Thread: To Ford Excursion or Not to Ford Excursion?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    100 cities and counting

    Default To Ford Excursion or Not to Ford Excursion?

    We finished our trailer which weighs in at about 900 pounds empty. But the Range Rover Sport is not going to pull it off road (too many issues and costs) and we sold the Defender.
    Yesterday, this giant of a vehicle-yes a 2003 Ford Excursion parked next to our house. It looked very capable for off road but important it looked capable for pulling the trailer off road. Custom bumbers and tons of room for the kids on the way there!

    What experinces have folks had with their Excursions please-Good and Bad. I'm thinking 2003 Ltd, diesel.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    AVL, NC
    The Excursion is a great vehicle, and shares it's drivetrain with the Super Duty trucks. So, aftermarket parts are reasonable & there's a lot to choose from. Be cautious with an 03 Diesel, it should be a 6.0. DEMAND all service records. Especially oil & fuel filter changes. if it doesn't have them, move on to the next rig.
    Chris Steuber
    02 E350 7.3 V4
    05 E350 6.8 V7
    90 Taurus SHO
    17 Focus RS
    49 CJ2A
    16 T350 3.7
    4x4 Van Conversions

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Northern Utah
    The Excursions are really cool and there have been a few recent threads on them here on Expo. I do not own one but I have been around them enough that I'll try to give my best opinion and advise. If you're thinking Diesel (or V10 for that matter) the Excursion should easily be able to pull that trailer, all your gear--and then some!

    I would shy away from the 6.0 diesel and the V8 gas engines (that topic has been beaten to death so I won't go into details) and I would highly recommend finding the 7.3 for its well known reliability. Their Drive train is very stout and if the transmission has been properly maintained there should be few problems there. There are a lot of engine/fuel system related parts that can give you a real headache if they were neglected so really spend the time to find one that has been cared for and not abused.

    The only thing I can really add is they come with the 3.73 axle ratio so keep the tire size down or you may put too much strain on the transmission while pulling. A good set of gauges on the diesel (trans temp, pyrometer and boost) will really help you out in the long run.
    91- F350 crew - Turbocharged IDI

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    The 03 could have the 7.3 diesel, which is a FINE engine, or the 6.0 which is not. I have an 02 with the 7.3 and like it quite a lot, 200K miles and never a problem (although I am pretty meticulous about maintenance)...all original major parts.

    In addition to the good advice already offered, if the engine is a 6.0 and has ANY performance boosting mods (anything at all, replacement chips, Banks anything, etc) I'd pass on it: While the 6.0 can potentially work OK, none of them that have been boosted at all seem to last, the engine just can't handle any more than Ford got out of it.

    And ditto on the gauges, it's good to know whats going on under the hood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Southern NJ
    I have a 2005 Excursion. Bought it used in 2005 with 19k on it.

    I am a regular member in the Excursion forum at FTE. The Excursion is all we discuss.

    First, the Excursion is a oddball son of the Superduty line. the frame of the Superduties is a two piece. there is the front clip section, from the drivers feet forward, and the rear section. The front frame clip, seats, and EVERYTHING except springs from the dash forward is the same as the Superduty line

    The rear frame of the Excursion is a different animal. It uses the same drivetrain and can use the same springs as a Superduty, but has it's own hitch that is only made by Ford. The way the hitches were designed and bolted on changed the maximum tow load from 10000lbs in to 2000 models to 11000lbs in the 2003 models.

    So basically, there a lot of aftermarket things that can be gotten for the Excursion that come from the Superduty line.

    Things to know:

    5.4L came with 4.10 axle ratios
    6.8L came with 3.73 or 4.30 axle ratios
    7.3 and 6.0 diesels came with 3.73 ratios and a 3 pinion rear axle.
    Front axle: Dana 50 all years, models
    Rear axle: Ford 10.5 all years/models

    The Engineers at Ford Derated the springs and made them lower on the Excursion. This was to improve the ride for Soccermoms and make them low enough to go into a low garage door. Unfortunately, the OEM springs sag badly, especially with diesels. It is not uncommon for the diesels to have less than one inch travel to bumpstop or even riding on the bumpstop after a couple of years.

    The fix is to replace them with aftermarket lift spring kits, or, like most folks do, replace with springs from a F250 or 350. That is pretty much what I did to mine. (with some modifications of the springs) The specifics of what to look for in spring type and load rating are in about a hundred threads on FTE.

    Once, you take care of the spring situation, some common simple mods:

    change to tow mirrors
    change windshield wiper blades to oones that are 2 inches longer
    add door lights (2004 and 2005)
    Change tires to 285/75-16 (33's) with F250 springs or 315/75-16 (35's)if you have 4" or more lift.
    Better shocks
    Rear sway bar

    I you do go the 6.0 route, try for a late 2004 or 2005. Most of the TSB's and recalls were already done in the factory and they are more reliable. 7.3's have less power, but are stone reliableLike was mentioned above, get the maintenance records, run a carfax, and get someone from Ford to do an OASIS check before you buy. . The 2003 and up V-10's just keep going and going with only one major issue. The exhaust header bolts can break and need replacement. It is something that can be replaced by the weekend mechanic. It sounds bad, but in reality, access is fairly easy.

    Now for use:

    I have towed trailers and boats with vans, trucks, and SUV's. With a family, bar none, the Excursion is my absolute favorite. I do not tow only on road or dirt roads, either. When I get upstate PA or NY, I have scouted out areas that I take my 31 ft travel tralier up to 3 miles deep into the terrain. It does fine off road.

    It is only this year that I have started adding recovery gear in case I get stuck. I can truly say it was me that decided to go beyond what the truck could go the two times I got stuck. Pulling over hills, it has the power to do what you want.

    On the road, the Excursion is a heavy enough platform that it controls the tow, not the other way around. I have a 6.8L with 4.30 ratio, and I have never found myself without enough power to accellerate up hills pulling 9000lbs. The diesel guys have it even better.

    Any way, will it pull your 900lb empty, 6000lb loaded trailer up and down off road hills? Yeah, no sweat, no strain.

    Some video search results:
    Last edited by housedad; 03-14-2010 at 11:48 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    100 cities and counting

    Smile Thanks to you all

    Thanks Lads! This is such valuable feedback from those who have driven, know or have! I found this one about an hour from me with a lift. I'm going to drive down and have a look at it tomorrow. He says he has all records.

    Powered by a 6.0L PowerStroke turbodiesel V8, this four wheel drive Excursion also features heavy duty bumpers front and rear, a six inch 'frame over' lift kit, and 20" MB Motoring wheels with LT325/60R20 radials!

    This is a ONE OWNER vehicle and it features a center row bench seat, so your passenger capacity is 7 plus the driver. Features a DVD rear entertainment system, heated driver and front passenger seats, adjustable pedals, 6 disc in-dash CD/AM/FM stereo, and more!

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