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Old 09-20-2016, 10:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
Good taste in both trucks and bikes (see my garage)!
Hah, yours is 3 years newer than mine. I have a tendency to blow through bikes quickly, but this 600 F3 I just can't convince myself to sell, it's too perfect. I love the look, the sound, the performance, and even find it fairly comfortable for long distances (Did a 4 hour ride to Rapid City to buy the truck).

Anyways, here's what I'm thinking right now based on your suggestions in this thread so far:

-Gear ratio change from 3.73. (Should I go for 3.54, or is 3.42 an option here?)
-Remove all emissions control “garbage”. (Not sure if I have anything that even needs to be removed on an '03)
-Confirm no brake drag / leaks, no CAC system leaks, proper alignment
-Front air dam as low as possible
-Open up exhaust and straight pipe
-Bed cover
-Possibly a Smarty JR, if it's worth the $500

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Old 09-20-2016, 10:48 AM   #12 (permalink)
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My guess is a 2003 would at least have EGR, maybe a soot trap but if it's got a soot trap it's likely already been removed.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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No emissions devices. Engine tune is biased towards low emission.

As to exhaust, no more than 4.0"' Mandrel-bent. Full-length. 04.5 and later turbo downpipe. Yes, you want a muffler. Plenty of "quiet" (no drone) choices. Turbos kill a lot of sound, but straight pipe a huge mistake.

Smarty Jr may help, BUT, you will search in vain for proof that it is an increase to the annual average (tank by tank is almost meaningless). General consensus is that throttle response is improved. On an '03 it will bring power up to 305/555 level I'm told.

As to gears, 3.42 is the current ratio in production. Means that towing power is compromised, and that the truck is even slower than before. I'd say a guy has to be serious meaning that he's already exhausted learning how to drive it (see Diesel Dave). That's a long road. More than 10k miles to be any good. I believe it would "work" for me (as well as upgrading from the factory limited slip to Detroit TruTrac), but mine is one half of a dedicated 18k lb combination. An alternative I've wondered about of late is to make the conversion to accept latest production 18" wheels and those slightly larger stock tires. An increase in rear axle/wheel capacity is the primary motivation. FE might benefit as well.

Focus on tire choice and mechanical condition, OP. Plenty of meat on that bone.

With that many miles, especially. Figure that CAC hoses are no longer any good. And start looking into injector replacement plus upgrades to fuel filtration AND lift pump. See contributors "cerberusiam" and "Steelhead01" for best advice on CF. (As well as our Pennsylvania friend who built his CTD aerocap from aluminum; posts on both).

Engine hours will come up on dash. CumminsForum has instructions. I always forget. Divide that into miles. Use it for oil change intervals as a record, not just time & miles.

I recommend Howes Meaner Kleaner fuel additive. More complete combustion, IMO, after injectors cleaned. I use it all the time. Schaeffers Diesel Treat is better, but hard to find. Don't bother with the rest (PS silver if none else available).

Factory air filter and Donaldson or Baldwin oil filter. Baldwin only fuel filter on stock setup. Rotella T6 5W-40 oil.

GENOS Garage a good source. Get the bumper mount engine heater plug. Use it year round when you know time of departure. 90" to two hours or overnight. Diesels take too long to warm up. To aid this, get the genuine MOPAR winter cover and learn to use it 41F or lower temps). I also have a four piece grille block I use in spring/fall. Remove once temps are up and/or AC is in use.

Degraded cold weather FE is strictly a function of coolant temp. Slow to rise and subject to plummeting (no load; on highway). Winter fuel is only 4% less energetic in content. Extended idling is the other culprit. Diesels will not warm up by stationary idling. Use the above and ease it down the road.

As to how to use that man trans: For a beginner -- and in general -- rpms of 17-1800 will be good for FE around town. Find that gear and speed. If it means 37-mph in a 45-zone, then that's the game.

Besides, these things ain't easy to stop. At all. Not bad brakes from factory, but sheer weight. Mass.

Move the seat forward so that your shoes rest easily on the firewall behind the pedals. Tip the seat pan forward to take pressure off under thighs. Tilt seat back up. This ain't a car. And I'll bet my legs are longer than yours. I know of what I speak, here. No reaching for shifter or any point of the wheel. Super easy control. Same for the big trucks I drive. Mirrors should split the horizon, and touch the edge of the body. From peripheral vision. Don't run around with the tow mirrors in the upright ghey boy position. Less info and worse FE (they're actually okay for aero).

Learn what works. I moved a year ago and had a three week morning commute. Went from the lazy 18-mpg to an acceptable 21-mpg on rural road now subsumed by suburb by, one, leaving earlier for less traffic; and, two, used cruis control to ease along at 45-mph on a road that varied from 50 up to 55 and down to 35 just before Interstate. Ran that four miles at 58-mph/1725-rpm. And then the last two miles at regulated 35. Aim for rpm.

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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 200,000 miles/5000-hrs @ 40-mph average.
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8-cpm solo & 11-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 54k-miles
Sold: 1983 Silver Streak 3411

Last edited by slowmover; 09-20-2016 at 02:14 PM..
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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As to aero. The GM study referenced years ago by Aerohead, where covering the final 50% of the box was effective. Pressure equalization on both sides of tailgate. Seems like some sort of device to fasten waterproofed & painted plywood to the stake pockets would work.

Contributor Skyking has tried a belly pan on his CTD, his experience, however, leads me to agree with him that side skirts would be best. As with the front air dam, maybe conveyor belting. See Big Dave and his Diesel Ford.

None of these affect the ability to do work. Any FE mods which counter this (as with driving techniques which compromise safety) are contraindicated, IMO.

Cutting out unnecessary trips to keep the average mph high is what really works. No magic devices or other are a substitute. One MUST confront the teenager behind the wheel. Break old driving habits in favor of new ones. In short, this truck is overpowered and too fast to be run solo (I've hauled commercially with them). All it needs from the driver is steering and braking input. It will tell you what it needs. And to that end, if one does not wind up with an average mpg of 20, there is more to learn. Or investigate (and repair).

Be patient. Record all gallons and miles. Paper logs or Fuelly or another app. It's the annual average that matters. FE is just a "reading" about economical operation. So is tire and brake life. Transmission life. Etc. Expressed on a cents-per-mile basis (see Edmunds or AAA for a worksheet). CPM is how the big boys play the game.

Let me offer this example: I bought mine used. Low price due to being 2WD. And long bed. And manual. Far lower price than 4WD/auto. And, as the 4WDs will need to have the front end and steering rebuilt 2X or 3X in 300k miles, the price discrepancy is now thousands higher. So, too, if the owner opts for lift kit/aftermarket toy tires. Now, we're at lest $12-15k over what I paid. If that same 4WD truck reports the national average of 15-mpg, I've essentially gotten a free truck by comparison. Well before 300k depending on fuel prices.

Or, why would I want to pay TWICE as much for a truck capable of almost doing the same work (4WD has lower load capacity and is a worse tow vehicle), higher maintenance and repair costs, and is less reliable?

So, FE is just part of it.

Take it to a CAT Scale and -- with max fuel, driver and normal gear aboard -- get axle weights. Then get individual wheel position weights. Check the old online TOWING Guide and deduct cargo capacity based on your scale weights. (Limitation is actually axle/tire limits), but it's a good starting point. Ship weight on mine was 6,880-lbs. But I run around at 7,940-lbs (all wheels within 40-lbs of each other).

Have a long-term goal. How long will one keep it and how many miles? Extrapolate. Start spending now to get ahead. If one spends 10k past purchase price on all but a new engine and trans overhaul/clutch, then it's money in the bank. Most of these trucks have been severely abused at this point. A good one is worth gold. Depreciation on mine has amounted to $9k in nine years. So-called "book value". I'd laugh at that offer. Guys will fly cross-country to get one like mine (and it ain't perfect by any means).

CF and TDR are good sources on fixes. But, think systematic overhaul versus replacing a component. Make it new and keep it that way. Have a plan. And a budget to catch up, and then get ahead. Personally, I rather like the fact that with EVERY expense this truck has cost me a no-****e $100\yr when I also factor IRS miles.

You've bought at the end of the depreciation curve. Now, all depends on condition.

If it's just a toy, then forget all the above. And in that case you can keep the chrome step bars.
.
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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 200,000 miles/5000-hrs @ 40-mph average.
1990 35' Silver Streak TT 7,900-lb.
8-cpm solo & 11-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 54k-miles
Sold: 1983 Silver Streak 3411

Last edited by slowmover; 09-20-2016 at 02:26 PM..
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hersbird View Post
He said he did keep it under 2000 rpm.
My Hemi 4x4 (with 4.1 gears no less) gets over 18 mpg running 65 mph in the mountains of Western Montana.
See this is why I am hesitant to get the cummins. I see so many claims on the diesel pages but then when I drank the cool aid and bought a Duramax I never saw even 18 mpg empty or better then 12mpg with a big slide in camper. It was so bad around town both MPG and having a crew cab long bed that it sat most of the year unless we were using it on vacation. My Hemi is nice all year long although I still have kept my Forester and use it most days because I don't know if I will buy a 2500 pickup again. Ugh. Maybe I will ask the lot if I can take the Ram I am looking at for a whole day and do some MPG testing with it.
Only the first year Maxipad got great FE. But with injector problems. Still can't beat an early HPCR CTD/manual, though (nothing can. Not in longevity, reliability either).
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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 200,000 miles/5000-hrs @ 40-mph average.
1990 35' Silver Streak TT 7,900-lb.
8-cpm solo & 11-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 54k-miles
Sold: 1983 Silver Streak 3411
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:34 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Contributor "steve05ram360" has caught the attention of somewhat FE concious CTD owners on CumminsForum (in the 3rd Gen forums). He certainly has fun doing experiments and runs a lot of miles, but it can be hard to separate what works at times. That said, some good insights on running a CTD.

One telling modification (I'm generally against spending to try to save) is a set of freewheel front hubs on a 4WD. That, and best tires should be worth 2.5-mpg to the annual average. Might be more, but I doubt it would be much less.

In the reference section at EM should be some discussions about driver feedback. OBD readers. I use the Ultragauge (ScanGauge is another) and I prefer to be able to read:

Engine Load
Manifold Pressure
Throttle Percentage

Others are Intake air temp and average mph. I'd imagine the latest versions of these can do more, but CTDs aren't fully supported as would be som gasoline versions.

(As well as a direct read of coolant temp; re above use of heat exchanger covers).

I stated in an above post that highest average mph is "best". This is in reference to:

- avoidance of idling
- avoidance of stopping

that, when combined with

-avoidance of cold starts

pays huge dividends on these four ton trucks used for daily driving.

While it should be fairly easy to design an ideal commute route (non-stop if at all possible, to the point of being a fair number of miles longer; relatively)

- Design a route to carry out the usual errands is the moneymaker.

I've covered this before; took the challenge from Diesel Dave that the mpg discrepancy between highway and city could be narrowed to near nothing, if not reversed (he did so). I took my lazy boy 18-mpg city (24-mpg + highway) to 21-mpg by using tactics developed by commercial truck operators such as Fed-Ex:

Going to the farthest point on the highway for best warm-up. No left turns, attention to where to park (egress!"), etc. Count the number of accel and decel vents and then reduce them next time. Route familiarity is huge. Use Mapquest Best Routing to understand. Hell, 90% of us go to 90% of the same places 90%
of the time. So, trip plan it. My way was to combine scattered errands into one long loop on Saturday and not drive at all on Sunday.

Cut the miles due to personal business. Drive the remaining miles at a higher level of skill.

The fuel use reduction was such that (after my 1,100-mile experiment) that extrapolated against my average annual mileage that it would "pay" for 5,000-miles of towing my travel trailer (the annual RV'er average). Obviously one must keep records to gauge effectiveness, and it's a helluva nice incentive.

There's a recent thread on either the Cummins or Kenworth White Paper Fuel Economy .pdfs. Note that after truck spec, the FE determinants are

Climate
Terrain
Driver motivation

Thus, absolute numbers MUST be filtered by these criteria. Where I live as well as my truck spec and motivation are almost ideal. Yet I'm no where near the mpg as seen by those who are really serious about what an empty, solo CTD can do. See threads/posts by Diesel Dave.

To those who are "skeptical" I'd refer them to the old Mobil Economy Runs of the 1950-1970 period. Someone "serious" could realm pull off some unreal numbers (for those tests, "cheating"; but not so by an owner; if applicable).
.
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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 200,000 miles/5000-hrs @ 40-mph average.
1990 35' Silver Streak TT 7,900-lb.
8-cpm solo & 11-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 54k-miles
Sold: 1983 Silver Streak 3411

Last edited by slowmover; 09-21-2016 at 11:12 AM..
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think I'm just going to holdout for the Ecodiesel to come down some. I bet in a year there will be $20k examples, in 2 $15k. They get more like 33mpg at a steady 65 mph stock. I don't need 15k worth of towing ability.
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:25 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Even used the lifetime CPM of a Ram EcoDiesel won't match an early HPCR CTD. Shorter life and higher operational cost. Fuel cost is not enough of an offset.

FWIW, another Texan with a perfectly sorted Airstream and an ED sees about the same mpg as I do. My rig is comsiderably longer (63') and two tons heavier. He travels at, IIRC, 63/5-mph and I travel at 58-mph. His is more aero and has a far better trailer suspension.

A better bet is a TD in a car pulling a 16-22' Airstream. Now you're at 30-mpg. P
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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 200,000 miles/5000-hrs @ 40-mph average.
1990 35' Silver Streak TT 7,900-lb.
8-cpm solo & 11-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 54k-miles
Sold: 1983 Silver Streak 3411
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:30 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I talked to a ecodiesel owner pulling a traditional 22' Lance TT and he said 15 so far coming up from California. This was in Idaho. TFLtruck has the 33mpg video on YouTube, w/o a trailer, they have yet to do a towing MPG test on the Ecodiesel, their current towing MPG champ is the 4 cylinder Duramax Canyon, which did the run high 12's (at 70 mph with a v nose box trailer) slightly better then the Nissan 5.0 cummins. That's more what I would like to see for proof. I believe the people posting on this page, but go over to the diesel bomber pages and you would think everybody is getting 25+ empty and 17 towing a 14,000 pound fiver with 35" mud tires no less.

I think my CPM will be lower then average. I will delete the emissions and I do all my own work. It will take me 10 years to even put 50,000 miles on whatever I buy so even the added registration and insurance cost on the 2500 might be a bigger factor. Besides gas, my annual maintenance costs on my fleet of 3 vehicles is usually under $500. Tires are the biggest cost because I buy 2 sets for every one.

Last edited by Hersbird; 09-21-2016 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Remember, the mileage penalty starts at 40%. That's at about 55-63 mph. Unless the operator has run the same route SOLO at the same speed, be wary. The conventional box trailers with leaf sprung suspension tend upwards in penalty points. An aero trailer can trend downwards to 30%. As travel trailers are tall ( this is huge; today's are higher due to slide outs), more info is always worth gathering.

That, and that less than 10% are correctly hitched means numbers fathered anecdotally may (will) he way off.

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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 200,000 miles/5000-hrs @ 40-mph average.
1990 35' Silver Streak TT 7,900-lb.
8-cpm solo & 11-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 54k-miles
Sold: 1983 Silver Streak 3411
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