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Discussion Starter #1
Hello I am in the process of searching for a GMC Savana or Chevy Express van to purchase within the next 3 to 4 months. I will be using this van for camping. I might tow a small camping trailer (~4,000lbs when fully loaded) a couple of times year. I am planning to travel across the country and explore the National Park system and camp along the way.

I am trying to determine if I should hunt down a van with the 2.8L or 6.6L Duramax Diesel Engine. If the MPG will be the same for both engines then I would lean towards the the 6.6L Duramax.

Any thoughts from the community???

Thanks in advance for your insights!
 

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So I take it you will be buying used ?
 

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Yes...Especially since the 6.6L is no longer in production after 2016. BUT if I run across a dealer that is offering a hell of deal on a new 2.8L then that is something else I would have to consider... But right now I am trying to figure out which engine to best focus my search on...
 

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If you are not going to be in a hurry or towing anything heavy you might want to consider the 2.8. Good used 6.6 vans for a decent price are hard to find and parts/labor are not cheap if you do not do the work yourself.
 

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LBZ/LMM injectors are about $400/piece, turbo $1,000ish, injection pump $800+, etc then some van only parts are more expensive. Then you have to consider if you are paying for labor look out because everything is more difficult and most shops hate working on them. Owning/maintaining a diesel is not cheap.
 
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Yea I know the maintenance is a little more expensive on a Diesel vs a gas engine... Two of the reasons I was looking into a diesel over a gas engine was durability and longevity but I am seeing reports of GMC and Chevy gas engines lasting a pretty long time... However MPG appears to be better in a fully loaded diesel vs a gas Van.... Is it a big enough difference for me to go the gas route, i am unsure... One reason I was going towards the Diesel route is that during a Hurricane panic situation, fuel stations run out of gas way before they run out of diesel...
 

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99% of time the math is never in favor of diesel. The GM gas engines are very reliable and can take a beating. Gas parts are cheap and available everywhere. Gas vans are everywhere and are a dime a dozen. 6.0, 5.3, 4.8, 5.7, 5.0 any of these choices are good and chances are very good you will find a nice one for a lot less than a diesel.There are idiots out there asking $30,000 for used diesel vans with over 100,000 miles and I paid $25,000 for mine brand new.
 

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Don't let shop scare you too much. He's got like a half million miles on his van!
The 6.6 is great. And I like it because I tow heavy weights. If I wasn't towing much I'd probably get the 2.8 or 6.0 gas. Supposedly the 2.8 gets 30 mpg on highway. But if you have to pay thousands more for the 2.8, then you're not really saving.
But to be honest, if I didn't need to tow, I'd probably get a ford transit or sprinter. The higher ceiling height is so nice.
 
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I’d buy as new of a gas van as you are willing to spend. It sounds like a limited use vehicle except for the big trip so the diesel doesn’t make much sense. The added upfront costs, possible emissions issues don’t seem worth it.
I love the 6.6 vans, they tow well and get decent mileage but if I didn't have to tow I’d buy a taller van like already said.
 

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The 2.8 will get the best mileage, I’d guess 30-32 range not towing. The 6.6 will get over 20mpg on the highway easy enough.
how many miles a year will you be using it?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks guys for all of the responses!

I won't be towing that often (7 to 12 times a year) and when I do, it will be under 5,000lbs... I looked at the ford transit but since I will be taking some forest roads, the clearance does not appear to be there for the ford transit and the aftermarket for suspension lifts doesn't appear to be there yet also...

In regards to a 6.0 gasser, what mpg have you guys most people are getting? I am trying to pick an engine that will give me the most driving range on a full tank of fuel...

WeldTech put out a comparison video but didn't talk whole lot about the MPG between the two Vans.
Chevy 6.6L Van

Chevy 2.8L Van
 

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4X4, lift, bigger tires will all drop MPG. Are you looking to do those things or keep it stock ? A 6.0 gasser with 6 speed should get 15+ MPG down the highway.
 
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Yep, I will initially look into a lift and bigger tires in order to get the clearance but I will hold off on the 4x4 conversion for at least a year or two in order to save up funds and to determine if I really need it based on the type of travel I have done in the van...
 

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Yep, I will initially look into a lift and bigger tires in order to get the clearance but I will hold off on the 4x4 conversion for at least a year or two in order to save up funds and to determine if I really need it based on the type of travel I have done in the van...
There's a few 4x4 vans on ebay. One even has a diesel. Not cheap though. Just search 'Quigley'
 

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Yea I saw those but I will wait since the prices are way to high for what you are getting... I am sure something will surface that will be a great deal... I just have to be ready to snap it up...
 

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If you are going to lift and put bigger tires on then personally I would cross the 2.8 off the list. The diesel Quigleys are even more overpriced and good luck finding a good deal since there are not many in the first place. I see a couple of gas Quigley priced not to bad but some are stupid high.

What is your budget ? Also what state do you live in and how far are you willing to go to pick one up ?
 

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Here is a 2013 1 ton extended 6.0 Quigley for what I think is a decent starting price of $21,000.
 

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Make sure and look for a van that has the G80 locker in the rear as well. They may all have them these days, but I'm not sure. I'd think you'll want it if you will be doing some light off roading.
 
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