How good is the standard 3.7 engine? - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 09:26:AM Thread Starter
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How good is the standard 3.7 engine?

I have been waiting for a used 3.5 ecoboost engine model to become available for my family (crewvanman has been helping me look). I am going to need my transit to pull a small camper through Appalachian roads. From your experience, can the standard 3.7 engine handle such a task?
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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 12:26:PM
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I find the 3.7 to be just fine, but I don't drive like I'm running from the cops. No issues with power or acceleration going over the Rockies or the Sierra. I haven't towed anything with it, but I'm sure it would be more than capable of towing 5000lbs up and over the mountains. Not that I would know (wink), but the 3.7 is easily capable of going 110mph+ on the flats.

I think it comes down to how much towing you are going to do; once a month or less doesn't really warrant the need for a more expensive motor just to go a few miles per hour faster on rare occasions when you are towing up a hill. If you are towing every weekend, or as part of your business, the ecoboost or diesel might be worth it. In my opinion, I'd save the money for something else and just be content with arriving 10 minutes later on a 150 mile trip towing a trailer in the mountains. It's not like anyone is going to be passing people and taking corners hard while towing, anyway, so excess horsepower/torque is kind of pointless.

Some speculation on the ecoboost being easier on the tranny, because less shifting is needed, but I don't know. Again, it depends on how much total time is being spent towing; 1% of your annual driving miles? 5%?
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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 02:38:PM
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With the weight of my DIY conversion, the 3.7 always downshifts on hills, generally only to 5th, "mountains" to 4th. With it full of boxes going through Appalachians (moving stuff from FL to MI), it had to work more than I ideally would have wanted. But, it had no problem making the hills at the posted speed limit (or potentially higher), which is all I drive anyway. Just have to get used to 4000 rpm, which this engine is happy to do. The ECO may be cool, but the 3.7 is perfectly adequate. Just my opinion. Note I have the 4.10 rear end so engine speeds are higher all the time than a low or mid roof. Also note that the tow ratings for the 4.10 3.7 are actually higher than the 3.31 ECO (at least they were in 2015).

2015 Transit Van Silver 3.7L 148 HR. DIY Camper.
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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 03:09:PM
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Oh yeah, I have the 3.73 rear end. drove mainly at 3000rpm on the highway.
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 04:33:PM
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Originally Posted by Taz Pengra View Post
Some speculation on the ecoboost being easier on the tranny, because less shifting is needed, but I don't know.
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Originally Posted by jethaden View Post
With the weight of my DIY conversion, the 3.7 always downshifts on hills, generally only to 5th, "mountains" to 4th.
On the last few trips I've taken down state highways and back roads I've noticed the EB w/ 3.31 downshifts plenty too. If the road has lots of rollers I've taken to just locking out 6th because it gets annoying. That's with my minimally converted van loaded with a kayak, towing nothing...

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Oh yeah, I have the 3.73 rear end. drove mainly at 3000rpm on the highway.
That would be one difference I guess. With the 3.31 rear at 65 MPH I'm around 1800 RPM. Dropping to 5th at 65 puts me around 2200. I went with the EB because I don't like "screamers" though I expect I'd have been fine with the 3.7 too. (Though I do have to admit the EB acceleration can be fun to play with at times! )

I haven't noticed a mileage penalty for locking out 6th. I'm sure there's a tiny one but one time I locked it out on the super-hilly side roads leaving a lake then forgot about it when I got to the interstate. Drove the rest of the way home in 5th, average MPG on the dash and instant MPG on the ScanGauge were close enough to normal (if they were even different) for me not to notice.

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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2016, 10:36:PM
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3.7 is adequate for all my current and future needs. I based this off of my 2001 ford e250 extended with a 6 cylinder handling everything I threw at it including 250k miles of hauling dirt bikes, a dump trailer, and advantures. It still is in use as my dads work truck! Viva la 3.7!

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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 12:25:AM
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I have the 3.7 and tow a 16' flat-bed trailer loaded with some interesting stuff from time to time and it performs equal to or better than my old Savana 5.0 did with the same trailer. A little camper trailer will be hardly noticed IMHO.

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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 07:49:AM
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The 3.7L likes to spin. If you end up going that route, get used to downshifting and not winning any races and you'll have quite the functionally adequate van to accomplish most anything you can throw at it.

Do I wish I had an EB? Sure! Moar Powah! The handful of times I put a 6500lb trailer on the 3.7L I wished I had some more balls under the hood, especially when I hit the hill country. But the 3.7L got me where I needed to go.
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 09:21:AM
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I always describe the 3.7 the same way, generally adequate. Went up to the White Mountains again (nothing in tow) but there were some super slow pokes in the twisty fast bits. My wife put the pedal down and passed with ease. On the way back I passed a couple more. One thing I'll add is I'm not sure the eb, or diesel hate idling as much. Stop n go traffic makes the gas tank unhappy.
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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 12:40:PM
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From the info I can glean, the ecoboost and 3.7 get about the same MPG. There may be some user variables involved; the ecoboost drivers may want to "see what it can do" more often, thus resulting in lower MPG.

Hey, look at that dead horse! I'm going to flog it! I still say that the ecoboost 2.0 liter would be a great engine for the Transit, same HP and more torque than the 3.7, and because of displacement should get 30-40% better fuel economy (real-world would probably be 20-30%). Merikuns would never buy a full size van with a 2.0 liter even if it had 1000 HP, though.

Back to the 3.7, after doing a lot of reading of personal reviews and opinions and long term reliability studies, the 3.7 was my #1 choice on the engines offered. Cost was also factored in; the extra $1500 or $6000 conclusively ruled out the other motors. If the price was right on a used van, I would avoid either motor, though. Maybe the diesel.
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