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Diesel Question (Sorta OT)

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BadDog, May 14, 2001.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I was down at the local Dodge dealer looking at the Ram 2500s with the TD. I really want to get one of the Ram 2500 4x4s before they screw them up with IFS but I'm torn about wanting a full 4 door. Anyway, I see this truck (I’m told 2001.5) that looks exactly like what I want and it has a sticker in the window saying it has the "Diesel Max" option ($4500!!!).

    So, the salesman tells me that this is a new option from Dodge where they put a Propane injection on it. The tank takes the space where the spare usually goes and it has a control switch on the dash to engage/disengage the Propane system. Salesman tells me this adds over 50% to the HP/Torque across the entire range along with a boost of 20% MPG while towing with no down side. Now, salesmen being what they are, I’m thinking, “yeah, right!”. If it’s that good, it would be everywhere! So, I say I want to see for myself. He gets the keys and out we go. Since there was a switch on the dash I can try it with and without easily.

    WOW!!! I started off with the switch off and it was pretty much the same as the 2000/2001 trucks but the diesel clatter seems to be less noticeable (maybe just me). Then, I slow down almost to a stop and throw the switch. Diesel clatter drops noticeably! When I hit the gas, this thing literally LEAPS forward! The difference was amazing, just by “seat of the pants” it felt like way more than any 50% increase. I can’t say about what it’s like under load but I drove this thing unloaded for about 15 minutes in a variety of “modes” and I gotta say, I loved it! Makes the stock Duramax and Powerstroke look like a small block. Now, I know that is not “apples to apples” with the Cummins Propane injection but it was pretty impressive. I’m sure the Gale Banks kits are even more impressive and less than half the cost but the “Diesel Max” comes with the full Dodge power-train warranty. Salesman also says it cuts emissions in a HUGE way and I did notice (when the salesman pointed it out) that when engaged there is almost no diesel smell in the exhaust.

    So, anyone know the real story? Salesman says that this has been used in the past and is nothing new. I’m sure there must be a down side or they would all be using this right? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I really know very little about diesels.

    Bad Dog

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, NP205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Soon: 4" lift, 40" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  2. Ryeguy

    Ryeguy 1/2 ton status

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    There's nothing really new about propane injection on a diesel. But I have never heard of the factory offering it. I'd check it out to make sure it isn't a "dealer installed" thing. I've been looking that the local new Dodge diesels too, but haven't seen any option like this, either on the Dodge website or on the lot.

    Dodge does have two versions of the Cummins now, but it sounds like this is something else.

    Diesel is nice, real nice, but sit down and work out the costs vs. benefits. I did, and I was surprised to find out I'd have to drive the truck at least 150 to 200 thousand miles before the diesel would pay for itself. By that time, the rest of the truck will be needing work and I'll be looking to replace it anyway.

    --Rob
     
  3. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    On the cost thing. Yeah, I'm not looking for return on investment in fuel economy. I want that grunt for towing my K30 toy. My 1500 does fine towing it most of the time but many of the places I want to take my toy (up “on the rim” in AZ, or across the Rockies) will require crossing some serious grades where the 1500 will have to struggle with the full cab (wife and 2 kids), a bed full of gear, 16’ steel trailer, and K30. I’m thinking the 2500 TD SWB Quad cab 4x4 with 4.10 and 33s will be just the ticket (payments will hurt though!). Bad part with the Diesel Max (other than price!!!) is that the spare has no home except the bed. [​IMG] I guess I would most likely go with one of the Gale Banks kits but the DM options was pretty impressive.

    Oh, the salesman claims this is a Dodge option and this is one of the first available. But, then again, you know how salesmen are. [​IMG] That’s why I wanted to get input from those who know diesels. I also don't like being an "early adopter", let other people work out the bugs first! [​IMG]


    Bad Dog

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, NP205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Soon: 4" lift, 40" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  4. Ryeguy

    Ryeguy 1/2 ton status

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    I'd still look into a big block gas engine, despite what the costs of fuel are doing lately. Sure, it'll be thirsty, but it will be just as strong and $thousands of dollars cheaper than the diesel. 'Round here, diesel fuel is the same or more than the price of gas, too. Chevy has that new 8.1L, Dodge still has that big V-10. And dealers seem to want to deal on the price of gas vehicles far more than diesel vehicles. The big gas motors are rated for pretty much the same amount of torque as the diesels.

    I'd still check out the Dodge site, maybe phone their customer service line, or something. This "first one ever" talk always gets me paranoid, but I'm a paranoid redneck anyway. :-)

    Oh, a few other things:
    - With that much power, the lifetime of the trans will decrease. Remember, there's a reason why Dodge de-tuned that Cummins in the first place, and just bumping that torque rating back up will hurt the longevity.
    - Chevy's new Duramax, while may not keep up with this particular Dodge truck, is still no slouch at over 5000ft-lbs or torque. And it's backed by an Alison auto (if you go that route). A good buddy who's a trans mechanic by trade went to a trade show that had a session on that new Alison. He was mighty impressed. And it sounds like Ford and Dodge are impressed too - rumors are that they may be using the same trans in their big trucks, too.
    - The propane conversion should be available for the Duramax shortly (via the aftermarket) if you're crazy and need that extra bit of oomph, and can afford it.

    --Rob (just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you!)
     
  5. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    For what it's worth, according to what I have read on other boards, Dodge had trouble with their autos behind the diesel for a while but seems to have it resolved. There were also owner reports on <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.thedieselpage.com>http://www.thedieselpage.com</A> buletine boards talking about many of the Alison autos failing in less than a 1000 miles. Looks like they are all having trouble with autos behind diesels in light trucks.

    And believe me, before I drop nearly $40k on a new truck, I would do far more than just post a question here. I had thought about dropping Cummins a line along with Dodge but I’m thinking more and more I may wait. My 1500 will do for now and, who knows, I may eventually opt for a 2500 HD 4 door (too expensive now and I hate the IFS but, who knows...).

    Bad Dog

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, NP205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Soon: 4" lift, 40" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  6. Ryeguy

    Ryeguy 1/2 ton status

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    I didn't hear about the Alisons failing...interesting, thanks.

    I hear ya about doing research, and the high initial expense of these trucks.

    I'm not a fan of IFS either, but the Dodge front suspension is basically a bigger version of the suspension found under my Comanche, and under other Cherokees, TJ's and Grand Cherokees. Those parts wear out too - rubber bushings, stamped control arms, etc. And I'm looking for a tow rig too, something that I wouldn't head into the bush with, which is why I'm not ignoring the possibility of owning an IFS front end truck.

    --Rob (personally waiting for financing rates to drop on the Chevy 2500HD series)
     
  7. 2Dogs

    2Dogs 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Did you look for an NO2 bottle? LOL
     
  8. 2Dogs

    2Dogs 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    My Cuz has the 2001 Chevy with the diesel/Allison combo.
    He pulls the tripple axle Weekend Warrior with a Heep and
    Quads to Glamis or Mexico regularly. (such a loser-nah, I'm jealous). His previous tow vehicle was the 2000 Duallie Dodge. He said the Dodge had better cornering but the power of the Chev is awesome.
    No drivetrain probs with the Chev and I can get mileage from him if you want.
    Dave
     

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