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Old 03-13-2003, 09:13 PM   #15
 
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Sometimes you have to make compromises when chosing a tow vehicle.
When looking to buy our van, we had made a list of priorities: we wanted manual trans, of course a diesel, the biggest box we could get and a long wheel base. We did not want new.
The dealers laughed at us. Between the added weight of that particular body and weight of the diesel engine, they never made that combination. Our dream van did not exist. So we ended up with an automatic / gas, and we were told we were very lucky we were able to find ONE, after several weeks of search.
We used it for about 9 years for towing. We spent so many happy hours on its uncomfortable seats, squinting to try and see the badly designed guages, baking from the heat of the engine: we decided to keep it.
In the end, I have to say that for all its faults, we got attached to it.
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Old 03-13-2003, 09:21 PM   #16
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Chas, people who promote diesels, for some reason seem to be lacking in mathamatical abilities. While it is true, that diesels get better fuel economy, those benefits are negated by higher diesel fuel prices and the $5000 price tag for the engine itself. Anyone who is familiar with Microsoft Excel, or other such programs can construct a spreadsheet, and find out these facts for themselves. Another myth diesel promoters often cite higher resale values. While they may receive $3000 more for the diesel, they paid $5000, so they have a net loss of $2000. I, on the other hand paid $600 for the big block and would receive and additional $175, so I had a net loss of $425.

Another good one is the "screaming up a hill at 3600 rpm" arguement. Diesel promoters will tell you that their trucks will be taching a much lower rpm while going up a hill, while the gas engine is "screaming up the hill at high rpms." Well, it is supposed to! It is operating as designed. It has a different RPM and torque band. Jet engines scream at 40,000 rpm. Doesn't mean the jet is an inferior engine. It is operating as designed. Enough, guess I am just a gasoholic!

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Old 03-13-2003, 09:35 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
higher diesel fuel prices
Not always true. This varies by States.
In VA, diesel is same price as regular gas. If you use premium like we had to do in mountain towing with the van, that's 20 cts more per gallon. At 6 MPG, it starts to add up.
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Old 03-13-2003, 09:43 PM   #18
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I might make some enemies on this thread, but I do dearly love my '92 E-350 7.3 liter van/sleeper/dually pickup. On the other hand, $60 oil changes every 3,000 miles and the lack of diesel at most of the more popular discount stations cause me so much grief I almost forget I'm going deaf because the engine is putting out 135 decibles at anything over 55 MPH.

Huh?
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Old 03-13-2003, 09:52 PM   #19
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Like Kevin I also have a '99 3/4 Suburban 4x4. Mine has 3.73 and towing package. I get about 13-14 mpg towing or not. It doesn't seem to notice it much.
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Old 03-14-2003, 12:53 AM   #20
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Experience with GM454 and MPG

Greetings Chas!

Sorry you had such bad experiences with your Suburbans. My figures are based on my maintenance logs kept since the truck was new. It is regularly serviced (according to the Severe Service Maintenance Guide published by GMC) by a mechanic who knows my diriving style and the fact that I always use premium fuels and oil products and it is tuned to reflect those parameters. In addition, I never exceed the posted speed limit, in fact usually set my cruise control 3 MPH below posted speed; and when towing the trailer its always 55 MPH maximum - - over 75% of my towing has been in overdrive. I will gladly keep my Suburban it has been one of the best and most dependable tow vehicles that I have owned. I am fully expecting 300,000 miles out of this vehicle.

As I said in my original post the mileage experience with the Minuet is only over less than 3,000 miles; but thus far there has been less than a .3 MPG impact on normal solo economy - - the trailer is so narrow and not exceptionally tall that nearly hides behind the Suburban - - I suspect that this will change once the air conditioner is added to the roof and all of the restoration work is completed.

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Old 03-14-2003, 07:29 AM   #21
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O.K. Kev,

I can see by your towing speed that you could be getting that good of mileage with your Burb'. Just be sure to let the rest of us pass! Sorry to have started the perpetual diesel vs. gas war again, I always seem to! But while I'm here, diesels run much cooler! Mine can idle with the a/c on in 100 degree weather and not even move the needle! Spark plugs, ha, shut it off at the propane dealer, no need, how bout' that torque baby!!

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(btw, my k2500, a 4wd, had 4:10 gears in it)
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Old 03-14-2003, 08:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chas
O.K. Kev,

I can see by your towing speed that you could be getting that good of mileage with your Burb'. Just be sure to let the rest of us pass! Sorry to have started the perpetual diesel vs. gas war again, I always seem to! But while I'm here, diesels run much cooler! Mine can idle with the a/c on in 100 degree weather and not even move the needle! Spark plugs, ha, shut it off at the propane dealer, no need, how bout' that torque baby!!

Chas

(btw, my k2500, a 4wd, had 4:10 gears in it)
My 75 GMC idles cold in high 90's weather and slugs around on steep grade never exceeding 5-6 mph for hours at a time (read as minimal air flow through radiator) and never gets past the 180mark. It all in how effecient your cooling system is. Deisels by defualt get 4 core radiators where as a base 350 without towing package gets a 2 core. Towing package on a 350 gets you a three core and a 454 gets the same 4 core as the diesel.
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Old 03-14-2003, 09:07 AM   #23
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10 MPG Everywhere in my '99

My 2WD 1999 3/4Ton 454 equiped Freeway Frigate only gets 10 MPG. That's around town stop and go driving and on the freeway, towing the A/S or not.

This is not the best situation to be in where gas has hit $4.14/gal. is one area.

I bought a '71 VW Bus to tool around town in so I can save my gas money for camping.

The 3/4 T 'Burb has the full floating axle so I don't expect to have the recurring axle seal and bearing failure that happens with towing on a 1/2 Ton axle.

Let's see now... a 500 mile trip @10mpg=50 gallons X $2.50 gives me $125 in gas. If I got 18 MPG for the same trip I would be saving about $55. Oh well, I can bring more firewood from home in the back of the 'burb to make up the difference.

Ciao, Brian
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Old 03-14-2003, 11:31 AM   #24
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It's a personal choice. If you have the cash, the duramax/allison combo is a great vehicle (for towing).

If you want the same performance "towing" and don't want to spend the $5k, get the 8.1L (splurge the $1200--depending on vehicle for the same Allison transmission) that DavidZ71 has (engine not sure he has the trans).

The Diesel will get better gas mileage, but not the kind of great gas mileage to me that might warrant it. Pulling, the diesel has an edge on MPG and even a better edge when not pulling mostly because it gets most of it's torque in the low RPM band. Diesel fuel gels easier than gas, so you folks in the rust belt and/or frozen tundra need to be aware of this.

Gas on the other hand is everywhere local, everywhere remote, there are no problems finding stations. When not pulling, the 7.4L or the 8.1L big blocks can get out of their own way. Diesels are not quick vehicles. In the country, that might not be an issue. Living in the city where you need to merge onto the expressway and sometimes need "Scotty" to give you that power on a moments notice, the big block has it in gobs. The diesel doesn't.

In the end as I said it's a personal choice. You can't go wrong with either. If you look at the Chevy site, you'll find that the tow specs are very similar and from my exp, the diesel will only have a slight advantage in the MPG.

The idea that it costs more to operate a diesel is not true. But I will say to those that think diesels last longer, that might be somewhat true, but for each one that says, me too, I can also come back with people that have small and big blocks that have lasted the tests of time if properly maintained and not beat on. Also, consider 15 years from now on either, will the body still be there and accessories still work? Would either be worth rebuilding?

You cannot compare 18 wheeler truck to passenger car/truck diesels either. Those trucks cost upward of $100k in some cases. They get rebuilt because it's cost effective to do so. And although they do last well beyond 200-300k, the cost to do similar in a passenger truck is way different and is like comparing apples to watermellons. You really gonna sink $10k in engine, trans and body for a car worth less than $1k 15 years from now.

Gas or diesel? Personal choice. Does the same things, some pros and cons to each. Your lifestyle will dictate which is best for you. I do think the common ground we have is that both can do the same task quite well and in a very safe manner (driver habbits aside).

FWIW,

Eric
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Old 03-14-2003, 11:50 AM   #25
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454 mpg

We have R2500, 454, 3.73, all options pulling 31 ft Airsream, 50 to 55mph,1334 mile 8.5 mpg, 1365 mile 8.7 mpg, 6236 mile 8.3 mpg. Never dared to ckeck without trailer but is one great tow vehicle
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Old 03-14-2003, 02:25 PM   #26
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Eric and Chas,
I use to be so anti-diesel that it was pathetic. I liked the smell of the exhaust but they were so slow and noisy. My eyes have been opened after hearing the Chevy Duramax and reading that the Dodge Cummins HP and Furd are quieter than previous engines. I cringe every time I hear a coworker drive his Ram 2500 with Cummins around the side of the building. NOISY but a good engine. OK, the Duramax has been run against the 8.1 and was almost neck and neck with it. Turbo has done wonders for this engine and other diesels. I won't get into the cost factor between gas and diesel but will tell you that the new generation of turbo diesel not only have pulling power but are fast. www.pickuptrucks.com did a pulloff with the Duramax, the new Furd diesel and the Dodge Cummins High Performance diesel. The Duramax did not fare as well as the new Furd and I can't remember how well the Dodge did. I like my 8.1 but there is one thing for sure, the Duramax can outpull the 8.1 up a hill with an equally heavy load. After saying all of this, has diesel exhaust killed most of my brain cells?
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Old 03-14-2003, 04:22 PM   #27
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david,

Just give them a while to warm up and the diesel gets a better aroma, I agree that nothing stinks worse than a diesel warming up. I have heard of people putting a bit of Pine-Sol in the tank but maybe this is another one of those urban myths. As far as performance goes there was nothing wrong with my 95 Powerstroke "FORD" as it came out of the box but I just had to tinker with it so here goes.

On the engine i've added an ATS intercooler, BD 3'' turbo downpipe and BD 4" exhaust, Banks kwik spool turbo housing, a Hypermax chip and a K&N filter. On the tranny I have a BD billet steel torque converter, BD Pressureloc to increase the trannny pressures and a bunch of other mods done by my transmission shop. When it is unloaded it will do it all, smoke the tires, do donuts and perform any other juvenile actions I see fit. so much for the pokey diesel syndrome. Most people you hear that from probably drove or have gotten stuck behind a 240 diesel Mercedes at some point in their life.

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Old 03-14-2003, 04:39 PM   #28
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New Deisels are plenty impressive. I have had a chance to drive a Banks equipped 2000 F350 Dually and once that turbo spooled it was all smoke if you kept your foot in it. I have also drove several nearly new F250's with a dealer available chip that were darn impressive as well, once the Turbo got spooled up.
My problem is I'm paying Cash and I want pre air bags. I have two kids and extended cab is fine for short trip but it wont cut it for extended rides. I could live with a Crew cab short bed but they were not building them that way in the late 80's. That leaves the Burb. Honestly I would rather have a crew and then hav a bed where I could throw dirty junk without a care but I don't need a truck that takes a football field to turn around. Burb is still short enough that it doesn't have too bad of a turning radius. Just I don't care for 6.2 and 6.5 GM deisel's so that puts them out of the game. If I was buying new and cash was not an issue it would be a REAL hard choice between the Duramax and the powerstroke. I'd get a Deisel for sure then.
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