Mechanically Speaking: Truck manufacturers in battle to provide best fuel economy

"Truck technology is on the move as manufactures fight for bragging rights. Who will be the fuel economy leader?"

Regular fuel is closing in on $1.50 per litre. For me that number seems to be a breaking point. I am really looking forward to riding my bike to work. School is out soon (maybe even sooner) and my kid driving responsibilities are nearly over. I would be even more excited if the weather was a little less unpredictable.

Most automobile manufacturers are touting their vehicles’ fuel economy advancements and many Canadians are biting. Canadian auto sales are at an all time high. If the current trend continues, 2014 will be a record year. What are Canadians buying? We are sticking with trucks and suvs. Not small economy cars. Maybe small trucks and SUVs?

Truck technology is on the move as manufactures fight for bragging rights. Who will be the fuel economy leader? All the manufacturers are touting their available V6 engines. Dodge or Ram even has a small diesel available in a half ton. Sales of these smaller engine full size trucks are becoming significant. Many times six cylinder engines were offered but nobody bought them.

Ford was first in with a V6 that everyone wanted. The turbocharged Ecoboost V6 promised and delivered more horsepower than the V8. The jury is out on fuel economy though. To get the good fuel economy of a smaller displacement turbocharged vehicle you have to drive carefully. The whoosh of turbocharged power is addictive. Believe me, I know.

Ram was next to try a V8 upset. A very high technology small 3.6 litre V6 was made available in a half ton with an 8 speed automatic. Many gear ratios means a small engine can be tuned for lots of horsepower at a bit higher rpm. All these gears allow decent acceleration when needed and relaxed economical cruising. It seems owners of these vehicles are  getting significantly better mileage than the Hemi V8s.

For 2014 the General (GMC, Chevy) has stepped into the fray with a 4.3 litre V6. This is not your old 4.3. The new EcoTec3 has all the technology of the new V8s (continuous variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, and direct fuel injection). This engine is already being sold in 20% of the half tons. It produces nearly 300 horsepower compared to the previous version’s 200 horsepower. It also produces significantly better fuel economy numbers.

Not to be outdone in the fuel sipping full size half ton truck wars Toyota has its 4.0 litre Tundra for 2014 and Ram now has a 3.0 litre diesel. I am sure the little diesel will become the engine of choice for fuel economy bragging rights.

What’s next? Ford is removing 700 pounds from their trucks by using aluminum body panels in place of steel. We mechanics can rest. The body shop guys are going to need some fresh training for aluminum repairs.

In any case replacing your V8 truck or SUV with one of these V6 gas models will net you about one litre per 100 kilometre improvement. A small diesel will get you more.

On the other hand if you are not in the market for a new vehicle you can probably make the same efficiency gains with some tender loving care to your current workhorse. Check your tire pressures. If your check engine light is on it is time to determine the cause. You might not think your vehicle needs a tune up but it probably does. Replace that underbody piece of plastic you tore off during the winter. These pieces allow your vehicle to slip through the air more efficiently.

In the end though if you want to really save fuel, park your truck and ride your bike.

 

Just Posted

Mounties warn about open liquor at Rossland Carnival

They’ll be out there watching for illegal drinking

The Trail Smoke Eaters win in a shootout over Wenatchee Wild

The Trail Smoke Eaters split its two-game series against the Wenatchee Wild on weekend

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Most Read