Expedition Max to Yukon XL?

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DontTaseMeBro

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Hi everyone. Hoping I can get some answers/feedback here regarding the Yukon XL. I apologize in advance if this is a long winded post. There is a lot to unpack. Currently own a 2020 Expedition Max w/Max tow that's about to roll over 30k miles. After 2 years of ownership, here's what I think about it:

Like
- Love the performance from the 3.5 Ecoboost
- Good interior layout, everything is where it should be
- 2nd row tip n slide seats make for easy access into the third row
- Third row is big enough for adults
- Overall seat comfort is excellent(I'm 6'3")
- Turning radius
- Tows our 27' camper well 90% of the time(more on this below)

Dislike
- Ride can get bouncy at times; too much body roll as well
- Fuel economy is nothing to write home about, average 16mpg in town
- Ford's version of the 10R80 trans is poorly executed - doesn't shift smoothly all time; can be erratic with shifts(will expand more on this below)
- Outdated infotainment
- No air suspension option

As you can tell like/dislike is fairly balanced. Overall, I wouldn't be considering to move on from it if wasn't for two things that have become a glaring problem:

Towing
As mentioned, this thing tows beautifully 90% of the time. The 10% that it doesn't is something that could potentially leave me with an expensive paperweight. I live in a mountainous state that has hot summers. Access to our favorite campgrounds have steep, slow winding roads. I've had to pull over on such roads every time due to the high transmission temps. First summer it reached 260F at the summit on our way to a particular campground. Last summer it reached 265F before I even got to the summit(same destination as prior year). As mentioned previously, it is equipped with the Max tow package(trans cooler and HD radiator). The speeds that I've made this climb are very slow, 15-25mph in Tow Haul mode. The engine starts off strong but by the end of the climb it's got hardly any power(pedal to the floor) in 2nd gear. That's when the trans temp start to rise(along with engine temps, just not as much). Again not an expert, but this sounds like a classic example of heat soak to me due to small engine displacement, plus the added heat output from having two turbos. Lack of significant airflow due to slow speeds and high outside temps don't help either.

As a side note, I'm well within the tow limits of the vehicle. This Expedition has 1710 lbs of payload, trailer(Sundance 241BH - GVWR is 7500lbs but we are around 6500 when loaded) has a gross(dry is 570lbs) tongue weight of 700lbs. I run a Blue Ox WDS with it. In addition to the trailer, we are a family of 6. So our payload is approx. 1500lbs all in. Any other mountain grade on even the hottest days is not a problem so as long as my speeds going up are higher(like on paved roads). The moment I take it up the slow and steep dirt/gravel stuff is where it all starts to fall apart. I believe it's only a matter of time before I destroy the transmission.

Transmission
Lastly, the other issue that's a concern is the erratic nature of the transmission itself since day 1. Sometimes there is a delay in upshifts or downshifts. Other times it slams into gear, especially from 4-5. I've done the adaptation reset but it doesn't really help. Funny enough, as I write this, it's actually perfect. But literally was behaving like this up until it got cold here(maybe it healed itself lol?). I understand that it was co-developed by Ford and GM but I can assure you that Ford's derivative is not as good(tuning?). This is our third Ford product with this transmission(previously owned a 2019 Expedition and 2020 F-150) and they all have acted this way. This is evidenced more so by the numerous posts pertaining to it on the Expedition forum. My friend just replaced his 10R80 last month in his 2018 Expedition after his went out at 65k miles. To add insult to injury, I owned a 2022 Silverado for 9 months and it was perfect. Two of my friends own '23 Sierras and theirs are buttery smooth too.

Conclusion
So basically it's come down to this. It appears that the Yukon XL might be the a good replacement for our Expedition. Trust me, I'd get a 3/4 pickup in a heart beat if our family was smaller and we had more use cases for a truck. Just isn't a good option as a primary family hauler for us anymore since we welcomed our 4th child. Also doesn't make financial sense to own a dedicated tow rig because we go camping 3-4x a year. So back to the Yukon. I'm looking 2021's w/the 6.2. My aforementioned Silverado had the LM2 3.0 Dmax and it was a sweetheart. However, I never put it to the same tow test. Again no expert, but honestly don't think it would fair much better if my assumptions are correct regarding small displacement performance in certain scenarios. So I don't think the same engine in the Yukon will bode well in those scenarios. My only concern with the 6.2 is reliability due to DFM.

Ugh, I really hate predicament that I'm in... Please help!
 
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StephenPT

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Don’t count out the 3.0 Duramax. It builds all of its torque down low - 80% of peak torque at 1250rpm and 100% at 1500rpm. You won’t be working it nearly as much climbing those hills to your campground.

We have a Yukon XL w/ Duramax. Family of 7 and just got a Passport 239ML last summer. The few times we got it out were a great time and the 3.0 did a phenomenal job. I never once felt like I was working it too hard and never saw tranny temps over 195F. The cooling system GM installed to keep the diesel and tranny are up to the task.

The Yukon XL will impress you in all regards compared to your Expy Max. We test drove one, even took it home and had it for the day. It was a close call, but the one we drove didn’t have max tow so we skipped it and long story short ended up with the Yukon XL. I think the only things I like about the Expy that aren’t on our Yukon is as you mentioned the tip and slide 2nd row seats and seat comfort. Expy had a softer driver seat whereas the GM seats are much firmer. If you had a Silverado recently then you know what I’m talking about.

GM and Ford co-developed the 10 speed, but GM seems to have done a better job on their end. Ours is buttery smooth. The erratic shifting on the Fords keeps coming up in the forums, so that leads me to believe their programming has some issues.
 
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DontTaseMeBro

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Don’t count out the 3.0 Duramax. It builds all of its torque down low - 80% of peak torque at 1250rpm and 100% at 1500rpm. You won’t be working it nearly as much climbing those hills to your campground.

We have a Yukon XL w/ Duramax. Family of 7 and just got a Passport 239ML last summer. The few times we got it out were a great time and the 3.0 did a phenomenal job. I never once felt like I was working it too hard and never saw tranny temps over 195F. The cooling system GM installed to keep the diesel and tranny are up to the task.

The Yukon XL will impress you in all regards compared to your Expy Max. We test drove one, even took it home and had it for the day. It was a close call, but the one we drove didn’t have max tow so we skipped it and long story short ended up with the Yukon XL. I think the only things I like about the Expy that aren’t on our Yukon is as you mentioned the tip and slide 2nd row seats and seat comfort. Expy had a softer driver seat whereas the GM seats are much firmer. If you had a Silverado recently then you know what I’m talking about.

GM and Ford co-developed the 10 speed, but GM seems to have done a better job on their end. Ours is buttery smooth. The erratic shifting on the Fords keeps coming up in the forums, so that leads me to believe their programming has some issues.
I hear ya on the Dmax. Reason I'm not as excited for it as I was when I had the Silverado is due to cost of diesel being $1 more per gallon in my AO, having to refill the DEF frequently when towing(Silverado went through a tank in less than 1000 miles after towing twice with it), and the fact that the LZ0 is coming in 2025 - I need to ditch the Expy before summer hits. That being said, I don't believe it's the lack of power per se with the Ecoboost but rather, power loss after it gets hot. Could it be that Ford just did a mediocre job designing it's cooling system? I dunno, I'm still leaning towards the idea that small displacement forced induction engines inherently get hot faster than big block NA ones especially in circumstances like mine. Basically the question then turns to: is the 3.0 a better engine to tow with vs the 6.2 in such a circumstance - up steep winding dirt roads when it's 90F+ or is it as the old saying goes - "there's no replacement for displacement?"

Oh and regarding the seats, ya they were much stiffer in the Silverado so I expected the same in the Yukon. Your confirmation comes as no surprise. Not a deal break by any means though.
 
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WalleyeMikeIII

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TFL truck guys did a max tow up a slow mountain pass w/ a Silverado. First time they overheated it, reported it to GM, and GM fixed it. I would hope they carried this fix to the full size SUV’s.


My 6.2 Denali tows my 4800 lb boat like it’s not even there, and gets 13-14 doing it. I’ve done it on some very hot days and never seen engine or trans temps beyond their normal range. GM’s 10 speed is butter smooth, most times I don’t know it’s shifting.

I do have the air ride, eLSD, and max tow. I’d recommend all these for your application. Another thing to think about is using 4Low if any of this is steep and on gravel, would definitely help on the load management on the engine and transmission. But if it’s paved, 4Low not going to be good with lots of twists and turns.

If you do switch, follow the break in procedures for n the manual to a T. Easy first 500 miles and no towing during break in.

Last thing I’d consider is the $750 trailer camera feature to have mounted on rear of your trailer so you can use the enhanced trailering camera features. I didn’t get because boat is not a good application for this, but on a camper, it would be so helpful.
 
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DontTaseMeBro

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TFL truck guys did a max tow up a slow mountain pass w/ a Silverado. First time they overheated it, reported it to GM, and GM fixed it. I would hope they carried this fix to the full size SUV’s.


My 6.2 Denali tows my 4800 lb boat like it’s not even there, and gets 13-14 doing it. I’ve done it on some very hot days and never seen engine or trans temps beyond their normal range. GM’s 10 speed is butter smooth, most times I don’t know it’s shifting.

I do have the air ride, eLSD, and max tow. I’d recommend all these for your application. Another thing to think about is using 4Low if any of this is steep and on gravel, would definitely help on the load management on the engine and transmission. But if it’s paved, 4Low not going to be good with lots of twists and turns.

If you do switch, follow the break in procedures for n the manual to a T. Easy first 500 miles and no towing during break in.

Last thing I’d consider is the $750 trailer camera feature to have mounted on rear of your trailer so you can use the enhanced trailering camera features. I didn’t get because boat is not a good application for this, but on a camper, it would be so helpful.
Good to hear regarding the trans temps. I'm looking at picking up a used 2021 Yukon so no break in necessary(though I've followed this procedure per the owners manual many times before). The 4Lo idea sounds intriguing. I've always had it in 4Hi.

If your Ford 10 speed exhibits "Harsh/Delayed Engagement And/Or Harsh/Delayed Shift", look to having that resolved. This is a known issue;

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2023/MC-10236680-0001.pdf

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2023/MC-10234596-0002.pdf

Have had this TSB applied, no change. The trans is just not that good. If the fixes worked, then there wouldn't be multiple class action lawsuits currently being levied against Ford.
 
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Joseph Garcia

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Welcome to the Forum from NH.

Lots of knowledgeable folks here who freely share their knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. Knowledge is power.

I hope that you will become a participating member in the Forum's discussions.

I've never driven the Expedition, but I own a Yukon XL, and I love it.
 

B-train

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I hear ya on the Dmax. Reason I'm not as excited for it as I was when I had the Silverado is due to cost of diesel being $1 more per gallon in my AO, having to refill the DEF frequently when towing(Silverado went through a tank in less than 1000 miles after towing twice with it), and the fact that the LZ0 is coming in 2025 - I need to ditch the Expy before summer hits. That being said, I don't believe it's the lack of power per se with the Ecoboost but rather, power loss after it gets hot. Could it be that Ford just did a mediocre job designing it's cooling system? I dunno, I'm still leaning towards the idea that small displacement forced induction engines inherently get hot faster than big block NA ones especially in circumstances like mine. Basically the question then turns to: is the 3.0 a better engine to tow with vs the 6.2 in such a circumstance - up steep winding dirt roads when it's 90F+ or is it as the old saying goes - "there's no replacement for displacement?"

Oh and regarding the seats, ya they were much stiffer in the Silverado so I expected the same in the Yukon. Your confirmation comes as no surprise. Not a deal break by any means though.
I haven't towed up mountains with my yukon, but I will say that long grades on dirt will get any vehicle hot. My overlanding truck is a 2008 Denali. Plenty of power with the 6.2L, but without a low speed transfer case, both the engine and trans get hot after several miles of steady uphill climbs. (Area referenced is near Silverton, CO and vicinity). My trans was over 210, normal operation in summer is around 150F. Now add a trailer to that, and you have your scenario.

I think you may be able to increase your success on roads like you mentioned, at the speeds you mentioned, by trying 4-LO. Keeping the rpms up will aid in cooling, engine power, and reduce transmission stress levels. Just a thought.
 
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DontTaseMeBro

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I haven't towed up mountains with my yukon, but I will say that long grades on dirt will get any vehicle hot. My overlanding truck is a 2008 Denali. Plenty of power with the 6.2L, but without a low speed transfer case, both the engine and trans get hot after several miles of steady uphill climbs. (Area referenced is near Silverton, CO and vicinity). My trans was over 210, normal operation in summer is around 150F. Now add a trailer to that, and you have your scenario.

I think you may be able to increase your success on roads like you mentioned, at the speeds you mentioned, by trying 4-LO. Keeping the rpms up will aid in cooling, engine power, and reduce transmission stress levels. Just a thought.
So just did a little bit of digging around on the Expy forums and it looks like folks are installing the Ford Raptor's trans cooler into their Expy's. That pretty much tells me that the stock cooling solution is inadequate. That being said, this doesn't satisfy the other problem regarding the transmission itself and how it shifts. Of course there's the other stuff I didn't mention before like cam phaser failures etc.
 

StephenPT

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Don’t get me wrong, the 6.2L is a beast of a motor and more than capable of doing what you need. You mentioned buying a used one - look into the service history of it and see if it had the DFM lifters replaced. At a time the dealer would just replace one bank of lifters and then the other bank would fail later on. I think they finally revised their TSB to just replace all of them at once.

6.2Ls have also been going through main bearing failures - most of them are early life - <10K miles. Though recently someone on the forum here had their 6.2L eat up the main bearings at ~50K miles. Do a search on this forum for 6.2 bearing failures. Forums exacerbate every issue, but there’s no denying you’re rolling the dice with a 6.2L when it comes to DFM lifters and main bearings.

I hear you on the DEF usage while towing, but you also mentioned you only do it 3-4 times a year, right?

The 3.0 Duramax isn’t perfect and no engine is, but at this point hanging out on this forum and also popping over to Duramax Forum once in awhile I have not heard of one single catastrophic engine failure on the 3.0. There is a teardown video of the engine on YT that is pretty popular but it’s evident from that video it was neglected and ran out of oil. There’s a few issues here and there that have popped up, but nothing like what we’ve been seeing on the 5.3/6.2 that has left many owners stranded and in need of a motor replacement.
 

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