Emissions Check: Truck Trend Letters to the Editor
How the Sausage Is MadeI just got done reading the May/June 2018 issue, and I noticed that between Brett Evans’ column on page 16 and the article on page 66 the manufacturers provided every single photo used. Manufacturers’ photos and rewritten press releases?
While your first observation is correct, your second point is not entirely. Let us explain.
What you’re seeing in that group of stories are two types, First Looks and First Drives. First Look articles typically come after a vehicle’s first introduction, but before we get a chance to actually get behind the wheel. Sometimes we’re required to base our review exclusively off of what the manufacturer disseminates through the PR channels, and other times we get exclusive or behind-the-scenes access prior to the public debut. Either way, without having driven the vehicle and with usually only a couple in existence, we need to rely on what we’re told and the photography that we’re given.
The other story you’re seeing is the First Drive. These are typically manufacturer-hosted events where we get to spend about eight hours with the vehicle, and we have to split that time with an assigned drive partner from a different outlet. The events are also carefully coordinated and timed, leaving not a lot of room for wiggle. So the manufacturers sometimes graciously provide a package of photography, shot at the event location, for us to use. When they do this, it allows us to spend more time evaluating the vehicle and less time trying to get the perfect photo. Especially since we usually only get to send one staffer to the event.
If you want professional-level photography, an outstanding visual layout, and the most comprehensive review possible, this is how we need to continue to operate. If you want to see tons of original photography from our travels, follow us on the three majors of social.
Washed UpI had someone pour a half bottle of windshield-washer fluid into my coolant reservoir. The vehicle was driven 2 miles at the most and then shut off when I noticed that washer fluid still wasn’t working. I drained the reservoir down as low as I could by removing the hose. Should I do a complete flush? I did drive it 20 miles home after draining and adding coolant mix. Is it safe because I got the majority of it out?
If it were our vehicle, we’d give it a quick cooling-system flush, just to be certain it’s all out. Mixing a half-gallon of washer fluid with coolant isn’t going to cause any sort of catastrophic failure, but it won’t do your cooling system any favors either. Besides, your vehicle is likely due for a coolant flush anyway, which is a service most people neglect.
Power DownIt was interesting to see that General Motors is getting back into the medium-duty truck market. I’m intrigued to see what the payload and towing specs are when they are released, as there are quite a few models of large fifth-wheel trailers that need more towing capacity than the current 1-ton pickups have available. As I read the story, one thing stood out to me: Why are they rating the Duramax engine at only 350 hp and 750 lb-ft of torque when the Silverado 3500 is rated 445 hp and 910 lb-ft?
Great question! And not a simple one to answer, but here goes. The needs of the medium-duty market are quite different that that of the light-duty buyer. These trucks are required to haul more, tow more, and do so for a much longer period of time. Thus, reliability is key. Less engine power means less stress on internal components and a longer service life, at least in theory. Tradeoffs are often made in the area of acceleration and top speed in return for longevity and overall cost of ownership. You see the same discrepancy between the 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 found in both the F-450 Super Duty and the F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks.
Most would deny this, but this may likely be the real reason behind the discrepancy: The large power figures that we are seeing today from the ¾- and 1-ton crowd are largely for marketing. These trucks haul far less weight and far less frequently so they can get away with churning out more power. The more “best-in-class” claims one has, the more trucks they can sell—theoretically. Torque-management software is used to keep driveline components alive, so actually seeing those peak numbers in daily use would be a rarity.