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September 2012 Top Tech Questions

You've Got Questions? We've Got Answers!

Text By Diesel Power Staff, Photography by Diesel Power Staff

Welcome to Top Tech Questions. Oftentimes, readers contact us with questions about articles, or to praise us on what a good job we are doing. But our favorite form of reader communication is tech questions. Our Top Tech section is a place where you ask what’s on your mind, and we answer it. Got a trouble code? Wondering how to get your engine to make more power? Send us an email at jason.sands@sorc.com and we’ll do our best to answer it.

6.4L Turbos on a 6.0L Ford
Question: I have an ’00 Ford Excursion with the 7.3L Power Stroke engine, and I was wondering if it’s possible to put the compound-turbo setup off the newer 6.4L Power Stroke on it. Since they are so much better from the factory, it seems like a logical choice if it would work.
Chris Bauer
-via snail mail

Answer: With enough fabrication skills, you can do just about anything, but putting 6.4L turbos on a 7.3L engine would probably be a pretty tough one. The 6.4L Power Stroke’s factory compounds take up a good portion of the engine valley, which the 7.3L needs for its fuel system, filters, and injection system. To make matters worse, the exhaust and intake sides of the turbocharger setup are completely different, which means both would need to be fabricated from scratch. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but for the amount of effort it would take, you’re probably better off just going with a T4 kit from a company like Turbonetics, or an H2E kit from Hypermax. The most cost-effective option—and one that will get you close to 500 rwhp (the Ford compounds support about 550—is to install a Garrett GT38R turbocharger, which is a ball-bearing version of the turbo that is stock on Super Duty trucks. Spooling will still be quick, the power will be there, and the turbo will be much more reliable at higher boost levels.

Why No TDI?
Question: It is very interesting to see the number of Volkswagen TDIs on the road today. I love my ’10 VW Jetta TDI and thoroughly enjoy my high mileage rating—sometimes as high as 52 mpg. I sometimes wonder if your publication is solely for truck enthusiasts or for the general diesel enthusiast as well. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for other TDI-philes to enjoy the same status as the big trucks on the road today? Please help me encourage other TDI lovers to assist you in promoting the many benefits of diesel technology by offering other articles and aftermarket add-ons.
Robert Herrington II
Limerick, Pennsylvania

Answer: We’ve looked more than once during the tenure of Diesel Power to see if we need to make Volkswagen TDIs and other cars a bigger deal than they are in the magazine. However, as of right now, they aren’t really considered performance vehicles. Sure, owners love them to death, but as far as modifications go, most owners are only willing to do the very basics. Those willing to do a full build with injectors, a turbo upgrade, clutch upgrade, connecting rods (they’ll bend when subjected to more power), camshaft, girdle, studs, and other hard parts are very few and far between. Even after all that effort, you’d be lucky to get 250 to 300 front-wheel horsepower out of it, and its reliability would be questionable. The smaller diesels just aren’t built with the same extreme-duty mindset as truck engines, so the pool of people who are willing to deal with the pain and suffering of modifying them is small. For those looking to bump their rides up from stock power levels, KermaTDI offers a 150-whp performance package to wake up Jettas, Golfs, Beetles, and other TDI engines. We’re always on the lookout for tastefully modified cars, and we’ll feature them whenever we run across them. Like we said, though, cars modified with the same level of enthusiasm as diesel trucks are still fairly rare.

Where’s My Diesel?
Question: I’m interested in finding an ’89 to ’93 Dodge Ram Cummins turbodiesel. My budget is $5,000. I don’t mind if the vehicle is a little beat up, as I wish to restore it. Where should I start my search?
Andy Wilder
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Answer: Whenever any of us here at the magazine is looking for a vehicle to buy, we are always out for the best deal. That means searching high and low and being as thorough as possible, so we don’t miss out on a good buy. For starters, we hit the Internet. Autotrader, eBay, Internet forums, and Craigslist are all good sources for finding a used truck, but don’t limit your search to the web. Looking in local papers, asking around at work, and even checking the local vehicle auctions can all turn up good finds. Also, talking with diesel repair or performance shops can be a good way of finding a used truck, as many customers turn to their go-to repair guys when it comes to trying to sell their diesel. Perhaps some of the best deals we’ve run across come from asking shops if any of their customers are looking to sell. Be patient, and you’ll find something.

By Diesel Power Staff
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