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Building a tow rig - V10 engine build

 
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:02 PM
RyanMac119
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Building a tow rig - V10 engine build

I thought I would get info on this build outside of my introduction thread.
After considering the cost, we have decided to go forward with building a V10 crate engine to replace the dying (dead) V10 that is currently in our Ex. Now, I come from the old mentality of "If you want to tow big, you have to have build more power". I know this is probably incorrect. So here is what I know that I have, and what I want to do with it:

According to my VIN, I have a 2000 Excursion 4WD XLT XLS
GVWR 8900lbs, 6.8L V10 built in Kentucky. I do not see a transmission cooler at first glance, and the hitch receiver looks aftermarket. So I do not think this machine has the factory tow package.

What I'm currently towing is a 25' TT with a rear slide of 5'. (Basically the bed slides out the rear of camper). GVWR is 7000lbs, the UVW is claimed 5014. However, all these numbers are handwritten on a sticker on the door of the cabinet under the sink. So who knows if these are real or not. It could be some guy named "Billy" just making stuff up as he goes. I have never been to any scales, but will soon.

I can't rightfully tell you what I'm needing to tow, because I honestly don't know. My wife would like to upgrade our TT, maybe to a TH, next year. So my neanderthal brain says to build for heavy, just in case. However, is there such thing as too much? If I had to guess I would say build to handle 10k with ease?
We travel around the country, and do go through mountains. I assured my wife that an Excursion would handle the mountain trips with ease compared to our aging Expedition with the 5.4L. Please don't make me a liar. This is not an everyday driver. It will be used to handle hauling dogs to shows, and family on vacations.

So what, if any, engine upgrades should I complete to handle what we are doing. Should I consider any forced induction system? I'm I thinking too much?
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:03 PM
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Gears......
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyboy1100 View Post
Gears......
I'm just guessing you are talking about swapping the 3.73 for something else. However, we haven't gotten that far. I just bought the Ex this weekend, and the engine has to be replaced. Once that is done I can drive it. So I'm starting there. Hince why this post is titled "V10 Engine build". I don't want to just go with what I think is right. I want to make sure I'm not spending money where I don't need to. I got some good info in my introduction thread, but I thought it may help others if it was in a thread that had a better title for searching. Plus, there may be others who didn't read that thread based on its title, that may have some great info for me.
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:25 PM
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Stock rebuild with headers. It’s a low RPM engine. Head porting or cam work isn’t going to help out with low RPM grunt production. Tune it with 5 star 91 and 4.30 gears and be happy man.
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:59 PM
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Low RPM engine?!? I'm no V10 expert, but low by what standards?

Tom ( WE3ZS ) is one of the local towing guru's with the V10. First thing he'll tell you is to grab some gears, but I'm sure he can chime in on the v10 itself. There's another build thread with twin turbos that you'll want to find. I know you're probably not gonna go down that road, but there's some super good info in there about how the engine works and would be worth a read. There's also a water/methanol thread floating around and a few have done it (I think). I think if you build the engine with quality parts, and not try to gain 1000HP out of it over and above what it already does, you should end up with a very reliable tow rig (that you'll want to put gears in ). Good luck! I'll follow along for sure! I love this stuff!!
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by EXSwap View Post
Low RPM engine?!? I'm no V10 expert, but low by what standards?

Tom ( WE3ZS ) is one of the local towing guru's with the V10. First thing he'll tell you is to grab some gears, but I'm sure he can chime in on the v10 itself. There's another build thread with twin turbos that you'll want to find. I know you're probably not gonna go down that road, but there's some super good info in there about how the engine works and would be worth a read. There's also a water/methanol thread floating around and a few have done it (I think). I think if you build the engine with quality parts, and not try to gain 1000HP out of it over and above what it already does, you should end up with a very reliable tow rig (that you'll want to put gears in ). Good luck! I'll follow along for sure! I love this stuff!!
Thanks, Tom gave me some great advice in my intro thread. I'm sure he will chime in again here.
It's just my brain says forced induction is the way to add torque. But I do NOT want to sacrifice reliability. I also don't want to spend more/do more than I'll ever require. I'm definitely not looking for big horsepower numbers. I just want to tow whatever camper we buy, over mountains, without the engine saying "Dear God stop".
Since im replacing the engine, I want to make sure I don't look back and say "I wish I would have done X". Know what I mean?
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:33 PM
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The factory built it to tow 10K with ease.......................IF it is equipped with the factory optional 4.30 gears. Remember that when you finish the new engine, because a V-10 with 3.73s isn't going to perform very well with 10K hanging off the hitch, it will get you there but it will hate climbing any grade. I started off with 3.73s and a 9,500 lb TH..............that's why I now tow with an effective 4.39 ratio now. The V-10 isn't what I would consider a low RPM motor, not when the other engine choices included the PSDs that only spin to half the 6.8s range.
As for the engine build, if you use a non-PI block and rotating assembly and PI heads & intake manifold(s) you would have a slightly higher compression ratio than either engine version offers on its own. You absolutely want the PI (Performance Improved) heads and intake as they flow better than the non-PI heads, all '00+ 2V V-10s were PI.
Forced induction will get very expensive and may leave you fighting some very high intake temps, Rock has to use a water meth system to cool his intake under his blower thats running under 6 PSI of boost.
I'm a fan of the Banks long tube headers as I have towed the same load with and without them and they do help with the heavy work. They come with a new full flow Y pipe and a variety of heat shields. A nice muffler, like the Aeroturbine (or the Jones clone) 3030XL will finish off the exhaust, the stock cat and piping should be fine.
And to get the best towing and all around performance from the 6.8 you will want to upgrade the gears to get to an effective ratio between 4.30 and 4.56.

My bone stock engine with only headers and custom tunes performs very well towing our 11,300+lbs TT all over the East, I have pulled this big TT over 23K miles and the 9.5K TH 15K miles before that, the 6.8 is a very reliable and competent engine, especially if it geared correctly. Deeper gears really can't be mentioned enough when talking about towing heavy with the 6.8. My engine has never complained or said "Dear God stop".
Post up a picture of the receiver hitch on the EX you think may be aftermarket, ALL EXs came with hitches. Your EX should have a trans cooler circuit in the radiator then a stacked plate air to oil cooler sandwiched between the AC condenser and radiator, again, ALL gassers came rigged like that. The factory towing package for you year was really only the addition of the larger telescopic towing mirrors.
I have never run with a cold air intake (other than the factory one) but from others reports they tend to be louder but fail to bring any noticeable power gains.
You will want some custom tunes from 5Stat Tuning mainly for the improved trans performance but also for the little extra they uncork on the engine.

And if I or anyone else hasn't mentioned it already, you will want deeper gears.
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:42 PM
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LOW rpm as compared to a 4.6 modular Cobra engine were internal engine mods will give you results. Even than porter heads only do so much in a high RPM engine like that.

Basically there would be little bang for the buck in internal engine mods for the v10. Turbos and supercharger are great but for towing? This isnít a modern ecoboost engine with way more advanced PCM and wideband O2 sensors to support high engine loads and towing. And the ecoboost also has direct injectors.
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RyanMac119 View Post
I'm just guessing you are talking about swapping the 3.73 for something else. However, we haven't gotten that far. I just bought the Ex this weekend, and the engine has to be replaced. Once that is done I can drive it. So I'm starting there. Hince why this post is titled "V10 Engine build". I don't want to just go with what I think is right. I want to make sure I'm not spending money where I don't need to. I got some good info in my introduction thread, but I thought it may help others if it was in a thread that had a better title for searching. Plus, there may be others who didn't read that thread based on its title, that may have some great info for me.
you arenít after HP or engine torque. You want gears to maximize the power.

I have read over and over that from the factory this engine is pretty much tapped out on fuel (pump and injectors) so there isnít much more power to be added w/o going extreme at which case why not diesel......

i have driven my coworkers 3.73 Ex in comparison to my 4.30 geared one and I will take mine....

so as multiple others said factory build, maybe banks headers, tune, and gears.....
 
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:02 PM
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I absolutely agree with gears. My Ex came with factory 4.30. Even after the lift and larger tires I didnít feel a loss in power. Loss in MPG but that comes with the territory. I am tuned with 5 stars 91 performance so that helped out as well.
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:25 AM
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The stock V10 is no that the weak point of the Excursion for heavy towing, in fact with just adding headers and a tune it is plenty capable, For towing the Excursions weakness is the 4r100 transmission. Several vendors are well know for building damn near indestructible towing transmissions, BTD and Woods are the most well known.

As other stated the V10 really needs a gear change to be a great tow machine.

All excursions were equipped with a tow package as the rear receiver is part of the crash structure needed to pass federal crash test standards as is the dumb bar hanging down under your front bumper.

The transmission is really only a weakness for towing if you don’t install a real temp gauge and watch the heat, The real weakness for not just towing but everyday driving is the suspension.
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:34 AM
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When looking at the headers, my '00 Ex has the early style cat, right?
When changing the gears, I just get a ring and pinion set and do both front and rear or do I need to buy an entire diff?
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by RyanMac119 View Post
When looking at the headers, my '00 Ex has the early style cat, right?
When changing the gears, I just get a ring and pinion set and do both front and rear or do I need to buy an entire diff?
I'm not sure that the cat changed during the EXs six year production run, I think that they were all pretty much the same. What DID change was the factory Y pipe, your '00 should have the better flowing of the two, the Rams Horn version, the later models came with a necked down T shaped setup that is more restrictive. IF you go with headers, good sets come with a new full flow Y pipe, if you keep the factory manifolds you could install just a new Y pipe but starting off with the better style that you have the improvement would be negligible.
To change gears, yes new ring and pinion X2 (Sterling 10.5" rear and Dana 50 front), you can have the bearings inspected when torn down and only replace them if needed or pop for the master rebuild kit up front and just plan to do them. Setting up gears properly requires a few specialized tools and knowledge typically earned through experience, I'd have shop take care of that job personally.
Pirate mentioned the 4R100 trans as being a weak spot for towing, that is true but more of an issue with that trans behind a 7.3 that lays down lots more torque than our V-10 do. The transmissions seem to hold up better behind the gasser even when towing heavy. But you will absolutely want to monitor the trans temp when towing (not by the dash gauge!), I use a stand alone gauge because I'm old school and really cool but any number of other electronic methods will work just fine for less cool folks. . And for some additional protection you can upgrade to the trans cooler from the 6.0 trucks, it is twice as big as our factory cooler. I recently did a full fluid flush on my trans and installed the 6.0 cooler, it now runs about 20+ degrees cooler while towing and builds less heat during steeper climbs, very nice. When I flushed the trans the EX had 120K miles on it with 55K of those miles under my ownership and 35K of those miles towing heavy, to my knowledge the trans had never been serviced at that point but still functioned perfectly and the old fluid came out darker but not the least bit burnt smelling or gritty. I think it still has many more miles left in it. . Your factory cooler should be able to maintain at least a 100 degree delta from the ambient air when towing on the flats, Mark K, our resident trans expert says the trans is safe for short periods as high as 240 (but I'm not that brave) and fine running at 220-ish for longer periods (still too hot for me), but if you do experience these high temps you should pull over and idle while it cools back down, NEVER shut off the engine with an overly hot trans! One other fun fact with the 4R100 is that they will sometimes leak fluid from the front seal (sometimes onto the Y pipe which can catch fire!) when reversing after a long tow with some heat built up. The chances of that can be greatly reduced by using the Low Range function in the transfer case for reversing up your trailer, especially reversing UP an incline. I use Low all the time while reversing my TT, an extra benefit is it slows things down some which makes tight maneuvering into campsites easier.
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by RyanMac119 View Post
Thanks, Tom gave me some great advice in my intro thread. I'm sure he will chime in again here.
It's just my brain says forced induction is the way to add torque. But I do NOT want to sacrifice reliability. I also don't want to spend more/do more than I'll ever require. I'm definitely not looking for big horsepower numbers. I just want to tow whatever camper we buy, over mountains, without the engine saying "Dear God stop".
Since im replacing the engine, I want to make sure I don't look back and say "I wish I would have done X". Know what I mean?
I know exactly what you mean! I have so much creep in my project because of this now it's almost unbearable. My wallet is screaming. But, I'm quite certain when I'm driving down the road in a quiet (ish) X that's got all the goodies I wanted, I'll be smiling.
 
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:19 AM
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You are trying to build a good tow vehicle on a budget, any sort of forced induction will blow that budget. You CAN pull 10K without it. Fuhgetaboutit!

Your truck may not have the in-radiator trans cooler but it will have the separate trans cooler. Yes, watch temps as mentioned.

I switched to 4.30 gears from 3.73. (stock tire size) If I had it to do over again, I would go to 4.56.
 

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