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Topic: 454 engine vs. 460 engine

Posted By: tonyh on 10/24/04 09:46am

I know this is just a matter of opinion but I am looking at motorhome and see most come with a 454 Chev or 460 Ford. I am wondering which is the better engine as far as maintenance and durability. Again I realize it is just a matter of opinion but would like to hear some comments.

Posted By: patnchris on 10/24/04 09:57am

well, as far as durability.....I can tell you that the 460 that came in my MH had little or no maintenance..for the first, 42K miles of it's life. It also pulled way over is capabilities.....under the circumstances, the fact that it lived to 49K miles, is pretty now that I own it,I suspect that the new 460, that is in the coach, will last so long, that should I decide to keep it, until I die, I will never have to worry about an engine replacement.....[emoticon].....Pat

Patrick and Christine
Dudley, Summer, and Sabastian, the cocker spaniels
2007 Ford F150 4X4 Max tow package
Flagstaff 8526 RLWS Classic Ultralight.

Posted By: Sully2 on 10/24/04 10:12am


I know this is just a matter of opinion but I am looking at motorhome and see most come with a 454 Chev or 460 Ford. I am wondering which is the better engine as far as maintenance and durability. Again I realize it is just a matter of opinion but would like to hear some comments.

Fords been noted to have exhaust manifold proeblems that MIGHT even crack the head. Chevys CAN ..flat out EAT spark plug wires and if a driver really has his head WAY up his ( fill in the blank..[emoticon]..) he can run it hot enough that it will flat
"lock up". ( Too much hear being held down in the block "webs" and thusly sends it into the main bearings and COOKS oil right into a "grease")

Ive had 454' buddies have had 460's...nothing wrong with either ENGINE... ( but I wont have 16 inch tires on a Ford chassis on a class A..nope)

Posted By: BaldyD1 on 10/24/04 10:12am

With the correct maintenance and care [they have similar requirements], both engines will last a long time and many miles in similar length and weight MHs, so it's a toss-up.

Note: Due to invalid formatting, all formatting has been ignored.

Speedy, Jackie & Dusty {Shih-Tzu/Maltese}
2006 Kountry Star KSDP 3912
2005 Saturn Vue (dinghy)

Posted By: Ralph Woods on 10/24/04 10:25am

I have 88000 miles on my 454, it uses one quart of oil every 1800 miles and allways has. The moter is the only thing that I have never had to fix. 1885 Pace Arrow.

Posted By: O'Neill on 10/24/04 10:39am

Im not gonna get into a "bow tie" vs. "blue oval" arguement, I have owned 3 motorhomes so far, one with a 360 dodge, and 2 with the 460, not by design, all were used mh's when i bought them. I have not had any exhaust manifold problems to speak of, the first 460 was in a 1984 Tioga and it did eat alittle oil. My current 460 has no problems.
I agree with one of the other posts, if you take care of either you will be fine.

1996 34' Rexhall Aerbus XL3400, F-53 w/Tag-Axle
Banks Powerpack and Transcommand.
FMCA F46484s

Posted By: Smokeeater on 10/24/04 10:54am

Have never had a 460,now have V-10.No problems with it(second one).Did have a 1988 Winnebago with a 454.Constantly smoked wires until it had a catastrophic failure going up Fancy Gap with 48,000mi. Took 1/2hour to clean parts from I77.Not pretty.

2003 Daybreak

Posted By: macira on 10/24/04 11:17am

You might note that there are 2 varieties of 454 Ci GM engines. The pre 1995 or 1996 and the vortec 7.3liter(thats 454ci in french) They are indeed very different beasts.
The 460 was around a long time and is a strong old beast.

Mac USAF retired
2001 Seaview 32 ft model 8311
Ford f53
2007 HHR
Brake buddy
Falcon2 Towbar

Posted By: LAJERHOFF on 10/24/04 11:24am

I have 61,000 mi and it purrrrs like a kitten, but I do the maint on a reg schedule and watch the oil levels on trips. I also don't overwork the unit on trips. If you take care of it, it will take care of you no matter 460 or 454.

Jerry/Laura and Shooter (Jack Russell)
1994 36ft Monaco Dynasty
1994 Jeep Cherokee">
BPOE #2444
FMCA F314862

Posted By: phillyg on 10/24/04 12:35pm

They're both good engines and they can both have exhaust manifold problems that aftermarket header systems will fix.

--2005 Ford F350 Lariat Crewcab 6.0, 4x4, 3.73 rear
--2016 Montana 3711FL, 40'
--2014 Wildcat 327CK, 38' SOLD

Posted By: dolphin1 on 10/24/04 01:38pm

Both engines are good but most RV'er soon found just as race car drivers, that they could be turned into a thing of beauty, with a few modifications. The factory units would last three years or 36,000 miles with out any modifications, if you take it easy and don't tax the engine to it's limits, hard not to do on a MotorHome climbing steep grades or sitting in stop and go traffic. So with a few modifications we found we can get more Hp while reducing killer heat, thous extending the life of the engine while taxing it to it's full potential.

By adding after market products including better synthetic lubricants we have turned a good engine into a more reliable, longer lasting and higher performance engine. One that will last 100,000 miles or more without having to baby it.

Dan from Clovis, CA.
1996 Dolphin 35' tag axle
460 F-53 super duty Ford chassis/one slide
Banks power pack, trans module
PML covers,Air lift air bags
full R/P synthetics,IPD Bushings
Bilsteins and K&N air filter
Safe-T-Plus steer shock
98 Honda CR-V toad

Posted By: ScottnSherrie on 10/24/04 02:03pm

My Old Gal has a 460 with an exhaust manifold problem as mentioned earlier. I have a big crack, 1/8 inch wide and about 2 inches long on top, almost all the way to the back, on the passenger side. The Thorley headers will go on this winter, along with taking off all that smog pump stuff and installing new valve cover gaskets.

I have over 80K on mine and it doesn't do too bad. I believe that having a carburated engine and only a 3 speed transmission does have a negative impact on cruising speed and fuel mileage.

88 Gulf Stream 34' Sun Vista, Ford 460, Edelbrock Perfomer carb, Thorley headers
Ford F-250 crew cab 4X4, 6.0 turbo diesel
complete roof rebuild
daughter 19, son 16
US Army Desert Storm vets (both of us)
left: The Ol' Gal right: DW with White Lightnin'

Posted By: fishboat1 on 10/24/04 06:46pm

I have had both engines in various motorhomes and would not recomend either the non Vortec 454 or 460. I also had the Dodge 440 which I would also not recomend. Among numerous other troubles the exhaust manifold problems and really poor mileage ,6mpg average, was the most frequent trouble. The Vortec 454 is a exception regarding any trouble and the mileage was OK, 8-9 mpg on a 1998 29 foot Sea Breeze and trouble free for the 2 years that I owned it.

Starting in 1999 the 6.8 liter V10 was introduced in Ford and the 8.1 liter was introduced in Workhorse. I would try to purchase a chassis with one of those engines or the Vortec 454. JMO and 2 cents worth.

Good luck.

Mike H

2007 Allegro Bay 34XB FRED
2002 Dodge Dakota 4 wheel drive Toad 4.7 v8
Four Winns fishing boat

Posted By: mr. ed on 10/25/04 08:02pm

I have no experience with Ford engines (having been a GM fan for many years) But I can say that I'm pleased with my current 454 powered MH. At 47,000 miles and 14 years old she actually seems to run better with time. For example, this year's smog test showed better results than the test two years previous. I've taken her on 2 cross-country trips and two trips half way across during the past 4 years. Oil usage is very minimal and I'm pleased with the fuel mileage. The engine is completely modifications anywhere. I've encountered no plug wire burning issues and an overheating problem I had a few years ago was cured with a new fan clutch. I use Mobil 1
synthetic oil and change it regularly. I think this engine may just outlast the coach.

Mr. Ed (fulltiming since 1987)
Life is fragile. Handle with prayer.

2007 Hitchhiker II LS Model 29.5 LKTG (sold)
2007 Dodge Ram 3500/6.7 CTD/QC/4X4/SB/SRW/6-speed man/Big Horn edition (sold)

Posted By: TimL on 10/26/04 08:22am

  • They both have exhaust manifold issues
  • Chevys seem to run hotter
  • Fords have issues with fuel pumps
  • Chevys have the notorious auto-park brake
  • Fords usually had smaller 16-inch wheels
  • Chevy used 19" wheels

When we were shopping, I came to the conclusion that they both had significant issues and therefore decided not to base my decision on 'just' the type of chassis.

Tim, Nita, Natalie (16 yrs), and Claire (13 yrs)
35-foot '91 Holiday Rambler 1000
F-53 with Mor-Ryde Tag Axle and Mor-Ryde Front Suspension Kit
1990 Mustang (5.0) Toad

Posted By: Clubmaxx on 10/24/04 08:30pm

I think the older 454 is actually easier to get mileage out of. I keep track of every mile and everything that goes into the tank and the crank. I average just under 9 mpg with a 36' and tags running at 17,500 lbs. No heavy money on cams, intakes or induction, just a few mods including headers, ignition, cool air box and headers. Only carb work so far has been rejetting. I still have the T-400 with a shift kit but would like to try a beefed up R-700 but don't think I'd get money out of it anyway. I agree if you can afford the later W series chassis and an 8.1 you may have a better rig but then you have to watch your CCC. W-22 chassis sometimes have been overbuilt and have problems loading. For my purposes the P-30 actually works better but I don't use my rig like most but I can actually carry more in it.

Good luck!

'84 Titan 36' 454, Thorleys, Monroes, Bilstein Steering stabilizer, and 16-months of rebuilding inside and out. Check out the whole rebuild project HERE.

Posted By: Trainman2 on 10/26/04 03:21pm

Have owned both in MHs. Both good engines, but heat is a real big problem on the 454. My current 460 has the full Banks system and runs cool even towing up hill, couldn't do that with the 454 without running up the engine temp. I'm very happy with it.

Rick & Sue Deming
Petie (Dorkshire Terrier)
'98 Gulfstream 8325/full Banks
Saturn SW2

Posted By: B's Bunch on 10/26/04 05:14pm

Right on Sully2

Larry,Brenda,Travis,Jarred & MEME the Boston Terror"> TheBunch 2011 American Coach Revolution 42T"> The Double Wide

Posted By: LarryFR on 10/26/04 05:26pm


Your answers seem to be inconclusive. That is because these engines and transmissions year to year are very comparable.

The difference the chassis might be more important. Before the early '90s the Ford engine came in a chassis made by John Deere. This chassis had 19.5 wheels and tires like the Chevy. In the early '90s Ford introduced their own chassis. Ford chassis have 16" wheels and were equiped with 235 85R16 tires.

This difference in tires is the issue. The 16" tire is just not big enough for a Class A motorhome load.

I wouldn't buy a Class A motorhome that came with 16" wheels.

When the Ford V10 was introduced it came in a chassis with the 19.5" wheels and tires. This leveled the playing field again.

Now, Chevy engines come in Workhorse chassis and some of them come equiped with 22.5" wheels and tires. [emoticon]


'88 Bounder on a P30, Gear Vendors, Thorley and other goodies.

Posted By: TWOSTROKE on 10/26/04 10:01am

We have had Dodge 360's, 454 Chevy's and 460 fords and now V10's. The Chevy will normally get better fuel mileage but you must put headers on it or will have cracked manifolds. Buy the best high temp wires you can find and make sure the heat shields are in place. We never had any problems with heads or manifolds on the 460's. We used about a quart per 1500 miles on the Chevys but none on the Fords. We have two V10 Fords that have over 100,000 miles on them (in motorhomes) that have not had engine work other than plugs and normal service (one fuel pump and two coils on the one we bought used). I think either one can do you a good job if you know what to look for.

The Adam Family

2004 Gulf Stream Crescendo 330 Cat/Allison
1997 Eldorado Class C Ford V-10
2000 Custom Hauler - Fun Mover Ford V-10
Dodge Dually w/Cummins 5 Speed
2005 Yamaha FJR1300 & FZS600
Having fun along life's highway

Posted By: Joeput on 10/24/04 04:54pm

My old Mobile Travler had a454 My Winne Adventure has 460
Got 90000 mi before trading for the winne expect to do the same with the 460 with good maint.

Posted By: Clubmaxx on 10/24/04 05:58pm

I too have had both and built race engines in my younger days and spent over 30-years in the industry and don't have a clue as to what Sully is talking about. I've never seen a 454 or 460 for that matter boil the oil unless it spun at least one main bearing first. Both moters have their quirks but I prefer the 454 only because I think they are a little better on mileage and even though both have manifold problems, the Ford problem can cause head cracking if not cared for. The 454 will just eat your wires. Both problems will be cured with proper headers and exhaust. Both motors are capable of running very hot and not having major problems for a long time but a few mods can keep either one cool. Both need chassis mods to cure handling problems. Over all, it becomes a matter of simple preference. I had over 100K on my 460 in a "C" before it burned the exhaust valves. Not bad for a MH. Later 454s would be a bit peppier than the older ones. Take your pick!

Good luck!

Posted By: cc8375 on 10/24/04 06:09pm

Have had both, went over 90K with the 454. Yes I use oil about every
1800 miles and had exhaust manifold problems.(leaks) the 460 I kept
for about 52K it use oil every 1500 miles , from
28K on. Exhaust manifold problems - YES Headers resolved this problem
on both engines and was the cheapest way out. Both engines ran strong
with same gas mileage. NOw have a V-10 which runs great... AHHHH
I just need to get a 8.1 workhorse to check out!


Happy Rving! CC
2013 Newmar Canyon Star 3940
Toad- 2012 Honda CRV

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