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Old 10-06-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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Ford or Chevy?

How do?

I'm not trying to start any type of Ford/Chevy argument with my first post......honest.

I plan to buy a bus in the next 6 months or so, and I'm just trying to do my homework.

The bus will be a short school bus of the Ford/Chevy van type......5 windows, no chair lift, all seats.

The bus will be for family trips, no real "conversion" is in the plans. Mainly camping trips. I will add some luxuries, but I still intend to use the outhouse, sleep in a tent, and bathe with a wash cloth.

The bus will rarely see more than 300 miles round trip, and probably never see a real mountain.....just the hills of northern Michigan where I live.

I know I would like to have some towing capacity.....6000lbs would be nice, but 2000lbs a minimum.

I know I want a diesel (which I know nothing about yet).....I could be convinced to go with a Ford 460, but I doubt anyone will try.

I'm currently leaning more toward a Ford, simply because I own Ford trucks now and I'm familiar with them. Further, I figure I'll have to rebuild an E4OD trans sooner or later in one, and that's good future knowledge if the bus has one.

I do all my own automotive work, always have, always will.

I like OBD 2, and would like a bus with it, but not a deal breaker.

There seems to be many discussions here that have helped me make my decisions so far, but none truly comparing Ford and Chevy mechanics and drive train.

So.....a would like to ask a couple questions.....

Why should I prefer one to the other?

Is there anything that has made you think "I should have bought the other"?
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:59 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
roach711's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,337
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Ford or Chevy?

The Ford 7.3L Powerstrokes are good diesels. The later ones (1999 - 2003) seem to be the best of the bunch. The newer 6 liter Powerstrokes are not well liked with many problems although I read that the last two years of production were pretty well sorted out.

The GM Duramax diesels are somewhat more powerful and get better fuel mileage. Haven't heard of many problems. As with Ford, the later ones are more reliable.
The Roach Motel
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:23 PM   #3
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 967
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Re: Ford or Chevy?

I've gone from a 1985 GMC box van (350) to a 1996 Ford e-450 (7.3).
1st question-how much you plan on spending?
By the sounds of it, you are just looking for a big station wagon. And only putting a couple thousand miles a year. + do more sitting than roadwork.
Heres why I asked about price-its how much are you willing to put into it-time + money wise? Most anything you are gonna find is going to be 10-20 years old. And has gotten to the point where major maintanence has been forgotten. Most anything you put into a diesel is going to be way more expensive than a gas motor. I did 8 injectors + wiring harnesses on the 7.3-$900. I needed a carb on the 350-$200. I had to do motors in both-crate GM 350=$1800-- the 7.3-thousands. ( I build motors for a living-so it was all parts.) If you plan on keeping + using it for next to forever then the diesel would be the way to go. If it doesn't make sense to throw any money at anything, then I'd suggest gas.
For a gasser, I'd say 4 wheel shortie chevy small block-least gvw you could find. If you get a Ford with a 460, be ready to do broken exhaust studs-and its a real sucky job.
For a diesel, Ford 7.3 all the way.
This all hinges on what you can find -and how long are you willing to wait? There ARE shorties out there-but not on every corner. It may end up with what you find rather than matching your list of wants.
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build
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