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Old 10-07-2011, 02:10 AM   #1
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A couple questions before I write the check.

Hello,
Im about to become a new SMB owner (06 Ford E-350 4x4 RB-50 6.0) and I got a couple of questions.
I have been reading threads about how loud the 6.0 ford diesel is and Im trying to get a good idea of what to expect. How loud is it? Can I drive down the road with the windows up AC on and still have a conversation with my kids in the back? Ive read that you can add extra sound proofing material in the engine cover and it will help, But I just don't know for sure.
The other question I have is how much of a difference is there between the RB and EB in terms of inside storage.
Sorry for such odd questions, but other than seeing pictures here I have never had a chance to see one up close.
Thanks in advance.
TraceyAZ
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:52 AM   #2
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

My frame of reference: '06 diesel EB; extra sound insulation in the doghouse and doors

It's louder inside than a sedan, partially due to the engine, partially due to the fact that it's as aerodynamic as a cinder block. Conversations from the driver's seat to the back seat ("If I have to pull over and come back there...") are a bit challenging, but no more so from any noise than from the fact that it's a fair distance between the driver's seat to the very back of the van. Much of this will depend on the configuration of the van, and how far back the rear seating configuration is.

On a two week road trip with my fiver year old son, with his seat more or less directly in front of the rear wheel well, we could communicate fairly well, though he's not a loud talker, so there were a few times it was a challenge.

As for the RB vs. EB? If I had spec'd a new build, I likely would have gone with an RB to reduce the rear overhang. I bought a used EB, and wouldn't trade the extra 18" of floorspace for anything. Storage space can be at a premium sometimes (though don't we all pack till it's full?) so that extra space provides quite a bit of extra room in my opinion.


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Old 10-07-2011, 08:22 AM   #3
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A couple questions before I write the check.

I have an '09 with the full Dynamat (soundproofing) treatment from SMB West.

It is nearly impossible to talk to my children while accelerating. It is difficult while cruising.

For comparison, I also have a Yukon XL. Although the distance to the rear seat there also makes it more challenging than a car, it is significantly easier to talk to them than in the van.

On the list of considerations to choose the 6.0 vs V10, this would definitely fall on the V10 side. Over to you on the value you place on this particular consideration.
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

We had an RB and just recently sold it and bought an EB. Our reason for the EB was the room inside and the ability to haul more humans, for us this was a great route. Now the diesel verses the gas. We drove a diesel and I could noway handle the noise level, so we opted for the V10, we haul our"toys" with it and have no problem in the mountains, noise is no issue at all. All this aside, if you can reasonablly reduce the engine noise on the diesel, I like the idea of the add benefits. I sure would try and find a way to drive both if it is a concern at all.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:17 PM   #5
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

My wife, 2-kids and I have gotten use to the noise level of the diesel and the level we have to talk to eachother. If I were to do it again I would strongly consider the v10. I've driven another members v10 and was amazed how quiet it was. I'd really miss that diesel exhaust smell in the morning though! The diesel is not a good choice if you are soft speakers for sure.

I have an EB and have only dragged the rear a few times. I've had the van in some pretty sketchy places too, but always try to use a little common sense before charging into a situation. The added space is worth the length IMO.

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Old 10-07-2011, 03:30 PM   #6
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

We have 2010 RB SMB penthouse diesel, before that we had 2004 F250 Crew diesel that I used to think was noisy, van is significantly noisier, sometimes hard to hear the kids in captain chairs right behind us, really hard to hear the kid in the bench seat in the back. Am finding it is really nice to wear full headphones for music/drowning out kids/ignoring wife (hah!) but can't do that all the time. I grew up with diesels (Kenworth) so not a big deal for me, got 15.3 mpg on latest trip over the Sierra's to Mammoth and back, so it depends on what things bother you the most or you find the most important. I wanted the RB just because I was tired of the F250 crew around town and parking, EB would be better than it as well but I am happy with the RB. However when the kids skis get longer than about 150cm they need to go up the ladder and in the roof box so the 18 inches is huge when it comes to certain things. We did suffer through the "pack stuff until it is full" case with the truck and shell on back for our road trips which I was tired of so it has been good to have to think about being more efficient with the gear. Not that much though, its not like the RB is small in the back.

FWIW - Jim
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:44 AM   #7
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

We had a 2002 7.3 F-350 with a 6 speed manual transmission for before moving to California and while I loved the way it sounded (stock exhaust) my girlfriend always thought it was kind of loud. When we decided to upgrade our old GMC van to a newer Ford van we drove quite a few 6.0 vans both high and low mileage some with windows and some cargo vans before I found one that I really liked. It was a low mileage 2008 6.0 cargo with the econo-cargo package so it had some insulation and complete walls, floor and ceiling panels. The dealer let us drive it for a long test drive and while we were driving it my girlfriend said there was no way she could put up with the noise on road trips and to be honest with you neither could I. It was much louder than our old GMC in every way except wind noise. At the time we happened to have a Audi Q-7 TDi as a loaner car for a few weeks and she asked why it couldn't be as quiet as that motor even if the van itself was nosier. For her the engine noise and vibration is just too much and while I loved the old truck with the 7.3 the 6.0 in the van was very loud by comparison. I thought that dynamat and insulation would help but I was not sure how much so we decided to pass on the van and to start looking only at V-10 vans. At any rate in April we bought a 2008 V-10 van and we love it. Its an EB which is what we wanted and we like the extra room it offers over our old RB van. We have put over 10,000 miles on it this summer on our travels and it is working out very well for us. It is quiet and powerful it gets better gas mileage than our old 350 GMC not as good as a 6.0 would get but with the higher price for fuel we feel that it is good enough. We tend to drive with the radio off and talk during our trips and while we are not sitting in the back it is very easy to converse at any speed or road condition.

Good Luck on your new van what ever you decide to get.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:29 AM   #8
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

People in the back row (row 5) can't here me at all. Even if the van is off.

I have the V10. The heater fan makes more noise at any setting but the lowest. We use the V10 for stationary power at the track when I don't want to listen to the generator. I don't think I could get by with an RB after having an EB.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:50 PM   #9
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

I am on my 2nd EB van and can't imagine owning an RB (but then I pack a bunch of stuff). I guess you can always buy a trailer or add a hitch carrier, but.... you can't really make up the 18". Unless you're doing some hard core offroading I think there are no downsides, except perhaps parking.

The V10 makes comparable torque to the PSD, without the maintenance complexity, noise etc. The only reason I would choose the PSD is for high altititude driving; and possibly range.

Not just on the engine, I would advise you test drive if possible before making any decisions.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:52 PM   #10
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Re: A couple questions before I write the check.

I will add one thing, we are coming out of a westy syncro. So in comparison to that I think any van being RB or EB is gonna feel real big to us. We travel a family of 4 in it now and we always have to be carefull on how much we let the kids pack, as for myself and my wife we get the left over room if any is available. The noise issue is that it has no AC system, so that means windows are down and the wind will howl through the westy, making it impossible to hear the kids.
I know there is some here on the forum that have gone from the VW westy to the SMB, what is your opinion on the size difference and noise levels?
I do appreciate all the advice and help thank you.
TraceyAZ
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