Comparasion of Ford 7.3L PS Diesel, 6.8L V10 & 7.5L 460 V8 - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Comparasion of Ford 7.3L PS Diesel, 6.8L V10 & 7.5L 460 V8

I am negotiating to purchase a 1989 Spectrum 2000 33ft 15,000lb motorhome (RV) with a 4.5:1 drive ratio.

The dealer has several of these RVs and with the following engine and transmission combinations:

1989 460 V8 with 3 spd automatic Tranny
2002, 2003, 0r 2004 6.8L V10 Triton with a 4R100 Automatic Tranny
or either a
2002 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel with 4R100 Automatic Tranny

I have been told that all of these options will operate in the range of 2000 to 3000 RPM around 70 MPH.

I am concerned about power in the mountains of NM and CO.

What is the best combination?

All advice appreciated.

Thanks,
oldkid
San Antonio, TX
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The best combination would be the diesel. Next is the V10, the newer the better. The 460/3 speed is going to eat A LOT more fuel.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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X2 on what Mark said. Diesel then the V-10 then the 460.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Also, the diesel is going to be affected far less by thin mountain air than a gasser. I remember trying to get a suburban up the mountains in Colorado years ago. I thought we were going to have to get out and push. Full throttle and 20 MPH ahead! With the diesel, you'll probably be passing sports cars....
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Def the diesel
I used to spend 8 hrs a day driving E450 cube vans, 5.4s, 6.8s, and 7.3s While maybe not as big as some of the bigger RVs out there, they are still over 10ft tall, and had the aerodynamics of a refrigerator

I spent at least a one or two hundred miles a day on interstates. At highway speed, you'd give the gas truck a some throttle, and it would just make noise. Give the 7.3 throttle, it would actually pull. The 7.3 also got better mileage

Not knockin the Triton engines, they are good too

As for the 460, they are not bad, but then you have to deal with more of the "little" things that break with a 20 yr old truck.

For some reason, almost all of the RVs that come into our dealership have V10s. Not sure why that is. Maybe people don't wan't to deal with the extra cost, maintenance, and noise of a diesel?

Anyways, just my $.02
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You don't have to plug a V10 in to make sure it's going to start in the morning. You don't have to look for stations that carry diesel 100 miles from the nearest town in the middle of Wyoming.

Logistically, I like the V10.... For driveability, there's no beating the PSD.

The 460 should not even be considered... ESPECIALLY with a 3-speed. It's going to rev to high heaven, make lots of noise, and eat fuel like it's going out of style.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldkid View Post
I am concerned about power in the mountains of NM and CO
Hi, old Kid, and Welcome to TheDieselStop.

If the diesel otherwise meets your needs, then grab it. They are rare. They cost about $5,000 more than the same motorhome with the V-10 back around 2001, and they were worth every penny of the extra cost.

The stock 7.3L will be like the Rolls Royce engines of the 1950s - remember those days? - it has adequate power. Because of the turbo, it won't fall off in power much as you gain altitude. So at 7,500 to 10,000 feet ski areas, it will still be hauling, while the non-turbo gassers will be gasping for air and sucking up the gasoline.

Plus, if you want more than adequate power, you can hot rod the engine to produce about 20 percent more power/torque without reducing the longivity or reliability of the engine. Install gauges, intake and exhaust mods, then add a towing tune to add about 60 horses to the stable. Those mods turned my adequate F-250 into a hotrod towing machine that is much more of a pleasure to drive while towing my 8,000-pound RV trailer in those same mountains west of Denver and around of Taos.

If you read motorhome and RV magazines, then you've seen lots of ads for Banks hot rodding systems. Those are all fine and good, but they cost about twice as much as you can do it yourself with parts from some of the sponsors of TheDieselStop. If you can install stuff yourself, then you can mod that motorhome to match my hot rod towing machine for about:
$225 Ford AIS intake
$120 Walker BTM muffler installed by a muffler shop
$350 ISSPRO pyrometer, boost and tranny temp gauges in a mount from DieselManor.
$290 F-5 chip with stock and 60-horse towing tune from DP-Tuner. For another $45 you can add an exhaust brake (decel) tune that you will love for comin' down the mountain.
-----
$985 plus shipping, so a hair over $1,000 plus a weekend of wrench and wire twisting. And then you will LOVE your PSD.
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PSD? That's shorthand for our beloved 7.3L PowerStroke Diesel.
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My Sierra Blanca in the sig pic was a great pickup for 11.5 years. I sold it a coupla years ago. I drove a hand-me-down 2003 F-150 SuperCrew 4.6L 2V for a while, but it was unacceptable for towing more than a rowboat. Replacement is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew Lariat that tows my 5,000-pound TT like a dream.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post

If the diesel otherwise meets your needs, then grab it. They are rare.
No kidding! Our shop works on quite a few, and I don't think I have ever seen a 7.3 in a motorhome. They have all had V10s.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Plus, if you want more than adequate power, you can hot rod the engine to produce about 20 percent more power/torque without reducing the longivity or reliability of the engine.
I can't let that go unchallenged. I might have let it go if you said it didn't cause immediate failures.

Anyone with an engineering background knows that if you increase output reliability and longevity go down. Increasing 20% won't cut the life in half, most likely, but it will have an effect on longevity and reliability.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't think I have ever seen a 7.3 in a motorhome...
The '99-'03 7.3L diesel was available for special order from a few of the high-end makers if mini motorhomes - on the Econoline cutaway chassis . Lazy Daze for one (no, they don't now offer a diesel in their new models). But back then the word "diesel" was still scary because of the screw-up GM had in the early 1980s with their gasoline engines converted to diesel. Lots of those folks that could afford $100,000 or more for a mini motorhome had owned diesel-powered Cadillacs that were unreliable and cost a fortune to get rid of. Plus diesel was smelly and noisy and generally available only at truckstops, so they just didn't fit in with the image of the city woman who often had veto power on the purchase of the motorhome.

The 7.3L diesel in a mini motorhome is not identical to the ones in the pickups of the same year. The pickups included a charge air cooler (so-called intercooler), but there wasn't room in the van engine bay to include the plumbing for the CAC so it was omitted.

Last edited by SmokeyWren; 01-14-2010 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:16 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mark Kovalsky View Post
Anyone with an engineering background knows that if you increase output reliability and longevity go down.
Theoretically, yes, if you increase (and use) max output. But if you drive by the gauges and never allow more than 1,250° pre-turbo exhaust gas temp (EGT) or 25 PSI turbo boost, there is no reason for increased wear and tear on the engine when towing or hauling, compared to what it was designed to produce.

We're not talking about producing more power at the 2,600 RPM peak of the RPM/horsepower curve, but down around 1,800 to 2,000 RPM where you need it it for climbing slight grades at highway speeds without the 4R100 tranny downshifting out of overdrive. At that RPM, the tuned engine is not producing all the horses it was designed to produce at the peak of the HP curve, but a lot more than it would produce at that same RPM with the stock tune.

The following chart is hard to read, but it shows the HP and torque curves of the 2001 7.3L engine. Notice it has 250 horses at 2,600 RPM, but only about 190 horses at 2,000 RPM while maintaining torque at almost 500 lb/ft. So if you pump up the horses at 2,000 RPM by 20 percent, you'll have about 230 horses along with about 500 lb/ft of torque - still less than the peak power of the stock engine.


Therefore, no increased wear and tear compared to winding the engine up to its stock peak output.

Ford engineers say my engine has a life expentancy of 250,000 miles given "normal" maintenance, care, and driving. But my engine gets excellent maintenance and is never allowed to get too hot or produce too much turbo boost, so I expect around 400,000 miles out of it before it needs any sort of overhaul.

Granted, when using all the 60 extra horses of a 60-tow tune for mountain climbing, you''ll be using more than the max of 250 stock horses. That's when you have to use your gauges and never allow more than the red lines for EGT or boost. The pre-turbo EGT redline of 1,250° means you can't use all 310 horses for more than a few moments, then you have to back out of the go pedal and maintain between 1,200° and 1,250° until you top out at the top of the pass.

So in that case of using all 310 horses to force the 14,000-pound motorhome up the mountain while downshifted and running at 2,600 to over 3,000 RPM, you'll probably slightly reduce the total life of the engine, but not by a significant amount if you drive by the gauges. But using more than the stock 250 horses for more than a few moments each time should be for only a tiny percentage of the total miles on the engine.

Granted, if you're an idjit that insists on pedal to the metal all the way to the top of the pass and to heck with the gauges, then your hot-rodded engine won't be long for this world.

Last edited by SmokeyWren; 01-14-2010 at 08:29 PM. Reason: Fix confusion between '00 and '01 HP.
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Smokey Vs Mark.......ding ding!...lol

But to the original post, go diesel and you will not regret it. The 7.3 is an amazing motor and I will keep chuging along as long as possible with them!!!
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
The '99-'03 7.3L diesel was available for special order from a few of the high-end makers if mini motorhomes - on the Econoline cutaway chassis . Lazy Daze for one (no, they don't now offer a diesel in their new models). But back then the word "diesel" was still scary because of the screw-up GM had in the early 1980s with their gasoline engines converted to diesel. Lots of those folks that could afford $100,000 or more for a mini motorhome had owned diesel-powered Cadillacs that were unreliable and cost a fortune to get rid of. Plus diesel was smelly and noisy and generally available only at truckstops, so they just didn't fit in with the image of the city woman who often had veto power on the purchase of the motorhome.

The 7.3L diesel in a mini motorhome is not identical to the ones in the pickups of the same year. The pickups included a charge air cooler (so-called intercooler), but there wasn't room in the van engine bay to include the plumbing for the CAC so it was omitted.
It is funny you mention the early 80's Chevy flop. The problems I had with my 6.0 and the trouble others are having with the 6.4s brings that engine to mind.

I have pulled a 15k and 18k 5th wheel campers all over the north west working on pipeline and you can't beat the 7.3 for durability and mileage is good also. I would get between 12 and 15 mpg depending on how hard I ran it. A very mild tuner will help driveability and fuel mileage. I have never had a major engine failure running a tuner (I only use a very low setting when towing anything over about 20hp or so made the oil sample come back with soot in it at 5k) and have well over 350k to 400k on couple of them, But I always serviced the trucks at 5k, drained the oil out of the top end and pulled oil samples at every change. The diesel availability can be an issue, But all of us had 100 gal dragup tanks.

The tranny is going to be the weak link or even more so the TC. We always replaced the stock trans with a heavy duty rebuild and good TC at the first sign of trouble. I have used BTS, Brian's Truck Shop, transmissions for the last 2 and have had very good service out of them. An aux cooler and changing the trans oil every 60k (I run synthetic oil) or so will help.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I have a 02 7.3 and I love it. No its not in a motor home but I could see where it would be just as satisfying if it were. I have heard mix emotions on the fuel economy of the 7.3 but I am extremely satisfied. I don't haul a lot of heavy loads only about once a month Ill make about a 200 mile round trip to pick up some metal for my dads business and even with the trailer loaded down I still have a half a tank (not sure how many gallon tank it is its a 3/4 ton) and my truck is pretty much bone stock. I dont know much about the other two engines and trannys except for my friend bought like a 99-01 (not sure exact year) v10 triton and we used it to haul a 25ft travel trailer to mud nationals one year and we filled up when we left and only went 56 miles and we had to fill up again ( needless to say he traded when he got back) hope this helps
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mark Kovalsky View Post
I can't let that go unchallenged. I might have let it go if you said it didn't cause immediate failures.

Anyone with an engineering background knows that if you increase output reliability and longevity go down. Increasing 20% won't cut the life in half, most likely, but it will have an effect on longevity and reliability.

I see your point BUT the increased output is due to making the motor, at least in part, run more efficiently and more like it was designed. With this in mind, adding only 20% more power may actually increase longevity and reliability.
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