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Old 03-10-2012, 12:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 2,442

2004 CTD - '04 DODGE RAM 2500 SLT
Team Cummins
90 day: 19.36 mpg (US)
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Best spec is obviously:

Manual trans

I'd say those will pay for the change made. As to those who demand 4WD there isn't going to be a reasonable FE commensurate with on-road requirements.

The usual list to check off is:

- all book maintenance, time & miles
- no brake drag
- no steering wander (a real weak spot)
- tire pressure according to load (and closed shoulder highway rib tires)
- no CAC leaks

Next is how to improve the usual commute:

- Plug in block heater year-round
- Other oil heaters
- Use MOPAR winter front (same)

After that is aero treatment.

Driver skill, through planning and being willing to make changes -- large and small -- in how one drives is the real money saver.

I've learned quite a bit from Diesel_Dave this past near-year. A reading of his posts ought to be of help. For example, I now shift at 1,500 and am looking at 3.42 rear gears to get the motor more closely into the FE sweet spot of 1300-1500-rpm whether in town or on the road. It's an eye-opener to realize that in-town mileage can be higher than highway.

The hybrid idea is a heckuva lot of fun. I'm curious to see what you come up with. The only additional batteries I'd add to my truck (at present) will have to do with a [future] solar bank on my travel trailer. Same for propane. It may be good for extending the range of the diesel onboard and provide greater capacity for the travel trailer as well as fire a[n] [also future] commercial ONAN generator (as the diesel generators are heavy and $$$).

It's all a balancing act between weight, complexity and ROI. So truck spec matters most in making the most, IMO.

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