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Old 11-22-2010, 11:17 PM   #1
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Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

For the longest time I've been convinced that I want a Ford E-350 van. It seems like everyone who has 4x4 went with a Ford. I'm not sure why though. I have a local Ford truck dealer that could probably handle all the repairs. But then again I'm sure there are Chevy dealers around here, too. I've seen probably an equal amount of Chevy vans to Ford vans around here for commercial use, so I can't say one is more popular than the other.

I told my trusted mechanic what I've been designing for the past few years (RV based inside a cargo van, possibly going with 4x4 conversion later), and he told me a Chevy Express 3500 was the way to go over a Ford E-350, for the following reasons:

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Hi Dave, for sake of argument let’s compare a 2003 Chevy 3500 with a 6.0 gas v-8 engine and 4L80 Automatic transmission to 2003 E-350 with a 5.4 and a 4R100 transmission. I would expect initial costs to be about the same for either van.

The Chevy 6.0 engine is easily the best all around engine available in a modern truck. It makes very good power and does OK on fuel mileage considering how much power it makes. Known issues are intake gaskets leaking and flex plates breaking. Tune up and general maintenance items are on the low side of “normal” on regards to cost.... The ford 5.4 engine makes great power and also does OK on fuel BUT has known internal engine issues and boasts a potentially very expensive tune up which could include major engine disassembly.

The 4L80 transmission is the second best transmission in the industry, second only to GM’s Allison transmission. Simply put it is very unlikely you would ever need major transmission work done, I’ve seen customers take these transmissions to 300,000 miles with no incidence.

The 4R100 is an OK transmission but figure by 100K it will have been overhauled once; they can be built in a way that makes them very bullet proof but figure on spending $4,000-5,000 to get there.

In regards to chassis, suspension the E-350 has a slight edge in heaviness but the GM built truck is still very good. On brakes, rear axle and steering I would say the trucks are about equal.

As far as converting to 4wd I would expect the job is about the same to do either truck, GM makes a better transfer case though so it all comes back to better overall reliability with the GM van.
So, my question to everyone here: What's the better platform? Ford or Chevy, and WHY??

I'm not loyal to either company, I just want the best platform for my money, with minimal costs over time.
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Homebuilt RV Project: Design Phase is 80% Complete! (but on hold until I win the lottery)
Ford E-350 EB w/ Cruiser Top, Flip-down "Gaucho" sofa/bed, custom cabinets, AGM batteries, solar panels, water heater, fresh/gray water tanks, sink, porta-potty....
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:53 PM   #2
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

Frames on Ford are stronger. You'll still see many GM converted 4x4 vans but they are usually lightweight and not the heavy 10,000 lb+ RV type conversions many of us have. It's the twisting off roading where the Ford frame excels.


The GM is a better riding vehicle and for lightweight use like not having to chain up, the GM is fine. Look at this:
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:18 AM   #3
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

Your info is a little out of date. The 4r100 was replaced with the 5r110 in 2005 (or 2004 for diesels). But even so, the 4r100 us very stout. I have 295,000 on mine, behind a modified V10 putting out way more power than stock, and running at up to 25,000 pounds combined occasionally 22,000 frequently.

The Ford frame isn't just a little stronger, it's substantially stronger. And the V10 trumps the GM 6.0 in not just peak torque, but also the flatness of the torque curve.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:21 AM   #4
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

Quote:
has known internal engine issues and boasts a potentially very expensive tune up which could include major engine disassembly.
And I call BS on that. The Triton motors have a 100,000 miles tune up schedule, and that does not include engine disassembly. Some go a million miles without major repair.

Here's something else to consider. Max GCWR of the Fords is 20,000 pounds vs 16,000 for the GM).


Also, the Ford brakes are so much better its not even funny. The brakes on the GM vans are so poor I don't think they should be legal.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:13 AM   #5
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

And what about the Duramax diesels? They seem to be having good write-ups...
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:40 AM   #6
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

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Originally Posted by saabman
And what about the Duramax diesels? They seem to be having good write-ups...

Powertrain-wise it's a much more similar comparison. Very similar power, but the GM still only has a 17,000 GCWR vs 20,000. But the Duramax still comes on the same lightweight chassis as the gas motors. And, the Chevy does not have a high-capacity front axle option like Ford. (You can order Fords with a FAWR up to 5,0000 pounds).
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

couldn't resist it:


http://www.maxandal.com/#!/chevy-silverado-gifts

From a Chevy driver
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:42 PM   #8
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

Foot space and leg room in the passenger seat is much better in the GM, and more headroom when sitting on the gaucho. Duramax diesel is the best engine, but is really expensive in the new ones. If you want 4x4 with a locking front axle for the GM, you have to get the solid front axle version from Advanced 4x4, Salem Kroger, or Boulder Off Road (there may be others). Quigley only does IFS in the GM. If you want the extended van, it is a trade off between the long rear overhang of the Ford or the longer wheelbase of the GM. Virtually every decision requires gaining something while giving up something else. Just flip a coin and go with it. Stosh
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Old 11-24-2010, 08:47 AM   #9
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Re: Ford vs Chevy Platform - What's your opinion?

On the Triton, google "Triton spark plug defect" and see what you think. Maybe fixed in later models but hard to tell when and if that was done. But for those stories, I wouldn't mind a triton.
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