Ford vs. Dodge vs. Chevy, Which is better?

by Bo Griffith, Certified Diesel Mechanic
Ever since diesel pickup trucks started getting popular back in the late 80’s, there has been a debate on which trucks were the best. For the sake of this article, I will try and break down the discussion into several time periods to cover all the iterations of all the engines 12 in total between the three. Keep in mind, this article is more anecdotal than anything else, and you will have to draw your own conclusions.

(1986-1993) In all reality, the first engines didn’t put up any impressive figures initially. In 1989, the 12v 5.9 Cummins put up a mere 160 horsepower, but a respectable 400 ft-lbs. torque. The 7.3 International IDI put up 185 horse, and 338 ft. lbs. torque. Lastly, the 6.2 Detroit used by Chevrolet had 160 horse, with 285 ft. lb. torque. In the first generation of diesel engines, I will have to give the prize to the 5.9 just for the power available. Not only did it come with more power, it was much easier to supe-up than the other engines on the market. Reliability wise, they were all very good. There were a couple of notable issues, such as the “killer dowel pin” in the Cummins, the cylinder wall cavitation in the International, and the fact that the 6.2 would shake itself apart due to poor crankshaft balance. (1994-2002) Ford introduced the 7.3 Powerstroke engine in 1994, and it was an instant legend. Surpassing both Dodge and Chevy in sales, there are still 2 million of these trucks on the road today, 13 years after production ceased. This truck was known for good power output and reliability. While the 12v Cummins was still a good engine, not much had changed about it. Chevrolet had switched over to the 6.5 Detroit, which did have a little more power output, but still lagged behind the others. Keep in mind, when Chevy came out with a diesel engine, it was to get better fuel economy, not necessarily more power. For the mid 90’s to early 00’s, the 7.3 Powerstroke still sits as king of the hill. That was bound to be shaken up at some point though.

(2003-2007) With new emission regulations coming down the pipe in the early 2000’s, manufacturers had to start updating these older engine systems. Dodge upgraded their injection system to be a high pressure common rail, this is after they doubled the valves in the engine to 24. [after 1998] Chevrolet partnered with Isuzu to come out with the now famous Duramax. Ford traded in the old 7.3 design for the new, improved (I use that word lightly) 6.0 Powerstroke.

Both Dodge and Chevy had some problems with this new, complicated injection system. The LB7 Duramax had many more problems, leading to a class action lawsuit, and eventually an extended warranty on the injectors. Speaking of class action lawsuits, how about that 6.0? The real problem with the 6.0 was that it wasn’t designed to work as well in the higher horsepower pickup truck market. The VT365 worked great in medium duty trucks and buses, but was tuned for a much lower power output. The 6.0 had a lot of power, but just wasn’t durable, between head gaskets, EGR coolers and injectors. Need some Stiction Eliminator? For the mid 2000’s Cummins is once again the “best” with the early Duramax in a close second.

(2008-2010) After 2007, emission regulations got even more stringent, causing vast overhauls by both Ford and Dodge. Ford finally switched over to common rail injection, with the International 6.4 engine this engine would only have a short 3 year run. Dodge made the switch to the ISB 6.7 engine, finally putting the trusty 5.9 Cummins to rest interesting fact, the 6.7 uses about 40% of the parts the original 5.9 used. The transition was made pretty easily by the Duramax lineup, making it my favorite from this time period, unlike the Powerstroke, [which was very, very different and complicated]

(2011-present) 2011 brought us EVEN MORE emissions regulations, leading to the use of DEF. Ford went to the drawing board for the first time to come up with their own diesel engine, breaking up their 25-year relationship with International. What they came up with was a compact graphite iron block, and a reverse flow engine. Reverse flow? Yes, the intakes are on the outside of the engine, with the exhaust coming out to the turbo in the engine valley. Other than a potentially deadly glow plug issue on the first run of engines, they are very reliable. Dodge still uses the 6.7 engine, and Chevy has the 6.6 Duramax. The Duramax has adapted to every new regulation almost seamlessly, other than a few cold weather DEF issues. They currently sit at last place on listed power output but not by much.

I really can’t say which engine is best, being a Ford guy, I will lean towards the Scorpion engine, I mean how cool is that name? But all the engines have immense power, and towing capability. If you are looking for a new truck, I would base a decision off of aesthetics and personal preference. You really are not going to go wrong with any American 1-ton truck manufactured today. I don’t see any trucks sticking out until they reach 1,000 ft-lb. torque, which isn’t that far off, seeing as we have two trucks over 800 ft. lbs.

Originally published in LSI Innovation Magazine – Issue 104

Low standards result in damaged engines

Standards are good, and of course necessary. When it comes to standards we have to ask ourselves “Who set these standards, and why?” If your engine is properly protected from excess wear and tear then why does it still eventually succumb to wear and tear? The answer is simple. Standards were set in building your vehicles engine and we accept them. Your engine is considered protected if small wear metal particles are filtered. The reality is most engine wear is caused by particles smaller than 10 microns. These particles are suspended in the oil inside of your engine and cause serious damage to the inside of the mechanical parts. However, the standard only requires filtering down to 12-15 microns. That’s the problem with standards.

At LSI we question standards, especially if those standards are holding your engine back from being the long lasting, high performance beast it was designed to be. When you let particles 3 -5 microns inside your It is widely accepted that your fuel economy drops in the winter, but do you know the reasons why? It starts with the refinery; they mix the fuel with kerosene so it can flow through the pipeline during the cold weather. Starting in October fuels have less BTU’s (British Thermal Unit). This means it takes more energy to burn the fuel. In return, your engine isn’t running as efficiently as it was designed to. A more obvious reason to why your engine does not run as efficiently in the winter is the effect cold air has on your engine. So why does cold air make the difference? On top of the Low standards result in damaged engines. 2 In the cold, fuel economy really suffers. engine, you’re putting an early expiration date on it. There is nothing you can do to reverse that damage. You can however, prevent that damage from ever happening. “We have the solution to making your engine have the longest engine life.” states LSI CEO Chris Gabrelcik. LSI has reengineered the Frantz Filter System. This filter system filters out wear metals and other particles down to two microns, leaving your engine protected and most of all running like the day you bought it.

Originally published in LSI Innovation Magazine – Issue 102

6 Ways to Extend Oil Change Intervals

1. Check the owner’s manual – Many vehicle owners will automatically have their oil changed every 3,000 miles. This interval has been around for most of the driving population’s lifetime, but due to advances in the oil and automobile industries, this practice may be outdated for your vehicle. It’s not uncommon for owner’s manuals to read between 5-15k miles, so look and find out how many unnecessary oil changes you might be paying for.

2. Bypass Filter – Using an oil filter that meets the engine manufacturer’s specifications is a great practice. Installing a secondary filter such as the Frantz Filter is an even better practice. The Frantz Filter removes smaller particles that can’t be caught by the OEM filter (down to 2 microns), oil temperature is lowered, and moisture is removed from the oil. Blackstone Laboratories conducted a third-party test where they discovered brand new oil was dirtier than used engine oil (4,929 miles when drained for test). With a Frantz Filter, most oil can go 50,000 miles before needing drained. We recommend oil analyses every 25,000 miles to ensure the oil’s TBN (see below) is still at optimal levels.
See the results here.

3. Oil Analysis – Bubba from Bubba’s Quik Lube can’t look at engine oil on a dipstick and know it needs changed; even if he says he can. Sending your oil out for an analysis is the best way to learn the condition of your engine oil, detect issues before they become headaches, and determine a safe oil change interval.
Our oil analysis kits are available here.

4. FR3 Friction Reducer – FR3 will extend the host oil’s performance in shear stability, oxidation stability, film strength and wear reduction. An innovative synthetic PAO/ester base offers complete compatibility with all diesel and gasoline engine oils, as well as all conventional, semi synthetic and full synthetic engine oils. FR3 can be used in any viscosity engine oil, and with any OEM full-flow or aftermarket bypass filtration system.

5. Boost your TBN – TBN stands for Total Base Number. It is a measure of how much active detergent and dispersive additive is left in your engine’s oil. While the base oil in engine oil doesn’t wear out, overtime the TBN in your oil is depleted. When TBN less than 5, your oil has lost its effective capacity to neutralize acid and breakdown dirt. When paired with quality filtration, Hot Shot’s Secret TBN Booster can extend your drain intervals by tens of thousand miles.
TBN Booster can be viewed here.

6. Maintenance – Spending a few dollars per quart to make the switch to a synthetic oil. Heat is one of the biggest causes of oil needing changed. A bypass filter or oil cooler can help lower oil temperatures, but even your cooling system can affect oil temperature. Any amount of scale, debris, or rust in the cooling system can raise the oil temperature; staying on top of cooling system maintenance can save you money on oil changes. Continually check your engine oil level, low oil level accelerates degradation, topping off the system with oil can also slightly replenish the TBN that may have been depleted.

How to Prepare for the Drag Strip

truck racing

As Title Sponsor of the NHRDA and Outlaw Diesel Super Series Pro Street class sponsor we get to interact with diesel performance enthusiasts all over the country. Some truck owners have parachutes and nitrous oxide systems; others want to get on the strip for the first time. Let’s talk about what it takes to get on the drag strip!

1. Check your truck out. On the road, its good practice to inspect your truck from top to bottom every so often. If you want to get on the strip this will be the first place to start. Check for nails or screws in your tires, make sure your battery is secure, address fluid leaks, check the taillights, and even washing the body and bed off are good places to start. Before you’re allowed to race, your truck will be tech inspected by a track official. Check with the event planner ahead of time to see what you need to have done to pass tech. These inspections ensure your safety and the other racer’s safety, so don’t try to cut corners!

2. Maintenance. Corresponding inspecting your truck in the step above, make sure to keep up on your truck’s maintenance. Make sure your coolant recovery or catch can is installed and check your neutral safety switch. Basic maintenance will be more than enough: fresh fluids, tires free of dry rot and cracks, brakes in optimal condition, etc. You drove the truck there under its own power, a tow truck home could cost more than getting onto the track.

3. Leave the sandals at home. While you don’t need a top of the line fire suit with matching racing shoes; make sure you wear comfortable, but proper clothing. Tennis shoes, pants, and long sleeve shirts are a good starting point and will keep you from running out to a store. If your truck is running 13.99 seconds or quicker in the quarter mile, you’ll need to shop for a helmet. NHRDA requires a recent SNELL approved helmet or an SFI rated helmet. Pack some tools, gas can, tire pressure gauge and some snacks.

4. A dose of Diesel Extreme. We know what you’re thinking; how can a fuel additive help? Diesel Extreme will ensure the fuel entering your combustion chamber is optimized for burn by addressing fuel quality issues like low cetane and moisture. Overtime, carbon deposits from burnt fuel and other foreign particles can form on the tips of your injectors, affecting how the fuel enters the chamber. This sounds miniscule but these deposits can affect everything from power output to emissions. Manufacturers spend countless money and time to research and test fuel spray pressure, speed, breakup length and pattern only for it to be thrown off by these deposits. A quick dose of Diesel Extreme every six months will ensure your fuel system is ready to go.

5. Lose the weight. Don’t worry, this step does not require a treadmill. Remove the spare tire and any tools you might have in the toolbox or behind your seat. Make sure you bring the jack, spare and some tools to the track, but remove them in the pits. Each time you need to leave the pits ensure there’s no loose junk in the cab that might move or roll; water bottles make their way under pedals more often than you’d think! Have your fuel tank at roughly a quarter capacity. If you installed aftermarket wheels consider their weight with the factory wheels you have in the shed.

6. Ready to roll. Make sure to have your AC and other accessories turned off. Roll the windows up and make sure your seat belt is tight. You’ll typically have better traction on all seasons if your truck is in 4×4; pick a setting and be sure to be in it before getting up to the line. If you’re in 4×4 drive around the water box; if racing in 2WD feel free to drive around the water, back up into it and spin the tires. Street tires or DOT legal drag radials do not have much to benefit from the burnout, but how many other places are you allowed to do one? Talk to drivers that are faster than you and take notes; his modifications or even tire pressure could help lower your time.

How EDT and Diesel Extreme can Correct DPF and Regen Issues

The diesel particulate filter (DPF) is an exhaust component designed to remove soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine. First considered in the 1970’s after concerns of inhaled particulates, particulate filters have been in use on non-road machines since 1980, and in automobiles since 1985. Since 2007, DPFs have been required on all diesel vehicles manufactured for road use.

DPF

However, diesel particulate filters must be cleaned from time to time or they will block up. When a DPF is plugged up and not regenerated, owners may see issues with drive-ability or damage to the engine or filter itself.

DPF filters go through a regeneration process which removes this soot and lowers the filter pressure. There are three types of regeneration: active, passive, and forced. Active regeneration happens while the vehicle is not in use and takes 10 minutes on average to complete. Passive regeneration takes place while driving using the heat of the exhaust. This works well for vehicles that drive longer distances with few stops compared to those that perform short trips with many starts and stops. If the filter develops too much pressure then the last type of regeneration must be used – a forced regeneration. This involves a garage using a computer program to run the car, initiating a manual regeneration of the DPF.

In 2016 we tested Everyday Diesel Treatment and Diesel Extreme with multiple trucks owned by the City of Columbus, OH. Their fleet had issues with high regeneration costs and difficulty keeping trucks on the road. With an initial treatment of Diesel Extreme in each truck, as well as follow up doses of Everyday Diesel Treatment, the City of Columbus saw a dramatic reduction in the need for regenerations. We developed a white paper focusing on two of their trucks, a 2008 Freightliner M2 106 TA and a 2013 F-550 6.7L Powerstroke. These two trucks averaged three regenerations a month. By using these two fuel additives in these two trucks, the City of Columbus reported they now require a regeneration once every two months! Between the reduction in maintenance costs, downtime, and fuel economy increase, the city would save more than $4,000 a year just by treating these two trucks! Read the white paper here.

How does Everyday Diesel Treatment and Diesel Extreme affect the DPF? They help address regeneration issues by optimizing the combustion of fuel in the chamber. By maximizing cetane levels and addressing the most common fuel quality issues (moisture, asphaltenes, low lubricity, etc.) the fuel will burn smoothly and evenly, resulting in a more complete burn. This complete burn results in less carbon being sent to the DPF; allowing the DPF to, in a sense, “catch up” with the current build up. We’ve seen reductions in opacity tests which also provide insight on how our products can affect the exhaust system.

Recently, YouTube user dieselrsm; the owner of a 2016 6.7L Cummins with 35k miles started having regeneration issues. His truck would typically use passive regenerations as he drove down the highway. Around 35,000 miles, his truck’s display read “DPF full, regen in process” for the first time. The display counted down from 100% and acted fine the rest of that day. But every day after that he would have the message reoccur once a day. He used a competitor’s product trying to correct the issue; but the result was the regeneration notification repeatedly for over thirty miles. Desperate for an answer, he stopped by a local auto parts store and picked up our Diesel Extreme. He’s at over 50,000 miles now and hasn’t seen the regen notification since!

Here’s the video:

dieselrsm is in no way affiliated with Hot Shot’s Secret; the above video was posted by dieselrsm on January 13, 2017. View his channel here: dieselrsm’s channel

Another common issue with modern emission equipment is a dirty or clogged EGR valve. The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve is an anti-pollution device, designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) spewing out of a vehicle’s exhaust pipe. Exhaust Gas Recirculation works by recirculating a controlled portion of an engine’s exhaust fumes back into the engine. The EGR valve turns the flow of exhaust gases on and off. While Diesel Extreme and Everyday Diesel Treatment can help slow down or completely stop the addition of buildup on your EGR valve (diesel engines only), many times you’ll need to get your hands dirty to clean the EGR valve or even replace it if the buildup is severe enough.

Hot Shot’s Secret Congratulates Lavon Miller as x2 Ultimate Callout Challenge Champion!

As a silver sponsor of the Ultimate Callout Challenge and exhibitor at this weekend’s annual Diesel Performance Industry Expo held simultaneously, Hot Shot’s Secret was able to be on hand as Lavon Miller of Firepunk Diesel made history to clinch the championship title for the 2nd year in a row!

His stats included 1st overall drag at 8.50 seconds, 2nd best dyno overall at 2211-HP/3309 ft/lbs of torque, and 2nd best pull overall at 360.88 feet. Knowing the engine he had built in order to win in the drag competition was not set up for the dyno competition the next day, he and his team commandeered a local engine shop to tear down the truck and install the second engine they had built for extreme dyno performance.

Lavon posted the image below to his Facebook page with the caption “is there a dyno event or something tomorrow?” at 2:26 AM on April 22nd:
Firepunk Diesel team

According to the Ultimate Callout Challenge official Facebook page, Lavon earned 837 points in the drag event, 786.308 points in the dyno competition, and 296.09 points in the pull, netting a total of 2386.578 points. DNR Customs with Derek Rose behind the wheel took second place with 2337.118 points. The So Cal Diesel truck driven by Wade Minter placed third with a total of 2249.627 points.

“We at Hot Shot’s Secret wish to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Lavon Miller and the rest of the Firepunk Diesel team for this outstanding championship, and are thankful to have had the opportunity to spend time with him at Firepunk Diesel while he tested our FR3 Friction Reducer. We look forward to supporting and working with Lavon and his team as they continue to test the limits of diesel engines in the future” stated Hot Shot’s Secret CEO and President Chris Gabrelcik.

FR3 Friction Reducer dyno results here: https://www.hotshotsecret.com/fr3-dyno-results/

History of the HEUI

The Need for More Fuel Pressure
In the 1980’s manufacturers began exploring technical solutions for upcoming emission standards. The limitations of mechanically governed fuel systems that were first introduced in the 1950’s and 60’s were quickly becoming an issue. The primary disadvantage is that mechanical systems pressurized fuel by either an injection pump driven by the camshaft or a gear driven low pressure fuel pump (used by Cummins). These systems could not vary injection timing or change fuel delivery rates with the flexibility necessary for the increasing emission requirements. Without a computer to instruct the injector, injectors rely on pressure supplied by a injection pump. Examples of this mechanical system are found on the Navistar 6.9L and 7.3L IDI as well as the Cummins 5.9L 12 valve. Electronic fuel injection was first introduced by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1957, and advances were made in the 1970’s and 80’s. By the early 1990’s almost every automobile manufacturer had replaced gasoline carburetor systems with electronic fuel injection systems. But diesel manufacturers were still looking for a system capable of more power while adhering to the increasing emissions standards.

Introduction of the HEUI Injector
Collaboration between International Truck & Engine Corporation and Caterpillar lead to the introduction of the HEUI system in 1993. The use of hydraulic force to pressurize fuel for injection was groundbreaking and allowed for cleaner, more powerful and efficient diesel engines. Hydraulically actuated electronic unit injection (HEUI) fuel systems utilize highly pressurized engine oil to drive plungers pressurizing fuel for injection. Until the development of the HEUI system, pressurization of fuel and injection timing events were controlled mechanically and limited by the fixed geometry of camshaft profiles. HEUI systems were the first modern injection system that could pressurize fuel independently from engine RPM.

HEUI applications included the 7.3L and 6.0L Powerstroke used between 1993.5 and 2007 by Ford. International also used the HEUI system for multiple engines including the DT-466, DT 570, T-444E, DT-466–570, Max Force 5, 7, 9, 10, Max Force DT and VT365 engines. Caterpillar incorporated HEUI systems in the 3116, 3126, 3406e, C7 ACERT, C9 ACERT and many other heavy duty engines found in GMC Topkicks, Sterling, Ford and Freightliner truck chassis and heavy machinery applications. The Daimler-Detroit Diesel Series 40 engine supplied by International also incorporated a HEUI fuel system.

Phasing Out the HEUI Injector
Almost every HEUI system has since been replaced with newer technology to meet the ever-increasing economy and emissions standards being introduced. Many manufacturers have turned to modern common-rail injection systems, which were introduced in 1997 despite prototypes of common rail system dating back to the late 1960’s. Some of the first diesel engines to use the common rail include the Duramax LB7 in 2001, followed by the 5.9L Cummins in 2003. Common-rail systems also have their drawbacks: complexity, cost and extremely tight tolerances that are intolerant of contaminated diesel fuel. The most technologically advanced injector you’ll find on the market today is the piezo-electric common-rail injector introduced by Ford in 2007. With the ability to put out incredible amounts of power all while being one of the quietest injection systems, they’ve seen large amounts of success in this first decade of production. Piezo injectors can also be found on the 6.7L Powerstroke, LML Duramax, and the Nissan Titan’s 5.0L produced by Cummins.

One thing that manufacturers are always focused on when designing diesel injectors is injection pressure. Engineers know that if they increase this pressure, they can increase fuel atomization to create a more efficient combustion resulting in higher power and fuel economy. The International 6.9L and 7.3L IDI kept fuel pressure under 2,000 PSI. The HEUI injection system on the 7.3L Powerstroke would pressurize fuel to a max of 21,000 psi. When developing the 6.0L Powerstroke, International was able to make more horsepower than the previously offered larger 7.3L by upping maximum fuel pressure to 26,000 psi. Meanwhile, modern common rail engines see injection pressures near the 30,000 psi mark and piezo-electric injectors can top 40,000 psi.

Stiction Eliminator vs FR3, what’s the difference?

We get asked this question frequently, so we’ve decided to explain the differences between the two products in depth in this article for your convenience.

Stiction Eliminator was developed primarily for its cleaning properties, as well as its ability to help prevent any kind of build up inside of an engine, whether it’s dirt, carbon, burnt/gummy engine oil, sludge formation, etc. While Stiction Eliminator does reduce wear more than 60% over its competitors (as verified in 3rd party ASTM tests) we knew we could offer a more powerful friction reducer if we created a product specifically for reducing wear.

For our returning customers, you might remember our previous product, Friction Reducer. While Friction Reducer was a great product, constant researching and testing over the course of two years led to the discovery of new technologies. After finalizing a formula containing three patented technologies, we finally unveiled FR3 to the public at the 2016 SEMA/AAPEX show in Las Vegas, NV. and Friction Reducer has since been discontinued.

FR3 is an advanced friction reducer, taking 2 years for our team of chemists to fully develop. Our final formula includes three patented lubrication technologies, all of which make it the newest, most advanced friction reducer on the market. FR3’s formula utilizes our patented carbon nano particles which fill in microscopic irregularities on the machined surfaces in an engine (see image below). The carbon nano particles provide an optimal smooth surface for the host oil and FR3 formula to form a superior lubricating film. The synergy of these components extends the host oil’s performance in shear stability, oxidation stability, film strength and wear reduction. An innovative synthetic PAO/ester base offers complete compatibility with all diesel and gasoline engine oils, as well as all conventional, semi synthetic and full synthetic engine oils. FR3 can be used in any viscosity engine oil, and with any OEM full-flow or aftermarket bypass filtration system.

FR3 diagram

Throughout testing, FR3 was able to reduce wear by an additional 43% when added to Shell Rotella® engine oil at the treatment ratio specified on FR3’s label. This means longer engine life, longer turbo life, increased fuel economy, and increased horsepower and torque as proven in dynamometer testing. Reduced friction offers decreased noise, vibration and a reduction in oil operating temperature. FR3 improves the host oil’s oxidative stability and will help restore lost compression while lowering oil consumption. Proven through testing, FR3 will improve fuel economy up to 5%, enough to completely pay for the cost of a treatment in most vehicles!

FR3’s benefits are much more apparent and are maximized when added to an already cleaned engine. A treatment of Stiction Eliminator is recommended initially to immediately reduce friction and most importantly make sure the engine and turbo are clean internally. FR3 should be used in the following two oil changes, with another treatment of Stiction Eliminator every third oil change. Both products are compatible with one another but Hot Shot’s Secret recommends using the products in separate oil changes to maximize cost effectiveness.

5 tips for improving your fuel economy!

Fedex truck on Dyno

1. Tires. Monitor your tire pressure every chance you get, otherwise you’re throwing money out the window. Look for low rolling resistance tires next time you shop for tires. The fuel savings over the life of the low rolling resistance tires can completely pay for your next set of tires!

2. Engine. Instead of running your AC, pack a change of clothes to be able to stay comfortable or use the AC in intervals. A small 12V fan can keep you cool and won’t affect your fuel economy as much as turning on the AC system. Got a lead foot? Accelerate slowly to your desired speed and over time you will notice the savings.

3. Oil. Make the switch to synthetic oil, while synthetic oil might add to the cost of your oil change, it can offer extended oil change intervals when paired with a quality oil filter. Not to mention improved wear reduction over conventional oil, which will extend engine life and improve fuel economy. FR3 can be used with synthetic and conventional oil, and will help maximize your fuel economy.

4. Fuel. When looking for fuel, busy or newly built fuel stations are your best bet. Stations that move fuel quickly will typically offer better quality fuel that has not been sitting long as well as storing the fuel in a cleaner underground fuel tank. Most chains of fuel stations offer fleet or customer rewards to help save a few cents per gallon. Another option is using a phone application such as GasBuddy, where users report fuel prices; check your route ahead of time and aim for the good prices. Trucks older than the EPA’s ULSD mandate (made before 2007) will greatly appreciate our EDT since it provides the lubricity that their fuel system was designed to run on. A quick dose of Diesel Extreme once every 6k miles/6 months will help keep your fuel system and engine running smoothly for thousands of miles!

5. Aerodynamics. Jodi Presswood, Vice President and General Manager of Navistar, told Fleet Equipment magazine that “at 55 MPH, aerodynamic drag accounts for about 50% of fuel consumed”. While the big brush guards, hood deflectors and taller exhaust stacks might look cool, you are still paying for them every time you drive your truck. Body-integrated antennas, elliptical shaped mirrors, lower front air dams, and trailer skirts can pay for themselves faster than you think!

Ford Tech Makuloco

Ford Tech Makuloco Talks Powerstroke Engines

Ford Tech
We asked Ford Tech Makuloco about Powerstrokes, here’s what he said. He is the go to source for all Ford questions and problems, make sure to check out his YouTube channel and subscribe for new videos!

When I started working with Ford in 2005 I came at a prime time when the 7.3L Powerstroke was still coming in for warranty work and the problematic 6.0L was just getting started. I was with Ford all the way through to the current 6.7L Scorpion engine. Each version of the Powerstroke through the years has had their fair share of problems. This was multiplied as the fuel injection system tolerances and injection process became much more precise in order to meet strict new emission standards.

Let’s start off with the 7.3L Powerstroke, Ford’s most reliable diesel. There were only a few common issues with this engine and it almost always had to do with the engine oil or the glow plug system. I knew if a truck was coming in for a driveability or a cold starting concern it was likely due to injector stiction issues. Stiction is where the poppet valve inside the Hydraulically Actuated Electronic Unit Injector (HEUI) sticks. This valve must move from an open to closed position very fast to match the fuel timing. When it sticks in the bore, the Injector Driver Module has a hard time controlling exactly when fuel is injected. This sticking can cause a no start or hard starting issue. The reason is that diesel fuel is compression ignited at the top of the compression stroke when the cylinder pressure and heat are the highest, causing the fuel to ignite and start the power stroke. If the fuel is not injected at this precise moment a misfire and power loss will occur. The 6.0L suffered from this power loss and having a HEUI injected engine compounded the issue. Normally to fix this issue a new injector was installed costing between $400-600 per cylinder. By using Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator this can be resolved for the mere cost of the bottle. I have used this product throughout the years and I am amazed at the results every time. It is truly an amazing product that customers and fleet owners couldn’t be happier with.

When the 6.4L was introduced for the 2008 model year it came with a slew of new problems, brought on by all the components required to meet the strict new emissions requirements. These engines required the use of 15ppm Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and a special API CJ-4 engine oil to be compatible with the on-board Diesel Particulate Filter. The 6.4L now incorporated a common rail fuel system that was used for both Injection Control Pressure (ICP) and the fuel supply being injected into each cylinder. With this design lubrication of the High Pressure Pump was done solely by the fuel. This made lubricity a key factor which the new required ULSD fuel just didn’t provide. A small amount of water in these complex fuel injection systems could now destroy it, resulting in unbelievably large repair bills, requiring the replacement of the entire high pressure fuel system must be replaced. This failure happened so often Ford started producing a kit, with all the components needed to help expedite the repair process and that kit alone cost $4,100 plus labor. The high pressure fuel pumps also incorporated volume control valves and pressure control valves that were extremely sensitive to any debris in the fuel system. The fuel injectors are of a piezo actuated design which is a very precise fast acting design but is also extremely sensitive to fuel quality.

The 6.7L Scorpion engine was an all-new in-house Ford design in 2011, which has proven to be very reliable compared to previous generation Powerstroke engines. The fuel system components are even more precise, allowing for extremely high pressures and multiple injections per cycle making them quieter, more efficient and able to produce more power, all while reducing emissions levels to meet even tougher standards. Both the 6.4L and 6.7L stand to benefit the most from diesel lubricity additives and cleaners, which keep them in tip top condition for the best fuel economy and power. I recommend a combination cetane and lubricity additive be used at every fill up such as, Hot Shot’s Secret Everyday Diesel Treatment (EDT), it will compensate for the poor diesel fuel quality at the fuel pumps. EDT will help with more power, fewer emissions and less frequent regeneration of the Diesel Particulate Filter, and will lead to longer life and improved fuel economy. Diesel engines are the only powertrain I have ever seen Ford promote the use of additives for the fuel system, and I agree 100%, the alternative is just way too costly and not worth the risk. For more help with your Ford Powerstroke problems check out my YouTube channel where I have playlists made for each of the Powerstroke engines detailing common problems and how to fix them.

How to Get Out of Letting People Borrow your Truck

key tug of war
We’ve all probably been in this situation: a friend, family member, stranger (or worse; a coworker) is moving something and asks to borrow your truck. You’ll feel bad for not helping them out, but is it worth it? And what’s the best way to get out of handing the keys to the freeloader? We asked truck owners in the building and customers how they go about it.

For starters, most auto insurance policy applies to all drivers in your house: spouse, partner, roommates and relatives; people who might regularly borrow your truck. Say your buddy takes your truck and gets in an accident. Your liability insurance would pay to repair the other vehicle and any medical bills, up to your policy limits. The incident goes down as a liability claim against you and will, in most cases, cause your rate to go up. If your friend doesn’t have auto insurance then you might have to sue them for what your policy won’t cover, and the person your friend hit could come after you as well. Now you have a crashed truck and need to decide how you’ll pay to repair or replace it. Parking tickets and red light cameras will go to the owner of the vehicle and you’d have to ask them to pay for it.

If you trust the person, there’s a small checklist you can do to protect yourself before handing the keys over. Check your policy for the terms, conditions, and if they would be covered. Make sure your friend has a valid driver’s license and ask if they have car insurance. Check to make sure your registration and insurance information are in your glove box before they take off with it.

Saying no when someone asks to borrow your truck does not make you a bad person. You’re protecting yourself essentially. An eye opening experience is Ryan Holle. He was sentenced for life behind bars without a chance of parole because he lent his car to his friends. Then his friends drove down the road, robbed and killed someone. At the time of the murder, Ryan was home, sleeping. Luckily the Governor dropped his sentence to only 25 years back in 2015.

Here’s a list of ways to get out of lending your truck out:

  • “My truck’s too old, I don’t think it’s up for hauling anything right now”
  • “I already promised it to someone else, but here’s another guy who might have an available truck”
  • “You can rent a much larger, enclosed box truck for about $40. Home Depot has some $20 options”
  • “Last time I was carrying a lot it was making some strange noises, I need to get it looked at first”
  • “No.”
  • “It’s my only transportation, I can’t lend it out, sorry”
  • “Sure if I can use your car Saturday night”
  • “I’ll help haul but I don’t loan it out”
  • “My insurance doesn’t cover others driving it”

And for those of you reading this that might need to ask to borrow someone’s truck, remember these few key things: always wash the truck (gently, by hand to not cause damage), hose the bed out, top off the gas tank and clean out the interior to the way you got it. If the owner of the truck will let you use it but wants to drive it or tag along, you are responsible for his meals on the trip, gas and maybe a few bucks for his time, more than a few bucks if he’s lifting or moving stuff. Ask what to do in case of a flat, break down or accident beforehand. If you’re borrowing a trailer than cash is still welcome, the owner’s bearings and tires are being used, and they paid for the tags.

And if you leave a scratch, ding or it’s making a new noise, let the owner know.

Are You Killing Your Truck: Protect Your Investment

truck driving in storm
In life there are few things more expensive than buying a vehicle. Especially when we are talking about diesel trucks. Whether you want to hit 1 million miles or want to enjoy your pride and joy for years to come, here’s a few pointers on how to get the most out of your moving investment:

Starting off on an easy one: let’s talk tires. Over inflated tires wear suspension components, don’t have maximum traction and wear quickly. Under inflated tires hurt MPG, require longer stopping distances from the brakes and also wear faster than properly inflated tires. Keep tires properly inflated and rotate them every time you get the oil changed. Proper rotation will keep you buying tires in a full set, rather than in pairs which can be discontinued over time as well as the fast that two pairs of tires bought at different times will have different tread depth than each other.

Here’s where a little work can protect your investment big time, without even turning a wrench. Park on a level surface and with a rag in hand and the engine cool, open the hood and remove the oil dipstick. Wipe it clean, put it back in and then pull it out again to check the level. Glance over the radiator overflow reservoir level and the brake cylinder reservoir. Check the power steering fluid level, look at hoses and belts for any signs of wear or cracking. Check the air filter while you’re in there. Start the car and after it warms up, check the transmission fluid level. That might take a minute or two and only needs to be done once a month depending on the age of the vehicle. A $4 fix you might spot could save you thousands down the road.

Getting started. Your truck has been sitting for a few hours, all the oil has drained down into the oil pan. When you start the truck the oil will start trying to flow to all the parts again, but you should keep engine rpm down to a minimum to prevent excessive wear. Start the car and find a station with a song you like, check your phone before moving, it’s up to you; let the engine run for about 30 seconds (or more depending on your truck and the temperature) before dropping it in gear and driving away. This is especially important when you factor in our heavy weight oil, and those of us with turbos especially need this added precaution.

Pay attention to how much weight you’re towing and familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual to ensure you are towing safely and efficiently. While the occasional hard acceleration won’t necessarily damage a maintained truck, last time we checked there weren’t any spots open in the Indy 500 for a truck so there’s no reason to do it every time you drive. A common occurrence that you can see in any parking lot is when an impatient driver reverses and with the car still rolling backwards, drops it into gear. Come to a complete stop when switching between gears and reverse, there are plenty of expensive, moving parts you could damage from this constant abuse.

Maintenance time. If you have a new truck, odds are you’ll need to stop by the dealership and have them complete some of the maintenance so your warranty stays valid. Diesels typically have a warranty longer than gasoline powered cars, but if you don’t stay ahead of the game at the beginning, after the warranty ends you could get stuck with some pricey bills. Stick to the owner’s manual, get recall work done promptly, and keep in mind that products and services that are less expensive than other products and services are that way for a reason.

The fun part. Nothing beats driving on a sunny day with the windows down, a goofy grin on your face and a shiny truck. An occasional wash and wax will ensure that your truck does not rust apart from the reliable drive train that you worked so hard to maintain over the years. Wash the exterior, in the wheel wells and underneath, even in winter; especially if your area salts the roads. A clean, shiny truck will up resale value should you ever want to part with your truck. Half the fun of hitting those high miles is knowing your truck looks like it has half of what is on its odometer.