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  #1  
Old 03-18-2008, 03:01 PM
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Ok, I know this is heresy, but 1970's ford trucks...

To keep my story brief... I am going to be moving across the country. Honestly, I don't know much about cars, and what I do know is about Mercedes diesels...

However, I am sure there are some of you who have been around a long time and may be able to help me out.

As mentioned, I am moving across the country. I had the wild idea that rather than rent a moving truck, I could buy an old RV and throw all my junk in there and then sell it when I get where I am going.

My price range is limited to about $2000, so I have been looking at old motor homes. I found a 1976 class C motorhome with a ford 460 engine, with 55,000 miles on it.

Now to me, 55,000 seems like not many miles, especially for a motor home, but as mentioned I know nothing about ford engines of the 1970's.

I owned an early 80's mercury that blew a freeze plug on the freeway and proceded to dump all of the oil out before seizing up, all within about 10 seconds. I found out later that was a common for that engine at about the milage I had reached (70,000 or something). I am wondering if I am in for the same type of quality control on a 70's ford truck engine (I know, probably apples and oranges)

Long story short, any comments on 1970's ford truck engines?

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  #2  
Old 03-18-2008, 03:03 PM
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At Ford quality is job one!
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  #3  
Old 03-18-2008, 03:42 PM
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Ford big-blocks are stout and thirsty, although no more than any other big block. I had an 4x4 F350 crew cab w/460 that I used for towing and hauling anything and everything within and beyond its limits. I had it for 6 years and put about 100K on it.

The one thing to keep in mind is that with RV's they generally have low miles but often sit for extended periods of time. You really want to be sure to go through and check all of the wires and hoses to make sure they haven't started deteriorating from lack of use. Make sure the tires aren't cracked and checked from sun exposure, too.
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:49 PM
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The 460 is one of Ford's longest standing engines. "385" series (429/460) that had been built for a few years by 1976. (since 1968 and carried until 1997) Mid '70's were the smogger years and that engine probably puts out like 250 HP if that. In general it's a decent design.

Here's a forum for it:

http://www.460ford.com/
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  #5  
Old 03-18-2008, 05:32 PM
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Thanks, that is some helpful info guys.
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  #6  
Old 03-18-2008, 05:49 PM
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2X what Swampyankee said and FWIW, having had ten or twelve Ford big block trucks of 70's vintage on the farm, I would recommend that you consider installing a timing chain and gears. PITA, three hour or so job but the timing chains tend to get sloppy at around 60-70K miles (which is when we typically bought them cheap because they ran like crap). At the time a chain and gears was less than $50; half a day later we would have a sweet running truck having paid only half what it was worth. They are thirsty devils but pretty much bullet proof if maintained.

Good luck,
Jim
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  #7  
Old 03-18-2008, 06:15 PM
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Its a great idea. The kind I am attracted to.

However, selling a big thirsty rv will be a problem with $4 a gal gas.

On the other hand, you should be able to buy one really cheaply!

Tom W
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.

Last edited by t walgamuth; 03-18-2008 at 07:31 PM.
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  #8  
Old 03-18-2008, 06:56 PM
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Rent A Moving Van Or Hire A Professional Moving Co.

Assume 5 miles per gallon or about $0.70 a mile in fuel costs. Add the cost of replacing the primordial sludge in the power steering and braking system, the differential and the transmission, then refitting most every rubber component in the drivetrain and braking system, then cross your fingers that the 30 year-old radiator doesn't turn into powder in the middle of nowhere.

Hope I'm not filling you with excessive enthusiasm.
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2008, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
Assume 5 miles per gallon or about $0.70 a mile in fuel costs. Add the cost of replacing the primordial sludge in the power steering and braking system, the differential and the transmission, then refitting most every rubber component in the drivetrain and braking system, then cross your fingers that the 30 year-old radiator doesn't turn into powder in the middle of nowhere.

Hope I'm not filling you with excessive enthusiasm.
X2 hire a moving company, rent a car or SUV and enjoy the trip. How many times are you going to drive across country? Don't waste your time babysitting an old vehical, rent like a Suburban so you can carry a lot and see some of the sights.
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:34 AM
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I am a long time Ford fan. Having said that, let me say this...
I use a 1986 F 250 diesel to tow my 5th wheel camper. Generally its been good. However, as it ages ( and everything ages) every new noise becomes a source of concern. The result is that the last few vacations have been less than the relaxing times I had hoped. Listen...do you here THAT? What is it?
How about THAT, you surely heard that noise, didn't you?

OTOH, if you are not a "car-guy" by nature, maybe you NEVER hear those sounds. In that case, buy the truck, and enjoy the trip. Make sure the radio can be real loud.
Keep your speed under 60, and you might get 6mpg; but that is 20% less cost than at 5 mpg ( and 70 mph)
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2008, 09:55 AM
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Rv

A friend of mine did the same thing 10 years ago. He bought a cheap RV and a tow dulley. Put all of his stuff in it, towed his car behind it and drove from DC to LA. He stayed in the RV for a few weeks until he found a place then sold it for $5K more than he paid for it!!!!
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2008, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamali View Post
A friend of mine did the same thing 10 years ago. He bought a cheap RV and a tow dulley. Put all of his stuff in it, towed his car behind it and drove from DC to LA. He stayed in the RV for a few weeks until he found a place then sold it for $5K more than he paid for it!!!!
This is exactly what I am thinking, except that I don't think I'll be able to sell the RV for that much more out there. I have looked at the prices where I am vs. California, where I am moving, and they are going for about 1k more out there in similar condition.

I can buy it here for 1500 and I would gladly sell it there for the same amount, though likely I can sell it for a little more.

Renting a moving truck is 1200+ and I am thinking gas is going to cost the same whether I rent a truck or buy the RV.

I have driven across the country several times already in vehicles with more miles on them... if I can get the thing checked over by a mechanic before I go, I know it still isn't 100% risk free, but it seems like a reasonable idea to me and will still save me money in the long run even if I need to do some minor things before I get going. Worst case is I'll get stuck and have to hire a U haul to take me the rest of the way

We also don't have a place to live out there or jobs yet, so yes, we may be living in a campground for a couple weeks.

Amazingly the lady is slowly even getting into the idea...

But I am wondering about the MPG... is it really that bad? 6mpg? The owner told me she thought it got about 10. Is there any chance that is true? It is about 21 ft long I think.

I'm not rich, so no way am I hiring a moving company. It is either U haul or the RV.
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Sold but fondly remembered: 1981 300TD Turbo Tan 235K miles, 1983 300SD Astral Silver 224K miles


Last edited by chetwesley; 03-19-2008 at 11:02 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-19-2008, 11:23 AM
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One other thing is that the RV hasn't just been sitting. The current owner has been using it in state and is the third owner... so it isn't like it has just been sitting completely untouched.
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1979 240D w/4 Speed Manual, Light Blue Estimated 225-275K Miles - "Lil' Chugs"
Sold but fondly remembered: 1981 300TD Turbo Tan 235K miles, 1983 300SD Astral Silver 224K miles

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  #14  
Old 03-20-2008, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaoneill View Post
2X what Swampyankee said and FWIW, having had ten or twelve Ford big block trucks of 70's vintage on the farm, I would recommend that you consider installing a timing chain and gears. PITA, three hour or so job but the timing chains tend to get sloppy at around 60-70K miles (which is when we typically bought them cheap because they ran like crap). At the time a chain and gears was less than $50; half a day later we would have a sweet running truck having paid only half what it was worth. They are thirsty devils but pretty much bullet proof if maintained.

Good luck,
Jim
the other thing you can do is advance the cam timing with an offset key. lots of old smog motors had late cam timing which kills low and mid range power. You should even get better gas mileage
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  #15  
Old 03-20-2008, 12:41 AM
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Great idea. Sold my 71 Dodge Travco 44k original miles 413 motor a couple of years ago. Great vehicle. 7mpg. 8 on a good day. I doubt you're going to get 10mpg on any motorhome other than a few diesels.
When I moved across country to go to graduate school years ago, I bought an old International ambulance with a blown 288 engine for $150. Bought an old pickup with a good engine for $100, swapped it in, bought a towbar and pulled my Camaro from NY to Colorado with all our possessions packed inside. Sold it for about $800 when I got here.

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