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Old 10-14-2012, 07:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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SoulWagon - '04 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab
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Ya, I tried my best to find manual... not happening this time around. When I can afford more, I will get manual, diesel etc... I have run out of time to search though.

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Old 10-15-2012, 06:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Bed topper versus bed cap: Make some guesstimates on cubic cargo capacity needed. Same for weight: total number of passengers plus personal gear.

1] Take truck to certified scale and weigh with driver + full fuel (and any items which will be aboard permanently). This is the adjusted empty weight.

2] Remaining cargo capacity will need to controlled. The Dodge Towing Guide will show factory weight. Show us the numbers for your model.

3] Next step is tires & brakes (examination plus repair/replace) and loading the truck with representative weight. Brake drag needs to be eliminated if present.

On the scale one needs to get the per wheel position weight in order to set the best tire pressure according to the vehicle manufacturer specs (and in reference to the RMA numbers). Get the numbers dead on.

4] With that representative weight, one needs to do some "driving around" to see if any play exists in steering/suspension components. Transient response at highway speeds, braking into a corner, etc aren't just for safety, but keeping FE high. Trucks suffer in transitions from one state to another, and not just in acceleration/deceleration.

Cargo securement is critical. Even if the truck rolled over, the cargo should not move significantly.

Etc.

As to highway FE, calculate the amount of time actually spent at top travel speed without accel/decel/stops for breaks, fuel, food, etc, on a few representative trips. Then some time looking at all other engine-on time.

A truck is best used by limiting engine hours. Route planning is central to best use. Know all stops in advance, etc. No "hey, pull into that convenience store ahead, willya?" requests honored.

Aero changes are fun, no doubt, but the above (which is barely a sketch) underlies all the rest. The "mechanical baseline". 1/2T trucks are load limited. I'll guess that your gear/pax weights may put you at the limit. So calc first, and buy second.

Etc.

.

Last edited by slowmover; 10-15-2012 at 07:02 AM..
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Does it have a factory MPG gauge? You want one that offers both instant & resettable "trip" (average) MPG or L/100km. This is crucial to adjusting the nut behind the wheel. With the amount of fuel you're going to be burning, don't fool yourself into thinking you don't need or can't afford one - false economy!

Second: ScanGauge or equivalent will also let you accurately monitor coolant temperature, and possibly transmission temperature - important while running partial or a full grille block.

Thirdly, you should know from reading here that after reducing speed, the most effective improvement you can make to a pickup for highway fuel consumption is an aero shell bed cover. You should try very, very hard to organize your gear so that it will fit beneath one.

Adding a traditional square topper will likely reduce fuel economy compared to a tonneau cover, and probably even below an open bed.

Other mods listed make sense.

Lastly - woohoo, funk band!! Got a link to share? YouTube?
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Don't get the truck! Buy an Outback, or a larger SUV if you need even more space, but just don't buy the truck. A Subaru Outback can get you 30mpg and last forever. I'd be surprised if the truck gets 20mpg and goes a year without having to work on something. Not only will you be paying more for fuel, but also tires and insurance. Then you will get real famliar with the local junk yard as you replace stuff you should never have to think about such as door switches, blower motor resistors, or the A/C system.

Trucks are endless money and time sinks. Don't believe me, get the truck. If you must get a truck, get a Tacoma or Ridgeline, or anything other than Ford, Dodge, Chevy.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Im not a guru on the trucks, but you may be able to wire in autostick for that trans. Steal parts from a grand cherokee or commander or charger/challenger. I don't know what will swap but you might get lucky.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks guys.

Slowmover... these are very good things to consider.

MetroMPG - it has a factory MPG meter, but I will be using a scanguage alongside it. As for the topper, I have to go with what I can get immediately, within my budget, and with no possibility of leakage or any other problems. I'm all ears to a factory made aero topper, but I just have no idea where to find one in Canada. Throughout the year, I will pass by pretty well everywhere on the eastern seaboard, if anyone has suggestions. For now, it will be a leer 100xl i think:


I was wondering if it would be possible to do a little better putting something to help with airflow on the back of it.

Also, here's a link to some music: Amanda Davids | Toronto, ON, CA | R&B/Soul / Funk / Jazz | Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos | ReverbNation

I say funk, but there's a lot of soul and jazz in our show. It's just easier not to explain until someone is curious. Amanda plays several keyboards, including a Hammond organ, which takes up the most space and weight when we can bring it.

Redpoint - an outback can't hold nearly enough, both in weight and space. No wagon can. FYI, i tried to do one of these trips in my corolla with about 1100 pounds in it. My gas mileage was terrible, and it was dangerous. Although, any shows that don't require more than 900 pounds of weight, I will probably still take the corolla when I can. Even at it's limit, it does very well on highway mpg.

Ksa - an autostick would be awesome... I will speak to my mechanic about it and see if he has any creative ideas.


It's settled, I'll have this truck on the road thursday. I'm playing an out of town show with it Friday, so I'll start tracking my MPG right away. I dont have time to keep shopping around, and I had to find something that was in good shape, and would be reliable from the getgo without any work.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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SoulWagon - '04 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab
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Again, I would love to have an aerotop, but I can't make one myself. I'm all ears if someone can direct me to a factory made one.

Also note, that truck in the picture still isn't the actual truck. Just a picture of the same model with the same topper I found for cheap.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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If your not in favor of making your own aerotop you could try a kammbach off your cap.

Also look at those wheel wells if you don't see it flexing when you have it loaded down look at wheel skirts beings a possibility on top of being a truck dodges are notorious for oversized wheel wells.

Air dam would be beneficial as well.

As for the autostick im sure you cold get the floorshifter (racing style) to control your shifts.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Here's video to give a good picture of how much space the gear takes up, and why I'm dead-set on a truck:


gear list for this show setup includes:
-88 key keyboard
-61 key keyboard
-keyboard midi modules, stand, etc.

-2 turntables
-DJ mixer
-table (yes, nobody ever has a suitable table for turntables at a jazz festival, for some reason).

-Full drum kit and hardware

-guitars (the more I can bring, the better, but usually, i can get away with just my 8 string if I have too - it's a bass and a guitar built into one).

-bass amp
-guitar amp
-guitar effects and preamps

-12 channel mixer
-power amp
-2 600 watt stage monitors
-2 200 watt floor wedge stage monitors

-stage signage

I think that covers everything.

Combined weight = somewhere around 900lbs, plus whatever cables and power supplies I need.

Personnel... 4 people, combined weight 650 lbs.

Thus the Ram is the smallest truck I can afford to use. I have very little headroom.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:01 PM   #20 (permalink)
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90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

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90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Too bad about that square topper, but I hear you: you're pressed for time and don't want to mess around with fabrication.

Unfortunately, there's no commercial aero topper available. Not yet, anyway. It'll come some day.

You can improve the rear of the bed/square topper combination mainly by extending the overall vehicle length to taper the sides and the top. Think:



from: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...utt-21071.html

But again, it would require some fabrication skills.

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