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Last Post 05 Mar 2010 09:54 AM by  01 FS Z28
Diesel Truck
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Clemens
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18 Oct 2009 12:12 PM

    It must be off-season, since I have all sorts of things running through my head. While I am kind of looking at downsizing from my 8.5x20' enclosed trailer in order to get better fuel economy (maybe in combination with a different tow vehicle), part of me is still thinking diesel truck. I am looking for more info to help me making up my mind and would appreciate info on the following topics:

    - Chevy vs. Dodge vs. Ford (which is better, more reliable, less expensive, better fuel mileage?)

    - Auto vs. manual (driveability, reliability, fuel economy)

    - 2WD vs. 4WD (reliability, fuel economy)

    - Above what kind of mileage do I have to start worrying about reliability and repairs?

    - Is there a valid chance that I can get 12 mpg or better towing a full-size enclosed race car trailer?

    - What are the advantages over a gasoline-powered truck?

    - Is there any downside of buying a dually, should I stumble across a great deal?

    - Any particular model years I want to stay a way from (as far as I know, Ford had problems with the 6.0L and the Dodge auto trannys weren't strong enough to handle the diesel torque in the early 2000's)?

    If I buy something, I don't want to spend more than $15k. Any advice?

    Thanks,

    Clemens

    SteveEkstrand
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    19 Oct 2009 12:07 AM

    http://www.cars.com/go/search/detai...f=national

    Searched on your part of the country, $15K and came up with that nice 2004 3500 dodge.

    I have the new smog motor '08 and pull a 17K lbs 38ftr that's 13'5" tall. Not going to get much worse mileage than that I get 10-11mpg with the automatic and usually cruising close to 70. I don't think you'd have a problem getting 12 or better. I've heard friends towing lighter and lower enclosed trailers bragging about 15mpg with earlier dodges. Straight highway mileage I get 17-19 empty (non-towing). And the power to blow ricers away on onramps. :)

    With a 5.9L I6 cummins, without the later smog stuff, you'll get much better mileage. My friends with the fords get killed on mileage. The newer Duramax's do very well on mileage and are strong motors.

    But if you want a strong long lasting diesel I think your best bet is a 2003-2004 Dodge. That motor if taken care of is just breaking in above 80K miles. The motor runs forever and you try to maintain the truck around it. Great gas mileage and power, best longevity. You might talk me into a duramax with a new truck, but for a used truck on a budget, has to be Dodge.

    Clemens
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    19 Oct 2009 09:07 AM

    Thanks, Steve. This is good info. And that truck you found does look nice. I searched a little myself last night and the best deals I could come up were a 2001 Dodge 2500 with an extended cab, 132k miles for $12.3k, a 2006 Ford F350 with crew cab, 200k miles for $15k (auction that is almost over with no reserve and no bids), and a 2001 Ford F350 dually with extended cab, 200k miles for $9.4k.

    Your fuel economy numbers don't look bad at all. I wouldn't have a problem with those kinds of numbers. The problem is that the fuel consumption numbers I hear are all over the place. I did quite a bit reading on the different diesel forums a couple years ago and saw numbers between 10 mpg and 28 mpg for diesel trucks when not towing. I'd hate to spend the money a new tow vehicle and be stuck with bad fuel mileage.

    When did the new emissions stuff kick in? Did any changes occur in 2003 that would make it a better choice than a 2002 or 2001, or did you mention the 2003/4 timeframe based on the $15k I provided?

    Do the big trucks also have optional tow packages, or does it matter?

    Clemens

    wrchas
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    19 Oct 2009 10:27 AM

    I'm on my 2nd Ford diesel truck - both 2WD crew cabs 7.3 liter automatics. I bought my 1st one after totalling a gas burning Dodge Ram quad cab while towing an 24' enclosed trailer.

    My 1st diesel was a '99 that had about 118k on it when I bought it (5/04) and I put about 60k relatively trouble free miles on it. Minimum mpg was 10 and max was 21. The average was just under 15mpg. The non-regular maintenance included batteries once, shocks, tires, and an alternator.

    The '01 had 28k on it when I got it (12/07)and currently has 54k on it. Minimum mpg has been 12 and max has been 21. The average about 15.5. I have chipped this truck but to be honest, I cannot tell a difference in mileage. Power, definitely yes, but not mileage. Mileage seems to be affected by driving style more than anything else (i.e. stay out of the boost). The only non-regular maintenance has been batteries once and tires.

    You can get good mileage (14+) while towing on flat ground. In hilly country, expect closer to 10. With my open trailer, I'll get around 14-16mpg towing on the highway regardless of the hills.

    The only way I've been able to get over 20mpg is to fill up, get on the interstate, drive while staying out of the boost (generally just under 70mph), get off and fill up.

    I wanted a crew cab truck. At the time, Dodge had only just come out with one so they were eliminated from my options. Chevy had one, but their transmissions had me concerned. So I went with Ford. With that said, I would avoid the 6.0 diesels unless you know the history of the truck. They really seem to be hit or miss on good ones vs those that are trouble prone.

    My brother just bought a 7.3 2WD crewcab but with manual transmission. I test drove it before he bought it. The manual tranny/diesel combination is ..... interesting. It certainly isn't anything like my RX-7 [;)]

    The diesel gets the same fuel mileage empty as my gas truck did but now I have plenty of power/torque. Not to be forgotten, the 3/4+ ton trucks also have big brakes. I don't have any regrets about buying a diesel truck.

    anon
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    19 Oct 2009 10:31 AM
    Clemens wrote:

    When did the new emissions stuff kick in? Did any changes occur in 2003 that would make it a better choice than a 2002 or 2001, or did you mention the 2003/4 timeframe based on the $15k I provided?

    Do the big trucks also have optional tow packages, or does it matter?

    Clemens

    Hey Clemens, attached is some further infomation on Dodge/Cummins trucks. I'm better versed about the BR/BE hd-series that ended with the 2002 model year. (BR=4x4, BE=4x2)

    On ALL of the 24V trucks, it is HIGHLY recommended to monitor your lift pump pressure - that's the low-pressure electric pump that takes from the tank and supplies the expensive high-pressure pump. There's a $60 pressure switch and LED kit for an idiot light that works great and gives you all you MUST have. Spending more gets you a nice pressure gauge which allows you to maximize your fuel filter blockage amount over time. Dodge would have avoided some bad publicity from the unwashed masses if they'd added this feature from the start.

    Trailer Tow Package: I can guarantee for the 1998.5 - 2002 years of Dodge/Cummins trucks, the Trailer Tow package only bought you the actual class 4 hitch and the 7-way round plug. No other mechanical differences - coolers, etc..

    The 2001.5 and 2002 model years are the best of the 2nd generation 24v engine trucks, IMHO. The advantage is easier code-reading, better, GREAT 4 wheel disk brakes with electronic brake force distribution, and easier fuel filter changing. The 1998.5-2002 24v trucks met EPA specs with NO catalytic converter! - so that's one less worry.
    If you're concerned about fuel mileage, the rear axle ration is the 2nd MOST critical thing to look for - after the decision of manual VS auto transmission. Most people in the TDR will tell you they would rather have the 3.54 axle ration vs the 4.10, because that seems to increase empty-running MPG by about 2-4 MPG.
    The 4.10 ratio buys you a higher tow rating and the 3.54 ratio usually lowers that limit by 3,000lbs. Most people believe that lowered rating is because the same auto transmission is used in both ratings....and guys with 3.54s go ahead and tow their 12k-13k travel trailers anyway.
    My truck is a 2500 2wd quad cab short bed auto trans with 4.10s, and my best empty mileage with all highway driving, under 70 MPH, during the summer is 20-21 MPG. RPM at 70 is just about 2150.
    I wish I had the 3.54 ratio. My dad has a 1999 2500 4x4, quad cab, 24 valve, auto trans, short bed, with 3.54 ration, and he's seen 25 mpg in the summer, all highway miles. At 70 mph, he's turning about 1800 RPM. The interior is noticably quieter.. that 400 rpm adds a bunch of diesel clatter.
    Look carefully at the 2003-2007 3/4 and 1 ton trucks, which is the first of the common-rail trucks, that do have more power - the DR/DE series. I believe most of the CARB equiped - California bound trucks added a catalytic converter. That's just more stuff to go wrong....but CARB trucks would be rare here in Indiana. The auto trans was further strengthened. I think those years of truck are good buys as well, but harder to find in your price range. The dual-range climate control under-dash boxes have stepper motors on the air direction flaps which can break and take some fixin'.
    Windscreen
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    19 Oct 2009 11:33 AM

    2003 and early '04 common rail Dodges do not have cats. Engines are rated at 305 hp, 555 ft*lbf. Starting in January 2004 (generally referred to as 2004.5 trucks in the Dodge world), stricter emissions kicked in that required the use of a diesel oxidation cat. Additionally, Ford & Chevy had to add EGR to their engines, while Cummins was able to meet the emissions requirements with improved combustion in-cylinder. No EGR should give a durability and economy benefit to the Dodge/Cummins. Power and torque rose to 325 hp and 600 ft*lbf.

    In 2005 someone (Chevy?) bumped the torque wars up to 605, so Cummins responded with a bump to 610 ft*lbf. Rumor has it if you get the latest reflash in a 2004.5 it'll be a 610. Realistically, engine to engine variation is probably more than 10 ft*lbf.

    The '03 engines should get a bit better mileage than the '04.5, due to the emissions ratcheting down. I've got an '04.5, 2WD quad cab and a manual, 3.73:1 gears, and I see 22-24 on the highway, if you stay under 70 mph (about 2000 rpm). Towing a 9000 lb enclosed in the flat at 70 mph, I get about 12 mpg. Push things over 70 and the mileage falls fast. 75 mph drops me under 10 mpg, and 75 plus a head wind has pushed me into high 8's. An auto and/or 4x4 will bring those numbers down a bit.

    The big benefit of the common rail trucks is they are much more quiet than the earlier trucks. The 24 valve trucks are particularly loud.

    -Steve

    Clemens
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    19 Oct 2009 02:01 PM

    More good info. Thanks.

    How do I find out what the rear axle ratio of a given truck is?

    Clemens

    anon
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    19 Oct 2009 02:30 PM

    On a Dodge, open the glovebox door, and read the label on it. Then hope that the previous owners never changed it.

    Or, look on the Dana axle for the metal embossed tag on the left side of the diff cover. Hope the same as above.

    The only safe, real way to find the axle ratio is the old-fashioned way below:

    1) jack up the rear end

    2) shift to neutral. check to see if the rear wheels turn freely. See if turning one wheel makes the other wheel turn in the same direction. IF yes - then the limited-slip diff is still mostly working, and things will be simpler. This is assumed for the next steps.

    3) mark the driveshaft - or pick a mark on it. Mark a rear tire, or pick a mark on it.

    4) Rotate the driveshaft 3.5 revolutions. See if the tire made one complete rev. If Yes - axle ratio was close to 3.54.

    Most of these trucks will have the limited slip diff. For trucks with the open diff.... yea, this gets a bit fuzzier. You then have to keep track of BOTH rear wheels to make sure they're turning at the same time, and if one brake has more drag... then... the diff spiders start rotating, and things go all to hell.

    Clemens, you get my earlier email? I'll send you pictures of the above mentioned tags.

    Will@SapphireRacing
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    13 Jan 2010 05:33 PM

    For the most part this mirrors my experience. In October 2009 I bought a 2001 F250 7.3L auto 2wd with 80k miles and so far it's been great. I'm towing a 20ft TPD Vortech (about 7k lbs loaded) and once I'm up to speed I don't even notice the trailer. I have a WD hitch too. My truck is bone stock and I get ~13.5mpg towing at 60mph (CA limit is 55 with a trailer). Haven't been through a full tank non-towing yet.

    I want to chip it but finding the PCM code looks to be impossible.

    wrchas wrote:

    I'm on my 2nd Ford diesel truck - both 2WD crew cabs 7.3 liter automatics. I bought my 1st one after totalling a gas burning Dodge Ram quad cab while towing an 24' enclosed trailer.

    My 1st diesel was a '99 that had about 118k on it when I bought it (5/04) and I put about 60k relatively trouble free miles on it. Minimum mpg was 10 and max was 21. The average was just under 15mpg. The non-regular maintenance included batteries once, shocks, tires, and an alternator.

    The '01 had 28k on it when I got it (12/07)and currently has 54k on it. Minimum mpg has been 12 and max has been 21. The average about 15.5. I have chipped this truck but to be honest, I cannot tell a difference in mileage. Power, definitely yes, but not mileage. Mileage seems to be affected by driving style more than anything else (i.e. stay out of the boost). The only non-regular maintenance has been batteries once and tires.

    You can get good mileage (14+) while towing on flat ground. In hilly country, expect closer to 10. With my open trailer, I'll get around 14-16mpg towing on the highway regardless of the hills.

    The only way I've been able to get over 20mpg is to fill up, get on the interstate, drive while staying out of the boost (generally just under 70mph), get off and fill up.

    I wanted a crew cab truck. At the time, Dodge had only just come out with one so they were eliminated from my options. Chevy had one, but their transmissions had me concerned. So I went with Ford. With that said, I would avoid the 6.0 diesels unless you know the history of the truck. They really seem to be hit or miss on good ones vs those that are trouble prone.

    My brother just bought a 7.3 2WD crewcab but with manual transmission. I test drove it before he bought it. The manual tranny/diesel combination is ..... interesting. It certainly isn't anything like my RX-7 [;)]

    The diesel gets the same fuel mileage empty as my gas truck did but now I have plenty of power/torque. Not to be forgotten, the 3/4+ ton trucks also have big brakes. I don't have any regrets about buying a diesel truck.

    Steve Hoelscher
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    13 Jan 2010 08:42 PM
    Clemens wrote:

    - Chevy vs. Dodge vs. Ford (which is better, more reliable, less expensive, better fuel mileage?)

    - Auto vs. manual (driveability, reliability, fuel economy)

    - 2WD vs. 4WD (reliability, fuel economy)

    - Above what kind of mileage do I have to start worrying about reliability and repairs?

    - Is there a valid chance that I can get 12 mpg or better towing a full-size enclosed race car trailer?

    - What are the advantages over a gasoline-powered truck?

    - Is there any downside of buying a dually, should I stumble across a great deal?

    Chevy, Dodge or Ford: As you will find from reading the responses and looking around the various forums, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Dodges typically get the best mileage. Chevy (duramax) has the most power and Ford the best quality/reliability. Having driven several examples of all three, I like the Fords for driveability, handling, ride and comfort.

    Auto vs Manual: Lots of people will tell you the manuals are more reliable and cheaper to live with. This isn't exactly true. Dodges has as much trouble with their manuals as automatics. And typically, the manuals were more expensive to rebuild. Add to that the cost of a clutch every 100+K miles and note that clutches for these trucks aren't cheap. Ford's ZF is a good unit as is the GM NV but they don't last forever. The later Dodge autos aren't bad and there are any number of upgrades out there. The Ford 4 speed and Torqueshift are good units as is the Allison in the Chevy. And an important note about the Allison. People are finding out that the Allison isn't as strong as they may have been lead to believe. I have seen a number of chipped trucks kill their Allisons towing modest loads with a heavy foot.

    An important point about the auto/manual decision. 20 years ago I wouldn't have considered towing with an auto, now I really wouldn't want to tow without one. Modern automatics are excellent and give nothing away to manuals. Modern autos, 4 - 5 or 6 speeds, with modern locking torque converters get just as good, or better, mileage than manuals and are much easier to live with.

    2 or 4 wheel drive: Unless you need 4wd for snow or off road, its unnacessary for towing. 4wd adds cost, weight and complexity to the driveline. A transfer case overhaul is nearly as expensive as a transmission overhaul. Plus, you have the additional driveshaft, CV joints and front drive axle and diff to maintain. And if gas mileage is your goal, 4wd is heavier and adds innertia to the driveline, all of which lowers mileage.

    At what mileage do you start looking at repairs: Of course that depends on how the truck was maintained. Most any modern truck, with reasonable maintenance, will run 100 to 150K miles with little beyond normal maintenance. At that point, things like alternators, starters, radiators, hoses, injector pumps, clutches, transmissions, etc... begin to start going. But a well maintained truck may go to 200K without much issue. The engines on all of them are likely to go 300+K miles without too many issues. The gas motor in my van just passed 290,000 miles, most of which are towing, and its still strong and reliable.

    Advantages gas/diesel: Diesels typically get better mileage, especially towing. But diesels are more expensive to operate (fuel filters, water separators, oil changes, coolant changes, etc... are all more frequent and more expensive. And with the price of diesel running higher than gasoline, the cost of operation (dollar per mile) might actually be closer than you think. Add to that the higher purchase cost of the diesel truck and you will need to run it considerably longer to realize the savings. So power is likely the major difference and there the diesel has the edge.

    Ford F250/350s with 6.8 liter V10s are cheap by comparison to their diesel brothers and tow nearly as well. Mileage will be less but not huge. So if you amortize the cost to buy, maintain and opperate the V10 gas truck to any of the diesels you may find that over the life of the truck the costs may not be that different. Its worth considering.

    Clemens
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    14 Jan 2010 06:31 PM
    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    [

    Chevy, Dodge or Ford: As you will find from reading the responses and looking around the various forums, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Dodges typically get the best mileage. Chevy (duramax) has the most power and Ford the best quality/reliability. Having driven several examples of all three, I like the Fords for driveability, handling, ride and comfort.

    Steve,

    You sure know how to throw a wrench into my plans.

    I had pretty much made up my mind to purchase a 2003 or 2004 Dodge truck with 2WD and a manual transmission. I based this decision on the comments on fuel economy and my reasearch about different model years and their advantages and disadvantages. I like good fuel mileage, but I also absolutely disguise driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission. Now, you give me other things to think about.

    Well, at this point, I am still thinking about Dodge trucks with a diesel and have been looking around some. When only looking at two model years with manual transmissions, the selection is rather slim. Most of the few trucks I found are in Texas and seem to have pulled fifth wheel trailer, probably with oil drilling equipment or cattle. I am still wondering if there is a difference between the long and short bed and the regular engine and the HO engine, but, if I end up buying one, I'll probably have to take whatever I can find in good condition. I already narrowed down my choice quite a bit and can't be too picky with what's left.

    You have a point with the total cost of ownership, which is definitely something I want to take into consideration. That has worked somewhat with the Trailblazer that I currently own, which was cheaper than anything else out there, but fuel economy is not exactly what I expected. But I better trade it now before a blown transmission jacks up my cost per mile. Besides, I hate it.

    I had similar thoughts when buying my trailer. I had the choice between a $5000 steel trailer or a $15000 aluminum trailer. When I calculated how much fuel I can buy for the $10,000 price difference (not taking resale value into account), I decided the cheaper trailer was the better choice.

    Now I need to decide if I should go after the Dodge truck or not...

    Clemens

    Steve Hoelscher
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    14 Jan 2010 08:32 PM

    Well, I was only trying to help. [;)]

    Clemens wrote:

    Now I need to decide if I should go after the Dodge truck or not...

    Before you buy anything, drive some of the candidates. Even if you have to find someone that has an example that's not for sale. Driving a 1 ton diesel dually with a manual is WAAAAY different than driving a Honda Civic 5 speed. These transmissions are big brutes with shifters that double as yard sticks. Shifting is slow and deliberate. The modern automatics they use now are quite smooth and seamless. I find them way more comfortable to drive than the manuals. And they make towing, especially in traffic, way easier. Certainly, I would prefer a manual in a Honda Civic but in the big trucks the autos work very well with the big torque these motors make.

    Realistically, you aren't likely to go wrong with any of them. I like the Dodges, espcially the newer ones. I have a friend that had a chipped crew dually dodge and it gets amazing mileage and drives nicely (auto).

    Before you go buy a Dodge, look at the V10 Fords. They are cheap compared to the diesels and the V10 is a great motor.

    Dave Hardy
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    14 Jan 2010 11:05 PM
    For what it's worth, I LOVE the Allison trans in my Silverado.
    Primetime Glick
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    15 Jan 2010 07:19 AM

    Steve Hoelscher wrote:
    Driving a 1 ton diesel dually with a manual is WAAAAY different than driving a Honda Civic 5 speed. These transmissions are big brutes with shifters that double as yard sticks. Shifting is slow and deliberate.

    Bump on this point. I traded my 4L60E Chevy for a NV3500-equipped Dodge to avoid expensive transmission issues with regular towing abuse. I live/work and do a lot of driving in S. FL -- think nightmare crazy traffic almost 24/7 -- and got so sick of The Stick (especially a "Big Truck Stick") that I traded that one for an auto less than a year later... even AFTER I had put some $$ into the truck; it was that annoying. A CTD/NV5500 woulda probably been even more annoying.

    9 out of 10 of my previous daily drivers were manuals.... so it's not like I wasn't used to it. Now, I HAVE payed a relatively steep price for my automatic... but we won't get into that.

    I too have the bias that manual trannies are simpler than autos (i.e. less parts to fail) and cheaper for heavy towing ... but like always, Steve makes the excellent point that this view is mostly a myth. If the truck had to double as a daily I would NEVER consider it (down here, at least).

    Also like Steve said, the (a) intial expense of and (b) continual maintenance expenses with diesels is very significant. Only get one if you NEED the power (i.e., towing 10k ++)... MPG is usually a tiny savings in comparison to (a) and (b), if you run the numbers. A good deal on a "Big block" gasser with no ball hitch sticking out of the bed would be something worth looking into. I would guess a V10 Ford (or a rare 8100 Chevy?) would be decent for any typical racecar in an 8.5x20. You'll get a WAY nicer gasser for $15k compared to a diesel, for one.

    47CP
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    15 Jan 2010 07:38 AM
    Steve Hoelscher wrote:

    Realistically, you aren't likely to go wrong with any of them. I like the Dodges, espcially the newer ones. I have a friend that had a chipped crew dually dodge and it gets amazing mileage and drives nicely (auto).

    Before you go buy a Dodge, look at the V10 Fords. They are cheap compared to the diesels and the V10 is a great motor.

    I had a 2001 Dodge w/ Cummins and 6 speed and drove it daily. It got to be a pain in the butt, shifting is not all that easy, though with the torque you could start in 3rd and go right to 5th. I agree that you can't go wrong with any of them.

    Don't be scared of a V-10 Ford either. I have this engine in my van and it pulls our 24" store trailer fine just about anywhere you want to go. Towing, it generally gets about 2-3MPG less than the diesel truck towing the same trailer/similiar weight. The only time it is really brutal on mileage is if you have an entire trip with a huge headwind. We went to the Dallas Tour 2 years ago and had a 35mph headwind the entire 600 miles. The van mileage dropped to about 5.5mpg!. But, the diesel on the same trip dropped to 8ish.

    HTH, IMO, etc.

    DaveW

    Windscreen
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    15 Jan 2010 11:43 AM

    I guess I'm in the minority, then. I've got a 2004.5 Dodge with a manual (NV5600) and I absolutely love it. I couldn't imagine wanting to tow with anything but a diesel and a manual (excepting the fact that the newest trucks get derated engines if you order a manual). It's nice being able to floor it going up a hill and not have the wear and tear of a downshift. Mine does shift really nice, but they don't all seem to. You can actually row gears pretty quickly with it. Strano bought a truck like mine after driving it, but his trans never shifted as well as mine. He ended up trading it on another Dodge with an auto.

    I also tow through Chicago fairly frequently, which means stop and go. The nice thing about the Cummins is, you don't have to touch the gas when letting out the clutch. The engine management will give what ever fuel is required (up to full load) to maintain idle speed. I'm pretty sure that feature is exclusive to Cummins in the pick up truck market. When I'm in traffic, I just put it in 1st (really, granny low), let out the clutch, and let the truck creep along at idle. The pedal effort isn't all that bad either.

    I'll let Steve H. comment, but I believe the NV5600 has been a very reliable trans in the Dodges (6 speed, 2001? - 2004). I don't know much about the Mercedes G56 in the newest trucks. The 5 speed NV4500 did have a well known problem with the 5th gear nut coming loose. Not sure what years, or if a factory fix was ever issued: http://www.transonline.com/transDig...index.html

    -Steve

    Steve Hoelscher
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    15 Jan 2010 11:54 AM

    Excellent data point on the V10 Dave. That has been my experience. I have towed with a Ford E350 (van) 6.8 V10 and loved it. Mileage wasn't noticeably different that my V8 gas van and power was nearly diesel class. Speaking of vans....

    Clemens, have you considered a van? A Ford 1 ton Clubwagon can be bought for about half the cost of a similar pickup. You will find a number of van users around here. I have used a van for many years and would only consider going back to a truck was if I needed to tow a 5th wheel or goose neck trailer. Vans have more cockpit room, more passenger room and luggage space and still have the space of a pickup bed in the back. Plus, your stuff is locked up inside.

    While van's don't have the "image" of the diesel trucks, they typically work better as daily drivers than trucks. I have had three and loved them. My current van I had originally bought as a temporary tow vehicle while I shopped for a diesel truck. I liked the van so much I quit truck shopping. For a while I shopped for a diesel van but haven't run across anything that I just had to have. As I noted earlier, my current van just passed 290,000 miles. I hit that mark while towing between Florida and the DC area between Christmas and new years. I made 3 runs (900 miles each way) hauling my shop equipment and cars up, totaling nearly 6000 miles in just over a week. I towed in all kinds of weather including two huge snow storms one of which I towed over the Blue Ridge mountains (I-77 at the NC/VA state line) towing a UHaul loaded with 4000 lbs of shop equipment and another 1000+ lbs of tools in the van. The CAT scales at a truck stop in Georgia had the whole rig at 11,000 lbs.

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    Will@SapphireRacing
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    15 Jan 2010 12:35 PM
    Availability and WAF (wife acceptance factor) were big factors in my search. My wife told me early on a van was out of the question: too sketchy. We don't have kids or relatives nearby so people carrying wasn't an issue either.

    I never considered Dodges because I don't like the interiors and I didn't want to reward a company (even for a used purchase) that's been making mostly crap for the last 20 years. I hate hate hate the 300M and especially all the donk'd out versions I see regularly in Oakland.

    So it was down to 2500HD Chevys and 250 Fords in the $10k range. In the SF bay area, the selection of non-utility, non-lifted 250s and 2500s is not that great. I heard that changing out plugs on the gas V10 Ford is a nightmare but I was still open to the idea. Regardless of powertrain, I was set on a the following criteria:
    - extended cab
    - short bed
    - white
    - 2wd
    - mostly stock (no lift, no fancy wheels, etc)

    I found a gas 2500HD Chevy that I nearly bought but it was far-ish and the dealer sounded sketchy. Then the diesel Ford popped up for only $1.5k more and I jumped on it.

    Finally, I know most of you won't care, but I appreciate the fact that Ford didn't take any bailout money - it was really just icing on the cake but it did make me feel better about pulling the trigger on a 6000+ lb vehicle.
    Steve Hoelscher
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    15 Jan 2010 01:08 PM
    Will@SapphireRacing wrote:
    Finally, I know most of you won't care, but I appreciate the fact that Ford didn't take any bailout money - it was really just icing on the cake but it did make me feel better about pulling the trigger on a 6000+ lb vehicle.

    I agree on the bailout issue.

    I have done plugs on a V10 and they aren't a picnick but aren't any harder than on any other Ford single cam Mod Motor. And you only have to do them once every 100K miles. In the van they are a PITA but then my 5 liter is only easier because the 5 rear most plugs are ultra simple.

    Clemens
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    15 Jan 2010 06:24 PM
    47CP wrote:

    Don't be scared of a V-10 Ford either.

    DaveW

    Dave,

    What kind of fuel mileage can I expect with a V-10 Ford on average?

    Clemens

    47CP
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    15 Jan 2010 06:36 PM
    [quote]

    Dave,

    What kind of fuel mileage can I expect with a V-10 Ford on average?

    Clemens

    Empty - 16-18hwy. City: 10-12.

    Towing open trailer - 12mpg

    Towing 24' x 8.5' trailer - 6-8mpg.

    We generally run about 70-73 mph. My van has 4.11 gears. The motor would be happy with 4:30 (or more) but that is not an option on the van, but is on the trucks.

    FWIW, we (used to) make a lot of trips with the van towing one 24' trailer and my old 2006 Dodge MegaCab w/ Cummins and Auto towing the race car 24' trailer. Mileage is almost always 2mpg less in the van versus the truck.

    DaveW

    jzr
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    15 Jan 2010 10:01 PM

    My 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 was the best vehicle I've ever owned, cars included.

    Mileage was not so good with 4.10 and 4x4. Best was a little over 18 towing a Corvette on an open trailer, but that was with speeds of 55-60mph. 12-something was more normal at 70-ish speeds.

    When out on the open road I'd always wished the truck was a manual. While creeping along in traffic, was thankful for the automatic, particularly when hands were full of burgers and soda. Even though the majority of the miles put on the truck were towing, the majority of time spent was in city traffic since it was also a daily driver. I wouldn't get a manual unless the truck's only purpose was towing. Right around 2006 was when they started making the automatic Dodges compatible with an engine brake, something to consider maybe.

    Had to downsize to a Tundra with new home purchase, and its capabilities clearly trail that of the Dodge, while not really providing much more comfort, just easier parking. Wish I'd been a little smarter in 2005 and gotten the SRW 2500, that way it'd fit in my driveway and I'd still have the great diesel.

    The Tundra V8 has plenty of power and brakes to tow a 24' enclosed, but there's something about the diesel Cummins that just ate up the miles it made every long drive so effortless. If you tow a lot, the extra serenity out on the open road is well worth the premium for the turbodiesel IMO, and any improved mileage is just a bonus.

    Dave Hardy
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    16 Jan 2010 08:39 AM
    Windscreen wrote:

    I couldn't imagine wanting to tow with anything but a diesel and a manual (excepting the fact that the newest trucks get derated engines if you order a manual). It's nice being able to floor it going up a hill and not have the wear and tear of a downshift.

    My combination (8.1 and Allison) is pretty impressive in that regard. The Allison locks up the converter in tow mode, and it also holds a gear very well. Rolling into the throttle just nets more go. It isn't unless you punch it that you force a downshift. Given the 450 ft-lbs, there just isn't much need to punch it. Also, the way it will engine brake going down hill is awesome. I'd say it is a good 90%+ the control of a manual, just by putting it in tow mode. I had heard good things about this combination, and now that I have it I love it. I pretty much bought the transmission, and a GM truck is what came with it, but I've also been pleased with the rest of the truck.

    Steve Hoelscher
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    16 Jan 2010 06:38 PM

    Windscreen wrote:
    I'll let Steve H. comment, but I believe the NV5600 has been a very reliable trans in the Dodges (6 speed, 2001? - 2004). I don't know much about the Mercedes G56 in the newest trucks. The 5 speed NV4500 did have a well known problem with the 5th gear nut coming loose. Not sure what years, or if a factory fix was ever issued: http://www.transonline.com/transDig...index.html

    We used to do this update to NVs all the time at my shop. Very common failure in Dodges but seldom a problem in any other NV app. My guess is the 6 cylinder Dodge has fewer crank pluses per revolution and therefore works the splines harder. ??? But then at the time Cummins Dodges were common and Diesel GMs were not. We only saw the NV in the Fleet GMs with 6.0s.

    The other problem with the NVs was bearings. Even in the 5600 (6 speed). We did regular business upgrading 4500s to 5600s as the travel trailer guys would typically do the upgrade after their second 4500 rebuild. And my shop was just off I-65 so all of the Gulf Coast bound rigs from the mid west went right by my shop. I kept a 5600 in stock and had a deal with the local driveline shop to do the drive shafts for me same day. We could typically have a customer in/out in a day where an overhaul would be at least three.

    I don't have much experience with the G56 as they hadn't been out that long when I sold my business. We did a very few in the Sprinter vans but I don't remember much about them.

    Clemens
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    17 Jan 2010 07:12 AM

    Steve Hoelscher wrote:

    Clemens, have you considered a van?

    One of the things I like about towing with my SUV is that I can throw stuff in the back, lock it up, and have it out of the elements. There is certainly a convenience aspect to it. I needed, I can also seat five people fairly comfortably. A van would be comparable in these respects. However, I had never really looked into vans since I had heard horror stories about fuel economy. I head numbers for vans alone that I would find barely acceptable for fuel mileage when towing. Dave's numbers confirmed that. If I get <10 mpg once, I get mad. I couldn't stand it getting that kind of fuel mileage on a regular basis.

    I bought my Trailblazer for two main reasons. It was cheap, and I expected better fuel mileage out of a six cylinder than a larger eight cylinder engine. I guess I was wrong about the fuel mileage. At the same time, I am pulling an enclosed trailer, and the laws of physics dictate that a certain amount of energy is required to push that big brick through the air. I am not sure what the best fuel mileage could be with my size trailer, but I am still hoping that it can be improved.

    At the same time, I am also looking at trading trailers. I was looking into something smaller, a more narrow and lower trailer to decrease the frontal area, maybe also a V-nose, all for less drag. A smaller trailer would also mean less weight. A 3,500 lbs trailer (empty) for a 900 lbs race car may be a little overkill. More recently, I have been looking at a trailer that could possibly hold two cars, and now I am back into regular car haulers. I found a trailer I can get a good deal on, which I may choose over having one custom-built that is lower in height.

    In summary, I am looking for a solid trailer/tow vehicle set-up with decent quality that gives me decent fuel mileage. If I can get 13 mpg going 65 mph, I'd be happy. I figure I get the truck first, and I can decide on the trailer later. It'll handle my current trailer and will handle anything going forward, no matter if I go up in size or down.

    I admit that I have never driven a full size truck with a stick. I had a smaller truck with a manual transmissions for several years, and the transmission was nothing like that of Civic or an S2000. It was definitely more truck-like, but I didn't mind. I am sure the Dodge/Cummins/manual combo is quite different from what I am used to. I need to find one and drive it, like you suggested, Steve, just to make sure I like it. I am thinking I may be more like Steve W. in this respect. I only need the vehicle for towing. My Trailblazer only gets unhooked from the Trailer when I need to drive to the hotel during an event. Other than that, the trailer is hooked up all summer long.

    Clemens

    47CP
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    17 Jan 2010 07:57 AM
    Clemens wrote:

    Steve Hoelscher wrote:

    Clemens, have you considered a van?

    One of the things I like about towing with my SUV is that I can throw stuff in the back, lock it up, and have it out of the elements. There is certainly a convenience aspect to it. I needed, I can also seat five people fairly comfortably. A van would be comparable in these respects. However, I had never really looked into vans since I had heard horror stories about fuel economy. I head numbers for vans alone that I would find barely acceptable for fuel mileage when towing. Dave's numbers confirmed that. If I get <10 mpg once, I get mad. I couldn't stand it getting that kind of fuel mileage on a regular basis.

    I bought my Trailblazer for two main reasons. It was cheap, and I expected better fuel mileage out of a six cylinder than a larger eight cylinder engine. I guess I was wrong about the fuel mileage. At the same time, I am pulling an enclosed trailer, and the laws of physics dictate that a certain amount of energy is required to push that big brick through the air. I am not sure what the best fuel mileage could be with my size trailer, but I am still hoping that it can be improved.

    At the same time, I am also looking at trading trailers. I was looking into something smaller, a more narrow and lower trailer to decrease the frontal area, maybe also a V-nose, all for less drag. A smaller trailer would also mean less weight. A 3,500 lbs trailer (empty) for a 900 lbs race car may be a little overkill. More recently, I have been looking at a trailer that could possibly hold two cars, and now I am back into regular car haulers. I found a trailer I can get a good deal on, which I may choose over having one custom-built that is lower in height.

    In summary, I am looking for a solid trailer/tow vehicle set-up with decent quality that gives me decent fuel mileage. If I can get 13 mpg going 65 mph, I'd be happy. I figure I get the truck first, and I can decide on the trailer later. It'll handle my current trailer and will handle anything going forward, no matter if I go up in size or down.

    I admit that I have never driven a full size truck with a stick. I had a smaller truck with a manual transmissions for several years, and the transmission was nothing like that of Civic or an S2000. It was definitely more truck-like, but I didn't mind. I am sure the Dodge/Cummins/manual combo is quite different from what I am used to. I need to find one and drive it, like you suggested, Steve, just to make sure I like it. I am thinking I may be more like Steve W. in this respect. I only need the vehicle for towing. My Trailblazer only gets unhooked from the Trailer when I need to drive to the hotel during an event. Other than that, the trailer is hooked up all summer long.

    Clemens

    Its not the van that causes the mileage, it is the engine. :) Also, FWIW and like you mentioned, it is almost entirely drag that causes the mileage drop with an enclosed trailer. I get the same mileage towing the 24' trailer empty or with a 3000#+ car in it.

    To me, it sound like you would be perfect for a Dodge w/ Cummins (and either transmission) and you should be able to get your goal of 12-13mpg.

    DaveW

    Dave Hardy
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    17 Jan 2010 08:27 AM
    Around town and unloaded, the big motors are definitely thirstier than the small ones. On the open road, with a load, there's not much difference. I know that guys with a Silverado 1500 with the 6.0 are getting the same mileage that I am with the 2500HD and the 8.1. The difference is that they are really working theirs, while mine still has ample headroom in the power, handling, and braking departments.
    pru
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    17 Jan 2010 08:41 AM

    Clemens wrote:
    At the same time, I am also looking at trading trailers. I was looking into something smaller, a more narrow and lower trailer to decrease the frontal area, maybe also a V-nose, all for less drag. A smaller trailer would also mean less weight. A 3,500 lbs trailer (empty) for a 900 lbs race car may be a little overkill. More recently, I have been looking at a trailer that could possibly hold two cars, and now I am back into regular car haulers. I found a trailer I can get a good deal on, which I may choose over having one custom-built that is lower in height.

    Clemens,

    Speaking of a low height/drag trailer, have you seen the BRE Aerovault:

    Towing behind your current TrailBrazer, I would be curious if using a trailer similar to this would meet your mileage goals.

    Clemens
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    17 Jan 2010 09:22 AM

    Chris, I had seen pictures of this trailer before and Fred Zust had one in Lincoln. I was going to walk over and talk to him about it, but never got around to it. Before I knew it, the event was over. It looks like I got his opinion now anyway through the brochure behind your link.

    That is certainly an interesting and attractive trailer, but $18k is pretty steep.

    Clemens

    Dave Hardy
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    17 Jan 2010 09:33 AM
    It's a nice trailer, but you can buy a LOT of gas for $18K.
    pru
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    17 Jan 2010 09:35 AM
    Clemens wrote:

    Chris, I had seen pictures of this trailer before and Fred Zust had one in Lincoln. I was going to walk over and talk to him about it, but never got around to it. Before I knew it, the event was over. It looks like I got his opinion now anyway through the brochure behind your link.

    That is certainly an interesting and attractive trailer, but $18k is pretty steep.

    Clemens

    Agree that $18,000 is a bit excessive! Based on the quality of the LeGrand tub rebuild, I figured that you could have Mark Lamm build you something similar for roughly half that amount [:P][;)]...

    anon
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    17 Jan 2010 11:47 AM

    I just made a Waukegan, IL -> Atlanta, GA -> Columbus, OH -> back to Indy trip with my open 18ft trailer & 2001 Dodge/Cummins 2wd, auto trans, 4:10 rear gears. Had +400 lbs in the bed, and towed first an e36 BMW, then a Mini, then a Miata. In this freezing-to-MUCH below freezing air which costs a little more fuel. Got 16 mpg over the whole trip.

    I'd love to swap in 3:55 rear gears, because I'd probably get 18-20 mpg.

    Had zero problems with the hills in Tennessee. Always had more go available.

    edit: speeds were 70-75 the whole trip. Trailer is a 1800 lbs steel lump. There are some factory 3:55 auto 2wd trucks out there, but they're pretty rare.

    dasto
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    17 Jan 2010 12:05 PM
    Co-driver votes for the Dodge/Cummins 2wd set-up.
    Phillip S. Osborne
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    19 Jan 2010 07:24 AM
    Clemons, I never tried to pull an enclosed trailer with my 05 Hemi Durango I picked up after selling my 24' enclosed, and 04 Duramax. I have had the Durango three years, picked it up with 26K miles, and have towed over 25K miles with it, and driven it to it's current odo reading of 68K. I have owned a Suburban, a Ford conversion van, the aformentioned Duramax, among others, but this SUV has been the biggest surprise of any of them. It pulls my CRX and Corvette with ease, getting as much as 18mpg towing, and 21 plus regular driving...My last trip with the Corvette loaded on the trailer to and from Putnam Park netted 17.8 mpg overall... Granted, I have an 18' aluminum open trailer, but the grunt, the ride, and overall reliability of this truck has been impressive. Sadly, I just sold the Durango and my trailer last night. I bought a heavy duty 18' steel trailer with open center to help out a friend, and want to buy an extended Chevy Van for both a tow vehicle and my work as a private contract expediter. Nothing will beat the comfort of the Durango though...
    Clemens
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    22 Jan 2010 03:14 PM

    Phil,

    That is surprising. I never thought of any gasoline Dodge/Chrysler SUV or truck as anything other than a gas guzzler. My Trailblazer doesn't even get 21 mpg on the highway.

    Clemens

    47CP
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    22 Jan 2010 03:53 PM

    I can only squeeze about 19 MPG out of my Hemi Durango (2005) on the highway empty, but I only got it in August and have not tuned it up, etc.

    DaveW

    anon
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    22 Jan 2010 05:47 PM

    The hemi in the 2005+ Durangos have the MDS - multiple deactivation system - that turns off some injectors and cylinders under low load conditions.

    The 2004 and earlier doesn't have that. I only know this because my parents bought a 2004, and I started paying attention to Durango news.

    The MDS Hemi MUST use 5w-20 oil for the switching cams/rockers/solenoids to work properly. 5w-30 is too thick.

    BMoore
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    27 Jan 2010 09:37 PM

    I'll pipe in here, mainly because I can and because I haven't seen much on the NEW fords, only the 7.3's.

    We're coming from an 09 Silverado 2500 with the 383 and the Allison tranny. while it was a good truck and was pretty well loaded for a complete and total base model, it wasn't really up to the task of towing a 9K+ pound 26 foot enclosed trailer. While headed to Lincoln from Wisconsin, my pops averaged 7 MPG at about 75-80 mph. I averaged 26 in the Z06....

    Anywho, he stated that it was screaming up hills (4000 - 5000 rpm for a few minutes going up hill, losing speed) and ended up taking a longer way home fore the sole reason that it was more level ground.

    Recently, we stepped up to a 2010 Ford F250 with the twin turbo deisel, and so far it's been pretty good. I've towed the car trailer with the old truck, but we have yet to hook it up with this behemoth. It's the Lariat edition, so it's significantly nicer than the base model Chevy, but it still has a few quirks that make me wonder what Ford is thinking (stereo that is beyond basic, hasn't changed much since my 2000 F150, solid front axel, and a few other odd items). Overall though, the interior is pretty well put together and the truck is an absolute tank.

    I hooked a 6000 lb loaded trailer up to it (open with a tractor on it) and it towed it like nothing was behind it. The Ford has the best power numbers at 650 ft. pounds of torque, which was definitely noticed when I hammered the gas. it's also got a 5 speed torqueshift transmission, which appears to be strong and shifts well. No complaints with the engine or transmission, but the truck also has a grand total of 1600 miles on it...

    As far as the gas mileage.... Once the EPA came out with the new emissions standards for diesels, the trucks have gotten hammered for mileage. I saw a high of 18mpg, towing the empty trailer up to Door County I got 16, towing back I got 12-13 (200 miles each way). The fords have this goofy ass exhaust filter that periodically needs "cleaning" if you let it idle too long. Ford accomplishes this by dumping raw fuel into the exhaust to burn the filter clean. This seems to happen semi-frequently and really kills the milage. Periodically it happens while driving too, and then you can watch the mileage drop to about 9. I fear that the days of the super fuel efficient diesel are gone, or at least it'll take a while before they come back.

    One more thing... When driving, it's important to keep the truck out of boost. I've noticed that when the boost gauge goes about 10 psi (I've seen 38 psi max) the milage goes down pretty quickly.

    jdchristianson
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    28 Jan 2010 04:28 PM

    Ford is not the only one with the "afterburner" All of them have something similar after2007 to meet emissions. The Duramax on in the chevys have the same thing. Cleaning the particulate filter is why they have the funky tail pipes to cool the exit temp. Didn't want farmers setting the field on fire with the truck.

    There is a new system coming for 2011. Ford is going to a new diesel, this time a ford design and built motor not International. It is a 6.7l turbo. It will have a 3 step exhaust treatment system 1st is a hydrocarbon catalyst then selctive catalyst where they inject a urea solution to reduce NOx emissions and then a particulate filter. Fuel milage will be better but you have to refill the 5 gallon urea (diesel exhaust fluid) tank every oil change. Something tells me you don't want to knock the exhaust off these things hauling wood out of the timber. $$$$$$

    I have not seen the Chevy stystem yet but I believe its going to be similar.

    Happy towing

    Jeff Christianson

    Stan Whitney
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    29 Jan 2010 08:47 AM
    The most recent leak/rumor on the 2011 Ford 6.7 is 400hp and 750ft/lb. That should put it in the ballpark with most tuned pre-dpf diesels from the factory.
    CHRISFP78
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    29 Jan 2010 11:15 AM
    BMoore wrote:

    I'll pipe in here, mainly because I can and because I haven't seen much on the NEW fords, only the 7.3's.

    We're coming from an 09 Silverado 2500 with the 383 and the Allison tranny. while it was a good truck and was pretty well loaded for a complete and total base model, it wasn't really up to the task of towing a 9K+ pound 26 foot enclosed trailer. While headed to Lincoln from Wisconsin, my pops averaged 7 MPG at about 75-80 mph. I averaged 26 in the Z06....

    Anywho, he stated that it was screaming up hills (4000 - 5000 rpm for a few minutes going up hill, losing speed) and ended up taking a longer way home fore the sole reason that it was more level ground.

    Recently, we stepped up to a 2010 Ford F250 with the twin turbo deisel, and so far it's been pretty good. I've towed the car trailer with the old truck, but we have yet to hook it up with this behemoth. It's the Lariat edition, so it's significantly nicer than the base model Chevy, but it still has a few quirks that make me wonder what Ford is thinking (stereo that is beyond basic, hasn't changed much since my 2000 F150, solid front axel, and a few other odd items). Overall though, the interior is pretty well put together and the truck is an absolute tank.

    I hooked a 6000 lb loaded trailer up to it (open with a tractor on it) and it towed it like nothing was behind it. The Ford has the best power numbers at 650 ft. pounds of torque, which was definitely noticed when I hammered the gas. it's also got a 5 speed torqueshift transmission, which appears to be strong and shifts well. No complaints with the engine or transmission, but the truck also has a grand total of 1600 miles on it...

    As far as the gas mileage.... Once the EPA came out with the new emissions standards for diesels, the trucks have gotten hammered for mileage. I saw a high of 18mpg, towing the empty trailer up to Door County I got 16, towing back I got 12-13 (200 miles each way). The fords have this goofy ass exhaust filter that periodically needs "cleaning" if you let it idle too long. Ford accomplishes this by dumping raw fuel into the exhaust to burn the filter clean. This seems to happen semi-frequently and really kills the milage. Periodically it happens while driving too, and then you can watch the mileage drop to about 9. I fear that the days of the super fuel efficient diesel are gone, or at least it'll take a while before they come back.

    One more thing... When driving, it's important to keep the truck out of boost. I've noticed that when the boost gauge goes about 10 psi (I've seen 38 psi max) the milage goes down pretty quickly.

    I have an 08 F250 FX4 twin turbo with 33,000 miles on it and I have had zero zilch nada problems with it. I was a previous owner of an 04 powerstroke Ford that was at the dealership at least twice a year with turbo or EGR problems so I was reluctant to buy another Ford. I held my nose crossed my fingers and bought any way and am glad I did it. The 6.0 really hurt Ford with it's reliability problems and I think they really worked hard to make the 6.4's better.

    The interior on the 08 is as good or better than my BMW and the power is great. I pulled a 11,000 lb enclosed trailer over the rockies on I70 with it with no problem flattening that hill even at 11,000 feet. My buddy was commenting that his Chevy pulling the same trailer the year before couldn't touch the Ford for pulling power.I went with the upgraded stereo and I have to say that it's the best sounding factory stereo I have ever heard. It has the touch screen and built in Sirius and blue tooth. Really sweet.

    The only down side is the Exhaust filter that seems to have taken about 1 mpg away compared to the previous truck but I bought the truck to pull the trailer comfortably down the road so I'm ok with that. Rumor is the new 6.7 with reverse flow intake exhaust system keeps the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) hotter and boost the mileage back to the non DPF equiped trucks range and with 400 hp and 700 tq.to boot. Well see if the mileage rumors are true or not.

    -Chris-


    Dave Hardy
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    30 Jan 2010 06:08 AM

    BMoore wrote:
    ...it still has a few quirks that make me wonder what Ford is thinking (stereo that is beyond basic, hasn't changed much since my 2000 F150, solid front axel, and a few other odd items).

    FWIW, folks who take their 4x4 off road prefer the solid front axle, so the Ford beats the Chevy to those buyers. IFS helps on road, but hurts off road.

    Clemens
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    13 Feb 2010 08:12 PM

    I finally tracked down a Dodge Ram 2500 with a manual transmission for a test drive. It was an '06 with the Mega Cab. Wow, sitting in the back of that thing is like sitting in a stretch limo. Ahhh, you guys had me all scared about this "truck transmission" for nothing. It shifted real nice, actually much better than the '94 GMC Sonoma I had. I decided there is nothing wrong with a Dodge truck with a manual transmission. The opposite is the case. I am sure I'd enjoy driving such a truck much better than anything with an automatic, especially my Trailblazer.

    The price for that '06 is actually pretty good, but still more than what I'd like to spend. I also have the opportunity to buy an '04 with the HO engine. I was looking for an '03/04 anyway. It's decision time. The configuration I am looking for is not that common.

    Clemens

    turbotoddie
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    02 Mar 2010 06:46 PM

    Fwiw, I have an 05 Dodge w/Cummins and I wouldn't trade it for the world! It tows my 36ft enclosed easily and still get 10-12 at 73-75. If I would slow to 65, it will get 13-15 but I don't have the patience. As well, the 04-up have bigger brakes than the early 2000s. I ended up with the six spd and it is wonderful for towing but does get old backing the trailer and traffic jams. It is not my daily driver. Also, took the CP car to Blytheville last year on my open trailer, drove 75 the whole way and still avg'd 16mpg(I live near Houston). My mileage is also achieved without a programmer. I do have an exhaust and open element air filter.

    turbo

    01 FS Z28
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    03 Mar 2010 11:38 AM

    Geez Todd... we need to talk about tuning that thing. I had an 04.5 and another autoxer friend has an '06 and we both picked up about 1 mpg across the board running tunes on the truck (we both opted for an Edge setup and both found the same setting was the best (and it wasn't the mileage setting either)!!!!!!!

    Clemens
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    04 Mar 2010 11:05 AM

    Well, I bought myself a 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 with a Cummins and a 6-speed last week. It does not shift quite as nicely as the 2006 model I test-drove, but it beats any automatic, as far as I am concerned.

    I reset the fuel economy display before driving it home. When I got home after 55 miles driving mostly 50-55 mph and 65 mph for maybe 20% of the trip, the display showed 31.3 mpg. I was very careful with the gas pedal during this trip, but the 31.3 mpg definitely seems too good to be true. I usually calculate mileage based on the odometer and actual fuel consumption, and I am anxious to see what kind of fuel economy I'll be getting. I'll mostly use it for towing my enclosed trailer and may never drive enough without a trailer to get good data without towing.

    Clemens

    boxboy
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    04 Mar 2010 11:32 AM

    Hi Clemens, I think the mpg calculators can be pretty optimistic when you are light load cruising, especially downhill. I have a 2009 (6.7, auto, dually) and while most of the time it is relatively close, it has been off significantly on some towing legs when there was some downhill involved. By significantly it might say 12mpg when 10.5mpg was what I got doing the calc at the pump.

    That said, in light cruise with no trailer going 60mph, the computer will show up to 21mpg though I have not ever tried verifying that at the pump. My guess is when you get into coasting situations it uses extremely high instantaneous mpg values and it throws off the overall calculation.

    -Andy M.

    jzr
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    04 Mar 2010 11:44 AM
    Over 30 sounds optimistic but 25+ should be is possible with the right geography and gearing. Once did a tankful at 50-55mph in my 2005 (dually auto 4x4 w/4.10) towing a 'Vette on an open trailer, and the 18.7 indicated was within a tenth or two of actual. Driving that slow is awful though, at 50mph you can count individual paint lines in the highway...
    IanF
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    04 Mar 2010 02:13 PM

    Wow. 31 mpg??? The best I've seen with my '95 Cummins 4x4, 5 spd, LB Club Cab over a full tank is 22 mpg (I haven't needed to tow with it yet).

    That said, I really miss my old '90 E150 conversion van. It would get around 17 mpg driving up and back to ski resorts when I was racing mtn bikes.

    I drive/drove both rather conservatively, though... rarely much above the speed limit. Mileage really plummits the faster you're pushing a brick through the air.

    47CP
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    04 Mar 2010 02:16 PM
    Clemens wrote:

    Well, I bought myself a 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 with a Cummins and a 6-speed last week. It does not shift quite as nicely as the 2006 model I test-drove, but it beats any automatic, as far as I am concerned.

    I reset the fuel economy display before driving it home. When I got home after 55 miles driving mostly 50-55 mph and 65 mph for maybe 20% of the trip, the display showed 31.3 mpg. I was very careful with the gas pedal during this trip, but the 31.3 mpg definitely seems too good to be true. I usually calculate mileage based on the odometer and actual fuel consumption, and I am anxious to see what kind of fuel economy I'll be getting. I'll mostly use it for towing my enclosed trailer and may never drive enough without a trailer to get good data without towing.

    Clemens

    Cool, you will like it. I have never had much luck with my overhead display being remotely accurate for mileage empty or towing. Not sure why....:)

    DaveW

    01 FS Z28
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    05 Mar 2010 09:54 AM

    My overhead on my 04.5 was usually 3 mpg off, even with stock tuning. My overhead in my '08 is usually 1-2 mpg off (optimistic) with or without tuning as well.

    hand calc is your friend. But you got a good truck for mileage if you keep the speed down. 2wd, flat land.... My guess is 20 is on the highway empty. Probably pull down a pretty easy 15 maybe more with the enclosed. You'll know when you hit a headwind because the truck will pull it fine, but the mileage will drop accordingly.,



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