Tip #50, 5 Year Comprehensive Report- Ford vrs Toyota Debate, On & Off-Road

Submitted: Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 21:18
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EXTREME 4X4, COMFORT, FUEL ECONOMY, “DRIVER FATIGUE”, SAFETY, SPACE, TURNING RADIUS, AND CITY PARKING…

Following the progress of many hundreds of BT Owners, and owning both vehicles myself for more than a few years, I think this to be a very fair analysis to the differences between the two. I am not pushing Ford or Toyota, but here is I think a very fair report of the two in all categories of concern. I have spent the time to compile all of this to be a help to those of you in planning, and those of you wondering about the big Ford if you are struggling with a larger van and Toyota or Nissan.

Sure there are some extreme end differences: If you are into extreme fossicking or pig hunting and a smaller van say 18' then Toyota is still King. And if you were coming back to the City parking after short trips, then Toyota is still King… But, long range touring and 21 or 22' or larger van and long distance travel, you need to look at the Ford... Ford wins hands down on things like the comfort zone and fuel economy. In many cases our Customers were a Toyota Man to the core. But towing long distance, battling fatigue, power, safety, comfort, about 80 BT Owners or so have shifted to Ford... The Toyota is still king in the 4x4 Clubs and out in extreme 4x4, but the longer wheel base comfort of the Ford means that after 8 hours towing where you would tired in the Toyota, you are still fresh in the Ford.... In extreme four wheel drive, you would arguably be better off in the Toyota, but how much are you going to do? Weigh that against how much towing and travel you are going to do, In favour of the Ford. And you would be shocked at just where my F-350 really went, in the extreme- Most would not even go there with their Toyotas… My Ford with the 7.3 litre, had awesome power only restricted by the rubber on the ground. In low range it was a tractor and would pull the van anywhere in the dry at an idle. In some conditions, in fact, because most of the Forestry mud bog holes were made by the shorter wheelbase of Toyota or Nissan, the long wheelbase of the Ford meant that either the front or the rear was out of the bog hole as it went through. Yes, because I did extreme 4x4, I did some modifications on my Ford: I built a dual leaf spring bolt on cage between the chassis rails for my Ford in Australia to protect the transfer case in a high centre situation. I also did a minor lift in the suspension and added air bags in the front to carry the winch and extend the suspension travel.... With these mods, in the end, I took it to places that were worse than most people with LC and Nissan would want to go. So you can do it. Another somewhat of a myth is narrow tracks are too small for the Ford.. But I again did not find this an issue. Toyotas do not run on rails and all the wheel tracks of dirt tracks are almost a metre wide on each side where they wander all over the road. I did not find the little bit wider body of the Ford to be a problem. Sometimes I find that the arguments against Ford usually come from the camp that does not own one… In listening to an opinion from anyone who has not owned one, keep in mind that some of these opinions might be like the Aesops Fables of the Fox that could not reach the grapes so they must be sour…? What are we talking about? Extreme bone jarring 4x4 fossicking or pig hunting? Or long range travel? My own Ford F-350 surprised every Toyota Owner that saw it in action in the Bush, and in the Tractor Pull category it wins hands down. So let’s examine the really critical areas where it makes difference: I think the off-road is a 1% issue, in comparison with the Comfort, fuel economy, Driver Fatigue, and Safety issues at hand.

On the issue of "Comfort", I offer this proof as an example of the many reports I get:: One of my Customers went on a Bush 4x4 exploration and covered about 1500 km in two days with me in my 7.3 litre Ford. Here is a Guy that is such a Toyota Enthusiast that he has even upgraded his Toyota Turbo Diesel to the first custom firewall Turbo 6.5 Detroit Diesel in a Toyota around.. And even He was impressed by how well we travelled over rough ground and the power and performance of the Ford..... He just felt physically less tired than in the Toyota as well, and reported that we did the trip about 10% faster each way than he did out to the same area. I have owned at least 6 Cruisers from stock to custom with various suspension upgrades, and there is just no way that the short wheelbase of the Cruiser compares with the longer wheelbase of the Ford for Comfort... The Cruiser hits the rut, and with any speed the front suspension has not recovered when the rear suspension hits the rut and that is where you get the famous "Buck"... The longer suspension for instance in the Ford, means a longer interval, and this is a well known fact that it is just more comfortable... Hands down, I have owned both for a long time, and Chevy trucks and a Dodge, and there is no comparison, having owned a half dozen of each over the last 35 years, the longer wheelbase is pretty well accepted as being more comfortable by almost anyone that has owned both.

The next thing I think should be emphasized is the Driver Fatigue... The little Japanese 4 litre engine is struggling a bit to get out of the way of traffic on the highway and hills when towing. Most people are tensing up muscles and stressing, trying to urge it along up the hills and such when traffic is backed up behind them... The big Ford is comfortably running along passing them.. Also, with the Ford and it's increased leverage on the caravan, it is also indisputable that it has more control on the van, so on a larger van it is just less stress and worry. Less tension and stress on the Driver, means you are happier and rested on arrival.

This concept of Driver Fatigue leads to Safety: Yes there is just plain less stress on the Driver, not just for power and comfort. It is an issue of the length of wheelbase for leverage at high speed, when you have to make a radical manoeuvre to avoid an accident or a spilled load or a Bullock or something... The Ford just has a tremendous amount of more leverage on the van, a really huge difference that results in a substantial safety margin that could make all the difference in the world… The wheelbase of the Landcruiser runs out of safety margin somewhere around 21’ or 22’... My own 100 Series Landcruiser was up on its maximum limit with a 21’ van. Over about 21’, and there is just not enough leverage to do it safely with the wheelbase of a Landcruiser, and that is where the F-250 or F-350 Ford, or Chev or Dodge trucks really shine. SIZE MATTERS in length of wheelbase… A few of our Customers used stretched wheelbase Cruisers like the converted 100 Series Dual Cab Ute, in 4x4 or 6x6, even one with a Bogie Drive unit 6x6.. They ended up with the same leverage as the Ford, but spent too much money on custom Toyotas; and report rotten fuel economy towing. In summary on Safety: The longer wheelbase is a noticeable advantage when the Ford is towing a larger van.

And on fuel economy, incidentally all with the Fords report that they are getting an improvement in mileage over Toyota when towing, as your foot is all the way into the Toyota, where the bigger diesel in the Ford is just not working as hard.. Mind you, the Ford is the worst of the big three, reporting around 14-16 miles per gallon towing a big van.. Chev and Dodge are reporting better, with the Cummins diesel in the Dodge holding the record for the best… But still, the Ford advantage is that it has a Nationwide Dealership network for backup where the full import Dodge and Chev have only a handful of Outlets for Parts. Put it another way, we would have had 80 or better converts to F-Series Fords from Toyota and Nissan, and none to my knowledge back the other way. Probably the worst downside to the F-Series is the turning radius. You have to get accustomed to three point turns in the Bush or in the City, but I would say it is no problem and after a while you get used to it . I only sold my Ford F-350 to get a 15 tonne horse truck as I travel with 5 Quarter Horses, pulling my van behind… In the City, my Wife still drives a 100Series, but I drove mine around the city for three years, you get used to it, and I know which one is safer in an accident..

On cost of maintenance parts: If you get parts sent to you direct via the Aftermarket Auto Parts sources in America by Credit Card, the Ford parts are generally cheaper. I got mine sent over, including freight, at about half the cost of them here in Australia. Otherwise they are about the same, both are expensive if bought from the respective Dealers of Ford and Toyota. On reliability: They are both good, and about the same judging from reports.

And then a final category is the extra room… In the Ford stick bicycles, a genset, boat motor, toys, tools, and more. In my 100 Series, it is a struggle to get the groceries to all fit in… The canopy on the Ford is your Shed as you travel around, there is no comparison if you are going to live in your Bushtracker, as this doubles your storage…

In the final analysis, coming back to city parking? Travelling with a smaller Bushtracker? Toyota or Nissan probably wins the Debate. Otherwise, big van, living in it, change of lifestyle and major travel? You would have a look a the big Ford, and know that with its new tow rating 4500 kg for towing big boats and things, and power and performance, it will probably become Australia’s Number One Tow Vehicle in years to come…

Kind Regards, from someone that has owned both, and for more than just a few years…
The “Lone Ranger” at Bushtracker….

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 22:57

Monday, Jun 27, 2005 at 22:57
We are one of those who have changed from a 100 Series Land Cruiser T/D to an F250, and we have also found.
1. Slightly better fuel ecconomy.
2. Vastly improved stability when towing the same 21ft van.
3. This allows higher speed travel if desired.
4. Much more power when towing up hills and overtaking.
5. Buffeting affect from passing trucks has gone since changing to F250.
6. Convenience of F250 having large cargo area is good when travelling. Also keep fuel fumes out of the cabin area.
7. Also found less driver fatique after long stints behind the wheel, especially when towing as the whole rig performs better as one.

8. Off road the F250 will belly out where Landcruiser or Patrol can easily cross over same mound.
9. Turning circle on most bush tracks is not a problem, but when there is a particularly sharp bend where a SWB 4WD can turn in one go, F250 may take a few 3 point turns to get around. This will not be a problem when towing caravan because the caravan would cut the corner behind any 4WD and not get around anyway.
10. City driving. F250 is fine until you come to park it. The twin cab and extra cab models simply do not fit in most marked parking bays.
11. Some towns restrict length of parked vehicles to 6 metres. F250 is over that.
12. In shopping centres F250 is difficult to park front in to most parking bays, and I have found it is best to park on the outer edge of parking areas by reversing up to garden edge.
13. For city living we have found it is better to have a second vehicle to run around town in.
14. Fuel ecconomy when NOT towing, the Landcruisers and Patrols beat the F250 hands down.
15. F250's are too big to fit in most standard household garages, so garaging them in metropolitan areas can be a problem.
16. Dust proofing the cargo tub area with a canopy on is a problem. The tailgate is just not designed to be dust proof.
17. People with long legs and or big bodies will find the F250 more comfortable to sit in.
18. Landcruisers and Patrols have ability to carry more passengers than F250.
19. F250 requires sound proofing sprayed underneath to cut down cabin noise levels to the same standard os the L/C and Patrol.
20. F250 can have electric operated extendable towing mirrors fitted, but Landcruiser and Patrol will require clip on mirrors to legally tow a caravan.

In summary, if you can only afford one vehicle, live in a metropolitan area and don't do much towing then I think the smaller Landcruiser or Patrols are probably best
.
If you do a lot of towing and not much city shopping centre work then the F250 is the way to go.

We are lucky as we have the F250 and a big enough shed to house it, to tow the caravan, and do all our running around in the sedan. Best of both worlds.

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Follow Up By: Kingy - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 04:20

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 04:20
Fully endorse eveything that has been written. My solution for points 10, 11, 12 is not to live anywhere near a city and my second vehicle is the F250 xlt c/c I was supposed to sell when I bought the supercab but just can't bring myself to do it.

Peter
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Reply By: Pal & Sop - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 05:05

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 05:05
New F250 4WD model coming ?
I have always thought the F250 4WD was a great vehicle even if I didnt have a BT.
I have posponed buying the F250 for the last year because of the following:

In 2003 in the USA the 7.3L (very good but 11 year old technology) was replaced by a 6.0L V8 diesel (more power, more torque uses less fuel and less noise). In 2004 in the USA a new F250 model was released with coil front springs 5 ft smaller turning circle, stiffer chassis, bigger wheel option, 5 speed auto etc.

South Africa just started receiveing the "New F250" RHD made in Brazil.. same as currently available here with the straight six diesel (that engine discontinued here because no body wanted it)

Both Ford USA and Australia side step my question about when will the current USA model be released in Australia.

Has anybody got any information regarding when and if the new model will be available through the Australian Ford dealers?
Regards
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 05:27

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 05:27
Should get good sales figures when it does arrive. The smaller turning circle will make a big difference to suburban driving.
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Follow Up By: But n ben - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 09:03

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005 at 09:03
PJ, Chase Ford Australia up again, because, I think I was looking at a V8 F250 at the Brisbane 4x4 show a couple of months ago.
I wasn't taking a great deal of interest at that moment, but noticed the Made in Brazil plate, and if memory serves me correctly, the price tag was about $75,000.
My garage is too short for a F250, and my son thinks that my 'Street Cred' would suffer if I bought one!!!! Well, what can I say???.
Regards Don.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 02:22

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2005 at 02:22
Hello from da Ranger,
Would not worry about the Brazil part.... They would be doing that for cheap labour, but well supervised etcetera... One World Economy sort of thing... My Mack is Volvo, Mack, and Renault, and Eaton, and Dana Spicer, and a whole bunch more, built in the old Renault Factory in France of all places... Would rather it came from Brazil ! Ha!

Anyway, yes, there are hard pushes on for EPA (Enviornmental Protection Agency) better fuel consumption guidelines in the USA.
The 7.3 V-8 International Turbo Diesel "PowerStroke" engine is being phased out for a more efficient engine. The EPA has laws that govern the overall fuel economy of the whole Company, Ford in this case, that required the engines to higher standards for fuel efficiency..
I hear that it is 6 litre or there abouts, but do not know when it comes to Australia... Not that there is anything wrong with the current 7.3 by my reports... and my experience with mine...
Cheers.
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