460 vs. Diesel for Towing

MeanGreen
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460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby MeanGreen » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:28 pm

Hi all!

I've been bitten by the OFCC bug, and am looking to purchase one. I'm currently in the research phase, and I've got a question.

Currently, I drive a '97 F-250 Supercab longbed 4x4 with the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel under the hood. I have a slide-in truck camper that I haul in conjunction with a 20' flatbed car hauler upon which rides my '69 Bronco rockcrawler. The whole outfit is fairly heavy (probably around 9-10k for the trailer, and 2-3k for the camper), but the 'Stroke handles it like a champ. Of course I only tow this outfit once, maybe twice a year, the rest of the time this truck is my daily driver. Even the one time that I exceeded the rated max-gross-combined weight rating by 2000 lbs, the turbo diesel performed absolutely brilliantly. I LOVE the diesel and when I bought it I liked it so much that I swore I'd never mess with a gasolilne engine in a truck again.

Of course, now I'm getting to the point where kids will probably be in my future in the next 2-3 years, and while the supercab could "get by", I'd REALLY rather have an OFCC 4x4 longbed and swap a Gen 1 or Gen 2 Cummins into it. But, obviously, they didn't come that way, and my plan for the swap is to find an OFCC in running condition (with probably a 460 and a manual trans), use it as is for a while as-is until I can sell the 'Stroke and use the proceeds to pay off the OFCC and partially fund the Cummins swap.

Now the question is this: I know a 390, 400, or 460 won't get the same mileage towing as the 7.3, but how does the towing power compare? Is even the venerable 460 going to feel anemic compared to the 7.3? I can deal with a *little* downgrade in power in order to get my butt in an OFCC, but I want to know what I'm getting myself into beforehand. Also, do any of you running the big blocks notice a big mileage difference between loaded and unloaded? My current 7.3 gets about the same mileage loaded or not (I use it as my daily driver the other 364 days of the year when I'm not towing). Any other concerns I should be aware of hauling such heavy loads? Frame strength, etc? Is the "narrow" CC frame going to be an issue hauling a slide-in camper? I.E., should I start with a vintage supercab frame, stretch it, and graft the CC onto it in order to get the stronger body mounts? I plan to use frame-mounted camper tie-downs, so is that going to be a non-issue anyway? Or would I just be better off going the "Dodge Frame" route, and start with a wrecked 94-97 Dodge cummins 4x4 and tack an OFCC body on, a-la Trucks! TV (not my favorite idea, though). Will a HD Dana 44 front end hold up for a while under this setup for a couple of years until I swap in the diesel, or do I REALLY need the Dana 60 front right away? I do not do any 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer towing, I am set up strictly for "bumper pull" trailers, using class III and class IV weight distributing hitches.

Any insight into this from OFCC owners would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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bens1979crewcab
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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby bens1979crewcab » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:34 pm

Hey glad to here your going to a ofcc :)
I drive a 79 cc 4x4 with a 5.9 cummins and really like it 8-)
As far as a 460 mine would pull like a son of a gun about as good as a 7.3 but only get about 6 mpg pulling my small trailer and not much better empty but that motor wasnt built for mpgs.
I know some people have gotten better mpgs with theirs Im sure others will share there stories .
For me the cummins is the only way to go.
Good luck with your search.
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68Mercury250Ranger
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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby 68Mercury250Ranger » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:39 pm

if you can find an EFI 460, they work very well. never get close to your PSD, but would be cheaper.

I had a 1996 supercab shortbed 4x4 with PSD/ZF and 3.55s, when it was new. It pulled very well, but when at max GVW and working hard it would cut my fuel economy almost in half. from 25mpg empty to 13.5 in a worst case trip. I always drove it like I stole it :D

I've never driven a 460 built for pulling, but I would not expect even 10mpg with just your camper on, with your loaded trailer on much worse!

if its your daily driver and you put lots of miles on, why not watch for a 2002 or older cube van with a PSD in it. convert the powertrain it into an OFCC. get an E450 and it already has a 4x4 output shaft and extension.

I picked up a 99 E450 cube running for $400 only 270,000km on it. I haven't used it yet but I start it everyonce in a while to keep it fresh.

IMHO get the crew.......drive it for a while as it is. start insulating the floors/firewall............then look for your donor diesel. 5.9/7.3 whatever.

don't use the Dodge chassis.

cheers and enjoy your upcoming adventure.
summer:RIP 68 Merc, 72 Bronc.
winter> wife: 94 explorer xlt, mine: Barney the powerstroke clubwagon
projects: 93 Bronco 7.3 powerstroke, 70 F250 crewcab 5.9cummins/ZF 4wd
67 Mercury700 on 98 F800 chassis, 91 C350 4x4 diesel Centurion.

compression ignition rules!! :D

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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby reganswan » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:38 am

The EFI 460 is a big turd for pulling and mileage honestly. I have one in my rock crawler and its pitiful, and my buddy has two of them in trucks and they are just as bad. If your going to do a swap anyway, diesel is the only way to go no matter what brand of diesel it is. My buddy's 79 truck with 36's and a 12V cummins gets well over 23mpg pulling. Case and point, why I am putting one in my CC.

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68Mercury250Ranger
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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby 68Mercury250Ranger » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:29 am

23mpg towing on 36s, now this one would make a great story :lol:
whats he towing, a folding tent trailer?

my sister has a 1998 dodge extended cab 2wd, hasn't worked a hard day in its life. its a 12valve with inline pump my sister used it to commute to her school where she teaches, mostly highway. she can get a consistent 20mpgCAN ,16.7US. If she doesn't beat it.

they once got 23 on a long trip. nice aerodynamic cap on the truck, and it has the dodge auto overdrive trans. I was actually pretty disapponted seeing how the truck is more aerodynamic than an old crew.

get your buddy to keep track of his mileage for real, and I would bet he's well under 20mpg US empty. 23 was probably downhill. ;) with a tailwind

don't expect great towing mpg from anything, but isn't hard to beat a 460 on fuel economy empty or loaded.
summer:RIP 68 Merc, 72 Bronc.
winter> wife: 94 explorer xlt, mine: Barney the powerstroke clubwagon
projects: 93 Bronco 7.3 powerstroke, 70 F250 crewcab 5.9cummins/ZF 4wd
67 Mercury700 on 98 F800 chassis, 91 C350 4x4 diesel Centurion.

compression ignition rules!! :D

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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby crewcabxlt » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:02 pm

i tow in the mountains alot, 6k to 20k. i tried built 460,s, 390,s and even had a 428. my well tuned cummins blows away any gasser ive ever built. 800 ftlbs of tq at 1900 rpms, 16 -18 mpg towing. a best of 23 mg on a trip empty. for a toy a gasser is fun but only 1/2 as fun as a diesel :D i smile every time i drive my cummins powered ford.

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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby InfoFord » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:00 pm

I rode in power strokes cummins and dura max best I ever seen was 13 pulling

I will stay with the gasser at this time

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OrthmannJ
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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby OrthmannJ » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:21 pm

I will have to say that it depends on the set-up and it depends on where you plan on hauling.

We have a 2wd F-350 7.3 Powerstroke w/ 6spd manual at work. One of our salesmen took the truck with a 24 foot tandem axle trailer loaded with a medium duty tractor on a 500 mile round trip. (one way with the new tractor, the way back with a trade in) It was mostly interstate, and most of the grades he pulled were very long, very gradual assents into the Cascades.

He averaged 23.5 mpg on that trip. You can say what you want, but I knew the mileage when he left, the mileage when he got back, the fuel log and had the CFN receipts to prove it. I was shocked.

All of that being said, Most of us want 4wd.
Most of us don't want to shift out own gears.
And most of us want to haul our stuff up jeep trails into the back country.

I go back and fourth over the Diesel VS Gas debate. Gas is less power, torque and MPG, but the fuel is cheaper. Diesel is MORE power, torque and MPG, but the fuel is more expensive.
1969 F-100
1996 F-350 Crew Cab Powerstroke
Previous rigs:
1978 F-250 crew cab
1994 Explorer XLT
1978 Bronco Ranger XLT
1981 F-100 shortbox stepside Ranger XLT
1994 F-150 XLT S/C 4X4
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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby 68Mercury250Ranger » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:04 am

OrthmannJ wrote:I will have to say that it depends on the set-up and it depends on where you plan on hauling.

We have a 2wd F-350 7.3 Powerstroke w/ 6spd manual at work. One of our salesmen took the truck with a 24 foot tandem axle trailer loaded with a medium duty tractor on a 500 mile round trip. (one way with the new tractor, the way back with a trade in) It was mostly interstate, and most of the grades he pulled were very long, very gradual assents into the Cascades.

He averaged 23.5 mpg on that trip. You can say what you want, but I knew the mileage when he left, the mileage when he got back, the fuel log and had the CFN receipts to prove it. I was shocked.

All of that being said, Most of us want 4wd.
Most of us don't want to shift out own gears.
And most of us want to haul our stuff up jeep trails into the back country.

I go back and fourth over the Diesel VS Gas debate. Gas is less power, torque and MPG, but the fuel is cheaper. Diesel is MORE power, torque and MPG, but the fuel is more expensive.


different strokes for different folks............pun intended :lol:

hey OJ: those numbers sound a little extreme on the good side. a lot actually depends on the driver's style also.

my 96 F250 supercab shortbed 4x4 7.3 PSD ZF 3.55s could get up to 28mpg(CAN) or 23.3 US when I wanted to ;) . did I always get that kind of mileage? there is no F in Way!
I would beat it hard as I could and usually avg 21-22 emptyCAN/17.5-18.3US.

pulling a FULL load, I could average 19-20mpgCAN/15.8-16.7US if I stayed out of it but kept rpms close to 2100/2200.
I could pull it down to 13mpgCAN/10.8US loaded, same weight, if I set the cruise for 80mph and left it there.

only 460s I ever used for any length of time were 11:1 Thunderjet head equipped 460s, and they couldn't get 6mpgCAN/5mpgUS in a 79 Bronco on 35s
and 4.10s. that was empty on 93 octane fuel. :shock: worse if I opened up the secondaries regularly.

diesel fuel here is still usually a tiny bit cheaper than gas but sometimes a smidge more when there is a gas war on. 89-91cents/litre diesel vs. 92-96cents/litre gas(87 octane)

this arguement can go on forever, some love gas/some love diesel, there is no right answer. but there sure are lots of opinions 8-)
summer:RIP 68 Merc, 72 Bronc.
winter> wife: 94 explorer xlt, mine: Barney the powerstroke clubwagon
projects: 93 Bronco 7.3 powerstroke, 70 F250 crewcab 5.9cummins/ZF 4wd
67 Mercury700 on 98 F800 chassis, 91 C350 4x4 diesel Centurion.

compression ignition rules!! :D

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Re: 460 vs. Diesel for Towing

Postby OrthmannJ » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:50 am

68Mercury250Ranger wrote:hey OJ: those numbers sound a little extreme on the good side. a lot actually depends on the driver's style also.


I know. But it's the gospel truth.

68Mercury250Ranger wrote:diesel fuel here is still usually a tiny bit cheaper than gas but sometimes a smidge more when there is a gas war on. 89-91cents/litre diesel vs. 92-96cents/litre gas(87 octane)


That is annoying. We all know diesel should cost less, it is way less expensive to refine and yet they jack the price up in the states, but not Canada? WTH!?
1969 F-100
1996 F-350 Crew Cab Powerstroke
Previous rigs:
1978 F-250 crew cab
1994 Explorer XLT
1978 Bronco Ranger XLT
1981 F-100 shortbox stepside Ranger XLT
1994 F-150 XLT S/C 4X4
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