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Old 06-18-2016, 11:44 AM   #1
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Mid 90s Bounder: Ford or Chevy?

I am planning to purchase a 32 or 34 foot Bounder, 1992-1997. Good value, and like the floorplans. I would be grateful for any incite into this creature. Particularly
Ford or Chevy? Ride, noise level, ease of driving, power, economy.
Seems like there are many more Chevy than Fords.
MODELS: The 32H suits me, so what do you gain with a 34 that appears to have a nearly identical floorplan ? A 30 foot with a corner bed/corner bath would be ideal for me.
Is there much variation among the 32s . ......the 34s?

Thanks for your time, Dan Holcomb , full timer since 2003, Arizona
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Old 06-18-2016, 11:58 AM   #2
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Welcome to iRV2.

First post I see .

JMHO: For RVs of that era , I'd be inclined to trust the Chevy drive line over the Ford. Both will be make a lot of noise while pulling up hills , nature of the beast that's under the engine cover. Economy ; I'd give the Chevy a slight edge , but so much is dependent on your right foot. The RV is as aerodynamic as a shoe box, the faster you push it down the road , the more fuel it'll use.
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:12 PM   #3
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They both have their weaknesses. Both have exhaust manifold problems. Chevy's P32 chassis has independent front suspension, with air bags in the front coil springs that have a high failure rate. The left bell crank was of poor design and can be corrected with a replacement from Henderson Line up. Robert Henderson has made a tidy sum of $$ with replacement parts for the P32 chassis. With that being said, the P32 chassis does ride better than the I beam chassis used on the Ford F53 chassis. The P32 will run nose down, even with the correct air pressure in the front air bags. Replacement coil springs from Henderson Line Up will correct that problem. Also Chevy use an auto park emergency brake system that was problematic. Detailed instruction on auto park brake repair is at Oemy's Web Site - RV Chassis Parts Xref W Series 96 P32 chassis received port injection, which made it a great performer. Ford's 460 EFI needs a little help in the performance department. I installed the Banks Power Pack on mine. Now I can run with the big boys. GRIN
Ford brakes require bi-annual maintenance, or they may have over heating problems. IE brake caliper slide pin cleaning and re-lubricating. Change the brake fluid at the same time.
My 95 F53 460/E4OD had 138,000 on the engine when I decided to build a stroker engine to replace it. The old engine was still working well, I just wanted more git up and go. I have a friend with over 200,000 on his F53 460 with no problems. Lots of complaints about horrible steering on the F53. Get the toe in set a little strong, add a pan hard bar and don't cheap out on tires and it will drive with the best of them. They are 16" tires and run at maximum capacity most of the time. A all steel cord tire works best. IE Michelin XPS or Bridgestone R250. Both are a little more pricey than fabricate cord tires.
Another note, the P32 has a narrower wheel track than the F53.
Noise level is controlled by how well the coach builder insulates the coach. Both chassis have clutch fans that can and will roor.
No economy with a RV. I give the Chevy a slight edge over Ford on fuel economy. Around mile to the gallon, maybe. Your foot will make the biggest difference.
In the fleetwood Line up the 32H was on a 190" wheel base. The 34P or 34J was on a 208" wheel base. I find that I have to load with caution to not over load my 17,000 32H Ford chassis. The Chevy will be a 16,500 chassis. Both are the heavies gas chassis made in that era, unless a tag axle is added.
So there ya go. I live on the Ford side of life. Others have good luck with their bow ties. GRIN

Richard
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Old 06-19-2016, 12:07 PM   #4
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Richard gave an excellent review of the differences. I lean toward the Ford with a Banks add-on and would stick with 95-97, but you are right that there seem to be more P30s available than F53 Ford. Not sure why, whether it was just popularity with the dealers who do most of the ordering, or maybe a slight price advantage at the time.

Mostly, though, I would focus on how well the chassis matches up to the coach built on it rather than Ford vs Chevy. Both Ford & Chevy made their chassis in a variety of configurations (wheelbase, GVWR, wheels/tires, etc) and sometimes a given coach gets built on one that is a bit undersized for the body. Try to get below the level of P30 vs F53 when looking at any given coach and make sure it has plenty of capacity.
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:50 AM   #5
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Richard and Gary, Thanks for sharing some of your vast information . My education is taking leaps��. A follow-up question if you would , please . Where does an owner find the Model Number, and the GVWR, UNLOADED WT, AXLE WT RATINGS. It must be on sheet all together somewhere. In my experience , many owners (particularly short-time owners) don't know the model and/or the actual length.
Some will quote XY as the length if the MODEL is M -XYH, when in fact the length is NOT XY at all. I presume the NADA value tables that list the model numbers are correct. Along with the actual length.
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:13 AM   #6
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If you go directly to fleetwood.com and look up the brochures for the older models you'll find lots of specs and it will cover both Ford an Chevy. We've owned both the P30 and the F53. They are 8 years in difference so I'm guessing our current one is better due to technological updates by the company. I also believe that 1993 was the first year for overdrive. That will help your MPG's a bit. I also found that our older Bounder, 1993, took more to keep it going straight down the road than our 2001 F53. That may have been more than Chevy versus Ford though.
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:38 PM   #7
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Back then, Fleetwood put a sticker under the outside drivers window with the model # and date of manufacture. Look in the closet for capacity details. Also left of the drivers seat is a sticker with axle capacity #.
The Ford F53 was introduced in 1988 with EFI and overdrive. Not sure about the P32.
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:46 PM   #8
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We have a 36 ft 96 Bounder on s F53 chassis . Headers & free flowing muffler is a nice improvement
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