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Postal Route August 2014 - Letters To The Editor

Our Reader Write Back!

1500 ECODIESEL

To start off, I love the magazine. I anxiously wait for every issue and then read it cover to cover. Now to the subject at hand: The new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel hasn’t been out six months, and I already know what’s wrong with it. Marketing! I live near Columbus, Ohio, and have three major TV stations near me, so you know there is an abundance of Ram dealers in the area.

I have yet to see one advertisement on the 1500 EcoDiesel. I know this is a tough market, and the truck is sure to fail if Ram doesn’t get the word out there. I think we all know diesel makes the most sense right now and in the future. We are the only country I know of that hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon, and we are relying on hybrids. Get with it!

Tom Pingledis
Somerset, Ohio

On the contrary. Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel may be one vehicle that needs little marketing to be a hit. So far, they’re selling like hotcakes (even with the minimal amount of promotion they’ve received on television). Between February 7, 2014 (when Ram first began taking orders for the new ½-ton) and February 10, Ram received more than 8,000 1500 EcoDiesel orders, filling its initial allocation for the diesel-powered truck. We agree that increased marketing for diesels never hurts, but as of right now, the EcoDiesel has been extremely popular without a whole lot of it.


BIG STACKS

Here is a picture of real stacks! They are from a Damen ASD2810 tugboat. I’m a service engineer for Rolls-Royce, and tugs use R-R propulsion, which is driven by a Caterpillar V-16 (1,860 Kw) diesel. The big stacks are for the main engines, one midsize is for a Cat C32 firefight pump, and the small ones are for Cat C4.4 generators. By the way, I’m from Finland and there are lots of U.S. pickup truck enthusiasts here. Personally, I’m driving an 2000 F-350 7.3L, and it is a great truck! There’s no other magazine like Diesel Power! Thanks!

Juha Leppanen
Lieto, Finland


NOT BUYING A ½-TON

I do not comprehend Ram’s move to use the new VM Motori diesel engine in the 2014 ½-ton pickup. Can you go into more depth about all this nonsense? And Cummins in a Nissan? I read your little article, but this needs some research and writing. I know Ram owns the company that is producing this puny diesel engine, so I’m betting it’s all about money. I was thinking about buying my wife the new Ram but will have to rethink: loyalty to Ram or Cummins? Hmm…OK Cummins wins. Now I’ll have to turn to Nissan (the old Datsun maker). Why bite the hand (Cummins) that’s been feeding the popularity of Dodge trucks for years?

Johnny Hancock
via email

There is no nonsense to report, really. You are correct that money reasons dictated Ram’s choice of fitting its ½-ton trucks with the VM Motori. It simply makes more business sense to utilize an engine already in your stable than to outsource a more expensive diesel engine option (say, the 5.0L V-8 Cummins). Trust us, there is no bad blood between Ram and Cummins. At the end of the day, Cummins builds engines. They don’t build trucks. At the commercial level, you can find a Cummins engine option for almost every maker. Cummins did the right thing by shopping its new 5.0L around for a good suitor. Nissan, looking to get a bigger piece of the fullsize American truck pie, leapt at the chance to give it a shot. After all, the 5.9L Cummins effectively saved Dodge trucks in the late ’80s, so maybe Nissan is thinking a Cummins engine will do the same thing for them...


BASIC ERROR

First off, I love the magazine! I’ve been a subscriber for years now. You guys run a real good show out there. But as I’m sitting here in my chair at home after a day of wrenching on excavators and trucks, reading the latest issue, I noticed on the Basic Training section about fuel filters for the Cummins engines there is a little mistake. It’s nothing big, but just something I thought you should know. When I change the fuel filter on my 2002 Cummins, I don’t need to cycle the key 10 to 20 times like you said in the article. All I need to do is bump the starter and the pump stays on (I think for 20 seconds). I know the 5.9L common-rails are the same, but I haven’t worked on a 6.7L yet to know if they are the same. When you just turn the key on, the pump only runs for 1 or 2 seconds -- not long enough to prime the system. Nothing major, but I thought you might want to let readers know so they’re not turning the key so many times they wear out their ignition switch! Anyway, keep up the good work. I love seeing Diesel Power in my mailbox every month! P.S. Do some more VP44 articles!

Spencer Wiltbank
Phoenix, Arizona


SIX-SPEED FOR 5.9LS, PLEASE!

I am writing this letter with the hope that it will be published so as to push the diesel transmission shops to build a kit that will allow a guy to put a six-speed (68RFE or Aisin) automatic behind the 5.9L Cummins! Like many Dodge ram owners with the 5.9L, we are starting to rack up miles on our trucks. We know when it’s almost time to rebuild the transmission we find ourselves asking if we should buy a new truck or spend the money on a transmission rebuild. My truck has a lot of life left in it, and getting 22 mpg is not a bad thing, but what I would like to see is the option to put a six-speed automatic behind the 5.9L Cummins. You can only improve the 48RE just so much, and it’s still a four-speed transmission. My hope is to have a better powerband while towing, and maybe an increase in fuel economy.

Scott West
Great Barrington, Massachusetts


NO MORE MANUALS?

In this age of lazy people and the advancement of the automatic transmission, I heard a rumor that truckmakers will be going away from the manual transmission. Is this true? I have an 2001 Dodge with a manual transmission, and I love the fact that I can pick and choose a gear at the touch of my hand. If it is true, when is the last production and why?

Johnny Hancock (yes, the same one)
via email

To date, we’ve heard no news that Ram plans to kill its manual transmission option (the G56 six-speed). We assume that, if the truckmaker ever loses money on offering the manual transmission option (i.e. its sales don’t justify the R&D that goes into it), it will get the axe. When that will be, we don’t know, but we do know automatic transmissions have long taken over in the heavy-duty pickup scene. GM killed its ZF-6 manual after the ’06 model year, and Ford did the same after ’10.

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