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Old 01-01-2008, 06:54 PM   #1
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We dumped our diesel for a gasser.

I have to thank kevbo and bob for this thread.

After nearly 20,000 miles of towing our Safari 25 FB/SE around our beautiful country with our 2005 Ford PSD FX4 Crew Cab long bed, we said goodbye to the diesel and bought a 2008 Dodge Power Wagon with a Hemi gasser.

Why you ask, who would be stupid enough to go from an ultimate tow machine to a gasser?

Well, it is all about personal experience and preferences. Our Ford was a solid truck, discounting the 3 turbos, 5 EGR valves, 2 intercoolers and dismal mileage which averaged about 10.5 mpg no matter how we drove it or whether or not we were empty or towing. Keep in mind that these repairs/replacements were in its short 20,000 mile life, not a record that one would be proud of nor one that we were ready to continue. Besides the obvious mechanical issues, the diesel noise, high maintenance costs (oil changes and fuel filter changes are not cheap by any standards, even the air filter was cost more than 3 times that of our Lexus), looking for reasonably priced diesel in CA where it is typically 50 cents per gallon more than regular, trouble finding a place to park 22 feet, our faithful Big Yellow Ford was beating the hell out of our Safari. Although it is nice to have a hulk truck from a safety point of view, the rivited aluminum panels and the glued and screwed interior panels do not like a heavy duty suspensioned truck.

I waited to post this thread until after we towed our Safari a significant distance including tough grades, traffic and inclement weather. Now I can say without reservation, you don't need a big diesel 3/4 ton to tow a 7300 lb Airstream, in fact you don't even need a big block gasser. We do believe the frame and brakes of a 3/4 ton are needed once you hit the 7000 lb AS range. Our new 3/4 ton Dodge with its small block (345c.i./5.7 liter) Hemi gasser hooked up to a 5 speed auto with 2 overdrives and 4.56 differential gears will go anywhere with plenty to spare. Our first tow from OC, CA to Las Vegas was smooth and uneventful and even with less than 1000 miles on the rig, the Dodge provided us with 10.4 mpg average fuel economy using mid grade 89 octane gas. On the trip out, averaging 65 mph, the Hemi ran at 2500 rpm and managed 8.9 mpg. On the return, at 60 mph the Hemi ran at 2200 rpm and averaged 11.8 mpg. Before the trip the city mileage was around 10 mpg, after the trip it is now 11 mpg. These numbers will improve as the motor breaks in, at least that seems to be the word from other owners. Hiway mileage empty will probably be about 14 to 16 mpg. These mpg numbers are typical of real 3/4 ton trucks with gas motors. in some cases, much better than the average.

The reason we picked the Dodge Power Wagon, Quad Cab 4X4 was based on our needs. (1) We wanted a TV that was better suited to around town driving and parking, not to mention a great truck for sight seeing and roaming from our RV park/campround. (2) We also know tha in 3 years we only put on 20,000 miles on the diesel, which really doesn't hit the breakeven for the diesel value propisition. (3) Mid grade gas is cheaper and easier to find than diesel, which helps the cost equation when comparing to what most diesel get for mpg (I know our Ford was an exception at 10.5 mpg). (4) The new diesels here in CA are burdened with extreme emissions systems which have not been proven long term (my opinion). (5) The Power Wagon is a specially built 4X4 truck (very low production numbers like Airstream) with softer than normal springs for a better ride for the AS and comes with what I consider optimal gearing for towing with a gas motor with a payload capacity of 2061 lbs and a tow rating of 10,400 lbs, which easily keeps us under the 80% rule. (6) The Dodge came with a Lifetime Powertrain Warranty which covers everything out to the wheel bearings, I mean everything, I actually read the full warranty and it is solid. (7) It cost $7000 less than a comparable diesel Dodge and even a bigger difference for a Ford or GM. (8) It is the best off road truck built stock from the factory with options only hard core "wheelers" understand. (9) It has a Hemi that sounds great, performs great and the darn thing is just plain fun to drive.

I am not suggesting that a gasser is better than a diesel for everybody, but in our situation, it is the best choice without doubt. Diesels and Gas motors are not created equal, carefully check the options out there, but the most important thing to remember is that you are the one that has to drive it and your personal need (and in some cases want) is the target.

I am ready for the flaming.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:01 PM   #2
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No flames from me, only what took you so long?? Just kidding.

In all honesty, probably the only reason I didn't buy a diesel was cost. I have found out that I don't need it....the gas rig does fine. There ARE times when it would be handy on a mountain grade, but that's only impatience.

Congrats on your new rig.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:17 PM   #3
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timemachine,

thanks for sharing a very important thread topic. while i own a 22' flying cloud and will one day be towing it with my 03' tahoe, i think the real importance of your post is that there are two sides to every story and each side has its own advantages.

bottom line, there shouldn't be any flaming to follow, only an understanding by the people who like to flame (flamers) that their opinion is not the only one that matters (or this could fall on deaf ears and flamers will flame away anyway )
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:22 PM   #4
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:45 PM   #5
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gas is good

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
No flames from me, only what took you so long?? Just kidding.

In all honesty, probably the only reason I didn't buy a diesel was cost. I have found out that I don't need it....the gas rig does fine. There ARE times when it would be handy on a mountain grade, but that's only impatience.

Congrats on your new rig.
Dave
Thanks Dave....here is a pic for those without imagination..not you Dave, your imagination is legendary....
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:55 PM   #6
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I put a quarter million miles on my '91 Dodge Cummins with remarkably few problems. I replaced it with a Nissan Titan, diesel makes no sense after the price premium for the equipment if diesel fuel is 10-20% more than premium gas for a big chuck of the year.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Dave, your imagination is legendary....
Uh Oh... who you been talkin to?
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:16 PM   #8
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I like a person who likes their ride. Enjoy your travels.
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:45 PM   #9
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Happy New Year!

Well after reading your pain points...I guess I would have dumped the Ford as well. I have an '05 F-350 and absolutely love it. I think with the 6.0 Liter diesel it was truly luck of the draw in what you get from the engine.

We have 45k miles on it and have not had one problem.

In regards to fuel economy we installed a Banks system on our truck and I know you're not going to believe me but I get 21.5 MPG highway when not towing and 14 MPG towing our '34 Excella. We normally tow between 65 & 70 MPH. The trick that I've found with the diesel is keeping it within its power band. I used to think that lower RPMs meant better fuel economy but it doesn't work that way.

Well...anyway good luck with your Hemi! When I bought this truck I drove all 3 major brands and like the 4 X 4 F-350 the best. We have not had any problems with our trailer getting beat up but I figure that's because we really load the bed down with gear.

Cheers!
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:52 PM   #10
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It's a Hemi dude... welcome to the club!
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:59 PM   #11
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win some loose some

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanny
Well after reading your pain points...I guess I would have dumped the Ford as well. I have an '05 F-350 and absolutely love it. I think with the 6.0 Liter diesel it was truly luck of the draw in what you get from the engine.

We have 45k miles on it and have not had one problem.

In regards to fuel economy we installed a Banks system on our truck and I know you're not going to believe me but I get 21.5 MPG highway when not towing and 14 MPG towing our '34 Excella. We normally tow between 65 & 70 MPH. The trick that I've found with the diesel is keeping it within its power band. I used to think that lower RPMs meant better fuel economy but it doesn't work that way.

Well...anyway good luck with your Hemi! When I bought this truck I drove all 3 major brands and like the 4 X 4 F-350 the best. We have not had any problems with our trailer getting beat up but I figure that's because we really load the bed down with gear.

Cheers!
I totally agree, it is the luck of the draw, or in our case, no luck. Also gearing and power or torque bands are the ingredients of mileage, mixed with tire size and the weight of your AS, it is a mathmatical science. As for your AS not taking a beating, it is a 34' Excella and needs the grunt and strength of a diesel HD truck, exactly why I believe every situation needs to be reviewed and individualized for that need.

Glad to see you got a good one, Ford does make a great bunch of trucks, but some of them have issues, the 6.0 PSD is famous for being a looser, but as you know not everybody has the same experience. I repeat, not all diesels are created equal. You and I prove that theory.

Thanks for the input, I think it helps people who are trying to make decisions regarding TVs.
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:04 PM   #12
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The Power-Wagon is an awesome truck. It is only available as a gasser. There is no comparably equipped diesel. The 4:56 gearing, winch, lockers and sway bar disconnect are all peculiar to the Power-Wagon. This package also brings it to within about $2000 of a 4WD Ram 2500 Diesel SLT Automatic.
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:20 PM   #13
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I like the idea of the power wagon...but sadly I see Dodge had discontinued that model. Not selling enough...and it is very exspensive. I actually talked to our local Dodge dealer about one not too long ago. They told me they have NOT sold a single power wagon since they came out. This Dodge dealer is High volume too. I think its the price tag. You can buy a Diesel for the same price. But of course it does not have all the off road, detachable sway bar, 4.56 gearing. It was a good idea that just didn't catch on.

Buy the way your fuel mileage is impressive for the Hemi. The one complaint I have heard from Hemi owners is poor fuel mileage. You'r is good from what I hear.
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:24 PM   #14
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agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBolton
The Power-Wagon is an awesome truck. It is only available as a gasser. There is no comparably equipped diesel. The 4:56 gearing, winch, lockers and sway bar disconnect are all peculiar to the Power-Wagon. This package also brings it to within about $2000 of a 4WD Ram 2500 Diesel SLT Automatic.
Yep, you are right, you sound like you may be in the truck/car business. When you load up a Power Wagon with all of the creature comfort options and safety options, the MSRP is pushing $50K, but with Chryslers aggressive pricing, it gets into the high $30Ks making it an attractive option.
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