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Letters To The Editor - Postal Route Issue 12. 2014

Our Readers Write Back!

KJ Jones
Oct 23, 2014
Jetta Exhaust

I have an 2003 Jetta TDI and I was reading your article in the June 2014 issue of Diesel Power about the VW you’re modifying. I’ve taken the muffler out of mine already, but I want to do a 3-inch turbo-back system and was wondering what they did to the onein the article. Is it a custom-built piece or an aftermarket setup?

Charles Toews
via email

While the exhaust piece on our project Jetta is custom built, it’s actually rather simple in design and construction. The system consists of a single, straight piece of 2.5-inch (diameter) pipe that runs from the turbo, to 2.5-inch over-the-axle bends that were fabricated by an exhaust shop. The setup is finished with a 3-foot-long turndown beneath the rear bumper.
Photo 2/5   |   2003 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Top Three Quarter

When It’s Cold Outside…

I’m a rookie and newcomer to the diesel community. I got my first diesel truck last week. I was just wondering if you guys have ever done an article on diesels and cold weather.

I live in the Denver area, and during the snow season I’m up at the mountains almost every weekend. I’m looking for things to be concerned about in the cold. I used your magazines for about six months to look into which diesel I wanted, and I’m now using them as a guide to see what others have done as far as upgrades and increasing power.
I just wonder if certain types of upgrades should be reconsidered if living in the cold for half the year? If you have a back issue that might help me out, please let me know and I’ll ask for a reprint.

Chris Gabe
Centennial, Colorado

After checking with a few former editors and staff writers, it appears “diesels in the cold” has not been addressed yet in Diesel Power, from an owner/general user standpoint. However, we have noted some of the U.S. Army’s cold-weather- vehicle-testing procedures in Jason Gonderman’s October 2013 report on the branch’s Cold Regions Test Center (located somewhere DEEP in the Alaska wilderness). A lot of the data collected at the CRTC is oftentimes used by the OEMs.
Your question is great, and the subject is definitely one we will consider looking into a bit further…maybe by sending our intrepid staff editor, Trevor Reed, to Minnesota (or some other cold location) in January for an in-depth look at how diesels in frosty areas are operated and maintained in sub-zero temperatures.
We receive letters from diesel owners in such states as Alaska and other frigid locations. Maybe some of those fellow readers will send us a note in response to your query and offer good ideas, tips, and practices for operating your new truck during the cold season. One upgrade you may want to avoid would be removing the grid heater from your intake system, since it’s designed to help your truck run in cold weather.

Photo 3/5   |   2015 GMC Sierra 2500hd Front Three Quarter
LML Lover

I would love to see some articles on LML GM trucks. I cannot remember the last time I saw an article with the newer GM trucks. I am sick of seeing nothing but Dodge and Ford products. A few of my buddies with newer GM trucks would also like to see more articles on these trucks.

Steve Seagroves
Houston, Texas

There’s no way we would ever “intentionally” slight, overlook, or simply “not cover” the LML 6.6L Duramax-powered 2011 to 2015 Chevrolets and GMCs. As a matter of fact, we try to include a feature article and/or tech piece on a GM rig in every issue (with the exception of this one, which has been purposely loaded with Ram/Cummins coverage in recognition of the two brands’ 25th anniversary as partners) of Diesel Power. Stay tuned to future issues, as the upcoming January 2015 edition will include a tech report on basic performance bolt-ons for LML-powered trucks.

In A Perfect World

I have only been a subscriber for a year or so, and I keep hoping I will see an article that offers useful, real-world, detailed info about the most cost-effective means to gaining fuel economy from my 2007 Dodge 5.9L Cummins.

Has there been such an article in the past? If not, I’d urge you to conduct a study and report your findings, like you did for fuel additives (that’s the article that brought me aboard!). I have owned four 5.9L Cummins equipped trucks (1995, 1999, 2003 and this one) and all have netted me 18 to 19 mpg with mixed but largely rural driving. Like most truck owners, for only a small percentage of the miles on my odometer was I hauling my 16-foot trailer or heavy cargo. The truck is mostly a commuter.
The 900hp modifications you guys love to write about are interesting to a point, but for me that is Fantasy Land. I see ads about chips and such, and they make me nervous. Do they really work? Negatives? Seems unlikely one can get something (10 percent better fuel economy) for almost nothing (popping in a $300 chip). It’s like believing popping a pill will add 20 years to my life.
There are rarely any free lunches in the world, but there’s lots of folks who want to sell me something! At the top of my wish list is this combination: 10-percent-plus-mpg gains at the lowest cost, while preserving the factory torque and horsepower the truck came with, without sacrificing the life expectancy of the engine.
I’ll bet a lot of regular-guy readers like me would appreciate it, too.

Randy Muir
Radford, Virginia

Plus Two

I am writing this letter with hopes it will push the transmission shops to build a kit that will allow a guy to put a six-speed (68RFE) automatic behind the 5.9L Cummins! For most Dodge Ram owners (with the 5.9L engine), high mileage is putting us in a position where we’re asking ourselves, “Should we buy a new truck or spend the money on a transmission rebuild?” My truck still has a lot of life in it and gets 22 mpg, which is definitely not a bad thing. But what I would really like to see is a conversion setup that allows putting a six-speed automatic transmission behind the 5.9L Cummins! You can only improve the 48RE so much. At the end of the day, it’s still a four-speed transmission. My hope is to have a better power band while towing and maybe increase fuel mileage. So the gauntlet has been dropped. Let’s see if someone will accept the challenge and produce the kit!

Name Withheld
via email

Get Drifted

On page 54 of the September issue (Vol. 10, #9), Jason Sands comments about a photo of “a wild, 1949 Chevy drift truck.” What has me confused is that the firewall in said truck has a Ford plate on it. So which is it really?

John Curtis
via email

Photo 4/5   |   1949 Chevrolet Drift Truck
Jason Sands acknowledges that he goofed big time on that one. The truck is actually a 1949 Ford F1, and progress on it is going along nicely, as you can see in Christopher Kiker’s latest photo of the truck.

Closed To The Public

Who do I talk to about next year’s Diesel Power Challenge? As an anniversary gift, I thought my husband would love a spectator ticket to the Challenge, but I don’t see anywhere on your website regarding where it is and how to purchase tickets.

Lisa Moen
Henning, New Mexico

Unfortunately, Diesel Power Challenge is a closed event, so we don’t have any way of granting access to spectators (which is why you won’t find a link to buy tickets). While we’re sorry to give you the bad news, we do hope your husband -- and you -- will stay tuned to our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages for regular updates of all the action (including video) from DPC XI. And, of course, be sure to get him a DVD of the event when it’s released in late 2015.

Letter Of The Month Sponsored By Anything


I subscribe to your magazine and like the many different articles and subjects you write to us readers about.

I have enclosed a photo of my 2009 Ram 3500 hooked up and ready to go! This is why I bought a diesel truck. My dualie hauls a combined weight (truck, trailer, and all) of more than 25,000 pounds -- in stock form -- and does it at 62 mph, churning 1,600 rpm without breaking a sweat. My rig also does this while getting 10 mpg.
If you are going to move iron, you have to have a diesel. I am 63 years old and sometimes I think we have somehow forgotten the main reasons why we buy diesels! What I mean by this -- and do not take this the wrong way -- is I see plenty of diesels that are pumped up, blow smoke everywhere, and are as loud as 18-wheelers. They blow by me as if I am standing still. That’s something I also like about diesels: You can really turn up the horsepower and torque. However, the other side is, new diesels today put out amazing power and torque without even a hint of black smoke -- and they do all of this in comfort and quietness. That’s amazing!
I say we should be very happy that we have manufacturers making trucks like they do today. Thank you for your magazine. Diesel Power always continues to enlighten us and broaden our view of what diesels were made for.

Pete J. Sparacio
via email

Photo 5/5   |   2009 Ram 3500 With Tailer
As our Letter of the Month, Pete will receive a $100 gift certificate from aftermarket parts specialist Auto Anything (www.autoanything.com).



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