Letters and Emails

Published in the August 2008 Issue August 2008 Column

Dear DT,
I am about to purchase a new (to me) truck but I want to start with the most efficient engine. My goal is not to build a 650 horsepower monster but the most fuel efficient heavy hauler going. That is not to say I don't want power. I do, but fuel efficiency comes first.

Am I better off to start with a Duramax, Power Stroke or Cummins? Which version? Should I consider a manual transmission?

Thanks for your time.

Via email

I would say your best bet would be a mid-90s Cummins with a manual transmission. They seem to be the best for mileage. Stay away from the new-generation ('08) diesels-they've gone downhill in that department. On that engine, minor injector upgrades, an air intake and exhaust system are good areas to make changes. OE size tires and no lift or front-end level kit will maximize your mpg, too. -Ed.


Dear DT,
What, you may ask, does fossil fuel have to do with the economy? It has everything to do with the economy. We can blame the economy on the President, the war in the Middle East, housing . just pick one. But the real truth is fossil fuel, from the creation of raw materials to transporting these materials to the manufacturer to transporting these products to the consumer, who also has to commute to purchase these products, paid for with money earned driving back and forth to their job every day. It all boils down to expendable income and the lack of it. Have you bought groceries lately? Not much in your cart for what you have spent and what about Fido? His bag of dog food has gone up a few dollars lately. Do you get it yet? Well, let me go on.

Case in point: Due to the high cost of housing in California, many families have moved out into the suburbs and commuted to work. Housing was reasonable, gas was cheap, it was a win-win situation, until the greed set in. Fuel prices started rising and rising, expendable income started disappearing. What happened next? People started walking away from their mortgages and going back to the city, creating the savings and loan disaster we are experiencing.

Have you typed the city of Dubai in your computer browser lately? It is an Arab city. This city was built with oil dollars-your oil dollars, have I got your attention yet? This kind of explains why your expendable income is dwindling, doesn't it? But they are not totally to blame. The American public thrives on status. We drive around in gas guzzling SUVs to impress our neighbors who only have mini vans. We tow mega-buck ski boats with multi-level ski racks, with jet skis, snowmobiles . oh I forgot the motor home and the toy hauler. We are in are own little world, immune to what is going on around us. We need to pay attention, write letters, attend meetings, voice your opinion. If not, you may as well pull the 20-inch spinner wheels off your SUV and use them to slide down the snow in your driveway, plant roses in your SUV and set it in on the front lawn. But you still can be cool waving at your neighbors as they drive by watching movies on your DVD player with your surround sound.

What, you may ask, is my alternative? Buy smart. Buy an alternative fuel vehicle. There are many coming on the market now, ethanol hybrids, clean burning fuel efficient diesels and electric cars for local commutes. I personally drive a 2002 Dodge diesel truck which I use in my business which runs on biodiesel. I still have to buy fuel but it is a fraction of what fossil fuel costs. I also have a `79 Mercedes diesel that runs on WVO (waste vegetable oil) that I get free at my local restaurant. This one I drive for free, thumbing my nose as I drive by the gas station. Hey, you can tell your neighbor you are driving a Mercedes. That should impress him. If you are wondering what I do for a living, I build biodiesel street rods and do alternative fuel conversions. This doesn't surprise you, does it?

Ron Zeitner
Via email

Right on Ron! Down with people spending their hard-earned money on whatever they want! Oh, wait . I'm all for that. Two points: There's not enough used french fry oil in the nation to replace diesel consumption (unless we all commit to eating 22 King-size fries daily); the last time I filled a grocery cart, I had everything but rice and flour. Thank you, ethanol. -Ed


Dear DT,
Could you please tell me where I can find an article or articles comparing diesel tuners? I have a Hypertech in our `02 Ford that works great. I just sold an `08 Ford because the local dealerships would not warranty the truck with ANY aftermarket products installed at all.

I just purchased an `08 GMC Duramax and would like to know how I can boost the performance for hauling loads. Is there any information on Banks Power compared to other tuning systems? Thanks for any information.

Rich Young
Via email

We haven't done a head-to-head comparison of available tuners for any specific engine . yet. However, this issue includes a test of the '08 Duramax with Pacific Performance's Xcelerator and Bully Dog's PMT. Maybe that can get you pointed in the right direction. -Ed.


Dear DT,
I just wanted to say I enjoy each issue of Diesel Tech greatly! I believe your magazine is for the average diesel truck owner. Not a magazine full of $100,000 pickups to look at. But a magazine about the diesel pickup that you can look at, learn about, enjoy and best of all-own!

Thank you
Mike Stanford

There are far more "average" diesel truck owners out there than $100,000-truck owners. Good to hear we've pleased another one. Thanks! -Ed.


Dear DT,
The last two issues of Diesel Tech that I've received have both had the same problem in shipping and I'm not sure what to do to fix it. The first three issues of DT I bought retail seemed to be made of thicker/stronger paper and so felt nicer but the last two I've received through the mail are made of much lighter/thinner material. Consequently, they've both arrived in pretty sorry condition and I'm not pleased at all about that. The latest issue that I received the day before yesterday had the cover hanging on by one staple (halfway ripped off) and it was torn/mashed up in several other places. Absolutely none of the other magazines I subscribe to reach me in such poor condition as Diesel Tech so the fault for my magazines arriving in such bad shape probably lies in the shipping dept. on your end. I'd be happy to send pictures if you'd like to confirm what my latest copy looked like when I got it.

Via email

We switched printers early this year and consequently switched paper. We are aware of the problem and are addressing it with the printer with thicker paper on the cover. I can send you a picture of the cover so you can see what yours is supposed to look like. -Ed.

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