Letters and Emails

Published in the August 2010 Issue August 2010 Column

Dear DT,
I am looking to get a new diesel truck. I have no loyalty to Chevy, Ford or Dodge. I am looking for great mpg. I need a least an extended cab or larger. I will use it for driving back and forth to work and as a camping vehicle (to the beach, woods, etc.) I can add the modifications as needed. Any information or direction would be great.

Fayetteville, NC

If you're talking brand-new, as in 2011, we're blown away by the fuel economy numbers coming out of the new 2011 Ford Super Duty with the 6.7L Power Stroke. We're talking up to 19mpg highway and 16mpg city numbers out of these trucks-hand calculated. We never expected the numbers to go back up in that direction on new trucks with all of the emission-control systems they have. If you're talking pre-2011 new trucks, Ford, Chevy and Dodge all get close to the same economy out of their 2008-2010 engines, with Dodge having the slight edge. But those numbers are closer to 13 highway and 10 city. Pre-2008? That's tougher. Bone-stock, any of the Big 3 diesels would get anywhere from 14-18 highway. But you can milk a lot more out of the older ones with air and tuning modifications. Whatever you get, put a good aftermarket intake system on it first. Keep the front end low (no lift or level kits) and run stock tires. Going wider will hurt your mileage. A good tuner set on a performance tune will typically yield the best mpg improvements-but don't tow heavy loads on a performance tune on a stock transmission. Extrude-honed injector nozzles can help the Cummins 5.9L get better mileage, and a free-flowing exhaust system will help any truck. -Ed.


Dear DT,
I just started reading Diesel Tech last month. It's awesome how you show us that with a little effort and patience you can make a true monster that's still a daily driver. Keep it up guys.

I am the proud owner of a 1997 Ford F-250 with a 7.3 Power Stroke. The truck has fairly low miles and a fairly strong drive train. However, as with any truck owner I'm wanting to make it better. I have been having a hard time finding parts for the truck. Every company I look at seems to want to only deal with the `99 and newer Power Strokes, and I am currently deployed to Iraq with the Army. So I can't just pick up the phone and make calls looking for parts or answers. I'm wanting to pull about 700 hp out of the engine and lift the truck about 4 to 6 inches. Any type of information would be great.

Travis Eubank
via email

First off, thanks for your service. What you're doing allows the rest of us to do things like build ridiculous trucks. We can't thank you enough.

Now, about the truck. There aren't many shops that specialize in the 1st-gen 7.3L trucks, as you have discovered. However, there are some shops we've dealt with that have been behind some impressive 1st-gen builds. First, we would recommend calling the guys at Wide Open Performance in Utah. Talk to Jacob or Zane. They are Power Stroke gurus. You could also try ITP Diesel, Elite Diesel, Dynomite Diesel (injectors), Diesel Innovations or Swamp's Diesel.

Getting the 7.3L over 400 horsepower is a chore. 500 horsepower takes a lot of specialized components. Hitting 700 will take all of that plus a heavy shot of nitrous. There is a `96 F250 7.3L that we saw in Washington last year that hit 739 horsepower on Dynomite's dyno. That truck did 466 horsepower on fuel only--that's a 280hp shot of nitrous on a fully-built engine. It would be a great truck to model yours after. It has a machined block and heads, Swamp's Diesel gen II HPOS, HX40 turbo, 350cc single-shot injectors from Seattle Injector, Turbonetics Newgen wastegate, and an insane nitrous setup. -Ed.

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