I have a 2000, 1500 extended cab truck with a 318 EFI automatic with
overdrive. I would like to use my upcoming tax rebate to do some
modifications to try to get better gas milage. With $600 in hand what
would be the best way to accomplish my goal? Headers? Is there an
electronic modification I can make? I only get about 15 mpg no matter
how conservative I drive.
a diesel is not a money saving vehicle anymore unless you are using it for
towing heavy loads almost daily. first you figure in the extra 6k on your
purchase price over a gas burner. then you figure in the extra cost to
service. 12 quarts of rotella, fuel filter and such for every service is
much more expensive than the service costs on a gas burner. then add in an
extra 50 cents a gallon for fuel, this is going to stay that way due to the
new low sulphur requirements, then the addition of a decent lubricant to the
fuel to make up for the lack of sulphur. for daily driving a diesel is just
not as good of a deal as it used to be even with the extra fuel mileage.
i have been considering a new truck. i did the math to see where the break
even point on the diesel over gas burner would become advantagous. after
figuring the additional cost of purchase, service and fuel compared to the
little tad of extra fuel economy the calculator said that the diesel would
not save me a dime until somewhere in the 250,000 to 300,000 mile range.
that was compared to a 1500 with a 360. when i did the comparason to a
dakota then the diesel was never going to catch up economically.
i have a 2500 4x4 diesel and when i filled it up last week it cost 140
dollars. of course it does get 19mpg on average. my wife drives this truck
as her daily driver. i have a 1500 4x4 with a 360. at 285,000 miles on the
clock it gets an average of 12 mpg. it is my personal daily driver. i use
it for short to medium length trips. when i have a longer trip i have a 4x4
dakota with a magnum v-6. it gets 19 mpg just like the diesel does. but
the gasoline costs much less and the service cost is less than half that of
on days where i am just taking myself somewhere i ride a motorcycle. my
three harleys average over 40 mpg between them. sunday i had to drive 80
miles round trip to visit my mom for Easter. it would have cost me 16 bucks
in the diesel, 23 bucks in the 1500, or 14 dollars in the dakota. i rode
the harley and when i got back home it took 6.50 dollars worth of fuel to
fill it up. the proper tool for the job... you don't use a slegde hammer
for driving finish nails in trim. you don't necessarily need a cummins
powered diesel for a passenger vehicle.
p.s. remember all this is coming from a guy who likes everything jumbo
sized and my wife is worse than i am. she was a long haul trucker for over
a decade and then spent about 5 years driving a tandom dump truck. she
refuses to drive something small so i don't worry about the cost of keeping
her in the cummins. if economy was a primary issue she would be in a v-6
I think you got your math wrong. There is absolutely no way in hell that I
will EVER own another gasoline driven vehicle. Fuel economy is one of the
lowest elements of the "Total Cost of Ownership" (TCO). I do agree that
using a 3.5 ton truck to get groceries is improper use of the vehicle.
That's not my point. The fact that US auto makers are not offereing 2 & 3
Liter diesels is the problem. The Europeans have it correct. On another
point, sulpher in the fuel does not help an engine and it is not a
lubricant. Sulpher in all oil is the main contributer to the formulation of
sulpheric acid, which accumulates in the lube oil because of water
condensation that occurs every time the engine crosses the dew point. This
is what corrodes the oil. There are far more diesels in use in Europe and
the fuel there has been sulpher free for a very long time with absolutely no
ill effects. The small diesel vehicle in Europe consistantly see mileage
like 60 MPG regularly. Remember, engine wear goes up with engine speed.
Diesels have no air control and make their power at lower engine speeds
saving significant wear over the gasoline driven couterparts. The run onto
diesels in Europe has been so profound that the governments in Europe have
lost serious revenue as fuel is severly taxed to the point that the road tax
and duties on diesels and diesel fuel have been drastically increased to
compensate. Please also note that diesel has 25% more latent energy by
volume over gasoline and if the fuel is ONLY $.50 more per gallon, you are
still getting a super deal. After all, you pay by volume, not weight.
the OP i was responding to was specifically about the fuel economy of
dodge trucks. there were no references to european diesel cars. i usually
spend a month in europe every year. it always astounds me how efficient our
rental cars are. i usually rent opal turbo diesels. the last car i rented
over there averaged about 55 mpg on diesel. it was as fast as a scalded cat
and much more ergonomic than any american car i have ever driven. if it was
available here in the u.s. i would probably purchase one.
i will agree that diesel has much more potential than gasoline. but in
american made full size trucks the numbers i quoted are correct. you cannot
compare a european diesels stats to a 3/4 ton 4x4 truck with a cummins.
since this is a dodge truck forum i have to work under the theory that we
are discussing dodge trucks. and for overall cost of ownership the gas
burner is cheaper for the first quarter million miles. after that the
diesel becomes more cost effient due to the durability of the truck.
heavier duty components combined with a slight increase in mileage
eventually win out but it is it is a long time before that point is reached.
Let's get real for a minute with cost.. Your going to get 1/4 million miles
out of a gas truck? If so, you'll be replacing some serious components imo,
that you won't be in a Cummins. I don't think that has been factored in as
"i have a 1500 4x4 with a 360. at 285,000 miles on the
clock it gets an average of 12 mpg."
"service is the key to vehicle longevity. i have five trucks. one with
~290k, one with ~280k, one with 277k, one with ~220k and the "new" one
i have a 97 4x4 1500 with a 360 that has ~285,000 miles on the odo. the
only major component that has been replaced is the transmission at 215k. i
believe that i killed the tranny by towing a 28 ft camper and a dual axle
trailer with my tractor on a regualar basis without locking out the
overdrive. it is still a daily driver.
i have a 91 dakota with ~277,000 miles on the odo and it has had no major
service. oil changes and brakes are all its ever had. i have a 93 dakota
with ~225,000 miles on the clock and it has had one clutch and nothing but
normal service other than that. my dad has a 98 dakota with ~330,000 miles
and nothing but brakes and oil changes.
don't tell me that you can't get a quarter million reliable miles out of a
gas burning truck. all these trucks are fleet trucks that work and haul
loads for a living. with some semblance of regular service a truck will
last for a long time. the dak's get an oil change every 5k with castrol
20/50 conventional oil. the 1500 only gets the oil changed every 10k with
royal purple 20/50 synthetic. every one of these trucks are on their
original ball joints and other suspension parts except for shocks. we take
the time to actually grease the fittings when we service them.
i burn premium gas in all of these trucks and clean the fuel system with
a 3M fuel injector kit every 50k. i use nothing but bosh platinum plugs
that get replaced every 50k. all the trucks use k&n air and oil filters.
they all use synthetic gear oil in the differentials. a little decent
service and quality materials goes a long way toward durability.
my 3/4 ton 4x4 with a cummins has ~170,000 miles on it and is on its
third lift pump. the price of doing a brake job on it is about 60% more
than my 1500 gas burner. the proper load rated tires cost more, the price
of servicing it costs double that of the gas burners and the fuel cost
another 50 cents a gallon. i know that it costs more per mile to own and
operate the diesel.
if you wanna see cost of ownership you should keep up with the service
costs on my gm topkick with a 3116 caterpillar. just changing the fluids
and filters on the cat and the allison auto requires a vist to the bank. of
course this truck would eat your lunch if you tried to operate it with a big
gas burning engine.
the bottom line is that at the rate most people trade their trucks
compared to the mileage on the clock when they trade them a gas burner is
cheaper to own in the long run. the only caveat to this is if your trucks
are regularly pulling a goose neck trailer with 10,000 plus pound loads.
for this heavy duty service a diesel is the only way to go.
i just did some math. on our four gas burning trucks the average mileage at
present is ~279,000 miles per truck. out of these four trucks the only
"major" service has been one automatic transmission and one clutch. hmmm, i
guess gas burners really don't have any durability... ;-)
p.s. my 72 dodge dart has over 200k and i noticed it has finally developed
a pretty bad oil leak. i wonder if i can get it classified as a lemon and
make the moco fix it or give me a refund...
Any of you folks that can get a gas job to perform the same tasks as a
Cummins day in day out for !/4 million miles without some serious repairs
I'd like to hear about.
How about a 2500 or 3500 Cummins and a gas job and then go hot shot it.
Give me a shout at 1/4 million miles and let me know what your expenses's
HTF do you compare a dodge dart to a Cummins????<G>
i will agree that for super heavy duty service that my gas burners will not
keep up with my cummins. but how many folks actually use their diesels for
real work. 90% of the ones i see on the road are just like my wife's.
nothing but oversized passenger vehicles. with the service i get out of my
other trucks i expect her's to last near about forever.
but since the topic had morphed into an economy idea, i was just pointing
out that buying a diesel thinking that the extra fuel mileage was going to
save you money is mostly a myth when you figure in *all* of the costs. like
i said before, if you are hauling a backhoe on a goose neck trailer every
day or pulling a 36' fifth wheel camper full time the gas burner will not
how do i compare the dart to the cummins? just throwing in how many miles
it has and it is still running. of course the oil leaks that are sprouting
are due to low manifold vacuum. i am going to have to tear it down and
rebuild it before long. of course i have just been waiting for an excuse to
tear into the dart. i am going to build it into a screamer.
here are a few photos of the little dart:
i am going to put a mopar 390 hp/360 ci crate engine in it and i have a NOS
727 auto to shoehorn into it. i also have a posi traction dana 60 to go
under the rear. this should make the car a blast to drive.
if any of ya'll need a good 727 auto i found five NOS mopar units in the
storage building of a local dodge dealer. i am going to keep two of them
and sell the other three. i also have two 292 hemis and a 354 hemi to sell
off. i thought about putting one of the hemis in the dart but the 360 crate
engine is just too easy.
I was pointing out that the 1/4 million miles with like trucks one Cummins
and one gas,you'd be ahead in the expense column with the Cummins if both
The Dart is nice. I think were it mine and I were younger I'd opt for the
hemi, keeping all the original stuff.
You might be in good shape with the 727's if you can read the numbers and
they are old enough so sombody that is doing a number's matching can use
one. E bay one and see how it goes.
my concern about the hemi in the dart is weight. i would have to start
swapping front suspension components and the price to build a hemi properly
is scary. also there would be a bunch of fabricating to get the air
conditioning stuff to mount up and all. the 318 to 360 swap should be
fairly straight forward and 390 hp in a car the weight of the dart should be
plenty of fun.
while i am going to sell my two 291 hemis and the 354, i am keeping a 331
and a 392 for some sort of future project. probably an e body car. somehow
i came across a bunch of chrysler stuff a couple of years ago and couldn't
resist buying it all. now i have a bunch of stuff and not much budget left
to put it all together. between the tractor, motorcycle and car projects i
am currently running way low on my toy budget.
I guy that was on her Redneck from Hell has a drag car with a hemi. He may
be interested. I lost his addy when I moved but a couple of folks here may
be able to reach out to him.
Mac? Rabbit? you guys able to reach Red? If so please shoot me his addy.
But you are forgetting a key issue as well and that is time. Sure, the
Cummins can run for a long time before it needs any real work but how about
the rest of the truck? My truck is now 11 years old and still only has
118,000 miles on it and for a while, I was driving it 80 miles a day just to
get to work. Now if it gets 10,000 a year, that is a lot. To get it to
250,000 would probably take me another 15 years and Cummins or not, what
shape do you really think that truck will be in at 26 years old?
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving
according to how you treat it... when we buy a truck the first thing we do
is put seat covers on it. there have been times where finding seat covers
to fit a new body style has been a challenge but we manage. the drivers
side seat cover starts to wear on the left side from entering and exiting
the truck. when the wear starts to show we switch the passenger and drivers
seat covers from side to side. when the seat covers eventually wear beyond
repair we replace them.
second thing we do is put those huge rubber floor mats in the floor boards.
then we tint the windows to keep the u.v. from beating up on the interior as
bad. when a truck is going to be parked for an extended time we put a sun
block hickeymadoo in the front windshield. i have one truck that is 15
years old in which the interior looks almost as good as new. the interior
on my 97 still looks good.
we keep up with regular maintenance using quality materials. when we have
to swap a part we use moco original parts. the trucks get washed
occasionally and they seem to stay looking good. my 93 dak has a paint
issue and we will be painting it before long and it will look as good as new
here is how the life of a truck works around here. i buy a new truck and
give it to the wife for making deliveries, pick ups and general
transportation. after about 5 to 7 years i buy her a new truck and that
truck passes to me for a daily driver and work truck. i drive it for
another 5 to 7 years and we repeat the process. the 10 to 14 year old truck
then gets passed down to one of the workers here at the shop. it sees
service 1 to 3 days per week until it gets rolled down the line when my wife
and i do another rotation.
so as the truck gets older it sees less frequent driving but still sees
regular use and service. we keep them in the fleet until they are about 22
to 25 years old. then they get rolled off to farm duty hauling fertilizer,
firewood and taking real abusive treatment until they die a natural death.
of course the the 84 mitsubishi built dodge is sitting in the woods behind
the barn and i bet with a set of jumper cables to get it started, it would
get you where you needed to go and back. of course this truck looks pretty
rough after living in a pine thicket for the past 8 or 10 years. if it was
a diesel i bet it would look just as bad.
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