better milage than the V10. It will probable run 3 to 4 thousand more than a gas motor but you will get 16+ MPG plus will last many more miles than the V10. Not uncommon for the 7.3 to go 500,000 miles without much more than general maintenance done on them. I have a 2001 F350 with the 7.3 that I tow campers for a living with. I have 275,000 on it and have had to do nothing other than oil changes and just general repair. I do get 16+ mpg loaded and it is completely stock except I took the muffler off and straight piped it. You can spend a couple thousand on it and put an air box, 5 inch exhaust and a tuner and it is not uncommon to get up toward or a little over 20 MPG
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:35 PM   #9
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I am biased. I have an 08 5.7L double cab Toyota Tundra and love it. It was way ahead of the competition when it came out in 07- Powerful motor, 6 speed tranny, 18" tires, big abs 4 wheel disc brakes, large back seat with real doors and windows. It is a great daily driver other than it being HUGE, just like the other 1/2 ton trucks. I get 18 solo on the road easily and get 13.5 towing my 66 Tradewind, but you have to keep your foot out of it.

It may be hard to find one for 20k; you may have to deal with a high mileage one, but I think that would be ok as long as it had been well cared for.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:41 PM   #10
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I also might try to find a 3/4 ton diesel that is about 10 years old. If you are going with a Ford get the 7.3L diesel. It will tow well, it just won't be as good of a daily driver as the Tundra and won't be nearly as civilized.

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Old 09-12-2013, 09:33 PM   #11
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An Excursion or van or truck with a 7.3L diesel is my vote hands-down! We have two and they are powerful enough to tow our airstream while hauling ten of us up mountains without even slowing down, plus they get great mileage and are incredibly reliable.
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:18 AM   #12
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The 7.3 is a good motor but it is hard to find a fresh one and yes you might get to 500k but then again you might spend $10k on repairs because the last owner did not take good care of it and now you have to catch up on 10 years of maintenance plus whatever the lack of maintenance did. On a diesel that gets expensive and all the other crap you have to deal with is not worth the extra mileage you get. When you figure total cost it is not much better if any than a gasser.

Perry

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If you are looking for an excursion to pull with don't get anything other than the 7.3 diesel. It has plenty of power for pulling the mountain passes and will get a lot better milage than the V10. It will probable run 3 to 4 thousand more than a gas motor but you will get 16+ MPG plus will last many more miles than the V10. Not uncommon for the 7.3 to go 500,000 miles without much more than general maintenance done on them. I have a 2001 F350 with the 7.3 that I tow campers for a living with. I have 275,000 on it and have had to do nothing other than oil changes and just general repair. I do get 16+ mpg loaded and it is completely stock except I took the muffler off and straight piped it. You can spend a couple thousand on it and put an air box, 5 inch exhaust and a tuner and it is not uncommon to get up toward or a little over 20 MPG
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:45 AM   #13
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IF (and that's capitalized on purpose) you can find a well maintained or already bulletproofed 6.0 (late 03-05) PSD in the excursion, jump on it. The bad rep these engines have is somewhat justified, but the ones that are well taken care of are absolute beasts, with more power, torque, better gas mileage, and a lot quieter that their 7.3 counterpart. Just do your research before hand.

The 7.3 is a known and proved rock solid engine, no doubt, but it'll be a LOT easier finding the 6.0, and you can use it's reputation as a bargaining chip. If you get a good one, you'll have a hard time keeping the smile off your face.

Just make sure you bring a Scan Gauge II with you for the test drive.
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:58 AM   #14
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6.0 is a good engine once the EGR crap is removed. If you live in a nanny state like California you can't remove it. The 7.3L has looser restrictions. I don't trust the modern diesels because of all the extra EPA crap on them that buys you nothing but more $$$. The problem with any of these is you don't know what sort of redneck go fast mods have been done and what the truck has been through. What you want is to find an old guy that used the truck occasionally and it was taken to the dealer for regular service and was never modded for more HP. If I were full timing, I might consider a diesel but for a few long trips a year and lots of short local trips a gasser is fine. It is not like someone is timing you from point A to point B. If it takes you a hour longer to get over the mountain on an all day trip who cares. Why do geezers that drive 55 MPH need a 500HP truck with 600 ft-lbs of torque. It is like these idiots that spend $50-100 k on a fast car and never drive it past the speed limit or take it up a mountain a 80+ mph.

Perry
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:03 AM   #15
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D'oh! Didn't catch that the OP is in Cali. Yeah, the older 7.3 didn't require a lot of the EPA standards (like catalytic converters and EGR) that the 6.0 fell prey to at the last moment.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylormade View Post
IF (and that's capitalized on purpose) you can find a well maintained or already bulletproofed 6.0 (late 03-05) PSD in the excursion, jump on it. The bad rep these engines have is somewhat justified, but the ones that are well taken care of are absolute beasts, with more power, torque, better gas mileage, and a lot quieter that their 7.3 counterpart. Just do your research before hand.

The 7.3 is a known and proved rock solid engine, no doubt, but it'll be a LOT easier finding the 6.0, and you can use it's reputation as a bargaining chip. If you get a good one, you'll have a hard time keeping the smile off your face.

Just make sure you bring a Scan Gauge II with you for the test drive.
What does a person need to know, questions to ask, to know they are buying one without the associated issues? What are those issues?

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Old 09-13-2013, 07:06 AM   #17
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What does a person need to know, questions to ask, to know they are buying one without the associated issues? What are those issues?

Bex
There's a lot of research that needs to be done but the basic gist of it is the oil cooler clogs with casting sand and gunky Ford coolant, causing the restriction of coolant to the engine, causing the EGR to scream hot, warping heads and costing $4k to fix. That's a very vanilla version.

Questions to ask would be if the oil cooler's ever been replaced, what coolant is in it, any problems with the fuel injector control module (FICM), has the EGR been removed from the vehicle, etc.

Spend some time over at FTE.

Here's a link to the Excursion forum.

And then spend time at the 6.0 forum

There are some excellent write ups on how to buy a used 6.0. Don't be freaked out by the number of posts that are asking for help, people don't typically take to the internet forums to post about how great and reliable their engines are.

Get a $160 Scan Guage II (or equivalent) and look for the FICM voltage and the Delta between the engine oil and engine coolant. Ultimately you'd like to be less than 15 degrees off each other at 65mph for a few miles at operating temps.
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:44 AM   #18
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The 7.3 is a good motor but it is hard to find a fresh one and yes you might get to 500k but then again you might spend $10k on repairs because the last owner did not take good care of it and now you have to catch up on 10 years of maintenance plus whatever the lack of maintenance did. On a diesel that gets expensive and all the other crap you have to deal with is not worth the extra mileage you get. When you figure total cost it is not much better if any than a gasser.

Perry
Still never addressed the OP question about MPG in the equation. I get 16+ you get 10? That makes a big difference in cost right there, plus your V10 will never make it 500,000. If you buy new it does take about 150.000 miles before the diesel becomes more economical but buying used takes that out of the equation. I have always pulled with gas motors until I started pulling for a living. The 7.3 was and is the best engine Ford has ever made. The new 6.7 looks very promising though but you will not find anything under 20K with that engine.
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:13 PM   #19
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It takes a long time to put 100,000 miles on a vehicle not to mention a tow vehicle. So 500,000 miles is not relevent to a seldom used tow vehicle or any vehicle that normal poeple are going to use. I doubt that I have logged more than 500,000 miles on every vehicle since I was born. By the time most vehicles get to 200,000 miles other stuff besides the drive train is becoming an issue. The headliner is coming off, the paint is pealing, the carpets are shot, the seat foam is coming out etc. etc. So considering that most folks are not going to be putting more than 200,000 miles on a vehicle, gas versus diesel is not relevent. Maintenance costs are a lot higher on diesels, stuff like fuel additives to add lubricity back into the fuel, SCA for the radiator, 15-20 quarts of oil, fuel filters, higher price of diesel fuel, new injectors. So you factor all that in, and my 10mpg starts looking better. Now you figure in having to find a place that has diesel that is not a truck stop. Find a place that does not want $1 a gallon more for diesel than gas because they know they got you over a barrel. When I had a diesel I really had to plan to find places that I knew had diesel. I would usually go to Walmarts that had it but you can't get a big trailer in one of those. The truck stops would play games with prices, more for credit cards etc. The price of a set of injectors for a 7.3L would cost as much as a complete new engine for a V10. V10's have been known to go 400,000 miles which is twice as long as I will have it. My Excursion has a little over 100k on it and I will probably retire it by the time is has 200k on it. I put about 5k a year on it. I may never get to 200k at this rate before other things start being a factor like the engine etc.

Perry

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Still never addressed the OP question about MPG in the equation. I get 16+ you get 10? That makes a big difference in cost right there, plus your V10 will never make it 500,000. If you buy new it does take about 150.000 miles before the diesel becomes more economical but buying used takes that out of the equation. I have always pulled with gas motors until I started pulling for a living. The 7.3 was and is the best engine Ford has ever made. The new 6.7 looks very promising though but you will not find anything under 20K with that engine.
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:32 PM   #20
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The op asked for a daily driver with good mileage, also serve as a tow vehicle. He lives in Venice, CA. What's a Ford Excursion got to do with that?

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