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Gonzo_Bmod
Gonzo_Bmod New Reader
9/1/09 9:34 a.m.

I love my Excursion with the 7.3 Powerstroke but if you are up north make sure you give the oil pan a good looking over before you buy. They rust more than a 70's Datsun and it is a $1500 job to get it replaced at the dealer.

I pull a 7000 lb brick of a car trailer and the powertrain is well up to the task. Stick with a 2wd truck and you can get over 20 mpg empty, 4x4 will drop you to 18 mpg or so. Towing the brick I get 12 mpg at 70 mph. That is not bad for a 4 ton vehicle.

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave SuperDork
9/1/09 9:35 a.m.

FWIW, I had my new rig (2002 2500HD with the 8.1 Vortec / Allison) at the dealer yesterday getting some recall work done. The service advisor praised the drivetrain pretty hard. Said that the Duramax is also great, but the repairs cost more when they are needed.

walterj
walterj Dork
9/1/09 9:56 a.m.
DILYSI Dave wrote: FWIW, I had my new rig (2002 2500HD with the 8.1 Vortec / Allison) at the dealer yesterday getting some recall work done. The service advisor praised the drivetrain pretty hard. Said that the Duramax is also great, but the repairs cost more when they are needed.

Your new rig is what spawned this thread - I have a friend who has the same truck as you and loves it but the 8.1L gas motor is a pig. He claims less than 10MPG at all times and 6 pulling a 32ft open 2 car trailer... which is pretty harsh. I like the look and feel of his truck - but I think the diesel would net me close to 20MPG and better than 10 for those long pulls to Road America and VIR.

If it were not for my strict rules to not make a project out of the tow vehicle too it sounds like your truck with a 12v cummings and allison trans is the perfect package.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
9/1/09 12:27 p.m.

Cummins. The company is called Cummins. It's a pet peeve, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one thinking it, so I'll throw it out there.

Cummins. No G.

Bryce

doc_speeder
doc_speeder New Reader
9/1/09 12:27 p.m.

Sorry, really sorry, but CumminGs is one of my worst automotive pet peeves. There is no G in Cummins.

Ok, rant over, back to discussing cool diesel trucks.

DOH! Nashco beat me to it.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo Reader
9/1/09 12:27 p.m.

12 valve Cummins regardless of who manufactured the body its in.

/thread

aikimo
aikimo
9/1/09 12:58 p.m.

Why should the 6.0L fords be avoided? Are they really that bad? I am looking at a 2005 6.0L..

Thoughts? Mo

walterj
walterj Dork
9/1/09 2:17 p.m.
Nashco wrote: Cummins. The company is called Cummins. It's a pet peeve, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one thinking it, so I'll throw it out there. Cummins. No G. Bryce

This is good - I learned something. Now, did they ever put one of these Cummins in a truck that didn't suck in all other regards?

Cotton
Cotton Reader
9/1/09 2:31 p.m.
walterj wrote:
Nashco wrote: Cummins. The company is called Cummins. It's a pet peeve, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one thinking it, so I'll throw it out there. Cummins. No G. Bryce
This is good - I learned something. Now, did they ever put one of these Cummins in a truck that didn't suck in all other regards?

No, but the Dodges aren't THAT bad. My F-250 had a better interior, no doubt about it, and the AC would freeze you out. My 2wd 95 Dodge has had two sets of balljoints in 195k miles, one transmission rebuild, and the dash is cracked. I also had to replace the front rotors and radiator. I did like the Ford a little better as far as the rest of the truck, and the 7.3 is a VERY good engine, but the Cummins is just awesome.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
9/1/09 5:15 p.m.
aikimo wrote: Why should the 6.0L fords be avoided? Are they really that bad? I am looking at a 2005 6.0L.. Thoughts? Mo

early 6.0's should be avoided like the plague. My one firend does warranty work for 6.0L EGR valves. Now he says once the problems are fixed the engine is very good.

Toyman01
Toyman01 HalfDork
9/1/09 5:34 p.m.

A mechanic friend left Ford over the 6.0. To do any work on the top of the motor you have to pull the turbo and the fastest way to pull the turbo is to pull the cab off the chassis. Blown head gaskets are common, as well as failing injectors.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
9/1/09 6:36 p.m.

seriously for the amount of towing you will do a 7.3 will be great. Sure the cummins is better, but you'll save $$$ buying a ford. They're good engines, just don't have the torque curve that the big 6 does, but it'll be great for you.

curtis73
curtis73 HalfDork
9/1/09 8:32 p.m.

Early Dmaxes are going pretty cheap these days. Late 7.3s too.

My ideal truck is an F250 truck with a P7100 Cummins and a beefed up Allison or NV5600. Its been done before. I'm currently researching putting a 4BT (two thirds of a 5.9 Cummins) into my F150.

Be grassroots; find a 5.9 and an F-series without a motor. Weld tab A into slot B, put a 6" chrome stack out the bed, done.

Dav
Dav New Reader
9/1/09 10:31 p.m.

Wow. Some of you make it sound like a gas motor is going to implode after a week of hard use. My father-in-law recently sold his late 70's Chevy 3/4 ton with the burly 305--with 300K on the original engine. It had a slow drip, but the truck ran great and was worked hard frequently. Could it have used a rebuild? Probably. But so what? I faced this same dilemna when I recently bought my new 5.7 4x4 double-cab Tundra. I REALLY wanted my dad's work truck he was going to trade in (2001 Ram 3/4 ton 4x4, 24v Cummins HO with a 6-spd) but he refused to sell it to me since he has a construction company and the Ram had 100K hard miles, had had 3 hitches ripped off of the frame, and generally had more problems than the 2 Cummins Rams he previously owned. In the end, I decided that I wanted a known vehicle from the start (I would be pissed if I bought used truck and would have to replace a trans/injector pump/rearend shortly after purchase) and was willing to go into debt to do it. However, I was not willing to spend the money required to get into a new diesel--my Tundra was $25.4K otd. In addition, my needs were not severe enough to justify an expensive diesel pickup. Finally, I have enough other vehicles that the Tundra will probably need more than 25 years to accumulate 200K miles... which many Toyotas reach. Just my thoughts when I was faced with the same issue... .

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter HalfDork
9/1/09 10:36 p.m.
aikimo wrote: Why should the 6.0L fords be avoided? Are they really that bad? I am looking at a 2005 6.0L.. Thoughts? Mo

The problem with the early 6.0s is that they were designed for ultra-low sulfur diesel in a time when you couldn't get that in the U.S.

This meant that if you didn't work the crap out of those trucks, carbon would build up in the EGR and in the fancy new-for-the-6.0 variable vane turbo.

The head bolts are torque-to-yeild, and I hear they like to go (translation: blown head gaskets). An ARP stud kit is something like $500 and fixes it permanently by allowing you to put a LOT more torque on the heads.

The motor is a 4v, but it's a jenky setup that still uses pushrods, and the rocker arm pushes on a bridge that actuates the two valves. I'm not really sure what the point is other than to make the valvetrain more complicated.

The biggest problem, though, is that the high-pressure oil pump got moved from the front of the engine to the back, and it's a right pain to get to. Shop labor for replacing one is ludicrous, and I think it involves pulling the motor.

Please correct me if any of the above is innacurate - I don't have personal experience with these motors, and the above is what I gleaned from a series of videos comparing the 6.0 to the 7.3.

compaddict
compaddict
9/2/09 2:56 p.m.

If you smoke cigars.. The 94.5-97 Ford is the best! I can puff all day long and the wife doesn' get a wiff.

walterj
walterj Dork
9/2/09 3:50 p.m.
Dav wrote: I faced this same dilemna when I recently bought my new 5.7 4x4 double-cab Tundra.

I have a Tundra now... a fine all-around truck but it struggles to pull my new trailer up long hills. It also is damn expensive in the parts dept. Not that it breaks often, but its gaining on 150k and things do need replacing. Everything Toyota is 3x what a Ford part costs. It drinks gas like flushing a toilet. It gets 6-7MPG towing and 17 unladen. That said - I'm asking it to do more than it was ever intended and it does it without complaint. It will be rusted to dust in another 5yrs and I figured if I was going to buy a truck - I'd get the sledgehammer of trucks and be done with it for life while my trade still looks good on the outside.

Ian F
Ian F HalfDork
9/2/09 4:42 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: I get so frustrated with this misconception. Sure, a diesel takes more oil, and a failed injector pump might cost $600, but I wish people would stop looking at the short term! ...and a bunch of ranting I didn't bother to read....

Simply put... I don't give a crap. I've spent the last 6 years with diesels and I simply don't buy that arguement any more.

Sure, properly maintained, a diesel will last near-on forever... Guess what? So will a gas engine.

I've never seen a $600 injector pump for a Cummins... or a TDI... double that... minimum. My problem with buying any used diesel is the risk factor... you get a good one and life is great... good mileage... low operating costs... my TDI (pruchased new) has fit this description... However, buy a bad one, and your wallet will be empty. Period.

Yeah... much of the repair costs can be saved by DIY'ing, but in the case of the Cummins, the fact is I simply HATE working on that POS engine. I HATE the smell of diesel. And that effing truck leaks like a bloody sieve (injector rails). Hell, half the reason I still own a diesel is because I work in NJ and never have to pump the smelly E36 M3 myself.

If you think they're such great trucks, BUY MINE. I searched forever to find it (Club Cab, 4x4, 5 spd, long bed) and I'm going to lose a crap load selling it, but I don't care... I can't wait to be rid of it. I REALLY don't like driving it.

If I ever buy another diesel truck, it will be new. With a warranty. and probably leased so by the time the warranty is up, I give it back and get another one.

The thing is, most people who buy diesels don't drive enough miles for the mpg gains to ever pay back the initial purchase costs. That was the case with my truck (even ignoring the engine repairs). I've driven the truck less than 6K miles in 2.5 years... I can count the times I've filled the tank on two hands. For ME a diesel truck was a poor decision, and when posting in threads like this I'm trying to simply convey the realities of owning a diesel from the perspective of someone who will admit they made a mistake. Should have just kept and fixed my damn van...

The only thing that would set me off worse would be if someone says I should be running WVO...

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago HalfDork
9/2/09 4:52 p.m.
Ian F wrote:
curtis73 wrote: I get so frustrated with this misconception. Sure, a diesel takes more oil, and a failed injector pump might cost $600, but I wish people would stop looking at the short term! ...and a bunch of ranting I didn't bother to read....
Simply put... I don't give a crap. I've spent the last 6 years with diesels and I simply don't buy that arguement any more. Sure, properly maintained, a diesel will last near-on forever... Guess what? So will a gas engine. I've never seen a $600 injector pump for a Cummins... or a TDI... double that... minimum. My problem with buying any used diesel is the risk factor... you get a good one and life it great... good mileage... low operating costs... my TDI 9pruchased new) has fit this description... However, buy a bad one, and your wallet will be empty. Period. Yeah... much of the repair costs can be saved by DIY'ing, but in the case of the Cummins, the fact is I simply HATE working on that POS engine. I HATE the smell of diesel. And that effing truck leaks like a bloody sieve (injector rails). Hell, half the reason I still own a diesel is because I work in NJ and never have to pump the smelly E36 M3 myself. If you think they're such great trucks, BUY MINE. I searched forever to find it (Club Cab, 4x4, 5 spd, long bed) and I'm going to lose a crap load selling it, but I don't care... I can't wait to be rid of it. I REALLY don't like driving it. If I ever buy another diesel truck, it will be new. With a warranty. and probably leased so by the time the warranty is up, I give it back and get another one. The thing is, most people who buy diesels don't drive enough miles for the mpg gains to ever pay back the initial purchase costs. That was the case with my truck (even ignoring the engine repairs). I've driven the truck less than 6K miles in 2.5 years... I can count the times I've filled the tank on two hands. For ME a Cummins was a poor decision. Should have just kept and fixed my damn van... The only thing that would set me off worse would be if someone says I should be running WVO...

You should be running WVO

hides...

Ian F
Ian F HalfDork
9/2/09 4:53 p.m.
thatsnowinnebago wrote: You should be running WVO hides...

Watch your mail for things that tick...

Dav
Dav New Reader
9/2/09 6:37 p.m.
walterj wrote:
Dav wrote: I faced this same dilemna when I recently bought my new 5.7 4x4 double-cab Tundra.
I have a Tundra now... a fine all-around truck but it struggles to pull my new trailer up long hills. It also is damn expensive in the parts dept. Not that it breaks often, but its gaining on 150k and things do need replacing. Everything Toyota is 3x what a Ford part costs. It drinks gas like flushing a toilet. It gets 6-7MPG towing and 17 unladen. That said - I'm asking it to do more than it was ever intended and it does it without complaint. It will be rusted to dust in another 5yrs and I figured if I was going to buy a truck - I'd get the sledgehammer of trucks and be done with it for life while my trade still looks good on the outside.

At 150K, I assume you have an older Tundra. The 5.7 is a beast--is it diesel powerful? No. But coupled with a great 6-spd auto, it is an impressive combo. The WORST mileage I have gotten towing yet is 13 MPG. Granted, I am usually only towing 3500-4000 lbs and try to keep it under 75 mph. Unladen I get around 16-17 MPG (my routine driving is slanted more towards highway with a little stop and go city) with a best of 19 on a highway only trip. While I actually like the Rams a lot, my brother bought a new one at the same time I bought my Tundra--his Ram has been back to the dealer 3 times for a leaking rear window while my has been trouble free... so far... .

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
9/3/09 2:12 p.m.

My F-250 7.3L with a Diablo Predator after market "economy" tune on it gets 20+MPG regularly, frequently 22. Towing beast, seats 6 adults, always has 1500 lbs. of tools in the back, and will still burn rubber at will.

Oh, and I only paid $7500 for it.

What could be better?

It had 250Kon the clock when I bought it. It now has 400K on it. I've driven it for 3 years without major problem. I did put injectors in it, but I'm still WAAY ahead, considering my purchase price.

(Before doing the injectors, I ran a compression check on it. All 8 cylinders were within 3 lbs. of factory spec at 300K +).

curtis73
curtis73 HalfDork
9/4/09 12:01 a.m.
Simply put... I don't give a crap. I've spent the last 6 years with diesels and I simply don't buy that arguement any more. Sure, properly maintained, a diesel will last near-on forever... Guess what? So will a gas engine.

I don't want to be argumentative, but here is my take on things:

The longevity of mainstream diesels has been documented now for 30 years. Cummins recommends a rebuild at 600k for most of their 6BT and ISB engines in commercial applications. Cummins puts a 5.9 in a 26,000 GVW truck with a 20,000-lb tow rating, and they recommend you rebuild it every 600k. Put a 305 in a Monte Carlo and pray it makes it to 200k with love and synthetic oil.

Yeah... much of the repair costs can be saved by DIY'ing, but in the case of the Cummins, the fact is I simply HATE working on that POS engine. I HATE the smell of diesel. And that effing truck leaks like a bloody sieve (injector rails). Hell, half the reason I still own a diesel is because I work in NJ and never have to pump the smelly E36 M3 myself.

Its pretty obvious that your hatred of diesel is emotional and personal, not quantitative. If your truck leaks diesel, you should fix it. Letting it leak and cursing the smell is like hating the smell of your farts but not being willing to change your diet. The Cummins 6BT and ISB are paragons of reliability, longevity, and value. There is a reason that they command over 1/2 of the light commercial market even though there are 14 major manufacturers of LC diesels.

If I ever buy another diesel truck, it will be new. With a warranty. and probably leased so by the time the warranty is up, I give it back and get another one.

Then you are not a wise grassroots investor. Diesel trucks these days have at least a 100k warranty. Why pay the insane cost of a new diesel truck only to have it lose the majority of its value in the first year? Why not buy a 20k-mile truck that is a year old and let the dummy who bought it first take the depreciation hit?

The thing is, most people who buy diesels don't drive enough miles for the mpg gains to ever pay back the initial purchase costs. That was the case with my truck (even ignoring the engine repairs). I've driven the truck less than 6K miles in 2.5 years... I can count the times I've filled the tank on two hands. For ME a diesel truck was a poor decision, and when posting in threads like this I'm trying to simply convey the realities of owning a diesel from the perspective of someone who will admit they made a mistake. Should have just kept and fixed my damn van...

A very good point about "underdriving" a diesel... but I disagree with what you say. Most people who buy diesels drive WAY more miles than those who buy gasoline trucks. I have a diesel F350 in my shop right now that is a 2008 model with 122k on the ticker. If you only put 6k on a vehicle in 2.5 years, then you should have bought a 67 Camaro. Comparing your experience with diesel with your small mileage to someone who actually uses it every day is just not really a viable commentary. Chances are you have developed bacterial growth in your fuel system that has caused many of you problems. But that is no different from a gas vehicle. Let a gas car sit without fueling for 6 months and the gasoline is useless, too.

My wife has put 200k on her 99 Mercedes diesel as a daily driver/commuter. Depending on the job, she has commuted anywhere from 1/2 mile to 16 miles to work. So far I've done scheduled maintenance and had to replace the radiator and fan when she hit a curb that pushed the radiator back into the fan. She also has some corrosion on a taillight bucket that makes the "brake light bulb" indicator illuminate.

The math has been done... here is how it plays out as of 2007 average numbers (based on the several hundred light-duty gas and diesel trucks under my charge from 2001-2007) based on the following factors:

  • purchase price
  • sale price
  • maintenance cost
  • repair cost
  • fuel cost
  • insurance cost

The gas fleet (per vehica :) cost us a full 31% more to consume than the diesel. Those are hard numbers based on hundreds of vehicles from all three manufacturers. Start to finish, mile for mile, the gas vehicles cost us a full 31% more. If you exclude the puchase/sale prices, sure, diesel is much higher... but from start to finish (as long as you're not putting a measly 2400 miles a year on the vehicle) the diesel puts way more money back in your pocket than the gas.

To add to the argument: We had a fleet of dispatch repair vehicles that were either S-10 or Ranger 4-cyl manual trucks. The dispatch trucks saw about 18.5k miles a year. The utility trucks saw about 50k a year with long periods of idling. The dispatch vehicles with their tiny mileage cost more to operate and maintain than our fleet of diesel 3/4 and 1-ton trucks. We spent more on the dispatch/repair fleet than we did on mobile repairs for our entire fleet.

calteg
calteg New Reader
9/5/09 10:57 p.m.

I heart my 12V Cummins. Unfortunately the engine tends to overwhelm the trans. Figure at least $1,000 to upgrade the torque converter, at a bare minimum.

If you're at all budget minded, the 94-98.5 Cummins is going to be much, much cheaper than a D-max/Allison combo.

DrBoost
DrBoost HalfDork
9/6/09 7:37 a.m.

I have a 93 Dodge with the only diesel you should consider. The 12V beast is just awsome. I get 23 or 24 mpg on the highway empty, maybe 21 pulling a double-axle trailer and a car. Around town, I get 19 or so. I just turned 355 thousand miles and the trans was built (notice not re-built) at about 120K with upgraded bits. It shifts great and will last a few hundred thousand more miles. The engine has been trouble free. I just put a lift-pump on it yesterday for $65. Sure, it takes 3 gallons of oil, but Tractor Supply Company sells it for $10 a gallon. Yeah, the truck is old school, even for a 93 but I'm not buying it for comfort. I didn't want the glow plug hassles of the Ford or the 6.5L TD from GM.
It's commonly known that the Cummin(g)s will outlast either the Isuzu-Max or the Powersmoke (sorry, I just had to). I read somewhere (can't remember, but it was an independant testing company) that did a study of the big three diesels. Basically they loaded the trucks to somewhere around 75% of the capacity and figured out how much of the engines potential was being used. The Isuzu-Max was at around 80%, the Powerstroke was around 70% and the Cummins was around 45%. In a Dodge application, you just cant tax a Cummins. That's why they will run to a million miles.

As far as I'm concerned, the Dodge with the Cummins is the only way to go. If you could swap the Cummins into a f-250 then you'd have a sweeet truck!

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