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Old 12-28-2017, 09:46 PM   #1
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Is the 5.4 underpowered?

Not sure if this is the best place to post this. Moderators feel free to move if you see fit.

I have a chance to pick up a 2001 E250 RB with a Mark III conversion and a 5.4 for what I think is a steal. Seems to be in good shape.

I would lift and 4x4 it with 4.30s and at least 33's, more likely 35's. But I've read on other forums the 5.4 is a dog with tires that big.

I currently have a lifted AWD Astro with a 4.3 V6 that's always working hard to push it down the road. Really want to avoid the same situation in a bigger van.

Anyone have any input?
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:59 PM   #2
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Proper gearing will compensate for bigger tires. For 35's, 4.56 is probably a better match.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:38 PM   #3
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I would describe the power of my 5.4 as "adequate" with 34" tires and 4.56 gears. It has never been accused of being "fast." Overall, I'm happy with it.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:50 AM   #4
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it's all relative......

I have a 4WD 5.4L with 3.73 gearing and 285/70/17's....it downshifts out of OD on grades and gets about 12mpg.....I'm happy with it.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:47 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=SteelheadJones;218554]
I would lift and 4x4 it with 4.30s and at least 33's, more likely 35's. But I've read on other forums the 5.4 is a dog with tires that big.QUOTE]

I think you need to define "under powered". What are your planned uses? Do you expect to pull mountain grades fully loaded in high gear? Will you regear for the taller tires? All in all, I think the 5.4 is adequate when properly geared to match the tires. It will never match the power of a V10 or a diesel, but it gets the job done. I manually downshift early on hills to keep the motor higher in the power band and it always makes it over the top, but I often times have faster traffic behind me. i'd prefer a V10, but I live with less power because the remainder of the van is quite suited to my needs and desires. I wouldn't let the 5.4 be a deal killer if the remainder of the van fits your usage profile and is in good shape.
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:33 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
it's all relative......

I have a 4WD 5.4L with 3.73 gearing and 285/70/17's....it downshifts out of OD on grades and gets about 12mpg.....I'm happy with it.
Exactly! I have the 6.8L with 4.56 gears, same size tires. It downshifts out of OD on grades (both up hill and down hill!) and gets about 12 mpg.....and I'm happy about everything about it except the fuel mileage!
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:19 PM   #7
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JUMP ON IT!!!!! You can ALWAYS sell it if your bummed with performance...not towing right? Mine is great...yes, far right lane with the semi's on the big inclines on I-70/80 when heading back from adventures west...a little longer back up for 4x hills, but 11.9 mpg average and a proven workhorse....
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:58 PM   #8
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Had a 5.4 with 6" 35s 4.56 gears converted in Aug. I'm pleased with the power. Im in the mtns of southern Co. alot. Keepin speed in the 60-70mph range climbing from 6k-elevation to 11k is not a problem. Gas milage is not good probably getting a shy better than a V10. I'm happy with it's performance. I didn't want a diesel and couldn't find a V10. I wouldn't want a gears less than4.56 that's for sure.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:36 AM   #9
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We need to keep in mind Ford's Modular Motors tend to perform pretty impressively when RPM's are up----they're literally built to take it, their horsepower coming on very strong above 2500 RPM's. Don't be scared to push the pedal to the floor when needed.

That being the case the 3:73 rear gears would be an absolute minimum desired ratio, some running in the 4:10 or 4:56 numbers seem satisfied with their modded rig's running.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SteelheadJones View Post
I have a chance to pick up a 2001 E250 RB with a Mark III conversion and a 5.4 for what I think is a steal. Seems to be in good shape.
Update: Turns out it was an E150 with the 4.6. But I put down a deposit anyway because its bones are good. No rust, started right up and drove well (except for some slop in the steering wheel and a slip in the trans or torque converter at about 45mph), and it has all power options and cruise.

I'm either going to do a body swap onto my 7.3; or my girl who does hair and makeup for the movies is going to take this one and turn it into a mobile studio. Her current daily driver is a Honda Insight so she won't mind that the 4.6 is a slug!

BTW "steal" = $1500! Even if it needs a new trans, a re-man'd 4R70W is $1100 or less so I think she'll be ok.
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