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Truck Trend Letters to the Editor

Emissions Check

Jul 25, 2017
Photo 2/9   |   Truck Trend Letters Oil

Lubed Up

I recently purchased a ’15 Ram with the 3.0L EcoDiesel engine and read your informative how-to on S&B’s air-intake kit. I have a question about which oil to use in this engine. Other than the manufacturer-recommended Mopar brand synthetic, can your staff recommend a second choice? The nearest Ram dealership is more than 60 miles from my home. There seems to be a bit of confusion and contention on some of the Ram owner forums as to which oil best protects these little diesel engines. Thanks!
Mic Todd
Reedsport, Oregon
Ram specs an SAE 5W-40 weight oil, and the reality is that as long as you fill it with the required 10.5 quarts of the proper weight, the brand is largely irrelevant; as long as the oil conforms to the API CK-4 standard, you’re good to go. Changing the oil and filter at proper intervals is more important than brand. For what it’s worth, Amsoil makes a 5W-40 synthetic diesel oil that we’re fond of—might be worth looking into.
Photo 3/9   |   Truck Trend Letters Tires Wet Roads


I particularly appreciated the all-terrain tire buyer’s guide from the September/October 2017 issue, as I will soon be in the market for a new set. What I would love to see in the future is a real test measuring whether a tire provides wet-weather traction or whether that is just the manufacturer’s hype. My present tires are terrible on wet roads.
Howard Pletcher
Via email
Oh man, would we love to be able to do that test! It may sound like a cop-out, but due to staff size and budget constraints, we’re sometimes limited on the testing that we can perform. For wet-weather traction, we’d need to source identically sized tires from each brand, mount them on the same vehicle, and measure g-forces on a skidpad using the same driver. While it would be an awesome comparison, it would also be incredibly time- and labor-intensive. We’ll keep it in mind for the future!
Photo 4/9   |   Truck Trend Letters DIY


The July/August 2017 issue opens with The Driver's Seat article claiming that “DIY Isn't Dead.” While I largely agree with the sentiment, I continued to read the magazine only to discover that one of the seemingly simple projects you included in the magazine was done by pros. Specifically, the “Easy Entry” project on page 36 was done at the local 4Wheel Parts, rather than by the author. Given that this sounded like a mostly bolt-on job, I'm wondering why this wasn't a DIY project? In fairness, you did have a few other projects where the work was done mostly DIY.
Now on to math...
The “Breathe Easier” article on page 38 concludes with “it's even more pleasing that it's paid for itself many times over in fuel savings alone.” By my calculations, you haven't even come close to paying for it once, never mind many times over. Here's the math, which assumes you initially got 30 mpg, now get 34 mpg, and that diesel costs $3.50 per gallon. By my calculations, you'll need to drive around 21,000 miles to recover the $300 you spent.
The above said, I do enjoy reading Truck Trend and have no plans to cancel my subscription over minor things like the above. :)
Geoff Reynolds
Billerica, Massachusetts
Regarding the first grievance: see the above response. Staffing and budget dictate that from time to time we partner with professionals to aid in these types of installations. We’ve been working for years to grow extra arms, but until we find a way to hold parts, spin a wrench, and shoot photos at the same time, we’ll have to keep using professional help from time to time. That said, we’ve installed several sets of AMP Research Powersteps in the driveway, and if you’re at all confident with minor electrical work, it’s totally doable.
Grievance, the second: our bad. We should have ended that article stating that it “will” pay for itself many times over—not “has.” By your math, given an average number of miles-driven-per-year, the kit will pay for itself in a little over a year. Assuming the owner keeps the truck for five to ten years, it will indeed pay for itself many times over.
Photo 5/9   |   Truck Trend Letters Detection System

Take the Wheel

So the ’18 F-150 will have a new nighttime pedestrian-detection system. You say if it detects an imminent collision, the system will sound an alert, and if the driver doesn't take action, the system will then automatically apply the brakes. If it detects an imminent collision, shouldn't it immediately apply the brakes?
Sean Cain
Champion, Texas
Fair question, and we can’t answer it. Only Ford knows why they set the system up the way they did. Our best guess says it involves lawyers and a desire to avoid liability. If the system first alerts the driver and action isn’t taken prior to mechanical intervention, and a pedestrian is still winged, the liability can be shifted to the driver instead of the automaker. A lot of the current safety systems that intervene work this way. That’s our uneducated guess, anyway.
Photo 6/9   |   Truck Trend Letters Foglights

Light It Up

As a commercial truck driver for more than 15 years, there’s nothing that peeves me more than oncoming traffic with foglights on. They are often brighter than the headlights, only come on when low beam is selected, and are aimed in such a way as to blind drivers in the oncoming lane. I notice it more when I'm in the semi, believe it or not
Unless it is truly foggy, they should remain off. I for one applaud a manufacturer for making them default to off every time the vehicle is started; I've been proclaiming that it ought to be the law for years.
Jody Buxton
Admittedly, we’ve not spent much time behind the wheel of a semi; however, we find it difficult to believe that factory foglights can have that kind of effect. We drive a lot of vehicles, and all of them have fogs that project light about 10 feet in front of the vehicle—and no more. By chance, are you noticing aftermarket auxiliary lights? These would be illegal to use on the highway and are often improperly aimed. Foglights that project light above ground level would be useless in the fog anyway.
Photo 7/9   |   Truck Trend Letters Tires Plugged

Plugged Up

On your Pickup Truck of the Year test, you state that you plugged two tires but had no flats. How is this?
Sean Cain
Champion, Texas
We did have two vehicles that experienced punctures, thanks to foreign-object debris found at the track and in the desert. The tires never went flat and both were fixed with a plug (one by us and one by America’s Tire). Based on the fact that we never changed the tires and continued driving on the same ones after sealing and inflating them properly, we choose to not label them as flats.

Super-Sized, Please!

As a longtime pickup owner, I have enjoyed Truck Trend for many years. Since its first issue, in fact. However, the small print has gotten very difficult to read.
Dave Sealing
Via email
A lot of things have changed over the years at Truck Trend; however, the font size has not been one of them. Sorry?
Photo 8/9   |   Truck Trend Letters Splinter

So Punny

I greatly enjoyed my first issue of Truck Trend, but feel you may have done Mr. Al Schoffulman a disservice by featuring his red oak Ford truck. My concern is that feds may now investigate him for possible membership in some kind of splinter group.
Gary Griffin
Pensacola, Florida
We see what you did there.
Photo 9/9   |   Truck Trend Letters Spied


Why are you showing pictures of a Ford in this article (Spied: ’19 Chevrolet Siverado 1500 Diesel)? It is clearly a Ford—look at the front, driver-side window. So GM is going to the drop window section like Ford? And how the passenger-side photo has the mirror cleverly hiding this feature. And all the body structure is inherent of a Ford. You have a lot of holes in your theory. I do not believe you can confirm, without a doubt, that this is a GM product.
I think you are wrong. I would suggest you verify your facts if you are going to write articles that have any merit. Whoever is in charge of publishing this type of work needs to take a little more time evaluating the validity of the stories.
Mark Nelson
Via email
First off, we typically have a policy here at Truck Trend that we adhere pretty tight to, and that’s to not feed the trolls. However, in this case, we’ll bite. Before we get to the nitty gritty, we’ve been doing this a long time and know exactly what to look for when these mules are spotted in the wild. Each brand has a distinct styling that is difficult to fully camouflage. While we might not be able to decipher the exact design of the new body panels (and often these powertrain mules are a mismatched mess of new and old parts anyway), we can definitively say which manufacturer’s vehicle these are.
In regards to the truck in question, if you look closely, you’ll see that it has the same wheels as other Chevrolet Silverado mules we’ve seen running around, and it has Chevy’s squared-off wheel arches (Ford’s wheel arches are perfectly round). Furthermore, if you look REALLY closely, there’s a little Bow Tie outline underneath the piece of black canvas shaped like an oval that they put on the front grille to make people think it was a Ford. The engineers at Chevy have a sick sense of humor like that. The mule in question also has the same new dual exhaust that we’ve seen on other trucks. It has Z71-spec Rancho shocks, which Ford doesn’t use. Behind the front camo, you can clearly see the new Silverado headlight signature. On the corners of the rear bumper, there are flaps in the vinyl covering GM’s built in steps. Up on the roof is GM’s shark-fin OnStar antenna. We can go on…
Still think it’s a Ford?