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Old 05-20-2016, 07:09 PM   #1
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E250/350 vs F250/350

As I sit here, there is an E350 van parked outside. As I look at it, I see that the distance from the rear axle to the bumper appears to be less than that of a pickup. Since everything that is now in the basement bays of our MH will have to go in the tow vehicle, and toppers are not always watertight, I'm wondering if a van might be a better choice.

1. seat four adults in comfort
2. tow 34' Airstream (9800 pounds gross weight)
3. about 150 cubic feet of storage for about 1500 pounds

I haven't started looking for vans yet, but it seems that most of the pickups are diesels with 4wd. I'm guessing that the vans probably won't have the 4wd, although they may have the diesels.

David Lininger, kb0zke
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
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Old 05-20-2016, 07:11 PM   #2
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You may find this useful.
2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 30 Recliner - WBCCI #4850 - AIR #110821
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:00 PM   #3
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Not sure if you can still order a new Econoline. I went onto the Ford web ordering site and after a devious pat, was able to pull up a screen that supported order a new 2014. Only 150 and 350 versions were offered. The 350 could be ordered with a 6.8L EFI V10 or 5.3L EFI V8, no diesel. According to the 2014 towing guide available at, you can pull a 10,000 lb trailer. The E350 does offer an integrated trailer brake controller.
I also took a quick look at the Transit, which does offer a diesel, but max tow weight is 7,500lbs.
The Expedition/Navigator support towing up to 9,200.
You may be better served in an F series Super Crew...
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:08 PM   #4
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One other thought which is discussed in other spots on this site, You may be able to tow your trailer with Fords gas Eco-boost engine. While not exactly scientific level testing, this site shows what various truck were able to handle going up hill in the Rockies. They pulled 10,800 with the V6 Eco-Boost successfully. Take a look at: I know a lot of folks here will say you need the diesel, YMMV...
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:41 AM   #5
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I used 250 and 350 Ford vans for years. They worked well for storage and comfort and 34 was ok. Passing trucks gave a pretty good push. You almost needed to lean into them to keep going straight. Switched to a Chevy dually crew cab with full box and push was not a problem anymore. Not sure whether it was the lack of the big slab sides on the van that caused the problem or the dual wheels on the Chevy that solved the problem. I did blow the engines at 120K-140K on the vans. Chevy, replaced the in-tank fuel pump twice and ignition timing sensor once.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:33 AM   #6
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One ton dually with 8' bed and a cab high truck cap. Awesome towing ability, luxurious interior, amazingly good ride when loaded as you state you will be. Choice of gas or diesel engine. These trucks are the ultimate consumer multi-use towing/daily use vehicle.
Don't let the naysayers rain on your parade, these trucks are quiet, ride and handle well and are far sturdier than trying to set up a lesser vehicle for this duty. These trucks are real towing/hauling platforms with an appropriate body on frame construction, big brakes, and a suspension designed for the job at hand. Go look at one and check the door sticker for payload, you will be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:01 AM   #7
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I tow with a Chevrolet Express 1500 van with a 5.3 L motor to a 4700 pound (dry) trailer. The 1500 is tow rated at 6600 pounds. They don't make the 1500 anymore; they only make the 2500 and the 3500. They do have a diesel offering in these vans will tell up to 10,000 pounds. They also used to make an all wheel-drive version; I don't know if they still offer this. I love my van for the great seating and dry storage capabilities. While I wish I had either the 6 L gas motor or the diesel, mine does get the job done.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:35 AM   #8
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We tow with a 2015 Ford F-350 diesel, short bed, 4x4 pickup. I put a Leer cap on the back and it is certainly watertight. My old truck ( '06 Dodge ) had a Leer cap, also watertight. So don't let that keep you out of a pickup. I have a sliding bed insert that gives easy access without needing to climb all the way inside for access to my " STUFF".
So far as I know the F-250's and F-350's are one and the same with the small exception of the rear spring pack to give the 350 some extra capacity. I think you'll find them comparable in every way so go for the best deal you find. In my case I was looking for the F-250 but the 350 is what fell into my lap.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:31 AM   #9
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I love having a van as a tow vehicle.

The AWD drive on the Express vans was only on the half ton.

Look at the Nissan NV3500 I bought one and love it. Also have a 1/2 AWD Express. No comparison.

You can add aftermarket 4 x 4 to the NV delivered from the factory to the installer. $11,500.00 No charge for shipping from the factory to the installer if you order the van.

Below is a post I started that is related post #30 and #31 gives my impression with the NV 3500 van.

Good Luck

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Old 05-21-2016, 09:23 AM   #10
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We tried to come up with a single vehicle that could travel extensively with the two of us and our Airstream and be a convenient daily driver at home. Either way there were compromises.

So we have settled on two vehicles, one matched closely to our Airstream travel and a sedan matched closely to our daily driving needs at home. We actually have another, a 91' Suzuki Samurai to squeeze onto back trails and old logging roads neither of those vehicles could even think about.

We have thrown out the one-vehicle-does-it-all concept for now. Very happy with two (or three).
Doug and Cheryl
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:41 PM   #11
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Thanks, all. Since we're buying used we'll see what we can find when that day finally arrives. Sounds like the van would work, but the pickup might be a better choice. Vans seem to be a bit scarce right now, but who knows what will be available when we're ready to buy.

First have to get the Foretravel sold.
David Lininger, kb0zke
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
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