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Old 04-19-2004, 11:13 PM   #1
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Diesel tow vehicle-tips?

After hunting for a stronger tow vehicle for our 30' '95 Classic Limited, we have found an '04 Silverado Crew Cab Duramax 2500HD standard bed truck. We'll miss our Toyota Land Cruiser and its comfort/reliability ratings, and this truck is probably over kill. We haven't driven diesel since an early 80's Suburban and swore after that experience that we'd never again. Life happens, however, and after reading posts of this Forum, learning about changes in newer diesels, searching towing weights, and insisting on the margin of error that would make us feel safer in mountain driving, we settled on this truck. So. . .what tips do we need to know to drive this new truck well for both towing and solo driving? What do we need to know about practical differences between this and a gas powered vehicle? What in your experience, do we need to do to maintain it for longest and best life? I trust your input. I know we will have a manual, but you all have the experience! I hope I hear from a lot of you. Already we have learned so much from the Forum, and this vehicle change is intimidating to us to say the least! Now, picture this grey-haired, almost retired, English teacher pulling into the parking lot at her middle school Thursday morning in this dark red monster diesel truck. Do you think I'll give the message, "Kids, get ready for heavy duty learning today!"?
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1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:02 AM   #2
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Welcome to the diesel crowd! You will love your new Duramax diesel. A few things about diesels. Clean fuel is a must! The properties of diesel fuel are much different than gas. As such, it is important to fill your truck at high volume fuel stations. Stay away from the mom and pop stores that sell diesel. Try and fill up between 1/4 and 1/2 tank to keep cleaner fuel in the tank, as it does recirculate. After a long trip, keep the tank topped off to minimize condensation in the tank. Keep that fuel filter changed at 15K miles or less. I cannot stress this enough. If possible have an additional fuel filter installed. Your dealer may be able to help you with this.

I am enjoying 21 MPG solo on freeway trips and 13 mpg towing in areas like the hills of WVA and VA. On the flats in the Southern states I get around 15 mpg towing.
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:17 AM   #3
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What Pick said

"Keep that fuel filter changed at 15K miles or less. I cannot stress this enough. If possible have an additional fuel filter installed."

Clean filtered fuel is a must with the modern tight tolerance fuel pumps. Racor makes an excellent add on filter, but there are certainly others. I like the type with a visible fuel bowl, SOMETIMES you can see a problem developing. Back in the late 70's I had a diesel and had some problems with bugs (bacteria) plugging the filter.

Good maintenance (frequent oil/filter changes and/or oil analysis) will go a long way to insure the additional up front cost of the Diesel engine will not go to waste.
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:20 AM   #4
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I seconded what Pick said. Especially the fuel filter change. I have a cummins diesel and can tell you that nothing can mess up a diesel quicker than water and dirty fuel. As for driving, unless you equip your diesel with performance options you won't accelerate like gas engines. Keep that in mind. Be sure to let the turbo cool before turning off (consult your manual for your engine specifics). Towing is a dream with a diesel and an Airstream. You will go up mountains without problems and the weight of the truck is wonderful in keeping the trailer steady. You might think about an exhaust brake due to diesels not having any back pressure to slow down. This would be benefical if you live and drive in mountain areas. I regularly get 22-23 solo and consistently get 16 pulling our 25' Airstream at 68MPH. One thing is for sure, you will not go back to gas after this diesel. They are great!

Hope this helps some.

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Old 04-20-2004, 06:37 AM   #5
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We've only had our GMC 2500HD for a month and we love it so far. The Allison transmission is something to rave about too. You will find it has something similar to a "jake brake", braking when you let off the gas. In tow mode, it downshifts when you touch the brake. What little towing I've done, it drives like a dream. And it seems to have plenty of acceleration, you'll see. Enjoy!
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Old 04-20-2004, 09:51 AM   #6
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I've had my Duamax/Allison for about a year and it can't be replaced. It will do anything I ask of it. It gets good mileage for the size and power. I find it extremely comfortable, relatively quiet and a real head turner in the truck world. I'm all the time getting comments with a touch of envy attached. It is really expensive but I do not regret it for one moment.
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcaldwel
I have a cummins diesel and can tell you that nothing can mess up a diesel quicker than water and dirty fuel.
Bob
A water/diesel mix also provides "fertile ground" for bacteria to grow in your fuel tank which in turn will clog your fuel filter. Without the water, this bacteria won't grow.

- Charlie
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:10 AM   #8
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Not overkill

The Duramax/Allison combination is a real winner. I think it is a perfect match for a 30' Airstream, certainly not overkill. You will find that towing is much more relaxed because there are few downshifts and the noise level is surprisingly low.

The Allison will keep the engine right at the torque peak about 95% of the time. IMHO, an exhaust brake isn''t needed for the load you are pulling since the Allison will shift down progressively in tow/haul mode; for a diesel, it will give you very good engine braking. I have never wished for more braking than I have.

I'll second the recommendation for an aux fuel filter. I have a Caterpillar filter mounted under the pickup bed.
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:43 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your different responses to my post. Several of you have advised an additional fuel filter. Now, remember, I am not only a newbie to diesel, but pretty unknowledgeable about mechanics in general (Georgia, speaking). Please explain. Where do I go for this? The Chevy dealer or other? What am I expecting to get done? Reasonable cost? Again, thanks for teaching this learner! Are there other general tips we should know about driving or maintenance before we do something awful to this beautiful new truck?
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1995 Airstream Classic Limited 30' ~ Gypsy
1978 Argosy Minuet, 6.0~Minnie/GPZWGN
Chev Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison, 4X4, Crew Cab
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:53 PM   #10
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Drive it like any other truck; there are no special techniques required. There is gobs of torque, so be a bit careful about pulling out from a stop on a wet or gravel road; you can break the rear end loose very easily with too much throttle. You will feel the locking rear axle lock temporarily when a rear wheel slips or you start off with the wheel turned hard over.

As for maintenance, I simply follow the schedule in the manual.
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Old 04-20-2004, 03:14 PM   #11
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Diesel Filtration and More

Try this link for a full version of Racor fuel filtration:

http://www.parker.com/EAD/displayCat...oducts=changed

Good thoughts on the turbine cool down, same thing on spool up off the line, it's like another gear kicks in when the turbo gets up to speed. Another "Turbo" problem is oil leakage (loss) in the area of the turbine bearings. The problem is infrequent and not brand specific, just something to watch out for.

I would hesitate to "chip" a new vehicle (change the fuel/turbo boost parameters to enhance power), there is a good chance it would void your manufacturers' warranty, and, even though there are those that have exhibited a good track record, it (chipping) puts stresses on the engine/driveline that will reduce the ultimate life of the drivetrain.


I frequent this link:

http://www.thedieselstop.com/

It's Ford specific, but a lot of the info is Diesel in General.

I'm sure that Dodge and GM have their respective Diesel Forums.
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Old 04-20-2004, 04:04 PM   #12
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Question Ford F250 6.0L PSD

Can anyone give me some opinions on the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel and automatic transmission. I'll take the good and bad.This is the truck I'm leaning toward. Just want to make the right choice. My wife drives a diesel VW Golf and we both love it. Gets 50 mpg on the highway, and is very quiet.I don't see any reason to ever go back to a gas engine.

J ack
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Old 04-20-2004, 04:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman
Can anyone give me some opinions on the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel and automatic transmission. I'll take the good and bad.This is the truck I'm leaning toward. Just want to make the right choice. My wife drives a diesel VW Golf and we both love it. Gets 50 mpg on the highway, and is very quiet.I don't see any reason to ever go back to a gas engine.

J ack
I really enjoy my PS. It is a '03 model (got it in August). I have 15K miles on it. I get 11-15 with the trailer depending on speed. Same mpg around town. Highway solo can get to 20. The big difference between this and my previous V10 6.8 is POWER! I can go up some big hills around here (grapevine on I-5 and by San Bernardino on I-15) at 65+. I would not go back. Highly recommended.
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:01 PM   #14
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Exclamation Those Fiver Folks are NUTZ!

I just pulled this 10,000 lb gross trailer from Ohio back to Florida loaded with household goods. Let me tell you it was a load. I got the 13-15 mpg in the earlier post in this thread. The truck and I both knew the trailer was back there. Handled like a dream, (almost as good as an A/S ) but you knew the weight was back there.

With this trip, I can truthfully say, I will never own a "Fiver" and pull it with a pickup truck. I see big "Walls" coming at me on the freeway now, and wonder how those poor souls can stand it. Especially the units that look like they need a fifth wheel weight distribution hitch, if that were ever possible.
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