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Old 09-24-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
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Ford Excursion revisited

There are any number of threads about the Ford Excursion and its suitability as a tow vehicle.

They are all pretty much from the days of yore.

For those of you who have Excursions or have had them in the past, how are these vehicles holding up with the passage of years? Mileage? Service life? Spark plugs still a problem on the V10? Intercooler still a problem on the 6.0?

Looking at the 2000-2005 era tow vehicles the diesel Excursions and the big block 'burbs seem to be the obvious choices for those of us who want 4wd but need more room than a pickup provides.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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The Excursion was never designed to be a tow vehicle. It was for soccer moms to haul the kids.

When I bought my 04 diesel Excursion I have to redesign the suspension by replacing, heavier, the front stabilizer and installing a rear stabilizer. While this did improve the wandering tenancy some that Ford built into the truck it did not provide the ride or stability that you get with a 2500 Sub.

Others have gone so far as to replace the Ford steering box with an after market one and replace the springs with a Ford 250 spring set, and have the caster angle reset, this directly addresses the wandering issue.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:51 PM   #3
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I've had two Ford diesel Excursions, had one from 24K-99K (2001)then sold it for a 2002 with 46K and it currently has 256K and still running strong. Both had the 7.3 and I have a 2000 F250 CrewCab/8' bed/4WD 7.3 with over 275K.

Biggest problem is ball joints/axle joints. With the heavy diesel, Its h*ll on the ball joints and the factory axle joints do not have grease fittings so they will go bad. I've had to replace other things waterpump, alt, etc... but all are standard wear/tear items.

If I could find another 7.3 Excursion or F250/F350 CrewCab/8'/4WD with low miles I'd buy it in a heart beat.

The 7.3 is your friend, less smog crap, Ford had not stuck their nose into it, etc... Find one, buy it, take care of it and when the engine finally fails, replace the engine.

If you do plan to buy a 6.0, I would suggest staying away from the first year started mid-2003 (mid year 2003 switched from 7.3 to 6.0) they were known to have problems with the heads from what I've heard.

Good luck
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:09 PM   #4
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My Excursion tows my 63 Ambassador like a dream. I have the v-10 and love it. It's just like all vehicles, they need parts once and a while. Ford never should have stopped production of them, I agree my V-10 drinks the fuel down at 10mpg while towing, but it always gets us there in comfort and safely.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:55 PM   #5
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I have a 2000 excursion v10 towing my 34' limited, no problems at all. I actually prefer the excusion over the 2007 gmc 2500 that was my previous tow vehicle. The 7.3 turbo diesel is the best setup cor the excursion in my opinion. Love my excursion!
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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I have a V10 and put many miles on it towing three different Airstreams. It pulls great, gets decent mileage 12-14 on regular.
I agree ball joints can be problematic, but other than minor electrical issues, I have had a solid safe reliable vehicle. And you can get em relatively cheap.
I hear the v10 is a 300k+ motor. I have 138000 on mine.
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:57 PM   #7
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I have a 2000 Excursion 4x with diesel. Other than the front wheel bearings being replaced at 165000 mi no problems at all. I did buy it new and have taken care of it. It now has a little over 178000 mi on it and still runs strong. I get 17mph on the hwy and 15 in town. When I am pulling my 34' Airstream it gets 14mph which I think is very reasonable. I don't think you can go wrong with the older 7.3 diesel and low mileage. You can find one out there if you just look.
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:51 PM   #8
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FWIW, here is the CR "Model Summary" on the Excursion as a used vehicle:

The enormous Excursion was introduced for 2000. Derived from the Ford "SuperDuty" pickup-truck chassis, the Excursion offers V8, V8 turbodiesel, and V10 engines.

The V10 we tested delivered just adequate oomph, but it slurped down more than a gallon of fuel while covering just 10 miles of mixed-road driving. The ride is stiff, bouncy, and uncomfortable.

The Excursion's vast bulk makes it difficult to hold in a traffic lane, and its slow and vague steering demands constant attention. The brakes are inferior.

A huge interior, a commanding view out, roomy three-row seating, and tremendous towing capacity are among this model's few virtues. 2005 was its final year.


They also agree on the steering weaknesses.

THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE

The Excursion serves up a hard, uncomfortable, trucklike ride: It bounces abruptly, rocks side to side, and pitches upward. A full load makes little difference. The cabin is noisy.

The Excursion's vast bulk makes it difficult to place in the traffic lane, and its slow steering demands plenty of attention from the driver. A wide turning circle makes parking a chore.

On our track, the Excursion felt sloppy and ungainly, though secure. Its bulk was very difficult to coax through our avoidance maneuver.

The 6.8-liter, 310-hp V10 makes a lot of noise but accelerates adequately. Overall fuel economy averaged a mere 10 mpg on regular fuel. The Excursion did a good job of pulling a 7,200-pound trailer from 0 to 60 mph in 22 seconds. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly enough but doesn't downshift as well as some.
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:49 AM   #9
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I have to take exception with Howie's remark:

"The Excursion was never designed to be a tow vehicle. It was for soccer moms to haul the kids."

The Excursion is built on a 3/4 ton Ford super duty pick-up chassis, and is probably the heaviest, and longest WB, SUV, which I say IS designed for towing - Ford's specs bear that out, as does all the HD equipment on the Exc when ordered for towing - larger alternator, larger radiator, additional trans and engine oil coolers, towing electrical harness, fuses, relays, heavy frame mounted tow hitch, etc., and probably many more items that I'm not familiar with...

We bought our 2001, V-10, 4x4 with just over 110K miles on the 'clock' - now have about 135K...we bought ours with the specific purpose of towing our 28 ft AS, and it's the perfect TV for this purpose - we didn't want a diesel.

It would also be hard to find a better deal on a 'used' HD, SUV around these days, due to the higher MPG figures that most people want to avoid - but hey, 10 MPG towing is also about the best you're going to find (non-diesel) at such a reasonable purchase pride!

Ours was a dealer trade-in, and have been 'tuned up' and new tires installed before we got it - however, who ever installed the new plugs, didn't torque them properly, and we had two of them 'blow' - which I found an easy adapter fix for, re-torqued the rest, and haven't had any more problems in 20K miles of towing - had I known, I'd have checked the plugs first and probably wouldn't have had any problems...

I think the Excursion is a great choice as a TV for our AS - I like the fact that we're in this heavy vehicle, and as such, the 'tail' doesn't get much chance to 'wag' the dog! - In other words, our towing experiences have shown virtually no sway problems using an Equali-zer WD hitch!

Don't forget that most all Excursions are quipped with lots of interior goodies as well, which makes those longer trips a bit more bearable...

Ray
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:31 AM   #10
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Has anyone had experience with one with a 5.4L? I like that motor in my wife's 1/2 ton, but didn't know if it had enough power for an Excursion/F250 sized vehicle plus our airstream. I have been looking for one for a few years, but they just don't fall in your lap.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:43 AM   #11
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Those that might be interested in the limitations of the Excursion I suggest you sign into F-Series & SuperDuty Diesel Forums forum and start by reading this post.
F-Series & SuperDuty Diesel Forums

There are dozens more threads on this subject on that forum and any other forum dedicated to the Excursion.
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:19 AM   #12
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@Aage: I have to laugh when I read the consumer reports review of the Excursion. The size takes getting used to if you dont drive somethig this big on a regular basis.

What CR fails to address is that the EX/F-250 super duty trucks are purpose built. They are made for towing/ hauling/ and taking a beating period. It weighs a hair under 10,000 lbs and drives accordingly. I am on my third 3/4 Tn truck and have found that they are all very well built and all have similar turn radius/ gas milage/ large vehicle issues that one would and should expect.
If you want 40 MPG buy a civic; If you want to run a slolum at 40 mph without body sway, buy a BMW. If you want to tow a large heavy trailer buy a tow vehicle (Ex/ F-250/350, 2500); I find it somewhat comforting having a vehicle that outweighs my trailer; the super duty fords have always towed well for me.
CR also failed to note that the steering (sans the turning radius) actually is better for towing, I am not sure that I would want a steering system that was overly sensitive- great for a bimmer, not for a tow vehicle.
As far as "difficulty placing it in the traffic lane", that sounds like someone is not used to the size. I can back my Ex through a key hole!

....just my thoughts at least, maybe CR finds that a civic tows quite well I will stick with the Excursion!
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
The brakes are inferior.
Wrong

We have a 2002 2WD Excursion with the 7.3 L diesel. On our trip this summer the disc brakes on our 8000 lb. bunkhouse sprung a leak. For a couple of hours in ID, I didn't even know we were driving without trailer brakes because the Excursion stopped the trailer perfectly. After this experience, I have decided that all of our Airstreams in the present and future will be towed by the Excursion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
A huge interior, a commanding view out, roomy three-row seating, and tremendous towing capacity are among this model's few virtues.

Right, especially if you replace the "few" with "many"


We carry 3 adults, 2 children, 2 dogs and 1 cat comfortably in air-conditioned bliss for 6 weeks at a time during the summer. Air-conditioning for the pets is a must because we often travel to the desert southwest. Our previous tow vehicle, a crew-cab, long-bed GMC 2500HD could not do this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
The Excursion serves up a hard, uncomfortable, trucklike ride: It bounces abruptly, rocks side to side, and pitches upward. A full load makes little difference. The cabin is noisy. The Excursion's vast bulk makes it difficult to place in the traffic lane, and its slow steering demands plenty of attention from the driver. A wide turning circle makes parking a chore.

Wrong

The 2WD version of the Excursion has a car-like ride and the turning circle is surprisingly tight. Perhaps most telling: my wife, who hates driving the GMC, has no problem driving the Excursion, with or without trailer.
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:48 PM   #14
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by the way I get 17-18 mpg not towing on the highway. V10. Very smooth and powerful.
The truck saved our butt when a semi stopped short in front of us on I -95 we swerved hard from our lane to the next on the left--pulling a 31' Airstream. ..at 60 mph.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:09 PM   #15
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Well, I'm glad to see that, as usual, EVERYthing that CR says about a vehicle that their engineers test (long term) is WRONG. They sure waste a ton of money buying all those other cars and trucks (yes, buy, at retail, just like regular folks do), when heck, they can't even test a toaster.

Also, given that in CR's recent test the 2009 F-150 only got 14 mpg overall on regular fuel, it's surprising that the Excursion, with the 17-18 mpg that ALLANSD gets, was discontinued in the 2005 production year.

You just never know, do you?
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:19 PM   #16
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Every iteration Ford has done to the diesel engine to comply with Ralph's requirements has resulted in lower gas mileage per production year.

When I first got my Excursion I was driving home from Del. and called a friend to tell him I was getting 22 mpg on route 95. He laughed and suggested I switch the readout from Metric to English measurements.

Man there for a while thought I was way ahead of the game. I do get just around 13 towing the 34 on the Interstates.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
The 2WD version of the Excursion has a car-like ride
Hummm, compared to a Model T maybe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by c_lewis77 View Post
@CR also failed to note that the steering (sans the turning radius) actually is better for towing, I am not sure that I would want a steering system that was overly sensitive- great for a bimmer, not for a tow vehicle.
Actually one of the best technologies you will find in a vehicle is "accurate, precise steering" in a solo vehicle or especially a TV. Try it and you will understand.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Well, I'm glad to see that, as usual, EVERYthing that CR says about a vehicle that their engineers test (long term) is WRONG. They sure waste a ton of money buying all those other cars and trucks (yes, buy, at retail, just like regular folks do), when heck, they can't even test a toaster.

I got the impression from the OP that he wanted to hear the experiences from those of us who actually own Excursions and tow Airstreams.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:11 PM   #19
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I don't comment on things I do not have experience with.

My signature supports my comments.
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:55 PM   #20
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We continue to be very happy with our 2000 V-10 Ford Excursion. It has been pulling our 34 foot AS trailer comfortably since purchasing it. It currently has 139,000 miles on it. It has pulled our trailer in all but one of the lower 48 states. It gets about 10 mpg with trailer; highway miles 14 without trailer. We added a K&E air filter. We have never needed to change the plugs. We will continue to use our Ford Excursion as long as we can.
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