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Old 09-16-2012, 02:53 PM   #57
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You won't find that engine (anymore) so don't sweat it on new vehicles. It's been said for more than thirty years that "electronics" mean that cars/trucks won't last as long or be repaired as easily. True, even though reliability rose in that same period.

I'd choose reliability first, longevity second, and low cost of operation, third (as distinct from purchase price). Ease of service would mean dealer network and parts availability over access to components (DIY).

But best road performance in a combination rig would trump all of them.

.
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2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:39 PM   #58
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I have about 240,000 k on my 2008 GC diesel. Towing and handling (can am set up complete with reinforcement) has never been an issue and would be similar for other diesel SUVs. Service in Canada has never been an issue due to the wide spread acceptance of diesel vehicles using a fuel providing greater mileage due to our much more expensive fuel and not much goes wrong with diesel engines. Diesel service is terrible in the US regardless of the manufacturer due to the scarcity of diesel vehicles and the reluctance of dealers to spend the training dollars on technicians where the payback is low. This is understandable and must be considered by those considering the purchase of a diesel. Other issues are simply related to a fuel fill up. If the facility provides diesel, and many do not, the pump providing the diesel for cars (smaller nozzle than trucks) is often located on the inside where access with a trailer is possible but extremely difficult and of course the pumps are never marked with a vehicle designation which frequently results in convoluted maneuvers just to get the nozzle in the vehicle. But by far, my recent experience with the dealer network leaves one wondering on the current validity of the diesel option. The input duct to the turbo developed a leak which made the vehicle unsafe to operate. (reduced and/or no power) I visited 4 dealers before one would even look at the problem which would be the next day. No problem, I camped in his lot and by ten the next morning he had me on my way, except all he was able to do was erace the codes and the malfunction reoccurred after 3 miles of travel. He was not capable of diagnosing the problem or just wanted the problem gone. This was in West Virginia. I nursed the jeep to another dealer in Pensylvania. Not a jeep dealer but a dodge dealer since the jeep dealers would not touch it. The dodge dealer said the parts required were on back order and would be available in 9 days. That is 9 days for one duct. Four days of camping in his lot and he rigged a fix with parts from a diesel sprinter. This fix lasted to New York where it all malfunctioned again. I limped home at 75 k. $700 spent, no fix. Would I buy another diesel. Yes. Love the adventure.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:49 PM   #59
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That is the very reason I sold my Interstate, no reliable dealer network, at least three years ago. Possibly a good vehicle with an impossible dealer network able to service it. And this was when Dodge dealers supposibly could work on them. Jim
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:33 PM   #60
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Just finished a 5,000 mile trip from 500 feet in St. Louis up to 9,000 feet in the Bighorn Mountains of WY, over to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Steep grades, long descents, hairpin curves. With the diesel Excursion and gas F-150 I always felt like I could use another gear and more power. With the VW I always had power to spare. It was astounding.

Heading west into the wind and uphill the entire way our lowest tank was 13.7 mpg and we averaged 17.0 mpg calculated (not computer). Heading east with a tailwind and heading downhill the entire way our highest tank was 19.6 mpg and we averaged 17.4 mpg. That's all towing economy.

While driving around in Yellowstone and the Tetons where the speed limit is 45 mph we averaged just over 30 mpg!
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:31 PM   #61
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That is so awesome! It's great what those diesels can do!
Makes me want to get one!
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:43 PM   #62
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Very impressive operating results from the 3L diesel. They just seem to be getting better. My short hall this week end was at 14.7 mpg on flat but loaded tanks going and loaded water but empty grey and black returning. My last long haul, including all the turbo malfunctions, produced 14.3 mpg. Variety of terrain between Burlington and Fort
Lauderdale. Also haven't seen Paul Bunyan and Blue since I was a kid. Jim
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:10 PM   #63
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Our first one way 190 mile test run, with a lousy constant 25 MPH head/crosswind, the diesel's computer display still gave us 15.3 MPG.

Terrain was the gradual downhill toward the Gulf Coast, over generally level terrain. Am very interested to see how we do with much less wind.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:30 AM   #64
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Talked to a gentlemen in Portland, or this past weekend. New x35d and 20ft airstream. He had a couple thousand miles on it so far and loves it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:01 AM   #65
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When I began this thread, I had not yet connected the TV and TT - it was all wishing to be home and RVing again. After this weekend, a quick 400 mile shakedown trip, things went operational:

- Overall: Great seat-of-pants feel. Mid-size turbo-diesel SUV is a stable and well-balanced tow vehicle. My wife was quick to notice the smooth ride and almost no porpoising, compared to the Ford Explorer, our only previous TV with this trailer. Plenty of power and torque, as we all expect from a diesel, but little chance to stress system, given mostly flat terrain.

TV is rated for 6000 lbs max, trailer weighed about 3675 lbs loaded (no water in tanks, light weekend packing load).

Apart from the different tow vehicle, changes since 2008 were upgrading from C to load range D Goodyear Marathons, and a larger Group 27 vice Group 24 battery.

- Weather & Mileage: no rain, but 25 MPH headwind going south; front pushed through, then had 30 MPH headwind headed north! Yielded 15.3 MPG and 14.7 MPG on each leg, respectively. Not bad for high drag conditions.

- Stopping: The factory brake controller, a rebadged Tekonsha P2, worked fine, just had no brake lights at all, at first! (A known BMW issue.) The dealer reflashed the towing module firmware, and now just a half second hiccup message when first connecting the umbilical.

- Hitch: Based on the discussion here, dialed in a small amount of weight distribution on the Hensley links; did not crank down to the first measured notch on the spring bars. Overall the same firm control as always, despite the above noted windy conditions and lots of big trucks passing, as the Arrow's makers always claim.

Appears to be a well-matched combination. Of course, this pair is always the smallest combo in the RV Park, in a south Texas land of fifth wheels and F250s.
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