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Ford V 10 Opinions


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As some may know, I'm a big Chevrolet fan and love my 7.4/454 Vortec with OD, but have been looking at gas powered Class C's and like 90% of them are on the Ford 450 Chassis with the V 10 and Fords pushbutton OD Tranny. I'm aware of the spark plug problem they had in the Triton series but believe that was "cured" in the mid 2000's (that true???). I'm looking for opinions and experience as to the quality, longevity, and dependability of the V10, there sure are a ton of them out there, maybe a Ford cant be all that bad lol

 

Thanks guys

 

John T

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I can't address the current version, but we owned one of the pre-sparkplug problem V10 Fords as that came with the boost in compression on the second, or 310 hp. version of the engine while ours was the original, 275 hp engine. We owned it for 14 years and were fulltime in the motorhome it carried for almost 12 of those years. I drove it about 70k miles in that time, towing a vehicle at least 90% of those miles. In the 14 years we never had anything but routine engine or transmission maintenance. We did have a pinion seal replaced on the Dana rear end and I had to have the cross member that supported the transmission repaired due to a crack in it. From what I've seen the current engines are serving very well but I no longer own one.

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I had a 1999 F-250 V-10 that I put over 150,000 miles on, and now tow with a 2010 F-350 that is just over 100,000 miles. The Ford V-10 is a proven, reliable engine.

 

I'm going to disagree with the information that Kirk provided above. The plug spitting problem was specific to the 275 HP versions of the V-10 and was solved with the later versions. The early 275 HP version of the motor had only 4 threads in the aluminum head to secure the spark plugs. This, along with some issues of incorrect torque on the plugs led to blown out plugs on a small percentage of the motors. Sometime around 2003 Ford started using "PI' (Performance Improved) heads on these motors, and those heads have 8 threads for the plugs. This solved the issue.

 

If you are looking a motorhomes built after 2004 you will get the newer, higher performance version of the engine and won't have to worry about the issue. If you are looking at 2003-2004 models you'll want to do some research to determine which version of the engine it has. You can find out based on VIN numbers, or even by looking for the "PI" which is cast into the updated heads.

 

Good luck with your search!

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Likewise our 36' 1999 Rexhall has the V10, we have close to 70K on it now and it does fine. We tow a Fiesta behind it and it's been over the Million Dollar Highway, up may 8 and 9% grades with a little effort.

It doesn't leak, doesn't use a drop of oil between changes.

I've read about the plug problems but we've never experienced any so far.

BnB

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mptjelgin,

 

One rig I saw has 306 HP according to my VIN search and is a 2005 (while some 2005 titled RV's may be on a 2004 chassis) so I take it the 306 HP has the improved heads and 8 spark plug threads is that correct??

 

John T

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While not a show stopper buying a chassis with the older 4spd auto, I would work hard to target the V10 5spd combo - quite an improvement in transmission.

 

I feel the V10, especially in the 5spd combo years, is a solid performer. Some will point out that they love the higher RPM's, and thus can be a bit noisy. Depending upon coach manufacturer, added soundproofing can make a difference. Our 98 Bounder, with the 99 F53 V10 chassis, benefited by adding dynamat under the dog house.

 

In a Class C, I do recommend targeting the F450 chassis with V10 over either a F350 based and any of the V8 (Not a knock of the V8, but the V10 is better suited for the duty.)

 

Best of luck to you,

Smitty

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While not a show stopper buying a chassis with the older 4spd auto, I would work hard to target the V10 5spd combo - quite an improvement in transmission.

 

I agree completely. The upgraded transmission with the tow/haul mode is a big improvement. I know that the trucks got the new 5R110 transmission in 2005 when they also got the 3-valve, 362 HP engine upgrade. I don't believe the vans (E-series) or motorhomes ever got the 3-valve engine, but I'l bet that they got the upgraded transmission at that time. It would be easy enough to determine. If the button on the end of the transmission selector is labeled "tow/haul" then you've got it.

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You are correct the Vans, E350 & E450 chassis never got the 3 valve 362HP engine. It may be because of lack of room. I think the larger area for the 3 valves and larger valve cover may have kept them from installing the larger engine. Just a guess on my part about room for engine.

 

The engine/transmission combination works well. One of the great things about it, is they are really hard to get to overheat with a load. I have gone up some long 7-8% grades in warm temps (90-95*) and the engine coolant temp never got above 206*. When it hit the 204-206* mark the fan kicked in to start dropping the temp. A couple of days ago I just pulled up the 11 mile, 11% grade from Skagway, AK in 78* at the start and ~70 at the pass. I am at my max GVWR @18,000LB pulling a 4500LB Chevy Colorado. So I am maxed out on GCVW as well. The engine temp never got above 207* and the transmission gauge in the instrument panel never climbed above mid range. Most of the climb was in 2nd gear, around 4000RPM and 30mph.

 

I really, really dislike the Ford transmission computer! There is no way to manually select 4th gear. Only the computer will shift into 4th and then out of 4th when it decides to. On other non Ford vehicles I have owned, going up hill I tended to manually downshift from OD sooner than the computer does and then keep it in 4th longer than the computer would when the road levels out some. This helps keep the engine & transmission cooler IMO. Pretty much the same going down hill. Also going down hill, there are many times, with tow/haul mode on, the computer delays downshifting to 4th way later than I want it to. A short pressing on the brake does not get it to down shift. It has to detect some speed increase, with the foot off of the accelerator, to down shift.

 

I like computers, but also want to be able to override the computer when "I" decide I know more about what is going to happen while driving than the computer does.

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Thanks again, (Excuse my ignorance, I'm NOT a Ford Man so I have to ask some dumb questions)

 

So a 2005 450 Ford V10 306 HP I'm considering has an OD Tranny with the OD activated by a push button in end of shifter (no idea if it says tow/haul). On the gear selector it has D that's circled, then 3 2 1, yet some others I saw only had D 2 1

 

IS THE D 321 the better OD tranny???????????? Is that what you guys are calling a 4 or a 5 speed???

 

John T just not Ford smart lol

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The older transmission was the 4R100 and was a 4 speed transmission. The transmission introduced in 2005ish was the 5R110 and is a 5 speed transmission. FWIW my current truck with the 5R110 shows D321 on the selector but I don't know if that is a positive way to differentiate the two. Both are OD transmissions.

 

The push button on the end of the shift knob serves very different functions between the two. On the older transmission it simply locks out the OD (4th gear). On the new transmission it enables to tow/haul mode which does several things. It modifies the shift points based on load, locks the torque converter sooner and keeps it locked on deceleration to help with slowing the vehicle and keeping the transmission cooler, and enables an active downhill braking mode which automatically downshifts as necessary to maintain vehicle speed on descents.

 

In my opinion the tow/haul mode is a nice advantage. On my current truck I have descended many long steep grades without having to use the service brakes much or at all. I really takes the stress out of those descents. Unlike Al I've had no trouble with how the transmission computer handles the shifting. At the beginning of a steep downhill grade I've found that a firm stab on the brake will cause the necessary downshift. If the speed starts to build at all another firm stab will get an additional downshift. Going down a grade with the engine spinning about 5000 rpm is a little unsettling at first, but it works really well.

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THANKS FORD MEN, hopefully my almost last question lol

 

Can you decode this Ford VIN and tell me which tranny this unit would have??

 

1FDXE45S15HA87400

 

Hey I might just start liking Fords, I do like disc brakes front and rear and the E 450 frame and chassis and brakes etc seems heavier then my Chevy Express 3500, prob wont get near 10 mpg like the Chevy 454 Vortec????

 

An open minded John T

 

PS I just found a Ford decoder that says the tranny is

Transmission:

5R110W 5 Speed Auto Trans NAAO

 

http://www.vindecoderz.com/EN/check-lookup/1FDXE45S15HA87400

 

 

 

So that's good right/????? Better for downhill braking etc right??

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While not a show stopper buying a chassis with the older 4spd auto, I would work hard to target the V10 5spd combo - quite an improvement in transmission.

 

I feel the V10, especially in the 5spd combo years, is a solid performer. Some will point out that they love the higher RPM's, and thus can be a bit noisy. Depending upon coach manufacturer, added soundproofing can make a difference. Our 98 Bounder, with the 99 F53 V10 chassis, benefited by adding dynamat under the dog house.

 

In a Class C, I do recommend targeting the F450 chassis with V10 over either a F350 based and any of the V8 (Not a knock of the V8, but the V10 is better suited for the duty.)

 

Best of luck to you,

Smitty

The main reason for noisy engine is not necessarily higher engine speed but apparent higher speed due to additional 2 cylinders. 5 vs. 4 spark "explosions" per revolution. I thought that my Georgieboy was reving high but the tach showed otherwise. It was a good performer for the 2 years that I had it.

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I had a 1999 F-250 V-10 that I put over 150,000 miles on, and now tow with a 2010 F-350 that is just over 100,000 miles. The Ford V-10 is a proven, reliable engine.

 

I'm going to disagree with the information that Kirk provided above. The plug spitting problem was specific to the 275 HP versions of the V-10 and was solved with the later versions. The early 275 HP version of the motor had only 4 threads in the aluminum head to secure the spark plugs. This, along with some issues of incorrect torque on the plugs led to blown out plugs on a small percentage of the motors. Sometime around 2003 Ford started using "PI' (Performance Improved) heads on these motors, and those heads have 8 threads for the plugs. This solved the issue.

 

If you are looking a motorhomes built after 2004 you will get the newer, higher performance version of the engine and won't have to worry about the issue. If you are looking at 2003-2004 models you'll want to do some research to determine which version of the engine it has. You can find out based on VIN numbers, or even by looking for the "PI" which is cast into the updated heads.

 

Good luck with your search!

Not only the 275 HP motors....a lot of the 310 HP had that problem also......years of 2000 to 2002.

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Not only the 275 HP motors....a lot of the 310 HP had that problem also......years of 2000 to 2002.

While the heads were the same, the problem was much more common in the 310, due to the compression increase. In either case, the problem usually came up after sparkplug replacement as torque when in stalling them was critical.

 

So that's good right/????? Better for downhill braking etc right??

It should have better performance and fuel mileage. Of course, none of the big block engines will ever be famous for low fuel consumption. Having owned both Ford and GM powered gas motorhomes, I'd have to admit that both chassis performed well and never gave me any significant problems.

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"Sometime around 2003 Ford started using "PI' (Performance Improved) heads on these motors, and those heads have 8 threads for the plugs."

-----

The engine build date of my 6.8L V-10 is May 27, 2003; it has 8-thread holes. The spark plug shop which changed out the plugs (at about 90k. Ford recommends changing them at 100k; this was "preventive maintenance".) said that that date was the earliest he had seen with 8-thread holes. (And these guys do a LOT of plug changes.) And, although one plug was a little loose, the plugs and holes were clean; no carbon, no deposits.

 

The V-10 is a strong,reliable engine; if maintained properly and not overly stressed by hauling a too-heavy box (unfortunately the case with a lot of class C rigs that use the Ford platform), the engine should last a long time. Mine has 95k, and I know of several that have 120k-150k.

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Not only the 275 HP motors....a lot of the 310 HP had that problem also......years of 2000 to 2002.

 

I didn't realize that the PI heads were used as early as 2000, but the extra threads didn't go in until 2003.

 

I think that the bottom line is to try to get a the later motor with PI, 8-thread heads, and also try to get the 5R110W tranmission for best performance.

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