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Diesel engines, which is better: Ford, Dodge, Chevy



  • You can find distributors on Superchips web site or you can actually find people that program these chips and sell them on E-Bay. I bought mine through which happens to be a local dealer in my area. Full list on these chips for the PSD is $500, but they can be found as low as $350. I had mine installed for $425 and they are a very reputable dealer with one of the best PSD mechanics in the country (Doug Lewis). There are various chip manufacturers out there, but Superchips is regarded as having the best programming for the PSD. If you own a PSD the best money you can spend is on a pyrometer. The PSD has a sweet spot (best fuel economy) at 600 degrees of exhaust gas temperature going into the turbo. Anything below or above yields significantly less fuel economy. Unfortunately 65 mph is about the most you can run unladen on level land and maintain this temperature. 1250-1270 degrees is the high side at which the tips of the turbines begin to glow. Anything over 1250-1270 degrees and the turbo self-destructs. This is very important when towing heavy in the mountains.
  • They are plug-and-play and install in the panel next to the parking brake. Like anything aftermarket if you really screw something up the dealer will want to pin it on your modification if they can. I have been told to always remove it before service and that the dealer scanners can not find it.(?) You will need the computer code which is in the driver's door jamb near the the front fender. Another company has just come out with a flip chip that has three different settings with highest being 420 HP and 918 ft/lbs of torque!
  • indian3indian3 Posts: 14
    When you are at the "sweet spot" Did this increase your mpg? What mpg are you getting with the superchip?
  • Maintaining 600 degrees BEFORE the turbo will give you the absolute best mileage. Numerous people report up to 25 mpg by doing this, but it is very hard to do the way a "normal" person drives. International is even quoted as saying 65 is the absolute max for economy. I think if someone didn't tow much a 3.55 or 3.42 rear would be superb in this truck. By watching the gauge you accelerate by holding the needle on 600 as you are getting the best mpg. As I said you can not maintain 600 while cruising at 70 or 80. It is suggested you speed up while going down grades and slow down while going up grades, but I despise people that drive like this especially in front of me on the interstate in the hammer lane. I set the cruise at 79-80 and I average 17-18 on the interstate. W/O the chip I got 18-20 with a 2wd automatic supercab. The loss of 2mpg is NOTHING compared to what the chip offers. I also have the 70hp chip. There is a 40 and a 110 from Superchip. One of my customers put a 40 in a 99 6 sp 4x4 dually and averaged about 2 mpg better fuel economy, but he is 59 and I'm 26 if that tells you anything.
  • Thanks for the tips. I do have the PSD so something like this would be nice. But I'll have to think about it.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    How good and reliable are the old 6.5-liter diesel engines in the heavy-duty Chevy C/K pickups from the late '90s (i.e., 1997-2000)? My roommate's father has a 2000 Chevy K3500 Crew Cab Dually with the 6.5. It currently has 54k miles on it. He tells me that while the motor is rock-solid reliable, he has had some glitches/problems with the tranny, and this is heavy-duty.
  • ak4x4ak4x4 Posts: 126
    The Ford's 7.3 is made by Cat and Cummins correct? I have seen both blocks in the same year 350's? Great engine!.

    The Cummins inthe Dodge is a good engine as well. I read that Detriot Diesel was going to be manufacturing the new engines for the 2500 and 3500 that should have some power and tourque!

    The Chevy Duramax is made by Isuzu, but at which plant? I am thinking of SIU where they build the Subies and Isuzu's? But I could be wrong on that!. he only problem on th Duramax is not the engine, it's the Allison tranny it's a POS!

    My input for now
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    The Allison 5-speed tranny is really a POS? I thought they were tough.
  • AK4x4:

    NO, the Ford 7.3 is made by International and has NOTHING to do with Cummins.

    CAT doesn't build a light duty engine for a pick-up yet.

    Detroit Diesel is owned and operated by GMC, so I don't think that motor is going anywhere near a Dodge!

    The Duramax is made by Isuzu(on this you are correct)Isuzu has a long history on the diesel field, that dates back to the early 80's. The only thing wrong with the Duramax is the price tag!($42,000 for a ext. cab short bed is insane in my opinion)

    The Allison tranny is the toughest automatic you can buy. They have been used extensively in school buses and moving trucks for the past 10 years or so.
  • Caterpillar designed the fuel injection system on the International engine that is the Powerstroke. Also, the Allison transmission behind Chevy's Duramax is nowhere near the same as the one in buses and moving trucks. Just because it is a Allison doesn't mean its the same. From what I have read it is an all new transmission with a lot of problems to work out but everyone is touting it as tough because of the Allison name which has been very successful in the medium duty truck market. As far as I can tell none of the light duty truck manufacturers have made a descent automatic overdrive transmission. The old C6 and Turbo400 autos were the last good slushboxes made but they were 3 speeds. Thats my opinion anyway.
  • I've read about a few problems with the Allison 1000, but not too many. The owners with the most experience are at

    Some of the issues are about various noises, whines, clunks, shifting, that may be normal characteristic of the design, not reliability concerns.

    Allison spent so much time developing the 1000, I think they have most of the bugs worked out. No one outside of the company has seen the inside of one. For the first year, all suspect units were replaced, not repaired.

    One of the tantalizing rumors concerning the 1000, is that it's actually a SIX speed automatic, but through electronics, is programmed to use only five.

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    The reason for the auto tranny problems in light duties is simply whining owners. There is no doubt any of the big three can produce a reliable slushbox powered by a diesel. The problem is typically heavy-duty equipment isn't smooth, quiet, and sporty. So like a poster above that wants an F-350 to be a sports car, or the guy that daily drives his truck and wants a smooth, quiet, tranny, they build them weak but refined. Imagine how many sports truck/daily drivers would whine if their Dodge/Chevy/Ford shifted like a school bus. I needed an automatic when I bought mine, but went into it expecting to replace it at some point and time. Someone familiar with these trannies can rebuild them for less than $1500 so it's not exactly a big deal. You're going to have to replace a clutch on the manual tranny regardless, so there is an outlay of cash one way or the other. I'm at 60K on my auto, so I'm ahead of my plan already.

    And cummins is building the engine for the '03 2500/3500 Rams. 80% quieter, boost in HP/Torque, extra mpg, improved throttle response, etc. No word on the tranny yet, been on and off as to wether it's an Allison.
  • jcmdiejcmdie Posts: 595
    I have heard that detroit diesel was owned by diamler-chrysler. Both mercedes and detroit diesel could have supplied the engine for the new pickup, but diamler chrysler didn't want to lose the cummins, cult-like followers.
  • bamatundrabamatundra Posts: 1,583
    I went to the website you suggested and found this:

    Posts: 51
    From: Staples, Minnesota
    Registered: Apr 2001
    posted 11-01-2001 01:56 PM
    Mine does it too. It sucks!!!!!!!!!!!I pulled 15k back from Atlanta to Minnesota. The stupid allison wouldn't pull in fifth. I had 3000+ rpms to maintain highway speed. I was getting 5mpg, sure am glad I sprang for the $4000 duramax and $1000 allison, what a pathetic combo. Then typical of GM they just leave you swingnin from the tree, no fix no nothin! I should have learned with my '96 2500 Sub, they couldn't ever get that to run right either, "really sir that jerking trans is normal, live with it". I will NEVER again buy a GM product. This truck is great as a car or light hauler, maybe the best. When put to WORK it stinks! My other truck is a '99 F350 SRW Powerstroke. It has over 150k miles on it now, still on the original 4r100 trans(which was supposed to be failure prone). I was so ****ed after my trip to GA that I pulled the same trailer and load on the same road on the same day, bite the bullet guys, the old Ford puts the duramax/allison to shame. They both run the same tires, the same rear ratio. Both turn ~2000rpm at 70, only one has the balls to stay in overdrive and pull the load, I am sad to say it is not the Chevy as I thought it would be. It is a really nice truck, quiet, smooth, but it can't do the work. I would sell it off in a heartbeat, but it already has 30k miles, maybe a little steep for a 2001. Actually I may try, I am that dissappointed with it, what a sad showing.
    '01 2500HD Ext. Short Box, white, alloys, buckets, 3.73 G80. To compliment my '99 PSD. Both pulling 15k loads daily.
    Cylinder index, 82
  • jaijayjaijay Posts: 162
    I think if you reread the posts from Trussman and the symtoms that he has posted, it will read as a different story rather than the post he placed there based upon fustration. Currently there are many folks working with him (including the folks from Allison) and will try to get to the bottom of it.

    As for myself I have and D/A and pull a 5th wheel trailer. I as well as many others (you can read their responses to Trussman as well) pull large loads without any problem. With any brand, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, you will certainly be able to have vehicles that do have their problems.

    However the problem that Trussman has seems to be an isolated incedent and not one a global one as you would like everyone to think.
  • Bama, your truck is on the Center for Auto Safety's list of the 25 worst vehicles for receiving complaints to the government by Americans having problems with their Tundras. Please explain why Consumer Reports distorted the facts, and then tell us again about YOUR flawless Tundra! LMAO!!

    Top 25 Best and Worst Vehicles
    The Center for Auto Safety analyzed complaints made to the government by Americans having problems with their vehicles. Below are the models that received the fewest complaints, and those that received the most. Models introduced in 2000 and 2001 are not represented due to a lack of data.
    Best (Fewest complaints) Worst (Most complaints)
    1. Ford F-Series 1. Mazda MPV
    2. BMW 3 Series 2. Kia Sportage
    3. BMW 5 Series 3. Ford Excursion
    4. Volkswagen Golf 4. Ford Windstar
    5. Mazda Truck 5. Mercury Cougar
    6. Volvo C70 6. Volvo S40
    7. Volkswagen Beetle 7. Honda Passport
    8. Nissan Sentra 8. Honda S2000
    9. Infiniti G20 9. Mitsubishi Eclipse
    10. Acura RL 10. Isuzu Rodeo
    11. Saab 9-5 11. Ford Explorer
    12. Chevrolet Prizm 12. Land Rover Range Rover
    13. Toyota Corolla 13. Audi A6
    14. Infiniti QX4 14. Hyundai Tiburon
    15. Nissan Altima 15. Honda Odyssey
    16. Lexus RX300 16. Lincoln LS
    17. Nissan Maxima 17. Jeep Grand Cherokee
    18. Acura TL 18. Volkswagen Passat
    19. Saab 9-3 19. Buick LeSabre
    20. Pontiac Bonneville 20. Suzuki Grand Vitara
    21. Mazda Millenia 21. Chevrolet Blazer
    22. Mazda 626 22. Chevrolet Impala
    23. Lincoln Town Car 23. Toyota Tundra
    24. Ford Focus 24. Dodge Dakota
    25. Honda Accord 25. Dodge Neon
  • I must say puting well over 600 ft/lbs of torque to my 4R100 has concerned me since the install of the Superchip, but it hasn't let me down yet. The Superchip made a huge difference in the way the trans shifts. The shifts are a lot firmer and the truck no longer has that 1-2 second torque converter hesitation when leaving from a stop. The 99's and 2000's have a Mickey Mouse trans cooler which I intentionally replaced with an aftermarket at 50K. There is a TSB out there for 99's and 2000's that are still under the 36K warranty to get the new trans cooler setup that is on the 01's and 02's. It is a $1000 warranty job if you demand it. After all heat is the cause of 90% of auto tranny failures. If anyone is interested I can get the TSB #.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    38 of 48 It's not which truck, it's which cmpany to buy the engine from in your truck! by ak4x4 Jan 29, 2002 (04:03 pm)
    The Ford's 7.3 is made by Cat and Cummins correct? I have seen both blocks in the same year 350's? Great engine!.


    How in the he!! has ANYONE seen a Cat or Cummins block in a same year 350??? Especially when it's a NAVISTAR aka International. Will this guy EVER get any info correct???
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    Cummins and Detroit blocks look almost identical, (quick quiz, anyone know why?) but he didn't say that. Smallest thing I've ever seen a Cat in was a 6500 Chevy Medium-duty.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    I'm going to take a WAG and say they are both Inline 6's. With the PSD being a V8 it makes his comment that much more ignorant.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    Years and years ago cummins engineers jumped ship & went to design a new engine for a starving company called DD. Obviously been some changes since then, but the base product came from the same designers.
  • kg11kg11 Posts: 530
    The Allison 1000 in the chev/gmc IS the same tranny as the one in busses and medium duty trucks except for the torque converter and electronics.
  • No it is not. Buses and other medium duty trucks do not have light truck engines in them. They have medium and heavy duty engines in them from Cat or Detroit or International... None of which will bolt up to a little sissy tranny like that. If you are talking a 15 passenger church bus or a Uhaul moving van that would be true but any commercial vehicle with a GVWR of 26000 lbs or more has a vastly different tranny. By the way, where did you get your information?
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Posts: 1,352
    I guess it depends on where you want to draw the line. I've heard the Allison in the light duty GM trucks is the same as in 20,000#GVW motorhomes. so while you may be correct on the 26,000 pound number, I've researched the Allison in the class A's with Cummins power and have heard no complaints.
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    One of the biggest problems with the Allison is that people are using trucks equipped with them for stop and go driving. The transmission is built with long highway cruises towing heavy trailers and such. As a result when the truck is used for stop and go there is a lot of heat built up causeing transmission failure.
  • jcave1jcave1 Posts: 137
    Would agree, seems a bit bazaar.

    Isn't CAT's only contribution to NAVISTAR limited the injectors? Hmmmm.
  • hunter98hunter98 Posts: 273
    What do you think happens with a local bus, school bus, state or local truck, grain truck, ect. all of these are stop and go driving quite often. My allison does run warmer on stop and go driving, but not anywhere near the red mark. I can't remember right now, but I think red is like 240, and I have never seen it past 160, even towing 12,000 in stop and go driving. Yeah it is something to keep an eye on, but think of another excuse. At least the GM truck has a trans temp guage!

  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    It wasnt an excuse it was an explanation of one possible cause for some of the problems. Personally I think the ALLI is one tough SOB for a truck and if I had the use for a heavy duty truck I would seriously consider the Durimax/alli combo even though I would like to throw it in either a Dodge or Ford chassis and cab.
  • The Ford's have a transmission temperature gauge too. On another topic, when I was looking into which truck to buy I came up with the conclusion I wanted to build my own. Take the best each has to offer and I came up with this... A Ford F350 4X4 with the Cummins 24 valve H.O. diesel with an Allison 5 speed behind it. Now a little time has passed and I may or may not loose the Allison. It does not seem to be the bullet proof auto I believed it would be. Seems to have the same reliability problems as the rest of them.
  • hunter98hunter98 Posts: 273
    Frankly, if Dodge gets their act together with their HD trucks, my next truck may be a Dodge. I like their cabins better than the GM, the 4 Real Door Ext Cab is nice, I am very partial to Cummins engines on the farm. If they would only add the allison 1000 series, I would look real hard at it the next time I trade. We are lucky that all three trucks are so good and so competitive, giving us better and better trucks with more features and price wars on occasion IE 0% interest.

This discussion has been closed.