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Ford 4.0L vs. Chevy 4.3L

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Since getting an enclosed trailer, I never put anything in the bed of my truck. I'm thinking of getting a 4X4 SUV and my two current finalists are the Blazer 2-door with the 4.3L OHV V6 or an Explorer Sport with the 4.0L SOHC V6. I've noticed a ton of these late model used SUVs at dealer lots with around 25K miles. I'm thinking about a 2003 or 2004. I'll be pulling a light trailer and doing some mild off-roading in the state forest. I want a low-maintenance vehicle that will last a long time. I would appreciate any feedback on each of these vehicles.

Try to be nice guys. I know this Ford vs. Chevy topic can get a little heated. Thanks! :banghead:

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I'm a Ford guy, but the 4.3 is a great engine. Not only does it have great low-end torque(towing...) but responds to mods much better then the 4.0L.

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The chevy 4.3 is essensially a chevy 350 with the back two cylinders hacked off, because of that it also shares much of the 350's longevity and ease of maintenance characteristics.

I like the 2.8 that was found in the older blazers/s-10s too... that lil motor will run forever, but its not your best choice if you want to tow.

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Hands down the 4.3. It has a stellar reliability record and if you are so inclined there is a lot of performance hop ups available for it.:banghead:

I disagree with Chevy on the 2.8. Avoid this POS at all costs.

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the motor i agree with... the 4.3 that is... the suspension i dont agree with... chevy could have designed the suspension way better... and i own a sonoma wich has the same frame and suspension as the blazer or jimmy... great truck for what you want though.. and they do really well offroad..

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I disagree with Chevy on the 2.8. Avoid this POS at all costs.

Yeah, who wants a efficient little motor capable of running half a million miles. :banghead:

Its a gutless beast, no argument there, but for a daily driver its hard to beat.

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Yeah, who wants a efficient little motor capable of running half a million miles. :banghead:

Its a gutless beast, no argument there, but for a daily driver its hard to beat.

Have we forgotten about the endless transmission hunting which ate trannys like popcorn? The weirdness with the ECM and fuel injection system which GM had half a dozen fixes for of which none of them really worked? The mysterious head gasket problems? The ECM program that disabled the MAF sensor? The "no doubt of burning it up" driving 75 with the air on (if you could even get it there)? The Gen 2 aluminum heads?

If I wanted an efficient little motor that had a chance of half a million miles then the obvious choice would be the 4.3.

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I disagree with Chevy on the 2.8. Avoid this POS at all costs.

YES! The 2.8L is the Anti-Christ of towing engines...Gutless.

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Have we forgotten about the endless transmission hunting which ate trannys like popcorn? The weirdness with the ECM and fuel injection system which GM had half a dozen fixes for of which none of them really worked? The mysterious head gasket problems? The ECM program that disabled the MAF sensor? The "no doubt of burning it up" driving 75 with the air on (if you could even get it there)? The Gen 2 aluminum heads?

If I wanted an efficient little motor that had a chance of half a million miles then the obvious choice would be the 4.3.

The tranny problems were mostly on 4.3 equipped trucks, the s-10s trannys are pretty weak and the 4.3 tends to be alittle too much torque for them.

Trannys, especially the 5 speed, will last 200k miles or better behind a 2.8. The clutch and pilot bearing tends to go around 175 and if those arent fixed quickly, it will ruin the tranny input shaft... but neither are hard or expensive to repair.

The rest of the problems you list there (ECM, headgasket, AC problems etc) I've never heard of or seen. I've personally owned 3 2.8 powered S-10s and theres been 3 or 4 more in my family. NONE of them had serious problems below 200,000 miles, and 2 lasted well over 400k without any internal engine work.

As I said, they're not the best choice for towing, and would never recommend one for that (I wouldnt tow with a mini truck anyway, thats what real trucks are for) but you won't find a much more reliable engine than the 2.8

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The tranny problems were mostly on 4.3 equipped trucks, the s-10s trannys are pretty weak and the 4.3 tends to be alittle too much torque for them.

How is the auto transmission on a 2002-2003 Blazer w/ a 4.3L? They don't seem to have a manual tranny. If they do, I haven't seen any around. I will never tow more than 2,000 lbs, probably less.

Thanks for the input! :banghead:

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How is the auto transmission on a 2002-2003 Blazer w/ a 4.3L? They don't seem to have a manual tranny. If they do, I haven't seen any around. I will never tow more than 2,000 lbs, probably less.

Thanks for the input! :banghead:

I don't have alot of experience with the later S-10s and blazers, all of ours have been late 80s trucks, and all of them have been 5 speeds.

I think they stopped offering the 5 speed in the blazer in the early 90s. I havent heard of many tranny problems recently, mostly just with the older 80s automatics, so I'd say they've improved since then.

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You know Chevy_Cowboy if I add up the miles you have put on various GM vehicles they add up to literally 10's of millions of miles and none of them ever had any significant trouble. You don't even seem to know anybody that's ever owned a GM vehicle that's been in the shop.

It's amazing. I think your BS meter is so far off the scale that you don't understand what you are saying.

What kills me is it appears that you have owned and are an expert on virtually every GM vehicle that's ever mentioned on this board. The only reason I can think of is they really are POS's and you have to get a different one every few weeks.

Why in the world would you have also owned 3 2.8 S-10s and all of your other trucks, Camaros and other GMs? I don't seem to buy as many vehicles as you do for 10 service techs and a half dozen salesmen and apparently don't have the total combined mileage on all of them equal to what you drive.

Simply amazing!

GM is releasing their 3rd quarter sales today. It will be interesting to see how much more market share DC and Toyota have gained versus GMs loss and how much money GM has lost. This is occurring because GM builds the best cars in the world and everybody knows it. :banghead:

KLX_RAMBO, I'm sorry for the rant against this guy. Find a nice clean Blazer with the 4.3 and you will be quite happy with it. If you do use it for towing add a trans cooler and don't hot rod it. They are good vehicles for the money and easy to maintain.:banghead:

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The tranny problems were mostly on 4.3 equipped trucks, the s-10s trannys are pretty weak and the 4.3 tends to be alittle too much torque for them.

The auto transmission problems were primarily on the 2.8 equipped trucks.

2.8 trannys failed because of endless hunting while driving on the highway. The 4.3 didn't suffer from this because it tends to stay in gear at highway speeds. The hunting caused transmission heat and also greater wear because of the endless shifting. Lockup converters also tended to fail behind the 2.8.

There were also increased engine failures because it would be in second or third gear wound up tight while driving on the highway versus the 4.3. This caused much greater wear on the engine and higher operating temperatures.

I guess if you were hot rodding the truck around town the tranny behind the 4.3 would fail more quickly because of the higher engine output but in normal driving this isn't the case.

Check your facts.

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You know Chevy_Cowboy if I add up the miles you have put on various GM vehicles they add up to literally 10's of millions of miles and none of them ever had any significant trouble. You don't even seem to know anybody that's ever owned a GM vehicle that's been in the shop.

It's amazing. I think your BS meter is so far off the scale that you don't understand what you are saying.

What kills me is it appears that you have owned and are an expert on virtually every GM vehicle that's ever mentioned on this board. The only reason I can think of is they really are POS's and you have to get a different one every few weeks.

I've owned alot of high mileage vehicles... but that doesnt necessarily mean I put all of those miles on them. I bought my camaro at 187,000 for example, its got nearly 250k on it now. The only personal vehicle that I personally have put alot of miles on is my ol 3/4 ton chevy.. I bought it with nearly 200k on it, and today is got half a million or so, thats after 10 years of pretty steady use, including a stint as a drag truck.

I've also made extra cash by buying cars cheap and fixing them up to resell at a slight profit for years... so I've worked on more cars (most but not all GM's) than I care to count. When someone asks advice on vehicles I have no experience with, I'll tell them that and suggest they talk to someone else (like I did with slowmo asking about the H3, and Wheelsup asking about Duramax's, etc.)

I havent owned an auto 2.8 S10, but all of the S-10s I've done tranny work on were all 4.3s, clutches (and input shafts ruined by people who didnt replace the clutch and pilot bearing early enough) are the ONLY tranny related problem I've seen on 2.8s, so perhaps its you who ought to check your facts.

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I havent owned an auto 2.8 S10, but all of the S-10s I've done tranny work on were all 4.3s, clutches (and input shafts ruined by people who didnt replace the clutch and pilot bearing early enough) are the ONLY tranny related problem I've seen on 2.8s, so perhaps its you who ought to check your facts.

My little brother owns a transmission shop. GM vehicles account for 35.7% of his business. He says Chrysler accounts for 19.4%. He surprised me when he said Mercedes makes up 4.6%. This is disproportionate to the number of Mercedes out there. It doesn't sound like their trannies are all that great. I would have figured that Ford would have been in second but he says that isn't the case. According to him the GM 200R4 and 700R4 are nothing but a transmission shop enrichment program. Between owning a large number of S-10s with both engines and my brothers experience owning a tranny shop I have a slight idea.

If you had ever owned the auto 2.8 you would know exactly what I'm talking about concerning the endless hunting. The Jeep Cherokees with this combo also suffered, especially in 4wd trim.

By the way:

Press Release

DETROIT – General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today reported a loss of $1.1 billion, or $1.92 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2005, excluding special items and a tax-rate adjustment. These results compare with net income of $315 million, or $0.56 per share, in the third quarter of 2004. Revenue rose more than 5 percent to $47.2 billion.

Including special items, GM reported a loss of $1.6 billion, or $2.89 per share in the third quarter of 2005. The special items include a non-cash charge of $805 million for asset impairments primarily in North America and Europe and restructuring charges at GM Europe of $56 million. These were partially offset by a tax-rate normalization totaling $311 million.

Stellar performance.

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We have an 03 Explorer XLT Sport with the 4.0, 5 speed auto and tow package. It does a pretty good job hauling our little toy hauler around (Just under 5k loaded). It does really well and got good mileage when we pulled a smaller trailer with the bikes on it, about 2000 lbs. The independent rear works really well for towing.

I did loose a seal on the steering rack on a trip this weekend. Blew some oil on the bottom of the tranny, then the exhaust and sent up a smoke screen. Pulled over and thought for sure the tranny just went... Limped it to camp about 30 miles or so. Inspecting things Sunday (after an all day riding adventure Sat) we determined it was the rack. Kept fluid in it and it got us home. Need to get the rack replaced today...

If you get one with the factory tow package it should be great for what you want... Ours has 80,000 on it so far no problems (except for the rack, kind of a strange thing to go out).

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I disagree with Chevy on the 2.8. Avoid this POS at all costs.

Agreed, not only did they lack enough power to pull the skin off of a bowl of gravy, with a few miles, oil pressure would always be too low to sustain engine life. But I did have a 85 S10 Blazer with the 2.8 (it was a 5 spd) and sold it with 180K on the clock and idled at 40PSI oil pressure

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Chevy, I apologize. I was wrong about the figures on the transmission shop. I couldn't figure out why Mercedes had so many failures. Well I asked the wrong question. Little brother gave me the revenue figures and not the total units repaired percentages.

He says it's approximately the following breakdown:

GM 39%

Ford 23%

Chrysler 18%

All others 20%

This is for automatic transmissions. He ranks the GM 4L80/5E as the best all around late model truck transmission. He's not that impressed with the Allison.

The reason for the high percentage earlier on the Mercedes is the amount charged per unit versus the domestics. By far and away the most work he does is on GM but the per unit revenue is less because everybody rebuilds them and the competition is higher.

He noted that most of the 4L60E failures he sees is from overheating rather than outright transmission problems. Apparently people love to tow in the desert heat with their 1/2 ton Chevys without installing a trans cooler. It makes him a lot of money.

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im a ford man, but hands down id have to say the 4.3, its very reliable, decent gas consumption and great torque for towing, my 4.0 ranger doesnt have as much torque as a 4.3

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