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Old 12-18-2014, 05:38 PM   #1
Wbp
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5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

I am looking to buy a Ford E250 2013 or 2014 standard to covert to a camper. I plan on having a pop top added and will build the interior as light as possible and want to know which engine is the best choice. We plan on traveling across US and will pull a boat once and a while but only in Florida. Mostly interested in best MPG not sure if there would be much of a difference between these two engine. And if one engine is less troublesome.
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Old 12-19-2014, 04:06 AM   #2
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

Avoid the 4.6 like Ebola----its a horrible engine for your anticipated use.

The 5.4 is sufficient for most convert a van but the whole Modular Motor series of engines from Ford are equally dependable, reliable without one having more issues than the other. While the V10 seems to have more issues with exhaust manifold studs breaking they're all very good power plants.

Don't fall into thinking a smaller engine equates to better gas mileage----they have to work harder---an E250 loaded to its max GVW of 8,600# with the 4.6 would struggle to maintain highway speeds.

HTH
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Old 12-19-2014, 04:50 AM   #3
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

JWA is right!
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Old 12-19-2014, 05:10 AM   #4
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

Thanks that is good information and kinda what I was thinking. I was also looking at sprinters but the cost difference of the van seems to be about 8 to 10,000 more and I can go a long way on gas for that difference and the e250 may be easier to get repaired on the road.
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:47 AM   #5
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

Go with the E250 5.4. Nothing like a V8! Lots of V8 addons.
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:10 AM   #6
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

Another vote for the 5.4l

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Old 12-19-2014, 11:06 AM   #7
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA
While the V10 seems to have more issues with exhaust manifold studs breaking they're all very good power plants.HTH
.

The 5.4 has the same issue with exhaust studs, but overall it seems to be a great engine. I wouldn't want anything smaller though.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:40 AM   #8
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

My previous E-250 SMB had the 5.4. The van itself weighed around 7600# loaded for bear, and I towed a ~4,800# trailer often. Including over mountain passes (usually typical 6% interstate grade though, not talking 14% backwoods grades). I never felt like I needed more power (but that may be subjective). Actually, what held me back on passes was (if anything) the transmission, due to wanting to keep the RPM's up, yet only wanting to "scream" so much. Maybe if I were going over passes five hours per day I would have wanted more power, but I'm not doing it that often.

I got 16-18 mpg consistently on the highway, even going 65-70 at times. Down to around 12.5 when towing, but that seems somewhat universal with gas rigs. I appreciated the quiet of gas since in a van the engine is basically in your lap, but then I'm not into engine sounds and would take pure silence if I could get it.

I felt like I had less engine heat in the cab of that rig (as compared to my current one), although actually the water temperature ran slightly hotter (206 vs. 198). I have heard the exhaust manifold studs are not as problematic on the 5.4 (vs. the V-10), although I don't know that to be a fact. It makes sense to me though since the manifold is shorter so it seems like there is less chance of changing temperatures/odd torquing.

I now have an E-350 with V-10 that runs around 10,000#. I tow the same ~4,800# trailer with it at times. I don't really feel "more power" just in non-scientific feel, so perhaps the added weight evens things out.

At any rate, you are asking 5.4 vs. 4.6. I don't know much about the 4.6 except for light reading (it didn't sound like people were that fond of it). I loved the 5.4 in my E-250 Sporty, was fine for towing the weight I mentioned. Sold that at 140k to a friend who is still happily driving along getting great mileage (can't say quite the same for the V-10, but then the rig is heavier).

If it were me I'd get the 5.4 since I had a great experience with it. 'course this is sort of "anecdata."
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Old 12-20-2014, 03:39 PM   #9
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

As I've stated before, for my use with a low-roof E-350 weighing a little over 7000 pounds, I'd take a 4.6 V8 over my 6.8 V10 without a doubt. I'd gamble that it would drive OK and last long enough.

Obviously 225 HP would be slower than 305 HP, but since fuel economy is important to me, and since I mostly drive on highway at 70 MPH or so, a smaller V8 should do better. If towing I'd keep the V10.

And yes, a smaller engine has to work "harder", but that's exactly what would make it more fuel efficient at my power levels. After all, there is a reason the new and larger Ford Transit van with a 3.7 liter V6 is rated 14 city and 19 highway. Up to around 80 percent of available torque most gasoline engines will be more efficient than running less loaded. Basically over sizing an engine so they don't work as hard will normally also make them burn more fuel.
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Old 12-21-2014, 05:17 AM   #10
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Re: 5.4 vs 4.6 ford engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
I'd gamble that it would drive OK and last long enough.

And yes, a smaller engine has to work "harder", but that's exactly what would make it more fuel efficient at my power levels. After all, there is a reason the new and larger Ford Transit van with a 3.7 liter V6 is rated 14 city and 19 highway. Up to around 80 percent of available torque most gasoline engines will be more efficient than running less loaded. Basically over sizing an engine so they don't work as hard will normally also make them burn more fuel.
Frankly I'm not willing to suggest something based upon a gamble. What works for one in their unique and specific circumstances doesn't represent a larger view of the question "which engine?".

When we're talking the newer Transit engines as compared to Modular Motors and their attendant conditions, efficiency and ratings that's apples to oranges. It in no way directly co-relates to displacement/MPG's and can't effectively be used as a comparative factor in what now constitutes different generations of engine design.

Saying larger engines automatically have lower MPG's due displacement alone is fallacy, simply not true. Computer strategies take into account the load factors and adjust fuel consumption accordingly. I'm sure a 6.8 running at 30% of its max load will use less fuel than a 4.6 at 80+%. I'm sorry but telling me a 4.6 in a loaded E350 gets better MPG's than a 5.4 or 6.8 just won't fly.

The upside to Modular Motors is across the board mechanical issues aren't much different, one not more or less prone to costly issues than the other.
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