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View Full Version : Diesel trucks...educate me!



Hunter_Newbie
Apr. 3, 2011, 07:02 PM
I dont need info on specific brands. Just want the basics on diesel trucks so I can understand what Im looking for when I start my hunt for a used truck to haul with. Im not even sure what to ask yall about I know so little about trucks! :o

Im a 5'1 girl, so its going to be annoying enough to get a dealer to listen to me, so would like to know what Im talking about before I hit the dealerships! :yes:

Foxtrot's
Apr. 3, 2011, 08:11 PM
Diesel trucks are more expensive to buy and more expensive to service, although they do not need to be serviced as often as a gas truck. Overall, cost of diesel and miles per gallon work out to being cheaper with a diesel.

However, as the owner of a 22 year old 7.3 Ford, I would warn you of the later 6.0's. My diesel is the poster girl in my mechanic's newsletter because I believe in maintenance. I'm planning on taking it up country to pick up my young horse in a week or so, so wish me luck that it does not chose to let me down for the first time ever on that trip.

How second-hand do you want? If you find the last year they made the 7.3 you would be good to go. (2003?) Diesel mechanics want to buy that one.

A diesel is worth it if you do high mileage. They like to work and sitting around is not their thing.

FalconerKitty
Apr. 3, 2011, 08:18 PM
We have two Fords a F350 (1999) and a F 250 (2000). Both 7.4 diesels and we love them. The older pre-2006 diesels get better mileage, due to the new emissions standards. I like the 6 speed manual, but the 350 has an automatic. Mainly, you need to understand that they need maintenance, and they will take care of you, but you need to take care of the truck. And remember they have a glow plug, two batteries for starting the engine. If you live in a cold climate, you need to understand the importance of fuel management in the winter and will probably need and engine warmer. They each take 16 quarts of oil and we use Rotella, made for diesel engines. Mileage: 250 get 23 highway, 16 towing (9000 lb travel trailer). 350 (4 door dually) gets about 20 mph highway, 16 towing a 3000 lb cargo trailer. Insurance, tags and such will also be higher than a regular car.

Go to a diesel shop talk to the guys, find out what is going on with diesels today. Do searches on Diesel engines and educate yourself. They are the ultimate flex fuel vehicle and the most eco friendly transportation, because of their efficiency.

Also, join this site: www.motorwatch.com Great information on all makes and models there.

wildlifer
Apr. 3, 2011, 08:38 PM
Good maintenance and they will practically run forever. I'd recommend googling basic diesel maintenance. I've got a 7.3L Ford diesel too, best truck they ever made. I wouldn't touch their 6.0 or 6.4L with a pole. I've also owned an 85 diesel, GMC suburban. They really are great and much cheaper to drive. I actually don't have many maintenance costs at all, just oil, which you do need 15 quarts of, but if you do oil analysis, you may find you don't need to change it as often as we've traditionally believed. That's really about all I've done aside from rotate tires. Parts are cheap and if you plug into a good support group online (lots of forums available), they can really help you out.

Good place for reading and questions: www.ford-trucks.com, great diesel forums there.

Hunter_Newbie
Apr. 3, 2011, 10:56 PM
Thank you! I was hoping for links to good websites that I can learn from.

camohn
Apr. 3, 2011, 11:17 PM
with good maintenance a diesel will run for twice as long as a gas engine. As a new option a diesel costs 5K more than a gas engine and tend to retain their value much better too. The diesel fuel used to be cheaper than gas, but is now more....though the improved gas mileage is still worth it, as is the better towing torque. Sadly you are not kidding about the being a woman shopping for a truck thing. You would think in this day and age we would be past that. Last time we went shopping for a truck I was only working part time/DH full time so I went to scope out possible trucks first. I was amazed at the different treatment we got when I went alone (first) and with DH (later). Only one dealership treated me as a serious buyer. The rest ranged from ignoring me to being downright rude. I got comments like "you bring your husband on back now when you are ready to buy " (ha ha ha ....NOT!) or my personal favorite: "but look....this cute little car over here is a pretty blue color...and it has VANITY mirrors!" I glared at him and asked if it will tow a horse trailer. One place I asked the price of a used truck with no sticker on the window. He said "expensive" and made no move to get off his duff. Sigh. I would reconsider your thought that brand does not matter because they are not all the same. Some have a stiffer suspension (meaning it will haul better but be a truckier ride if you have to drive the truck for things other than towing). And how old do you want to go? Certain brands had major engine changes in certain model years..and often there are "kinks" in the new design the first year out. And certain brands are prone to certain problems. For example Fords: the engines run great and forever (our 1999 is still going strong) but they are prone to problems with sensors and ball joints.

Hunter_Newbie
Apr. 3, 2011, 11:35 PM
Camohn- Oh I am definitely taking into consideration the brands. Just didnt want the thread to become a Chevy vs Ford vs Dodge debate. Thank you for the info! I ran into the same issue with the dealer when I was buying my Camry. A Camry!! Ugh. I walked out on more than one salesman. It doesnt help that I look about ten years younger than I am (Im 27 most people guess 16/17)

Foxtrot's
Apr. 4, 2011, 12:11 AM
Tart yourself up, put on the biggest, blingiest cubic zirconias you own and see if that changes their attitude. Makes you hate to pay their commissions.

Many a millionaire looks like a hobo, deliberately.

wildlifer
Apr. 4, 2011, 08:43 AM
I shopped alone as a girl too. You are doing the right thing -- do your research. I did luck out and get a great salesman. I marched in there and made it plain that I know my way around an engine and I know my diesels. I don't take any crap and I also know how to work the system. After I made the deal (the truck was used, but I bought it at a Ford dealership) and got a great price with my ancient Tahoe trade-in, the dealership manager offered me a sales job, LOL! But they were always very respectful and I made a point to thank both the salesman and the manager for their behaviour.

cssutton
Apr. 4, 2011, 09:12 AM
Good maintenance and they will practically run forever. I'd recommend googling basic diesel maintenance. I've got a 7.3L Ford diesel too, best truck they ever made. I wouldn't touch their 6.0 or 6.4L with a pole. I've also owned an 85 diesel, GMC suburban. They really are great and much cheaper to drive. I actually don't have many maintenance costs at all, just oil, which you do need 15 quarts of, but if you do oil analysis, you may find you don't need to change it as often as we've traditionally believed. That's really about all I've done aside from rotate tires. Parts are cheap and if you plug into a good support group online (lots of forums available), they can really help you out.

Good place for reading and questions: www.ford-trucks.com, great diesel forums there.

I have a 6.4 with 98,000 miles on it.

About 50% of that pulling a 4 horse trailer.

Mechanically, it has not cost me one dime. Fuel mileage is not as good as the 7.3 but the ease of driving, comfort and sound level is so far superior that I would never go back to a 7.3.

The 6.0 was a sorry engine, but the 6.4 is a good one.

The 2011 with the Ford diesel will be the best of all. Ford has never made a bad engine.

Truck is 3 years old, 98,000 miles on it and yet Ford at no charge just did a computer update that appears to have increased my fuel mileage, although I have not driven it enough since to be certain how much.

CSSJR

Mudroom
Apr. 4, 2011, 09:45 AM
I have also had good luck with my 6.4, although only 35K so far. My 7.3 was finally giving out (everything except the engine). It is so much nicer to be around, starts easy, I can order at a drive thru without shutting it off ;-)

I really love the integrated trailer brake controller and the tow mode on the transmission. Mileage is about 12 with the horse trailer and 16 without

Here are a few websites:
http://www.thedieselstop.com/
http://www.ford-trucks.com/

mvp
Apr. 4, 2011, 10:24 AM
Used diesel is the best bang for the hauling buck, IMO. Good on you to hunt for one of these.

Your first order of business should be cozying up to a great diesel mechanic. I like independent shops that work on Big Trucks-- the guys for whom a 1-ton is small and who keep commercial vehicles on the road. They see everything and they work for people who can't afford an incompetent mechanic. Your diesel dude can guide you on the rest of the Ford/Chevy-GMC/Dodge debate.

On the Ford scene. You will have a hard time finding a 7.3L and it will get harder. Those were made until 2003.5. I can't speak to the 6.0 vs. 6.4 engines. But read up on those. When they are used wrong and/or get sick, they rack up some very big bills. It will be a long wait for the new 6.7s to trickle down to the used market or any price point most people would choose for a secondary vehicle. Their sticker price puts the new ones at $65K!

People complain that Dodge build a POS truck around the great Cummins diesel engine. I was warned off the automatic transmissions in the early 2000s Dodges. But I'll let a Dodger give you an informed opinion.

To me, the Chevy Duramax (a tried and true engine design) and the Allison transmission (best out there) make these trucks perhaps the place to start right now. I didn't like the Chevy and Allison tranny I drove as much as I expected to.

One thing to think about since you are 5'1": A standard transmission will be a less comfortable truck for you to drive for a long time than an auto. That's because the average drive is taller and everything is designed for a bigger body. You'll put more milage on your body reaching around for pedals and the stick shift than will a 5'11" guy. You might not think about this on a test drive. But imagine driving through Manhattan in stop-n-go traffic for an hour or more.

You don't need to be afraid of a used diesel with 100K on the odometer. Ideally, you'd know how it was used and how it was maintained. Many people think a truck that's cosmetically clean and doesn't have bad tires with that milage indicates an owner that cared for the truck overall. After that, you want your seller to agree to let you take the truck to your diesel dude for a PPE. I haven't found this to be a problem with private sellers. For a dealer, I'd still insist.

Among other things, your PPE person should plug in his code reader to the central computer of the engine and look for "codes" that go with unresolved or even past problems. Code readers vary in quality and cost. This is why you want to work with a serious diesel shop that ponied up for a good reader. My diesel guy put my candidate trucks up on a lift and looked around at other stuff-- frame rust, axles, differential, exhaust, ball joints and such. You need to ask about this for a used vehicle and making the kind of investment you should: Buying used and keeping the truck until it dies. You don't want a truck that has to be euthanized too young because its body can't keep up with its fine diesel heart. It's a heart breaker.

Have fun truck shopping! Oh, and the selling "boys" actually don't mind the buying "girls." In fact, they seem to dig the "ying and yang of it all"-- the cubic zirconia and baseball cap/jeans, the short chick who jokes about being able to see out of the truck she'll put in front of 8000#, and the girly girl company for the test drive with the manly wallet.

cssutton
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:14 AM
I have also had good luck with my 6.4, although only 35K so far. My 7.3 was finally giving out (everything except the engine). It is so much nicer to be around, starts easy, I can order at a drive thru without shutting it off ;-)

I really love the integrated trailer brake controller and the tow mode on the transmission. Mileage is about 12 with the horse trailer and 16 without

Here are a few websites:
http://www.thedieselstop.com/
http://www.ford-trucks.com/

Your mileage will get better around 45,000 or so.

Towing will not improve much but non towing will go up to 18 or 19 on the 4 lanes in cruise control.

CSSJR

morganpony86
Apr. 4, 2011, 12:59 PM
Good maintenance and they will practically run forever.
:yes::yes: I love my Dodge diesel, and take very good care of him.

NPR's Car Talk forums were very helpful when I was researching, and still are for the maintenance/repair questions.
http://cartalk.com/

Foxtrot's
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:08 PM
Right on MostValuablePoster! I think that is what the OP was asking. Re automatic - I know, my left leg gets exhaused putting the clutch in and out inching along in rush hour going to flippin' Vancouver.

Mudroom - I know what you mean with my 7.3 having to turn off the engine in the drive-through, or worse, at the border. For some reason I get so nervous coming into the USofA I can never get it started again. Can't wait to get back to the North and Freedom. But the bench seat more than makes up for the noise which I don't notice inside.

Hampton Bay
Apr. 5, 2011, 01:48 AM
I have an 85 diesel Suburban that I love. It has 330k miles on it, and I am the second owner. First owner kept maintenance records back 10 years!

It is the most comfortable thing I have ever sat in. Doesn't have a ton of acceleration when towing, but it tows great. I've had a couple people try to buy it from me, one of whom is a mechanic and offered more than I paid 3 years ago.

Be prepared for some damn expensive oil changes, or learn to do it yourself. Oil change on a diesel runs about $70, even at the cheaper places. We can buy the oil and filter for around $20

morganpony86
Apr. 5, 2011, 09:17 AM
People complain that Dodge build a POS truck around the great Cummins diesel engine. I was warned off the automatic transmissions in the early 2000s Dodges. But I'll let a Dodger give you an informed opinion.


I have a 2000 Dodge diesel (bought it used several years ago). Engine runs GREAT; at 145k miles and transmission is starting to slip. IMO, 145k out of a transmission is fine by me, but others think it should go longer.

BasqueMom
Apr. 5, 2011, 01:19 PM
Another 7.3L Ford Fan...Ours is a 1996, bought 2 years old with 22K miles,
and pushing 300K miles. Original auto transmission. Glowplugs replaced around
80,000 miles and something on the 4x4. A sensor went out years ago.

We also have a gas engine Dodge and it just does not pull like the Ford. And
sucks the gas while doing so.

Watermark Farm
Apr. 5, 2011, 01:23 PM
After reading COTH, I abandoned my search for a newer truck and focused on finding the fabled 7.3L diesel (which they made until mid-2003). I found a '96 Ford F250 7.3L with 118k miles on it, a grandma/grandpa creampuff, for $6000. It's loud, gets great mileage, and pulls a full loaded 3 horse gooseneck like it's nothing. I maintain it really well. It now has 123k miles on it.

I have had numerous guys want to buy my truck (which is beautiful) for the sole reason of pulling that 7.3 out and replacing their 6.0!

Heinz 57
Apr. 5, 2011, 01:50 PM
Im a 5'1 girl, so its going to be annoying enough to get a dealer to listen to me, so would like to know what Im talking about before I hit the dealerships! :yes:

If you're going used anyway, I'd bypass the obnoxious dealership grunts and shop private party first. You'll be more likely find someone selling a truck that KNOWS the answers to technical questions and vehicle history, vs. the lot guys that are just parroting back what's on the sticker.

jbonifas
Apr. 5, 2011, 05:24 PM
Dodge is the diesel of choice around my area. I found a 2005 last year with less than 100,000 miles. I love my big red crew cab dually! I pull a 3 horse slant with an 8'-0 short wall dressing room and even with all stalls full my truck doesn't even know there is anything back there. I get around 16 hauling and 22+ solo. I traded in a 1998 Dodge 3/4 ton with 245,000 miles that was still going strong. I was just ready for an upgrade. Used is by far the way to shop, I wouldn't go for anything much over 5 years old and if you can find one under 100,000 that is the one to go with in any brand. Good luck and don't worry if it takes several months to locate just what you want.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 5, 2011, 06:41 PM
...sort of hijacking, but the truck people are on this thread. When was the last bench seat made in the 7.3 Fords? Or any good truck, for that matter. I love the bench seats.

camohn
Apr. 5, 2011, 09:30 PM
...sort of hijacking, but the truck people are on this thread. When was the last bench seat made in the 7.3 Fords? Or any good truck, for that matter. I love the bench seats.

old? Ours is a 1999 and no bench seat. Seconding the person who warned you to be prepared for the oil change bill (all 16 quarts....)

Hunter_Newbie
Apr. 5, 2011, 10:20 PM
Wow thank yall! Lots of great info.

Definitely going automatic, me driving a stick shift is a comedy of errors!

Another dumb question- Can I safely assume a truck of this size is set up to tow when I buy it? I ask because my boyfriend had to have a tow package put on his Jeep and Daddy had to do the same on his F-150. But I assume big trucks come with tow packages already ready to roll.

cssutton
Apr. 5, 2011, 11:27 PM
Wow thank yall! Lots of great info.

Definitely going automatic, me driving a stick shift is a comedy of errors!

Another dumb question- Can I safely assume a truck of this size is set up to tow when I buy it? I ask because my boyfriend had to have a tow package put on his Jeep and Daddy had to do the same on his F-150. But I assume big trucks come with tow packages already ready to roll.


On Ford F250 and F350's, the tow package is an option although most dealers will order a certain number of them with tow packages anyway.

But you do need to check.

I know you are talking used, but when I buy a new truck I get both the tow package and the camper package as the camper package has a different rear spring and a rear anti-sway bar which makes it more stable.

Be sure to get 4 wheel drive.

Depending on engine and year of manufacture, get a 3.55 or 3.75 rear end.

The 4.09's or whatever make for much higher engine RPM's at cruise speeds on the highway and are therefore much noisier. You only need a 4.09 if you are in the really big mountains like the Rockies. You don't need it in any area east of the Rockies.

CSSJR

morganpony86
Apr. 6, 2011, 08:52 AM
Another dumb question- Can I safely assume a truck of this size is set up to tow when I buy it? I ask because my boyfriend had to have a tow package put on his Jeep and Daddy had to do the same on his F-150. But I assume big trucks come with tow packages already ready to roll.

I think it's a rather safe assumption, but I would still ask. When I bought my Dodge used, it had the package but didn't have any evidence of having a brake box installed, so obviously it hadn't (at least legally) been used to haul. Why someone drove a diesel for 85k miles without ever using it to tow, I have no idea.

And the used dealerships can be handled even if you are missing a certain appendage. Most dealerships post their inventory online. If you know what you're looking at/what you want (thank you, Edmunds), and are prepared to walk out if they don't give you what you want, then you'll be fine. I actually had fun getting my "b!tch" on. :)

Brian
Apr. 6, 2011, 11:46 AM
I've owned a 99 F350 dually with a 7.3. Sold it with 173,000 miles because of a main oil seal leak, glow plugs needed replacing, plus plus other wear items were due. Never got more than 12 mpg empty and 9-10 mpg towing

Replaced it with a 2004 Chevy 4500 Kodiak with the Duramax/Allison combination. I get 10 mpg doing 55 or 75, loaded or unloaded, it doesn't matter. Hook up a trailer, gooseneck or bumper pull, it'll get 8 mpg regardless of speed. Thought about trading it at 175,000 miles, but for the $5,000 offer (for a white, crew cab, diesel, auto, loaded, aluminum wheels, aluminum flat bed), I decided to drive it until the "wheels fall off". It now has 281,000 miles and running strong.

My wife has a 99 F350 dually with the V10. 247,000 and runs like new. Pulls a 4 horse Cimarron LQ trailer and still gets 7 mpg. I'd have to pry it from her dead fingertips to get her out of that truck.

Had an 07 F350 srw with the 6.0. I could get 17 mpg if I drove 55 mph. As soon as you drive at 65-75, the mpg goes to 14. Hook up a trailer and now it's at 10.5. Luckily for us it got it head on and was totaled. I replaced with an F250 V10 as an "interim" truck (40,000 miles ago) until I decide what to do. As of now we're staying with it.

Had a 2001 Dodge 2500 with the Cummins and automatic. Was not impressed at all, so it was a short relationship. We traded it on the 07 F350.

Just recently purchased a 2004 International 4300 crew cab with the DT466, 53,000 miles, and a hauler body on it. So far it looks like 11 mpg on the highway and 8-9 around town. It was about half the price of a new F450.

If you consider the cost of diesel fuel at $.25-$.40 higher than gasoline and the marginal difference in fuel economy, it's becoming more difficult to justify the $7,000 price tag new or even a $3-4,000 differential in the used market. You're looking at over 233,000 miles to break even (new purchase). All of the hype about longevity and better resale value goes out the window when it's time to sell or trade a high mileage diesel truck. The operating cost of fuel alone is only about $.03-.04 cents per miles less. Yes, the diesel has more torque and will perform better in the mountains. I think one of the reasons the gas trucks seem to be "thirstier" than diesels is the size of the fuel tank. Most diesel trucks are ~40 gallons vs ~27 gallons for the gas, causing you to stop more frequently.

If pressed to choose, based upon past experiences, I would probably lean towards the Duramax/Allison combination if you absolutely have to have a diesel.

Good Luck and have fun shopping!

stillknotreel
Apr. 6, 2011, 01:56 PM
Everyone has given great advice on this thread. I worked at Ford for a bit, and though I might seem biased, I know Fords best. I have owned Dodges before and they're solid trucks as well. Had a GM, hated it. I had posted a few months ago about the different Ford engines. I'll do my best to regurgitate it here.


7.3L-

These engines are known as the workhorse engines. They'll last forever, even in the not so great care of not so knowledgeable diesel owners. If you can find one that's been well maintained you're in luck. They are pricey though. I have a 1994 F-250 SRW (Single Rear Wheel) with 285,000 miles on it. Let's just say I went to go pick the thing up in Maine this past July. In the process of bringing this “new” truck home I proceeded to blow up the transmission in my 2010 F-350. The '94 towed my new truck (which had less than 10,000 miles on it mind you) all the way back home with not an issue. She's been a daily driver for my boss for the past seven months or so and he loves her. It's a fight to get the keys! The transmission issue I have is not uncommon in the late 2009 to early 2010 trucks, which we will talk about later.

But to most of us mechanics we consider 7.3's to be "dogs". They're great for low-end power (i.e. great for towing), but not as great for your average grocery getter. The mileage from 1994-2001 7.3's is a bit on the low side, but from 2002-2003 the mileage was slightly increased. The only reason the 7.3L was replaced is because it could not meet the stricter emissions testing created in late 2003.

If you can find a nice 7.3L snatch it up. Fords from 1994-1998ish are beautiful trucks and extremely desirable. Most people who are in the market for a truck are in the market for a newer vehicle and tend to overlook the older model trucks. These OBS (Old Body Style) trucks are few and far in between, but hands down are probably the best Fords ever made. Over two million Fords built between 1994 and 1997 are still on the road today. Most of these trucks have well over 200,000 miles, so that can attest to their durability. I know I was looking for one this past September and they wanted upwards of $18,000 for a 14 year old truck.

6.0L-

If you mention Ford and 6.0L I'm sure you'll get looks of disgust. This wasn't Ford's best engine to say the least, but probably one of the prettier body styles (from '05-'07 at least). I've owned two so I can personally attest to their issues. 2003 was the first year of the 6.0L, I do not recommend anyone buying a 2003-04 6.0L due to the "bugs" they had to work out. '05-'07's have proven to be good engines despite some issues.

The 6.0L also introduced VGT (Variable Geometry Turbocharger), which allowed for a faster spooling turbo. Simply put, the faster your turbo can spool, the quicker your truck can get up to speed. They're great turbos!

Since there are some fairly common issues people have with these 6.0L engines, it’s a good idea to be knowledgeable of these issues and how to fix them. Some issue are more expensive than others, but some require simple adjustments that can extend the life of your truck and improve the horse power, mileage, and torque.

If you buy one, the first thing I'd think about is an EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) delete kit. They're usually around $150 online and it'll be one of the best investments to save your head gaskets. The EGR’s tend to get clogged with soot causing high coolant temperatures and simply put, will blow up your engine. It can also over-boost your turbo, which can cause damage to the turbo itself and even to the engine block. 2003 6.0L's have less of an issue because their EGR's are round in shape. 2004 to 2007 6.0L's have square EGR's, which are more prone to clogging and failing (Think putting a square peg in a round hole).

The VGT turbo installed in these trucks are great turbos, and probably one of the best Ford came out with. But as said before, these turbos are very quick to spool. They’ll start spooling driving around town, which requires your truck to use more fuel and power, resulting in lower fuel mileage. One thing I do recommend is having a "turbo switch" put it. These are not installed in a dealership, but any diesel performance mechanic or aftermarket diesel mechanic can install one. Simply put it is a switch that can turn the turbo on and off. There is a small rubber plug in the side of every turbo that when in place allows the truck’s turbo to spool and unspool at the RPM’s (Rotations Per Minute) it was designed to spool at. When the rubber plug is pulled out it increases the amount of air that is allowed out of the turbo. The more flow of air through your turbo, the slower the turbo will spool. That is why larger turbos take longer to spool than smaller turbos.

A fast spooling turbo is great on the highway and when towing, but if you're driving around town and spooling your turbo coming off of every red light you're decreasing your fuel mileage. Around town you put the switch in the ON mode, and cruise around just fine. It's slightly slower to get up and go, but nothing that will cause damage to your transmission or your engine. . When I need to get up to speed, or I'm cruising at a higher speed I flip the switch to OFF allowing instant turbo spool. The switch is easily plugged and unplugged and it causes no damage to the engine or transmission to the truck.


Lastly, the TTY head bolts are notorious for going in 6.0L's. TTY stands for torque to yield, and are fine in a stock, non-modified, low stress engine. But for many of us who want a little more get up and go, or do a lot of heavy-duty work with our trucks these just won't do. Head bolts are prone to stretching, which will cause them to fail over time. The EGR cooler (which if left stock will run the engine too hot!) can also cause the head bolts to fail, which eventually leads to head gasket failure. Not under warranty, this is a $3,000-$5,000 job. My recommendation? ARP Head studs or an engine swap if your head gasket goes. ARP Head studs will run about $700 for a head gasket with the head studs installed. That does not include the price to install the head gasket into the truck, which is a nineteen-hour job at a dealership. Nineteen hours worth of labor at around $100 an hour is roughly $1,900. So it will cost over $2,500 to have a dealership install them for you, and that’s on the low end of the pricing! It's cheaper to swap a Cummins in for $2,000 than it is to do head gaskets for sometimes almost double that price.

6.4L-

This was Ford’s comeback engine. After having a rough go with the finicky 6.0L, they had to come out with something that would restore people’s faith in America’s truck. With some new and big improvements and a new body style to boot, Ford definitely came out with a bang in 2008, showing America that they were truly back in the game.

Biggest change would be that Ford utilized twin turbos in this engine. It is quieter and quicker to boot. Twin turbos in any truck will allow the truck to have great low RPM spool as well as great high RPM spool. Twin turbos are created by putting one smaller turbo next to a larger turbo in an engine. To put it simply, the smaller turbo spools faster, allowing the truck to have boost (or speed, simply put) at low RPM’s. This then allows time for the larger turbo to spool at higher RPM’s. This allows for an almost seamless increase in power, allowing the truck to spool quickly off the small turbo (up to about 2,500 RPM) and then it allows the larger turbo to take over at higher RPM’s (over 2,500) and increase that power. It was a great concept despite the low fuel mileage these trucks are notorious for having. With some simple tuning though you can be back up into the mid to high teens for MPG's (Miles Per Gallon).

One of the other reasons for poor fuel mileage is the active regeneration mode (when the engine RPM is increased & fuel is injected into the exhaust system to burn off excess soot in the particulate filter), but again it's something that with a bit of tuning can be adjusted.

You probably have noticed that the 2008-2010 Ford's have those new vents on the sides by the emblems? Those are there because the engine is so tightly compacted into the engine compartment that that they needed those vents to allow heat to escape and to attempt to allow some cool air in. So it's a tight squeeze in a 6.4 engine compartment. In the early stages of developing this engine, before installing the side vents, Ford was literally melting sections of the engines due to the high temperatures building up in the engine compartments. A small adjustment, such as four six inch vents on either side now keeps the 6.4L engine cool enough to operate to it’s fullest extent even in the most intense heat.

One well known bit of information about the 6.4L’s is the late 2009 to early 2010 F-350 models are known for having transmission issues. Though this is an article regarding the engines in various Ford trucks, knowing whether or not you have a solid transmission in your truck is a very valid piece of information. I've had three different transmissions in my truck since July of 2010. I purchased the truck in September of 2009. It is covered under warranty, but it's been a pain to say the least. I also purchased an early '08 F-250 crew cab long bed diesel. It's been a great truck is no issues so far. With the DPF delete filter still installed still and just adding a programmer I get 15-17 MPG around town an upwards of 20 MPG on the highway. I get around 14-15 MPG towing. DPF is coming out this weekend and I'm hoping to get mid-20's with her.

I honestly haven't worked on many 6.4's as of late, but I own one so I have a bit of knowledge. They're great trucks and super quiet for a diesel. Having the twin turbos is a godsend for towing since it allows the truck to spool up to speed faster and keeps the RPM's lower, allowing the engine to stay cooler. With the tightly packed engine compartments of the 6.4L, twin turbos were a vital addition. This is another truck that I'd recommend an EGR delete on as well.

6.7L-

This is Ford’s latest addition to the line-up and so far everything seems good. Though it’s only been out for less than a year, they seem to be building themselves a solid track record to continue this engine for years of use.

I have not worked on one yet, but I've driven one. They seem to be solid work trucks, but I’m sure time will all tell us the outcome of this engine. So far so good to say the least! Let’s dive into the meat of Ford’s newest creation. Let’s start with the easiest specifications first.

This is Ford's first "in-house engine". Since 1982 International has built Ford's engines, but now Ford is stepping it up and attempting their own at creating a winning Power Stroke. The 6.7L brings us back to the VGT (Variable Geometry Turbo) that we saw in the 6.0L, but they also added some of the engineering from the 6.4L twin turbo engine.
Twin turbos are two separate turbo housings with two separate fans. One is larger and one is smaller, as stated before. This allows the smaller turbo to spool or spin first with the larger turbo gaining spool or spin and momentum from the smaller turbo at higher RPMs. As said before, twin turbos allow a vehicle to get up to speed quicker because it’s spooling the smaller one first (and at lower RPMs) and then spooling the larger one. More turbo spool at lower RPMs means that the truck will get up to speed quicker.
Instead of having separate housing for the two different sized turbos, they combined them in the same housing. In a sense, it looks like one giant turbo, with the ability to have both low end spool and high end spool. A smart idea on Ford’s part as it saves some space in the already snug engine compartment. This also might be a reason behind the extremely flat torque curve (i.e. peak torque numbers are seen at 1,600-2,800 RPMs) because although this combined “twin turbo in a single turbo housing” spools quickly, it is not as large as the original twin turbo out of the 6.4L, therefore it does not produce as much high end boost as the 6.4L did. The turbos are a combination of the turbo off of the 7.3L for the small turbo, and the turbo off the 6.0L for the larger turbo. The turbo off the 7.3L had great low RPM spool, and the 6.0L was known for it’s spool at 2,500 RPM, but known to slow it’s spooling closer to 3,000 RPM, hence where you get the flat torque curve from in the 6.7L.

They also used reversed intake and exhaust flow. Intake valves are located on the outside of the cylinder head, and exhaust gas exits into the engine valley where the turbocharger is mounted. This goes to increase the thermal efficiency of the turbocharger. That simply means that it helps the engine work more efficiently, which in return equals better fuel mileage in your truck.

The 6.7L also has it's own piston cooling jets which allow the pistons to stay cooler while the engine is running. This truck is capable of running on bio-diesel as well. They reduced the weight of the engine block by making it out of compacted graphite iron, and also increased the fuel mileage by about 18%.

The engine hasn't been around long enough for a real long haul heavy duty test, but I'm sure it'll be up to snuff! Sooner rather than later there will be updates on this engine with all aspects of longevity and towing capacity.


There are a few ways outside of major engine modifications that will allow you to increase the life of both your engine and your transmission. Gauges are an important factor when using your truck for heavier duty work. Whether you’re towing your two horse trailer or an eight horse head to head gooseneck, knowing how your engine is handling the load level is extremely important. Most truck drivers who aren’t as versed in diesel mechanics as some do not realize the importance of aftermarket gauges in their trucks, whether they own a Ford, a Dodge, a GMC, or a Chevy. No matter the make, model, or year, gauges are an important addition to any truck. They not only add to the aesthetics of the truck’s appearance, but also allow the drivers to be more in tune to their trucks inner workings. You can extend the life of your engine and transmission with a simple gauge cluster, and give yourself an extended piece of mind as well.

One of the most widely used and well known gauge makers is ISSO Pro gauges, which have a variety of mounting options. You can mount a single gauge in your truck, or have clusters from two to five various gauges. You can mount gauges on the pillar arm of your truck, on your dash, or wherever you please. If you do tune your truck then gauges are a must have. They are quite expensive though, and if your truck is bone stock I don't think it's one of those "I have to have" kind of things. I do recommend tuning trucks both for work and for play. Tuned trucks better utilize fuel mileage and usage and you can better monitor and adjust what is going on in your engine and transmission. A lot of hand held tuners and programmers have digital screens, which allow you to pick and choose different things to monitor, and they can be mounted in the cab of your truck. That is usually cheaper than buying gauges, half of which you don't always need.

One thing I will say, the gauges Ford installs in your instrument panel are not what I consider reliable. With the exception of your speedometer, RPM's, fuel, and boost gauges most things you probably never see move. Most of the oil temperature and coolant temperature gauges I bet have never budged. This was because people complained to Ford about always watching their gauges wiggle around. The slightest change in temperature and they'd be jumping up and down. People were thinking their engines were running to hot when they were in fact right on the money for where they should be. So Ford decided that if the engine temperatures were within the low and high limits for that engine than the gauges would always be set dead center. If the temperatures spiked above that (i.e. 230 degrees for your EGT's) then the gauge would spike upwards. If for some reason it dropped to low it would spike downwards. What is the downfall to this? You can't tell if your trucks temperature is climbing up too hot. The gauge will read when the truck is only beyond the desirable high or low for temperature. If you do buy a handheld programmer or tuner you can have the EGT, oil temperatures etc. read right on the screen, and you'll watch them vary all day. Annoying to some, but for others like us who want to be on top of any changes, it's a godsend.

Knowing as much as you can about your truck and how it runs is vital for making your vehicle last, with minor adjustment and changes, and a little extra knowledge about what is under the hood you can better utilize the vehicle you have, or have a better understanding of what vehicle is best for your needs. Everyone needs something different, whether it’s a truck for daily towing, or something that leaves the driveway once a month. Though there is a lot more to trucks than just their engine, it is one of the best places to start when wanting to learn about trucks. Knowing the in’s and out’s behind why you have twin turbos, and why you should use a EGR delete kit with a round EGR not only makes you a better truck owner, but a smarter one to boot. One of the most important things about buying a horse is knowing that the horse you’re looking at is fit for you, correct? So why not apply that same mindset to your trucks. The truck has to be best fit for you and your needs, and knowing your engine and how it works is the first step to figuring that out.

wildlifer
Apr. 6, 2011, 02:21 PM
Whoa, awesome response on the Ford engines, I can't believe you typed that up!

For the person who asked about seats, I have a split bench in the front of my 2001.

I do use a diesel additive to boost cetane in the low-sulfur diesel. The best one I've found talking to a couple big rig friends is Howe's Fuel Treat/Diesel Treat, I put in about 10 oz per tank and it makes the engine so happy, especially when it's cold, since I don't have a block heater (not needed down here).

stillknotreel
Apr. 6, 2011, 02:30 PM
Whoa, awesome response on the Ford engines, I can't believe you typed that up!

For the person who asked about seats, I have a split bench in the front of my 2001.

I do use a diesel additive to boost cetane in the low-sulfur diesel. The best one I've found talking to a couple big rig friends is Howe's Fuel Treat/Diesel Treat, I put in about 10 oz per tank and it makes the engine so happy, especially when it's cold, since I don't have a block heater (not needed down here).

I'm still on the clock so technically I'm "working" when I sit on CoTH and blab about trucks all day, haha.

I have a split bench in my '09. It's still an option in any Ford you get :) Captains chairs just seem to be more popular though.

Howe's is great stuff, can't always find it locally though. I think it is available online, but most places up North here don't carry it (i.e. Autozone, Advanced Auto, fuel stations etc).

It's very possible you have a block heater but no cord for it. When I worked for Ford and block heaters became popular in the '08-'10 trucks they were installed in almost every truck, but lacked the cord to plug it in. Both of my 6.4L came from down south (AL and FL) and block heaters are not standard equipment there. If you look under the truck though both have block heaters installed, just no power cords. All my other trucks came from up North so they were all standard.

Something to double check....

wildlifer
Apr. 6, 2011, 02:34 PM
I have looked and looked and looked for that thing! (heater) There is definitely no cord. I don't know what the heater itself looks like exactly, so any tips on where to look and what to look for if the cordless version is there on an 01 7.3L, built in KY, I believe?

Too bad about Howe's not being up north -- it's in every truck stop and most large gas stations here, I buy in bulk, LOL.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:50 AM
I can get How's here in B.C. - in fact Diesel Guy recommends it and all the big truckers use it.

SimpsoMatt
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:56 AM
I don't know what the heater itself looks like exactly, so any tips on where to look and what to look for if the cordless version is there on an 01 7.3L, built in KY, I believe?


You should be able to find a plug near the oil filter mounting. Mine's also an 01 7.3. It was originally sold in CT, so it already had the cord. But I couldn't find the plug, hidden in the front bumper, and assumed it wasn't there, until I was changing the oil and noticed the cord coming out of the block near the filter.

wildlifer
Apr. 7, 2011, 10:49 AM
Once my back heals enough that I can crawl under there, I will check it out again, I didn't look in that particular crevice yet, thanks Matt!

rmh_rider
Apr. 8, 2011, 05:53 PM
I think this is a worthy read. Some were talking about chevy v ford.

http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2010/11/chevy-vs-ford-in-heavy-duty-rumble-in-the-rockies.html

I bought my chevy durmax in Oct 2010. It is the 2011. I currently have 5k miles on it. This is my first diesel. The article is dated in november btw.

We were ready for a new truck, so lucked into all the new stuff. I have had BAD luck with any used truck.

I like the 2011 chevy (gm also doesn't smell) it does not stink, smell AT ALL like a diesel. I was not aware it was a non-stinky diesel. And if you do not believe me, go put your nose on the exhaust pipe and have a smell. This is one of the many features I love on this truck.

The allison transmission is very good. Makes a huge difference when towing. You can read up on the allison. There is no tranny like it. WOW. No tranny going out on ya hardly ever never.

This truck is a 6 speed auto. I traded my 02 Chev 2500HD 4x4 for basically the same but in diesel. It seems to have lots more power (duh) than my older chevy. You can put the hammer down and fly!

OH OH and another most awesome thing is this truck has a 36 gallon gas tank. Love it love it. I get about 17-18 towing, 19 when not towing. Hey I will take anything over 10-12 mpg which is what I got with the other truck.

So if you choose the new chevy diesel there will be no diesel stink or smoke, and a fabulous 36 gallon tank, 6 speed allison. Also you do not have to wait very long at all for the coil thingy to heat up so you can crank and go. It is like a couple few seconds.

I got the 4 door short bed. Light silver. Don't get huge tires on a truck. Get the ones that can tow your trailer.

Being you are 5'1", get some step bars for the side of the truck. Makes it way easier to get in and out.

Your diesel trivia for the day.

wildlifer
Apr. 8, 2011, 09:50 PM
Wow, someone sniffs their exhaust?

Just a note on the Allison trannys, Allison does not actually build the ones that go in the passenger trucks. GM builds them and slaps the Allison name on there, not quite the same animal that won its fame in the big rigs. But they seem to have had good luck with them so far from what I have heard.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:45 PM
It is a great asset to have a poster like Silknotreel on this board. Thanks for the detailed info.

My own mechanic who has babied my baby for so many years said that there were lots of cheap 6.0's around that would do me. Since my major trailering days are over and my 22 year old 7.3 cannot last for ever (can it? :) ), I told him I would not touch one since my son had one that blew up 13,000 km after the warranty ended. But then it occurred to me that maybe they have found what is wrong with them, found fixes, and maybe these trucks are not all that bad if they have had the fix???

Any comments?

mvp
Apr. 9, 2011, 08:10 AM
It is a great asset to have a poster like Silknotreel on this board. Thanks for the detailed info.

My own mechanic who has babied my baby for so many years said that there were lots of cheap 6.0's around that would do me. Since my major trailering days are over and my 22 year old 7.3 cannot last for ever (can it? :) ), I told him I would not touch one since my son had one that blew up 13,000 km after the warranty ended. But then it occurred to me that maybe they have found what is wrong with them, found fixes, and maybe these trucks are not all that bad if they have had the fix???

Any comments?

Stillknotreel did a good job of telling you the big, known design problems with the 6.0.

There are some standard solutions to those. They cost.

The other "solution" you need to a 6.0, IMO, is to use the truck hard. It needs to haul weight and/or go out for a long gallop on the freeway often.

The people who buy these trucks to haul all the time seem to be happy. The people who drive in town are the ones who clog up their engines with soot.

Since most of us ammy haulers out there didn't think of our trucks as *not* being happy as daily drivers, many people who bought the 6.0 received a nasty shock. It seemed unprecedented. If you do listen to happy 6.0 owners, ask them what they do with the truck and how they maintain it.

If I were to buy a 6.0, I'd ask if the EGR and the Head bolts stuff had been done. I'd price that out with my diesel mechanic. I'd also consider the cost of diesel fuel (and maintenance), the milage these get, the purchase price and modifications. At the end of the day, that 6.0 had better be cheap and cherry.

Oh, but I do like the sound of the better Turbo in these. I have an old non-turbo 7.3 and a PSD 7.3 which I am attempting to keep as a "museum quality" specimen. So sad to learn that I could have a truck that was even more responsive to my leg than the latest 7.3! Sigh. The young 7.3 does have some modifications. I wonder if those will make her just as spritely as a 6.0 with it's different turbo.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 9, 2011, 01:57 PM
Hmmm- - that is why I am still driving my oldie but goodie. We just don't put the miles on it that we used to when it was a daily workhorse for our business. So my next truck will probably be a gas one - cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain, more costly for fuel...I guess. When something has never, ever let me down it seems a shame to make a change for changes sake.