Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Ford E450 vs E350 under a Class C
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 > Ford E450 vs E350 under a Class C

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Desert Captain

Tucson

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Posted: 01/08/17 03:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For most folks with a 25' or less class C the E-350 V -10 is plenty and the E-450 borders on over kill. It all comes down to how you are going to use it. If towing is in your future the 450 might be the better fit. The 450 has a stiffer ride and worse mileage but like the differences in chassis and brakes the differences are relatively minor. If I were towing heavy, say pulling a 4,500# Jeep, the 450 would be my choice

As noted above you MUST look at specific years and systems to even begin to compare apples to apples was there has been a lot of variation especially over the past 5 years. My 2012 Nexus 24' C {on a 2011 E-350 chassis}, has the 5 speed Torque shift transmission and came with a GVWR of 11,500# where the 2012 chassis bumped up to 12,500#.

We run close to our GVWR as I carry a lot of tools and toys and often tow my Harley Super Glide {bike and trailer are just under 1,000#}. The ride is smoother and having the same engine and trans as a comparable 450 {with far less weight}, I have more power and better mileage. Moving to a 450 would hold absolutely no benefit for me and the way we use our coach.

Phil will be along shortly to extoll the virtues of E 450 25' C... we have had this discussion a lot. [emoticon]





pnichols

The Other California

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Posted: 01/08/17 04:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here Phil is.

I looked for and bought an E450 under a 24 foot Class C for a philosophical reason - "for optimum durability, flexibility, and safety buy a heavy duty product even though you'll most of the time use it in a light duty way."

Seriously though ... we're rockhounds, plus I like to go overboard with the Boy Scout approach on carrying along large amounts of just-in-case equipment. We wanted no concerns on amount of weight we might wind up with, while at the same time having a great handling and reliable chassis under us that was being used way under design margins. Sometimes we're really loaded down with rocks and all tanks full when either crawling along off-pavement or climbing highway grades at 11,000+ feet. Our overkill E450 chassis under a small rig provides that.

Note that some Class C manufacturers for years have used only an E450 chassis under some or all of their models - Lazy Daze is one, and the Coach House Platinum line is another. However with regards to the latest years of Ford cutaway van based Class C motorhomers, I believe that the E-350 chassis was and is no longer available.


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

Rolin

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Posted: 01/08/17 06:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For us, the E350 would do all we need it to do. However our 26ft winnebago came with the E450. It is heavier built....but with the lighter 26ft unit the ride is rougher and we get at least 1mgp less than if we had the E350 with the different rear axle ratio. Personally, if I had the choice I would choose comfort (ride) and economy (mpg). We just didn't have that option. With v10 there is plenty of power in either unit.

Chum lee

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Posted: 01/09/17 12:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can't say for sure without looking/comparing the specs. (that's your prepurchase job :-) ) In addition to other changes prerviously listed, usually the heavier class vehicle has a larger radiator, bigger brakes, larger auto trans oil cooler, more plies on the tires, larger/more lug nuts and numerous other changes to help with the reliability with increased towing loads. There are many reasons why more towing/GVRW costs more. Only you can decide if you need it or not.

Chum lee

jimtmcdaniels

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Posted: 12/18/19 12:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi, Some of this discussion is missing this point:

I think it's Important to point out that concerning towing, sometimes the lighter E350 chassis is better/more fitting simply because the weight of the trailer is not on the vehicle chassis therefore the heavier chassis isn't needed nor the heavier chassis brakes because the trailer probably has electric brakes of it's own.
So with an E350 vs E450 with the same engine size, you will probably find that the trailer towing capacity listing in the owner's manual is actually higher for the E350 vs E450 simply because the engine won't have to also "move" the extra weight of the heavier E450 vehicle chassis.
Also you will get better gas mileage with the E350 vs then heavier weight E450.
So if the E350 can carry the weight you need in it, then it's the way to go.
Now the next question would be engine size because you'll find that the larger engines in the same vehicle can have a much higher tow rating than the smaller engines and larger engines means heavier duty transmissions and axles, cooling systems and even the brakes may be heavier duty. It's all designed with the engine size equipped with and the amount of weight carried in the vehicle will always reduce the weight you can tow behind you.
Viewable online Owner's manuals and repair books often have charts on all this from the manufacturer can be Very enlightening.
Even if a vehicle is rated for the weight and towing, don't forget that high altitude's thinner air reduces power output and also going over steep hills will slow you down as well but at least you won't break anything.

Take care

pauldub

North of Seattle

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Posted: 12/18/19 03:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FYI, this thread is 2 years old. Sorry, 3 years old.

ron.dittmer

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Posted: 12/19/19 11:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

And it's a good thread.

Since the E150, E250, and E350 vans were discontinued, Ford made the E350 chassis with more E450 components and systems. This was done because of the severely reduced production numbers. What made them previously different has been reduced to a mere change in springs today, and a few other minors. This is actually beneficial for E350 owners because compared to years prior, the E350 today gets a wider stance, bigger brakes, and hydro-boost-brake instead of the conventional vacuum power brake booster like cars have. I believe the frame thickness is now the same between the E350 and E450, but I did not confirm it. I know my 2007 E350 steel frame is a tad bit thinner per the 2007 E-series spec sheet I found on-line.

In years past, the E350 had a more fuel efficient differential gear ratio, but the latest transmission with the extra gear, compensates for that nicely.

So if you are in the market for a new rig today, and you are considering a short E350-V10 & 55 gallon fuel tank, versus a short E450 with the same, the primary difference will be in the load capability, and almost no difference in the mechanicals.

Keep in-mind that "EXTRA excess capability" will yield a much rougher ride. If you already own a short E450 rig with extra excess capability yielding an unacceptably rough ride, take it to a truck suspension shop and have them remove one or two or three leaf springs per rear corner to get the ride softer without compromising your actual load requirement. The right shop can figure that out for you.

And for you with an E350 that barely handles your actual load, add one more leaf spring per rear corner to give you that edge.

I am on-the-fence over adding one rear leaf spring per rear corner on our 2007 E350 because our garage door clearance is of concern. Right now, when unloaded, we have only 1.5" between the a/c unit and the top of the door frame.

As seen in my signature picture, our original E350 front coil springs are significantly under-loaded which sets the front a bit high. I plan to replace them with one rating weaker to make our ride up front more enjoyable and also hope to lower it a bit. If the results also lower the a/c unit, then I will consider adding one more leaf spring in the rear. Once evaluated and determined to make an improvement, then comes new tires and a front wheel alignment. My new Moog springs are in-hand, ready for the swap.

After 12+ years owning our rig I am getting a little more daring experimenting with these things, customizing the spring ratings to better match our actual load along with a little extra margin tucked in there. I enjoy the challenge.

* This post was last edited 12/20/19 07:18am by ron.dittmer *   View edit history


2007 Phoenix Cruiser model 2350, with 2006 Jeep Liberty in-tow


Desert Captain

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Posted: 12/20/19 07:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ron, et al...

As an E-350 guy on a 24'Class C that typically runs near or at GVWR I can suggest another way to go. I added Air Lift air bags rated to 5K# to our coach almost a year ago and the change has been amazing. The ride and handling, even loaded heavy and or towing was always excellent but when I added a single axle 10' {14' overall} cargo trailer the extra tongue weight {vs a tandem axle trailer} was noticeable.

When I hook up the trailer loaded either with my motorcycle {2,220#} or the Rzr {2,600#} the rear bumper drops 1.5". Add 50 psi to the bags and the rear end rises back to dead level. The handling and ride improved significantly and even when running "light"not towing and weighing in at just under 11,000# I have found that by adding just 25psi to the bags, much to my surprise, the ride got even better.

Air bags should always have a at least a minimal inflation and the 25 psi meets that need nicely with the additional benefit of significant ride improvement. I do have to credit the Heavy Duty Bilstein's that I installed at 33K miles as contributing greatly to the overall ride. They were amazing from day one but seem to be a perfect match with the air bags as well.

[emoticon]

ron.dittmer

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Posted: 12/20/19 08:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Desert Captain,

You are right. Using air bags is another method, more easily installed and are adjustable too. For most people, that is an easy solution to address a marginal load limit. But I elected NOT to go that route for a few reasons.

I had a very nice air bag system on my previous motor home. It was great with a dedicated on-board compressor pump and air release to adjust the air pressure while I drive. It was an awesome setup, but as that fancy air bag setup aged, the system developed a small air leak of which I just tolerated. This time around, I wanted to address the matter most simplistically, never to give a thought about such things again.

This is more personal now. I worry that I would add lots of air to pump up the rear that extra few inches for a trip, get home, unload, and then forget the rig is now too tall to clear the garage door. I would be just one "senior moment" away before regretting the decision to go with air bags.

But again, your point using air bags is well received.

carringb

Corvallis, OR

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Posted: 12/20/19 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The E350 has the same chassis as the 14,050 GVWR E450 (which would be the outgoing 6.2L engine option). The 14,500 version does have a heavier frame. And a larger rear axle. If you regularly run at over 20,000 combined, you will want the E450 and it's heavier rear axle. But other than that, it really is just a difference in spring rates.


Bryan

2000 Ford E450 V10 VAN! 450,000+ miles
2014 ORV really big trailer
2015 Ford Focus ST


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