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 > E350 vs E450 chassis pros and cons for a short 24 ft class C

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pnichols

The Other California

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Posted: 05/06/19 12:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

tatest wrote:

You want GVWR 1500 to 2000 pounds more than empty weight of the RV. Much less than 1500, you tend to overload. A whole lot more than 2000 pounds, ride will be rougher unless you can load close to GVWR; it is not like air suspensions, which adjust actual spring weights to a ride height.

There are not a lot of differences between to two chassis. E-350 once had a taller rear axle ratio, and option for 5.4 V8 rather than 6.8 V10. Now, with same engine, performance is equal. E-450 gets stronger rear brakes for extra 2000-3000 pounds of capacity, and higher recommended inflation pressures for same size tires.


Maybe Ford cheapened manufacturing costs up over the last 10 years or so by building both chassis closer to the same?

Way back when we bought our small Class C on it's optional-at-the-time E450 chassis, here's what some of the differences were between the E350 and E450:

1. The E450's frame was made from stronger steel (either thicker, or a tougher grade) than that of the E350.

2. The E450's rear differential ring gear was a larger diameter than that of the E350.

3. The E450's driveshaft was a larger diameter than that of the E350.

4. The E450's brakes were hydraulically boosted, while those of the E350 were vacuum boosted.

5. The E450's brake swept areas were greater than those of the E350.

6. The E450 had both front and rear anti-sway bars, while the E350 came with only a rear anti-sway bar.

7. The E450 had a front steering damper shock - the E350 may not have (I'm not sure about this).

8. The E450's rear stance (distance between the right & left dually sets) was around 3-5 inches wider than that of the E350.

9. The E450's rear differential ratio was 4:56, while that of the E350 was 4:12.

The above are why we wanted an E450 chassis under our 24V Itasca instead of the E350. We wanted chassis overkill - betting that it would offer improved long-term reliability, durability, handling, and safety in both highway and off-highway use.

Our small E450 based Class C does not rock when we walk around inside it (due to it's stiffer suspension and dual sway bars), it's handling in high cross-winds and when big-rig trucks pass is minimally affected (due to it's stiffer suspension, dual sway sway bars, and wider rear stance), it's braking is rock solid on downgrades (due to it's larger brakes combined with it's greater engine braking from to it's rear differential ratio), and the transmission never overheats on uphill grades or when slow-speed crawling along off-highway (helped by it's rear differential ratio under both conditions). We can load up our small motorhome as we wish, with never any fear of front or rear over-loading.

We have taken most of the harsh ride away from the rear leaf springs (due to weight under-loading) by installing frequency selective damping shocks back there. The original OEM shocks in the front are still good after 71K+ miles and the ride from the E450's front coil springs has never seemed harsh (which is at least partially due to the geometry of coil springs as contrasted to that of leaf springs).

I'm curious ... does Ford even still make available an E350 E-Series cutaway chassis for the few builders still wishing to offer some of their Class B+/C products based on the good-old E-Series chassis? How could someone even buy a U.S. sourced Class B+/C motorhome based on an "overkill" chassis anymore other than on the E450 chassis ... since IMHO the Mercedes 3500 and crop of newer U.S. OEM sourced delivery van cutaway chassis are not much "overkill" - under even a small Class B+/C.

In the expedition vehicle world there are of course plenty of $$$$ heavy duty chassis choices available under small coaches, but where does one go for an affordable small rig that still has a degree of "over-builtness" in it's running gear? IMHO, the E450 under a small motorhome offers this combination.


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

DrewE

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Posted: 05/07/19 10:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pnichols wrote:


I'm curious ... does Ford even still make available an E350 E-Series cutaway chassis for the few builders still wishing to offer some of their Class B+/C products based on the good-old E-Series chassis? How could someone even buy a U.S. sourced Class B+/C motorhome based on an "overkill" chassis anymore other than on the E450 chassis ... since IMHO the Mercedes 3500 and crop of newer U.S. OEM sourced delivery van cutaway chassis are not much "overkill" - under even a small Class B+/C.


Ford certainly still offers the E350 to motorhome builders...and others. Bear in mind that motorhomes are only a portion of the E series market; a lot of them go into things like ambulances, shuttle busses, smallish box trucks, etc. The lighter duty chassis is often a perfectly good match for some of those applications.

(Ford sells about 50,000 E series chassis per year. According to the RVIA, its members shipped a total of around 30,000 class C motorhomes in 2018, and 35,000 in 2017. It would seem that motorhomes probably account for maybe half of the E series chassis produced, at least in very rough terms.)





IAMICHABOD

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Posted: 05/07/19 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sales are also up for the Chevy Express,about 47%. The E series has dropped about 10% in the same period. A larger percentage of Express are now used for RVs.

That is why we are seeing More of them being offered by the major RV Manufactures.


2006 TIOGA 26Q CHEVY 6.0 WORKHORSE VORTEC
Former El Monte RV Rental

Buying A Rental Class C

Chevrolet Based Class C


rjstractor

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Posted: 05/07/19 08:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IAMICHABOD wrote:

Sales are also up for the Chevy Express,about 47%. The E series has dropped about 10% in the same period. A larger percentage of Express are now used for RVs.

That is why we are seeing More of them being offered by the major RV Manufactures.


Ahh, statistics, the tales they can tell, depending on which numbers we show and which we don't. While Express sales took a big jump for '18, sales of the identical GMC Savana fell even more, resulting in an increase overall of less than 2% for the model.

IAMICHABOD

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Posted: 05/07/19 09:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rjstractor wrote:

IAMICHABOD wrote:

Sales are also up for the Chevy Express,about 47%. The E series has dropped about 10% in the same period. A larger percentage of Express are now used for RVs.

That is why we are seeing More of them being offered by the major RV Manufactures.


Ahh, statistics, the tales they can tell, depending on which numbers we show and which we don't. While Express sales took a big jump for '18, sales of the identical GMC Savana fell even more, resulting in an increase overall of less than 2% for the model.


Ahh yes the tale you can tell, what you show and what you don't, you only quote without the CLICKY in the Quote and do not mention that the GMC Savanas are not made into cutaways for RV use as the Express are.

The point of the post is that there are a lot more CHEVY EXPRESSES sold thus More are available for the RV market.

rjstractor

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Posted: 05/08/19 07:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The numbers I referred to were from that page you linked. But nowhere in the page does it mention anything about sales figures specifically for cutaways for the Express. Ford discontinued the Econoline van a few years ago, so all 48000 E series sold in 2018 are cutaways. How many cutaways did GM sell in the same time period? I could not find any data on that. I think GM makes a great product in the Express, and many of the attributes of the GM chassis are superior compared with the E series, but overall they are way behind Ford in sales if you include the Transit. It will be interesting when the new 7.3 gas V8 comes out in the E series cutaway. It should outperform the 6.0 (which is a great engine but long in the tooth) and with the smaller overall size of the pushrod engine should open up much-needed leg and foot room in the E series driver's area.

Gjac

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Posted: 05/10/19 07:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pnichols wrote:

tatest wrote:

You want GVWR 1500 to 2000 pounds more than empty weight of the RV. Much less than 1500, you tend to overload. A whole lot more than 2000 pounds, ride will be rougher unless you can load close to GVWR; it is not like air suspensions, which adjust actual spring weights to a ride height.

There are not a lot of differences between to two chassis. E-350 once had a taller rear axle ratio, and option for 5.4 V8 rather than 6.8 V10. Now, with same engine, performance is equal. E-450 gets stronger rear brakes for extra 2000-3000 pounds of capacity, and higher recommended inflation pressures for same size tires.


Maybe Ford cheapened manufacturing costs up over the last 10 years or so by building both chassis closer to the same?

Way back when we bought our small Class C on it's optional-at-the-time E450 chassis, here's what some of the differences were between the E350 and E450:

1. The E450's frame was made from stronger steel (either thicker, or a tougher grade) than that of the E350.

2. The E450's rear differential ring gear was a larger diameter than that of the E350.

3. The E450's driveshaft was a larger diameter than that of the E350.

4. The E450's brakes were hydraulically boosted, while those of the E350 were vacuum boosted.

5. The E450's brake swept areas were greater than those of the E350.

6. The E450 had both front and rear anti-sway bars, while the E350 came with only a rear anti-sway bar.

7. The E450 had a front steering damper shock - the E350 may not have (I'm not sure about this).

8. The E450's rear stance (distance between the right & left dually sets) was around 3-5 inches wider than that of the E350.

9. The E450's rear differential ratio was 4:56, while that of the E350 was 4:12.

The above are why we wanted an E450 chassis under our 24V Itasca instead of the E350. We wanted chassis overkill - betting that it would offer improved long-term reliability, durability, handling, and safety in both highway and off-highway use.

Our small E450 based Class C does not rock when we walk around inside it (due to it's stiffer suspension and dual sway bars), it's handling in high cross-winds and when big-rig trucks pass is minimally affected (due to it's stiffer suspension, dual sway sway bars, and wider rear stance), it's braking is rock solid on downgrades (due to it's larger brakes combined with it's greater engine braking from to it's rear differential ratio), and the transmission never overheats on uphill grades or when slow-speed crawling along off-highway (helped by it's rear differential ratio under both conditions). We can load up our small motorhome as we wish, with never any fear of front or rear over-loading.

We have taken most of the harsh ride away from the rear leaf springs (due to weight under-loading) by installing frequency selective damping shocks back there. The original OEM shocks in the front are still good after 71K+ miles and the ride from the E450's front coil springs has never seemed harsh (which is at least partially due to the geometry of coil springs as contrasted to that of leaf springs).

I'm curious ... does Ford even still make available an E350 E-Series cutaway chassis for the few builders still wishing to offer some of their Class B+/C products based on the good-old E-Series chassis? How could someone even buy a U.S. sourced Class B+/C motorhome based on an "overkill" chassis anymore other than on the E450 chassis ... since IMHO the Mercedes 3500 and crop of newer U.S. OEM sourced delivery van cutaway chassis are not much "overkill" - under even a small Class B+/C.

In the expedition vehicle world there are of course plenty of $$$$ heavy duty chassis choices available under small coaches, but where does one go for an affordable small rig that still has a degree of "over-builtness" in it's running gear? IMHO, the E450 under a small motorhome offers this combination.
Phil, if you had to replace your 2005 unit with a newer one today which one would you choose?

pnichols

The Other California

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Joined: 04/26/2005

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Posted: 05/10/19 11:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gjac wrote:

pnichols wrote:

tatest wrote:

You want GVWR 1500 to 2000 pounds more than empty weight of the RV. Much less than 1500, you tend to overload. A whole lot more than 2000 pounds, ride will be rougher unless you can load close to GVWR; it is not like air suspensions, which adjust actual spring weights to a ride height.

There are not a lot of differences between to two chassis. E-350 once had a taller rear axle ratio, and option for 5.4 V8 rather than 6.8 V10. Now, with same engine, performance is equal. E-450 gets stronger rear brakes for extra 2000-3000 pounds of capacity, and higher recommended inflation pressures for same size tires.


Maybe Ford cheapened manufacturing costs up over the last 10 years or so by building both chassis closer to the same?

Way back when we bought our small Class C on it's optional-at-the-time E450 chassis, here's what some of the differences were between the E350 and E450:

1. The E450's frame was made from stronger steel (either thicker, or a tougher grade) than that of the E350.

2. The E450's rear differential ring gear was a larger diameter than that of the E350.

3. The E450's driveshaft was a larger diameter than that of the E350.

4. The E450's brakes were hydraulically boosted, while those of the E350 were vacuum boosted.

5. The E450's brake swept areas were greater than those of the E350.

6. The E450 had both front and rear anti-sway bars, while the E350 came with only a rear anti-sway bar.

7. The E450 had a front steering damper shock - the E350 may not have (I'm not sure about this).

8. The E450's rear stance (distance between the right & left dually sets) was around 3-5 inches wider than that of the E350.

9. The E450's rear differential ratio was 4:56, while that of the E350 was 4:12.

The above are why we wanted an E450 chassis under our 24V Itasca instead of the E350. We wanted chassis overkill - betting that it would offer improved long-term reliability, durability, handling, and safety in both highway and off-highway use.

Our small E450 based Class C does not rock when we walk around inside it (due to it's stiffer suspension and dual sway bars), it's handling in high cross-winds and when big-rig trucks pass is minimally affected (due to it's stiffer suspension, dual sway sway bars, and wider rear stance), it's braking is rock solid on downgrades (due to it's larger brakes combined with it's greater engine braking from to it's rear differential ratio), and the transmission never overheats on uphill grades or when slow-speed crawling along off-highway (helped by it's rear differential ratio under both conditions). We can load up our small motorhome as we wish, with never any fear of front or rear over-loading.

We have taken most of the harsh ride away from the rear leaf springs (due to weight under-loading) by installing frequency selective damping shocks back there. The original OEM shocks in the front are still good after 71K+ miles and the ride from the E450's front coil springs has never seemed harsh (which is at least partially due to the geometry of coil springs as contrasted to that of leaf springs).

I'm curious ... does Ford even still make available an E350 E-Series cutaway chassis for the few builders still wishing to offer some of their Class B+/C products based on the good-old E-Series chassis? How could someone even buy a U.S. sourced Class B+/C motorhome based on an "overkill" chassis anymore other than on the E450 chassis ... since IMHO the Mercedes 3500 and crop of newer U.S. OEM sourced delivery van cutaway chassis are not much "overkill" - under even a small Class B+/C.

In the expedition vehicle world there are of course plenty of $$$$ heavy duty chassis choices available under small coaches, but where does one go for an affordable small rig that still has a degree of "over-builtness" in it's running gear? IMHO, the E450 under a small motorhome offers this combination.
Phil, if you had to replace your 2005 unit with a newer one today which one would you choose?


Good question ... because so far I haven't been able find our floor plan + features + quality + chassis combination offered by any manufacturer.

If we didn't need two queen beds plus a dinette and at least one lounge chair in a 24 foot or less Class C length ... I guess I'd look at certain Coach House, or Phoenix Cruiser, or Lazy Daze models built on a E450 chassis - delivered with 6WD.

For what it's worth, the upcoming big Ford V8 (in an E450?) looks like it might be an interesting cutaway chassis to be underneath a small Class C.

Bea PA

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Posted: 05/14/19 11:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We now have a 24V on the E350 Ford chassis, only complaint is that there is not enough knee room for my husband. We have towed our almost 4000 lb Saturn Vue on short trips and our Goldwing trike on a trailer thousands of miles. We get the same gas milage as back in 2000 when we had a 32 ' class A


Bea PA
Down sized Winnebago 2012 24V Class C
2003 Gold Wing 1800 recently triked (Big Red)

Gjac

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Posted: 05/14/19 12:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bea PA wrote:

We now have a 24V on the E350 Ford chassis, only complaint is that there is not enough knee room for my husband. We have towed our almost 4000 lb Saturn Vue on short trips and our Goldwing trike on a trailer thousands of miles. We get the same gas milage as back in 2000 when we had a 32 ' class A
Hi Bea, it seems like a lot of people I talk to say the same thing. I get on average 8.6mpg with my 33ft Class A 454 TBI and thought folks with small C's would do better but most report about the same. Do you drive faster in a C because it is smaller,front end being less aerodynamic?

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