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Thread: Full Size (LARGE) Family Adventure Rig - Selection Question

  1. #41
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Mars Hill NC
    Posts
    66

    Default van

    Okay so here is my suggestion. My wife and I have 5 boys. Youngest is 5 and oldest is 13. We drove a 4x4 Excursion for eight years. All the while, we wanted a 4x4 diesel van. Finally found one in our budget last April. Best purchase I have ever made. My boys have been camping since they were first born. Took my oldest when he was four months to Colorado on a 30 day trip. We have put just over 33,000 miles on our van in the last 16 months. Traveling in it is great since they have all the space they need. And don't forget the wireless headphones for the tv system. LOL. Also a huge part for those highway miles. Good luck and enjoy your adventures.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    41

    Default Our Excursion Experience

    Hi harm,

    We have a 2000 Excursion with a 7.3 L PowerStroke Diesel. We have four kids ages 10 to 17. The Excursion has 316,000 miles on it and I don't hesitate for a second to head across the nation with it. Here are my thoughts regarding an Excursion for the usages you have described.

    Things I think are positive:
    1. It is the largest SUV built. Tons of cargo space and seats 8 comfortably
    2. F250/350 Chassis
    3. Solid axles
    4. The 7.3 is a great engine, a lot of people are also happy with their 6.0 L engines, even though the reputation is not good
    5. Easy to modify as many F-series mods fit the Excursion
    6. You can put a huge roof top rack on it, if you want
    7. 4WD Hi and Lo
    8. Wheelbase is short compared to crew cab pick ups (similar to a standard cab, long bed pick up)
    9. We get 17 mpg over all types of driving conditions over long time periods
    10. Easy 700 mile tank capacity (44 gallons)
    11. The Excursion has a one piece driveshaft, no carrier bearing.

    Things I think you might want to improve:
    1. The Excursion stock springs are softer and shorter than the pick up springs. Many people upgrade to the F-series pick up springs gaining 1.5 to 2.0 inches of lift and a more stable ride. Of course, many go with 3 to 10 inch lifts from the aftermarket.
    2. Some come with limited slip differentials, but most have open differentials
    3. You need to upgrade the transmission cooler on the 7.3 L engine to the one the used on the 6.0 L engine, it is about four times the size of the stock 7.3L one.
    4. May need or want to add swaybar to the rear axle


    We take our Excursion into the National Forests and other public lands, but mostly on maintained roads, some just two tracks with occasional washouts. It has all the power we need and the torque is amazing. Using 4WD Lo makes things effortless. We run Michelin MTX mud and snow tires, nothing geared for the trail and do fine. We air down to 30 to 35 psi on the trail (run around 58 psi on the highway).

    I think width and height are the things that will limit you on true trails, probably turning radius too. I am not a trail driver, but I think approach and departure angles and clearance can be addressed

    My Excursion weighs around 8,300 lbs with two people. I figure we run around 9,500 with all the kids a cargo. So it isn't a minor presence in the boonies. 10,000 lbs is the official limit Excursion

    I have driven Suburbans and prefer the Excursion, but I have a bias towards Fords. The ones I have driven or half-tons, you definitely want to go 3/4 ton, if you go with a Suburban.

    I hope you find what works for you and your family. I certainly enjoy the size, comfort and cargo space of the Excursion. We have had it for 8 years.

    Steve

    My family is getting closer to the leaving the nest stage, so I daydream more about repurposing the Excursion into a expedition vehicle for me and my wife, and maybe the younger two kids. A roof top tent and kitchen kit in the cargo area...

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    80
    I'm seeing a lot of these for sale in Az for seemingly decent prices - under 15k. I'm seeing a huge array of Engine options
    5.4
    5.8
    6.0
    etc.

    Obviously this is a mix of gas/diesel. Now I've heard that maintenance for the Diesel is more involved. Maybe school me a bit on engine pros & cons?

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    41
    Quote Originally Posted by Harmgrissom View Post
    I'm seeing a lot of these for sale in Az for seemingly decent prices - under 15k. I'm seeing a huge array of Engine options
    5.4
    5.8
    6.0
    etc.

    Obviously this is a mix of gas/diesel. Now I've heard that maintenance for the Diesel is more involved. Maybe school me a bit on engine pros & cons?

    Hi Harm,

    If you are asking about Excursion engines there are four that I know of available:
    5.4 L gas (V8), I think it is only available in the 2WD version
    6.8 L gas (V10), the standard gas engine (I don't know anything about it, other than it is quiet)
    7.3 L PowerStroke Diesel, 2000 to mid-2003. (I have 316,000 miles on this motor)
    - I think they moved away from this motor to keep the EPA happy.
    - It is a great motor, very reliable. International has their version in busses, delivery trucks, etc.
    - The motor system has a few minor things that are probably already addressed on anything you would buy (cam position sensor, leaky fuel filter bowl drain valve, and the valve cover wiring harness connector)
    - I get 17 mpg over a wide range of driving and high speed limits
    - Some people don't like the transmission behind this motor, mine has lasted over 300K miles.
    - In 2001 there was a mechanical diode in the transmission that caused problems for part of that year's run

    6.0 L PSD mid-2003 through 2005 (everything is hearsay)
    - blown head gaskets are probably the complaint I have heard most
    - more power than the 7.3
    - worse mileage
    - most say the torque shift transmission is better, but it does have a more complicated design
    - I see the 7.3 v 6.0 arguments in the Excursion forums and most people defend their own engine. There are several very happy 6.0 owners. But, most like the 7.3 better.
    - I would suggest checking out the service history on a 6.0. To me higher miles would indicate it is a more stable motor.

    "5.8" must be a typo for a 6.8 L V10

    Hope this helps.

    steve

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    80
    Thanks for the info Steve. I think right now we're gonna set the Diesel option to the side since we won't be towing anything serious, or regularly enough to make the cost of maintenance a value. Probably going to go with something bigger than the 5.4 - looking at the 6.0-.8.

    That said if a Diesel comes along with great mileage for a great price we'll probably make the jump.

    I was ready to buy one this last weekend honestly. But unfortunately due to an unexpected hospital visit (everyone is fine more or less, nothing major) we're gonna have to put this on hold likely till January. At which point expect to see an update accordingly!

    Obviously if anyone disagrees with the choice of the Excursion and wants to prevent their alternate full size option - please don't hesitate to make your point as I'm still open minded, but very focused on the big FORD right now.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Aberdeen, WA
    Posts
    113
    Just to throw out another option. You should sit in an LR3. It's got seating for 7 with the same great visiblity and off road heritage at the Jeeps. The ability to go from low to the ground for my wife's grocery getting to 4 in lift for the rocks is really cool. Off road the LR3 is going to fit a lot more places than a full size. Definitely worth your while to sit in one and test drive.

    We've got a 2-dr JK right now with 1 kid, and once we add one more kids I'm probably going to go LR3, then a few more kids go with an offroad trailer.
    '98 UZJ100 -Family roadtrip and camping rig. (Overland?)
    Build Thread
    '07 JK 2dr Yellow -Sold
    My Blog

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    80
    Awkragt - The LR3 is a great option - a friend of mine had one and it was extremely capable and comfortable - unfortunately as it got older the sheer cost of repairs is a turn off. I don't know that its a major issue for people prepared for that kind of cost - but for me it was a pretty serious turn off.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Aberdeen, WA
    Posts
    113
    Quote Originally Posted by Harmgrissom View Post
    - unfortunately as it got older the sheer cost of repairs is a turn off.
    Thats why I haven't pulled the trigger on one. It difficult to determine the true cost on the Land Rovers.

    This Diesel Excursion sounds cool, especially if you can go 300K out of one and get 17 MPG. My neighboor's got an F250 jacked up 2 ft with 40in tires. You could probably do the same to an Excursion?
    '98 UZJ100 -Family roadtrip and camping rig. (Overland?)
    Build Thread
    '07 JK 2dr Yellow -Sold
    My Blog

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Chevy Chase, MD
    Posts
    675
    The V10 gets crappy milage, and that is not only costly but limits it's range. The diesel maintenance requirement is not too bad a trade off and your range will be improved 40%.

    We have a fleet of Ford desel chassis cabs, the 6.0's aren't horrible, but we still have 7.3's running with 100's of k's of miles on them. The Ford fuel tanks since the switch to the 6.0 have been a real pita, with delamination occurrring all to frequently. The delamination reveals itself when the truck won't run, and it produces fine rust particles that irreparably clog the in-tank filter and pump. When one goes it often also requires new injectors. Replacement Ford tanks are as likely as the oem tank to delaminate. We finally began switching to aluminum after market tanks custom made to nearly oem dimensions - as close as welding shop can get it.

    Don't overlook the diesel Suburbans. Some hate the engine, but when they're trouble free they seem trouble free "forever".

    Seems to me that for what you describe you need the seating plus the cargo room of either the Excursion or the Suburban. I have a Suburban, my third, and I love it and its predeccessors, but I'd have a diesel Excursion if my wife would have tolerated the Excusion. She had trouble getting it up our driveway, which was tight, at our last house.

    JPK

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    80
    Thanks for the input guys - definetly a lot of food for thought. I'm still leaning to the Excursion. But something my wife mentioned to me last night thats got me all kinds of excited.

    We don't want to take out a car loan as we're trying to stop using credit/debt. So we want to pay cash. It may take a year or so to save up the 10-15k for an Excursion.

    So last night her suggestion was - "Why don't we just buy another Jeep Cherokee in the meantime and caravan?"

    So... it may not happen in a month or two but fingers crossed we'll do that for a while leading up to a big purchase for a full size family rig.

    -
    Regarding the 4x4 Van - I'd need to see some more regarding them to really consider it honestly - we had regular full sized vans all growing up and I honestly don't trust them. So I'd have to see them in action to even consider it.

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