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Old 08-09-2016, 11:13 AM   #1
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What Engine for Base?? 5.4l, 6.8l, or 6.0l

I finally decided to stop being envious of watching everyone's super cool vans roll by so I am getting ready to take the plunge. After losing sleep last night over what van to start with, I figured I should just get in here and ask a few questions.

My plan thus far is to get a base van and have Agile Off-Road do the 4x4. I have pretty good access to all kinds of fabrication so the next steps will be to take said van and convert it to a somewhat stripped down camper with a convertible bench to bed in back with storage underneath. Not sure about cabinets and such, really just want some house batteries for running some electronics. The idea is to keep it light. End goal is to have a highway cruiser that can handle snow and backroads. Pop top will come later.

So I currently own a 2003 5.4l expedition and a 2006 6.0l F-250 so I am somewhat familiar with the power and feel of these motors. Obviously the Diesel is first choice, but they aren't growing on trees these days. Second choice is the 6.8l. However, I am open to a 5.4l E350 but wanted to see if anyone has built one up with 4x4 and furnishings and how they feel about how the 5.4l handles the weight, gearing, and slightly larger tires.

I really appreciate the feedback and am unfamiliar with the econolines for the most part in how they handle etc. I do love my 6.0l F250, it just rolls along on the highway and eats up mountain passes with ease. I could have a 5.4l tomorrow if I thought it would be sufficient, but I am just not sure.

Thanks

Tim
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:14 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Just from what you have said so far I would definitely recommend the 6.8. It's not going to get any worse mileage than the V10 with a 4x conversion and added weight, roof rack drag, bigger tires, etc. You're probably going to get 10 to 12 pretty much always. It's worth it for the power. Especially since you've had some time with a 6.0 diesel you will always thing the 5.4 is lacking in power. They are easier to find but the v10's aren't exactly hard to find. I'd go with an 05 or newer if you can find it though to get the better 5-speed tranny.

You'll certainly enjoy the reliablilty, cheap oil changes and durability of the v10 vs. a 6.0 diesel.

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Old 08-09-2016, 05:21 PM   #3
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Any plans on towing, and if so, how much weight?

Lots of time driving in steep mountains?

A 5.4L can handle it, but the other engines handle it with much more ease.


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Old 08-09-2016, 06:16 PM   #4
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Order of my preference...
7.3
6.8


Any other motor you will find regrets.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:49 PM   #5
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Order of my preference...
7.3
6.8


Any other motor you will find regrets.
Order of my preference after owning both of the above...
6.8 V10
7.3

I liked the 7.3 but the lack of an intercooler and always keeping an eye on EGTs and Tranny temps was frustrating. The V10 with the newer transmission is quiet with a ton of power everywhere. Both are great options but overall I enjoy the V10 better for the family.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:50 PM   #6
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Thanks all,

I figured it would be a mixed bag as far as people's preferences. I don't plan on towing with it, the roadtrips will be fast and light. I think a regular body too so it's a little more manageable around town and heading into cities, not that a couple feet is that big a deal. Most of the V-10's i have seen are extended bodies so far.

Even though I have the van bug badly right now, gonna stay patient and maybe a nice 08 6.0l will fall into my lap!!
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:55 PM   #7
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FWIW, I have a 4WD 5.4L, pop top, interior, etc and I'm quite happy with it. I get about 13mpg highway the few times I've checked.

Running 285/70-17's and 3.73 gearing so it shifts out of OD on inclines...but I like the mileage. I only tow a small harbor freight trailer occasionally.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:28 PM   #8
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FWIW, I have a 4WD 5.4L, pop top, interior, etc and I'm quite happy with it. I get about 13mpg highway the few times I've checked.

Running 285/70-17's and 3.73 gearing so it shifts out of OD on inclines...but I like the mileage. I only tow a small harbor freight trailer occasionally.
I should add I had the 5.4 in a Supercrew F150 I used to own and it was a great motor. Towed a 21 foot toybox trailer often loaded up with bikes, water and supplies. Granted it had 4:10s, a tuner and exhaust but it needed to rev up hills when towing. It still did a decent job and I loved that truck.

Since a built up van is pretty heavy to begin with and if you are planning on towing anything remotely heavy often I would stick with the V10 or a diesel. No replacement for displacement! I will happily pay for the loss of MPG for the power on trips. Now my van is not my daily driver which might change my mind if it were and the mileage difference were big.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:36 PM   #9
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V10 for me. I spent a lot of time searching for the right one. They are hard to find. I passed off on so many 5.4 vans. You can find them every day of the week.

The 6.0l is questionable to me. Can be great but needs a lot of work to get to a reliable condition IMO.

I had the 5.4l in an f150 and it was great with gears and a tuner. But it feels so weak in a big heavy van. The 5 speed torqshift in a later model v10 makes a big difference in drivability over the 4 speed with the 5.4 in my opinion. I'm sure the 5.4 with low gears and a tune can be ok in a van, but it is going to be a lot weaker than a 5.4 and the mileage difference will be minimal.
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:42 PM   #10
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I am on my second V10 and love them. The first ran great and is still doing so, just in different hands. They are great quiet engines. I tow minimally, but they do okay nothing like a diesel but I towed a 70 dodge dart swinger on a full size haul trailer in my last van from a 1000 miles and it was flawless. I did upgrade tranny pan to mag hytec and the tranny cooler to the same one badger trek uses. I'm a big fan of the v10 as of late.
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