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DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
1/26/13 11:13 p.m.
Streetwiseguy wrote: In reply to DrBoost: Beat ya by 4 minutes.

I was typing with my toes, it took me longer

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/27/13 10:25 a.m.
Toyman01 wrote: My previous tow beast was an E150 with the 5.4. It pulled a 20' enclosed trailer for quite a few miles, but wasn't my favorite. It made the best power when it was screaming it's guts out and was getting 7mpg. Unless you are towing monster amounts of weight or through the mountains the V6 will probably do what you need and burn a good bit less gas doing it.

years ago, I was on US 1 in Deleware with a rental van with this engine. I hit the toll booth coming north right behind a fox body mustang with the 5.0. I think I really surprised him by staying on his rear spoiler to about 80mph.. when the rental speed limiter kicked in and it stopped acclerating like somebody had tossed an anchor out the back

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/9/18 9:59 a.m.

Giving this a bump - I'm looking to buy a 1-ton+ DD which can also haul the family on vacation, tow the track car and give me space in the back for a bed. My price range seems to include 5-10 year-old E-250, E-350 and Express/Savannah 2500/3500.

Any preferences out there between the two? The old thread seemed to be of the opinion to just buy the best one you can find, but that there are more Fords out there. It seems like around here there are now a bunch more GMs (probably due to Ford no longer making the E-Series!). 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/9/18 12:55 p.m.

In reply to Dave M :

FWIW I was really happy with my Chevy...until we started the process of moving to the MS Coast & I was driving it through 5-hours of brutal heat each trip without a/c. Even with that said, I still regret selling it. 

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/9/18 1:25 p.m.

Thanks for the vote. I can't imagine the south without A/C. I haven't even pulled the A/C from the track car because I love it so much! :)

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/9/18 4:06 p.m.

I've put over 400K on 3 E-series vans and over 200K on a forth and still own a 5th E450 with over 300K. I can tell you what I would be shopping for. 

 

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/9/18 4:27 p.m.

Thanks to both. A new wrinkle: my office garage turns out to only have 81'' of clearance, and the vans all seem to be taller than that. So do I lower the van or just suck it up and get a much less useful SUV?

Suprf1y
Suprf1y UltimaDork
10/9/18 4:39 p.m.
Streetwiseguy said:the magic of twin I beam technology.

 

Are those the vans I see driving down the road sideways all the time?

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy UltimaDork
10/9/18 6:18 p.m.

Engine advice still stands five years down the road, but should be updated to reflect the common timing chain and phaser issues in the 5.4 3 valve engines, and the Chev 5.3 displacement on demand issues. 

I'd still buy a six liter GM. I've never yet done a pre purchase check on a 3 valve 5.4 Ford that didn't need an engine.

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/9/18 7:19 p.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy :

Thanks!

jimbbski
jimbbski Dork
10/10/18 9:10 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

If you are searching for a 10 year old heavy van with the long body, remember two things-

The GM vans extended the wheelbase, and the Fords just added tin behind the wheels.

There have been more small church groups flipped upside down in E350 vans than every other type of vehicle combined, due to the above problem combined with the magic of twin I beam technology.

As always, just hunt up the best one you can find of either brand. They both have their strengths and weaknesses.

After these accidents most investigations of these incidents reveal the drivers inexperience driving a van that when loaded with people  that caused the rollover. 

Having owned an extended Ford van I knew it would drive like two different vehicles from loaded to empty. Someone who only drives one on Sundays could attempt to make a move that in their normal car is a no brainer but results in a roll over in a loaded van.

Curtis
Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/10/18 11:37 a.m.

Of the two, I slightly prefer the E-vans but you can't go wrong with either one.  Once GM switched to the LS motor, most of the complaints I had with our GM vans disappeared.

If you're going to lower it, the GM is much easier.  The twin I-beam ford can be lowered but it requires pricey parts unless you want psycho camber.

How much lower do you need?  If it's an inch or two, see if you can find a tire combo that will get you there and reprogram the speedo.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia Reader
10/10/18 11:41 a.m.

On Chevy  GMC. Savana - Express vans are there years to stay away from ?

Or  motors / trans that have problems?

I just had a 1999 stolen and need to replace it ,  the 99 was only a half ton and I really need something heavier , 

What about the V6 ?  Does it come with a lighter weight trans ?

Thanks for your advice 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/10/18 11:44 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

The GM vans extended the wheelbase, and the Fords just added tin behind the wheels.

There have been more small church groups flipped upside down in E350 vans than every other type of vehicle combined, due to the above problem combined with the magic of twin I beam technology.

I've heard the term "migrant killers" applied to the Ford 15-passenger stretch vans, due to their high speed / overload handling characteristics.

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/10/18 12:39 p.m.
Curtis said:

Of the two, I slightly prefer the E-vans but you can't go wrong with either one.  Once GM switched to the LS motor, most of the complaints I had with our GM vans disappeared.

If you're going to lower it, the GM is much easier.  The twin I-beam ford can be lowered but it requires pricey parts unless you want psycho camber.

How much lower do you need?  If it's an inch or two, see if you can find a tire combo that will get you there and reprogram the speedo.

So I need 81'' max, and the Express 2500 is 82-84''. So yes, a couple of inches might just do it! 

I spent some time looking into lowering and I agree that the E-series lowering looked tough. Of course, then I got sucked into a Dodgiban rabbit hole.

Edit: looking further into this, the stock tires on the Express 2500 are 245/75 R 16 I believe. I think the tire calculator says that if I went with 235/60 R 16 I would be dropped 1.7'', so maybe enough. I have no idea if you can fit 15s on the hub or if the smaller tire will not be able to handle the towing load, but clearly more research is warranted.

Curtis
Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/11/18 1:29 p.m.
californiamilleghia said:

On Chevy  GMC. Savana - Express vans are there years to stay away from ?

Or  motors / trans that have problems?

I just had a 1999 stolen and need to replace it ,  the 99 was only a half ton and I really need something heavier , 

What about the V6 ?  Does it come with a lighter weight trans ?

Thanks for your advice 

All of the 1/2 ton vans will have the 4L60/65E.  All of the 3/4 - 1 ton vans will have the 4L80/85E regardless of engine.  If you have a 1/2 ton V8 with the 4L60E and abuse it with heavy loads and towing, it would be the least reliable, but not weak by any means.  The V6 with the 4L60E will run for a very long time.  A 3/4 ton with a V8/4L80E will run a very long time.

Whatever you do, I strongly suggest avoiding anything old enough to have the 350 or 305 in the newer body style.  Old 80s G-vans were great, but the new body style that still kept the old 350/305 sucked.  Get a later one with the LS-based engine.  I operated a fleet of 15 of the older ones.  They were 1-ton with the 350.  They were awful.  Brand new, they couldn't operate the A/C at a stop.  Airflow was bad enough that the hot air would get out in front of the condenser and it would kick off the high pressure switch and boom.... hot air from the vents.  Then when you started moving and floored it, the clutch fan dragged so much it wouldn't shift out of second.  It would normally shift WOT around 5000 rpms, but with the fan engaged, it could only muster about 4800.  You had to trick it by letting off the gas to get it to shift.  This wasn't just one van, this was all 15 of our brand new, lot-fresh, vans with 50 miles on them.

The V6 is still the 4.3L and not bad.  The LS based V8s sometimes get an intake manifold leak, but they're pretty bulletproof.

Both the E- and Savanna/Express were available with diesels, however the chevy/GMC's duramax was detuned in the vans because they didn't get the monster Allison transmission like the trucks.  Duramax in the vans was 250 hp so it didn't kill the 4L80E

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
10/11/18 1:36 p.m.

My Transit has an oddball size 16" tire that's pretty short and still LR E for a 3/4 ton van. Pretty easy to find as well. 

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/11/18 6:45 p.m.

In reply to oldopelguy :

Any idea on the size? I can't seem to find any LR E tires any smaller in a 16" size.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia Reader
10/11/18 8:43 p.m.
Curtis said:
All of the 1/2 ton vans will have the 4L60/65E.  All of the 3/4 - 1 ton vans will have the 4L80/85E regardless of engine.  If you have a 1/2 ton V8 with the 4L60E and abuse it with heavy loads and towing, it would be the least reliable, but not weak by any means.  The V6 with the 4L60E will run for a very long time.  A 3/4 ton with a V8/4L80E will run a very long t

Is there any easy way to tell which auto trans it has ?   Are there ID numbers cast in the housing or ????

And are the LS based engines the one with a coil pack for each cylinder ?

My 1999 still had a single coil but I think it wa one of the last, 

Thanks again

ohh and very few Diesel  Chevy vans here in California ,  plus diesel fuel is almost $4 a gallon now here !

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
10/11/18 8:49 p.m.

In reply to Dave M :

235/65R16

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/11/18 8:54 p.m.

In reply to oldopelguy :

Thanks!

Curtis
Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/12/18 10:01 a.m.
californiamilleghia said:
Curtis said:
All of the 1/2 ton vans will have the 4L60/65E.  All of the 3/4 - 1 ton vans will have the 4L80/85E regardless of engine.  If you have a 1/2 ton V8 with the 4L60E and abuse it with heavy loads and towing, it would be the least reliable, but not weak by any means.  The V6 with the 4L60E will run for a very long time.  A 3/4 ton with a V8/4L80E will run a very long t

Is there any easy way to tell which auto trans it has ?   Are there ID numbers cast in the housing or ????

And are the LS based engines the one with a coil pack for each cylinder ?

My 1999 still had a single coil but I think it wa one of the last, 

Thanks again

ohh and very few Diesel  Chevy vans here in California ,  plus diesel fuel is almost $4 a gallon now here !

The easiest way is to look at the badge on the fender.  1500 will be the 4L60E.  2500 and 3500 will be 4L80E.  But just google transmission pan identification.  The pans are different shapes, so you can stick your head under there and verify by the shape.  4L60E has a relatively square pan.  4L80E has a long rectangular pan with a corner rounded off.  But truthfully, they're all going to be good choices.  The 4L60E is fine, just a bit smaller to pair with the smaller motors and smaller GVWs and tow ratings.  Don't abuse it or use it outside its abilities and it will be fine.  The 4L60E I'm using right now has 375 hp in front of it and I tow 3500 lbs pretty regularly.  It has 149k on it and shows no signs of aging.

Yes, LS engines have the coil-per-cylinder mounted on the valve covers.  99 sounds about right for the last of the old 350s in vans.

Diesel will still likely save you a fair bit of money.  My gas vans got 10-12 mpg.  My diesel vans got 18-20mpg easy.  But I understand some people not wanting diesel.  I just love them.  Plus, never having to smog it is a bonus.  My diesels in CA did however come with the "smug" problem... people looking down their noses because diesel is perceived to invoke the devil and club baby seals.

 

thunder8
thunder8 New Reader
10/20/18 6:28 p.m.

Ya didn't say whether you were looking at 'old school American style' or the newer 'Euro style'.
For old school I'd go with Chevy/GMC up thru the 2017 model year (even though I own a Ford).
For the newer stuff I'd go with the Ford Transit tall and long version. (Although a new Chevy is in the works...unknown release date...might be based on a Nissan?)
Old Dodges are nice too...318 V8 is bulletproof...check carefully for rust.

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