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  • Reader's Letters May 2014 - Letters To The Editor

Reader's Letters May 2014 - Letters To The Editor

Postal Route: Our Readers Write Back

Diesel Power Staff
Apr 22, 2014
A Matter of Opinions
In regard to your February issue, you printed the words “Do GM Trucks Even Matter Now?” on the cover. I understand you were making reference to the front-page story of the 2015 Ford F-450. However, for me, it did raise the question as to why you did not include a 2013 Chevrolet 3500 HD LTZ (or a GMC 3500 Denali HD) in your “In search of the Tow King” test.
Just because GM’s “numbers” aren’t there, doesn’t mean inquiring minds don’t want to know.
J.J. Leal
via email
GM declined our invitation to participate, but we are working to get all three trucks together later this year for a rematch.

I have been a fan of your magazine for quite some time and have been a diesel-powered pickup owner since 2005. But after reading your latest February 2014 issue, I am very dissatisfied with your test between the 2013 Ram 3500 and 2013 Ford F-450. I was always taught as a child growing up to be fair in everything you do, and I just can’t see where it is right to compare a 1-ton truck to a 1 1/2-ton truck. Maybe Ford needs to step things up in its F-series line to compete against the Ram 3500, and not by using its F-450 line. I, as well as countless other owners, look to your magazine for fairness in all tests you guys do. If my argument with this matter is not right, I would like someone to explain how I’m wrong. I know it’s Ford’s heavy hitter, but come on. Maybe 1-ton to 1-ton will set all arguments aside and prove who makes the most capable truck in this segment. By all means, keep up the good work you guys do.
Adam Miller 
Cyclone, West Virginia

In the February 2014 issue, you highlight the 2015 F-450 with the tagline “Do GM Trucks Even Matter Now?” Why is it that most publications, including yours, compare the 1 1/2-ton Ford F-450 to the 1-ton Chevy Silverado and the 1-ton Ram 3500? Wouldn’t a much fairer comparison be the Ford F-350 to the Chevy and Ram 1-ton counterparts? In reality, based on weight, it most certainly is. Your comparison is like that of a Corvette vs. a Mustang. While I’m sure all diesel owners tow every day of their lives and never leave the farm or job site, there is a continent of owners that, let’s be honest, sometimes do have to go to the mall, grocery store, or even out to dinner. No one -- regardless of what they tell you -- wants to drive a 1½-ton truck in these situations. If we did, we would also be comparing Chevy Kodiak dump trucks and Cummins-powered tanks. In the future, please compare apples to apples and quit falling into Ford’s marketing schemes.
Chris Feller
Canton, Ohio

Who is falling for the marketing hype here? Just because Ram chose not to call its max-tow model a 4500 doesn’t mean it isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. This test is far closer to real-world capability than if we tested an F-350. The “1-ton” Ram matches the “1 1/2-ton” F-450 in GVWR at 14,000 pounds but beats it in GCWR (37,500 pounds vs. 33,000 pounds), payload (5,800 pounds vs. 4,969 pounds), and max fifth-wheel towing (29,130 pounds vs. 24,700 pounds), although the F-450 has the edge in conventional towing (18,500 pounds vs. 17,000 pounds). Also, don’t discount the F-450 as a daily driver, as its wide-track front axle makes the truck more maneuverable than an F-350, and the ride is just as good.
Photo 5/9   |   Magazine Cover February Issue

Responding To “That Guy”
I just read Jason Gonderman’s editorial in the February issue of Diesel Power, and I have to say I couldn’t agree more. As a lifelong gearhead, I’ve met a lot of “those guys,” and it’s really sad to see our hobby and passion being ruined and taken from us because of closed-minded fools.
I’ve been primarily a GM guy most of my life, with a few Fords and Mopars just to mix it up, but I really don’t care. I’ve got buddies who eat, sleep, and dream Fords, and I’ll park my Camaro in their driveways just to ruffle their feathers. But the reality is, we don’t care what your poison is, as long as you’re out there doing it. It doesn’t matter what you are into: a deuce coupe, a Fiero kit car, or a lifted, smoke-blowing, turbo-spooling diesel truck. We all have one thing in common, and that is we are gearheads. So why are we cutting each other down? I just bought my first diesel to find out three days later that I have to replace the head studs and turbo (damn 6.0Ls), but that doesn’t mean I hate Fords or Ford guys now. In fact, if anything, it’s fueling the fire. I can’t wait to get it back and see what kind of figures this tune and new turbo will produce.
I guess what I’m getting at is we are fortunate to have a hobby that is so diverse that virtually anyone can get into it. We need to learn to respect and admire others’ creativity and ingenuity. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Ford, Chevy, Mopar, or even an import. It doesn’t matter if it’s lifted or slammed, boosted or sprayed. The point is, we are out there and we are doing it, and we’re enjoying what we have. Let’s not let single-minded fools ruin it for us.
Alex Simmons
Bartonville, Illinois

Corrective Action
I noticed that on the current issue, Feb. ’14, on page 43 you have Elite Diesel’s web address printed incorrect: www.elitediesel.net. It did not go to the store site. Instead, after a web search, I found Elite at www.elitedieselengineering.com. Thanks for a good magazine.
Photo 6/9   |   Elite Diesel Engineering
Sheldon Heselton
Alvarado, Texas

Thanks for the note; we’ve found that both addresses work.

I just got done reading Jason Gonderman’s “Don’t Be That Guy” editorial in the February issue. What a great article. These people who roll smoke from stoplight to stoplight are really hard on our public image. Like Paul Harvey used to say, “self regulation doesn’t work without self discipline.”
I lost a fuel injector over the holidays, so my truck is down while I wait for parts. I am currently driving a gasoline-fueled truck, and I hate it. I want my diesel back. Life without diesels would really suck in my opinion.
Again, thanks and I hope people take your editorial to heart. If we can’t control ourselves, the government will.
Scott Erickson
via email

Great column about “that guy.” He is not only in the States, but also small-town Canada -- and I think things are only going to get worse with the Big Three slowly putting diesel engines in ½-tons. With a light truck to start with and a few aftermarket parts, “that guy” is going to be everywhere. I hope he smartens up. Jason Gonderman is one reason Diesel Power is such a great magazine. Keep up the good work.
Ted Young
Somewhere in Canada
I have to completely agree with Jason Gonderman’s editorial in the February issue. I love diesels, but there seem to be nine ignorant jackasses for every one reasonable and sane person. I stopped going to forums for my Power Stroke a while back because the sheer amount of ignorance and stupidity was overwhelming. The same was true on Facebook. I remember getting into arguments over the Edge EPA fine with people, and there seemed to be only a handful of reasonable people.
For those handfuls, there were many, many times more jerks and just plain jackasses on there. In my younger days, I was into the import scene. Those guys were never this stupid and ignorant about the things they loved. They were made fun of, but not because they were being complete idiots most times -- because they had stupid looking cars that didn’t really go any faster than stock. With diesels, it is completely different. The way the vast majority of the most vocal people in the diesel scene act on the Internet and on the streets has a good shot at actually ruining it for the rest of us. That was never the case with the import scene.

I love diesel, I just hate the ignorant people who seem to have taken it over.

Michael Sedler
via email

I just read the Final Gear column in the Feb ’14 issue and could not agree with you more! I live in Greeneville, Tennessee, which is mainly a diverse farming town consisting of dairy, tobacco, soybeans, and hay. There are several of us who own diesels produced by The Big Three who share a common interest in seeing what each other has done to their rig -- no matter what brand. I own an ’07 6.0L with some essential mods and take it as a complement when someone who drives either a Dodge or GM says, “Nice truck man, what all have you done?” Then we start talking about what each other have done to our trucks.
That in and of itself is a wonderful feeling. If more people would stop brand bashing and take the time to form friendships with those who drive another brand, the future diesel enthusiasts will feel welcomed no matter what they drive or can afford to do to their rigs. Kudos my friends.

Bobby Smoke
Greeneville, Tennessee

More Reader Emissions
I really enjoyed reading the Postal Route letters in the February 2014 issue about emissions controls and the onerous laws about modifying our trucks. I also live in California, and because of that I bought the MADS Smarty programmer. It gives me the option of several different tunes, including a ½-power setting, guaranteeing no smoke. Since the California test involves the tech looking for visible modifications and then blipping the pedal and looking for any visible smoke, this becomes a good thing.
I drive an ’01 Dodge Quad Cab dualie with the NV5600 transmission and H.O. engine. By testing over the same route, I’ve found that using the economy setting, the truck gets 22.5 mpg at 55 mph driving from California City, California, to Kingman, Arizona, and back. At 65 mph it gets 19.5 mpg and at 70 mpg it gets 17 mpg. Obviously, it falls off faster and faster as you increase in speed.
On the SW3 setting (highest I’ve ever used), it gets about ½ to 1 mpg less. On that setting, I towed my 30-foot Weekend Warrior 4,900 miles around the country and averaged 12.5 mpg. I find that just freaking amazing after having driven gas trucks that were lucky to get half that. I’m kind of intending this as a reply to Stuart Pierce of South Carolina about not getting more than 20 mpg. I think most of it is in how fast you drive and how hard you accelerate. SW3 runs a lot smoother than the stock setting. How much more power? I don’t know. Not a lot, though. Love my Dodge. Liked my Ford. Never gonna buy a Chevy. Love the magazine; my subscription doesn’t run out till 2018.

Christopher Baker
California City, California

Photo 7/9   |   Ram 3500 Front Three Quarter Towing

Tow Tech
Thank you for the article about towing equipment and terminology. Towing anything is a serious undertaking, and many people do not know how to properly (and safely) do it, so thank you.

I might have missed this, but I think the article left out a few very important points:

• Safety chains should not be attached to the ball mount. They should be solidly attached to the frame of the tow vehicle, whether it is gooseneck chains or bumper pull, using an attachment rated for the trailer.

• Chains also need to be rated for the weight of the trailer being towed. Installing 500-pound breaking-strength chains on a 20,000-pound trailer will not do one bit of good in an emergency.

There was no mention of emergency breakaway systems being installed, connected properly, and able to operate whether battery-powered for electric brakes or a surge brake trip. Maybe this is not a requirement in all states, but it is in Indiana, even for older trailers that did not come originally equipped with a breakaway.

Safety chains and breakaways are critical to maintain the safety of others around you in case the hitch fails to keep the tow vehicle and trailer connected.

Purdue University Cooperative Extension has some excellent publications on trailer and load safety. The hitch publication can be found here: https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=PPP-92.

Robin Ridgway
Lafayette, Indiana

Photo 8/9   |   Ford Super Duty Front Three Quarter Towing

Letter of the Month

Sponsored by AutoAnything
I have read in various periodicals, and just recently in Diesel Power’s February 2014 issue, whenever a test is run, the GM and Ram vehicles are Class III 3500 models and Ford is a Class IV 4500 model. Is Ford saying its Class III 3500 model does not measure up to the competition?

The cover of the same issue poses the question: “Do GM’s Trucks Even Matter Now?” Did your editors bother to read “Don’t Be That Guy” by Jason Gonderman? If your intention was to light a fire under GM, you deserve kudos. If not, I refer to Jason’s article.

All three of the truck manufacturers have good products for the consumer in whatever their application might dictate. We are fortunate to have competitive choices.

Also, regarding pulling the Dream Chaser on page 68, NASA could have saved the taxpayer money by using the Toyota Tundra, albeit a gas engine, in its tow testing.

In RV and commercial construction applications, my son and I can attest to the reliability of the 5.9L and 6.7L Cummins diesel engines.

Ron Simmons
Phoenix, Arizona

Photo 9/9   |   GiftCertificate Final Diesel
But how do you really feel, Ron? As our Letter of the Month, Ron will receive a $100 gift certificate from aftermarket parts specialist Auto Anything (www.autoanything.com).



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