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Old 09-29-2020, 02:21 PM   #1
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Gas vs Diesel in SMBs since 2000

I'm in the market to buy a used SMB. I'm hoping to land somewhere around 80K, which means most of what I find are SMBs from the 2000s. However, every single SMB I have found has been a diesel engine. Since I want to take this to Baja, where low sulfur diesel doesn't really exist, I need a gas engine.

So my question is, were gas engines even available in 2000-2010ish SMBs? Or am I looking for something that doesn't exist?

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2020, 02:41 PM   #2
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There are likely more gas SMBs than diesel SMBs, its just a matter of timing. There are Ford SMBs with a 4.6L gas engine, a 5.4L gas engine, and a 6.8L V10 gas engine.


I know Chevy SMBs are available with gas engines as well.


That said, there are plenty of people with diesel SMBs who take their rigs down through Baja and beyond.




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Old 09-29-2020, 03:34 PM   #3
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The diesels in the E-series don't require ULSD. Ford used emissions credits to bypass the DPF requirements, which allowed the 6.0 to carry on until the 2010 model year. That said... I'd think long and hard about taking a 6.0 far away from your trusted mechanic.

No major design issues with the 7.3L (and it's even less picky about fuel... go ahead and run some veggie oil if you can keep it warm...) but the newest one will be a 2003, so you'd be dealing with all the normal issues of a 20+ year old rig. Also there's lot's of them still rolling around south of the border, so finding a mechanic south of the border shouldn't be too hard.
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:05 PM   #4
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IIRC, the M-B inline 5 diesels don't require ULSD. 2006 and older.
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:17 PM   #5
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The main motivation of upgrading to an SMB over my current Westfalia is to put an end to breakdowns that can't be fixed by any old nearby mechanic. I also plan to take this SMB about 70 miles from the nearest paved road in Baja, so it really needs to be solid.

Are the gas engines generally more reliable than the 6.0 diesel, even if it is bulletproofed? The 7.3 seems so old it would be questionable. Sounds like I should hold out for the 6.8L V10, if reliability in a hot desert is my main concern, right?

Thank you for this. These responses are so helpful.
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Old 09-29-2020, 04:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmatthews812 View Post
Are the gas engines generally more reliable than the 6.0 diesel, even if it is bulletproofed?
Absolutely. Besides having less things to go wrong, when a Triton motor has an issue, you can almost always limp home. The 6.0 is just so complicated, even a seemingly minor of a sensor or solenoid or wire connector can effectively leave you F.O.R.D., or if you try to limp things along, any number of minor issues can cascade into a series of failures that can end in needing a new motor.
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:02 PM   #7
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Absolutely. Besides having less things to go wrong, when a Triton motor has an issue, you can almost always limp home. The 6.0 is just so complicated, even a seemingly minor of a sensor or solenoid or wire connector can effectively leave you F.O.R.D., or if you try to limp things along, any number of minor issues can cascade into a series of failures that can end in needing a new motor.
Boom! Thank you! That's what I needed to know.

Back to obsessively refreshing these classifieds and CL waiting for that perfect 6.8L, V10, EB50, RB, baja tan, low mileage, perfectly cared for SMB. haha, should be any moment now!
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:37 PM   #8
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The market for vans is super scarce right now. I have been watching closely for 4 years and I have never seen fewer vans for sale or vans selling so quickly.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:22 AM   #9
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@kmatthews812 -- I would not be scared of the 7.3L or the 5.4 or the v10 or a properly bulletproofed 6.0. Just my $0.02 is that people have been driving down to Baja (hell even Patagonia) for 50+ years in absolutely sh*t vehicles. Any 4x4 SMB that has been properly maintained will rock down there, it is more or less what they are built for. I would just grab whatever van you can at the best price (tons of options for around half your budget) and hit the road. Make sure it is what you want to do before you push all the chips.
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Old 09-30-2020, 10:05 AM   #10
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I have been lucky not to be stranded in an off road situation with my 6.0 PSD. Although most issues have been Ford equipment not related to the diesel motor, as mentioned the possibility of the engine shutting down for a sensor failure makes my hands sweat when taking a tough trail...a place where a tow would require a 2000+ dollar tow fee. I've had a couple of simple sensors shut me down and was lucky to be on a paved road.

You should also know that maintenance is much higher on a diesel and that means $$$ out of my pocket. Even though I am satisfied with my 6.0
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