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July 2014 Postal Route - Letters to the Editor

Our Readers Write Back!

Jul 8, 2014
Mazda6 Fan

First, I must say I appreciate your work at Diesel Power magazine. When it arrives, I can’t wait to take it to the private office and read it!

Since selling (for financial reasons) my wonderful 2001 Dodge Cummins many years ago (the stuff we sacrifice for our children), I have had to get my diesel fix from this magazine. And boy, you delivered! I normally don’t comment on magazines, but this article got me buzzing. Mazda has done an amazing job with the redesigned 6. The oil-burner under the hood seems simply incredible: the power, the fuel mileage, the lack of weight. The interior seems huge, the bodylines are gorgeous, and it’s still a family sedan! Combine that with the efforts of Speed Source Race Engineering, which took a mostly factory engine and created 400 hp! Oh, man! Something tells me the aftermarket world will be taking note of these modifications and will be working similar items into their product offerings.
If Mazda offered this car (stock) in rear-wheel drive, I would trade in my gasser Dakota tonight! Then I would ask for forgiveness from my wife after the 6 was sitting in the driveway and she drove it!
Again, thanks for letting me live vicariously through the pages of your magazine.
Eric Mills
via email

Photo 2/6   |   1101dp Doomsday Diesel 1991 Gmc Suburban V2500 front Three Quarter
Whatever happened to…

First off, incredible magazine. When I get my monthly issue, the wife automatically knows I am useless for the next two days, and she has to listen to the wish list for the following two weeks. I am certain I did not miss the articles, but what happened with Doomsday Diesel, the Banks Blown Duramax, and most recently, a 6.4L, 900hp Power Stroke with 60,000 miles? Please keep up the great work!


Haugen, Wisconsin
It’s nice to know someone is following our project builds so closely. Doomsday Diesel is in near-running condition, with a revamped cooling system on the way. Then it should be ready for the end of times…
As we went to print with this issue, the Banks blown 7.1L Duramax had just been fired up for the first time and tested on its in-house engine dyno. From there, the team planned to stuff it in the dragster and hit the quarter-mile for a test and tune. We should have an update for you in the August issue.
The 6.4L Power Stroke project has been coined “International Threat,” and to date there have been three installments (it’s a five-part series). In Part 1 (July ’13), we beefed up the 5R110 automatic; in Part 2 (January ’14), the short-block was built; Part 3 (April ’14) entailed all the top-end modifications; and the next installment will call for dual K16s and a competition-ready low-pressure fuel supply system.

Photo 3/6   |   2005 Chevrolet Silverado Mega Tow Rig

Toughest Tows

I just picked up the April issue of Diesel Power mag and read Mike McGlothlin’s editorial on toughest tows. First of all, let me say I love the magazine, and I thoroughly enjoyed the article -- probably more than most because I have personal experience with the stretch of highway you spoke of. I have driven it several times. Twice in a stock (minus the silencer ring) ’98½ Dodge Ram 2500 24-valve, towing a car the first time, and then everything we own the second time. I went through all the same elements you did...snow, fog, wind, darkness, semis, and highway patrol. It took six hours to make it through to the other side on one of the journeys! I absolutely agree it is one of the most challenging highways in the nation! Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you given that we’ve had similar experiences. I thought it was cool someone wrote about it in such a widely read magazine. Thanks, and keep the awesome stuff coming!

Anthony Dupont
via email

Photo 4/6   |   The Hughes Family
Photo Caption Included

My daddy loves Ram trucks. My mommy loves Ford trucks. I will get back to you on my preference in 16 years, but for now, I just love your magazine!

The Hughes Family
New York

Old vs. New

Every year y’all do a big towing shootout between the latest Chevy, Ford, and Ram trucks, usually up the road to the Eisenhower tunnel, and every year the manufacturers up the level of play in horsepower and torque. Many a young reader have never rode in, driven, or towed with some of the early diesel offerings (6.2L N/A Chevys, 6.9L and 7.3L N/A Fords, or the early 5.9L rotary-pumped Dodges), and I get the feeling many readers don’t realize just how incredible these new trucks are.

My suggestion is to add one classic diesel to your tow test for each category (’14 F-350 and an early ’80s F-350 diesel, and the same with Chevy and Dodge) for comparison and fun. Use the same tests, same trailer, and same load to show how far trucks have come.
I think it would be easy to find a volunteer for each brand from their respective Internet forums. Heck, even a fully modded classic diesel vs. its new counterpart would be fun to read about.
Scott Weaver
via email
You’re right, Scott. It’s simply mind-boggling how far diesel trucks have come in the last quarter century. This is an idea we’ve kicked around in the past. The real trouble lies in finding a strong-running, mint-condition truck from the ’80s. Maybe Ford and GM still have the first pre-production diesel truck from ’83 and ’82, just like Cummins has a restored version of the first diesel-powered D250…
Former Associate Editor Jason Sands came up with the idea of pitting his compound-turbo’d, 600hp ’95 Dodge Ram against a brand-new Ram in towing, acceleration, and fuel economy challenges. If we get more letters like this, we may have to start stirring the pot on this old vs. new idea once more.

256.8 MPG?

In your March ’14 issue on page 30 you show a Volkswagen hybrid that gets 256.8 miles to a gallon. Is this for real? When does this car come into production? Nothing is explained very well. The only reason I personally subscribe to your magazine is because I am a fuel-saving fanatic. That’s why I have a diesel. And even though the vast majority of drivers who subscribe to your magazine are more interested in power than fuel savings, each and every one of them will react to vehicles that can save them money on fuel.

Every big truck driver who reads your magazine also has a regular-sized car, pickup, or SUV, and when it comes to getting better mpg with their vehicle, they are all very attentive. So fuel economy is very important to all of us who pick up your magazine. Why don’t you tell us more about this Volkswagen hybrid with this extraordinary mileage capacity?
Stuart Chalem
via email
Unfortunately, nothing new has been brought to light since this bombshell was dropped on us back in March. However, if we hear anything more about the mega-mileage Volkswagen, Diesel Power readers will be the first to know.
Why Delete? I would like to say thank you for putting out a great magazine! The knowledge that is passed to me has so much information that sometimes it can be a bit confusing. I am in the market for a new four-door 4x4 ¾-ton diesel and am interested in the Ram 2500 or Sierra 2500HD. So I went to a few Internet forums to get owner information regarding the Cummins and the Duramax. In the forums I stated that I want to use the diesel as a daily driver, use a Fisher V-Plow, and tow a fifth-wheel trailer (in the near future).
The comments I keep receiving is that I need to “delete” all emissions-related equipment and use a “tuner” for the truck to be reliable. I would never pass the annual inspection here in Massachusetts if I did a “delete” as I am being told. My question is: Why do friends of mine who drive the VW Jetta diesel with DEF not need to “delete” their cars, and yet use them as daily drivers? Is there a difference in the technology in those cars compared to a Ram or Sierra diesel that I’m missing? I love the new trucks for their looks and very comfortable interiors, not to mention the capability they now have. I am being steered in the direction of pre-emissions diesels, but I’m not interested in a 9- or 10-year-old truck. Will the purchase of a new diesel cause me problems if I don’t “delete” like I am being told?
Any help is appreciated...
Jeff Gaipo
Acushnet, Massachusetts
There is no real difference between a Volkswagen Jetta using DEF and a new diesel pickup that requires it. Both are using this fluid to cut down on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. What you’ll find in the diesel enthusiast world (i.e. the Internet forums) are folks that have experienced emissions equipment-related failures, or are simply fonder of engines built prior to the emissions regulations crunch (engines like the 5.9L Cummins, LB7 Duramax, and 7.3L Power Stroke). Many enthusiasts have also removed emissions equipment from newer model year trucks in an attempt to regain fuel economy and make the engines themselves more reliable. On DPF-equipped (pre-DEF) trucks such as ’07½ to ’12 Rams, ’08 to ’10 Fords, and ’08 to ’10 GMs, mileage was noticeably lower than on previous-generation trucks. However, once DEF was brought into the equation, mileage went back up (as did horsepower). With the latest crop of trucks, a bump in fuel economy often isn’t realized if the emissions system is deleted. This is because DEF actually helps fuel economy on newer diesels.
You’re correct in thinking you won’t pass an emissions test if you “delete” a newer truck, so we wouldn’t. If we were you, we’d buy the new truck you want, as it will obviously have a warranty. Then, when the truck nears the end of its factory warranty, trade it in or purchase an extended warranty. The bottom line on emissions-laden diesels is yes, they are more prone to emissions device failure than the engines of 10 years ago, but emissions technology is constantly evolving and getting better.

Photo 5/6   |   2005 Chevrolet Silverado Mega Tow Rig
Letter of the Month

Sponsored by AutoAnything

Hi, my name is Jorge Alonso, and I am a faithful reader of Diesel Power magazine and a diesel enthusiast (really, a nut). I’m writing to share my 2005 Duramax that I built from the ground up. The main reason I’m writing is because I have something to say about some of your recent reader letters, including the “Letter of the Month,” in which you guys were accused of only showcasing “show trucks” that are not realistic builds unless you have 15 sponsors and truck beds full of cash: Not true! I am a married father of three with a regular job (big rig driver), and I’m on a budget. Sure, my truck wasn’t built in 15 days. It has been a nine-year build, and I have concentrated on what the truck is mostly used for (a mega tow rig). I think most of your readers are similar to me, as I bought a diesel truck to fill many needs (family vehicle, tow vehicle, work vehicle, play vehicle) and not just a single-purpose 1,500hp show truck. I built this truck myself, in my garage, with the help of friends and family. It’s by no means a show truck, and it reflects what I think a lot of your readers do with their trucks on a daily basis. I drive and work my truck every day, and the bed scratches can prove it, like so many of your other readers. I would be honored if you would do a feature on my truck in your magazine to show what can be built on a budget. Love your magazine. Keep up the great work. I will continue to be a cover-to-cover reader whether my truck ends up in your magazine or not. Just wanted to share my story.

Jorge Alonso
via email
Photo 6/6   |   Gift Certificate
Thank you for debunking the myth that good looking, heavily modified trucks don’t work, and proving that doing a lot of the work yourself can save you thousands. As our Letter of the Month, Jorge will receive a $100 gift certificate from aftermarket parts specialist Auto Anything (www.autoanything.com).
To all our readers, we thank you for your comments and compliments. Keep those emails and letters coming. Write to: Diesel Power, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, or email us at dieselpower@sorc.com.
Career In Diesel

My name is William Bartling, and I just started reading the magazines you put out. I can’t get enough of them and love what you guys do. My question is, how do you get into diesel performance as a career? I have been interested in the automotive field much of my life and now, at 17 years old, I am looking forward to a career in diesel and am willing to go to college to get there. Could you give me some pointers? Things like which colleges and apprenticeships, or if I have to know somebody in the field. You could maybe tell me how some of the techs at diesel performance companies (like Scheid Diesel and DeStroked) got to where they are now. Thank you.

William Bartling
via email
Good choice, William. Diesel is the ultimate form of job security in the automotive world. This is because car and truck manufacturers are poised to release more and more diesel-powered vehicles in coming years in order to meet ever-increasing fuel efficiency standards. That, and there is a substantial demand for diesel vehicles. Ram’s release of the 1500 model EcoDiesel is direct evidence of this, as the first run of 8,000 diesel-powered ½-tons was sold in just three days’ time. The approaching influx of thousands of new diesel vehicles will only up the demand for skilled diesel technicians even further.
In our experience, a lot (not all) of your typical car dealerships lack quality diesel techs with the knowledge that’s needed to properly diagnose and fix a diesel vehicle. This brings many diesel owners (most of which will drive out of their way) to independent shops that specialize in diesel cars and trucks. For example, our friends at Randall’s Performance have a customer base that spans a 100-mile radius around their shop, and their client base will pass up several dealerships in order to go straight to them for a fix.
As for education, schools such as WyoTech and UTI are well known for having quality diesel programs, but don’t overlook your local community college’s agricultural or diesel technology training -- there are plenty of small-town vocational schools with great diesel curriculums.

Do It Yourself

I really like seeing all the great articles in your magazine. I’m an avid lover of diesel anything. I originally started out with a 1995 Dodge Ram 3500. It was a strong-running second-gen even though it had 300,000 miles on it. I recently graduated to an ’04½ Dodge 2500 with a few small mods like exhaust and a cold-air intake, along with a tuner. I then caught the diesel car bug and bought a well-used Volkswagen Jetta TDI with almost 200,000 miles on it. This thing will run. I absolutely love it.

At a shy age of 18, I’m a heavy diesel mechanic and really enjoy all your tech articles about building motors and other tricks and tips. I really want to eventually build a pulling truck when my funds become available. I read all the articles about people building these drag trucks and pulling trucks, but the same theme seems to keep occurring throughout: Most people outsource all their work on the trucks. I would really love to see you guys do an article about a guy who built a truck -- whether it is a drag truck or pulling truck -- with his own two hands. I mean bought and installed all the parts himself. This includes tearing down the motor and doing all the machine work himself in his spare time. I know there aren’t many of those guys or girls out there, yet those people are my real heroes. They are the ones who we should all look up to. Anybody can throw money at a shop and say, “Make me the top dog,” but it takes a real diesel enthusiast to put all his spare time into a truck, and then go out and compete.
Joey Crum
Bethesda, Ohio



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