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Why no diesel 1/2 PU's?

twinscrewtwinscrew Member Posts: 53
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
Wasn't chevy the last one to put a diesel in a half ton? I guess when they enlarged it and turboed it, they deemed it too large for lite duty. I had good luck with the 6.2 once we found someone who could reman a fuel pump and make it live. You wouldn't win many races, but you got at least 1/3 more mpg. Suburban would consistantly get 20+ on road trips. It would not matter to me that my truck took an extra 4 seconds to get to 65 mph (I'm over the hot rod truck stage).

I know that engine weight over a half ton front frame and suspension is probably a big issue. Aren't there a few lightweight diesels in use in other applications? I remember talk several years ago about someone developing a diesel for aircraft use. What would 2/3's of a 6B Cummins (I know Cummins makes a 4B) or 3/4's of a Ford or Chevy diesel weigh? Would it be enough weight savings to fit the bill? They should be able to squeeze a coulple hundred hp out of these shoudn't they? When they produce one, I'll be there.


  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I've wondered for years why they don't put diesels in 1/2 ton trucks. Back a few short years ago, 175hp and 250ftlbs of torque was considered average for them. Mercedes has several small displacement turbo diesels in their lineup. I see no reason why the big three could not put a 4.5 to 5 liter turbo diesel, most likely an inline six, in a small truck. Look at how small the Cummins is when compared to the Powerstroke, yet it seems to do just as good of a job as the larger Powerstroke, so it could be possible to go as low as 4 liters. With a factory installed "chip upgrade" 150-200hp and 300ftlb of torque should be a snap. That's more than enough to get any job done that a 1/2 ton is capable of doing.
  • kg11kg11 Member Posts: 530
    there are no more diesel cars or big block 1/2 tons.EPA
  • twinscrewtwinscrew Member Posts: 53
    Why would the EPA have a problem with replacing a gas guzzling V8 with a fuel sipping diesel? The modern diesels run pretty clean from what I have been told.
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90
    there is a reason why all diesel autos have disappeared. Remember back late 70s early 80s several econo cars had diesel...... remember the VW Rabbit. Ask anyone who used to owned one and parked it inside their garage what their garage smelled like, and what the rest of their house smelled like after a year or so. A friend of mine is a hard-line mechanic at Peter built. He drives a gas truck and said diesels are not adapt to city stop and go driving, constant starts and stops or short 2 mile trips. Diesels are good working engines(semi-trurk, trains, generators, heavy equipment)but are not efficient for most city driving needs.
  • twinscrewtwinscrew Member Posts: 53
    ....but I still think there would be a market for a diesel in a half ton PU that is actually used to work. Maybe not for soccer moms that have a four door PU with a short bed, no scratches in the bed, and no hitch on the bumper. My half ton works hard to earn it's keep. I can see where diesels would be at a disadvantage on short trips where they never get up to operating temp, but fail to see where they would be weak at stop and go driving. Diesels do well accelerating a load, don't they? BTW, sister has a Benz 300 turbo diesel with 250K + miles. You would have to fight her to make her part with it. I don't have the best nose on me, but I've never noticed any smell coming from her garage. The smell you are talking about probably came from fuel leaks, not the engine itself.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    What about city busses
  • bobsquatchbobsquatch Member Posts: 136
    And Ford is making them. The current generation Powerstroke is being moth-balled to make way for a new smaller more powerfull 6.0 liter in 2003. They will also be making an even smaller diesel for 1/2 ton applications. They still make diesel economy cars. The new VW TDI is a diesel. The only downside to this is that these next generation diesels may be subject to bi-annual smog inspections.
  • twinscrewtwinscrew Member Posts: 53
    Is there any specific information about the half tons circulating? Engine size, hp and torque ratings, 6 or 8, in line or "V", available in current half tons or a redesign? If they are going to sell them in September, surely the "spooks and spies" should have some specifics by now. Maybe on another site?
  • xyz71xyz71 Member Posts: 179
    It is not EPA - or technology problems (lighter weight as an example) that is keeping diesel engines out of 1/2 ton trucks. It is because the customer demand is not high enough to justify the investment. Most people who plan to haul / tow heavy loads will upgrade to a 3/4 ton truck, leaving only a few people willing to pay the almost $5,000 extra for the diesel engine (and heavy duty trans that would be required)

    Why not just go for the 3/4 ton - not that much difference in cost (before adding the diesel anyway!)
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90
    To get spy shots and gossip about Ford's diesel they plan to put in the 2003 F150 go to blueovalnews.com

    city bus 30,000lbs...vw rabbit 3000lbs
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    I'm curious about your friends quote:

    "He drives a gas truck and said diesels are not adapt to city stop and go driving, constant starts and stops or short 2 mile trips. Diesels are good working engines(semi-trurk, trains, generators, heavy equipment)but are not efficient for most city driving needs."


    I'm very curious about the "stop and start" comment. Besides city busses, most heavy construction equipment is constantly stopping and starting( God I wish they'd disconnect that damn back up beeper while grading by my house!!)

    I'd really like to know why this is detrimental in your friends opinion.

    Xyz71, I agree 100% with your comment. We'll see if the Ford 1/2 ton diesel can make people forget about GM's fiasco with 1/2 ton and car diesels.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    When I worked for a major small package shipping company, the delivery trucks were mainly diesels. They do a ton of stop/start driving, in addition many turn the vehicle off at every stop. The larger trucks were powered by navistar and cummins diesels which easily would run 300K-400K miles before a rebuild. Most of the smaller delivery trucks ran the old Chevy diesels or were gasoline powered. They were lucky to see 150K-200K miles before a rebuild. Ironically, the ones with automatics, the tranny held up surprisingly well, usually 200K-300K miles before rebuild.

    The flipside to making a diesel economical for general car/truck duty, is getting the mpg way up there. You have to drive alot to make up the cost of fuel difference, right now it's about $.30 more for diesel where I am. $.40 for diesel supreme. My cummins diesel averages around 17-18mpg when empty. That's not far off from a gasoline engine. However hook a load to it and then compare to a gasoline truck. I recently made an 800 mile trip with another fellow and has a 99 3/4 ton Chevy with the biggest gasser he could get at that time. We were both pulling three horses, but my trailer is about 6' bigger to begin with. I was basically bored following him up the hills and when he would stop to fill up and I'd buy about 1/2 as much diesel. That's where you make up the cost difference. With my truck being on the road 50K per year usually with at least 8K behind it, it's a big difference. Nevermind the substantial pulling advantage.
  • twinscrewtwinscrew Member Posts: 53
    ...agree with almost everything you said except the bit about diesel and gas mileage figures being similar. Compare a 3/4 ton diesel to a 1/2 ton gas and they are close. The "rub" comes in when you compare a 3/4 ton gas to a 3/4 diesel. F,C,orD gas 3/4 tons struggle to get 12 mpg empty. Add 4X4 or a trailer and it gets worse quickly as you stated. I think that a modern diesel engine in a half ton would be worth the extra cost if your mileage/year is just a little more than average.

    Another thought...Is the diff between the cost of a gas and diesel engine as much as it was a few years ago? I could see a diesel engine costing much more when you were comparing a carbourated engine (gas) to a fuel injected one (diesel). Nowadays, the fuel injected gas engines are pretty darn sophisticated (help mr spell checker) and the diesel doesn't have to worry about a complicated and expensive ignition source and management system. Shouldn't that simplify and make comparatively less expensive, the diesel engine? I know that diesel engines have more iron in them, but iron is pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    Cost me around $5,000 on my '01 Ram but I believe that included the auto tranny. I don't think that is hard to recoup because the vehicle will always be worth substantially more than a gasser. Kinda like 4X4. Usually costs you $1500 new, but the truck will be at least $1500 more than similar used 2wd's.

    The fuel price difference is where you have to make it up on mpg. Right now, 87 octane is $1.09, diesel is about a buck and a half. If a normal 1/2 ton would get 18mpg, then a diesel powered 1/2 ton would have to get 23 just to break even on cost of fuel (assuming I did the math right)!! That's probably possible with a smaller, juiced-down diesel. I didn't realize a half-ton weighed that much less than a 3/4 ton. That's about all that can explain the mpg difference though. I'm about 6500# empty if I remember correctly.
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90

    I never asked this guy to explain his opinion to me. He works on diesel trucks for a living, and drives a new gas pick-up.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    I'm sorry if this sounds rude but you post this guy's opinion like its gospel and it makes no sense. (the part about the stop and go driving).

    I really don't like diesels but I see their virtues.(especially in the case of sebring)GM and the Duramax is getting closer, IMHO, in making a diesel more livable for me.

    I'm sure your friend has forgotten more than I'll ever know about diesels but when statements are made(even by hearsay) I like to know the reason.

    Maybe he drives a gas because he didn't have the $5000 extra?? Maybe he can't stand the smell being around them all day??? maybe the noise??

    The stop and go driving has me perplexed. Sorry.
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90
    maybe I said the wrong term. What I meant was start it up, drive short distances, and shut it off. Then start it up drive a few miles and turn off. Hour later start it up drive 2 miles and turn engine off. I didn't mean as in stop light to stop light.
  • hunter98hunter98 Member Posts: 273
    Just think, a V6 Duramax for the 1500's and Tahoes, with 225 HP and 390 Ft-lbs of torque. And maybee a V4 Baby Duramax with 150 HP and 260 lbs of torque. Both of those engines would provide more than adequate HP and towing for those applications while providing excellent fuel economy.

  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    Cool. Maybe I mis-understood.
  • mbatchelormbatchelor Member Posts: 27
    For 2003 Ford will have a 4.5L V6 turbo diesel in the F150 and Expedition series trucks. The engine is rated at 235hp and 400ft/lb torque.
  • twinscrewtwinscrew Member Posts: 53
    Think that one of those might fit my program pretty good. Now if it just wasn't a Ford. I've been trying to get over my "ford-o-phobia" that started 30 years ago in my teen age days. My first car was a Ford and it always ticked me off that all the good hot rod parts were available for Chevys first, then Ford as an afterthought. Never could make that Torino run as good as the Novas. The phobia's been tough to shake. Maybe a good shrink? I've been able to slide into a Dodge, so maybe with a little patience and help from family and friends, I can overcome this. It would be a lot easier for me if Chevy or Dodge would come out with a half ton diesel. Life can be so tough sometimes.....
  • tripletdad1tripletdad1 Member Posts: 1
    Hey guys - The UPS truck that comes to my office has a diesel and he turns it off everytime he stops. He also goes up and down our street delivering to businessess,turning it off and on. If it is so bad for the engine I wonder why they use diesels ?
  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    As many of you have pointed out economics play a big role in this area. First the diesel needs to provide significantly better fuel economy just to recoup the differece in price of fuel. Second, the initial up fornt cost has to be justifiable. As things stand right now all 1/2 ton trucks from the big three come standard with v6's. The biggest v8 upgrade will cost you an extra $1200 give or take. Based on the the big diesels, I think the minidiesels being discussed, would likely be about a $2500-$3000 option. How long is it going to take to recoup this initial investment. With the difference in price of fuel probably 2-300,000 miles. Thus if you are interested in one you better plan on using it for carrying loads or towing most of the time. That would be the only way to make any sense from an economics standpoint.
    Also don't forget that the v8s from the big3 all come with around 350 ft/lbs of torque, they are pretty good engines to tow with as long as the loads don't get over 6,000lbs.
    In the end I agree with others, if you are buying a truck to do work buy a 3/4 or 1 ton, if you are buying it for your family and don't have to tow a 30 foot boat get a 1/2 ton with gas engine.
    Also FYI, GM is promising to increase economy of their gas truck engines in the next 2 years through 2 new (well new old ideas). Displacement on Demand DOD, and gas electric hybrid. This may be why GM will not likely offer a mini diesel in the near future. (Unless Ford sells a lot of them).:)
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    Also keep in mind you don't have to recoup all the upfront cost of the motor. The diesel will always be worth more than the gas powered trucks. In addition if you drive alot, a diesel powered truck with 200K miles will be more desirable on the used market than a similar mile(non-rebuilt) gas engine. Looks like even into very old diesel trucks, the engine adds at least half of what was originally paid for it.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    I know that's a favorite theme of diesel owners but it doesn't make sense.

    If you need a diesel for the type of mileage you do and the better max load at altitude hauling, than so be it.

    First off, anyone who buys a 200,000 mile truck is goofy, be it gas or diesel.

    KBB shows a 200,000 mile '92 dodge diesel trading in for $4,400. The same gasser is $2300. You still LOST $1900 of the $4000 difference in original cost. Yes, you got back some of the initial investment but you still LOST money.

    NADA shows only a $1200 difference in the diesels favor. So you still LOST $2800 compared to original purchase price.

    I know it's not a constant but here diesel is a good $.20 more than reg unleaded. This puts the "break even" point, IMHO, well over 200,000 miles when you factor in increased costs of diesel maintenance, initial costs and now higher fuel costs. The diesel's greater fuel economy will take a long time to overcome all that.

    I understand the diesel benefit to some but to the average Joe it's just a macho "I have a diesel" statement.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    In 1992 a diesel was not a $4000 option. I don't know exactly what it was, but in 1996 it was in the low $3000 range if I remember correctly.

    Assume if gasser 3/4 tons are only getting 12mpg (as stated above as I have no experience)empty, and a diesel is getting 16-17, gas is $1.20 and diesel is $.20/gallon more. By 100K you've saved enough to pay for the engine (assuming $4,000 new and worth half that used). Also remember when gasoline was at $2.00/gallon, diesel was about $.30/gallon less. It varys so much though it's hard to follow. I noticed a station today that diesel was $.03/gallon more than gas.

    Maybe if a smaller in-house diesel comes down from the big three for lighter-duty vehicles, maybe they won't charge such a premium. My bet is the Navistar/Isuzu/Cummins deals adds a big extra layer of profit. VW has their own diesel in the Jetta/Beetle/Golf that only adds about $1300 to the sticker (getting one for sticker is another issue). 50mpg and a $1300 premium isn't hard to recoup any way you look at it.

    Anyone that works their truck will easily recoup the money. Someone buying them just to look cool won't recoup diddly but that's probably not their concern. I'm sure there are some people out there though that rarely tow but still need the power. In fact when I bought mine, we weren't towing that much and it wasn't for a financial reason as much as comfort and the fact that I like towing with a diesel. But within a couple months of buying the truck, it's been on the road rather constantly and we really should have bought a dually. I'm not jumping out of this one for another year or so though. I've probably already paid for the entire $4000 engine as I'm easily getting double the mpg with the loads normally on this truck. And the few times Its had 15,000# on I'm not sure a gasser could have even done it.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    where we're both stuck in our ways. For you, the diesel is a no brainer.(don't forget to add in the extra maintenance costs of the oil burner) The power difference during empty and even up to 7-8000 pounds still favors a gasser. (personal experience and Trailer Life article) If one can stand the noise, smell and the extra up front cost.....go for it.

    One thing that blows my mind is the way the Cummins and PSD can be modified. It's incredible.

    Your VW example is leaving out the fun quotient. The gasser is way more fun to drive.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    stuck in our ways:)

    Mods: I added 50hp and 100lb-ft for next to nothing. Added about 1mpg while towing.

    I dunno, I've pulled with gas engines and there is no comparison on power regardless of load. I agree that acceleration is better on the gas engines up to a point. I've pulled 5000# with a 5.4L Ford and it felt pretty weak. I guess it depends on wether you want to pull everything at a high (noisey) rpm, or just puttz along in OD a majority of the trip.

    I disagree on the VW also. The TDI is equal in performance to the naturally aspirated gas. The turbo gasser is I'm sure quicker, but the TDI will run. I've never been in an automatic TDI, but the 5-speeds feel quick. I test drove one for a day back in the summer of '00 when gas was so expensive. I could easily live with that car. Fairly quiet, powerful, pulled hills in 5th like nothing. The problem was the demand was so high they were getting well above sticker on them and it just didn't make sense paying that much for a small car. 50mpg or not. I could live with a the VW diesel well before a gas 4cyl. I can't stand revving all the time just to get going. The TDI feels very good around 2K rpm.

    Diesels have really changed over the last few years. The Isuzu and PS are fairly quiet, and the '03 cummins is supposed to be even quieter than those. I notice very little smell unless I'm filling up. But I've also been around diesels for 15 years. If you had any relations with a GM diesel from years past, or even some of the earlier Navistars that despised winter starting, I can see having problems with a diesel. The maintenance is not that much more than a gasser. My oil changes come at 7K intervals and run about $50. I would change the oil probably at 3K on a gasser towing constantly so actually there isn't much difference at all. However repairs will be higher on the diesel, but I've been lucky. Even my past diesel held up very well and didn't need any engine related repairs.

    The more I've thought about this though, I'm not so sure a 1/2 ton with a diesel would be that desirable. In smaller vehicles, the advantage of the diesel is 99% fuel mileage. I don't know that you could get enough mpg out of a 1/2 ton to benefit anything, and it would probably be too small to work the way a full-size would require. If the towing capacity was lower for a small diesel, and the fuel mileage was minimal, that doesn't seem very desirable. I think it would be more likely to happen in the small-mid size truck market. Toyota has the Hi-Lux which is a Tacoma with a diesel. I believe it gets into the 30mpg range but it's not a towing vehicle. I know alot of people that really need 4X4 trucks for their jobs, and being able to get 30mpg would be a boon to them. Plus the diesel off-road would be an advantage so now you're getting into several advantage categories to attract buyers.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    the VW diesel because I have not driven one.

    Before I bought my V10 I did test drive a PSD in an Excursion.(0% for 60 months@invoice) It felt sluggish off the line compared to the gasser and the deal breaker was the wife actually got nauseas(sp?) in the back seat because of a low frequency drone that was heard and could be felt through the floor boards.(same hum in a crew cab) So one man's symphony is another man's rap!! Same could be said of the smell. I do know people that enjoy the aroma.

    BTW, I applaud your honesty. A lot of diesel owners would say that regardless of load their diesel feels quicker than a gasser.

    I agree 100% on the 1/2 ton not benefiting from the main advantage of a diesel which is towing max loads a lot of the time.

    I would change the oil at the same intervals(why do you wait longer for the diesel???)

    I'll disagree on the 4X4 comment. The diesel is more nose heavy and the torque advantage that comes in at 10,000 pounds towing really doesn't make a lot of difference off road. (unless you're pulling 10k off road. LOL!!!)

    The Duramax looks very interesting(I'll have to drive quadrunners) it seems to perform more like a gasser than a diesel, being slightly higher revving and supposedly much more quiet. But back to the original question.......Is it worth $4000 more to ME or the average guy who tows moderate loads and puts 10K a year on a truck.
  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    Sebring95 you stated that, "50mpg and a $1300 premium isn't hard to recoup any way you look at it." when talking about the TDI beetle. However, have you done the math. A gas powered beetle gets about 40MPG. So if you travel 100,000 mi you would use 2500 gal of gas. assuming a average price of $1.20 per gal that would cost $3,000. The diesel get 50MPG so over 100,000 mi you would use 2000 gal of gas. Assuming an average price of $1.40 per gal would come to $2800. At that rate it would take you 650,000 miles to recoup the initial cost. Good luck on the vehicle even making it.
    Short of that both you and modvptnl have made a great discussion on the topic.
    Like I said economically it is probably a bad idea to get a mini diesel in a half ton truck.
    If you need a work truck, or for heavy duty towing
    then get a 3/4 or 1 ton with a big diesel, then you can possibly justify it.
  • indian3indian3 Member Posts: 14
    Ford use to make a mini diesel. I have a 83 ford ranger with a 2.2l diesel engine. I believe the engine was made by isuzu. It now has 264,000 miles on it. It still gets 28-30 mpg in city and 32-35 mpg on highway. I don't think that gas rangers get that kind of milage. The maintinence cost has been minimal,(one injector pump and one set of glow plugs) just change the oil and filters. I use it to drive back and forth to work. I believe that ford still produces rangers with the diesel engines but they are only being sold in Mexico.
  • twinscrewtwinscrew Member Posts: 53
    I think that it is a bad idea to buy a 3/4 ton truck if you never tow over 6K# and don't load over 1K# in the bed. Why pay to buy the extra capacity if you don't use it? Why pay extra for every mile you drive by having a truck that weighs more than it needs to? Maybe my needs are unique, but an HD diesel is overkill in my view.

    I also believe that 5500# is load enough to justify a diesel. That's what my Dodge 4x4 half ton weighs empty. Add tools, a few folks, and you get 6K+ quick. I do quite a bit of towing and work the truck pretty hard. The truck works hard even empty driving 70 mph into a stiff head wind. It gets about 14 mpg in mixed driving. I drive about 45K miles/year. Wonder what a modern diesel would do under these circumstances? I think that it would be cost effective even with diesel prices slightly higher than gas. I wonder what the average price of diesel over the last ten years is compared to the average price of gas.

    You guys are good......made me think a bit. But, if you disagree with me, you're still wrong!! (thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken) Enjoy the discussion though. Y'all seem very civilized. Can't we get an idiot to jump in?
  • bobsquatchbobsquatch Member Posts: 136
    I hate that. I spent a good amount of time replying to this post last night and when I hit post my message... it was gone.

    Here is the short version of what I was trying to say. Diesels are cheaper to maintain. Sure the oil changes cost about twice as much but that is because the filter is twice as big and they hold twice the oil. The real difference is that diesels need very little maintinance compared to a gasser. No plugs, wires, caps, rotors, timing belts... All most diesels require is keeping the fluids and filters clean. That's it. Diesels also live about 3X longer than gassers. Diesels are also very tough. Nothing ever breaks. The money you spend on tune ups and repairs to a gasser easily make up for the expense of an oil change on a diesel. Do not forget the big one... NO SMOG CHECKS! That is $50 a pop if you pass and how much is your time worth to run all these extra gasser related errands? I truly believe diesels are cheaper in the long run and if you need that kind of power it is a bonus.

    I strongly disagree with you about off roading. Low end torque is everything off road ask anyone who knows... Like me ;)
  • lariat1lariat1 Member Posts: 461
    I think putting diesel engines in a 1/2 ton is a good idea for the few people that can use it. I had a 3/4 ton ram with the 24v Cummins and I loved it, the only reason I got rid of it was because it never got to operating temperature when it got below -20F. The fuel mileage was awsome though I would start the tuck after work at 5 oclock and let it run until 11 or 12 that night and still get 14-15 mpg running around town. On the open highway I could get 23 mpg @ 80mph. The best I have seen with a 3/4 ton gasser is 17 mpg and that was open highway empty @55-60 mph. I know if they do make diesels available in 1/2 tons I will look at them.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241

    Acceleration on the cummins is only slow through 1st gear and half of second. Once the turbo kicks in watch out. The '03 cummins is supposed to have a revised turbo which is expected to give very "gas-like" (scary phrase) acceleration off the line. I'll be watching. High speed acceleration runs are quick as well, however it takes a bit for the turbo to come on line and that's where it feels slow. Once the turbo is running, it'll put you in your seat.

    7K oil changes are more than adequate on a cummins or PSD. A gasser is working much harder & running at much higher rpm's, has smaller filters, usually alot less oil, and less sophisticated oiling systems. The commercial trucks I worked around went 300K easy on 7K-10K changes in very heavy-duty stop & go driving.

    Offroading: torque is what's important. That's pretty much what low-range is all about. A 4cyl turbo-diesel weighs no more than a V6. The diesel tacomas are off-road machines (that's what all those Taliban are driving around in). Lots of idling, high-torque demand situations, low-speed crawling, and 30mpg on the road would make for a grand all-purpose truck. But a 1/2 ton isn't the best off-roader and 30mpg is asking alot so the small trucks are better positioned for a diesel IMHO. If as twinscrew said a 1/2 ton Dodge (didn't say what model) weighs 5500#, not much less than my 4X4 Quad Cab 3/4 weighs. Last time I was on the scales mine was round 6500# with two passengers and cargo.


    I was looking at Jetta diesels as I really can't see myself in a beetle:) The smallest gas engine for the Jetta was rated somewhere around 30mpg highway. That's pretty cummy for a small 4cyl IMHO, but anyway the difference is about 20mpg between the gas and diesel. That takes it to 300,000 to recoup the entire initial cost. However a quick look at edumunds, a used 96 Jetta TDI is $1000 more than a similar equipped gas model. That's probably a stretch but there is definetetly some value to the diesel on the other end.

    However, it is a gamble. Back when I was considering one, diesel was $.30 LESS per gallon so it was easy to imagine the savings. That was good for $3000 in fuel savings over 100K miles. However prices have swung the other way, although they bounce so much it's hard to say. When I first posted a week or so ago, diesel here was $.40/gallon more. This weekend I made a trip and a big truck stop up around Cleveland, OH had diesel cheaper than gas by about a penny. Back home now, diesel is $.08/gallon more. It would definetely be a gamble today. If gasoline was to go back to $2.00/gallon and stabalize you might see a demand for small diesel vehicles again. Of course, there are many other cheaper 4cyl cars that get into the 40mpg range. The Jetta is much nicer than those vehicles, and alot more fun to drive so a financial comparison between other models isn't really fair. A Camry sized vehicle getting 50mpg would be nice and that's probably not far away with hybrids and 45 volt systems, so there may never be much demand here for small diesels.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    The problem with the term "off roading" is what people's perceptions are. A diesel would not be good for the pre-runner type desert running I do. I've never seen a dedicated rock crawler with a diesel, it's just too heavy. While low end torque is obviously important it's never been an issue when using 4lo on any 4 wheeler I've owned. I've run out of traction before power while in low.

    I think you're living in the past as far as maintenance. Except for the toys, there are no timing belts on the V8 or v10's. Hasn't been distributors or rotors in years and the gassers use a coil on plug ignition saving having to change wires. Plugs are due at 100,000 miles. should cost me around $20 at that time.

    Diesels have twice the capacity of oil, more expensive filters and extra filters. I've also been told that a PSD water pump is $700, don't know about the Cummins.

    Sebring, we'll just agree to disagree on the oil changes. A good synthetic in either motor will withstand the manufacturers oil change interval even at higher operating speeds or loads. My limited knowledge on the diesels is that oil changes are even more critical on a diesel than on a gasser because of the nature of diesel fuel and the massive compression contaminate the engine oil quicker. Doesn't the PSD use engine oil to run the injector pump or something????

    The bottom line on the acceleration is that a gasser will out run the diesels 0-60, 1/4 mile empty and with a moderate load. The throttle response is also much greater on the gasser as you've agreed to. After you've bombed your Cummins, all bets are off. LOL!!!

    With out being rude, I could give a rat's [non-permissible content removed] what the talibuttholes are driving.
  • mledtjemledtje Member Posts: 1,123
    1/2 ton trucks would lose a lot of load capacity with a diesel. Even if the engine only weighed 4-500# more than a gas engine, it comes right out of payload. My Silverado 1500 4x4 has a payload of 2035#. Taking 500# away from that really reduces the reason for diesel. That same Silverado averaged 15.4mpg when loaded to 6400# (2000# load, popup camper and 2 people and gear). Empty, it gets 18 around town and 22-24 on the road. What kind of mileage does the diesel have to get to justify only being able to carry 1500#?

    It makes more sense in a similar 2500 where the load capacity starts at 3335#. But, even there, unless you are towing a big trailer the benefits of a diesel are offset by the loss in load capacity from the much heavier diesel engine.

    My current truck is a Silverado 2500 4x4 with the 6.0L gas engine. With the same camper and 2000# load on board I've averaged 15 mpg for the last 27,000 miles. Typical highway mileage is 16-16.5mpg.

    Don't get me wrong, I like diesels. But I think they make more sense in heavier duty trucks where the torque is most important, and in cars where you don't lose 20-25% of your load capacity.

    Mike L
  • lariat1lariat1 Member Posts: 461
    If you work a diesel correctly it will out accelerate a gasser but the downside is your ato transmission will eat itself real quick. The day before I traded in my old 98 ram with the 24v my buddy and I decided to se how quick the truck really was. We lined up with his 2000 GMC with the 5.3. I ran right with him until about 60 mph then he ran away until I caught up with him when his limiter kicked in. I had put bigger tires on my truck and when the limiter on the truck hit at 105 I was closed 115. The way I got the acceleration out of the diesel was I power braked it, the only reason I did it was because the next day I was trading it in. It was the first time I ever saw a diesel light up the tires but it was fun. Also turbo diesels suck for off roading, if you try to crawl over something you have little power off idle until the turbo catches up then you have to much power.
    I think the targeted truck owners for the 1/2 ton diesels would be the people that tow around 5000# for long distances frequntly like me. I tow a 5000# boat 700 miles round trip almost every weekend in the summer.
  • mledtjemledtje Member Posts: 1,123
    My dad tows his 6000# trailer with his 5.3L. He gets 20mpg empty and 10 mpg towing. Again, you have to tow a lot of miles to pay for the diesel option.

    If you are towing a heavy trailer (10,000#+) a diesel probably makes sense. But, a 3/4 ton truck is a less expensive upgrade for towing 6-10,000# than a diesel.

    Mike L

    Mike L
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    Good post but you can power brake a gasser also!!!

    Your off roading scenario makes sense to me.
  • lariat1lariat1 Member Posts: 461
    We power braked both trucks but it makes a lot more difference in to the TD. It would be interesting if you could make a transmission with enough gears to harness all of a TD power. The only reason the 5.3 ran away was because I ran out of gears at 60mph in D you are near 3000 RPM then in OD down to 1500 RPM. I think a lot of people think diesels are slow because of the way power is felt. A TD does not snap your head back but its power delivery is constant and takes damn near a mountain to slow it down.
  • moparbadmoparbad Member Posts: 3,870
    My opinion is that 85% of the posts above are incorrect and based on diesel technology of the past.

    A diesel 1/2 ton should achieve at least 30 mpg hiway. A 1980 International Scout turbodiesel which is 20 year old technology and was equivalent to a tank in weight would get 30 mpg on hiway.

    A light duty diesel would be either 4 cyl. or 6 cyl. and would not need to weigh any more than a gas 8 cyl. or 6 cyl..

    Diesel provides high amount of torque at low rpm which is perfect for the type of driving in US. Diesel excels in stop and go driving.

    Above the opinion was stated that diesel was not suited to passenger cars and they were not suited to 1/2 ton trucks either.
    Using the VW TDI as an example I want to point out that the TDI creates 150lb ft. of torque at 1900 rpm, weighs w/in 100 # of 2.0L gas VW motor, 55 mpg highway, uses same amount of oil as gas motor, has maintenance cost similar to or less than gas motor, is quiet, has no odor after initial start, cost of diesel is less than cost of 1.8T gas version of same VW,oil change is every 10,000 miles, and most of these traits can be applied to a 1/2 ton truck application.

    A diesel engine has greater thermal efficiency than gasoline and this is never going to change due to the laws of physics. Diesel fuel has more btu per gallon than gasoline. Hybrids may end up being powertrain of future but I am willing to bet they end up with a diesel attached to them.

    Diesel fuel can be made from soybean oil, hemp oil, canola oil, waste fryer oil, and is therefore a renewable resource. Can the same be said for gasoline?

    If you can possibly put the disastrous diesels of GM out of your mind, would you buy a 1/2 ton diesel truck if it got 30 mpg plus, weighed no more than gasoline version, cost no more than $1000 difference than gas motor, had much greater torque and nearly the same acceleration as gas, and was not possible to differntiate noise from gasoline motor at speed and only slightly noiser at idle than gasoline motor? This is all possible with technology of the past 4 years and the exhaust no longer smells after the initial warm up of the motor.
    As soon as low sulfur diesel arrives then pollution will not be a problem either.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • erikheikererikheiker Member Posts: 230
    I love diesels, but I could never justify owning one. They are incredibly expensive to fix, and I know too many people who have found out the hard way. Alaska is pickup country and many have diesels, so I know lots of owners. Also, most are driven in town without ever seeing a load. What good is a 300,000 mile Cummins if the Dodge it sits in falls apart after 150,000 miles? I can get 150,000 miles out of my gasser. But right now I have the best of both worlds. I drive a diesel on the job and I have the economy of a gasser in my Sierra.
  • bobsquatchbobsquatch Member Posts: 136
    I would have to strongly disagree with you about off roading. With the pre running you do I see a diesel is not an advantage, but neither is 4WD. Unless you have an unlimited budget it is much easier to make a 2WD prerunner work than a 4WD. Also, rock crawling is where diesels shine. It is not about heavy throttle wheelspin but low range idle torque that is critical to worm over the really technical terrain. I agree with whoever said turbo diesels are hard to control in these situations. Too little followed by to much power.
    You are correct though Mod. Just because diesels have more oil capacity and bigger filters doesn't mean you can extend the service intervals. Just like you said, diesel engines put more contaminants in the oil requireing bigger filters and more oil. Over the road trucks that operate continuously at freeway speeds can go 10,000 between changes, but not our stop and go daily drivers. Just because diesels are tough doesn't mean we can get away with neglecting them.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    Cummins recommends 7500 mile oil/filter changes on the Ram engine. They also recommend NOT using synthetic until at least 20K miles. The delivery trucks were rated at 15K changes, but because of the severe stop and go (150 mile/day, over 100 stops) we changed them around 10K. Like I said 300K in constant stop and go on those oil changes, I'm sure mine can make it on 7K intervals with my driving style. And most over the road trucks are on 15K changes which amounts to every 3 to 5 weeks. These rarely go less than 1M between overhauls.

    Certainly isn't going to hurt to change more often, but just like anything else at what point is there a financial benefit? If you instead change it at 3.5K over 300K you're going to spend an extra $2000 on oil changes. And for the most part, engines have a life regardless of oil changes. Changing the oil twice as often doesn't mean the engine is going to last twice as long. If this was the case heavy trucks would get the oil changed at 7.5K instead of 15K because in that case it's much cheaper than an overhaul. Parts alone for a Detroit will run you $17,000. There are some exceptions out there, where people get 5X-10X the expected life out of an engine, but they are so rare you're odds of hitting the powerball are better.

    I know of few gassers doing alot of towing that have gone 150K miles without problems. The new Chevy engines still have something to prove, but I've seen plenty of engines pulled long before 150K. Some are lucky to make 150K on grocery duty.

    I do know quite a few people that drive a ton of miles and need a work truck. IF it was as moparbad described above, the main point being that it can get 30mpg, then I agree it would sell. I don't know if it's actually possible, but that's about the point there would be a demand for it. My uncle drives a gasser 1/2 ton 4X4 loaded with construction equipment 150 miles per day. His current truck is 5 years old and gets terrible gas mpg. Engine was rebuilt around 120K. If he could haul his equipment, get 25-30mpg, and most likely make it to 300K before a rebuild i'm sure he'd buy one. And these trucks don't "fall apart" after 150K miles. Granted you're going to need some repairs but anyone that works a vehicle knows this. Not many trucking companies expect a vehicle to go 1M without touching anything even though the engine can go that far. Alternators, rear-ends, clutchs, etc. don't last that long even on heavy-duty trucks.
  • jcmdiejcmdie Member Posts: 594
    I have a '98 Ram 5.9 gasser and it also calls out 7500 miles between oil changes, based on light service. Heavy service is 3,000 miles same as the cummins. Read the description of light service and I don't know anyone that would qualify. That is in there to reduce the "advertised maintainence costs".
  • bobsquatchbobsquatch Member Posts: 136
    I totally agree with you. Besides, oil is cheap and filters aren't bad. If you are capable of doing the work yourself, the cost is negligable. Plus it is a good time to check out your truck more thoroughly then while filling up your tank.
  • minikinminikin Member Posts: 389
    thinking about maybe buying a diesel p/u. Then I stopped by a gas station, pulled up by one of the dual gas/diesel pumps, and stepped out into a light fuel spill. My shoes spent the next three days in the mud room, pants & shirt still smelled a week later when I dropped them off at the cleaners, and the cab of my truck is just now returning to normal. Unless it's commercial and/or economically justified beyond belief I will never buy a diesel anything!
    -- Don
  • bobsquatchbobsquatch Member Posts: 136
    The smell of diesel fuel is a plus in my version of that story.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
This discussion has been closed.