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Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/14/21 6:57 p.m.

My practice manager has a 2016 2500H Chevy crew cab, duramax/Allison with about 95,000. 
 

It's not been a reliable truck for her, although I don't know the details. The current issue is "crystallization of the DEF system".  I don't know anything about that technology, and like anything, it's possible that it's owner caused. I sure wouldn't know how to maintain a DEF system, myself. Can't rule that out for any of the other problems either, since I don't know the details. She did comment that the transmission started slipping at about 40,000 miles. That sure sounds like the problem is the truck. 
 

It has a lifetime warranty through a Chevy dealer, but I'm sure it's an aftermarket warranty. Because of the warranty, the dealer gets to do the service, and I suspect they're taking advantage of her based on conversations we've had about their charges for routine maintenance.  
 

She uses it for her daily, and on frequent weekends will tow a heavy three horse trailer, so she does actually need a truck. She doesn't leave Florida, but will tow all over the state. 
 

She's thinking of replacing it with a Ford, and I told her to ask the dealer for an offer, but explained that while she might get a lot for it right now, it's also  a bad time to buy a truck. No lien on it. 

She said, and I agree, step one is finding a good diesel mechanic (Daytona area). Feedback on that would be great. 

Any suggestions or comments? Any idea what it's worth?

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/14/21 9:58 p.m.

It's probably still worth a pretty penny.

Honestly, I would tell her to to sell it and replace it with an equal-mileage 05-07  LLY/LBZ.  Best Duramax ever made.  Daily driving and DPF is not a good mix.  Dad has an 08 LMM and he has taken to parking it unless he's towing or taking longer trips.  Shorter trips don't let it get through regen cycles and the DPF fails.  His only has about 40k on it and it's already had a DPF replaced under warranty.  DPFs work best when you're on the highway for hours at a time.  If he drives it daily, he gets constant messages about DPF maintenance required on the dash.  They always go away if he takes it on a 2-3 hour highway trip.

Just have her get an equal-mileage pre-DPF truck and abuse it until it has 400k.  Dad's other Dmax is an 04 LB7 and it has now had a happily modified 197k miles worth of stage 5 tuning putting 938 ft-lbs to the rear wheels.

The 6.7L has been a great powerstroke for Ford.  She would be happy with that as well, but may run into the same issues with the DPF if she frequently takes it to the grocery store

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/14/21 10:02 p.m.

And if she has the means, never trade a cherry diesel truck to the dealer.  Buy a new truck and put the old one on Ebay, CL, and FBM.  Dealer trade in is always a rip-off and when you're talking about a big-money diesel truck, the proportion of un-lubed bending over will be epic.

STM317
STM317 UberDork
8/15/21 7:14 a.m.

Modern diesels make terrible grocery getters, even if they're towing on weekends. The emissions systems work based on temperature and pressure inputs. If they're not getting hot on a regular basis, then things go south. They're designed to move tons of  weight around, so they're not even breaking a sweat doing short stoplight to stoplight drives as a commuter. 

I'd sell the diesel for as much as possible and look at the current crop of gasoline powered trucks. They'll do what she wants with far less complaining.

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
8/15/21 10:51 a.m.

What the guy above said.  Ever since emissions equipment became such a thing in modern diesels, reliability has been way downhill, and costs have been ridiculous and increasing.  My great lesson in this was a 2006 Ferd with the 6.0 deezel.  It sucked in so many ways, but it wasn't even just the engine; this thing was a work truck regular cab with manual crank windows, and basic crap still went wrong regularly, down to the weather stripping in the doors and crappy tie rod ends and steering box.

At any rate, this is why a good 12-valve era Dodge is still in such demand.  They are great because in stock form, they are chronically understressed, and they have zero invasive emissions componentry.  I had one for many years, and it was generally great (however agricultural).  

After doing research on 2500-level trucks for the last several months (sold my '97 Dodge in January), I came to the conclusion that all of the modern deezels have basically the same kind of lifespan, which includes having the DPF system die before 100k (a used one for sale at this point should be a red flag).  Variable-vane turbos also go on that list of stuff that breaks at large expense.  Transmissions have always been an issue by 150k, but they just get more expensive with more complication.

This is why I bought a gasser Ram last month.  At 410 hp, it will happily tow a 5k car trailer and get nearly the same mileage as a deezel, for 10 grand less.  You still get all of the heavy duty drivetrain components without the liability (and ongoing expense) of the deezel crud . . .

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/15/21 11:42 a.m.

It's really a shame.  The early 2000s were brilliant for diesels.  Every single one of the "eww it's a diesel" shortcomings had been fixed.  No cold start issues, no fuel gelling, no long warmups, no black smoke... they even had the NVH down to below a gas engine from 10 years prior.

Then they had to add all the DPF and Urea injection crap and we're back to square one in the reliability department.

I'm a huge diesel fan.  Torque, safety, reliability, efficiency... then 2008 happened.

The big thing about diesel also is resale.  Buy a gas truck and run it for 300k and you sell it for $2500.  Buy a diesel truck and run it for 300k and sell it for $10,000.  Plus, if you buy the right diesel truck, you will have far fewer repairs involved.  I've owned a few 7.3L powerstrokes and never put more than one or two parts on them.  My 95 I actually made money selling it after driving it for 100k miles, and the only part I put on it was a GPR for $50.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
8/15/21 11:58 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

I am not sure how Diesels are "more reliable" than gasoline engines.

This was true in the days of mechanical injection pumps and points distributors, but with modern engines, the reliability aspect fades away.

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
8/15/21 12:02 p.m.

I, too, am a huge diesel guy. But she definitely needs a gas engine truck. The reasons why have been explained here, so I can't add anything useful to that, but if someone forced my to buy something newish, it would be gas. I prefer the old school diesels, even if they don't always impress the 'murican "mowr power" numbers folks. 
'Course I still have a sweet spot for Drip-troits, so YMMV. 
But the short version for her... buy a HD gas truck to suit her usage, clean up the diesel, and sell it for top dollar on the used market. 

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
8/15/21 12:09 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Some diesel engines do have the potential to do more work and outlast their gas counterparts; but you are correct that the difference is much smaller than it used to be. And ALL the other costs on running that diesel to half million miles and more, are way more than gets talked about. By the time the whole 3/4 ton truck gets to 500K, the gas truck has cost less!

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
8/15/21 12:14 p.m.

I can't help joking that a veterinarian asking about crystals in a urea-based system already has a prescription...

jr02518
jr02518 HalfDork
8/15/21 12:18 p.m.

Full disclosure, we recently purchased a 2015 BMW X5, diesel.  Yes a used one that had right at 40,000 miles showing.  In five weeks we has added almost 3000 miles, with the car sitting at the airport for 5 days on a vacation.

Gas prices in California have gone nuts, the price of fuel for the X5 is just less than regular.  Not putting premium in a BMW takes some getting use too. 

The car is a DD for my wife, the round trip to the job and home is 80 miles with a 3500 elevation change each direction.  We did purchase an extended warrantee and gap insurance.  My wife, on her own without a request, has concluded she is saving $200 a month on filling up her new car.

Now "DEF", yes the car has two tanks. A big one and a little one. both are located under the hood.  So when I top off the tanks I am looking at the engine compartment looking for all the know BMW leaks that can happen. Just to get an Idea of consumption, of the mystery fluid I have been topping of the tanks, twice now.  Still determining the corelation of consumption to the number of tank fill up's.

I will not be saving money on the consumption of tires and brakes.  Yes, both will be costing more than the 2005 X3 that is now my DD.  I understand what is required to keep a BMW maintained.  The green wave in the Golden State, sold me!

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/15/21 7:28 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

I am not sure how Diesels are "more reliable" than gasoline engines.

This was true in the days of mechanical injection pumps and points distributors, but with modern engines, the reliability aspect fades away.

Strongly disagree.  I used to be the maintenance manager for a fleet of hundreds of service trucks.  All three brands, both gas and diesel.  There isn't even a comparison by any stretch.  At all.  With the exception of the 6.0L Fords, our diesels would typically go 5 to 6 times the mileage/hours before needing a part/repair compared to the gas trucks.

We're talking about diesels that would easily go for 300k before needing a sensor, a relay, or a GPR.  Meanwhile, the gas trucks have already needed injectors, fuel pumps, two coils, two sets of plugs and wires, and they're down on compression in two cylinders.

The math was ridiculous.  I had it all on spreadsheets and dealt with the numbers weekly.  The diesel trucks would frequently go to 300-350k  before our needs assessment caused us to put them out to pasture.  Gas trucks 100-150k tops.   And even at 350k, the diesel trucks brought 2.5x more money at auction than the gas trucks did at 150k.  The only reason we had gas trucks at all was because a portion of the fleet was light duty trucks.  If we had followed the math, it would have saved us 6 figures every year if we went all diesel - less fuel, fewer repairs, longer life, and far less depreciation.

Keep in mind, this was before DPF.  This was in the years of the 7.3L, 6.0L, (which, once you sorted out the EGR and oil cooler, were berkeleying bulletproof) early Duramax years, and 24v Cummins 5.9L.   DPF and urea killed the days of DDing a diesel... just when they had it sorted out.  

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/15/21 9:09 p.m.

Good replies. I'm learning from it, since I've never owned a diesel. 
 

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/15/21 9:17 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

Good replies. I'm learning from it, since I've never owned a diesel. 
 

 

Don't.  If you own a diesel, you'll become a supporter and drive prices higher than normal.  There is a reason that diesels are so expensive.  It's because the illubrinati have discovered the enlightenment.  The first rule of diesel club is that you don't talk about diesel club. 

I will likely be killed for this post.

(not really)

 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
8/15/21 10:25 p.m.

And due to the emissions equipment the diesels have lost all that great mpg they got. The new 6.6,7.3 etc  gassers have much better mpg then they used to have and are pretty close to the diesels now in terms of mpg. And most places gas is cheaper then diesel. On top of that your paying a atleast 10k premium over the gas engines just to get the diesel on new trucks.

STM317
STM317 UberDork
8/16/21 5:44 a.m.

While the emissions control tech is far from perfect, I don't think the emissions stuff is all negative. Modern diesel trucks are quite a bit more capable tools than the pre-emissions trucks. Emissions controls began to be implemented in 2008 and have gotten increasingly more complex since then. During that same timeframe the engines in diesel pickups have gone from making ~350hp/525ft-lbs to ~450hp/900-1100ft-lbs. And they get those power levels while emitting pollutants at a rate that's several orders of magnitude lower, and fuel economy is about the same as it was 15 years ago. The matching timelines for emissions control implementation and power levels surging is not a coincidence. All of that added capability has shifted diesels from potentially being toys to being dedicated tools for getting work done. The emissions stuff has shifted the ability of those tools into a realm of higher capability that is simply outside of what most pickup buyers need. If you aren't going to really work a modern diesel on a frequent basis, then it's simply the wrong tool for the job. Don't be mad at the tool if you're not using it properly, or your expectations aren't accurate. Gassers are simply a better tool for most light duty use these days.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/16/21 8:41 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

The 6.7L has been a great powerstroke for Ford.  She would be happy with that as well, but may run into the same issues with the DPF if she frequently takes it to the grocery store

Alternate idea is to keep the current truck but relegate it only to horse duty and pick up a commuter as well for the daily driver stuff?

 

NermalSnert (Forum Supporter)
NermalSnert (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/16/21 8:43 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

The 6.7L has been a great powerstroke for Ford.  She would be happy with that as well, but may run into the same issues with the DPF if she frequently takes it to the grocery store

Alternate idea is to keep the current truck but relegate it only to horse duty and pick up a commuter as well for the daily driver stuff?

 

That makes the most sense to me.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/16/21 8:48 a.m.
NermalSnert (Forum Supporter) said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

The 6.7L has been a great powerstroke for Ford.  She would be happy with that as well, but may run into the same issues with the DPF if she frequently takes it to the grocery store

Alternate idea is to keep the current truck but relegate it only to horse duty and pick up a commuter as well for the daily driver stuff?

 

That makes the most sense to me.

Yeah, me too. That was my first suggestion when she said it was paid for. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/16/21 8:53 a.m.

I think there may be some confusion here. The original post was about the DEF system, aka Diesel Emissions Fluid aka urea injection. Then Curtis joined in talking about DPF, aka the Diesel Particulate Filter which is basically a filter that catches the soot and burns it later when the truck is working hard enough to make this possible. DPF does require the truck to be a truck occasionally, I'm not sure daily driver use has an effect on DEF systems. 

DPF gets a really bad name from the guys who like to leave their trucks idling all day because they remember their daddy telling them that diesels like that better than stopping and starting. The DPF never gets to regen and a warning light comes on telling you to go drive down the highway for 30 minutes. Ignore that and the DPF basically clogs up and you spend a couple of grand getting it replaced.

I've had a Dodge diesel for 11 years now, the DPF light has only come on once - after a 4000 mile tow where the truck never got a chance to get into regen mode because it was working too hard from what I can figure. A run down the highway, problem solved. A truck that gets used to haul a horse trailer reasonably regularly shouldn't have too much trouble with it. My 2010 Cummins doesn't have a DEF system so I don't know anything about it.

STM317
STM317 UberDork
8/16/21 9:43 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I think there may be some confusion here. The original post was about the DEF system, aka Diesel Emissions Fluid aka urea injection. Then Curtis joined in talking about DPF, aka the Diesel Particulate Filter which is basically a filter that catches the soot and burns it later when the truck is working hard enough to make this possible. DPF does require the truck to be a truck occasionally, I'm not sure daily driver use has an effect on DEF systems. 

DPF gets a really bad name from the guys who like to leave their trucks idling all day because they remember their daddy telling them that diesels like that better than stopping and starting. The DPF never gets to regen and a warning light comes on telling you to go drive down the highway for 30 minutes. Ignore that and the DPF basically clogs up and you spend a couple of grand getting it replaced.

I've had a Dodge diesel for 11 years now, the DPF light has only come on once - after a 4000 mile tow where the truck never got a chance to get into regen mode because it was working too hard from what I can figure. A run down the highway, problem solved. A truck that gets used to haul a horse trailer reasonably regularly shouldn't have too much trouble with it. My 2010 Cummins doesn't have a DEF system so I don't know anything about it.

DEF is mostly water. It typically crystallizes when that water in the solution evaporates. Freezing is very possible too, but that seems unlikely in FL where OP is. Crystallization can occur in a number of places within a DEF system (tank/filter/lines) as well as within the diesel aftertreatment itself (SCR). There's an injector similar to a fuel injector that can become clogged, which is probably the most common in a situation like this. Then, downstream of that you can get larger crystallized deposits in the SCR which can cause some issues too. 

In a case of short trips and light use, you're not moving very much DEF through the system. It's just not getting up to temp fast enough. On a cold start, it can take up to a minute for an SCR system to warm enough to even begin injecting DEF, and then it could be several minutes of some fairly heavy duty cycles to reach significant flow. But the exhaust can still get hot enough in that time to cause the water in the stagnant DEF to evaporate and the remaining precipitate basically forms crystals which over time will cause blockages. If there's constantly DEF flowing through the system from hard work, then it's less likely to sit and have the water evaporate away.

APEowner
APEowner SuperDork
8/16/21 9:50 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I think there may be some confusion here. The original post was about the DEF system, aka Diesel Emissions Fluid aka urea injection. Then Curtis joined in talking about DPF, aka the Diesel Particulate Filter which is basically a filter that catches the soot and burns it later when the truck is working hard enough to make this possible. DPF does require the truck to be a truck occasionally, I'm not sure daily driver use has an effect on DEF systems. 

DPF gets a really bad name from the guys who like to leave their trucks idling all day because they remember their daddy telling them that diesels like that better than stopping and starting. The DPF never gets to regen and a warning light comes on telling you to go drive down the highway for 30 minutes. Ignore that and the DPF basically clogs up and you spend a couple of grand getting it replaced.

I've had a Dodge diesel for 11 years now, the DPF light has only come on once - after a 4000 mile tow where the truck never got a chance to get into regen mode because it was working too hard from what I can figure. A run down the highway, problem solved. A truck that gets used to haul a horse trailer reasonably regularly shouldn't have too much trouble with it. My 2010 Cummins doesn't have a DEF system so I don't know anything about it.

I purchased my 2015 RAM with about 50k miles on it and I've only put an additional 41k on it but in that time other than getting abysmal fuel mileage and needing DEF the exhaust after treatment and the rest of the emissions reduction system has been pretty much invisible from an operator standpoint.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/16/21 10:01 a.m.

That one warning light was the only time I've seen anything to do with the emissions system, and it was in 2011 :) Fuel economy in my truck has averaged just under 13 mpg lifetime, but that's because it's almost always humping a two car trailer down the road at interstate speeds. Or running around town with a 14' dump trailer full of gravel, as was the case yesterday.

Thanks for the info STM317. I knew it was an injection system of some sort and I assumed crytallization was some sort of evaporative problem, but now I know more! And I'm glad my truck is the last of the diesels that doesn't need it :)

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/16/21 10:15 a.m.

This thread is reminding me how glad I am that I don't have a DPF or DEF diesel right now.

I think having a secondary gas vehicle might be her ticket.  The old way of thinking that "diesels don't like to sit" is a non-issue these days.  Old-school diesel used to be a little less regulated.  The term diesel refers to the engine and the compression ignition process, not specifically the fuel.  Older diesels could burn nearly anything from olive oil to jet fuel and everything in between, and "diesel fuel" could refer to any one of several fuels within a wide range of hydrocarbon fuels.  With more modern (picky) diesels and the emissions requirements, diesel fuel is now homogenized, regulated as tightly as gasoline, and really good stuff.  The fuel gelling and algae problems are mostly a thing of the past.  I wouldn't hesitate to let one sit for long periods.  More than a year?  I might consider some fuel additive for that.

The nice thing about diesel is that its vapor pressure is so much lower than gasoline.  The thing that kills gasoline is that there is so much incentive for the smaller, more volatile carbon chains to evaporate off leaving you with something that isn't gasoline anymore.  Diesel doesn't really get stale like gas.

Our old diesel tractors have burned all kinds of junk; kerosene mixed with some old motor oil, diesel mixed with peanut oil from the turkey fryer... The good old days.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/16/21 10:38 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

My old petrol powered Land Rover has an adjustment knob on the side of the dizzy so you can dial back the advance for different fuels - and this is a 7:1 engine from the factory. I'm pretty sure that thing would run on swamp water as long as there was a bit of methane in it.

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