Postal Route August 2014 - Letters To The Editor
Our Reader Write Back!
1500 ECODIESEL To start off, I love the magazine. I anxiously wait for every issue and then read it cover to cover. Now to the subject at hand: The new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel hasn’t been out six months, and I already know what’s wrong with it. Marketing! I live near Columbus, Ohio, and have three major TV stations near me, so you know there is an abundance of Ram dealers in the area.
I have yet to see one advertisement on the 1500 EcoDiesel. I know this is a tough market, and the truck is sure to fail if Ram doesn’t get the word out there. I think we all know diesel makes the most sense right now and in the future. We are the only country I know of that hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon, and we are relying on hybrids. Get with it!
On the contrary. Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel may be one vehicle that needs little marketing to be a hit. So far, they’re selling like hotcakes (even with the minimal amount of promotion they’ve received on television). Between February 7, 2014 (when Ram first began taking orders for the new ½-ton) and February 10, Ram received more than 8,000 1500 EcoDiesel orders, filling its initial allocation for the diesel-powered truck. We agree that increased marketing for diesels never hurts, but as of right now, the EcoDiesel has been extremely popular without a whole lot of it.
BIG STACKS Here is a picture of real stacks! They are from a Damen ASD2810 tugboat. I’m a service engineer for Rolls-Royce, and tugs use R-R propulsion, which is driven by a Caterpillar V-16 (1,860 Kw) diesel. The big stacks are for the main engines, one midsize is for a Cat C32 firefight pump, and the small ones are for Cat C4.4 generators. By the way, I’m from Finland and there are lots of U.S. pickup truck enthusiasts here. Personally, I’m driving an 2000 F-350 7.3L, and it is a great truck! There’s no other magazine like Diesel Power! Thanks!
NOT BUYING A ½-TON I do not comprehend Ram’s move to use the new VM Motori diesel engine in the 2014 ½-ton pickup. Can you go into more depth about all this nonsense? And Cummins in a Nissan? I read your little article, but this needs some research and writing. I know Ram owns the company that is producing this puny diesel engine, so I’m betting it’s all about money. I was thinking about buying my wife the new Ram but will have to rethink: loyalty to Ram or Cummins? Hmm…OK Cummins wins. Now I’ll have to turn to Nissan (the old Datsun maker). Why bite the hand (Cummins) that’s been feeding the popularity of Dodge trucks for years?
There is no nonsense to report, really. You are correct that money reasons dictated Ram’s choice of fitting its ½-ton trucks with the VM Motori. It simply makes more business sense to utilize an engine already in your stable than to outsource a more expensive diesel engine option (say, the 5.0L V-8 Cummins). Trust us, there is no bad blood between Ram and Cummins. At the end of the day, Cummins builds engines. They don’t build trucks. At the commercial level, you can find a Cummins engine option for almost every maker. Cummins did the right thing by shopping its new 5.0L around for a good suitor. Nissan, looking to get a bigger piece of the fullsize American truck pie, leapt at the chance to give it a shot. After all, the 5.9L Cummins effectively saved Dodge trucks in the late ’80s, so maybe Nissan is thinking a Cummins engine will do the same thing for them...
BASIC ERROR First off, I love the magazine! I’ve been a subscriber for years now. You guys run a real good show out there. But as I’m sitting here in my chair at home after a day of wrenching on excavators and trucks, reading the latest issue, I noticed on the Basic Training section about fuel filters for the Cummins engines there is a little mistake. It’s nothing big, but just something I thought you should know. When I change the fuel filter on my 2002 Cummins, I don’t need to cycle the key 10 to 20 times like you said in the article. All I need to do is bump the starter and the pump stays on (I think for 20 seconds). I know the 5.9L common-rails are the same, but I haven’t worked on a 6.7L yet to know if they are the same. When you just turn the key on, the pump only runs for 1 or 2 seconds -- not long enough to prime the system. Nothing major, but I thought you might want to let readers know so they’re not turning the key so many times they wear out their ignition switch! Anyway, keep up the good work. I love seeing Diesel Power in my mailbox every month! P.S. Do some more VP44 articles!
SIX-SPEED FOR 5.9LS, PLEASE! I am writing this letter with the hope that it will be published so as to push the diesel transmission shops to build a kit that will allow a guy to put a six-speed (68RFE or Aisin) automatic behind the 5.9L Cummins! Like many Dodge ram owners with the 5.9L, we are starting to rack up miles on our trucks. We know when it’s almost time to rebuild the transmission we find ourselves asking if we should buy a new truck or spend the money on a transmission rebuild. My truck has a lot of life left in it, and getting 22 mpg is not a bad thing, but what I would like to see is the option to put a six-speed automatic behind the 5.9L Cummins. You can only improve the 48RE just so much, and it’s still a four-speed transmission. My hope is to have a better powerband while towing, and maybe an increase in fuel economy.
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
NO MORE MANUALS? In this age of lazy people and the advancement of the automatic transmission, I heard a rumor that truckmakers will be going away from the manual transmission. Is this true? I have an 2001 Dodge with a manual transmission, and I love the fact that I can pick and choose a gear at the touch of my hand. If it is true, when is the last production and why?
Johnny Hancock (yes, the same one)
To date, we’ve heard no news that Ram plans to kill its manual transmission option (the G56 six-speed). We assume that, if the truckmaker ever loses money on offering the manual transmission option (i.e. its sales don’t justify the R&D that goes into it), it will get the axe. When that will be, we don’t know, but we do know automatic transmissions have long taken over in the heavy-duty pickup scene. GM killed its ZF-6 manual after the ’06 model year, and Ford did the same after ’10.
AG POWER CRITIQUE I enjoy your publication, but I enjoy correcting others even more, so here goes… the “Ag Power” article (April ’14) has several mistakes I’d like to address, starting with: That Trimble 750 GPS unit is not telling you you’re .03 inches from edge to edge, it’s telling you to move to the left 3 inches. You’re correct in stating that today’s agricultural guidance systems are scary accurate, but it really does depend on the antenna being used. I bought the bare-bones model Trimble 250 with the upgraded antenna for my operation last year and it’s wonderfully close, but with my AG15 antenna upgrade I still may be up to a whole yard away from perfect (and my lightbar EZ guidance system would be none the wiser...). I could spend a lot more pennies to get to within an inch of accuracy, but I have no need for that quite yet. I (like a lot of farmers in my area) still need to rely on good ole caffeine and stamina to keep my tractors on track day and night.
Secondly, that fuel economy number you give is off by a mile and a half. The 4.6-gph measurement is being taken as you sit there idling, snapping the photo. In no world would that 1,105ci engine sip such small amounts of number two whilst ripping the hardpan to bits at 14 acres per hour. My Case IH 7240 Magnum burns 3.6 gph pulling a 3x3 square baler around in circles, 6.7 gph while hooked to a 9-shank disc-chisel, and the worst fuel economy I’ve witnessed so far was 9.5 gph with my 5-shank ripper sunk 22 inches into the earth. I’d suspect your 4.6 would blast well over 15 as soon as you pop the clutch and slam the hammer forward…or gently slide that small piece of plastic labeled “throttle” so as not to break it.
Richland Center, Wisconsin
Richland Center, Wisconsin
Good eye, Luke! We appreciate the critique. We’re definitely freshmen when it comes to ag equipment, so any and all info on the matter is welcomed.
LETTER OF THE MONTH
I’ve been thinking about getting in touch for a while, and after reading the letter about no Excursion coverage, I saw my window of opportunity. I bought my Ex a little more than two years ago, after a few years of looking for the right one. When I bought it, it had a 6-inch lift, 36-inch tires, and a problem-free, unmodified 6.0L. I spent hundreds of hours using every source I could find to learn remedies for all the 6.0L’s shortcomings. After wasting my time talking to service departments at a few Ford dealerships, I got in touch with the guys over at Elite Diesel and began planning a build. Some of the mods are: decked and studded heads, ported and polished intake manifold, 185cc injectors, Elite’s Stage 2 fuel system, Powermax- SSX, AFE Stage 2 intake, Banks Techni-Cooler, SCT with Elite custom tuning, and the list goes on. The dyno numbers were a little more than 500 rwhp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. They found it pretty amusing to be doing a build on a vehicle with two car seats in it. My little guy is thrilled with how fast they made Daddy’s “monster truck!”
Bill Buchan Jr.
Sponsored by Auto Anything
Bill, we at Diesel Power have always been big fans of Excursions. But as much as we like them, very few of the versions we come across are modified. For pushing your “Ex” past the 500hp mark, and for taking the plunge and bulletproofing the 6.0L Power Stroke, you’re our Letter of the Month recipient. As our Letter of the Month, Bill will receive a $100 gift certificate from aftermarket parts specialist Auto Anything (www.autoanything.com)
MIND STIMULATION ONLY, PLEASE I have been a subscriber to your magazine (through the National Hot Rod Diesel Association) for three years now. After purchasing my truck four years ago (my first diesel), I became interested in performance modifications for my ’01 7.3L F-350. I appreciate the variety of articles in your magazine; I have learned a lot.
As a woman driver, owner, and competitor in the diesel performance world, I would like to thank your magazine for eliminating all the barely clothed gals in your advertisements. Some may not understand why I would take issue with scantily clad girls on your pages, but I will tell you that it sends the message to your readers that if you are female, you are only welcome in the diesel world if you barely have clothes on and look like a model. We want to encourage more people to join the ranks, not exclude them, right? I was embarrassed in the not-so-distant past to leave my current issue of DP on the kitchen table for fear my young daughter would flip through the pages and see pictures of barely clothed girls next to truck parts. Then I’d have to try to explain why this was...which I can’t, quite frankly. I am glad to not have to do this anymore.
So here’s a request to follow the thank you. Can you please get rid of the Viagra ads? I fail to see the connection between Viagra and my truck. I am pretty sure my injector manufacturer would void the warranty on my injectors (and call me an idiot) if I told them the injectors failed because I added Viagra to the tank to enhance performance. Hopefully you get my point... Thanks again for a good magazine.