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Old 07-13-2019, 08:57 PM   #1
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Ford E450 or Chevy 4500 chassis for Leprechaun

I have been looking at the Forest River/Coachmen Leprechaun 260DS. This unit comes in the Chevy and Ford version.

I have always been a GM person but after crawling around underneath the Chevy and then under the Ford it appears the Ford appears to be a heavier and strong chassis. Add to that the difference in the engines, V8 vs V10. It seems Ford has the edge over Chevy there as well. Considering I will be pulling around a 4k car I am thinking the V10 would be a better choice. Add to that Coachman advertises a 5K rated hitch on the Chevy vs a 7.5K hitch on the Ford. I have been told that really is not a true rating as this number is strickly what the hitch is rated for and a reflection of what the vehicle can really pull.

I have heard some say the Ford V10 is a fuel hog especially when teamed with the 5 speed automatic vs the Chevy V8 with 6 speed transmission.

Finally, cost, the Chevy unit equipped exactly the same as the Ford will save me about 10% in final Class C cost.

Opinions and experiences please!
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:57 PM   #2
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You've hit all the obvious stuff so I'm not going to say one is better than the other based on stats. We have the Chevy, that's what I would recommend.

But not for the issues/benefits that you described. We chose Chevy because we had more room in the cockpit than the Ford and it's just a bit more comfortable. My test drives in the Ford were just a bit stiffer.

We don't tow...so HP, torque, hitch, towing capacity etc.....if you don't ever exceed the Chevy's limits they are a wash with the Ford. If you're going heavier or maybe think you might in the future....then Ford.

Gas mileage is a very personal thing. If I drive my V8 like an RV, I get 9-9.5. Since I drive it like a car, I get 7.5-8.5. No personal experience with the V10s....but most people I hear talk about V10 fuel economy aren't excited about it.

Just my .02
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:14 PM   #3
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I had a 2015 2860 with a ford chassis for two years and 20,000 miles I now have a 2017 2860 with chevy chassis and 18,000 miles. i drive far to fast for an rv and am always towing a trailer with 3 dirt bikes in it or if not the bikes i tow a nissan versa, which is a fairly light car. ford used to get about 6 to 7 a gallon the chevy gets about 8 to a gallon.
chevy power is almost as good as the ford v10 and it will pull up hills just as well as the ford unless you have to get out of the gas part way up, ie if i catch trucks part way up a mountain and have to let go of the throttle untill traffic allows me to pass the ford would recover its speed better than the chevy. the biggest differance for me was the extra room in the cab of the chevy and how much quieter the engine is over the ford.
dont think there is a wrong choice here, but my persanol opinion i prefer the chevy
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:04 AM   #4
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I have the 26ds on a Chevy chassis. I downsized from a 43 foot pusher. Passing trucks and wind are a non issue, and the leg room up front is the main reason I went with the Chevy. My wife needs to be able to get up once in a while when we are traveling. I tow a 2010 CRV, and power is not a problem at all......Bruce
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadNomad View Post
I have been looking at the Forest River/Coachmen Leprechaun 260DS. This unit comes in the Chevy and Ford version.

I have always been a GM person but after crawling around underneath the Chevy and then under the Ford it appears the Ford appears to be a heavier and strong chassis. Add to that the difference in the engines, V8 vs V10. It seems Ford has the edge over Chevy there as well. Considering I will be pulling around a 4k car I am thinking the V10 would be a better choice. Add to that Coachman advertises a 5K rated hitch on the Chevy vs a 7.5K hitch on the Ford. I have been told that really is not a true rating as this number is strickly what the hitch is rated for and a reflection of what the vehicle can really pull.

I have heard some say the Ford V10 is a fuel hog especially when teamed with the 5 speed automatic vs the Chevy V8 with 6 speed transmission.

Finally, cost, the Chevy unit equipped exactly the same as the Ford will save me about 10% in final Class C cost.

Opinions and experiences please!
The choice will ultimately be yours. Just wanted to say that the Ford, if it is 2016 or newer, will have a 6 speed transmission.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:36 AM   #6
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Not a fan of the Titan V10 especially since a rethread manufacturer ended up making a line of products specifically for it. Seem the spark plugs tended to weld themselves into the heads and with the efficiencies of the engines these days and 100,000 miles not being unusual for a plug change, I didn't want to experience a total upper end rebuild just to change the spark plugs. Not saying that will happen on newer ones or even all of them but it is enough of an issue in my research that I stayed away from the V10. I got a Chevy 6.0L V8 and it does perfect. 26' Freelander and I get 9-10 mpg. I don't expect much more than that. I was looking for a Ford 7L diesel when I was shopping but couldn't find one until the day after I signed the papers on the chevy. Be interesting to watch the evolution of these new High torque small displacements diesels as the truck manufacturers try to squeeze more fuel economy.By the way, weighed my rig the other day...11500...no wonder it guzzles like it does.LOL
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:04 PM   #7
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I knew about the stud issue with the V10 and the same problem is shared with the 6 liter Chevrolet.
I currently own an old H2 Hummer with the 6L and 130k miles. Its been a good engine and I have towed with it in the past. It's not that great for towing.
Also, last year I sold my 2013 Chevy Duramax and 23foot dual slide (8k) Flagstaff trailer. There is no doubt nothing will pull like that Diesel but all the issues with the polution controls, DEF, DPF, EGR, Regen it was a real pain and something I don't wish to deal with anymore. What I don't want is constant downshifting when going though some mild grades. My Hummer downshifts 2 gears at time with a minor load going up hills. Granted the H2 is a heavy beast but when you consider you are driving a Class C that weights even more you begin to wonder.
To be fair it does have many miles and only has a 4 speed automatic plus there have been many upgrades since 2006.
I think what I will do is see if I can find a dealer that has both on his lot and drive them, I did try to drive a new Ford but the dealer gave me a million reasons why I couldn't. I will also dig into the spark plug issue to see if it has been resolved. Thanks for all the replies.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:34 PM   #8
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I owned a 2011 Lazy Daze class C on a E-450 chassis which included the V-10. We pulled a Jeep CJ -7 or a Fiat 500 Abarth intermittently depending on our destination. The V -10 always had the power I needed. Averaged 8-10 mpg.
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Old 07-14-2019, 03:34 PM   #9
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E 450

E 450 with a 5 star engine tune, couldnít ask for more. Lined the dog house with sound dampening material to take care of the noise. There is no such thing as fuel economy no matter which way you go.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:54 PM   #10
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I've got the Chevy 4500 under my 2018 Leprechaun 240FS and have been very pleased with it. I pull a Suzuki Sidekick as my toad and I can't even tell that it's there unless I turn on my rear camera. The year before I bought the Leprechaun, we drove a 27' Mini Winnie on the Ford e450 chassis from Iowa to Alaska and liked it OK but i wasn't pulling a toad. This head-to-head comparison plus the $2000 cost difference helped me make my choice.

https://www.worktruckonline.com/81868/head-to-head-chevrolet-4500-versus-ford-e-450
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:05 PM   #11
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450 Ford with V10 would be my choice.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:22 PM   #12
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V10

I have used both. I prefer the V 10 ford. It has more torque and seems the stronger motor. The plug issue has been corrected and both now have 6 speed transmissions. It depends too on where you are driving, mountains will level out the mileage differences. Look at the larger models, you notice they almost all use the Ford.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:12 AM   #13
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Iíve had a Leprechaun 317SA, with the Ford E450. Glad to hear iím Not the only one getting bad gas mileage😜. Canít compare, but I like the power and ride I get.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by leblancdave View Post
I’ve had a Leprechaun 317SA, with the Ford E450. Glad to hear i’m Not the only one getting bad gas mileage��. Can’t compare, but I like the power and ride I get.
Define "bad gas mileage"?

I have the 2015 chassis and so far our lifetime mileage has been a bit over 8 mpg. We currently have around 9500 miles on it. Best tank was 9.4, worst was 7.5. We drive primarily coastal plain into the Blue Ridge mountains. We aren't in a big hurry and usually cruise 62-65 mph. I routinely get passed by RVs running 70+. We are usually running pretty close to maximum GVW.

As far as the OPs question. I personally prefer Ford and feel like it is a heavier build. One other item that I have not seen mentioned is to check the passenger foot room, supposedly the Ford has less than the Chevy. However, I have not heard any complaints from the other half.

The spark plug/head stud issue went away several years ago.

I have not installed the 5-star tuner, yet. However, I have driven a similar unit with one installed and it does make a difference.

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Old 07-15-2019, 08:43 PM   #15
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I had a 2016 Coachman Leprechaun with an E-350 V10 and had no issues with its performance. I now have a 2019 Forest River Sunseeker on a Chevy 4500 chassis. I believe the Chevy chassis is a bit smoother ride but I don't think you can go wrong either way. The Ford chassis was not under warranty and I never had to have it worked on while I owned it so I don't know how well supported it is in this area by the dealerships having to perform warranty work. I had an issue on our first trip with the Sunseeker's ABS/Traction Control/Stabilitrak system which required service by a Chevy dealership. I was informed by the Chevy dealer in our area that they don't work on RV's, even though mine is on the smaller side. I had to drive about 30 miles to another dealership to have the service done. There is an issue with the Chevy Electronic Brake Control System that requires it to be reprogrammed. Not sure why the local Chevy dealership could not support that work but thankfully a better dealership handled it for me.

So, if you are still thinking about which way to go, I would suggest calling your local dealerships, Ford and Chevy and inquire if they will be able to support any warranty work you may need in the future.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:19 AM   #16
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Rossnet, I just want to tell you that I have an alike experience with my Ford 450. I called on Ford dealer and was told that not all Ford dealers are authorized to do warranty work on these units. I was sent to a different dealer. I haven't tried to get service on my hometown but I stopped on the dealer in the next city close to ours and was told that they cannot either. Just FYI.
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Old 07-16-2019, 04:29 PM   #17
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Interesting about some dealers working on it and not others. We have 3 Ford dealers in our general area. All will work on RVs. One is a better set-up for working on the heavier trucks, but they are my least favorite to deal with.

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Old 07-16-2019, 10:09 PM   #18
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Aaron, I didn't know this either until I called. We learned as we go on.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:55 PM   #19
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Im glad the service issue was mentioned as I did not originally consider it. I called a number of Chevy and Ford dealers and was surprised to find out how limited factory service facilities were.

Ford has a service facility close by, Chevy would required a 30 mile trip.

I was also able to test drive both this last weekend.

I find the Chevy was quieter, seemed to shift smoothly and carried the weight just fine. Next up, the Ford and yes it doesn't ride as good as the Chevy. The ride was a bit stiffer and rattled items inside the unit when encountering a bumpy road.

Keep in mind both units were empty and not towing anything. The salesman said he had owned both in the past and told me to pick the Chevy if my loads will be light and I will not be towing very often or at all. He said the mileage and driveability is better on the Chevy.

He also said if your hauling a big family, lots of supplies or doing alot of towing buy the Ford, otherwise buy the Chevy.

He did mention they just took in a 2017 Leprechaun 260DS (2016 E450 Chassis) on trade and I could save about $20k if I wanted it.

That is a possibility bu I understand it has the 5 speed instead of the new 6 speed. I wonder how much difference that would make.

At this point and based on my requirement I am 60/40 with the Ford leading. If the used unit is really clean (which they say it is) and has the options I want picking it up for 20k less might be the way to go. It does have 20k miles on it but that would not seem like a lot and it still would be covered by the powertrain warranty.

Comments please
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:04 PM   #20
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I used to have a 2500 Silverado with the 6L engine and now a E450 with a V10, big difference. V10 works easier than the 6L engine.
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