Which is the most extreme, quickest, and coolest new 7.3L gas V8 out there? I go to the Ford Arizona Proving Grounds for an exclusive TFLtruck first drive of the redesigned and updated Ford motorhome and van chassis.
Why do this? For 2020 and beyond – the older 6.8L gas V10 engine is being retired. The all-new 7.3-liter “godzilla” gas V8 replaces it for the upcoming motor home and step van chassis. That is not all. Ford takes this opportunity to make many other upgrades to the chassis suspension and driver assistance technologies. We put it all to the test.
Thank you to Ford for inviting us to the proving grounds and providing these prototype vehicles for testing.
In this exclusive first review, I run these giant vehicles through the slalom, take the motorhomes on the highway, and do many acceleration tests (with 0-60 MPH measurements).
Oh yea, I also get to drive a bare strip chassis to see if it could be the quickest 7.3L gas V8 out there. Ford took the latest F59 chassis and added a driver’s seat and lots of safety equipment to enable this test.
Ford F53 Motorhome Chassis
The existing F53 chassis has been around mostly unchanged for around 20 years. For 2020 and beyond, Ford has thoroughly upgraded the shocks, anti-roll sway bars, and bounce stops to provide a more controlled and confident ride. I was able to do a back-to-back “Old vs New” evaluation of the suspension changes on the new motorhome. The difference is drastic. The new motorhome prototype practically did not lean during the slalom tests or highway lane change maneuvers.
The new 7.3-liter V8 is rated at 350 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque in the motorhome and van chassis configuration. Unlike the 2020 Ford Super Duty trucks, the new gas engine is mated to the existing 6-speed heavy duty automatic transmission (not the new 10-speed automatic).
Ford also updated the gauge cluster and the steering wheel to the latest design. The motorhome steering wheel may look like a Super Duty one, but it has a larger diameter.
Ford F59 Step Van Chassis
The new step van chassis updates are a bit different. The delivery van chassis suspension remains mainly the same as before. The biggest changes come in the form of the latest driver assistance technologies. The new system provides lane departure warning and front collision mitigation to help the driver in traffic. The gauge cluster and the steering wheel are also updated.
Ford says these are the specific areas, features, and improvements that fleet customers prioritized over others.
Watch the video for all the big machinery fun!