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Old 11-21-2007, 08:33 PM   #1
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Help Appreciated

I came across this site while on a landscaping forum, and I am very glad to have found it. I own a landscaping company and high fuel prices are killing the industry (also I feel guilty about how much fuel I burn through). Basically I just have some questions that I hope to have answered.

1. I run a 2000 Ford F350 7.3 Liter deisel dually which is all stock and am wondering what cost effective modifications I can do to increase mileage. Keep in mind I tow 7,000 pounds daily and am only moderately mechanically skilled so be specific please. I was thinking of getting a superchip, what do you guys think of these and what brand do you suggest?

2. If diesel hits 5 bucks a gallon im outta business.. I was thinking of trying to make my own biodiesel but have a limited understanding of the process of making it. Any explanation on what equipment is needed as well as the difficulty in producing it would be greatly appreciated. What mixture (percentage) of diesel/biodiesel do you recommend I run and what mods are needed to support it.

I know I am asking a lot of questions but any help with any part of them would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Jeff Johnson
Element Landscaping Corporation
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:48 PM   #2
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As for making biodiesel... search google for "how to make biodiesel" It's not that complicated, but may involve some initial investment...

Optimizing your driving techniques should show some large improvements - do you have a gauge that shows you your fuel economy in real time (or close to real time).?
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Old 11-21-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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How about getting a smaller truck?
I work installing granite counter tops, and our work truck is a half ton 2005 Dodge with the 4.7L V6 that gets used to tow 4000-6000 pounds without any disagrement, granted I'm not impressed with other aspects of the vehicle, and would personaly go with a diesel, but it wasn't my choice, but my point is, I don't see why a F350 with duel rear wheels is needed, it seems like over kill.
If you choose to keep the vehicle you have, I would start out with synthetic fluids, as you have alot of drive train, leading to alot of bearings, and alot of gears that are all creating friction.
Of course make sure all your tires are up to presure, I suspect that a truck of that size has 60psi tires, keeping them up there will help with mileage, and help the tires stay cooler on the highway, thus they will last longer.
If you want to go with biodiesel, you should be able to go with straight biodiesel, depending on how cold it gets in your area, there are also ways to order biodiesel in bulk, if you don't want to make it your self, I think a minum order is around 500 gallons from most places, but if you are useing alot then it might just be worth it.
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input so far. I need a truck this size because I need it to haul a 16ft gooseneck dump trailer and Bobcat skid steer loader. I could have probably gone smaller but I got the truck at an amazing price. About half of the KBB private party excellent value. What temp does biodiesel gel? I am going to run it in warm temps anyway (spring, summer and some in the fall) so hopefully it wont be a problem. How much does a biodiesel production setup cost? Can I run it straight without any mods to the truck?
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Old 11-22-2007, 07:39 PM   #5
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I just want to throw this out. If you are as sensitive to fuel prices as you say you are, then you may want to start considering other methods of earning income. While making biodiesel sounds attractive now, when the fuel prices really skyrocket, everyone will jump on board and try to make their own. Obtaining the raw materials will probably then make it much less financially-attractive. Biodiesel, made at home, can also be kind of scary. I have seen a few engines that rejected it, and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight. Your engine sounds like it would be expensive to replace. Carefully weigh that against any money you would save by using home-brew biodiesel. Information is power.

That being said, in your current situation, I would have to agree that synthetic fluids, tires, and driving techniques would yield you the best results. Not many people on this site are huge truck owners. Most people here drive things that your truck would eat for breakfast and come back for seconds. Even so, a lot of the stuff that people do to their econo-boxes should work for you too. Read through the site, start a gas (or diesel in your case) log and keep us updated.
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:32 AM   #6
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I know of some duallies that run smaller diameter outside rear tires that only make contact with the street under heavier loads...might help a bit. You could also lower your ride a bit...while not hurting towing capacity to gain a bit of aero advantage. If you have an enclosed trailer...aero mods to the trailer or a roof mounted fairing on the truck might help. I own a moving company...and sometimes you just have to raise your prices a bit! What you don't want to end up doing is making just enough to pay your help and nothing else...make sure you are operating at a decent profit margin. Good Luck!!!
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by elementLCO View Post
I came across this site while on a landscaping forum, and I am very glad to have found it. I own a landscaping company and high fuel prices are killing the industry (also I feel guilty about how much fuel I burn through). Basically I just have some questions that I hope to have answered.

1. I run a 2000 Ford F350 7.3 Liter deisel dually which is all stock and am wondering what cost effective modifications I can do to increase mileage. Keep in mind I tow 7,000 pounds daily and am only moderately mechanically skilled so be specific please. I was thinking of getting a superchip, what do you guys think of these and what brand do you suggest?

2. If diesel hits 5 bucks a gallon im outta business.. I was thinking of trying to make my own biodiesel but have a limited understanding of the process of making it. Any explanation on what equipment is needed as well as the difficulty in producing it would be greatly appreciated. What mixture (percentage) of diesel/biodiesel do you recommend I run and what mods are needed to support it.

I know I am asking a lot of questions but any help with any part of them would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Jeff Johnson
Element Landscaping Corporation
First, I'd change from dually wheels to single rear wheels if the trailer isn't too heavy. See whether the tire ratings can handel the load.

Second, I'd bump up the tire pressure on all (including trailer) wheels to max inflation.

Third, I'd put in a Flexalite radiator fan kit.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:59 PM   #8
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I have tried several chips and tuners and the only one that sorta worked is the custom burned special economy chip I use. I wouldn't get real excited by it - it only gained me 0.75 MPG.

I agree with airing up as much as you can. I run 90 psi in my tires.

Your dually probably has 4.10:1 gears and you run down the road at 70 MPH turning 2200 RPM. Not good. The engine frictional HP curve for these engines is parabolic and she really starts guzzling fuel over 2000 RPM. This might be painful (I lived through the horrible years of the 55 MPH limit), but if economic survival is at stake I would recommend keeping the RPM below 2000. That probably means a top speed of not more than 63 MPH. Aero drag HP goes up with the cube of speed.

If you can live with a tonneau cover, they help a lot (1.5 MPG for me) on the road. They are no help at all in town, though. If you have to run an open bed, run with the tialgate up. Repeat TAILGATE UP! This is the least of the bad configurations of a pickup.
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