V6 or V8 for camper van?


My goal is to buy a used cargo van and drive it cross-country. I’ll be putting in some primitive living quarters in the back. One vehicle I’m considering is a 2000 GMC Savanna 3500 with V8. But I heard that V8s are gas guzzlers only useful for towing (I won’t be towing). I also heard they’re useful for going over mountains (I will be going over mountains). Please help!


In many full size vans and trucks, V8s provide better gas mileage than V6s. Given that you’re looking at a large van that will be loaded with stuff (certainly not close to it’s max weight, I wouldn’t think), I think the V8 will prove to be necessary, and not that much of a guzzler. Indeed, when you reach the mountains, having a V8 will certainly come in quite handy. The mileage might be around 20-25 mpg on the highway, an equivalent vehicle with a V6 would get around the same, just with less power.


Howdy, i use our 90 ply grand voyager with the rear seats out for same purpose. It’s v6 does great over all paved roads from OR to NE. at lease 3 trips a year. It is long enough that a single mattress fits in an it sleeps real good. More over it is real Cheap. Our 96 dodge caravan v6 same purpose but it is smaller so more crouded.
I would recommend getting or making a window screen so when you have the windows cracked an sleeping ya get bug free cool air. both average about 23 mpg. An unlike cargo van are less noisy when driving. Happy travels. Consider a year national parks pass so you can visit as many as you like for only about $40 orther wise about $20 per park.


The difference is not that much. fueleconomy.gov says that the 6-cyl gets 13 city and 17 highway. The 5L V8 gets 13 city and 16 highway, while the 5.7L V8 gets 12 city and 16 highway. It’s mostly the weight that determines what your fuel economy is.


I would say that your best bet is what you can get that was maintained the best. I have had e350 Ford vans before and they have always worked well for me. The university I work for has three Ford e350’s and they are all quite nice as well. We regularly take them on cross country trips with no major problems.


If you want economy and aren’t going to tow…vote two for minivan.
Consider a PU with shell you could retro. Would have more options. May even be able to pick up a used camper for back.


If you are in a hurry you might flog the V6 to death. If you are patient, it will probably be fine.


I think many people would be surprised to find out that if they are going to carry heavy loads over steep terrain the V-8 will actually get better gas mileage. The V-6 will have to produce much more RPM to do the same work that the larger V-8 wont be running as hard to produce. Also because it isn’t working as hard it is less likely to break down…and that is something you will want to watch out for with a GM product.


If I were you I’d be looking for a V8 - certainly - but also a diesel.


You need to find a old Dodge D 150 Ram Van with a 225 Slant 6 :slight_smile:


If you’re looking at the 3/4 ton and 1 ton vans, all you’re likely to find are V8s. This is a good thing as these are very large vehicles. I don’t think any of the Econoline, Ram Van, or Chevy Vans could be had with a 6 cylinder in 1-ton trim, unless it was fairly old model. You may want to look into a diesel, but they are going to be more expensive to purchase. If you are going over the Rockies make sure it’s turbo diesel. N/A diesels are pretty slow and underpowered.