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diesel engines

glenn46glenn46 Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
is it true that if you buy a diesel truck you need to make it work for the truck that it is , or can you use it for every day use.


  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I don't know the absolute answer to that question, but I can offer my experience and observations. I use mine as a daily driver, roughly 500 or so miles each week. During the spring, summer and fall I use it to pull a camper and various utility trailers hauling this, that and other items. During the winter months, I don't haul or tow very much. I can tell you as winter progresses, my truck seems to start acting sluggish and the mileage is a little down. Now, all of this could be a function of the winter-blend fuel. However, even with winter-blend, I can hook up to the camper and give the truck a good workout and it seems to run better with a barely noticable gain in mileage. Maybe it has a placebo effect.

    I do know of lots of 3/4 ton diesel trucks that are used as daily drivers. I have not heard of any problems directly associated with these trucks either.

    So, I'd say go for it if that's what you want.
  • myron6myron6 Member Posts: 2
    My wife drives our duramax to work 30 miles every day. Every once in a while we pull our boat(9000 lbs) or a load of fire wood. We have not had any problems related to not working it enough. Its a much better value that a Tahoe or other larger vehicle. Right now diesel is about .10 - .15 cents cheaper and we are getting 18mpg + .. We plan on keeping it forever so I expect the diesel to outlast a gas moter significantly.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 Member Posts: 858
    ..diesel can be had for $1.40/Gal. My old diesel pickup has 275k on the clock, gets driven every day and has been getting unreal fuel efficiency since I "stole" it from a guy at work in 1985. Extremely low temperatures may tend to cause concern for the diesel...otherwise, clear sailing.
  • birdc1birdc1 Member Posts: 11
    I'm thinking about buying a '96 F-250 turbo diesel. I've heard from mechanics that the turbo puts an unecessary strain on the engine. Anyone have experience with this? I'm just looking to have the truck around the farm but it doesn't look like Ford is even making a diesel without the turbo.
  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    NOBODY makes a diesel anymore without a turbo, too much of a dog without one. For the trucks i have had with diesel i have never had a turbo problem, just have to maintain them like everything else on the rest of the truck.
  • birdc1birdc1 Member Posts: 11
    What maintenance is required? (Sorry, I'm new to this diesel thing.)
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    As far as a diesel turbo is concerned, if you get engine hot let it idle and cool down before you shut it off. Five minutes of slow driving or idling after you get off the highway or stop towing a load will allow turbo time to cool off. If you shut if off hot, oil in turbo gets cooked and cokes up. Over time this will lead to turbo bearing failure.
       Other than that, use diesel rated motor oil - like Shell Rotella. Make sure that you have an anti-cavitation additive in your coolant (not on all makes of diesels). Finally, buy your fuel at place where big-rigs go, that way you know fuel hasn't sitting in tank for months collecting water and growing algae; be religious about changing the fuel filter, and make sure air filter is clean.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Don't be too concerned about what your mechanic told you. If turbo's put too much strain on an engine, do you think nearly every over-the-road truck you see will have a turbo? Those trucks routinely go to 1 million miles and I'd be willing to bet only a small percentage ever experience a turbo failure.

    As usual, Walt got to this before I did. He pretty much covered everything.
  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    I recall that the issue was about putting a turbo, as a retrofit, onto an engine that was not designed for it in the first place. A tired engine, at that...
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    Aw shucks Jim, I let the post sit almost 12 hours, in deference to you. I just couldn't resist anymore when I saw it still sittin' here this morning unanswered. :-) But thanks for your endorsement, though I'm still waitin' for another of your controversial posts over on the Diesel-Stop . ;-)
  • birdc1birdc1 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks for all the ideas. I think I'm gonna buy this truck. It's a '94 F-250. From what I picked up on these boards, '94 was when Ford started adding the turbo to all the diesels so I'm guessing the engine was designed for it. Owner of the truck (who is a mechanic himself) rebuilt the turbo--maybe that's because shutting it down hot, as you say. Thanks for the education.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I took an extended weekend camping trip and spent all day Monday just trying to catch up! Heck, I'm still putting out fires that started Thursday and Friday.

    The current "moron on I95" thread in "towing and hauling" is a definite target. I'll pm you over there.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    A diesel engine is already overbuilt to begin with, so adding a turbo is no big deal. There is a limit to how much boost even a diesel can take. I've been told around 25 psi, after that the head gaskets turn loose. I've also been told a STOCK PSD won't make much over 15-18 psi.

    These engines are built so heavy from the factory that nitrous can be added without doing any engine modifications.
  • akjbmwakjbmw Member Posts: 231
    A recent Trucks TV episode addressed the addition of both Nitrous Oxide and Propane for long uphill stretches.

    The most important point, I think, was the suggestion of adding a pyrometer for the exhaust.

    I believe that they said that the nitrous and propane actually decreased the temps.

    Whatever you decide to change to "upgrade" your rig, analyze the return on investment. How many miles until the dollars spent are balanced by the increased miles per gallon, or will the performance increase be worth the expenditure.
    Ya know the drill, think it through so you will not be unduly surprised or flat out disappointed.

    Enjoy the miles.
  • gawthorpegawthorpe Member Posts: 3
    I own a 2003 7.2 litre crew cab, FX4 long bed. My rear end is the 373 gearing. My concern is that I am getting 14 mpg. This seems about 3 miles below my expectation. Does anyone haave suggestions or is that about average?

    Please email me at egawthor@eyemedvisioncare.com

    Thank you,
    Erik Gawthorpe
  • brads03expybrads03expy Member Posts: 12
    It is a 7.3L. How many miles are on it? It takes these motors about 15-20,000 miles to break in. Is it a stick or automatic? Once it breaks in it should do better.
  • wisbeckwisbeck Member Posts: 10
    I have a 31-foot travel trailer with a gross weight of 9000 lbs +. I would like to buy an F250 diesel but I'm not sure which gear ratio to order. I thought the 372 gears would be the best for every day driving and towing the trailer. I don't tow the trailer to often so I don't want to sacrifice too much gas mileage. What kind of mileage should I expect out of the different gear ratios? Do you have any other suggestions?
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I also have a 31' TT and an F-350 with the 3.73 gears and 6-speed. Your situation appears fairly similar to mine - daily driver and pulling the TT on the weekends. The 3.73 is fine for what I do. However, I pull mainly on fairly flat ground and have yet to tackle anything of any serious nature. Around here, probably Mont Eagle in southeastern TN is the worst pull I'm familiar with. On a run such as Mont Eagle I would think the 3.73 could be a little too tall, but that's what those 6 speeds are for. I have yet to pull any hill that 5th gear and 2,500 rpm's couldn't conquer.

    If you live in a mountainous region and/or tow all the time, I'd suggest the 4.10. Otherwise the 3.73 should be just fine.

    BTW: I get 18+/- mpg empty and 11.5+/- mpg when towing.
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    Just another thought to compliment Jim. Is trailer 9000 lbs empty, with nothing in water and holding tanks? If so you can easily add another 1000-1500 lbs or more to it when you're out camping. This doesn't include the stuff that ends up in the truck - coolers, tools, passengers, etc..
      Just a word to the wise, F250 diesel can tow it like a charm, you won't exceed the GCWR - combined weight of trailer and vehicle, but it doesn't come with a lot of payload capacity. GVWR - gross vehicle weight rating on a 250 isn't very big considering the size of the truck - the extra weight of diesel engine reduces it further. Suggest that you look into an F350, for about $600 more you get about 1500lbs more payload.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Walt's is right, I'd much rather have a SRW F-350 than a 250, simply for the payload rating. Notice I said "rating." There has been MUCH discussion on this subject on other forums. I'm not advocating overloading by any means, just look at my dually and camper combo, but lots of other folks load the 250's just as heavy as the SRW 350's.

    BTW: I'd bet the 9k is the gross weight. Mine grosses about the same.
  • wisbeckwisbeck Member Posts: 10
    Thanks for the good advise. I live in Wisconsin and I currently have an F150 4X4 with the heavy duty towing package and the 3.55 gears. It tows it up hills OK but I would never be able to tow it up a small mountain or steep foothills. The trailer is actually over 6000 lbs empty and can go up to 9,000 lbs. When I bought the F150 I didn't have the trailer yet. I can tow it doing 70 mph on flat ground but my mileage drops to 8 mpg. I get up to 17 mpg on the highway with out the trailer. My wife finally agreed we need the diesel if we want to be able to pull the camper through steep hills or mountains.
    What kind of mileage do you get with the 3.73 gears on the F350? How are the 4.10 gears for normal driving and mileage? I didn’t know the F350 was that close in price. I will look into them too. The heavier springs would be nice if they’re not too stiff when the truck is empty. I would prefer the automatic transmission to a stick.
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Member Posts: 493
    Have to recuse myself on engine mileage - I've got the V10 - about 8-9 mpg towing 8-9K. Haven't gone over the Rockies, but still have reasonable grunt on the hills in New England with the 3.73 rear end - though at times will have to hold it in 2nd gear when tranny starts searching too much. On flat ground barely know trailer is there, and can cruise in over drive.
       Ride of 250/350 is a lot more truck-like than you're used to with the F150, but surprisingly good considering the mass of the vehicle. Actually, ride comfort is more a function of the tire pressures and how heavy you're loaded.
      Got to Ford website - they let you "build & price" new truck - you can configure comparable 250s and 350. Not that much difference in price - although that site only shows MSRP.
       Supposedly new auto tranny with new 6.0 Diesel is a lot more bullet proof than previous model. Can handle more torque and doesn't require a ton of supplemental cooling when towing. Other folks still prefer control that manual gives them. FYI, if you're in market for new truck - diesel motor is getting a slew of upgrades around December time frame - redesign of turbo, fuel distribution, etc. to solve all(most) of the new motor complaints from the 03 models. Had kind of spotty problems, some motors were gems, others were dogs. Might be worth waiting for - unless some dealer has a year end special that you can't pass on.
  • wisbeckwisbeck Member Posts: 10
    Thanks for all the input. I can wait. I only thought of buying one now because the loans are so low. I will try to keep an eye out for info on the new diesel.
    Thanks again.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I'd have to check my log, but I'm getting around 18mpg running empty with a mixture of city/hwy driving. When I have the camper hooked up, I get around 11.5mpg. I have a 2wd dually, 6-speed and 3.73 rearend
  • wisbeckwisbeck Member Posts: 10
    Where is that Ford web sight where you can build & price a truck? Is this where you look for the information on the new Diesel engine for 2004?
    Tahnks again for all the input.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Try "www.fordvehicles.com" I don't know if they have the info on the '04.
  • black_silverblack_silver Member Posts: 39
    I tow a 5th wheel RV trailer with a 6.6L Duramax diesel and Allison 5speed transmission. This is a turbo-charged/intercooled 32-valve engine and it is an absolute dream towing rig, both for flatlanders and in the mountains. Previously pulled with gas, and the difference astounds me every time I pull. Can't comment directly on the Ford diesel, but in general I guarantee you will love diesel over your current gas rig. Just for starters, diesel fuel around here runs about a dime cheaper than gas, and the towing mileage is about double what you'd get from a capable gasoline engine.

  • wisbeckwisbeck Member Posts: 10
    Thanks again everyone for all your input and the web sights. You've been a big help.
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