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Old 01-17-2023, 01:37 PM   #1
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Default Chassis Reliability

We are narrowing down our search for a Class B RV. The 2 RV's that we have in mind are on 2 different chassis so I'd like to ask the group for knowledge/experience with any chassis issues that I should be aware for either of these? Which do you feel would be most reliable?

1) 2022 Ford Transit Chassis (SYNC 4 and 360 CoPilot)
2) 2023 Ram ProMaster Chassis (latest safety and tech features)

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-17-2023, 06:29 PM   #2
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Google--- Ford Transit vs Promaster.
I doubt you will get a definitive answer as to reliability of one or the other being better. My guess is it's comparing apples to apples. Chose the interior/features you like the best. Which one feels best to drive? And is comfortable?

I am biased toward to Promaster...because that's what we have! We bought a used 2018 Hymer Sunlight2 with 54k miles. Front wheel drive. Has the same engine/transmission that a zillion other Chrysler vehicles used. A couple of repairs have been done but not major. For me, it drives and rides nice. MPG is 17-18. --KenA
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Old 01-17-2023, 06:47 PM   #3
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Google--- Ford Transit vs Promaster.
I doubt you will get a definitive answer as to reliability of one or the other being better. My guess is it's comparing apples to apples. Chose the interior/features you like the best. Which one feels best to drive? And is comfortable?

I am biased toward to Promaster...because that's what we have! We bought a used 2018 Hymer Sunlight2 with 54k miles. Front wheel drive. Has the same engine/transmission that a zillion other Chrysler vehicles used. A couple of repairs have been done but not major. For me, it drives and rides nice. MPG is 17-18. --KenA
Thanks for this feedback. I drove both yesterday and in the 10 mile stretch for demo I couldn't really tell a nickels worth of difference. I liked the drive of the 2023 ProMaster. I was thinking based on a lot of FaceBook Group pages that the Transit was going to blow it away. I like the cockpit slightly more in the Transit, but the ProMaster is nimble and super easy to drive. I'm sure the power of the Transit would come into play on steep grades. Anyway thanks for the input.
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Old 01-17-2023, 07:41 PM   #4
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200,000 miles on our 2014 Promaster. Extremely reliable.

Another detail: In January, 2015, thus 8 years ago, we installed a fan on the roof. The cutout has been lying around the yard all these years exposed to weather, used to test fasteners, etc. This morning, I cleaned it up to take to the paint store for a match. Not the slightest hint of rust, even on cut edges. Per the Transit forum, Transits can have rust from the factory.
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Old 01-17-2023, 08:35 PM   #5
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200,000 miles on our 2014 Promaster. Extremely reliable.

Another detail: In January, 2015, thus 8 years ago, we installed a fan on the roof. The cutout has been lying around the yard all these years exposed to weather, used to test fasteners, etc. This morning, I cleaned it up to take to the paint store for a match. Not the slightest hint of rust, even on cut edges. Per the Transit forum, Transits can have rust from the factory.
That's stellar! Thanks for sharing that.
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Old 01-17-2023, 09:41 PM   #6
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Ms.Nomer... Do you think we sold them on a Promaster? We can split the commission?
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Old 01-18-2023, 02:38 AM   #7
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Ha. Maybe so. I should also add that the only time the PM has ever failed to start was when MrNomer mistakenly removed the fuse to the starter relay when we upgraded the radio. It has never thrown codes or run rough.

It is unhealthy to love a material object as much as I love this van.
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Old 01-18-2023, 03:03 PM   #8
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Not to be the downer on the PM, but I had my transmission completely fail at about 60k of mostly highway miles. It left me stranded on a trip, so it was a bad experience.

That being said, there are two common ways of looking at reliability, and depending on who you talk to they may be thinking of the a different way than you are.

First, and what most owners think of, is that the vehicle never breaks down in a way that leaves you stranded. This is tough to judge minor differences between vehicles as you will hear a disproportionate number of accounts from the relatively few people who have a breakdown. You will only be able to figure this out if there are very large differences that cannot be ignored.

The second way is common among mechanics. When they speak of reliability they usually mean that the parts are inexpensive, easy to install, and give plenty of warning before failure, even if they are needed somewhat frequently. This is probably a better way to think about reliability in the long term as it speak more directly to what it will take to maintain the vehicle over its lifespan.

My 2017 PM is a remarkably simple vehicle from a mechanical perspective, with lots of room for working on things. The engine and transmission is identical to the one used in the Dodge Caravan and a multitude of other Stellantis vehicles, with the exception of a different final gear ratio, so rebuild kits are easy to come by and inexpensive (if you are the mechanic doing the work that is). You will be hard-pressed to find a transmission shop that doesn't have extensive experience rebuilding this exact transmission, so they will likely do it right.

The 2023 models are exceptionally fancy now so I don't know how much of this applies to them, but I have been pretty happy with the PM chassis overall despite the transmission issue.
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Old 01-18-2023, 04:07 PM   #9
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Lots of good information here, and perhaps I can add a bit more for what might have been inferred but not said.


Owner pride, sometimes with blinders on, can massively influence what is said about any given vehicle in regards to many things, including reliability.


My personal experience in seeing this goes way, way back as far as the 60s and 70s with VW bug owners who claimed they were the best and most reliable that could be found compared the American "crap". Of course, while the rest of us were driving around and having fun, they were adjusting their valves or freezing in the cold, if not a more major repair. In the 90s the bug folks got replaced by the Honda snobs who went through the same routine, although their vehicles were much better than the bugs and often better than the American made stuff at the time.



That said, it still goes on today but probably at a lower level than in the past because all of the vehicles are made better and last longer.


The most reliable and cost effective car I have ever owned was a 92 Escort wagon, yep, really an Escort. It ran for 18.5 years and 210K miles without major repairs. Sure it broke down rarely, but never left me stranded. Brakes, front end parts, radiator, O2 sensor, struts, rear springs, alternator were about all that got replaced in that long time of daily commutes in the horrible Minnesota weather. If I compared the cost/mile of it to friends Honda and Toyotoa of the same era it was better than all of them, which surprised them. It finally rusted out so bad it started to sag in the middle and broke the rear brake lines so it drove the junk yard on it's original, still not burning oil, engine, and getting tired transmission.


We now have a 2009 Honda CRV that has about 65K miles on it only and has only needed brakes and a catalytic converter shield. We have the 2007 Roadtrek with 60K miles on a Chevy chassis that has had a rear axle replacement and front wheel bearings, but not anything else except useful mods. I drive a 96 Buick Roadmaster wagon with 145K on it that I just finished doing a full resto on. It had given me 10 years without any major issues before the total restoration. I know nothing about the previous 10 years. I hope it is good until I don't drive any more as it is essentially new in nearly all ways.



I base my reliability guesses based on how often and how badly vehicles have problems. If it leaves me stranded, that is a really big deal. If a trouble code comes up and it makes it home, not so bad. Engine failure before 200K is not good these days. Transmission before 150K same things. Nickle and dime repairs (especially if you are paying a shop to do them) very irritating. Expensive parts (we have a Honda so I know all about that) is bad as it just sours you on the brand when the parts are twice the cost of the same parts for other vehicles.


I also read the local Craigslist car adds regularly, and find that it pretty good at showing up which vehicles have what problems. The cars on there are less expensive and higher miles so they are more representative of real world life. It showed the Subaru head gasket issues years ago. It has since showed the 2010ish Honda engine oil burning issue. It showed the Kia engine failure issue that later had the huge recall long before it was common knowledge. Currently I am seeing lots of 75K-150K engine failures on numerous vehicles and models so watching closer. I am starting to think that long oil changes and the changes away from antiscuff additves in the engine oils may be an issue.



All of this considered, I have not seen anything to indicate the Promasters have any major reliability issues, which kind of surprised me because the drivetrain is hauling a lot more weight than it does in a minivan. Kudos to Dodge on that one. The old Chevies and Fords run a long time and are abused badly by tradesmen. Not uncommon to see 300K units with only a transmission repair listed. Not a lot of Sprinters show up, but a relatively surprising amount have had engine replacements and even more transmission replacements by 150K. Transits are just starting to show up there and seem to be doing very well at this point. The messenger and delivery ones can easily have 200K of tough miles on them now.


Personally, I don't think I would consider either a Transit or Promaster proven to more reliable. I do think the way they drive could be different though as front drivers and rear drivers just behave differently. Personal choice of what you like. The Transit with the Ecoboost is going to sway the decision for a lot of people I think. It is much, much more powerful and having turbo boost will make it not lose much at high altitudes which can be a big deal in RVs, It think. The Chevies are really on the used market so not much there to think about if you are looking at new.


When folks spend a huge amount of money on an RV they have a lot of ego tied up in them, so be sure to consider that when reading opinions and reviews. "Professional" reviews are usually bought and paid for ads, so mostly ignore them. If you are risk aversive, as I am, these kinds of decisions can get very hard to do, and if you are not serious car nut or techie it can be really easy to get influenced by inputs that might not be truly the best for you.


Good luck on your quest, it can be a scary and confusing trip. You are lucky, I think, though as the newer vans are much better than they were 15 years ago, regardless of brand. Concentrate more on the RV build quality and usability as that is what you much more likely to have problems with.
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Old 01-22-2023, 10:16 PM   #10
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Responding to Booster....
Our 2007 Accord just turned 250k, the last 35k were put on by our son in the last year and a half commuting, he is not gentle on cars, 1 starter, an oil pan (weird item) and just brakes, etc. over the last 16 years, it is running strong!

My sister is a Toyo Matrix fiend, the 2003 and 2004 which were the first and second model years had their 5 speed manual transmissions die between 98k and 105k, hers went out leaving a toll booth on the Indiana turnpike at 101k, very inconvenient 250 miles from home, this said I am driving it now with 214k, and the rebuilt tranny has not had a glitch, and no other problems.

My daughter has a 2009 Matrix with the 2.4l engine, this model year and engine begin to burn major oil at around 120k due to the wrong rings being speced, supposedly.

Going deep in the weeds is very easy on 10 year old cars......we'll see how our 2015 CRV is doing in a couple more years. We bought it 5 years old with 22k, so far so good, hard to imagine anything runnuing like the Accord!

Maybe we will replace our 2000 RT 190 with a 2018 PM!
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Old 01-22-2023, 10:48 PM   #11
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Responding to Booster....
Our 2007 Accord just turned 250k, the last 35k were put on by our son in the last year and a half commuting, he is not gentle on cars, 1 starter, an oil pan (weird item) and just brakes, etc. over the last 16 years, it is running strong!

My sister is a Toyo Matrix fiend, the 2003 and 2004 which were the first and second model years had their 5 speed manual transmissions die between 98k and 105k, hers went out leaving a toll booth on the Indiana turnpike at 101k, very inconvenient 250 miles from home, this said I am driving it now with 214k, and the rebuilt tranny has not had a glitch, and no other problems.

My daughter has a 2009 Matrix with the 2.4l engine, this model year and engine begin to burn major oil at around 120k due to the wrong rings being speced, supposedly.

Going deep in the weeds is very easy on 10 year old cars......we'll see how our 2015 CRV is doing in a couple more years. We bought it 5 years old with 22k, so far so good, hard to imagine anything runnuing like the Accord!

Maybe we will replace our 2000 RT 190 with a 2018 PM!

Yep, there are traditionally brands that do very well, particularly Honda and Toyota, but they mess up too like in your Matrix which suffers from the same ring fiasco as Honda had on the CRVs in 2010. They went to narrower rings without redesigning the piston to keep it stable in the bore. All they got was early failures shown up as oil burning.


Small sample sizes can easily create bad decisions and don't contain enough data to make good decisions. That is why I say that none of the vans currently being produced look horrible, as that show up quickly, but none have enough time and miles on them to get a feel about overall longevity. If I were buying today, it would be a Transit to get the features of the the powerful engine and rear drive, but would only get it in a single rear wheel version.
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Old 01-22-2023, 11:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dgreene62 View Post
We are narrowing down our search for a Class B RV. The 2 RV's that we have in mind are on 2 different chassis so I'd like to ask the group for knowledge/experience with any chassis issues that I should be aware for either of these? Which do you feel would be most reliable?

1) 2022 Ford Transit Chassis (SYNC 4 and 360 CoPilot)
2) 2023 Ram ProMaster Chassis (latest safety and tech features)

Thanks in advance.
Typically Promaster and Ford owners will support the vehicle they own. Having said that, I have owned both Promaster, then Ford Transit, RVs one right after the other. I believe I put about 12K miles on the Promaster before buying the Ford, and the Ford has only about 2k on it now. I did not have any reliability issues with the Promaster, and none yet on the Ford. As such, I don't think I can really comment on reliability comparison.

I will say, however, that I much prefer the Ford over the Promaster as far as drivability goes. The Ford seems much more refined, has a much better seating / steering position and has a LOT more power. The power difference is especially noticeable in the hills and mountains. Where the Promaster seemed to strain and kick-down to high RPMs to find power, the Ford simply motors up the grades. The torque provided by the turbos is fantastic. In addition, the transmission in the Ford (a 10 speed), overall, seems much superior to the Promaster. Very smooth.

Lastly the Ford is rear-wheel drive vs. the Promaster front-wheel drive. Personally I prefer rear-wheel drive as I like the handling feel better. The Promaster does exhibit more of an understeering feel.

One plus for the Promaster is that it has a great turning radius. Seems better than the Ford, however, the Ford I have is 2.5 ft. longer so it would naturally have a larger turning radius.

I hope this helps.
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Old 01-22-2023, 11:06 PM   #13
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Smile ProMaster vs Transit

I traded my Sprinter MBZ for a Pro Master and I have never regretted it. The service on the MBZ was costly and hard to find dealers who wanted to work on them, Plus there are a lot less MBZ dealers than Dodge.
The Pro Master is a dream to drive and gets excellent gas mileage.
I have a 2019 chassis supporting my 2020 Travato 59K.
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Old 01-23-2023, 01:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by booster View Post
Lots of good information here, and perhaps I can add a bit more for what might have been inferred but not said.


Owner pride, sometimes with blinders on, can massively influence what is said about any given vehicle in regards to many things, including reliability.


My personal experience in seeing this goes way, way back as far as the 60s and 70s with VW bug owners who claimed they were the best and most reliable that could be found compared the American "crap". Of course, while the rest of us were driving around and having fun, they were adjusting their valves or freezing in the cold, if not a more major repair. In the 90s the bug folks got replaced by the Honda snobs who went through the same routine, although their vehicles were much better than the bugs and often better than the American made stuff at the time.



That said, it still goes on today but probably at a lower level than in the past because all of the vehicles are made better and last longer.


The most reliable and cost effective car I have ever owned was a 92 Escort wagon, yep, really an Escort. It ran for 18.5 years and 210K miles without major repairs. Sure it broke down rarely, but never left me stranded. Brakes, front end parts, radiator, O2 sensor, struts, rear springs, alternator were about all that got replaced in that long time of daily commutes in the horrible Minnesota weather. If I compared the cost/mile of it to friends Honda and Toyotoa of the same era it was better than all of them, which surprised them. It finally rusted out so bad it started to sag in the middle and broke the rear brake lines so it drove the junk yard on it's original, still not burning oil, engine, and getting tired transmission.


We now have a 2009 Honda CRV that has about 65K miles on it only and has only needed brakes and a catalytic converter shield. We have the 2007 Roadtrek with 60K miles on a Chevy chassis that has had a rear axle replacement and front wheel bearings, but not anything else except useful mods. I drive a 96 Buick Roadmaster wagon with 145K on it that I just finished doing a full resto on. It had given me 10 years without any major issues before the total restoration. I know nothing about the previous 10 years. I hope it is good until I don't drive any more as it is essentially new in nearly all ways.



I base my reliability guesses based on how often and how badly vehicles have problems. If it leaves me stranded, that is a really big deal. If a trouble code comes up and it makes it home, not so bad. Engine failure before 200K is not good these days. Transmission before 150K same things. Nickle and dime repairs (especially if you are paying a shop to do them) very irritating. Expensive parts (we have a Honda so I know all about that) is bad as it just sours you on the brand when the parts are twice the cost of the same parts for other vehicles.


I also read the local Craigslist car adds regularly, and find that it pretty good at showing up which vehicles have what problems. The cars on there are less expensive and higher miles so they are more representative of real world life. It showed the Subaru head gasket issues years ago. It has since showed the 2010ish Honda engine oil burning issue. It showed the Kia engine failure issue that later had the huge recall long before it was common knowledge. Currently I am seeing lots of 75K-150K engine failures on numerous vehicles and models so watching closer. I am starting to think that long oil changes and the changes away from antiscuff additves in the engine oils may be an issue.



All of this considered, I have not seen anything to indicate the Promasters have any major reliability issues, which kind of surprised me because the drivetrain is hauling a lot more weight than it does in a minivan. Kudos to Dodge on that one. The old Chevies and Fords run a long time and are abused badly by tradesmen. Not uncommon to see 300K units with only a transmission repair listed. Not a lot of Sprinters show up, but a relatively surprising amount have had engine replacements and even more transmission replacements by 150K. Transits are just starting to show up there and seem to be doing very well at this point. The messenger and delivery ones can easily have 200K of tough miles on them now.


Personally, I don't think I would consider either a Transit or Promaster proven to more reliable. I do think the way they drive could be different though as front drivers and rear drivers just behave differently. Personal choice of what you like. The Transit with the Ecoboost is going to sway the decision for a lot of people I think. It is much, much more powerful and having turbo boost will make it not lose much at high altitudes which can be a big deal in RVs, It think. The Chevies are really on the used market so not much there to think about if you are looking at new.


When folks spend a huge amount of money on an RV they have a lot of ego tied up in them, so be sure to consider that when reading opinions and reviews. "Professional" reviews are usually bought and paid for ads, so mostly ignore them. If you are risk aversive, as I am, these kinds of decisions can get very hard to do, and if you are not serious car nut or techie it can be really easy to get influenced by inputs that might not be truly the best for you.


Good luck on your quest, it can be a scary and confusing trip. You are lucky, I think, though as the newer vans are much better than they were 15 years ago, regardless of brand. Concentrate more on the RV build quality and usability as that is what you much more likely to have problems with.
LOL, OK, Bottom line they are both good. Just stay away from Mercedes Benz. That chassis is in the repair shop more than out. Sad, because it used to be the workhorse of vehicles.
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Old 01-23-2023, 08:05 PM   #15
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I've never had a chassis or engine problem for service with four Sprinters in over 220,000 miles in 16 years. Current service intervals for Sprinters including an oil change at 20,000 miles. I've probably had my share of upfitter problems but ARV is first class in that including coming out to Las Vegas to trouble shoot a problem. They only upfit Sprinters. My first service at about 18,500 miles is this Friday with 20 months ownership. I'm satisfied. It's not the fastest most powerful engine but it gets me anywhere I have been. The only place I have been that I wished I had more power was the long incline interstate in Colorado but I get there. I get 20-21 miles per gallon with my 144. I bought my first Sprinter when diesel was cheaper than regular gasoline. Since diesel is 25-30% more efficient than gasoline I doubt I take much of a hit today and I enjoyed diesel fired heat and hot water since 2015 and not needing propane. This is subjective but I think it is the best looking van that is consistent in design with the looks of their luxury cars.

Does your RV manufacturer come out to Las Vegas and trouble shoot in a Bellagio Casino parking lot?
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Old 01-25-2023, 01:37 PM   #16
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Tom, I agree MBZ, although well engineered. They are also engineered for failure in my opinion, electronics are always an issue with German vehicles. As a whole, it's hard to compete with Asian vehicles when it comes to reliability, they don't leak oil and things seem to work all the time. My Promaster is fine and I'm very happy with it. But if Toyota or Hyundia built the same thing, I would own them first.
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Old 01-25-2023, 06:23 PM   #17
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The problem with discussing Sprinter reliability is that it is bimodal:
The basic engine mechanics are extremely robust. The failures one sees discussed appear to be rare and without pattern (with a small number of well-known exceptions on a few models). I also don't get the impression that there are frequent troubles with the many ECM modules.

OTOH, the diesel emissions system and certain Bosch-sourced sensors are an utter nightmare, and don't appear to have gotten noticeably better over time. I guess this averages out to "meh", but in this case, averages aren't all that relevant when you are on the side of the road with a "n-starts remaining" message.
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Old 01-25-2023, 07:44 PM   #18
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The problem with discussing Sprinter reliability is that it is bimodal:
The basic engine mechanics are extremely robust. The failures one sees discussed appear to be rare and without pattern (with a small number of well-known exceptions on a few models). I also don't get the impression that there are frequent troubles with the many ECM modules.

OTOH, the diesel emissions system and certain Bosch-sourced sensors are an utter nightmare, and don't appear to have gotten noticeably better over time. I guess this averages out to "meh", but in this case, averages aren't all that relevant when you are on the side of the road with a "n-starts remaining" message.

I think this also applies to some of the gas models also, with direct injection learning curves still in progress, for instance.



In general, I think the life of well maintained gas engines is the equal to well maintained diesel engines now. I also think most diesel owners do better maintenance to protect their investment. Both can go 250-300K miles without major mechanical issues and by then the rest of the vehicle is well into high maintenance time.


I have mentioned in the past how many early failures I have seen in many gas engine brands and models, so it may seem contradictory. I think the difference is the maintenance, primarily and perhaps driving style secondarily. On the maintenance I am getting suspicious that over the full life of the vehicle there may be a buildup of the slightly more wear seen with spread out oil changes. I have no proof of this, but have seen the insides of quite a few engines and how much the wear can be different in them even though the same vehicle model and engine. I steer this way because the oil life intervals don't provide any data on engine life vs change period, and only refer to oil analysis. The thresholds for the oil analysis good/bad levels is unsupported from all I have seen and read. My guess is that oil breakdown and the associated engine wear is a sliding scale and the limits have been set to get the vehicle to a minimum engine life. What that design life is can't be known because the OEMs won't say, but we can guess. Most likely it would be to get most of the engines past the warranty period which does vary but call it 100K. Many of the failures I see listed are in the 120-150K range so kind of makes sense that they are on low end of minimum life and the ones that go 300K are on the high end.


I find it very fascinating to ponder although there really is no data to support anyone's feel at this point.


My single point of reference would be a 92 Escort 4 cylinder wagon I bought new. I installed a prelubing pump to see just how well it worked as they claim a 50+ percent decrease in engine wear with it. That car went 210K miles, 18.5 years of Minnesota commuting, before the rust got it. The engine would go 10K before needing oil at the end. I tested because I knew the rust would soon get it and I wanted to see how good the engine still was. The lifters were still silent at startup. I did get measurements of the engine basics to see and found all that I checked within the new engine manufacturing tolerances. I think that engine would have gone to 400K before showing heavy wear and near end of life. Was lubrication the key, maybe. Oil changes were always in the 2500-3000 mile range with Castrol dino oil.
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