Gotta love a big block burb thread.
My buddy just traded his '07 5.3 with cylinder deactivation. It was burning 2qts. Every 3k and only had 100k on it. Chevy said it was normal and wouldn't fix it.
Big block burbs? Yes the 8.1 is a beast. Either '05 or '06 was the last year for it. They put a 4l85 Trans behind it. Then you get one ton running gear to go with it. It's a real truck and I highly recommend it, I may be biased
But I'm not so brand blind that I wouldn't look at a diesel ford excursion as well.