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New Diesels, who is king, Cummins, Dmax, PSD

bwhbwh Posts: 76
edited April 2014 in Ford
Former Chevy fan, bought a Cummins in '92, great engine. The truck fell apart around it though. Needed a new one in '99, bought a PSD, great truck, 120k miles so far. Business is getting busier, need another diesel pick-up. Of course the hot ticket is supposed to be the Duramax/Allison combination. Problem is I really don't care for the rest of the truck. A heavy duty 4wd truck like this should have a solid front axle. Chevy doesn't offer this like Dodge and Ford. The rest of the Chevy still strikes me as geared towards driving like a car. I am also skeptical of the first year problems. I read about the turbo overboosting under big loads. All I do is haul BIG loads. I'm telling you I want to like it.

The Ford is a known quantity for me, it is also cheaper. I may stick with this one.

The Dodge still striks me a an awesome engine looking for a decent home. The Ram seems plauged by front suspension and brake problems. I can only surmise it is a design problem if it hasn't been fixed in 7 years of production.

Sounds like nobody but Chevy has access to the Allison trans for two years. This is possibly the part I seek the most, a good tough trans. Of course time will tell on this new design as well.

So now that I have rambled on, what do you think? Which one and why?


  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    From this past weekend

    dmax hands down

    Had a 3500 cummins ext cab 4wd come into work and pick up some plywood shingles and other building materials. Man it was a dog. You could tell by the engine noise it was struggling a bit with the load.

    A little while before this i seen my first dmax/allison. 2500HD 4wd ext cab. We put about 60 sheets of drywall all different sizes 12ft - 4 ft lengths. Truck had no sag and the engine sounded much stronger hauling then unloaded.

    Also you could barely hear the dmax it was just a hair louder than my 5.3.

    I would never go with a diesel no ned for one but the new dmax is one powerful truck.

    Cant speak for the psd.

  • eric2001eric2001 Posts: 482
    Why does a solid front axle make or break the truck? All the new regular (read 1/2 ton) trucks are now IFS. GM was the first for the HD's to do this (wasn't GM also first for the IFS in the 1/2 ton market back in '88 - even Dodge has swapped the solid front axle on the new Ram to IFS). It is only a matter of time before they all do it.

    Must be they are just as good, with better off-road capabilities (ie. articulation). Also, take a look at the GM capacities for towing & hauling. Must be just as good, they increased the limits from the solid axle design. Then take them for a ride. You will know why they have switched over.

    The bottom line is they all make a good truck, and you shouldn't be biased by old-world opinions. Just my $.02
  • roger350roger350 Posts: 157
    This past weekend I did the GM Truck Drive & Ride, or whatever it is called. First I drove an Ext Cab 2wd 2500HD with the Duramax/Allison. My gosh, it was incredible. They had about a 4% grade that was about 200 yards long to test these things on. Empty that Duramax accelerated quicker than my 6.0L. Diesels aren't supposed to do that! It didn't even feel like a diesel, as empty there was no noticable turbo lag.

    Then they had Dodge, Ford, and GMC 3500 duallies, set up with 3500 lbs. in their beds, and 4000 lb. trailers behind. Everything was supposed to be pretty closely matched, but who knows if rear axles were the same, etc.? The Dodge was about 800 lbs. lighter than the others as it was only an extended cab, (others were crew), and it had only a 3500 lb. trailer. The Dodge was slow and steady up that grade, with no need to hit the brakes at the top before turning right, as it wasn't going fast enough. And yeah, it was loud! The Ford was noticabley quicker than the Dodge up the hill, but still didn't require braking before turning. The GMC was very quick up the hill. Pulled and pulled, and was going way too fast to make the turn at the top. I had to get on the brakes pretty hard to get the rig ready for the turn. It was a very interesting display of the three trucks. If it was apples to apples as far as rear gear and everything, then the Duramax is hands down the most powerfull engine in stock form. With the weight back there, the Dmax had just the slighest hint of turbo lag, enough to notice it, but no big deal. My buddies '01 PSD has terrible lag even when empty. Around town, unloaded, the Dmax feels like a gass engine, a really strong gas engine.
  • DMAX would be winner if it was a little louder (to cut down on cab noise just put more insulation in) , and it is part Izusu.

    So because all I want are Chevy's, I will buy a 82-99 to get the Detroit Diesel.

    Why couldn't the go with CAT?
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    First we need to clear up the misconception of IFS giving superior off-road articulation. Look under any serious off road machine and you will find a solid front axle, Land Rover, Jeeps, including the latest Grand Cherokees, my M-B Gwagen. Please don't mention that pile of junk Hummer. Yes the 1/2 ton trucks all come with IFS. I don't want a 1/2 ton, I need a one ton. It needs to carry a heavy V-plow to plow my 10 acre lot. I know this is hard on the IFS trucks, it is just not a HD solution. It is a solution for the car drivers who want trucks, re;compromise.

    Roger350, very interesting comparo. Power isn't the big issue here. They all have tons of it and can be easily modified to have much more. I am enamored by the allison, definately looks to be the best thing to happen to HD trucks in a long time.

    chevytruckfan, Cat doesn't make anything remotely close to fitting in a pick-up right now. I agree that would make for quite a truck if they ever did decide to do it.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    I guess I wonder why that Hummer with both better ground clearance, and lower center of gravity is a pile of junk we're not supposed to mention?
  • roger350roger350 Posts: 157
    Agree, Solid axles have far better articulation. People who bring up the Hummer seem to dismiss the fact that its IFS/IRS has like a 20-30" travel or more. With 6-10" travel in a normal truck, articulation is much better with a straight axle.

    If the Allison is all it is advertised to be, it is a stud, and quite possibly the only automatic that can truly handle a diesel. When Dodge gets them they will have a total powertrain. If they can build a truck around it they will kill everyone else's sales. But, I still can't get past the terrible Chrysler image of poor reliability.

    As far as CAT, I heard from a dealer way back about 3-4 years ago that the "New" GM diesel was going to be a CAT. In fact, the guy had a GM printed poster advertising a CAT engine. Seems like all the magazines were leaking that rumor back then too? Something must have fallen through, I heard CAT told GM to go shove it? Who knows? But, people make way too much noise about the Isuzu deal on the DMAX. I believe the engine was designed here, and it is built here, all by Americans. It just so happens that some of the Americans designing/building it draw a paycheck from a company based in Japan, and hence some of the profit goes back there too. Big deal, get over it.
  • the fact is Izusu is still associated with it, and I don't want a japanese company making money off of my purchase. And yes I know there are probably a couple percent japanese components in these trucks.

    Its interesting that Dodge is going to have a GM transmission in their truck (Allison is a division of GM), thats going to be fun to harass the dodge owners about lol
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    ...I am trying to put together a deal on a Duramax/Allison. My dealer needs to trade and the other dealer is being a little reluctant, no surprise since they are currently VERY scarce.

    chevytruck, wake up man! This is a global economy, is your TV made in the USA? Better throw that out too. I'm not sure on the deal with Isuzu, but they are either just a supplier or mabye only the original designer and the engine is built by GM. Either way they are a really small part of the picture. Don't worry GM makes enough on each of these pick-ups to easily fuel their coffers. It just doen't make any sense to say you would buy the old 6.5, that engine is a well know pile of junk. You are going way beyond patriotism and venturing into stupidity.

    Hummer, tell me what good this beast is to a civillian? It is too big for off road trails, too big for the average garage, painfully slow, uncomfortable, unreliable and not nearly as good off road as you may have been led to believe. The Marines and Army Rangers have taken delivery of Mercedes Geleandewagens for evaluation. They have found them more capable and reliable than the Hummer in almost every task. They only fall short in ultimate payload. Sorry, I just have this vendetta against them and the misconceptions that surround them.
  • jim4444jim4444 Posts: 124
    Everyone seems to forget Mercury Marine. They made the 4 cam 'vette engine and also were involved in the Duramax project from what I have read.

    So that means GM and a company they have controlling interest in (Isuzu) and a company they have worked with before all collaborated on this engine.

    I haven't had the pleasure of driving a new Silverado with the Duramax but wouldn't you guys agree that its alot better than the old 6.2, 6.5?

    I think the reason GM went this route is because the 6.2 wasn't a very popular diesel with mechanics or owners.

    I like GM products but have you ever changed the valve covers on a 6.2?

    First step: remove fuel injection lines. WTF??

    Ever have to "fish" the swelled up glow plugs out?

    GM went out of their way to make it look like a gas engine with those lines covering the valve covers and putting the injectors in a location that spark plugs would normally be.

    On the International (Ford) and Cummins diesel you dont have this nonsense.

    I've heard many things about the old 6.2, mainly that GM basically converted a 350 gas engine to become a diesel with as little changes as possible to a Detroit Diesel engineer saying that they didn't want their name on that engine.
  • roger350roger350 Posts: 157
    Yeah, the funny thing is, everything on the Dodge trucks actually made by Dodge sucks. It will have a great Cummins engine, a great GM tranny, but the dodge content is what drags them down. Is DANA a Chrysler company? If so, the axles would be the one good Dodge part, but I can't recall if DANA is independent or not?

    As for the Japaneese thing, didn't mean to aggitate you. To each his own.
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    heard some time ago that ford is replacing the 7.2 liter diesel and has developed two new diesels
    a 4 and 6 liter, and plan to put it in the expedition and the f150. any thoughts or links. the diesel will help the larger truchs and SUV's and the new technology makes them better. Motor trend made the Chevy i think truck of the year.
  • knight9knight9 Posts: 2
    If my info. is right Cummins is owned by Ford. So if Dodge has a Ford engine and a GM tranny and those are the only things that last and don't fall off why would any one buy a 1/2 or gas Dodge.

    P.S. inside info on the 2002 Motor Trend truck of the year The all new DODGE RAM. If anyone form Motor Trend is reading this please don't even send me this issue.
  • roger350roger350 Posts: 157
    Yeah, Cummins is either partially or totaly owned by Ford, or something like that. As I recall, when they bought them or whatever, there was some agreement that Dodge had exclusive rights to the inline 6 engines for X amount of years. If Ford wanted one in their pickups, they'd have to use an 8 or some other configuration? But then again, I think on the really big Fords, F550 etc. you can get any engine you want, including a Cummins?

    For info on the New Ford (Navistar) diesels go to Even though it is a GM site, they have a section on the Fords in their Forum. It will also point you to the Ford site, which I can't remember? The new Ford diesels will be incredible. A much bigger leap than the DMAX. They will be camless, using solenoids to open the valves. Huge reduction in friction, and infinitely adjustable valve timing. They will blow everyone away with more torque and horsepower. I hope they get some good transmissions behind them though, otherwise they will be severly strangled by the weakest link, like the Cummins is now.

    As for why people buy Dodge trucks with gas motors, the politicaly correct reason is Mopar loyalty. The real reason is that there is a sucker born every minute. But then again, I guess the two are linked?
  • 2t1a2t1a Posts: 7
    Can't help myself - hope I don't step on anyone's toes.
    Actually Ford owns very little (if any) of Cummins. There was a time, about 10-12 years ago when they owned about 10-15%, however they sold out at least 5 years ago. I believe that the biggest shareholders of Cummins are a couple of funds (either a mutual fund, or some large retirement fund) which own something like 7-8% each. This information is available several places, including yahoo's finance site.
    Regarding Dodge quality, I have been very surprised by my parent's 2500. They've put 180,000 miles on it in 3 years, half or more pulling trailers. So far, they've replaced a fuel pump (I think it was a Bosch part, but am not sure). The cruise was inop in some -10 weather last winter, and the clutch switch (starter lockout) didn't engage twice but otherwise that's it. I drove it the other day, and the interior is surprisingly tight - as tight as our Expedition with 1/3 the miles :-( I'm not particularly a Dodge fan, but given what I've seen, I think some of the criticism on Dodge build quality is unwarranted.
    My gut feel is that all three are pretty decent engines, with a potential fuel economy edge going to Cummins, and possibly other advantages (as noted above) to the others.
  • roger350roger350 Posts: 157
    Glad to hear your parents truck is a good one. Dodge/Chrysler has a tough row to hoe, to overcome the perception of their quality, or lack there of. Many of us will never let go of our ideas. But, I can say, from about 5 personal friends experiences with Dodge/Chrysler products, their quality is still very hit or miss at best. i told all five of these people not to buy Dodge/Chrysler products. They all did anyway, becasue, "the designs were so cool." They all sold after about 2 years of nothing but trouble. Only one of them had a Ram, the rest were various cars. But, as much as I hated to see my friends lose money like this, inside all I could think was, "I told you so."

    Also glad you corrected our missinformation about Ford's ownership of Cummins.

    Just read on that Ford will not be getting a camless diesel as I originally posted. Apparently someone talked with an International/Navistar employee and found out that the camless technology is only being applied to the bigger engines right now, and wouldn't make it into a Ford product until maybe 2007-10. I, as everyone else, was deeply disappointed to hear that. But, they did say the 6.0L Ford product would be class leading when it comes out in 2002-03. I think they will all one-up each other for years to come. As a GM fan, it is nice to see GM finally get into the game with the Duramax.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Posts: 423
    I know most who buy a diesel use it because of the longevity/economy when towing/hauling heavy loads. With the recent price increases in gasoline and predictions to go to $3/gal is a diesel an alternative? I currently drive a 1/2 ton which gets about 19 hwy. Can a diesel pickup be configured to maximize economy? I've had pickups for the last 25 years and hate the thought of going to an economy car for mileage, but I also don't use a truck for heavy duty chores either. If you had to configure a combination now, what would it be (engine/trans/axle ratio), or would you wait and see what the new ford small diesels are going to be. If I had a wish it would be a crew cab pickup that gets about 25-30 hwy.
  • hunter98hunter98 Posts: 273
    What you need is a pickup that is first of all 2wd. The lighter the better also. Probable, the ultimate for milage would be a new Dodge with the new CC 2wd cummins 6spd standard output. With the highest ratio gearset you can get. Like 3.55, 4.10 are way too low. The duramax's problem for milage is that you can't get the RPMs low enough with the 3.73 to get great Highway milage. They need 3.42 rear end to be optional. Also, you want the standard sized tires. Taller and wider tires decrease milage, as well as a taller truck creates more suction. With the dodge and the ford, the auto really sux down the milage. The milage with the duramax/allison is less than the ford and dodge with the right rear end and manuals. The 6spd duramax appears a bit better than the allison, but not much. What you need is a Chevy CC 2wd 2500HD, Duramax/Allison, standard tires, lower it 2" to reduce suction. Bedcover, 3.42 rear end if chevrolet ever offers it.

  • rs_pettyrs_petty Posts: 423
    2500HD is what I was trying to spec/price out on Buypower, but no prices since they have gone to '02 list. The 3.73 may not be too bad with the 6 speed (off hand though I can't remember final drive ratios between the Allison and 6spd with a 3.73). Off course taller tires would reduce the ratio a little. 255/85's might work well for highway mileage, but maybe hurt a little for city driving. Some PSD guys are reporting low 20's with filter, exhaust and chip mods. The extra weight of the CC doesn't help, but everything is a trade off. 22-24 might be doable with lower speeds. Wonder if any of the aftermarket guys are looking at reprogramming from a fuel economy perspective. Still, at least in my local area, diesel is still about the same price as premium. I liked my idea better when it was about 50-60 cents cheaper.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Posts: 423
    Just doing a little more research and thoughts. Using the calculators at I find that 65 mph w/3.73 gear ratio, 33" tires (255/85 just happen to be 33's), and a .73 (guessing the ZF is around this somewhere, but can't find it for sure) tranny ratio equals 1801 rpm which just happens to be at the max torque rating for the Duramax. This should yield the best theoretical mileage. Anybody just happen to have this combination or similar to comment on?
  • roger350roger350 Posts: 157
    Unless the prices become widely different, it takes about 100-150K miles to break even on gas mileage because of the up-front cost of the diesel. Plus, you have to consider time value of money too, because paying $5-7K extra upfront, as opposed to investing that money, and your break even point goes out even further.

    I considered the Duramax for mileage reasons, but basically decided that it wasn't the way to go. And unless unleaded goes up to $3.00 and diesel stays at $1.50, I'd say the decision was the right one.

    Why is it that we are more worried about saving money by getting great gas mileage, instead of saving it up front by buying a gas engine that eats more an a weekly basis? It is one of those weird physcological things.
  • hunter98hunter98 Posts: 273
    With the stock setup, 1800 RPM is like 61.4 Miles per hour. With the 255x85R16 size tires, 1800 RPM is 66.5 miles per hour. So you just increased your Miles per hour range for max economy by 5 miles an hour. The same results could also be achieved if GM would offer a 3.42 rear end. 235x85R16 tires and a 3.42 rear end would achieve the maximum economy with the duramax. You would be turning right at 1800 RPM at 70 miles an hour, 2067 at 80, 1550 at 60 miles an hour. This puts the RPMs where a road truck should play. 50 miles per hour would be at around 1300 rpm, which is about as low as you would go in high gear. But it would be a great milage transmission. On another note, if you had to downshift to run in 4th to pull a load at 60 miles per hour, this rpm is 2183 rpms, which is ideal, and the speed that you should pull at on a highway or interstate. This should increase the milage on the highway by 2-3 miles per gallon, and shouldn't affect it in the city. So instead of 18 on the interstate get 21. Another thing is, with a higher ratio, give is a 4th gear selecter to lock out fifth gear while towing at a reasonable speed. Since 4th at 60 would be just less than 2200 RPMs.

    If GM will produce this truck in CC 4x4 with the 3.42, Duramax/Allison I may be very interested. Oh yeah, the ZF, is .72 and 1.0, the allison is .71 and 1.0.

  • rs_pettyrs_petty Posts: 423
    Understand your point well. In fact it would take about $15K for me to get from current truck to a Duramax. That's a whole lot of gas for potentially only 4-5 mpg increase. Just an exercise in thought since in fact gas and diesel are very close in price. Maybe I should look at CNG which is about 1/2 the price of unleaded I think. One of the reasons I look at economy is because fuel is a major out of pocket, right now money, not what is sitting in a mutual fund somewhere.
  • 4x44x4 Posts: 114
    Ford sold out their small share years ago..
  • 4x44x4 Posts: 114
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    The ZF-6 tranny in Duramax 4x4 (3.73), is turning highway rpms in 6th, as close as I can tell, about 1800 rpm at 60 mph indicated. That's on par with the 5.3L 4.10 combo on my previous 1500.

    I thought the same thing, rpms could be a bit lower for highway, 3.42 about perfect. My buddy's 97 Power Stroke 5 speed can't pull more than 85 (give or take, can't remember what he told me exactly) before he's done. Says he is running up in the yellow area of the tach too. Wishes he had the automatic.

    Nevertheless, first tank seems to be getting good economy. Don't have the numbers yet, I speculate 18-20 mpg, city/highway/mountain mix. Have about 375 miles since dealer topped up, (34 gal tank), indicates above half full. Again, about he same, maybe slightly better than 5.3L gas w/ 34 gal tank. (You never go as far on the 2nd half of the gauge)

    Empty, truck would pull Monarch Pass, 11,600 feet in 6th gear. Gets real curvy, and you have to slow down near the summit, so dropped to 5th so as not to lug.

    Back on the flats, tromp on it at 60 mph in 6th, leaps to 97 mph faster than my 5.3L would have. Satisfied so far...of course am only on day 2.
  • lol thats a Chevy thing, I get awesome milege the first half of the tank then really bad milege...hehe translates into ok milege.
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    I got 16 mpg on the first tank, mostly highway driving. I is working now beside my '99 PSD auto 3.73 rear as well. They will both be pulling near max gvw everday. Should make for an interesting real world comparo. The Ford has about 125k miles right now. I definately comes off as more of a workhorse than the slick duramax. The Chevy turned 1000 miles on friday. I suspect it will be a while before the comparison is fair. After 10k miles the PSD seemed even more gutsy than when new.
  • ad2avitad2avit Posts: 12
    Just a joke. I've been away from your posts and I really got an education reading up. But I will eventually need a diesel mechanic since I ordered a Duramax. Nuff said about me. You guys/gals are so better educated than me. I hope by adding a few comments, please don't take any offense,
    to ellicit your comments and to better educate myself and everyone. Okay here goes:
    Quadrunner500 - Your one of the lucky ones to own a 6SP - Consider it a "one-er"
    Hunter98- Your forgetting the reason for the 2001 Hd is for Pull/Hauling Power. ie: a sailboat sure gets better mileage than a powerboat.
    Roger350- If you buy the Duramax and hold onto it for 5years or so, and do a lot of traveling then its even.
    RS Petty - The Hd were designed to pull a lot not
    get great gas mileage.
    Again I hope I've not offended anyone - I'm sure waiting for my Duramax to a haul 3500 lb Camper and trailerboat and Kyack.
    PS: My worse "not buying decision" was a 1992 Allison 1-Ton Dually. I turned away because it was'nt an extended cab. I hope all pickemup truck fans hope that the Dodge truck survives.
  • ad2avitad2avit Posts: 12
    The 1992 Dodge was not an Allison (must be on my mind), But it was a sweetheart- jet Black with a tan or desert color bottom (still on my mind)
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