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Old 02-06-2020, 11:51 AM   #1
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RV Shopping: Ford VS GM

Hello! I'm new here so please have grace if this isn't the correct sub-forum for this.

My wife and I have decided to have a go at owning a motorhome (class A). Saturday we hope to go look at several different models in our area, and all have either a GM 454 or Ford 460. These models range from '85 - '97. Yeah, they are on the older side but we only have so much budgeted for this.

The 454 is a very ubiquitous engine, and it would be my preference. My question here is if it's a mistake to get an 460 of this age due to it having less parts availability. Is one engine commonly seen as more reliable than the other? Can you still find OEM parts for the Ford? I am mechanically inclined and would likely be doing the vast majority of the work on any camper myself.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:01 PM   #2
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Would you be interested in buying a normal daily vehicle in the model year range of 85-97?

Good luck.....I sincerely hope you are mechanically inclined.
Too vintage for my blood.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:12 PM   #3
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Would you be interested in buying a normal daily vehicle in the model year range of 85-97?

Good luck.....I sincerely hope you are mechanically inclined.
Too vintage for my blood.
You know, I actually would! Driving a big block to work every day would be a blast!

Like I said we are just trying to get a feel for the life. We don't have plans to take it more than a few hundred miles and if we do, we will certainly look for something a little newer.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:22 PM   #4
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Find an unit with a floorplan that suits you let that decide what motor. I am gm guy but couldn't find a floorplan she(we) liked with gm power, so ford it is. Very happy with our 2010 Winnebago Sightseer.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Chuppster View Post
The 454 is a very ubiquitous engine, and it would be my preference. My question here is if it's a mistake to get an 460 of this age due to it having less parts availability. Is one engine commonly seen as more reliable than the other? Can you still find OEM parts for the Ford? I am mechanically inclined and would likely be doing the vast majority of the work on any camper myself.
I have a 1982 Ford with 460. Getting engine parts is not an issue. There are plenty of engine parts available aftermarket.

The hardest part, I think, will be getting parts for the interior stuff.

Fortunately the technology back then is not as complicated as the new stuff so if you're good with your hands and working with tools, you should be able to rebuild or replace any of the mechanical systems.

Getting any interior trim or finish pieces will be the hard thing.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:54 PM   #6
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No problem getting OEM or aftermarket parts for an F53 with the 460. A bigger concern is the warping exhaust manifolds. I swapped mine out for a complete Banks system. The Banks made a noticeable performance difference on my 34’ Bounder.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:00 PM   #7
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No problem getting OEM or aftermarket parts for an F53 with the 460. A bigger concern is the warping exhaust manifolds. I swapped mine out for a complete Banks system. The Banks made a noticeable performance difference on my 34 Bounder.
Do the manifolds on the Chevy's warp too? We drove a 454 last week and the headers leaked real bad. For that reason and several others we walked away from that RV.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:01 PM   #8
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I have a 1982 Ford with 460. Getting engine parts is not an issue. There are plenty of engine parts available aftermarket.

The hardest part, I think, will be getting parts for the interior stuff.

Fortunately the technology back then is not as complicated as the new stuff so if you're good with your hands and working with tools, you should be able to rebuild or replace any of the mechanical systems.

Getting any interior trim or finish pieces will be the hard thing.
I would love to hear a little more about your camper. How many miles? Are you comfortable taking it on trips? How long have you owned it?
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:34 PM   #9
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For a few extra dollars, you can get into the v 10 ford, which started around the mid to late 90s. That motor is bullet proof. Worth the extra if you asked me.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:41 PM   #10
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At that edge the exact engine in it is secondary. First find floorplan(s) you like and buy that. Of course you want to be as comfortable as possible that the engine and drive train are sound. But brand doesn't really make or break 'is sound' as far as I'm concerned.
We started with an '96 with a 454, it was a great old coach. Drove it for two years and it never gave us any problem. After that we knew what changes we wanted and the things that we didn't know about when shopping the first time, so we went shopping for something newer that we plan to keep a good long time.
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:45 PM   #11
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For a few extra dollars, you can get into the v 10 ford, which started around the mid to late 90s. That motor is bullet proof. Worth the extra if you asked me.
That would be nice, but the only V10 in our area is twice the price of all the others
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:03 PM   #12
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I shopped for quite bit for my "bargain". I was after a handyman special type. I ended up with '93 F53 with the 460. I was open to either a Ford or GM but I noted that Fords got overdrive transmissions a bit earlier and more commonly than the GM's I was looking at.

The 460 Fords are essentially Ford F550 trucks in the driveline and they share some other parts like brakes too. Think flatbed farm trucks and tow trucks. If your local parts store doesn't have normal service engine parts for one, they nee dto just shut down. Many parts stores also list the F53 chassis too, so no need to guess at which F550 parts fit.

Not having bought one, I'm less familiar with the GM chassis. I do know that they are "P" chassi based. Meaning bread trucks, delivery vans and such. Meaning that the parts also have parts for them. Because parts places carry stuff for work trucks.

Early Fords had C6 transmissions early GM's had Turbo 400's or some variation. Both very respected for their durability but both three speeds. Some people say they don't care as when traveling their coaches hardly stay in overdrive unless they are going downhill. There's a grain of truth in that but I'm an overdrive junkie, I have to have it.

The Ford's got E4OD's. later slightly upgraded and called 4R100's. The early ones had some teething problems but if the coach has more than 30K miles on it those should have been found and dealt with years and years ago. Pretty tough transmissions. Also huge for a passenger/truck transmission.

A 4L80E is the GM equivalent. A little prone to problems with reverse that you can check for. (It either backs up nice and firmly or it doesn't). Every bit as durable as the Fords but in a more compact package.

The rest others here have more experience with. I never even heard of Newmar when I found mine. Reading a LOT in the Newmar forum right here figured largely in me deciding to take a chance on it. There are complaints and problems with everything and that's what most posts are about. But it kind of came through that people seemed to really like their various Newmar products. Now I do too.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyR View Post
I shopped for quite bit for my "bargain". I was after a handyman special type. I ended up with '93 F53 with the 460. I was open to either a Ford or GM but I noted that Fords got overdrive transmissions a bit earlier and more commonly than the GM's I was looking at.

The 460 Fords are essentially Ford F550 trucks in the driveline and they share some other parts like brakes too. Think flatbed farm trucks and tow trucks. If your local parts store doesn't have normal service engine parts for one, they nee dto just shut down. Many parts stores also list the F53 chassis too, so no need to guess at which F550 parts fit.

Not having bought one, I'm less familiar with the GM chassis. I do know that they are "P" chassi based. Meaning bread trucks, delivery vans and such. Meaning that the parts also have parts for them. Because parts places carry stuff for work trucks.

Early Fords had C6 transmissions early GM's had Turbo 400's or some variation. Both very respected for their durability but both three speeds. Some people say they don't care as when traveling their coaches hardly stay in overdrive unless they are going downhill. There's a grain of truth in that but I'm an overdrive junkie, I have to have it.

The Ford's got E4OD's. later slightly upgraded and called 4R100's. The early ones had some teething problems but if the coach has more than 30K miles on it those should have been found and dealt with years and years ago. Pretty tough transmissions. Also huge for a passenger/truck transmission.

A 4L80E is the GM equivalent. A little prone to problems with reverse that you can check for. (It either backs up nice and firmly or it doesn't). Every bit as durable as the Fords but in a more compact package.

The rest others here have more experience with. I never even heard of Newmar when I found mine. Reading a LOT in the Newmar forum right here figured largely in me deciding to take a chance on it. There are complaints and problems with everything and that's what most posts are about. But it kind of came through that people seemed to really like their various Newmar products. Now I do too.
Thank you for your insight, that's helpful!
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:13 AM   #14
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I think you are being smart. There's nothing wrong with an older motorhome and it will be within your budget. Assuming you do your homework and get a sound one, you will be able to address any items needing attention - with the proviso that you are not a "Checkbook mechanic".

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...Like I said we are just trying to get a feel for the life. We don't have plans to take it more than a few hundred miles and if we do, we will certainly look for something a little newer.
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