Model Year 2011 marks a big change for light-duty diesel pickups. We have one all-new engine and drivetrain (Ford Super Duty, 6.7L Power Stroke), one upgraded engine (GM Duramax LML) and one engine which has had two extra years to work out any kinks for the latest build guidelines (Dodge Cummins 6.7L).
The latest in factory design and engineering have taken production horsepower numbers to new levels, knocking on 400 horsepower's door. And to boot, these beefed up and tweaked engines are turning out better fuel economy than their brand's diesel engines did before the 2007 EPA regs kicked in.
The obvious point is that if you go buy a brand new diesel pickup, what more do you need? I mean, you're getting stock horsepower that you used to have to invest a couple grand to get five years ago. And the improved fuel economy of these latest engines has been enough incentive for guys to upgrade their two- and three-year-old trucks despite rising fuel costs.
So what can the aftermarket possibly do with stuff this good?
Make it even better.
We've seen it countless times in other power sports industries that our publishing company is involved in. Manufacturers finally build a great product that covers nearly everything that the consumer has been adding to previous model years, and you sit and wonder what will happen to the aftermarket segment in that industry.
But each cycle, the aftermarket rebounds and produces products that make what seems to be the best possible setup even better.
First off, 400 horsepower at the crank is a ton of power, but it will never be enough to satisfy the hardcore enthusiast. Heck, 800 horsepower would leave a few guys whining about needing more.
And power delivery is as subjective to owner preferences as anything, so you'll always have better transmissions, better water/methanol systems, better turbo designs, better air intakes and better exhausts.
The aftermarket is dependent upon the single principle that a truck built for the masses always comes up short for everybody else.
So as the new wave of diesel engines floods the streets in the coming years, rest assured that it will be followed by a wave of aftermarket performance products that will be just as impressive.
On a side note, you've probably noticed a few changes at Diesel Tech, from design elements to a few new faces in the staff box. We're stepping things up a notch to help Diesel Tech grow as the industry's most demanded diesel performance magazine.
So feel free to send us your feedback, to myself or to Editor Brady Kay, who comes with a long background in the power boat industry. Our goal is to continue to make Diesel Tech the most informative, most entertaining read you can find.
Thanks for reading.