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Open Roads Forum  >  Class C Motorhomes

 > Ford V10, Chevy or Mercedes 3.0L Diesel Engine

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RV_Swede

Roseville

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Posted: 08/02/12 10:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mlts22 wrote:

This is more of a ford/chevy/dodge question. I posted a similar question a couple days ago, and got some good answers.

Strangely enough, you generally don't find Chevy chassis that often. You usually encounter E-350 and E-450 ones, and the Sprinter ones.

As for manufacture differences, I highly recommend looking at models. You will see fit/finish differences, arrangement of plumbing and electrical stuff, quality of appliances used, even stuff like the types of handles used on storage compartments.

Of course, make sure to see about Azdel siding. Delamination will trash your rig's value very quickly.


What type of siding do you recommend? Please treat me a a beginner and load me with information! Thank you!

RV_Swede

Roseville

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Posted: 08/02/12 10:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mlts22 wrote:

This is more of a ford/chevy/dodge question. I posted a similar question a couple days ago, and got some good answers.

Strangely enough, you generally don't find Chevy chassis that often. You usually encounter E-350 and E-450 ones, and the Sprinter ones.

As for manufacture differences, I highly recommend looking at models. You will see fit/finish differences, arrangement of plumbing and electrical stuff, quality of appliances used, even stuff like the types of handles used on storage compartments.

Of course, make sure to see about Azdel siding. Delamination will trash your rig's value very quickly.


What siding do you recommend?

PhilR.

Central Texas

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Posted: 08/03/12 10:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RV_Swede wrote:

I don't know much about the Ford V10 or Mercedes 3.0L Diesel. How reliable are these engines? How many miles can you put on these engines? Cost of maintaining these engines?


The Mercedes diesel engine is one of the most reliable engines ever made, probably because the company has spend most of the 20th century developing them. There are a great many instances of their diesel engines going over a million miles. The Sprinter specialist that takes care of ours also takes care of a number of vans that are over 500k miles (not hard to do here in Texas).

Maintenance is very easy, and doesn't cost a huge amount over what a Ford would cost. Air, oil, fuel, and cabin filters are easily found, and if you can't find them locally, you can just mail-order them. OEM oil filters from Germany cost around $12, and have to replaced every 10k miles. Fuel filter costs about $40, and needs to be replaced every 20k miles. Remember that a diesel fuel filter is a larger and more complicated item than a gasoline filter. Fan belt costs $35 (we carry a spare, just in case). It does take 13 quarts of a specific oil (I use Mobil 1), so have a big catch pan when you change it. BTW, I've yet to see a vehicle whose oil is easier to change than the Sprinter's.

Diesel fuel also has some things to consider that are lacking in gasoline. You might need to occasionally add fuel stabilizer to prevent algae and water build-up. You can get this at your local Walmart. Blinker fluid is a bit more expensive as well.

Brake parts can be ordered at your local auto parts place, and evidently are that much more than domestic brands, according to our mechanic.

ron.dittmer

Northern Illinois

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Posted: 08/03/12 10:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gerrym51 wrote:

read Ron Dittmer's excellent post on this subject
The most important consideration in selecting a motor home is how it is constructed. What methods are built to last, and what methods are built to be most affordable.

Some motor home manufactures offer different levels of quality through their various model lines. Instead of providing a list of brands to consider, it is best to identify what "Better" is.

When shopping for a motor home, don't get distracted with what I call "Eye Candy" and/or "Square Footage". You want to pay close attention to how the house is constructed. Water penetration is the number one killer of motor homes, rotting them away long before anything is worn out. Once water gets in, it is like termites. By the time you realize there is a problem, a lot of damage has already occurred. Mold can also form and then you have a health hazard. My advise focuses on identifying a Reliably Well Sealed motor home.

#1 BEST (Very Expensive, Can Be 1.75 to 2 times the cost of Second Best)
NO structural seam work. The brand Coach House is a fine example. It is seamless, made from a mold. The only places where water can leak is cutouts for windows, door, roof-top vents and a/c unit, all of which are in areas of very low stress. Because they have a seamless shell, these motor homes are limited in size.

#2 SECOND BEST
Common, Affordable, & comes in Many Sizes so this is my main focus
I own an example of this type. My Rig Here manufactured by Phoenix USA.
Made in sections, but assembled in a way that greatly reduces the threat of water. Here are the good things you want to look for.

a) Structural Seams Away From Corners
When a motor home is driven, the house bounces, resonates, shakes, and leans, many thousands of times. Corner seams see greater stresses than seams located elsewhere. Corner seams are more easily split, especially when the caulk gets brittle with age & exposure to the sun. One extremely bad bump in the road can instantly breach a corner seam. Seams hold up much better when they are brought in from the corners in lower stressed areas.

b) A Seamless Over-The-Van Front Cap
A huge bed above the van’s roof is the most vulnerable area of a motor home. No matter how well they are made, that long frontal over-hang resonates when the RV is driven. It is common for seams to split there, most troublesome with age & exposure to the elements. The small front aerodynamic cap of a B+ design eliminates the overhang which eliminates most of the resonation, along with most seam work.

There are a few conventional “C” Designs (big over-van bed) where that area is seamless. If you absolutely must have that huge bed, then look for a seamless bucket-like design. Some manufactures as of late offer a particial bucket design with fewer seams located in less-stressed areas. The Nexus Phantom is one such example. That seems to be a reasonable compromise. If you plan to accommodate more than 2 people, that extra bed would be extremely important.

c) A Crowned Roof
Rain and snow melt runs off a crowned roof. A flat roof will sag over time, then water puddles around heavy roof-top items like the a/c unit. Water eventually finds it's way inside after the caulk has dried out from age & sun, as well as fatigue from the change in seasons.

d) Rolled-Over-The-Edge seamless Fiberglass Roof Sheathing
A single sheet of fiberglass that rolls over the right & left sides of the roof, down the wall a few inches. The fiberglass sheathing holds up better than roofs made of sheet rubber or thin plastic called TPO, which require more attention to keep your RV well protected.

e) A 5 Sided Rear Wall Cap
This 5 sided back wall moves the seams around to the sides to areas of much less stress.

Potentially Troublesome Construction
Try to avoid this if possible. Entry level motor homes are made with seams in corners and finished off with trim. They are most affordable, and come in all sizes. If considering this type, keep in-mind they require more regular care with bi-annual inspections. Plan to use a caulking gun now and then. When buying a used one, consider that you really don't know how well the previous owner maintained it. Buying new or used, that construction method will be counting on you to be a good non-neglectful owner.

There are also rare exception like the Lazy Daze which has seam work in the corners, but the substructure and sealing method is of the highest quality that it holds up like a seamless body. It's excellent sectional construction methods are not commonly found in other brands. I am no expert on this, but I'd give it a #1.5 Almost Like Best

About The Chassis
The most popular is the Ford E-Series with the V10 engine. The Sprinter diesel is a popular alternative to the E350 in the smaller sizes. The GM chassis is not popular, but is a very good choice for the right application. Any of those three brands since 1998 are real good, new or used. If you plan to tow a car or heavy trailer, be aware that the Sprinter is the least powered chassis. People who tow with a Sprinter, take it slower.

If considering a recent “small” class B+/C motor home, here is a comparison between the two main contenders, the Sprinter with the V6 diesel engine and the Ford E350 with the V10 gasoline engine.

Advantages Of The Sprinter With Diesel Engine
- Offers a 35% improvement in fuel economy over the Ford-V10, when both are loaded and driven identically.
- More ergonomic driver compartment with more leg room.
- Comfort continues with a car-like feel & quiet ride.
- A grander view out the windshield
- Made by Mercedes which people are attracted to.

Advantages Of The Ford E350 with V10 Engine
- Given identical motor homes both brand and model, the Ford is around $13,000 MSRP cheaper
- The Ford V10 engine has 50% more horse power and torque
- The Ford E350 chassis handles 1430 pounds more weight.
- The E350 is able to tow a heavier load.
- The E350 rear axle is significantly wider which translates to better stability.
- In most places traveled, gasoline costs less than diesel fuel
- The Sprinter diesel has limited mechanical service shops around North America
- The Sprinter diesel is typically outfitted with a propane generator. Propane is a critical fuel for RV operations, and generally needs to be rationed when dry camping.
- This Next Point Is Debatable But Still Worth Noting....The V6 Sprinter diesel engine is not allowed to idle for extended periods. This limitation is detrimental when you need a/c but there are generator restrictions or you are dangerously low on propane, or you have a mechanical failure with the generator or roof a/c. The Ford V10 can safely idle for hours on end, heating, cooling, and battery charging, all valuable if you have a baby, pets, or health/respiratory issues.

You decide what your priorities are, and pick the appropriate chassis. There are some really sweet motor homes being built exclusively on the Sprinter chassis, such as the Winnebago Via, View and View Profile. Others like Phoenix USA build their model 2350 and 2400 on both the Sprinter and Ford E350. They will even build it on the heaviest duty E450 upon request for a nominal fee. People who request an E450 for a small motor home, tow heavier things like for example, a multi-horse trailer. You can even special order a E350 & E450 4x4.

There is so much cool stuff offered in recent years, and even more anticipated with the upcoming Ford T-Series chassis. The general public hopes it will become available for the RV industry. It is kind-of like a Sprinter in size and fuel economy, but hopeful to be much more affordable.

The Chevy GMC 3500/4500 Chassis
I think these should be more popular than they are. I assume it has to do with the cost of the chassis. The Chevy/GMC offers more interior comfort than the Ford, but not as much as the Sprinter. It's power & weight ratings are a little less than their Ford counter-parts making them a great chassis for all but the heaviest of class Cs. They are also a little better on fuel consumption. One thing to keep in-mind, if you are counting inches to store your rig, the Chevy/GMC adds an additional 9" to the front bumper compared to the Ford. I learned that researching rigs that could fit in my 25'-0" deep garage. By default, the Ford gave me 9 more inches to work with.

Engine Power Ratings of Ford, Sprinter, & GMC/Chevy
Ford - 6.8L-V10, 305hp, 420ft
Srinter Diesel - 3.0L-V6, 188hp, 325ft
GMC/Chevy - 6.0L-V8, 323hp, 373ft

* This post was last edited 08/05/12 05:03am by ron.dittmer *   View edit history


2007 Phoenix Cruiser model 2350, with 2006 Jeep Liberty in-tow


rvten

Crossville,TN

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Posted: 08/03/12 11:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wish they would put the V-10 3valve engine in the E 450. Would like a few more Ponys under the hood.


Tom & Bonnie
Crossville, TN.
Aspect 29H 2008 Type C
Ford Flex SEL 2010
There is NO B+


mlts22

Austin, Texas

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Posted: 08/04/12 02:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What I wouldn't mind seeing is an EcoBoost V10. I like the flat torque/HP curve of the v6, combined with the engine not losing horsepower in higher altitudes due to the forced air.

ron.dittmer

Northern Illinois

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Posted: 08/04/12 07:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rvten wrote:

I wish they would put the V-10 3 valve engine in the E450. Would like a few more Ponys under the hood.
We tow a 4300 pound Jeep Liberty nearly all the time. Our E350 6.8L-V10 has plenty of power. Actually I've wondered if we could have gotten by with the 5.4L-V8.

I suppose it depends on where you came from. Our old motor home HERE had a 2.4L carbureted engine with 96hp. We were able to average just over 20mpg on trips when not pushing the rig hard. But the rig was a slug.

According to Wikepedia, here is Ford's engine power ratings.
5.4L-V8 - 255hp 323ft (similar to the GMC/Chevy)
6.8L-V10 - 305hp 420ft

Ford's website HERE, states MSRP on the 5.4L-V8 is $1,185 cheaper than the 6.8L-V10. But more curious to me is the fuel economy with the 5.4L-V8. A few people have stated there is hardly a difference, but I find that statement difficult to accept.

For reference to the curious, here are others chassis options

Sprinter as Stated Here
3.0L-V6 Diesel - 188hp 325ft

GMC/Chevy as Stated Here
6.0L-V8 - 323hp 373ft

* This post was last edited 08/05/12 05:03am by ron.dittmer *   View edit history

rvten

Crossville,TN

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Posted: 08/04/12 09:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My last MH had the Vortec 8.1 and can tell the difference out west where we are now.

jamstoyz

Chesterfield MI

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Posted: 08/04/12 10:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have owned both diesels and gassers in my regular vehicles. I have 2 diesels right now. A 2004 Dodge Sprinter work van and a Ford F250 Diesel with over 500 hp and 1100 ft pds of torque. The Sprinter has the 2.7 mercedes motor and havent had any problems yet. You can learn alot about these motors and everything else on this website http://sprinter-source.com
Because the motors on the Sprinters are Mercedes, they cost an arm and a leg to fix but you should see an average of around 17 to 20 mpg with it.
My Chevy chassis mh gets 9 to 10 mpgs. I do like the Chevy chassis better than the Fords because of the ride and comfort.


2001 Gulfstream Yellowstone 29'
1999 Fleetwood Prowler TT 24' (sold)
2004 Fleetwood Gearbox Toyhauler 28' (sold)

jamstoyz

Chesterfield MI

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Posted: 08/04/12 10:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

(ron.dittmer)quote
One thing to keep in-mind, if you are counting inches to store your rig, the Chevy/GMC adds an additional 9" to the front bumper compared to the Ford. I learned that researching rigs that could fit in my 25'-0" deep garage. By default, the Ford gave me 9 more inches to work with.

Also the height of the Chevy's cab is higher so you get about 3" less of head space in the cab over bed. I measured a Ford and my Chevy and the Ford had more head room up top in the cab over bed.

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