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Diesel Fuel Economy and chips

pickupwbbpickupwbb Posts: 10
Does anyone have any insight about chips and fuel mileage increase. I do a little towing not much but drive my 05 Ford 6.0 PS to and from work ona daily basis 80 miles rt and with the price of fuel I am wondering if it makes sense to chip it out for higher MPG?

Any thoughts and real world experiences?



  • eibli1cjeibli1cj Posts: 3
    I am new to the Forum and have a big decision to make soon. Wanted to get some opinions from as many members as possible. I live in Michigan and I travel all over the state doing warranty service home repair on manufactured homes. I work on Redman, Commander, Fortune, Dutch, and Champion some times. The issue I have if my current truck (1995 CK 1500) and 20 ft 8ft wide trailer are getting me on avg. 7 MPG. Which is sick and taking my mileage income away from me. I get .50 a mile so the better fuel economy I get the more I take home. The trailer is a snowmobile trailer and not to practical for my job. I am looking to go two routes for new equipment for my business. I need a trailer / vehicle that can accommodate a slider door for height, and carpet/ Linoleum rolls that can be 15ft in lenght. I have been looking at two options:

    1. A van that can get me up to 27 MPG at a full GVWR and at 55 MPH. Dodge claims this is absolutely possible! And at 70 MPH I am still getting 20.7 MPG, but for the most part I am on 55 MPH roads to service the new home owners for repairs. Here is the link for the Dodge Sprinter
    This van has only been available in the states since 2002 and is fully built in Germany. I test drove one and was very impressed. It is a Mercedes Benz powertrain and had amazing power with such good MPG. They have a long 158-inch wheelbase models which gives me the length I need for carpet, ect...Also 73 inches of walk-through height that clears what I need to put slider doors ect in. Price with options just over $35,000.

    2. Ford or GM diesel truck and a 16 ft V-nose trailer. I know I will not have the fuel mileage of the Sprinter but I will have a little more cargo room seeing how I have the truck and the trailer. The trailer alone would 16ft and taller than the van, and then the bed of the truck comes in handy a lot of the time. My wife wants me to get the truck so we have that extra vehicle, but I would not be able to afford a brand new truck and then buy a $6000 dollar trailer in addition. Real foggy part about this option is the fuel mileage? I would be towing 3500-5000 lbs across mainly flat areas of Michigan.

    Consider: I drive an average of 31,200 miles a year and I get 7 MPG's with my current truck and trailer. Say @ $2 a gal my annual fuel cost of close to $9,000. 31,200 * .50 = $15,600 for fuel pay from my employer. With the Sprinter at say 21 MPG which is the fuel cast would be come less than $3000 for a savings of AT LEAST $6,000 a year. That is $500 a month free and clear! Not to mention the repair cost on my truck and trailer and the missed work for those times. I have placed $2500 in my rig in the last 6 Months. Add that to the cost or savings and buying a Sprinter is a no brainier. Big question is what a Duramax Diesel can get me pulling 6000 lbs. And can I get a truck and trailer for under $35,000? I am sure I can but it will not be new as the Sprinter would be. Just wondering what option would be best.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    Just wondering what option would be best.

    Go with the Sprinter. It will get an honest 22-25 mpg. You can throw in some seats or a couch and use it on the weekends for a camper. They tow an honest 5000 lbs with double the mileage you are getting with the CK1500.

    Good testimonial:

    armchair67, "Dodge Sprinter" #100, 25 Nov 2004 5:29 am
  • As long as you are sure the Sprinter will tow the trailer, I say go for the Sprinter. I have an '03 F350 CrewCab with a 6.0L powerstroke. I average 14mpg towing a 27' Travel Trailer that is 5000lbs dry (Forest River Flagstaff). So if the Sprinter will actually tow 5000lbs (my Expedition wouldn't do it comfortably) and get 20+ mpg, then go for it. Another option is the Excursion diesel. You get the 6.0L Powerstroke, but the Excursion is gears differently than the F250/350 and the Excursion is known to get 23-24MPG on the HWY without towing (from the owners I talk to in the RV Parks). They claim to get 18-19mpg towing similar travel trailers, but that's gearing for you. I can tow 16500lbs they can only tow 11000lbs (course I can go goosneck/5th wheel and they can't).

    Eventually I will chip my truck.

    BTW, we travel the same type of terrain.....I'm in Elkhart, IN.....7 miles south of the MI border.


    03 Ford F350 SuperCrew KingRanch 6.0L Powerstroke
    04 VW Jetta GLS TDI-PD
    05 VW Passat GLS TDI
  • eibli1cjeibli1cj Posts: 3
    Thanks for your input. I did want to note that I do not need the Sprinter to tow a trailer as I can place all of my equipment in it as I would in option two with a trailer. The Sprinter claims to get an actual 27.4 MPG with a full GVRW at 55 MPH. I have a flyer I got at Home Depot when the dealer was promoting the Sprinter one weekend. I was amazed!! I did test drive the sprinter and immediately I could tell it was not a Dodge. Just had the emblems on it, but this baby was impressive. I am just trying to get a feel of opinions and trying to find out the same info the Sprinter dealers give out. True MPG's. I hear a lot on the trucks getting close to 20 MPG. Bottom Line is if I can only get 12-14 with a truck then I will probably go with the Sprinter due to the fact I drive at least 600 miles each week. So if a truck/Trailer gets me say 14 versus the sprinter at say 24 then that is 10 more miles for each gallon of gas I buy. So over the course of the year driving 30,000 miles it can become much more income in a hurry. Plus the Sprinter I would have to buy new, where spending the same amount of money on a truck and trailer I would more than likely have to go with a used truck. Thus not having the warranty and possible lowest maint cost the Sprinter would provide. I am not trying to make a case for the Sprinter just wheighing in on it all. I know the Sprinter has a 4x4 option but only available in Europe and a truck would give me that. Plus I am torn with getting the Sprinter as I spend that much money and not have a nice truck in the drive. That seems to be the wife's gripe about the van. But I tell her the van would be a revenue getter over a truck and trailer.
    I get rolls of Lino at least once every other week and Carpet is rare for me. The Sprinter will make me be a better organizer and it will be tight getting all of my tools and then supplies. And that is where a little single axel trailer to tow could play in at times? Not real sure.
    I guess I really need to find out what MPG I can get from what trucks so I can really make the fuel cost factor and weigh in all of the advanteges & disadvanteges from both options.
    Thanks again for your better way to find out than to ask the world of truck drivers.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    I have an '03 F350 CrewCab with a 6.0L powerstroke.

    What can you get on the open road with no trailer? My step son has that exact year and model. I asked him and he never checks the fuel, just has one of his hands go fill it from their big equipment tank. I had thought of getting one myself with a fifth wheel camper. He traded a 2001 7.3 power stroke for the 6.0 and says it will pull the long grade out of the desert with his big fifth wheel 10 miles per hour faster than the older Power Stroke. Plus it is quieter. It is my first choice if I buy a diesel truck. Got to get up to Portland Monday and drive that new Passat TDI, I am looking forward to that.
  • Well gagrice you've asked the right person, since I check every tank (I'm a bit OC about it, even with electronic fuel efficiency calculators in both the F350 and the Passat I hand calculate it).

    The truck in 100% hwy driving (a trip down to GA to visit my family this past Thanksgiving) I was able to squeak 23mpg out of the truck....but that was taking it easy....60mph 90% of the the truck: my wife and two kids (3yo and 4yo) and our luggage for 5 days, plus I have a CoverMaster E-300 fiberglass lid on the truck (made here in Elkhart, and I'll have to remove it when I get my 5th RV).

    I generally average 18mpg in mixed driving, about 75C/25H. I can get as low as 13mpg in 100% city, but that is being really hard on the accelerator.....this truck will take a sports car off of the line with no problems at all.....but once it hits ~75mph, the sports car will easily take over. In fact, with the above mentioned 27' trailer, I was able to go from an emergency stop area on I-80 (to switch drivers with my wife) and get back out onto 80 in traffic, 0-60mph with 11,500lbs (or 5.5tons) 12 kidding. That's 570lb/ft of torque for ya!

    On the open road, running 75-80mph I get 19-20mpg hand calculated. I think that is pretty darn good for a truck that is 21' long and weighs 6500lbs. :shades:

    I hope you enjoy driving you Passat down the coast. I've been able to get 43mpg out of mine, and only have 2100 miles on it, so a long way before being broken in. Speaking of that, I only have 19500 miles on my truck, so it too is a long way from being broken in and I'm sure its mileage will get a little bit better over the next few/ten thousand miles.


    03 Ford F350 SuperCrew KingRanch 6.0L Powerstroke
    04 VW Jetta GLS TDI-PD
    05 VW Passat GLS TDI

    Hey...figured I'd post pics...haven't done that yet....


    can you tell I love my cars?
  • I have a 03 7.3 f250 an I pull a 30ft 5 wheel dry weight at 7200. If I chip will it ruin my truck. I would like to get 200,000 miles. If it is safe what chip is best? I am new to diesels and this forum and will appreciate any help. Thank You
  • wpalkowskiwpalkowski Posts: 493
    Chipping your diesel won't necessarily ruin it. It depends on how "hot" a chip you put in. The big problem that results from a chip is that your exhaust gas temperatures (EGT) will go up. The exhaust gases are used to spin the turbo charger, which gives the engine more power and response. If the EGTs get too hot, you can damage the turbo charger over time - the heat starts cooking the bearings.

    To prevent this, you'd need to have Pyrometer (basically a high temperature thermometer) installed in the exhaust stream before the turbo. If you're pushing the truck hard (like towing heavy up a long high) you'll see the EGT start to climb. Once it starts approaching 1100-1200 degrees, you'll have to back off and let things cool down. Drive according to what the Pyrometer tells you and the engine will be fine.

    Now of course there are other issues too - if you put in too strong a chip, you can develop too much torque for the rest of your drive train and then possibly experience drivetrain problems, etc.

    On that note. If you have an automatic and especially if you're towing, you should have a tranny temperature gauge installed. Those long slow hill climbs raise the tranny temp too. Once transmission temps go above around 250 degrees the transmission fluid cooks and the friction modifier additives in the fluid become compromised. Tranny damage will result if you keep driving for any length of time on the burned transmission fluid. You need to flush it, and change all the fluid. How soon you need to flush depends on how hot it got.
  • glenn2nsglenn2ns Posts: 2
    I'd be interested in the chip info as well (2006 6.0 PS diesel F250 - delivery in July)
  • trendomtrendom Posts: 2
    I talked to a guy the other day that installed a performance module called the Workhorse and said he jumped his mileage from 15 to 20. He said he still got 17 pulling his boat. I think he bought it at

    He said it completely removed the turbo hesitation off the bottom.
  • steveb3steveb3 Posts: 1
    can't seem to locate james harland. I'm also interested in info on chips for a 2002 f250.7.3 diesel. primarily improved mileage but could use more power but without the pipes and gauges.any testimonials?
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    It's not recommended, but you can run a lower HP chip/tuner without gauges and exhaust mods. I ran a 75 HP Western Diesel Turbo Chip with no gauge or exhaust mods with no problems. I couldn't believe the difference that chip made. The performance increase, both running empty and towing, was amazing. As far as increased mileage, well I didn't see any. However, I suspect if the truck hadn't been so darn fun to drive, and I could've kept my foot out off the accelerator, my mileage would've gone over 20mpg. This was a '99 F-350 6-speed.
  • joepajamasjoepajamas Posts: 2

    Do Not trust what any dealership tells you regarding mileage!!!! It is always lower than what they say... IF they want to sell you that high of a priced vehicle, take it out for a day and run a tank of diesel through it on the freeway, and see what the darn thing gets EMPTY. Once again, do not trust speculation. With that being said, i shall speculate regarding a vehicle i once owned. I had a 1996 Ford E-350 Powerstroke Diesel Van. Yes they made them, i am not sure if they still do. I worked as a runner during rock concerts, ( basically chore boy/ limo driver in disguise. people don't suspect talent in a big van) so usually i hauled 6-15 people around town and on the freeway. I also used the van when our band when on the road, we had 6 people in the rig, and towed a Wells Cargo trailer, single axle, with band gear and lighting equipment. We probably had 5-8klbs worth of crap, and people weight, between trailer and people in the van. I got routinely 14-16mpg, with the lethargic Ford 3 speed with overdrive auto tranny. I normally towed on the freeway at 65-70mph with overdrive on, even though owners manual said not to, ( our trailer was pretty light). I believe running people around town/ to airport, i got 14-17 mpg, light load mainly freeway. I checked my mileage alot, every fill up. Motor had between 80k- and 100k while i owned it.

    I have heard of Dodge Ram Non extended cab 5.9's with manual tranny getting unloaded 22mpg, but it has been word of mouth, and people normally exaggerate. The Sprinter may get high mileage if it is a lower displacement engine, but once again TEST DRIVE it like 300miles and fuel it up and CALCULATE the mileage, for your self..... NEVER EVER TRUST A DEALERSHIP.

    The one fellow i know that has a Duramax 3/4 ton extended cab says he gets 20ish. To me 20 ish means i was expecting to get 20 but i really got 17-18 unloaded. Seems to me people pay $35 k then expect magic results, thus creating the need for exagertation when the truth hits. Maybe it perform as well as people state, i wish EPA would make large trucks state mileage claims.
  • joepajamasjoepajamas Posts: 2

    DO NOT TRUST Dealer CLAIMS,... YOU are spending the money, take the dam Truck out, and run 3/4 of a tank of fuel through it. The dealer better let you because they cannot provide in writing actual mileage estimates, for they have NONE. Once again Check the mileage yourself.
    I owned a 1996 Ford E350 van with 2wd and 3sp/w Od tranny and got 13.9-18mpg.
    I would think the Dodge 2wd with a 6spd tranny would get the best mileage, or the Duramax with simililar tranny and drivetrain. They weigh the least.

    Good luck

    Drive the spinter and make sure it performs as they say it will.

  • mhulseymhulsey Posts: 1
    hello i am new here and i was wondering if anyone had any info on how to get more power from the 1.9 diesel without voiding the warranty? are there any performance chips or other things i can do to it while keeping the warranty, mileage and dependable the same or better? thanks
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Since the theme of this discussion is for heavy duty full-size pickups, you may want to check this discussion instead:

    Volkswagen Owners: TDI Models

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • rdgordon4rdgordon4 Posts: 1
    I just purchased a F250 Super Cab Diesel. I got 12 mpg pulling a Dodge Caravan on a tow dolly for 250 miles. I need 17 mpg empty or I'm selling this truck. I stop everybody I see with Ford, Chev, or Dodge Diesel Trucks. I always hear 18 mpg plus. Is my truck broke or am I hearing alot of stories ?
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    Tell us more about your truck, everything you can think of. You'd be surprised how much the configuration will affect mileage.
  • roughneckroughneck Posts: 21
    I know at least three guys with powerchokes and the mpg reading in the truck is not reliable. Everyone has read 12-14 mpg. But if you take your miles driven and gallons used to fill up they were getting much better numbers. Must be a Ford thing.
  • 05duramax05duramax Posts: 10
    This is kind of a convoluted thread, but my 05 Duramax 2500 HD gets 18 mpg so far with about 1,500 miles on it. I haven't towed anything yet. Don't have a chip.
    Not planning to put in a chip. Stock. Stock. Stock. Didn't actually "need" the diesel, but figured resale would be good and all my buddies say it's the coolest truck I've ever had. So far so good.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,108
    Good choice, Hope you bought the GMC it looks a bit better... Hope you bought in the current Promotion. The prices are great.
  • I just picked up a 2000 Ram 2500 regular cab with 5spd cummins and 34k miles on it. So far i've gotten (hand calculating) 18.3, 19.5 and 23mpg. 18.3MPG was all city driving and pulling my ski boat (3000lbs) for about 60miles up and down mountains. 19.5mpg was a mix of 100miles hwy, city driving and 30miles pulling the boat. 23mpg was almost all hwy driving, flat interstate and some mountainous 2lane stuff thru the nathahala gorge in NC, was around 649miles on the tank when the fuel light came on. This is with non synthetic oil and regular dino diesel.
  • mcb1mcb1 Posts: 1
    I have an 02 SD 7.3 with 85k and just bought a power controller off ebay for 100 dollars and this has made better fuel per gal,I as yet have not hand figured the mileage on paper but the 180 some miles I have driven and still the tank is just under 1/4 tank when I fuel up I will know for sure,and what power WOW! :D
  • stix818stix818 Posts: 4
    I just bought a Hypertech III for my 05 duramax and would like to install a boost and pyrometer along with it. I worried that I'll hurt the motor pulling my 10000 lbs trailer. My question is, how hard is it to install the pyrometer and boost gauges? I found a gauge cluster that suposedly comes with all hook ups. Has anyone install one of these kits?
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    The boost gauge is simple enough. All you do is find a suitable place to drill a hole into an intake tube downstream of the turbo. Then you just install the fittings that came with the gauge and run the wires and tubing to the gauge in the cab.

    The pyrometer can be a little more difficult depending on what type of probe it has and the exhaust system configuration between the engine and turbo. However, you need to know if you have a "pre-turbo" gauge or a "post-turbo" gauge. That will determine where you'll mount the probe. I'm not familiar with the Duramax, however I assume this install should be similar to a Powerstroke. I prefer the "pre-turbo" gauge since that will show you any temp spikes the quickest and those spikes will be more extreme. A "post-turbo" gauge tends to be more stable and will not react as quickly, showing more of an average. There are two probe types, one will just clamp on using a large stainless steel worm clamp and the other requires you to weld a bung to the exhaust pipe. I prefer the clamp on type simply for the ease of installation and I have never heard anything negative about it, of course your experience could be completely different. If you're using a "pre-turbo" gauge, locate a suitable place where you can drill a hole into the exhaust header and install the probe. The preferred place on the Powerstroke seems to be on the drivers side where the header makes the bend from the exhaust manifold to go up toward the turbo. I'm sure the Duramax is different. If you're using a "post-turbo" gauge, then locate a suitable place on the downpipe as close to the turbo as you can get.

    Installing these two gauges is a great way to help ensure you don't cook your turbo while towing. If I remember correctly, the Hypertech ran some pretty high EGT's in a 7.3 liter Powerstroke when run hard. May be a completely different story for the Duramax though. While you are at it, install a tranny temp gauge. Anytime you bump up HP and torque, the tranny can really take a beating. Especially at low speeds when the torque convertor isn't locked up.

    I hope this helped. :D
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    Edmunds rules will not allow me to post the address of another web site. Since your email is private, send me an email and I'll give you that address. I have used these guys for several years now and they have always been great to deal with. They specialize in diesel repair and performance and have an outstanding selection of gauges. They even have a tech support section.

    BTW: Let me say that I have absolutely no interest in that business, whether financial or personal. I have never met any of the owners. They have been so great to deal with that I want to see their business grow.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Just to clarify the rules...

    You may post a web address of a commercial business that is appropriate to the discussion, such as an accessory supplier, as long as it is not your company or one you have a direct relationship/benefit with. You may not link to other message boards, chats, or forums.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    Well, thank you for that clarification KC. However, I've posted this address once before and got my hand slapped. Since I have your blessings, I'll post it here.

    The name of the business is Diesel Injection Service. They are in Lubbock, TX. and maybe a couple of other places in TX. Click link title for their website.
  • stix818stix818 Posts: 4
    mullins87, thanks for the help. I build race engines on gas but never dealt with a diesel before so I'm on uncharted territory. I'll take a look at the links and I agree with you on the pre-turbo pyrometer. What's nice about the new Duramax's is that they come factory with a good trany temp gauge. Dealing with the Hypertech's get me a little nervous so I set it to the lowest setting and I will be towing my 30' race trailer to Texas to give it her first workout!!!

    On another note, I'm not sure why my email is private but I'll change it!!!
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    The profile default is "private" - that was a system change from some time ago. You hav to actively change it to "public".

    kcram - Pickups Host
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