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PostPosted: November 8th, 2017, 4:48 pm 
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Joined: November 8th, 2017, 6:33 am
Posts: 3
Location: Plano, Texas
Hello Chinook forum members,

I am new to this forum (1st post), and I am considering the future purchase of a Chinook, to fulfill my current desire
of towing our boat (4,000+ lbs Trophy Walkaroud on a single Axle trailer) down to the gulf for more frequent Saltwater fishing trips.

I have exhausted my attempts to research a 2004 Chinook Concourse on a 2003 Ford Chasis powered by a Ford 7.3 Power Stroke Diesel.
I came across the following video while researching (more like dreaming) of Chinooks Motorhomes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de7a8S7LOLE&t=57s

I apologize in advance (in this post and future correspondence) as I tend to put too much detail into my posts and extended them longer than the normal attention span of a normal human.

I would appreciate if anyone could share the expected (or actual) fuel econonmy on the 7.3 Diesel in a Chinook Concourse or Glacier.
I would also appreciate if anyone could share the towing stats?
How does the 4KW generator run on the Diesel Chinooks. Does it run on Diesel, from the same tank as the main engine (which would be nice), or does it run out of a seperate LPG tank (advantage Gas Chinook)?

I have also had an interest in Ford Excursions, and have some relative knowledge of towing a boat using an Excursion towing with a V-10, and towing the same/similar boat with a 7.3 Power Stroke Diesel. Two of my fishing budies have Excursions (one a V-10,the other a 7.3 PSD) and both of them own/tow a 31' Fountain Sportfish, which they towed (with the family) to fishing trips in Venice, Louisiana and Destin, Florida (there are some pretty steep, long hills on I-10 as you approach Destin). They agree that on flat land (most of Texas), their trucks can tow and drive like the boat is not even there. However, They both agree that the Power Stroke Diesel has better low-end torque for maintaining and accelerating while towing. It also has better fuel economy (Miles per gallon of Diesel compared to miles per gallon of gas) resulting in fewer fueling stops for the 7.3 PSD.

I would not pay the addition $20K for the Diesel option. However, considering that I recently witnessed Diesel fuel around the same price (or cheaper at $2.15 vs $2.20 for gas) in North Texas, then further consideration of purchasing a used Chinook with a PSD is just a more attractive. I don't know everything that is involved, but the ability to continue running the diesel engine idle at night (with very little fuel burned) is attractive, even if there is the 4KW generator.

I still admire those Chinooks, and last year test drove a 2004 Glacier, with a Ford V-10, that was in a used RV lot down the road from my boat storage. He refused to allow me to hitch up my boat to see how well it towed. I would love to have a 2004 Chinook Concourse/ Glacier on a 2003 chassis with a Ford 7.3 Liter Power Stroke Diesel (as seen in the video)


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PostPosted: November 8th, 2017, 7:30 pm 
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Joined: June 26th, 2017, 9:38 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Southern CA
I guess most of us are not normal :lol:
Anyway, I do know that a PSD Chinook has propane generator. It is cleaner than gas generator, but I think at slightly lower power.

As for the cheaper price of diesel, that should not be a reason to get a diesel unless you are driving 100k mile or some ridiculous mileage like that. It will take you years to get the money back in diesel price. However, if you can get a PSD for about the same money, and can really use the torque, then it is a good idea.

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2000 Concourse dinette, on 2000 6.8L Ford E350 Triton V-10 Chassis (built in 1999)


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PostPosted: November 9th, 2017, 5:54 am 
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Joined: November 8th, 2017, 6:33 am
Posts: 3
Location: Plano, Texas
Thank you for the reply (and being super human with my long first post).
Although, I have typed up some much longer (lots of details) fishing reports on fishing sites :).

I also like the idea of making your own bio-diesel. ;) I haven't actually tried it, but I have researched it, and the most difficult part would be getting a hold of, and cleaning the used cooking oil. Just one of those wild ideas.


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PostPosted: November 9th, 2017, 10:54 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1956
Location: 1999 Concourse
Sounds like your buddies have direct comparison info. OTOH, a 31' Fountain is likely to weigh a lot more than your 4,000# boat/trailer, I'd think (cursory Google search says 10,000#). If you want a diesel for sure, then of course that's what you should get and you can probably ignore the rest of this post. Diesel Chinooks are a lot fewer though (so harder to find, statistically). In that light, here are a few comments from one who tows happily with a V10 gas Chinook

- A diesel in a van is a whole lot of heat and noise basically right in your lap behind a piece of plastic (in contrast to a truck, where it's away from you, beyond the firewall, and has much better cooling to boot). The V10 is pretty quiet but already more than enough heat (for me). An Excursion is built more like a truck, with a hood out front, firewall, etc.

- I sometimes tow a boat. And I don't mean to the local launch ramp but rather long, multi-state trips with plenty of big western mountain passes, desert heat - or both in combination - etc. My boat and trailer all-up (scale weights) are between 4,500# and 4,700#. I have no problem pulling that with the V10. That said, I don't expect to go 65mph right up the face of a 10,000' pass. (Maybe the V10 would do that, but I haven't pushed it simply because I'd rather be easier on the equipment). The V10 does like to rev, which may not be to your taste.

- Of course on the way down a diesel won't have you going any faster, or braking any better, AFAIK. Unless the diesels got some different brakes or something (in fact, I found my Chinook under-braked even in normal circumstances, so I had a 2014 front end put on, which has much beefier brakes). Not that I use brakes much on a downhill pass - I mostly only do engine braking.

- If I could change something on my setup, it would be the transmission not the engine. I would especially like another gear between 2nd and 3rd on the uphills, and (much less often) between 1st and 2nd on very steep downhills (more than 8% grade - Interstates generally don't go above 6%). I don't know what transmission or how many gears or the ratios on a diesel Chinook, so I don't know if it's any different. For me, unless all I did all day every day was go up and down passes, I wouldn't go to a diesel even if that were the case (see noise and heat above).

- Another thing I like about the gas engine is that I don't feel like (too much of) a jerk if I arrive at a camp spot late or leave early. The gas Chinook is relatively quiet, and doesn't require any idling (I'm not sure if diesels actually do either, but a fair number of people with diesels seem to leave them running a lot, which is noisy and emits fumes) The 7.3 is definitely noticeable coming into camp late. That may not be a factor for you though.

- A friend just got a Ford pickup with the Ecoboost gas engine, and that is a treat! Has low end guts like a diesel, and is nearly silent. Plus he has ten transmission speeds. 'course that's not in any of our Chinooks, darnit.

- A knock about towing with a gas engine is having to fill up at (car) gas pumps. I always manage, but it's sometimes not convenient. If possible I fill up while unhitched and/or look up the station on Google maps to check the lie of the land (not so bad on the Interstate where truck stops often have "RV lanes" which include gas pumps).

- For me fuel mileage is not a factor. Well okay, if a diesel got 40 mpg and a gas 5 mpg it would be. But to me 10-12 is close enough to 12-16 (or whatever) that it's not a factor. In fact, even with the lower mileage of the V10, fuel in general is the least of my ownership cost worries. Maybe if I drove it 60k per year that would change (but most people don't). But then maybe it wouldn't. I liked that my previous (gas) campervan got 18 mpg highway when not towing, and 12 when towing; but fuel wise I don't really notice the difference in my bottom line budget. I DO notice that I now have duallies, now have more appliances, now have RV door (vs. factory Ford doors), now have a carpeted floor to replace, etc. etc. Those aren't deal-breakers, but if I'm going to notice anything expense-wise, it's not the fuel.

- Oh, a last note on weight: You won't be able to tow more than around 5,000# (within ratings) on any typical 21' Chinook. Reason is the rear axle weight ratings will "kick in" at around that point, and limit your tongue weight. My ~320# of tongue weight adds 550# to the rear axle, and that gets me pretty close to the GWR for the rear axle (trailer is a tandem so I can have a lower percentage of tongue weight; if I had a single, I'd have more tongue weight.). Perhaps the Glacier on the E-450 is different, but you'd have to look at the numbers to be sure, because then again the body is heavier and larger, the slide adds weight, etc.. BTW, you may already know this, but don't just go by the "tow rating," or the difference between the GVWR and the GCWR.

My 21' Chinook, for example, "appears" to have around an 8,000# tow ability just comparing the GVWR to the GCWR. But when Ford gives those ratings, they don't know what's going on the chassis. In our (21-footer) case, the Chinook body adds enough weight to the rear axle that it's already pretty close to ratings. With any normal trailer, there's no way you'd be able to tow 8,000# (the tongue weight would kill the rear axle rating). You should be fine with your 4,000# all-up trailer, but just so you know.

I guess the upshot is that I have found towing just fine with the V10 gas engine and if I'm going to have an engine in my lap (which you do with a van), I'm glad it's not any more of a beast than the V10. Your 4,000# trailer will be a bit lighter than the boat/trailer I tow. In fact, that's not much heavier than my car, which tows quite easily behind the Chinook (of course it's also shorter and more manageable than the 8' wide/28' long boat/trailer). Diesel still may be your preference, which is of course fine (lots of people do prefer them and they do have advantages); but just thought you might be interested to read a different perspective in case you can't find a diesel or are open to options.

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PostPosted: November 9th, 2017, 2:12 pm 
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Joined: November 8th, 2017, 6:33 am
Posts: 3
Location: Plano, Texas
Thanks Blue~Go, I really appreciate you sharing your personal experience.

I was thinking that the current weight of the Chinook, in addition to my boat/trailer, would be equivalent to towing a Fountain with an Excursion using the same power-plant.

I like the eco-boost Trucks, and even brought my boat/trailer in for a test drive in 2014 with a 6 speed transmission. Pulled the boat very nice, however, the fuel economy drops surprising quick when towing, especially when those Turbos (ready less than 9 mpg) kick in. I get around 12 towing with my Expedition, but only get 16mpg without towing.

Thanks Again, I greatly appreciate your personal insight.


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PostPosted: November 9th, 2017, 4:12 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2016, 3:30 am
Posts: 44
If you put a banks kit on a gas v10 I;m sure it would tow it. They have a410 rear end which makes them a stump puller. They will pull a 4k pound auto. If you check Fuelly, a 2003 ford Econoline van with a gas engine reports 7 or 8 mpg. The 7.3 PSD is reporting 10mpg. That doesn't seem worth it. :D


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PostPosted: November 10th, 2017, 7:30 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I'm glad I didn't come across as just someone who knows better than you what you want (not my intention).

As far as overall weight goes (V10's with different chassis), when I feel overly protective of mine I think about my buddy with another brand RV on the E-450 chassis with the same V10. His rig is a constantly fully loaded 14,400# GVWR ((the E-350 chassis under the 21-footer Chinook has a 10,700# GVWR) and he tows a 4,000# car. So that's pulling nearly 20,000#, whereas when I'm towing my heaviest trailer I'm under 15,000# total). His rig is also higher, wider, and boxier so more wind resistance. I also know someone with a 32' Class A (lord knows how heavy THAT is plus talk about the front wind shape being the broad side of a barn) and it's also powered by the V10 -- many gas Class A's are.

That's not to say they are the sprightliest rigs out there, but mine sure gets the job done. I sometimes use the overdrive manually (knob on end of shifter) when towing, just because I can predict what's coming whereas the transmission can only react after the fact. I don't like to lug, and when towing if I leave the overdrive to its own devices it sometimes shifts a bit early for me, or stays in overdrive at times I'd rather not. But that's just an easy button press.

They do like to rev and I make myself "hold my cringe" and get 'er up there in RPM pulling large passes. But that's just because my "feeling" is that every engine would just prefer to lope along. However my mind knows that's not true, no engine wants to lug, and the V10 itself is happy getting the RPM's up. Zip, zip!

(Side note is that my buddy's larger/heavier E-450 with the same transmission behaved slightly differently re: overdrive. If we were following each other on the same road, he'd be at a slightly lower RPM for the same given circumstances. I like my setup better, because I'd rather have my overdrive really BE an overdrive when appropriate, so I can just be "coasting" along. But by the same token, he was more often able to (appropriately) just leave it in overdrive when towing.)

All that said, if you would just always wish you had a diesel, then that's likely what you should get. OTOH, if there is a chance you could be happy with gas, I think it will easily do the job for you, with a 4,000# trailering load. To be honest, I'm just not a big fan of diesel engines. But even if I were, I do think there is a difference having it in a van vs. a truck. With the van it's in your lap (noise/heat), and you only have to look at the layout to see it's not going to cool as well. I read that the reason Chevy quit putting their diesel in the van is they just couldn't get the cooling adequate. I also think (but you'd want to check this) that the power in a given diesel is going to be de-rated in a van (cooling reasons). But, it's still a diesel, and if that's just what you love, well, that's a powerful reason to have one. I think much more important than things like mileage (minor expense in the big picture, IMO, unless you are an over-the-road trucker), and etc.

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