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Last Post 02 Nov 2008 10:57 AM by  Dale Seeley
2000 Ford Excursion, 7.3L Diesel
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Dale Seeley
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19 Jul 2008 06:03 PM

    I'll be looking at a 2000 2wd Excursion with the 7.3 l turbo diesel next week to replace the Aerostar Minivan we've been using to get from racetrack to racetrack. My reasoning for going with the Excursion over a four door pickup with a cap is fairly simple. My son and I love the freedom of being able to move around in the van, sleep/camp in the van, and be able to turn the area behind the front seats into a 'lounge' at the track for my son, his friends, and the dog to play their video games. Yeah, smart dog, I know....

    The reason for not going with a fullsize van, with the engine under the dashboard of a van, any work at all on it is a major project.

    The trailer is fairly light, a 12' enclosed Haulmark with a couple karts and related stuff.

    Rather than assume the Excursion is a real truck, or that they have a decent auto tranny, I figure I better ask.

    The only modifications that I know of done to the truck is the Banks turbo upgrade kit with a tow/mileage selectable program chip/PCM. It has 163K miles on it. Highway mileage is claimed to be 19.8, 16.2 city.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Regards,

    Dale

    rtp.rick
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    19 Jul 2008 10:06 PM

    I'd say the mileage claim is rather wishfull thinking. I have a 2001 Excursion with the same engine (no kit) and get around 18 highway (not towing) and 12-13 city. I've heard some of the upgrades can improve mileage, but I don't think it would be by that much. Other than that, it's a great truck.

    Oh, I also have an automatic. I lost 2nd gear at around 70,000 miles. No good reason why, there was no warning. Pretty expensive fix. I have had no issues since. Nearly 120,000 now.

    H's & K's,
    Rick Ruth

    Primetime Glick
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    20 Jul 2008 04:59 PM

    I wouldn't get a diesel anything unless you absolutely NEED to pull 10,000+ lbs on a REGULAR BASIS. Diesels won't really get you better mileage unless you compare them apples to apples, i.e. a gasser towing the same huge load on a long trip. They need to worked hard to make the extra initial cost, extra maintenance costs (e.g., think 15qt oil pans), and substantially higher fuel prices worth it. Diesel MPG sucks until you get that huge heavy engine block warmed up, and that takes a while.

    For a medium trailer like that (5000lbs?) and the other stuff you want I'd stick to one of the many gasser V8 full size SUVs or crew cab pickups out there that are going for a song. Auto prices now are heavily swayed by the perception of good fuel economy or bad fuel economy, regardless of the true reality. i.e., diesels and imports are perceived to get better fuel economy, so they're more expensive than the typical domestic.

    FWIW, that suggestion is based on not knowing your driving environment nor intended use of the truck (DD or trailering only? towing every week or 6 times a year?)

    rtp.rick
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    20 Jul 2008 07:09 PM

    Even with my mediocre mileage, I get substantially better mileage towing (about 4000 lbs) than anyone I know of with a gasoline engine towing a similar load. That's between 3 and 4 MPG better. Even with higher diesel fuel prices, it's much cheaper with my diesel.

    H's & K's,
    Rick Ruth

    Dale Seeley
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    20 Jul 2008 09:06 PM
    Primetime Glick wrote:

    FWIW, that suggestion is based on not knowing your driving environment nor intended use of the truck (DD or trailering only? towing every week or 6 times a year?)

    It will supposed to be for trailering only, we've had three weekends off since New Years day. We make it down to Miami a couple times (Homestead and Moroso) during the winter, have been making the trip from Atlanta to Ocala every two weeks, blew off the trip to Toledo a couple weeks ago when the Aerostar started acting up, rode home on a flatbed from the regional event last Sunday morning, and skipped the races in Alabama yesterday. We have a trip to Wisconsin the week before Nationals, with a layover in Topeka on the way back, followed by more trips to South Florida to get ready for the winter events....

    We've already got more than 25K miles this year, and will probably double that number next year.

    Going to Florida is easy, very few hills, but getting anywhere else requires a trip over Signal Mountain in Tennessee.

    Right now, the trailer is 'light', but I want to make sure that when we travel with friends, and maybe one of them has 24' enclosed, the option to haul theirs remains open. Besides, we won't be in karts forever...

    Sure, oil and diesel cost more, but my reasoning is fairly primitive. I have a limited number of vacation and sick days each year. We leave directly from my work to the weekend race the evening before we have to drive. I drive all night if I have to to get to the track. We race or autocross, usually sleep in the vehicle onsite, and then head for home as soon as possible when the race/event is over to make sure I'm at work on Monday morning. Sometimes I push the kid out of the vehicle in front of the house at 6am and head straight to work. I can't be late, and if I miss a day due to an unexpected delay in travel, we miss a race later in the year. I have to know I'll make it back on time. If the tow vehicle is overkill, it's one less worry.

    Besides, it can't cost more to run than what I've been using, at 9mpg, with a max speed of 60mph on flat ground. :-)

    Primetime Glick
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    21 Jul 2008 12:58 PM
    Dale Seeley wrote:
    the Aerostar started acting up,

    ...

    Besides, it can't cost more to run than what I've been using, at 9mpg, with a max speed of 60mph on flat ground. :-)

    You've been using an Aerostar? That brings me back. In the early- to mid-'90s we went through two of those turds, occasionally towing like 5500# + family/gear locally to the sunday drags. Yeah, way too much weight, and no upgrades (like an ATC). 3.0L/5mt/RWD (yes, the 1st was a stick, IIRC) or 4.0L/auto/AWD, the power was OK (especially the 4.0L), but had lots of other niggling problems (like rust) and got rid of it. Yup, just about everything on that motor was under the dash...

    BTW...

    ...You mentioned Moroso. Don't know when the "new" moroso will be ready, and not entirely sure it will be as cheap for the SCCA to rent...

    ...You mentioned Ocala. Did you know nearby Jacksonville has a free kart track?? Might be something to consider on the next extended trip down, stop by the Spring Street Complex and get some free seat/tuning time in. At least it's free when WKA or whatever isn't there.

    ...With ya on the work/traveling/sleeping-in-the-car paradigm.... Since not missing work or having 2 vehicles heading home on a flatbed is important, I'd make sure I got the newest, least-abused truck for the money. e.g., $15,000 for a 125,000-mile PSD Excursion with a well-scratched Class V hitch and mouting holes for the ETBC under the dash may be better spent on a 25,000-mile Expedition with no hitch...

    Mugenlude
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    22 Jul 2008 01:07 PM

    I have a '00 Excursion PSD, 2WD that I bought last October for towing, it replaced a '05 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Hemi).

    I've been driving the X daily since then and have been getting 13 mpg in the city with a very short drive to work daily (less than 2 miles), so it doesn't get warmed up for the most part. On the highway not towing a trailer, but full of people/supplies I generally get 17-18 mpg doing 8-10 mph over the speed limit. If I slow down and keep it under 2000 rpm I see 18-19 mpg on the highway.

    Towing my open trailer (about 4500 lbs) on the highway I get 14-15 mpg doing 8-10 mph over the speed limit. I'm not running any chips or anything at this point, I'm stock with a K&N drop-in air filter (with isn't recommended on the Ford site because it doesn't filter well from what I read).

    I like the Excursion, it suits me well as we like to do trips with friends/family and it holds a lot of people/stuff and still gets better mileage than the Jeep (10 mpg towing and 12-13 mpg around town if we are nice to it). I do think it could use some extra power while towing though, so I'm planning on a towing chip in the future after I put an exhaust on it. The Jeep had more available power than the Excursion does, but it sucked gas when you used it.

    Stan Whitney
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    22 Jul 2008 02:38 PM

    Ran a 2wd 7.3 from '02 through '07. Never got the mileage other claim, but it pulled hard and handled decently after some mods along the way. You will want a tuner or chip to help make driving more pleasant (greatly improved throttle response, power, and some mileage improvement). No real need for a full turbo or exhaust housing upgrade unless you live at high altitude and experience a lot of compressor surge.

    The other exhaust changes are hard to do without adding a lot more noise - that big cabin can really resonate. Stick with a name brand like Banks or magnaflow for quiet mufflers. Be sure to change the downpipe from the turbo if you do, that was the biggest exhaust related gain I felt.

    Add a rear swaybar from the later models ('04+ I think) or an aftermarket hotchkis. Takes away a lot of the schoolbus sensations. Also rear air bags can help a ton with the droopy butt syndrome they get, and are nice to level out the trailer.

    On an older truck, consider carrying a spare, or changing out the camshaft sensor pre-emptively. They often fail, and leave you with a dead truck. Also high pressure oil pump (Hpop) o-rings can fail with age, filling the engine valley (and the road) with oil very quickly.

    Check out the rear pinion seal (where the driveshaft enters the diff), they often start weeping there. Keep air and fuel filters fresh, air filters in particular have an effect on mileage. Consider using the Frord AIS replacement air intake. It has the better 6.0 style donaldson filter and flows better, but is still quiet.

    AutoJim
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    22 Jul 2008 03:23 PM

    Ford has a campaign on the cam position sensors. Mine went at 184K, it got the campaign this week (finally), along with rear axle end seals and attendant p-brake shoes (gear-lube soaked). It has 225K on it now (F350 SRW -- functionally-equivalent to an Excursion mechanically).

    Mine's essentially stock for all intents and purposes and does just fine at about 17K GCW, 9500 lbs of which is an enclosed trailer with the aero of a small office building. I get about 17.5-18mpg in mixed driving without the trailer, have gotten as much as 22 mpg (hand-calculated, not on the overhead display) on the highway when driving through Ohio during a heavy enforcement period, and I get about 10.5-13 mpg towing, depending on speed and wind conditions (and whether or not I can catch a couple of drafting partners -- running "rocking chair" is good for 1-2 mpg in highway towing).

    Get maintenance records. As long as the PM has been done, you shouldn't have any trouble with it. Change the fuel filter on a regular basis. Change the oil and filter. Use quality fuel from a station with high turnover. And enjoy it. :)

    Steve Hoelscher
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    23 Jul 2008 01:05 PM

    The way you describe how you use the vehicle, I am suprized you are considering anything other than a full size van. There are a number of Ford Clubwagon converts around here. These vans are great tow vehicles and are ideally suited to your application. If you search you can find Clubwagons with the 7.3 powerstrokes and V10 gas motors. The vans have way more interior space and are far easier to move around in that the Excursions and trucks. I have slept in mine on many occasions with reasonable comfort.

    The engine access issue isn't really an issue. I have been using vans exclusively for years and find access is probably easier than a pickup for most service. Getting to the rear area of the pickup's engine bay is a reach. The van is way easier and there is reasonable front access. I service my van once a year before the start of each season. Other than that, the "dog house" rarely has to come out. Even then, its not a big deal.

    Primetime Glick
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    24 Jul 2008 09:15 AM
    Steve Hoelscher wrote:

    The way you describe how you use the vehicle, I am suprized you are considering anything other than a full size van. There are a number of Ford Clubwagon converts around here. These vans are great tow vehicles and are ideally suited to your application. If you search you can find Clubwagons with the 7.3 powerstrokes and V10 gas motors. The vans have way more interior space and are far easier to move around in that the Excursions and trucks. I have slept in mine on many occasions with reasonable comfort.

    The engine access issue isn't really an issue. I have been using vans exclusively for years and find access is probably easier than a pickup for most service. Getting to the rear area of the pickup's engine bay is a reach. The van is way easier and there is reasonable front access. I service my van once a year before the start of each season. Other than that, the "dog house" rarely has to come out. Even then, its not a big deal.

    Ford's "Club wagon" full size vans are so out of vogue - IF you can find one - it'll probably go for a song, and be a pretty nice rig, to boot.

    Steve Hoelscher
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    24 Jul 2008 12:26 PM

    Primetime Glick wrote:

    Ford's "Club wagon" full size vans are so out of vogue -

    HA! True. But then those of us that tow with vans don't need a "big truck" to supplement our.... uhhh.... I'll wait for Lehman to say that.[;)]

    Hey, I saw your sig line that you are "waiting for a condo to sell"? In this market? In Miami? Ouch!!! That's gotta suck.

    Primetime Glick
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    24 Jul 2008 04:47 PM
    Steve Hoelscher wrote:

    Hey, I saw your sig line that you are "waiting for a condo to sell"? In this market? In Miami? Ouch!!! That's gotta suck.

    Oh yeah, only 16 months and counting, in possibly the worst market in the country... However it's not really integral to my separation from racing, need to change that.

    Just saw a nice '02 E150CW XLT w/ 4.2L, cruise, hitch, and 70k miles list for $7k. But it's in AL and a little more than I want to pay... I recall seeing a very similar V10 model in cen. FL go for a similar price earlier this year.

    Steve Hoelscher
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    25 Jul 2008 12:24 PM

    Primetime Glick wrote:

    Oh yeah, only 16 months and counting, in possibly the worst market in the country... However it's not really integral to my separation from racing, need to change that.

    I know Miami is on its butt now. The WSJ had an article a few months ago that there were currently something like 25,000 condos on the market in Miami. Now that is overbuilt. The market here isn't much better. There are empty condos and townhomes all over the place. Rent-to-own signs are common and there are entire subdivisions that the developers walked away from.

    Primetime Glick wrote:

    Just saw a nice '02 E150CW XLT w/ 4.2L, cruise, hitch, and 70k miles list for $7k. But it's in AL and a little more than I want to pay... I recall seeing a very similar V10 model in cen. FL go for a similar price earlier this year.

    Stay clear of the 4.2 V6. Its underpowered for towing. Get the same gas mileage as the V8s without the power. The V10 is a great motor. Gets about the same mileage towing or not as the V8s but has Turbo Diesel torque numbers.

    Primetime Glick
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    25 Jul 2008 03:10 PM
    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    The market here isn't much better. There are empty condos and townhomes all over the place. Rent-to-own signs are common and there are entire subdivisions that the developers walked away from.

    I know this is OT, but yeah I know, I used to live up there and visit several times a year. Man you can get a steal on new 3/2/1 TH's in StAug...

    IIRC My sis's apartment complex were "phasing in" condo conversions in 06-07, and the plan changed from all, to some, to none, as they had 0 pre-sales on like 100 units. She was forced to move like 3x in 2 years to the remaining "unconverted" units in the complex to keep renting.

    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    Stay clear of the 4.2 V6. Its underpowered for towing. Get the same gas mileage as the V8s without the power.

    For 2600 - 3500 lbs? That's gonna be my range in a year or so. But yeah, I know from experience V6 full-sizes don't get great MPG. I'm really looking at smaller stuff anyway, like Astros and Explorers. Want the tow dolly and tow vehicle to fit in one parking space [:P]

    Steve Hoelscher
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    25 Jul 2008 03:45 PM

    Primetime Glick wrote:
    I know this is OT, but yeah I know, I used to live up there and visit several times a year. Man you can get a steal on new 3/2/1 TH's in StAug...

    Yep. Not far from my home a new condo complex is selling units that came on the market at $359K for $159K!!! A $200K discount!!! This developer just completed a TH project putting 250 units on the market at one time. Then started clearing, paving and laying utilities for "phase II" and stopped when the first phase didn't sell. They have less than 10% occupancy now. There are anumber of subdivisions platted and paved sitting idle nearby. Another TH developement nearby has finished units sitting empty with Rent to Own signs in the windows and unfinished units next across the parking lot. The prefabbed trusses sitting beside them rotting. Very sad. My banker told me this week that they have a forclosure condo I could "have" if I would just pay the back association dues.

    Primetime Glick wrote:

    For 2600 - 3500 lbs? That's gonna be my range in a year or so. But yeah, I know from experience V6 full-sizes don't get great MPG. I'm really looking at smaller stuff anyway, like Astros and Explorers.

    Yep. The 4.2 just doesn't have the guts to pull the van and the load. There is no benefit to the six. Stick with the V8s.

    I used to tow with an Astro. When I upgraded to the Clubwagon I was amazed at how much better the Clubwagon was as a tow vehicle compared to the Astro. I kept asking myself why I hadn't done it years sooner.

    Primetime Glick
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    26 Jul 2008 12:48 PM
    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    Yep. Not far from my home a new condo complex is selling units that came on the market at $359K for $159K!!!

    Forget about that $159k, I'm talking $125k for brand-spanking-new, granite/SS-appliance KB Homes 3/2/1 THs with $50/mo HOA, actual community amenities, and KB financing with like 0 down. Or least that's what my sis's friend looked at a few months ago, then decided to rent for another year or so, assuming the prices would drop even further. I wanted to scream. International investors will have that entire community rented out in a year...

    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    Yep. The 4.2 just doesn't have the guts to pull the van and the load. There is no benefit to the six. Stick with the V8s.

    I used to tow with an Astro. When I upgraded to the Clubwagon I was amazed at how much better the Clubwagon was as a tow vehicle compared to the Astro. I kept asking myself why I hadn't done it years sooner.

    I'm sure a 7.3L PSD dually would be better or a 6.2 Cummins toter will be even better still. But I'm looking for a smaller urban vehicle that can pull a relatively light load and get at least 15 mpg doing it. And I want it to get like 18 MPG unloaded, as it will probably pull DD duty too if I get rid of the Tacoma.

    Still trying to run the math and logic on upgrading the brakes, tires, and suspension on the Taco, and then still have the little 2rz-fe/a340/4.10 combo still struggle to pull a light production car/dolly.... or starting with an Astro, Explorer, or something even bigger still.

    Steve Hoelscher
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    28 Jul 2008 01:46 PM

    Primetime Glick wrote:

    Forget about that $159k, I'm talking $125k for brand-spanking-new, granite/SS-appliance KB Homes 3/2/1 THs with $50/mo HOA, actual community amenities, and KB financing with like 0 down. Or least that's what my sis's friend looked at a few months ago, then decided to rent for another year or so, assuming the prices would drop even further. I wanted to scream. International investors will have that entire community rented out in a year...

    Yeah, I know that Miami is probably the worst tight now. Last time I was down there the cranes were everywhere downtown. Amazing....

    Primetime Glick wrote:

    I'm sure a 7.3L PSD dually would be better or a 6.2 Cummins toter will be even better still. But I'm looking for a smaller urban vehicle that can pull a relatively light load and get at least 15 mpg doing it. And I want it to get like 18 MPG unloaded, as it will probably pull DD duty too if I get rid of the Tacoma.

    My point was that the Astro was working pretty hard to tow my 3500 lbs car/trailer combo. It was also work to drive the Astro towing that rig. When I upgraded to the full size van I was amazed at how much difference there was. You won't get much quieter or more comfortable than the full size Clubwagon to tow that load. Yes, a PSD would do it easier but the difference would be insignificant.

    Where the Astro was always working hard and the driver had to always be planning and thinking, and managing momentum and transmission gear selection, the Clubwagon just cruises. Most of the time you never notice the trailer. It cruises all day at 80 mph+ effortlessly. Or at a very relaxed 75 mph to optimize mileage. The Astro was very tiring on long tows where the Clubwagon wasn't a bother at all. Other than mileage, the only benefit a diesel would have over my gas clubwagon would be on either heavier loads or the long, steep climbs.

    Primetime Glick
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    28 Jul 2008 02:32 PM
    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    Yeah, I know that Miami is probably the worst tight now.

    Just got my one and only offer on my condo in 16 months turned down by my PMI. Ugg. If I was one of the zillions of fiscally-irresponsible idiots who bit on an AR mortgage that was way too much to begin with, and now couldn't pay a single bill, they'd be willing to deal, but no...

    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    The Astro was very tiring on long tows where the Clubwagon wasn't a bother at all.

    That is surely true and "tow effort" one of the things I'm considering. I'm sure my 4cyl Tacoma would be even worse still in these regards, which is why I'm looking to add or replace to the fleet BEFORE I spend thousands in making it a project in itself.

    But a V8 full size van or any van, however nice, with its blocky face and high curb weight, is probably gonna result in unneccesarily high gas bills towing and/or daily driven.

    Still trying to weigh all my options; because of the above situation, I'm stuck with a commute, and gas mileage and dependability is a concern. If I sold my place & could bike it to work, I woulda just kept my 4.7/NV3500 Ram. Or I would have jumped at a mild refurbish project, like this local $2250 C2500 454/4L80 suburban, or this $2300 B2500 Ram Van 360/727 passenger with trans cooler, hitch, and a zillion miles.

    My "ultimate " tow vehicle would be an 05+ honda odyssey with the rare factory TTP [and without the problematic TA]. Room to sleep AND for gear, more than adequate towing capacity, and decent MPG. And of course the typical example would abused little enough to withstand daily driving and towing in south florida at least for a couple years without major work. "Only" at $26 - 29k for lightly used ones, they're about 4x my price range...

    Dale Seeley
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    16 Aug 2008 06:42 PM

    Ended up with a 2004 6.0L 2wd Excursion (diesel), 70K miles, factory tow package, and a whole bunch of nice stuff inside. The next two trips are too short to get a read on mileage, but the 2000 mile trip in September should give me a decent idea of what it will do.

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