Copyright © 2016 by Chuck Arnold
Service Manager of Plateau Diesel Performance Inc.
The most frequent question I get from people who own diesel powered pickup trucks, people who want to purchase a diesel pickup truck and/or people who are trying to figure out if they need a diesel pickup truck is always some version of:
Which truck would you buy? Which truck do you have? Which truck is the best? Or some other variation on the same theme.
This is not a question with a simple answer. There are a number of factors which need to be considered to give people a balanced understanding of the issues involved.
By far the most basic and simple question fundamental to this subject is; “Do you need a diesel pickup truck?”
As a lifelong veteran mechanic and service professional who has made the majority of my income from diagnosis and repair of RV use and towing vehicles (since the 70’s) I have learned that people who don’t haul enough weight to justify a heavy duty pickup truck are going to be better off with a gas powered vehicle in the long run. People who use a diesel pickup truck for a car and never haul anything end up spending way too much money for their transportation over time than they should.
If you haul a lot of weight, more than 7,000 to 8,000 pounds in addition to the truck, and do so frequently for work and/or recreation you should consider having a diesel powered pickup truck. If you haul more than 10,000 pounds you don’t have much choice and have to have a diesel powered pickup truck to do the work you need to do.
Therefore the question, if you need (or just want (which is OK too) a diesel powered pickup truck, which one is best for you?
With new trucks often costing in the $70,000 range most people are having to take a hard look at purchasing a used truck or fixing the vehicle they have to be able to afford a vehicle to fulfill their purposes. Repairs to the late model trucks, when not covered by the warranty, can be extremely expensive and difficult. I have been hearing $12,000 quoted for replace of the fuel system components on 2011 and newer Fords. Simple logic dictates that a person would need to be in a financial position to be able trade vehicles before they go out of warranty in order to not be exposed to potentially unsustainable repair costs after the warranty period in light of the very high acquisition cost.
Diesel pickup trucks, generally, have a good reputation for dependability and longevity but it is important to recognize that this reputation was earned by vehicles produced before the more stringent emission controls for clean air started in mid-2007 and later vehicles. (2008 and later for Fords) It is a telling comment that Caterpillar stopped building over the road truck engines rather than to produce engines to comply with the more stringent emissions requirements at this time. Cat must have deduced that there would be too many problems if they continued the product line.
Vehicles produced since the changes in 07-08 are more expensive to operate because of generally lower fuel mileage and increased repair and maintenance costs caused by the emissions systems. For a few years people were choosing to disable the emissions systems using “race only” products and signing a statement that they would only use the modifications for “off road” competition accompanied by a “wink and a nod”. Initially, with no enforcement to stop the illegal modifications being done around the US, people were “deleting emissions” without much concern. More recently the government has cracked down. The domestic companies who were making the parts needed to delete emissions components no longer offer these products. Shops who are still helping people make the modifications are being fined on a $10,000 per offense basis if caught. On the positive side we are learning to help people with the later vehicles keep them working better and running longer with legal emissions equipment still in place and functional. I do believe that we will become much better yet at keeping the 07 and newer emissions vehicles working well going forward.
Because of the data above people are looking for, or keeping, their existing 5.9 Dodge, 07.5 and older Duramax and 7.3 Ford diesel powered pickups. The Ford 6.0 trucks, produced from 2003 to 2007, have had numerous problems but if the issues are fixed properly these can provide good long term service as well. Again there is no simple answer to which is best but I can provide the following as guidance.
Plateau Diesel Performance
2551 Cole Street, Suite J, Enumclaw, WA 98022
Toll Free: 1-844-6-DIESEL
At Plateau Diesel we respect your privacy.
We will not sell your information to third parties.
Information provided by you is kept confidential.