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Old 07-24-2010, 05:49 PM   #1
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What to buy

Hello all,
I am new to the site and wanted to ask for opinions.
Planning to purchase a my Van within the next year and am starting the planning phase.
I need a long cross country Interstate highway vehicle that can withstand the punishment of wash-boarded dirt roads once I get out to the boonies.

I do not want the 4x4 just the ground clearance and rugged chassis offered by a 1 ton van. Gas Mileage concerns from Interstate highway mileage are my main concern here.

Leaning toward to Extended Chevy instead of Ford due to less overhanging rear body.

Any help and ideas as I proceed through this rather expensive decision would be greatly appreciated.

Shalako
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:09 PM   #2
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Re: What to buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalako
Hello all,
I am new to the site and wanted to ask for opinions.
Planning to purchase a my Van within the next year and am starting the planning phase.
I need a long cross country Interstate highway vehicle that can withstand the punishment of wash-boarded dirt roads once I get out to the boonies.

I do not want the 4x4 just the ground clearance and rugged chassis offered by a 1 ton van. Gas Mileage concerns from Interstate highway mileage are my main concern here.

Leaning toward to Extended Chevy instead of Ford due to less overhanging rear body.

Any help and ideas as I proceed through this rather expensive decision would be greatly appreciated.

Shalako
(fwiw- most of these are fords, i am a chev guy, but in reality, ford outsells everything else)

give us some more info

ph or fixed top?

how many people?

what are ya gonna build in?

gonna tow anything?

home brew or factory build??

ya also might look at deaver springs and full tilt off road for the 2wd lift/off road pgk
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:13 AM   #3
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Re: What to buy

If you want a rugged chassid, go with the Ford. Just a quick look under the two and the differences are apparent. Also, the Ford chassis has an extra 4,000 pounds of combined weight rating over the Chevy, which maters if you will be towing.

From the SalemKroger website:
Quote:
Over the years we have found that Ford 4x4 vans and 4x4 trucks have a better engine selection and most importantly a stronger frame than other manufacturers
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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Re: What to buy

Congrats on starting the process! Our best purchase yet, no questions! We've put 20k miles on ours in 10 months. Twice down Baja and numerous other trips.

Ford makes great frames and bodies, Chevy makes good ones. Ford uses pretty good diesel engines, Chevy uses better diesel engines. Depends on what you are doing. My chevy 1-ton has a heavier duty rear end and transmission (HD trans not as good as Allison but still has tow mode) stock than a Ford, which is nice for towing in combination with the shorter rear overhang. I just towed a 7k# boat up from Loreto, BCS and didn't feel it back there, went 55-60 the whole way. Having confidence on Mexico 1 is priceless.

The frame is lighter, I guess, which would portend less capability off-road. Not an issue for us.

If you choose a diesel, the duramax will be much quieter than a Ford, which is nice for cross-country highway driving before you get to the washboards. Important for us.

I think your thinking on the longer wheelbase tracking better is correct, but I still felt the need to install a rear sway bar to better control our van.

If you want to off-road mostly, go with a Ford. Looking for a combo of highway, tow, and off-road (probably in that order) Chevy is a good choice, too.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:18 AM   #5
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Re: What to buy

Look to the differences. I have a Ford as I needed 4wd and mine have a Quigley conversion done to it already. I replaced a Chevy AWD 1/2 ton. Chevy chassis is much lighter duty than the Ford. This can mean alot to you or very little. I replaced a GMC Yukon and a AWD Chevy Van with one Ford Van that met my needs for both. I haul, tow and plow with my Van.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:47 PM   #6
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Re: What to buy

I'm set up for highway cruising, too. I have the Ford diesel with a 3.55 rear and no 4x4. With this combo, if I take it easy on the go pedal, I can get 20mpg.

Washboard roads are still annoying, as with any vehicle. I find that speed is the only thing that can alter the feel of these types of roads.

If you have any specific questions, feel free too ask.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:14 PM   #7
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Re: What to buy

Have you considered the Sprinter?
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:08 PM   #8
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Re: What to buy

Another thing to consider is aftermarket parts. Are you somebody who likes to tinker and upgrade your rig? Especially powertrain and suspension upgrades? If yes, keep in mind the aftermarket pretty much serves Ford vans exclusively. There just isn't really much for Chevy or Sprinter. If you tend to keep your vehicles stock, then this won't matter much.
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:47 PM   #9
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Re: What to buy

At work, one department uses both Ford and Chevy vans. In the earlier years most were either 2WD 150 and 250 Fords and a couple of 250 Quigley 4x4 conversions. All of the guys now prefer the ride of the Chevy AWD vans. These are often used in field work on dirt, heavy sand and muddy roads and the guys say they handle well in those situations. No extreme off road travel though. The vans have equipment but are light compared to my E350. Maybe you should go and do some test drives. I don't know how a Chevy 350 rides compared to a lighter chassis Ford.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:50 AM   #10
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Re: What to buy

I don't know if I can add much to this but the FD I work for just switched from the E450 ambulances to Chevy 3500 series. I spend a lot of time in these rigs (more than i'd like) so here are some observations on the Ford vs. Chevy IMO.

Ford E450 diesel 7.3/6.0L:
Utilitarian cab interior
Truck like ride
Great visibility
More interior noise from engine
Good compression braking coming down steep grades
A/C works good even under heavy driving

Chevy 3500 Duramax:
Nice interior with lots of little gizmos
smooth ride but a bit too soft on the front.
Low windshield line (takes some getting used to)
Quiet engine
Compression braking is horrible
A/C sucks, if it's over 100 degrees fugetaboutit.
Tighter turning radius
Good, fit and finish, tight solid feeling shutting doors, good latches etc.
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