Which engine for a camper conversion? - Ford Transit USA Forum
View Poll Results: Which engine would be best for a camper conversion?
3.7 gas 8 20.51%
3.5 EcoBoost gas 28 71.79%
3.2 Diesel 3 7.69%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 11:52:AM Thread Starter
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Cool Which engine for a camper conversion?

I am looking for a used van and am trying to decide which engine to target for my search.

Here's what I'm planning:
  • High Roof Extended Body
  • Camper Conversion - examples seem to be about 2,000 pounds of continuous payload?
  • Probably a lot of highway miles
  • I care less about the "power" and being "fun" to drive
  • I am leaning toward purchasing a passenger van or a van with windows all around. Most of these are 3.5 Ecoboost, but I have seen one or two that are diesel.

Since I am purchasing used, there doesn't seem to be a huge difference in upfront costs, so I'm mostly concerned with maintenance and fuel economy. I've read that the diesels have higher maintenance costs, but it looks like the 3.5's do too?

For those of you who have high roof extended vans, I would love to hear your experiences with the different engine types in terms of fuel economy, maintenance, and life expectancy before major problems. Also, does the axel ratio have a major effect? How about single vs. dual rear wheel?

Thanks so much for your time!

Last edited by 919amelia; 02-28-2019 at 01:07:PM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 12:20:PM
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You need to go with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine and the 3.31 rear axle ratio. With your small weight factor and mostly highway miles, that would give you the best drivetrain for your use. Would be good to get one with the Trailer Towing package or at least the Tow Mode option. Trying to find a cargo van with the 'All Around Windows' option may be hard to find in a used Transit.

What price range are you looking at for this Transit van? Right now the best bet would be to find a off-lease Transit that someone ordered and is turning in. Not sure where you are located but if you get down to exactly what your requirements are, I may be able to locate one that a Ford dealer would get from the Ford dealer closed auction. That is where the lease units end up once they are released.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 12:59:PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the input @[email protected] ! Is there some reason why you would not recommend purchasing a used passenger van and removing the seats?

(I'll send you an email with more info.)

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 02:14:PM
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No problem with you getting a HR Extended passenger van other than you will be getting a DRW Transit model (U4X) that will come with full 15 passenger seating. In the cargo van, you can get a T-250 (R3X) or T-350 (W3X) in the SRW model or the T-350HD DRW models in the 9,950 GVWR (F4X) or the 10,360 GVWR (S4X) model. Some states require you to list the 10,360 model as a commercial vehicle since is over the 10,000 GVWR limit.

Your price range may limit you to what you may get as far as the DRW passenger van. Even the high mileage ones bring high prices as they are used as transport vehicles in areas where a lot of people are being transported. I can help but would need a price range so I don't waste time looking for something you don't want.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 02:31:PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the info @[email protected] !! That is really good to know about the 10,360 GVWR (S4X) model. I'm not sure what that changes in term of licensing and insurance, but I will definitely look into that before jumping on that model!

Other than the cost of extra tires and the space that it takes up inside of the van, are there other drawbacks to a dual rear wheel (DRW) that I should be aware of? Does it make a difference in terms of MPG?
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 04:52:PM
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Some of the forum members can give you the MPG on the DRW models but with the 3 I delivered that were T-350 HR Extended DRW models they got from 12.7 to 13.6 MPG depending on the roads I travelled on and the conditions. They all had the 3.5L EcoBoost and the 3.73 limited slip rear axle ratio.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 05:06:PM Thread Starter
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OUCH! Ok, thanks so much for the info @[email protected] - was that loaded up or empty?

Hopefully some other members will weigh in on how that might compare to their dual and single rear wheel HR extended vans.

Have you seen a lot of issues with the diesel models?
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 05:36:PM
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All 3 were empty vans. Mostly highway miles with the best one getting some of that 100% gasoline in New Mexico that made the difference in the fuel mileage as well as the performance.

Stay away from the Diesel especially a used one. The DEF issue has come up on the NEW Transits as well as the used ones that end up on the dealer lots after the customer gets stranded on the road with a clogged exhaust system.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 05:40:PM Thread Starter
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Ah, OK. Thanks @[email protected] ... I was originally planning to buy a Sprinter, but departed from that idea for the same issues. I was hoping to hear that the Transit diesel has fewer issues that are less costly to repair, but I guess that's just all newer diesel engines.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 05:50:PM
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Would still need to know your price range as I have access to NEW Transits through the Ford Nationwide System, used vans through the Ford Dealer only auctions throughout the country, and Ford dealers used inventories if they are in the Ford Nationwide pre-owned inventory system.
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