Letters To The Editor - Postal Route Issue 11. 2014

Our Readers Write Back!

KJ Jones
Oct 8, 2014
BIO BASHING

I’ve been a subscriber for several years and purchased your magazine on the newsstand before that. I have also been working on real-world, light-duty diesel trucks since the mid-1990s.

After reading your article about biodiesel, I find it hard to believe you would recommend it. In the great state of Illinois -- with biodiesel being the primary fuel at pumps here -- older diesels are experiencing numerous driveability problems (such as hard starts, scuffing of injectors, and plugged fuel filters), which result in lack of lubrication to fuel system components.
Not to mention the fact that on newer, supposedly B20-capable rigs, the manufacturers require oil changes and fuel filters to be changed at half the normal interval. In winter months, there’s a good chance it will be sooner than that -- not to mention using twice as much DEF. With the price of newer filters, that’s a pretty hard pill for owners to swallow. Maybe other states are better at regulating standards (remember, I live in Illinois), but almost all pumps here state the fuel contains a blend of 5 percent/20 percent. Your best bet is to stay away!
And it wasn't until recently that most warranty claims for injectors and other fuel system components (that require the fuel for lubrication) were denied, after it was found that owners were using more than 5 percent. Most trucks I've seen running it are also going through re-gen more frequently, causing an entirely different realm of problems, such as overfilled crankcases, lower fuel economy, and such.
Remember, this is just one man’s opinion. However, I have seen several real-world work trucks that people depend on needing costly and frequent repairs due to this fuel that may be a little “cheaper” at the pump.
I will gladly pay more and recommend to customers to pay a few cents more for good ole #2.

Justin Jones
via email


Photo 2/4   |   2014 Dodge Ram 3500 Front Three Quarter
BUGGED OUT

My 2014 Ram 5500 has five radiators. Although the three uppermost radiators are inline, bugs are getting to all three. I realize cooling is everything for engines like this, and I’m wondering whether anyone makes a brush to sweep the fins on the radiators to remove the large insects? Or, is there some sort of 90-degree, power-washer nozzle that can clean between the fins without flattening them? Thanks.

Name withheld
via email
We checked with our friend, “Diesel” (how’s that for an appropriate name?), of 4U2C Detailing, for insights on properly cleaning the radiators in your truck. According to Diesel, “The best way to clean any radiator is to use a bug cleaner, which you can get from any auto store. Remove the truck’s grille and, before you actually go about cleaning the radiator, use soapy water and saturate all the painted surfaces (bumper, trim, and so on) in the area of the radiator. Bug cleaner really is too strong for most automotive paints, as are most degreasers. Once the bumper and such are protected with soapy water, spray the bug cleaner on the radiator (use liberal amounts of cleaner). You don’t want to wipe the radiator or use a brush because, as you know, doing so will damage the fins. Just let the bug cleaner soak into the radiator really well, then take a hose and rinse off the bug cleaner with water. Using a pressure washer actually works better. That’s all it really needs.”

REAL-WORLD REVS

Love your magazine. You cover a great deal of everything diesel. I think a series of articles on the Big Three called “Max Torque” would be great. Unlike in your dyno tests, most working trucks are not driven at 2,800 to 3,200 rpm. Set aside the big turbos, monster injectors, heavy top-end programming, and let’s see “Max Torque” at 1,800 to 2,000 rpm, which is closer to the range in which most diesels are actually driven. Thank you for your time.

Chris Dorst
via email
We like your idea, Chris, and we agree that including peak torque values in the lower rpm range of a dyno run will be a benefit to our reports that focus on the rear-tire performance of the lesser-modded diesels we cover.
LETTER OF THE MONTH Sponsored by AutoAnything

WELL COVERED
I have an 2004 Ford Power Stroke diesel that I really like and would like to keep, but I am reluctant to invest any significant money in the truck if I can’t insure it accordingly. Do you know a company that will insure a vehicle like mine accordingly? I tried Hagerty, but it only insures 1985 and older at the moment. Thanks.

Edmonton Eskimo
via email

The best bet for getting a solid answer to your question is to contact your current insurance company (or a few different insurance carriers) and consult with an agent about protecting your truck and its mods. We do know that for an additional cost, most companies will provide coverage for customized vehicles, simply by endorsing an existing policy whenever possible. Some owners may have collector-type insurance policies for their high-dollar trucks. Companies such as Grundy, Liberty Mutual, Hagerty, Barrett-Jackson, and Heacock Classic Insurance classify vehicles as “collectible,” when they’re either classic (and apparently Hagerty considers 1985s as classic), antique, exotic, special-interest, or limited-edition, and used in club activities, exhibitions, parades, and so on. Getting quotes on insurance rates is simple enough. We suggest you call or drop an email to a company you think you’d like to work with. Once you have information, base your decision on whichever company offers the best coverage for your truck.
Photo 3/4   |   Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Fornt Three Quarter
LOSSES AND GAINS

I have enjoyed reading Diesel Power magazine and, after reading your review of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, I thought I should write in. The theme of the test revolved around refinement and how far GM has come. I wholeheartedly agree with that. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to experience the new GM twins, but I have experienced both 6.4L and 6.7L Fords…and the difference is huge1

However, I can’t help wondering if a step forward in refinement means a step back in other areas? New diesels are much more powerful, cleaner, and refined than their forebearers. But, at what expense of power, fuel economy, and reliability is this refinement being found? There are a lot of aftermarket DPF-back exhaust systems and downpipes available that are emission slegal and improve power and torque, responsiveness, and mpg; lower EGT; and are claimed to lower re-gen times.
The same can be said for aftermarket intakes and intercoolers that lower EGT, while improving power/torque and mpg. Also, with the new, insulated hoods, trucks are quieter on the outside (and inside) but underhood temps are higher. It would seem that ducting or venting the radiator air out of the hood or through the wheelwells would improve cooling and aerodynamics, which in turn would also lead to improved fuel economy.
Granted, these changes would make the trucks louder, but quality sound can be enjoyed at higher volumes. To me, it seems that the OEMs are leaving a bit on the table. Then again, that’s exactly the reason why the aftermarket was born.

Brett Ens
via email


GET OVER IT!

I was just reading your May 2014 Postal Route and noticed there were a lot of complaints about Diesel Power comparing a 1½-ton truck to a 1-ton, and how this engine is better than that one. WHO CARES?! Where I come from, we work, then go home and work on our trucks or tractors, and then go have some fun driving them! Everyone needs to get back into the mindset that diesels should be something we can all enjoy together.
Thanks for a great magazine and keep up the good work.

Scott Unser
Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Photo 4/4   |   2014 Annual Cover Diesel Power Magazine
INSPIRED PURCHASE

Let me start by saying thank you for such a wonderful magazine. I’m writing for a few reasons. One, your articles are fair and balanced. I haven’t seen the one-sided pushing of a certain brand of vehicle over another, which seems to happen in other magazines.

Which leads me to my next point. I had a copy of your Diesel Now magazine on my desk one day last month, and when I returned from lunch I noticed my coworker had taken it to read. No biggie. He told me he wanted to read the article about the diesel vs. the hybrid engine, as he was considering buying an all-electric or a hybrid vehicle.
Not only did my friend praise the overall fairness of the test and unbiased article that was presented, but he actually decided to purchase a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. He said his decision was largely based on the excellent presentation of facts, and even a nongearhead could understand the details and choose between the two platforms.

Cainen “Nightwolf” Meeks
Anchorage, Alaska


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@enthusiastnetwork.com.

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