Family member is looking at Ford E350, 12/15 passenger vans. Mostly for family use, with some light towing (utility trailer, popup). They cannot afford a newer vehicle, which also means they cannot afford costly repairs or downtime for repairs.
In general, which should be a better vehicle to pick (both being reasonably maintained and in good cosmetic shape): A) a 2002, 7.3 diesel with 235,000 miles, used for towing(road miles), at $7500; or B), a 2006, 5.4 gas with 100,000 miles, no hitch, at $9500?
Are there enough benefits to the diesel engine package to pick the older van?
I have offered my advise, but would like to get some outside opinions.
Thanks in advance.
2000 Holiday Rambler AlumiLite 28'
2004 Silverado 2500HD, 4X4, Crew Cab, Duramax/Allison
Reese Dual Cam
Two 6 Volt Batteries with Control Switch
I like the 7.3L. That said.... owning an older diesel isn't for somebody who isn't decently familiar with them. The 7.3 certainly has a quirks. It requires a special coolant additive, and if that hasn't been used cavitation can get so bad the engine will hydrolock. The Camshaft Position Sensor is notorious for suddenly causing a complete loss of engine operation. The 7.3L also goes through periodic flow plugs, and occasionally injectors. Expect to pay for 3-6 hours of labor each time that happens, unless he is a DIY person.
Also, the 7.3L has an appetite for stock Torque Converters, so if that hasn't been upgraded yet, it's only a matter of time.
The 5.4L is a decent engine, for your friend's, is probably a better choice, because there isn't much that goes wrong on those motors that'll leave you stranded. It'll sound like it's working harder, and won't have a much pull off the line, and will be shifting through the gears on hills. But it'll do it reliably.
My vote goes to the 2006 5.4 gas. If it doesn't have a hitch then I guess it doesn't have a trans cooler either. If they tow lite like you mentioned they should be OK. But keep the cooler in mind just in case. Heat is the biggest killer of transmissions.
We traded our truck and fifth wheel for a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4. (8-30-13)Haven't used them in almost a year.
ALong with, but do not quote me, the newer 5.4 may have the same ponies altho a bit less in the torque dept. So overall, pulling etc may be on par to slightly less with the 5.4. You may also have a 5 sp auto, again, do not quote me vs a 4 sp with the diesel. A lot of things could be better overall with the new one vs the older one.
05 Chev CC D/A LS Dooley
92 Navistar dump truck, 7.3L 7 sp, 4.33 gears with a Detroit no spin
00 Chev C2500, V5700, 4L80E, 4.10, base truck, no options!
92 Red-e-haul 12K equipment trailer
3 Single axle utility trailers
A friend of mine has the e350 extended van with the 7.3, he hates it in comparison to his F350 with 7.3. Says there is no comparison. I'd go for the newer version. Also, remember that those vans have a relatively higher accident and fatality record, some areas are banning them for school use. I suspect that they are a little too big for the chassis, they are very easy to overload. The light gas engine will make it a better balanced vehicle, and a lot lighter.