New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

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randysvan
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New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #1 by randysvan » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:38 pm

Hey guys, first off THANKS for the wealth of information you have posted on here. I have been lurking around for a while and the info has been invaluable.
I have a 1986 e250 that I am converting into a camper van. The 4.9 and C6 have about 50k miles since rebuild. When I bought it the mpg was 7-9. The smog pump and all sensors had been removed. I bought a new pump and planned to put it back stock until I started pricing all the sensors and trying to make sense of the vacuum schematic.

I removed ALL remaining smog. Put on new 2-1/4 CAT and muffler. Synthetic oil, K&N filters, rebuilt Carter carb and full tune-up. This brought me up to 10-11 mpg. Removed computer and installed Duraspark 2. Now getting 11-13 mpg.

I bought EFI manifolds and my local mechanic talked me out of installing them due to the heat issue. (I didn't know about the hot water plate at the time.) He wanted 850 bucks to do a stock exhaust manifold (mine was cracked) but I ended up doing it myself for less than 200.

Edmonds says the van got 16 mpg when new. I would settle for that but I've heard claims of 20+ highway and that's what I'm shooting for. I've now learned about the HD manifold which has the heat for the intake and is supposed to flow even better than the EFI's. They have a 3 bolt flange which will bolt right up but I notice there is no heat riser. Is this a problem?

I want the most mpg attainable for this van. Any suggestions?
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #2 by Luckyman » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:49 pm

Where do you live? (Whats the climate like?) That is the biggest determinate to how much manifold heat you need, or how important it is.

I live in Montana and intalled the dual efi exhaust with both a water plumbed plate under the manifold and a heated spacer for the 4V carb. Still takes a little longer for winter warmup than it did stock. But no drivability issues once it is warmed up.
1 "76" F150 RC, LB, 2WD, 300, NP435, 9" open 3.00, special order 2-76/Delivered 4-76. Still "new".

1 "73-79" F150 RC/SS/SB/4WD, "84"-300, T18, NP205, 9" open 3.50, Dana 44 3.50 open, Offy DP, Holley 470, EFI + single 2.5" exhaust. Gathered from 15+ donor/parts trucks. "Fubar". Runs good, safe, still needs details/project continues.

randysvan
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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #3 by randysvan » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:57 pm

I'm in middle Tennessee. I plan to travel with this van but if its less than 20 degrees, hey, I'm headin' for warmer weather!
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #4 by Luckyman » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:44 pm

I would use the efi manifolds with a hot water plumbed plate under the stock 1V intake for your purposes. It will not warm up as quick as with the stock heat riser set up but should be ok and the split exhuast will give a slight increase in mileage/power/efficiency IMHO and still fit under your "doghouse" without surgical modifications to same.
1 "76" F150 RC, LB, 2WD, 300, NP435, 9" open 3.00, special order 2-76/Delivered 4-76. Still "new".

1 "73-79" F150 RC/SS/SB/4WD, "84"-300, T18, NP205, 9" open 3.50, Dana 44 3.50 open, Offy DP, Holley 470, EFI + single 2.5" exhaust. Gathered from 15+ donor/parts trucks. "Fubar". Runs good, safe, still needs details/project continues.

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #5 by randysvan » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:05 pm

Thanks Luckyman!

Do you know if those water plates are available to buy anywhere?
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #6 by CZLN6 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:32 pm

Howdy Randy:

Have you increased you initial advance yet? What about tire psi? Just some thoughts.

Adios, David
co-author of the Falcon Performance Handbook
http://www.falcon6handbook.com/

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #7 by Luckyman » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:47 pm

randysvan wrote:Thanks Luckyman!

Do you know if those water plates are available to buy anywhere?


They need to be fabricated from aluminum or steel plate. Any welding/machine shop can probably fab one up for you using the bottom of the intake manifold or the gasket that goes between the stock manifolds as a template, if you dont have the tools to do it yourself. Shouldnt be real expensive. I would guess in the $40-$80 dollar range depending on the shop. The plate is then drilled & tapped for two heater hose barbs or they can be easily welded on if steel plate is used. Water pump/thermostat housing type gasket material can be used to make a gasket to use with gasket sheallac to seal the plate to the bottom of the intake manifold.

You will also need a muffler shop to connect up an exhaust pipe(s)system to the split manifolds.
1 "76" F150 RC, LB, 2WD, 300, NP435, 9" open 3.00, special order 2-76/Delivered 4-76. Still "new".

1 "73-79" F150 RC/SS/SB/4WD, "84"-300, T18, NP205, 9" open 3.50, Dana 44 3.50 open, Offy DP, Holley 470, EFI + single 2.5" exhaust. Gathered from 15+ donor/parts trucks. "Fubar". Runs good, safe, still needs details/project continues.

randysvan
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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #8 by randysvan » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:55 pm

Hi David,
I got a duraspark distributor at the wrecking yard. I think it was a 1981 e150. When I put it in my van I had to retard it as far as possible to run right. The vacuum thing is right up against the block. It won't retard anymore. But it purrs like a kitten. I've been trying to order a recurved duraspark but the guy who makes them is out of town right now. Do you think the recurved unit would help?
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #9 by The Plankster Prankster » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:14 am

regarding your dizzy position, remove the dizzy cap, then remove the dizzy far enough to rotate the shaft against the engine, and move the shaft over one tooth such that you have room to move the dizzy more freely. then tweak the base timing as required. if it won't drop all the way in at first, turn the engine (by hand is preferred, but starter is ok) while holding the dizzy down until it drops in.
as for a recurved unit, the OEM was pretty much perfect for a strictly OEM system, while any mods to the the engine will do best with a different curve, which ideally is set up for your exact engine details. an off-the-shelf recurved unit may or may not be better than what you have
83 F250 flatbed 300-6, NP435, 4X4, 5800lbs empty weight
87 E-350 6.9 diesel, c6, 3.55s, powertrax no-slip locker, onboard 120v power and compressed air, built out with toolboxes and toys

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #10 by randysvan » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:31 pm

The Plankster Prankster wrote:regarding your dizzy position, remove the dizzy cap, then remove the dizzy far enough to rotate the shaft against the engine, and move the shaft over one tooth such that you have room to move the dizzy more freely. then tweak the base timing as required. if it won't drop all the way in at first, turn the engine (by hand is preferred, but starter is ok) while holding the dizzy down until it drops in.
as for a recurved unit, the OEM was pretty much perfect for a strictly OEM system, while any mods to the the engine will do best with a different curve, which ideally is set up for your exact engine details. an off-the-shelf recurved unit may or may not be better than what you have


Thanks for the info! I didn't realize the recurve was for modded engines.

Do you think a Weber 2v carb on the stock intake would help highway mpg?
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #11 by tom954x4 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:04 pm

What's the rear axle ratio in E-250?
In full size trucks, the numerically higher ratios (3.73, 4.11) commonly found in 3/4 ton trucks and vans use more gas than in the 1/2 ton trucks with lower ratios, like 3.08. With your heavy truck, power robbing C6 and a numerically high ratio you will not get the same good mileage as an E-150 with either an OD or manual tranny, with or without OD, no matter what you do. With your questions regarding carb and timing you are on the right track to getting the best you can with your setup.

With the 300, its all about keeping your expectations in line with reality. Check out the recent threads on the 240-300 engine section on RVs with 300s for other thoughts.
1995 F-150 XL, 300-6, 4x4, ex-cab, sb, 3.08 5-speed, 2 1/2 in. exhaust w/flowmaster 50, MSDignition failed with no warning, now out, canopy, 179,000 + miles. Gone but not forgotten 1965 F-100 240 3spd lwb "the green hornet"; 1960 F-250 4x4, 223 six, 4sp with wrap-around rear window, two-tone paint, overhead camper.
Tow vehicle: 2012 F-250 4x4 6.7 diesel XLT s/c lwb

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #12 by randysvan » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:24 pm

tom954x4 wrote:What's the rear axle ratio in E-250?
In full size trucks, the numerically higher ratios (3.73, 4.11) commonly found in 3/4 ton trucks and vans use more gas than in the 1/2 ton trucks with lower ratios, like 3.08. With your heavy truck, power robbing C6 and a numerically high ratio you will not get the same good mileage as an E-150 with either an OD or manual tranny, with or without OD, no matter what you do. With your questions regarding carb and timing you are on the right track to getting the best you can with your setup.

With the 300, its all about keeping your expectations in line with reality. Check out the recent threads on the 240-300 engine section on RVs with 300s for other thoughts.



Thanks for the input!

My gear ratio is 3:54. I always thought the C6 was a good tranny until I started reading these Ford forums. I have wondered if a later model automatic with overdrive would help me.
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #13 by tom954x4 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:35 am

I owned an '92 E-150 with 3.55 with an AOD for about 17 years, AOD has a lockup overdrive. Its just a guess but the addition of a deep overdrive (0.66) with lock-up boosted mpgs by at least 3 or 4 mpg on the highway. I could get 18-19 on level ground, no wind, at 60-65 driving with a light foot, 15-16 or so overall. This is with a 302 v8. Similar mileage to a 300-6. Yes, an overdrive tranny with lockup will help a lot. The only thing I did not like about the AOD was the selector, your options were 1st, drive and OD. A selector for 2nd would have ben very useful for towing over steep mtn. passes.
1995 F-150 XL, 300-6, 4x4, ex-cab, sb, 3.08 5-speed, 2 1/2 in. exhaust w/flowmaster 50, MSDignition failed with no warning, now out, canopy, 179,000 + miles. Gone but not forgotten 1965 F-100 240 3spd lwb "the green hornet"; 1960 F-250 4x4, 223 six, 4sp with wrap-around rear window, two-tone paint, overhead camper.
Tow vehicle: 2012 F-250 4x4 6.7 diesel XLT s/c lwb

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #14 by Luckyman » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:29 am

randysvan wrote:
I always thought the C6 was a good tranny until I started reading these Ford forums. I have wondered if a later model automatic with overdrive would help me.


The C6 is a very good transmission. Very durable and long lived, even more and longer if maintained well. Every bit as good as the GM 350/400 or Chrysler 727 which are also non-lockup 3 spd autos. It can also handle big horsepower/torque and big loads/good for towing with proper cooling. The ONLY downside that I know of is what you are experiencing. It takes a bit of juice from the engine to turn the thing over which in turn takes a little bit more fuel than some other transmissions. Fully synthetic transmisson fluid would help a great deal.
1 "76" F150 RC, LB, 2WD, 300, NP435, 9" open 3.00, special order 2-76/Delivered 4-76. Still "new".

1 "73-79" F150 RC/SS/SB/4WD, "84"-300, T18, NP205, 9" open 3.50, Dana 44 3.50 open, Offy DP, Holley 470, EFI + single 2.5" exhaust. Gathered from 15+ donor/parts trucks. "Fubar". Runs good, safe, still needs details/project continues.

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #15 by randysvan » Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:07 pm

Thanks guys!

I am going to service my tranny this weeked and try the synthetic oil. Meanwhile I'll keep hunting for a great deal on an overdrive.

Just curious, what's the best mpg anyone has heard of in a 3/4 ton truck or van?
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #16 by Luckyman » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:33 pm

I dont have personal experience with vans, just pickups. However, IMHO I'm thinking that in good tune, good tires/pressure,
going easy on the go pedal (using a vacuum guage helps with this) and keeping speed at/under 2,500 rpm or 65mph you might be able to get 17 or at least 16. I'm not sure that much more that that can be EASILY attained with your particular brick in the wind/drivetrain/weight combo. Achieving more than that will require spending $$$ and probably not be worth the money or bring the return on investment enough to lower overall fuel costs enough to be worth it. (at least for me)

I could spend a bunch to gain a few miles per gallon in my trucks, but i do not drive them enough miles in a year to ever get the money back in fuel savings. I can buy lots of gas for what it would cost me to bump my mileage the 3-4 miles per gallon I could expect of the improvements over and above the things to do that I listed above. Apologies for the inarticulate/bad writing/explanations but I'm sure you'll get what I'm trying to say.
1 "76" F150 RC, LB, 2WD, 300, NP435, 9" open 3.00, special order 2-76/Delivered 4-76. Still "new".

1 "73-79" F150 RC/SS/SB/4WD, "84"-300, T18, NP205, 9" open 3.50, Dana 44 3.50 open, Offy DP, Holley 470, EFI + single 2.5" exhaust. Gathered from 15+ donor/parts trucks. "Fubar". Runs good, safe, still needs details/project continues.

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #17 by randysvan » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:47 pm

I appreciate your opinions!

I would be happy with 16mpg but I'm not quite there yet. I agree on the cost vs savings point you make. Wouldn't want to throw money away as I don't have a lot, although, I do enjoy tinkering with the van :beer:
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #18 by tom954x4 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:57 pm

I think in principle, with proper gearing, a 3/4 ton van could do almost as well as a 1/2 ton van as far as mileage with the same drivetrain. I would goose Luckyman's estimates 1-2 mpg. 1/2 ton vans with a 300-6 have achieved 20 mpg. Check out Mutt's mpg postings in this forum. I often carried heavy loads in my E-150 so that it weighed at least as much as an E-250 and got good mpg loaded. An overdrive is necessary for great mileage in a 3.55 or higher rear axle ratio and a manual will get better mileage than an automatic.

Before you buy an AOD, I would research what you need to adapt it to your engine. Synthtic oils all the way around, good tune, low rolling resistance tires should be part of the mix too. Driving habits have a big effect on mileage -- I learned this from the trip computer in my daily drivers (VW diesels).
1995 F-150 XL, 300-6, 4x4, ex-cab, sb, 3.08 5-speed, 2 1/2 in. exhaust w/flowmaster 50, MSDignition failed with no warning, now out, canopy, 179,000 + miles. Gone but not forgotten 1965 F-100 240 3spd lwb "the green hornet"; 1960 F-250 4x4, 223 six, 4sp with wrap-around rear window, two-tone paint, overhead camper.
Tow vehicle: 2012 F-250 4x4 6.7 diesel XLT s/c lwb

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #19 by randysvan » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:36 pm

20 mpg would be sweet! I goofed on the tires. I never knew they could make a difference until it was too late. I think it came from Ford with 215s. It had 235/16 Michellins with hardly any miles when I bought it but they were so old they had started to dry rot. I replaced the size that was on it (235/16). Then I read on here how tire size affects mpg. Oh, well. Upside is I probably get a smoother ride and better handling. Curious what the oem tires would have done as far as mpg difference, though.

Anyone have any thoughts on fabricating an air dam or something to improve aerodynamics?

I'll look for Mutt's posts. Thanks Tom!
'86 Ford E250, 4.9, Carter YF, Duraspark 2

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #20 by fomocofreak » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:44 pm

simple mods to improve airflow over van at highway speeds will help
no mudflaps
no roof rack
front air dam
better mirrors!
block grill apart from radiator area
remove fan and ad a switched electrical one (also speeds up warm up)
skinny tires at a higher pressure
alignment
dragging brakes
windows rolled up
an under body tray
no excess weight

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #21 by mwilliamshs » Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:32 pm

Old thread but things are slow around here anyway so here goes

I have a 1989 E-150 4.9 C6 with 3.08:1s in the 8.8" rear end. Everything is completely stock and frankly, all parts are original unless otherwise specified. Currently running OE tire size of 235/75-15. Should be XL load range but I have Standard Load range (SL) so I'm giving up some stiffness there and likely a bit of mileage since these have a max air pressure rating of 36 psi and XL's would be 50 psi. I don't run them at max all the time; I keep mine at 30 and would keep XL's at 45ish. I've got the stock exhaust system in place from manifold to tailpipe and it's in disappointingly good shape. If it were rusty or damaged I'd replace it the with ever so common Walker headpipe, a higher flowing catalytic converter, and a real big free flowing muffler, not for a loud exhaust, but rather so it could be quiet and still flow well. I've got the EGR system in place and working and I've got the AIR pump plumbed direct to the catalytic converter to keep it alive as long as possible. The AIR plumbing for the heads has been removed and the remaining holes plugged with steel pipe plugs. The in-tank fuel pump has been replaced with a Delphi part, complete hanger assebly not just the pump itself. The air filter is dirty. The oil is dirty. I have replacements for both but a lack of time and cooperative weather at the moment. When purchased the van had a leaking injector, failing in-tank fuel pump, dead battery, and was otherwise completely stock. I seriously haven't found any mechanical modifications or repairs to the van at all. I'm not saying it's in great shape, just that nobody's fixed anything LOL

At present I drive about 10 miles one way to work on either a busy 4 lane street with 14 traffic lights or on the interstates with 1 on ramp, 1 interchange, and 1 exit but still 4 traffic lights, 1 stop sign, and left turn on that busy 4 lane street at a busy time of day. Neither route is efficient is my point. I do that 6 days a week and go to school 3 days a week with a nearly identical route. Other than school and work, I just run errands around town. My city is fairly hilly and I don't go anywhere without traffic. Staying in town through a 22 gallon tank, I'm currently averaging 14 mpg. I'm pretty happy with that. This is after fixing a substantial fuel leak at the reservoir and when it was at its worst I must have been getting about 8 mpg, comparing fill-up frequency from then to now.

If I fill up at the station nearest my house, facing slightly downhill at pump 13, get on the interstate and drive 70 miles @ 60 mph and 12 miles on a hilly two-lane backroad to the family farm and drive that 82 miles back here, then fill up again at the same pump, etc. it takes 9.6 gallons. I've done it 4 times in exactly that manner, all in similar weather. That's 17 mpg. I'm not mad about that but I wish it was better considering the van has nothing in it but a convertible backseat/bed (150ish lbs) and paneled walls with insulation (maybe 100ish lbs) but does have a Sportsmobile fiberglass top that sticks up about 3" and has canvas walls folded inside (think popup camper) and a bed beneath it totalling about 400 lbs according to the manufacturer. I haven't weighed the van yet but plan to have it completely full of gas and otherwise empty when I haul the old front bumper to the scrapper next week sometime.

The van has a little stumble at light throttle just before shifts at load. Increasing pressure on the gas pedal clears this up right away. I haven't checked plugs, wires, cap, rotor, etc and hope that a full tune-up and check of the timing along with that fresh air-filter, fresh fuel filter, and new frame-rail mounted pump (it's kinda noisy right now) I have on a shelf clear that up permanently and improve mileage some.

I plan to extend the front air dam with black plastic landscape edging and of course upgrade tires (when they wear out) to a higher load-range and probably swap from 15" to 16" wheels at that time as well (no load E's in 15" and that's what I want). I will keep tire height 29-30". Stock is 28.9" and I don't want to negatively effect gearing. Rear tires will be all-terrains and fronts will be closed-shoulder highway tread. This is not ideal for mileage but I need the all-terrains.
1989 E-150 Extended Body SuperVan Sportsmobile Camper Conversion 4.9L, C6, 3.08 R&P

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Re: New to Ford 6. Need mpg advice

Post #22 by tom954x4 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:35 pm

I think the 17 mpgs are going to be pretty close to tops for trips with mixed driving, ~ 100 miles.

One thing I have noticed (and the math bears this out) that if you start a trip around town, stop and go, cold engine, hills etc., you have to drive a long long way for the overall average to get close to what your instantaneous mpgs are at level ground, 55-60 mph. You may in fact be getting close to 20 at 55-60. That is good for your van with C6!!

Example - my 2005 passat TDI gets ~ 30 mpgs around town. I drove to Lincoln City Oregon, over 300 miles away. Per trip computer, average mpg after 10 miles: about 32, average after 60 miles ~ 42, average after 200 miles 48, average after 320 miles 49.5. The maximum mpg I can get is about 55 at a steady 45 mph. Exactly the same results on the trip home. Kept speeds to 50-55, winding 2 lane roads the whole way. I never expect to get anywhere near 50 unless I am driving a LONG way, over 250 miles.
1995 F-150 XL, 300-6, 4x4, ex-cab, sb, 3.08 5-speed, 2 1/2 in. exhaust w/flowmaster 50, MSDignition failed with no warning, now out, canopy, 179,000 + miles. Gone but not forgotten 1965 F-100 240 3spd lwb "the green hornet"; 1960 F-250 4x4, 223 six, 4sp with wrap-around rear window, two-tone paint, overhead camper.
Tow vehicle: 2012 F-250 4x4 6.7 diesel XLT s/c lwb

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