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Letters To The Editor September 2014 - Postal Route

Our Reader's Write Back

Diesel Power Staff
Sep 9, 2014
Well Said

I had let my subscription to Diesel Power expire, not for any particular reason, just boredom, mainly. I got tired of looking at how many fake rivets you can have on your wheels with names like “death demon.” Then I read Jason Gonderman’s article in the February 2014 issue entitled “Don’t Be That Guy.” I immediately dug my third “final notice” out of the trash, wrote a check, and subscribed for another year. That was an extremely well-written article, and I echo his sentiments exactly. If we allow vulgar children (of any age) with keyboards to be the voice of our sport, it will be gone in our generation. Thanks, Jason, for restoring my faith in humanity -- at least a little.

Wayne Newman
Abilene, Texas

Vw Vs.The Big Three

In response to the “Why Delete?” question in the July 2014 issue, there is a difference between a Volkswagen diesel and a diesel pickup that requires DEF. The difference is that VW has a closed-loop ECU that monitors fuel and other real-time info of the engine. The trucks have an open-loop ECU, so they don’t monitor real-time data, which leads to fueling problems and emissions-related failures. The emissions failures are usually due to poor-quality diesel fuel. This is what I have read. Also, I attended ATE NW (Automotive Training Expo in the northwest) this year.

Josiah Allen
via email

Photo 2/7   |   Chevrolet El Camino Front Three Quarter
Typo? Darn it!

First and foremost, I own five of my own diesels and, while I am no comparison to some of the gurus in the Diesel Power, I still love the magazine. It has been a while since I’ve read an issue cover to cover, but I opened up my July 2014 issue today and made it to the “Show Stopper” article and noticed the caption with the picture of the engine compartment. It reads: “350-watt alternator.” I am guessing that it is supposed to read 350-amp alternator? After all, 350 watts won’t even run my wife’s microwave. Just saying. Either way, here’s a picture of the mistress… She was a 5.7L IDI from the factory.

Louis Germaine
via email

Bio Love

I recently read your editorial on B20; thank you for writing an honest opinion. Bio gets a bum wrap from a lot of people who are uninformed - especially the VW diesel geeks who associate bio with WVO and home-brew. I’ve been using Propel’s B20 in my 6.0L Power Stroke since I bought it in 2012 and haven’t had any problems. I just keep a spare set of fuel filters in the cab of the truck in case of emergency. I have noticed the same benefits you reported in the article with regard to fuel economy and power. Bio also doesn’t smell quite as bad as pure petro when you change the filters. Love the magazine, and keep up the good work! Scott Jones via email

You’re correct, the caption found on page 100 of the July 2014 issue should’ve read “350- amp alternator.” And, thanks for the photo! Some readers might not know that the 5.7L V-8 diesel was a factory option on 1982 to 1984 Chevy El Caminos, even though most opted for the gas options offered at the time. In fact, it’s rumored that just a few hundred diesel-powered El Caminos were ever produced. You definitely have a rare breed on your hands there, Louis. There, have we redeemed ourselves for the typo yet?
Photo 3/7   |   Land Rover Defender 110 Side View 001
Vm motori? Yes, please!

Just read your Pilot Injection editorial titled “Car Guy Stuff” about the VM Motori -- based 630t 3.0L Banks diesel engine. I have been dying to put this engine and transmission in a classic Land Rover Defender 110 or 130, as the stock engines (on importable 25-year-old Rovers) are anemic, loud, and inefficient. The 2.5L naturally aspirated diesel is underpowered and only gets between 20 and 25 mpg (and can’t get out of its own way). The gas version is even worse. The 200tdi and 300tdi are improvements but are still very loud and are not legal to import or use as replacement engines here in the United States (only in Europe). This new VM Motori–based Banks engine is not only legal as an engine swap install, but it is refined and powerful enough for any Land Rover. If you want to do a write-up on it, I’ll do the install. Here is what the Land Rover 110 and 130 look like.

Chris Velardi
Hamden, Connecticut

Photo 4/7   |   Land Rover Defender 110 Side View

Super Duty Rust Fix?

I recently purchased an 2008 F-250 (with the 6.4L, of course) that has 230,000 miles on it. The truck came from Arizona (I’m from Pennsylvania), as I was set on picking one up from the Southwest. It hasn’t been all roses with the newer truck, but I’m slowly working out some of the high-mileage kinks. The truck is virtually rust-free but has all kinds of paint chips. Since I bought the Ford, I scoured every single issue of Diesel Power I’ve accumulated in the last six years for every article on the 6.4L and for any rust prevention information I could find. This is where I ran across both of your articles regarding the 1997 F-350 with rust issues. My main question is: Now that you did all the work to prevent rust on the ’97, how is it holding up in the long run? Did the frame and crossmembers stay rust free? Did the paint start peeling again? Would you suggest the same products? Or is there a better product you are aware of?

Joel Hoover
via email

Joel, we are proud to report that our 1997 F-350 is holding up very well, despite living in the Midwest (salty winters and humid summers). For the most part, the rust has been contained. Of course, we have the bubbling that occurs on the rear fenderwells from years of trapped moisture, but we plan to address this in the next couple of years (as well as paint the truck). After the second installment of rust treatment, all we’ve had to do is touchup work along the frame and crossmembers. We do this each fall, before winter hits (and the roads receive salt). The touch-up work takes no more than a couple of hours, and we continue to use Rust-Oleum’s rust reformer, followed by Rust-Oleum’s rust-preventative semi-gloss black paint. These products have worked great for us.
Def-Initely Not Fun

I’d like to ask a question about my 2012 Super Duty 6.7L. I’ve had it at the dealer twice for a DEF fault problem, which will limit you to 50 mph for 50 miles (what happens after that, I don’t know). The first time called for a reprogram of the NOx sensor. Eight months later, I got the same fault, but this time the truck needed a sensor change. The third time was for the heater in the DEF tank. I’m debating trading to a non-DEF Ram, but I heard the mileage is much worse. Any help would be appreciated.

Mike Mair
Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin

We’re sorry to hear about your luck with the 2012 Ford, Mike, but to answer your question: it all depends on how you drive the truck. Just before going to print this month, we conducted some mpg testing on a non-DEF 1909 Ram 2500. The Cummins-powered Dodge was a crew cab, longbed, four-wheel drive. On a 56-mile test loop, with mostly highway driving, we were able to squeeze 18.6 mpg (hand calculated) out of it. Using the truck for primarily city driving could easily drop those numbers down to 14 to 16 mpg, though. And, as with anything, running the truck hard would yield even worse mileage than that.
Fuel Filter Removal

In regard to page 124 in the June 2014 issue (Duramax fuel filter segment), I just want to say that I do not remove the wheelwell cover. I replace mine from the top with a strap wrench that has an adjustable handle. I then pre-fill the filter from the tractor tank, about 80 percent of the way full. It is a pain in the butt either way. On local ambulances with batteries located in the body, the fuel filter is moved to the space to the right of the battery.

Linwood Windsor
Onancock, Virginia

Bio = Better Mileage

I’m one of those pro biodiesel guys. I’ve been running B100 since I bought my 2012 F-350. I now have 22,000 miles racked up -- and probably 18 to 20K of that on B100. I buy it from a commercial producer and have never had a problem with it. Well, there was that one day the cold front came in and I forgot to thin it out to B50. But once temps warmed up, all was good. I’m guessing my mileage is actually up from pump diesel, mainly because of fewer re-gen cycles. My truck goes more than 500 miles between re-gens and, until I stopped tracking it, I was averaging 517 miles between them vs. 200 to 225 miles on pump diesel. That’ll raise your mileage by itself. So yes, there are guys like me out there who are using B100 in a new truck. I love it. I’ll always use it when available. It’s usually easy to find, and there is even an app for finding it.

Dane Stewart
via email

Photo 5/7   |   2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 Front Three Quarter
What gives?

I bought a new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6, and I’m currently getting 26 to 27 mpg in mixed city and highway driving. What performance upgrades are available? I can’t even find an air filter! By the way, an oil filter from my local dealership is $43, and an oil change is $150 plus. The Cherokee also uses special, low-ash synthetic oil at about $10 a quart. Do the manufacturers really not want us to buy new diesels?

Greg Mills
via email

Photo 6/7   |   BNSF Freight Train In Motion
On A Train

In May, my beautiful wife and I took a trip by rail from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. One night at a junction stop, near Williams, Arizona, I spotted a BNSF freight train and struck up a conversation with engineer Erin Swain and conductor Levi Carter. I discovered both railmen are Diesel Power fans. As always, it was nice to meet readers, and we had a nice conversation. Good to meet you guys!

Mark Snyder
Diesel Power Art Director

P.S. By the way, my editors would love to write about a BNSF train engine. So write in...
Letter of the month
Sponsored by AutoAnything

I would like to make a suggestion for an article -- possibly even two or more depending on how you wanted to do it. I want to gear my axles differently, from the factory 3.73 to 4.11 or 4.56, in order to help with towing and acceleration. However, I don’t want to lose my mileage, since I don’t tow that often. So what I’m looking for is an additional overdrive. Even if I don’t lower my axle gearing, I would like to have the added overdrive gear for increased mileage. I have read through forums and talked to other truck owners looking for the same thing, so I think there are a lot of people who would be interested in an article like this. In addition, there are a lot of people who have 1990s trucks who don’t have any overdrive and could benefit from this article.

I own an 2003 four-wheel-drive GMC Sierra 2500HD powered by the Duramax, shifted by the Allison automatic, and with some modifications. Obviously, my truck has the five-speed Allison, but I have read it can be converted to the six-speed with some minor changes to the valvebody, minimal labor, and programming. Maybe you can get several different companies who do these conversions and compare the products and results. For instance, do they work with different programming? What would the cost be for such a conversion? Lastly -- and something that would benefit everyone -- I would like to see an article on add-on overdrives. Either units that bolt between the transmission and transfer case, to the back of the transfer case for use in two-wheel drive on a truck equipped with four-wheel drive, or units that connect to the back of the transmission in 4x2 applications. Maybe you could do a comparison of the different products and see how easy they are to install, what applications they’re made for (which trucks will they bolt into), and what are the added gear ratios. Finally, and since almost everyone increases the power of their truck, find out how much horsepower and torque they will handle. Thank you for your time,

Steven Gaines
Cocoa, Florida

Photo 7/7   |   AutoAnything Logo
For giving us so much to ponder, you’re our Letter of the Month recipient. As our Letter of the Month, Steven will receive a $100 gift certificate from aftermarket parts specialist Auto Anything (www.autoanything.com).



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