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Old 01-04-2006, 08:51 AM   #1
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Has anybody done a one-off pickup truck?

I'm totally pissed off that the major automakers won't build an efficient full size pickup truck. I need a big cab because I'm 6'1" with long legs. A Ford Ranger or Chevy Canyon just won't cut it, so I bought an F350 diesel. Its mileage is slightly better than my gas trucks were, but not a whole lot. And now that diesel is more expensive than gas, I'm not saving a penny in fuel costs.

There are plenty of easy modifications that the automakers could make to improve truck economy, but they are simply too obtuse to do it. Focusing specifically on GM, they could:

1) Install an electric cooling fan instead of the damned clutched fan that runs all the time, robs your power and uses your gas. Hell, you can buy these on the aftermarket, and GM wouldn't have to even design one.

2) Offer GM's venerable 3.8 l V6 instead of the 4.3. Both motors produce about 200 HP, but the 3.8 has lower pumping losses; and it's a small bore/long stroke engine with lower energy loss through the cylinder walls, pistons and heads.

3) Better yet, offer a 3.6 liter V6 derived from their 4.8 liter V8.

4) Add GM's new variable valve timing system to the 3.8 or 3.6 to bump up low speed torque and efficiency.

5) Put GM's hybrid system together with an efficient small motor (3.8 or 3.6) instead of the 5.3.

6) Offer a fuel economy axle like a 3.42 or 3.55 as a factory option. Right now, the best you can order is 3.73.

7) Add aero improvements like smaller mirrors, a decent factory tonneau cover, clean up the underside of the truck, and design smaller wheel wells.

Many of the above mods are ridiculously easy. Others are harder, but are already in production on other GM models. GM could pick and choose from the above to easily make a full size truck that gets 20 mpg City and 24 Highway. If GM started now, I'll bet they could get most of them into the 2007 model year. Toyota, Ford and Chrysler have enough stuff in their parts bins to do the same.

They could even charge a premium price like Honda used to do with its H versions of the Civic. I'd trade in my diesel in a heartbeat to get a full size gas truck with 20 mpg city/25 highway and pay a $2K premium for the extra mileage.

But NOBODY has announced anything like it.

Idiots! GGGRRRRRRR
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:18 AM   #2
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Trucks seem to be the final

Trucks seem to be the final frontier when it comes to gas mileage. There is so much room for improvement.

This is a little related, but did you know that I recently read that there are some Semi Trucks that get better gas mileage than Hummers?

Anyway, I'd recommend that you write to the offending companies, or perhaps start collecting parts to do the changes yourself.
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:57 PM   #3
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It's a Chevy Colorado and A

It's a Chevy Colorado and A GMC Canyon (just to get that straight, even though they are identical) and GM doesn't produce the 4.3L V6 (i wish, i own one and love it) anymore, both of the previous mentioned trucks run a straight 4cyl and 5cyl engine only, no V6, based on the straight 6's used in the blazers.

I only point this out because i'm a little wary of someone who owns a ford but goes out of his way to attack GM. Besides, GM is in enough financial trouble you should just wait, there might not be a GM to complain about much longer.

GM created the ecotech engine line don't forget, so they understand economy, a little, but from a sales standpoint i'm sure most people who are getting vehicles in your size/class don't complain about mileage. And why an F350 and not a F150? is there that much of a size diff? Or is it necessary for work? and if it's for work, i'm in the same situation, but i can't complain about it.

Also, being a diesel, maybee messing with additives, pumping up the tires, getting your own tanneu, underside mods, making some wheel covers and blocking off some of the grill, to go along with conservative driving technique (the key to the whole thing) i'm almost positive you could get 20mpg in mixed driving.
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:01 PM   #4
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Ford vs Chevy

LOL It sounds like I pissed off a Chevy fan. It wasn't intentional.
I wasn't picking on GM, except that they are probably the most likely company to build high mileage trucks. With their lead-acid hybrid drive and variable (i.e. OHV) valve timing, GM could do it without major tooling changes, diesels or "unobtainium" batteries.

Let me set the record straight:

1) Sorry about the Canyon/Colorado mixup. (Why is the seat so low in these trucks? And why put balance shafts in TRUCK engines? They are not supposed run like Cadillacs.)
2) My last 2 trucks before the F350 were Chevy and GMC 1/2 ton 4x4s, respectively. No brand loyalty here.
3) I bought an F350 instead of a F150 because nobody offers a 1/2 ton pickup with a diesel.
4) I bought a Ford because the 6.0 looked to get better mileage than the GMC 6.6 liter.

All of the manufacturers are guilty about failing to serve full size truck buyers who want fuel economy. Here, in the interest of fairness to GM, are specific *****es about other brands:

Ford:

Ford had planned to offer a 4.5 V6 diesel derived from the 6.0 V8. However, early reliability problems with the V8 made them abandon the V6. ("Found On Road Dead" was true in this instance. It got so bad that Ford had to bump the powertrain warranty to 100,000 miles to keep the diesels moving off the lot.) A properly geared F150 with the 4.5 V6 could deliver 20/24 mpg. I would have bought one instead of the F350.

Have you seen the new 05-06 F150? It's less aerodynamic than the Queen Mary and just about as heavy.

Does Ford even know the name of the element with Atomic Number 13?

There is no way that the standard 4.2 liter gas V6 can shove this much cast iron around. So much for product improvement at Ford.

Chrysler/Dodge:

Dodge/Cummins redesigned the 5.9 L diesel with a 24 valve cylinder head and intercooler to keep pace with Ford and GM diesels. They did. The power is great and the fuel economy sucks.

Dodge could offer a Cummins 3.9 liter L4 diesel with 170 to 200 HP. Dodge could offer the 2.7 liter Mercedes diesel that powers the Sprinter. A Dodge pickup with either of these excellent engines could get 25 to 30 mpg on the highway.

Japanese manufacturers:

Japanese full size trucks suck gas just as badly as the American trucks, even though their engines tend to be smaller and the trucks lighter. (Take a look at Edmunds.com for a comparison of gas mileage.) A guess is that they tune their engines for high RPM power and gear the axles to provide more acceleration.

Do they really need to help amortize their investment in the new factories building full size trucks by scrimping on fuel efficient technology?

The interiors of these trucks look like pimped rides. They're trucks, dammit, offer a bench seat and rubber mats to cope with my hunting dog! Spend some money on fuel efficient parts instead of glitz and glamour.

Whatever the technical reasons, the net result is incredibly lousy mileage, the opposite of what we used to expect from Japan. Even the Ford Ranger beats the Toyota Tacoma mileage now (in 2wd).

Everyone:

All truck manufacturers are guilty of the following sins in their recent truck redesigns:

Larger/wider/heavier tires
Wider/Taller/heavier bodies
Less aerodynamic styling
Performance-oriented axle ratios
Bigger engines
Belt driven accessories

Idiots!!!!!!! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The next (first?) truck manufacturer to deliver 20/24 MPG in a pickup where my knees don't touch my chin will get my hard-earned cash. Otherwise, I'm going to drive the F350 until it dies. Maybe I'll tweak it with a chip when the warranty expires, put on skinny tires and do some aero mods.

Gas/diesel costs $2-3/gallon, most of it going to our Wahabbi "friends" in Saudi Arabia. There are lots of folks like me who want fuel economy in large trucks, and are even willing to pay a premium for it, as I did for the diesel. Are you chuckleheads in the automotive product planning departments listening?
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:38 PM   #5
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check out this

check out this one:

http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/pw/05gmhybrid.htm

It's close.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:24 PM   #6
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Re: Ford vs Chevy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sludgy
LOL It sounds like I pissed off a Chevy fan.
Maybee a little, but mostly i just thought that it was odd you drove a ford but decieded to pick apart chevy (wich you explained very well in your last post, thank you)

Unfortunately though, most of our concerns are going to fall on deaf ears because of awards and what really sells Trucks like these. Most guys think that a truck needs to be a TRUCK, y'know, power power power with the ability to tow and haul, but on top of that they don't want to give up any drivability from a sedan (tough combo) as much as you and I might love a bench seat with rubber floor mats (as well as hand crank windows etc..) it seems the general public would rather pay extra for the extra's, either because they want them or don't want to be seen without them (my personal theory is number 2)

Size and weight have the most to do with the problem, size being a selling feature doesn't bode well for its' change but weight should be somewhat more easily controlled with some planning, maybee then the tires wouldn't need to be so wide, but they'd still have to be ready to accept the potential pay load of the vehicle.

Aerodynamics on the other hand should be a no brainer, a couple wind tunnel sessions and one of the automakers could easily make an identical vehicle to it's competitors and offer 3mpg better on the freeway! Same vehicle shoud cost the same so sales go to the sleek "gas saving" truck. what a concept (i don't know why this hasn't been done)

All the other stuff really comes down to a truck being a TRUCK, but like i said before, i've got duct tape on my rig for aero and drive like i'm a granny just to achieve my goal (just ran my second best tank of all time right after i ran my best! 24.51st 23.92nd with heavy winds) and there is still room for improvement, and if i can do that on pretty simple 1991 big V6 technology then you are correct that there should be no excuse for the manufacturers to not get at least that from the factory.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:28 PM   #7
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Quote:Unfortunately though,

Quote:
Unfortunately though, most of our concerns are going to fall on deaf ears because of awards and what really sells Trucks like these. Most guys think that a truck needs to be a TRUCK, y'know, power power power with the ability to tow and haul, but on top of that they don't want to give up any drivability from a sedan (tough combo) as much as you and I might love a bench seat with rubber floor mats (as well as hand crank windows etc..) it seems the general public would rather pay extra for the extra's, either because they want them or don't want to be seen without them (my personal theory is number 2)
I second this, I love my gramma's mid 80s f250 custom. Benches make trucks, not some damn bucket seats and massage chairs with 27 speakers. Grr. Thing has mad drift on the gravel roads they.
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Old 01-06-2006, 06:24 AM   #8
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Amazing truck mileage

You wrote:

"(just ran my second best tank of all time right after i ran my best! 24.51st 23.92nd with heavy winds) and there is still room for improvement, and if i can do that on pretty simple 1991 big V6 technology then you are correct that there should be no excuse for the manufacturers to not get at least that from the factory."

That's amazing mileage for a full size gas pickup. Or are you driving an S10? Even if the truck is an S10 that mileage is great for a 4.3 liter.

What tricks are you using?
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:04 PM   #9
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Sorry about the confusion, I

Sorry about the confusion, I DRIVE A 1991 S-10 with 4.3L V-6 channeled through a 4spd AUTO TRANNY. (almost completely original at 290,000 mi, no joke!) it is EXTENDED CAB w/TOWING PACKAGE. Basically it is the heaviest and least likely s-10 combo to produce good mileage, but i've never given up.

Here is everything i've done overall, hard to say what has beneffitted the most but i'll give my impressions.

K&N FIPK (old school round filter)
MSD 6a box and coil (along with Taylor wires, Accel cap/rotor)
I think the plugs are Auto-lite (whatever came from factory, but these are platinum)
Custom chip from TBI chips (whoever has a 350 with a throttle body should look this guy up)
Bullet semi-straight through muffler (originally just used a turndown pipe, but torque suffered, also was kinda loud, so had shop put on a pipe again at stock size 2.5(i think) not sure if i shoulda kept the stock piping or not)
Removed passenger side mirror, turned driver side in but didn't remove
Duct taped over upper half of grill (lucky the grill is 'chrome' so the silver doesn't look to bad)
Inflate tires (reg 35psi) to 38-40psi (one of my most consistent gain producers)
Currently use a combination of three additives: a octane booster "shot" from Outlaw, 2-3 ounces of Acetone per tank (playing with the amount) and 10 ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil.

In the recent past i attempted to make some rear wheel skirts, but that didn't turn out to well so i abandoned them, though i may try and just straight duct tape it. hmmm.

I at one time had taken off the tailgate, bed rails, trailer hitch and spare tire (saved about 20+on the bumper, 30+on the hitch, 15 on spare and 22 total on rails) but i didn't see a bit of difference for some reason. Me moving neccessitated me putting it alll back on, and haven't taken it off since.

I also have a bed box, but luckily it's plastic, not sure on the weight, it may even help aero, but who knows. I've also removed the back flip down seats as well as almost everything back there, more room for work, i keep lots of stuff in the truck i don't think the weight loss made any diff.

Also i have aftermarket steel wheels ( I know!) my original 14's cracked and i had to get new ones, got them cheap but got 15's, guys said i wouldn't even notice the diff, but i did, and i sorta regret it, but at least they were cheap and look good.

Also at one point had the rear end lowered 3 iches with now drop on the front, thought it was cool, but because i used blocks the short shock travel made for some interesting rides, although the handling was better. Didn't see any mileage gain from this, probably with nose in air i was really trapping air underneath, also my driveshaft/u-bolts were taking a beating with the angles all thrown off.

I think that is it. I'd love to get a Tonneau but i need the box (maybee not?) still can't afford it though, also would like to do something for underneath, also would like (this is getting expensive!) to lower front 1 inch and the back 2 inches, get some new (lighter) rims, some LRR tires, underdrive pully's and remove my AC completely, more for looks and the fact it hasn't worked in years.

It's getting old so i heavily weigh what i do and don't do with this one, my dream would be to do a total frame off restoration, really do every part of it the way i wanted, but at last count the parts list was at like $17,000, not including labor so this may never happen.

(forgot to add that when i first got it at around 191,000 miles i was getting around 20mpg's driving like a granny. i've always driven that way most of the time)
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