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Which is better the diesel or the gas motor in the Ford F-250?

We’re considering buying a 2008 or 2009 F-250. We have an older model diesel, but have been told the newer models have had some issues. The issue of economy is also a concern as the truck will be used for my daily commute and occasional pulling. We have horses and a camper that require the bigger vehicle for towing. We wanted to find out which engine that you would suggest. Thanks, Doug Seitner

The newer 6.2L and 6.4L engines are not as reliable as the old 7.3L diesels. The 6.2L had a host of problems. The newest 6.4L had it’s teething problems, but they have been largely sorted out. However their is not a big fuel economy gain with the newer diesels Vs. the gas engines. Consumer Reports got an average of 10 MPG with the 6.4L in mixed driving. Honestly when you consider the diesel is a $7500 option and the current cost of diesel is about a buck more a gallon than gas, it doesn’t make much since to get a diesel. The gas V10 will get similar mileage, tow the same amount of weight, and cost thousands less to buy and fuel.

You may be a Ford fan but I have several friends and neighbors with the Duramax (Isuzu) Diesel in their GM/Chevy 3/4 ton PU for HD towing and plowing. Right now, it’s one of the best out there and deserves anyone’s consideration. We are huge diesel fans here and this is one of the very best.
If I were going to go gas for heavy towing, I would consider the Tundra…equal to some diesels in towing capacity, the most economical big truck and a true 3/4 ton in overall performance.
Try out the Duramax ! Isuzu has been making outstanding diesels for years for commercial vehicles. The have NO issues and are quite efficient.

One thing you might consider if you’re not planning on driving it into the ground is that especially in horse/farm country, the diesel will hold it’s value a lot better.

I do generally agree with FoDaddy, though. The V10 is really nice for a large displacement gas motor and the Ford diesel is definitely not the best diesel out there. But I’d take the Duramax or even the Cummins over either any day.

I agree with you on the Duramax 100%, but just because the Tundra says “Toyota” on it does not mean it’s the most economical big truck! It’s no better gas-wise than any of the other big trucks out there-- just for fun I just headed over the and did the side-by-side comparison of the Tundra, Silverado, Dodge 1500 and Ford F150 4wd’s with the 5.7, 6.0, 5.7 and 5.4 Liter engines and they’re all 13 city, 17 highway. The Tundra’s still a very nice truck, though.

Don’t choke the horses with diesel. It’s too expensive to use for fumigation.

“It’s no better gas-wise than any of the other big trucks out there-- just for fun I just headed over the and did the side-by-side comparison of the Tundra, Silverado, Dodge 1500 and Ford F150 4wd’s with the 5.7, 6.0, 5.7 and 5.4 Liter engines and they’re all 13 city, 17 highway.”

I was referring to the actual test results posted by Popular Mechanics January 2009 issue test of all 5 trucks. Govt numbers did not agree with their results; Toyota most economical and most powerful of all equipped with similar size motors. Actual test results of CU have agreed as well. I’ll stand by the statement.

After my experience with Ford’s 6.0 Diesel and their piss poor warranty service, I’ll never own another.

The new 6.4 Ford diesels are fuel hogs in a big way. Empty, I’m hearying 10 to 11 mpg max. That’s torrid with a diesel. I get 20 to 21 in my Dodge 5.9 Cummins empty. My old 7.3 Powerstroke got 18 empty. The Dodge got about 12 mpg running 90 something mph pulling a 4000 lb boat, about 14 at normal speed.

Knowing from experience with Ford’s new Diesels, there’s no way I’d consider trading an old 7.3 Powerstroke for their new JUNK. I was darn glad when I bought my new Ford in 2004 that they refused to take my 95 model in on trade, at least I had something to drive while the new one was broke down.

I drove one of their 5.4 gas trucks. IMO, my old 300 6 cyl gas trucks were better engines and had more torque. Not impressed. Also, talking to my regular mechanic, I want no part of a gas engine that requires removing the cab to change the spark plugs. (BTW, the new diesels require removing the cab to repair most anything, that’s 8 hours of labor to pay for before they begin fixing your truck)

I don’t know much about the V-10’s. I had an uncle who had a Dodge V-10 once. He said he got 9 mpg most of the time and I honestly can’t immagine it pulling with my Cummins powered Dodge.

IMO, a person would be better off to spend $15,000 on an older 7.3 L Powerstroke fixing up the engine, painting it, new seats, radio, etc than buying new. For Gas, I’d 10 to 1 rather have an older 90’s model 351 powered truck than any of their new gasers. There’s no reason to make stuff as complicated as the newer vehicles. The older stuff is cheaper to run and maintain. It also tends to perform better in both mileage and power.

I’m also not a Duramax fan. I’ve tried them out and driven a few, they do not have anywhere near the torque the 5.9 Cummins has.


I tow a track car on an open trailer and a bed full of “stuff”, about 6000lbs total. My truck is an 04 F250 SuperCab V10 4x4 with a 3.73 rear axle ratio. I barely know the trailer is there unless I am going over some serious hills. I looked at the diesel option. The extra $5000+ initial coast, the price of fuel, and the higher maintenance costs just did not add up for me. In my opinion, you have to tow a heavy trailer, tow often, and/or have a relatively long commute to offset the cost.

I see about 12 mpg on the highway while towing, about 10 empty in town. High of 15-16 on empty easy highway and a low of 6.5 in 4x4 in town. Choice of rear end ratio effect towing limit.

This subject has been beaten to death over at

Ride your horse to work…Kill two birds with one stone…Keep your old truck for the occasional camping trip…

I agree about the Tundra. I have not seen the Tundra at the top of anyone’s list of large pick-up trucks. The Tacoma appears to be dominating the small truck category, but the Tundra has mixed reviews.

My Ford dealer repo crew tried diesels for a while but went back to the v10 gas. These guys are pedal-to-the-metal stealth repo drivers and the v10 gives them their quick get away and towing power all in one.

No experience with either, except looking under the hood of the latest diesel at the car show-that looked more complicated than the inside of the space shuttle! Multiple radiators/coolers/intercoolers, miles of pipes and wires, the turbo, I couldn’t see much of the actual engine. Just makes me worry about reliability, something I hear the V10 gas has in spades.

Since when does the 5.4L has less torque than the old 300? From 87-96 the 300 I6 made 265 ft/lbs. of torque. The 5.4L produces anywhere from 345 to 385 ft.lbs. The claims that people make about the old 4.9L I6 are ridiculous. Some would have you believe that they could pull two broken down Silverados up a mountain pass in the snow all while getting 20 MPG. And then they would go whoop up on the corvettes at the drag strip on the weekends. The facts are that in its late EFI forms the 4.9L has the least amount of torque than any engine offered in the F-series. Even the 302 had more peak torque. The 300 did have a flat torque curve, but it has its shortcomings, mainly it didn’t produce much in the way of power after 3000 RPM or so. But it was robustly constructed and very reliable.

It seems like all the new diesels have turbos, which is probably the weak link in their reliability. Did diesels always come with turbos? Is the V10 naturally aspirated? I am just curious.

I think most recent diesels are turbos. The gas v10 is naturally aspirated.

Without the turbo the diesels would be gutless. Tubros on diesels are ideal because their robust construction allows for alot of boost, hence diesels respond extremely well to turbocharging.

They used to make plenty of non-turbo diesels, but despite having plenty of torque for moving the car/truck around, they were very slow to accelerate. Like if you’ve ever driven in an older VW or Mercedes diesel they can cruise plenty fast on the highway, it just takes all day to get there. Turbocharging a diesel makes it drive more like a gasoline engine while still preserving the gobs of torque.

300 6’s did out torque the 302’s, that’s why F250’s came in 300 6’s and 351’s but not 302’s in the late 80’s and early to mid 90’s. The physics of an inline 6 lend themselves to produce more torque than an equivalent sized V-8.

I never said they were speed deamons, and they sure weren’t drag racers, but they made good truck motors, just don’t get in a hurry with one.

I had on with 4.11 gears, one with 3.55 gears and one with 2.73 gears. The 4.11 got about 20 mpg on the highway but wouldn’t run above 75 mph. The 3.55 got slightly less, and the 2.73 was awful, no power and about 14 mpg.

A lot of these engine power ratings today are much better on paper than they are in practicality. Kinda like Ford saying the 6.0 had more power and torque than the 7.3’s. Sure, on paper it does and if you rev a 6.0 to 3000 rpm’s where they measured that power and torque, I suppose it might. However, if you are pulling a load out of a hole from a dead stop, you quickly see the difference between a 7.3 and 6.0. The 7.3 made it’s torque at a much lower rpm, something like 1200 to 1400 rpms so it was more usable for the purpose most have trucks for. The 5.4 may well have quite a bit more torque than the 300 6’s but the one I test drove had trouble going up hills in town. I wasn’t impressed with it. The older 351 EFI’s had their power band in a more usable rpm range.

Heck, Ford used to put 300 6’s in F600’s and F700’s. Grandpa had a couple of coal trucks at one time that had 300 6’s in them. Nooooo, they weren’t fast at all. You needn’t be in a hurry to get somewhere if you got behind him, but he hauled around 16 tons of coal on those trucks.

Turbos have been on diesels for several decades. Everything from tug boats to dozers, farm tractors, and diesel trucks have turbos on them. In most cases, they haven’t proved to be problematic. In the pickup engine world, Ford has been putting turbos on it’s Navistar engines since the late 80’s. At one time you could get a Ford F250 with or without a turbo. The new engine in the Fords actually has 2 turbos on it.

Chevy did have some problems with the turbos on theirs causing head problems, but as weak as they built their early motors, they would probably have had similar problems with or without.

The A #1 problematic link on diesels right now is this sorry Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel. It’s hard on seals in the pumps because it doesn’t have the lubrication the older diesel fuel had. It’s creating problems in a host of equipment, even more so on the older stuff that wasn’t designed for it. There’s a lot of diesel equipment running that’s 40 years old, some more than that.

A close second problem on diesels is the new pollution gadgets being used on the engines. Diesel engines are air pumps. They work best when they can pump a lot of air into the engine and freely exhale the exhaust freely. When you start stopping it up it causes problems.