QUEST FOR THE HOLY GRAIL

Diesel World - - Q & A -

I own a 2016 Ford F-250 Crew Cab Diesel 4x4. I am cur­rently av­er­ag­ing a dis­ap­point­ing 14 mpg while run­ning com­pletely stock. I am weak­en­ing to the ads for prod­ucts that prom­ise a fuel econ­omy in­crease. Would you help me lo­cate the best prod­ucts for im­prov­ing fuel econ­omy?

Lon­nie Dot­son Wat­sonville, CA

Many of the af­ter­mar­ket prod­ucts avail­able to­day that are ad­ver­tised as “fuel econ­omy”

up­grades can pro­vide a small bump in fuel econ­omy. Gen­er­ally, the big­gest pay­back for an af­ter­mar­ket prod­uct or mod­i­fi­ca­tion usu­ally in­volves a power in­crease or an im­prove­ment in ei­ther the ap­pear­ance or func­tion of the truck. If you’re con­cerned at all about los­ing your pow­er­train war­ranty, stay away from prod­ucts that in­crease the fuel rate, change the in­jec­tion tim­ing, af­fect emis­sions, or in­crease boost pres­sure—that is, com­puter pro­gram­ming.

The new diesels are tuned to work with the fac­tory-in­stalled air in­take and ex­haust sys­tems. Af­ter­mar­ket man­u­fac­tur­ers are be­gin­ning to of­fer prod­ucts that don’t af­fect emis­sions and/ or the new truck war­ranties, so you’ll have to ask be­fore bolt­ing it on—if you’re wor­ried about your truck’s war­ranty.

It’s been our ex­pe­ri­ence that a mod­est power in­crease can im­prove tow­ing fuel econ­omy by up to 10%. We mostly at­tribute this to the fact that the truck can re­main in over­drive more of the time. A 10% im­prove­ment in fuel econ­omy equals a sav­ings of about 25-30 cents a gal­lon, depend­ing on the cost at the pump. For those who put fuel econ­omy at the top of the list in im­por­tance, we rec­om­mend do­ing the easy and cheap things first. 1). Track ev­ery gal­lon of fuel that goes into your truck’s fuel tank. Track­ing fuel econ­omy over sev­eral thou­sand miles and through­out the year will give you valu­able in­for­ma­tion that can be used to iden­tify trends or eval­u­ate prod­ucts. Many truck own­ers only have a gen­eral idea what their truck’s fuel econ­omy re­ally is. 2). Do the easy and less ex­pen­sive mods first. Run your front tires at their max­i­mum rated pres­sure as listed on the side­wall. Ad­just the air pres­sure in the rear tires to match the tire squat pro­duced by the front (an empty truck will have a weight bias to­ward the front). This usu­ally re­sults in 10-20 psi less air pres­sure in the rear tires when run­ning un­loaded, and an air pres­sure nearly equal to the front when loaded. Rolling re­sis­tance is a big fac­tor in fuel econ­omy. Soft tires rob fuel econ­omy. 3). Slow down and drive near your en­gine’s spec­i­fied torque peak rpm. The 1,800-2,000 rpm range usu­ally works well for diesel pick­ups, and will be the sweet spot for fuel econ­omy. In the “frame of mind” cat­e­gory, drive like the “low fuel” warn­ing lamp is lit and you still have an­other 50 miles of in­ter­state to drive be­fore the next fuel stop. We’ve only seen the low fuel warn­ing light once or twich in our own trucks, and it com­pletely changed how we drove that last 50 miles. Through the years Diesel World has been gen­uinely en­gaged in the area of diesel fuel econ­omy im­prove­ments. A sub­scrip­tion could be worth its

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