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Old 08-26-2014, 09:03 AM   #1
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Diesel engine for short trips?

I've looked some on here, but haven't found the answer to my question, so I'll ask.. I am looking within the next 1-2 yrs getting a new Ram 4x4 (or fairly new) for a daily driver And to tow a 28-32' trailer, be it a TT or 5th wheel not sure yet. My question is , I only have a 15 minute drive to work, and I know at least on the older diesel's that was not good to run and stop like that. Have these newer diesels made any improvements that will allow shorter everyday trips without causing problems? We would only tow (for the forseeable future) a few times a year. Not full timing 'yet' , or it would be an easy choice. With the power of the newer gas engines, I've had friends tell me stick with gas for this... But when we do tow,, I'd love the extra power and exhaust brake... (yes I drive a truck) ... Opinions??? Monkey
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:25 AM   #2
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My experience is that the newer trucks still do not like being driven for short distances or in a lot of stop and go type traffic due to the emission systems needing to benefit from longer times at operating speeds in order to burn the emissions clean enough to prevent issues down the road.

I have been having some issues with my computer on the dash recommending fuel filter changes way too early (like at 5K miles) and the questions I was getting from Chrysler was "how are you driving the truck mostly?" and wanting to know if I do a lot of stop and go type driving. I think my truck usage is about normal for RV owners.....I tow about half the time and other half is anywhere from short trips to extended drives at my destination. Like I told the Chrysler rep on the phone, it is not like I have a choice unless I tow my RV there and then rent a car so I can leave my truck parked!!

I do not know why they do not just apply the same "clean idle" certification to all of the diesel rigs out there...does anyone know if those trucks are running a different type emission system?
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:27 AM   #3
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ideally a diesel should not be used for those short trips. That said, it is what it is. My diesel is my only transportation so I keep up with the oil changes.

it takes a while for a diesel to get up to full temperature which helps get rid of condensation that builds up inside the motor.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:50 AM   #4
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To me, it isn't necessarily the time it takes to get to work, but what kind of driving you're doing to get there. 15 minutes of freeway driving is much better for a diesel than 1 hour of bumper to bumper.

What kind of commute is your 15 minutes? If there's some freeway mixed in there, I wouldn't worry about it. If not, just be prepared for more frequent diesel particulate filter cleaning (done by the truck but takes 5-10 minutes), possibly shortened EGR life, and you would probably want to take it on an extended drive at least once a week. In other words, find a longer errand to use the truck for.

Having said all that, if you need a diesel, just buy it. 15 minutes isn't crazy short. If you lived 2 miles from work, my opinion would be different.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:03 AM   #5
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My work is just 20 minutes away. I have no issues with my 06 Dodge 5.9 . If you need to warm your diesel more on short trips, let it idle for a minute before starting out, and then drive with the OD in the off position to get more rpms for the short trip.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:56 AM   #6
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Exhaust brakes have value! But if the "Tow Haul" feature is available on a gass'r, that's the way I would go! I have had many diesels, and drove 18 wheelers for a working life time for a company that always disabled the exhaust brakes as soon as they bought the truck because the maintenance on them added up. So driving without was normal. Although normal driving was never out of the midwest so mountains was not an issue.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:10 AM   #7
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I am retired now and have been for a few years. Before that I had a 15 to 20 min drive to work every day on country roads with some city driving combined. I have a 08 RAM Mega Cab, 6.7L Cummins with the older version of the emission equipment on the Cummins engine; DPF and EGR with regen ever 20 min's or so. I stayed in 4th gear and once a while in 5th gear with the exhaust brake on continuously, this kept the RPM’s above 1500 when I was up to speed. The truck has worked great and has had no drivability issues what’s so ever.

We also have a 2011 VW TDI (diesel) for driving around town now so the Ram sits except on the weekends when I need the truck for my needs as the wife drives her VW Jetta.

Jim W.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:32 AM   #8
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I drive my 12 Ram CTD just like any other vehicle. I tow 1/2 the time and the other time it's what ever I need. Short drives mostly. My oil change intervals vary by driving. During the summer with frequent towing they go 4000 miles. During winter when it's cold and more short drives I see 28-3100 miles. No biggie as I only put 10,000 a year on it. I change my fuel filter at 10,000. 2 years so far and zero issues. I think the key for me anyway is I drive in 4th around town where the speed limit is 35-40mph and I always run the EB. So far so good. Never had the 80-100% DPF full service required message either.

However if the 6.4 had been out in 2012 I would've went that route. I tow 9000lbs so I'm on the edge for gas. We plan on upsizing in a couple years so that's the reason for the CTD.

You need to really figure out what size and weight of trailer you want before you get a truck. I wouldn't waste $8000.00 if I didn't need it. I'd put that $8000.00 into the trailer.
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:05 PM   #9
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Thanks everybody. That's the kind of info I was looking for !! Monkey
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:51 PM   #10
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i used my 03 as a DD for 11 years. I live 5 miles from work. I might go somewhere on the weekends, maybe not. I do tow my TT with it for vacations several times a year. Now I have a 14 with all the smog stuff. I drive it the same way, mostly short trips. My total average MPG is 17.1 mostly around town. No issues, no problems. I think it will be just fine for the next 10 years.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:52 PM   #11
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A diesel is meant to be driven, and short trips are just fine. They really need to be driven more often than a gas unit.

Depending on the load being hauled, it's often more thrifty to purchase a gas powered truck if you're not going to put many tow miles on it. The initial cost of the diesel engine option, the $.50 cent difference in fuel per gallon and the much more expensive oil changes pretty well negates the higher fuel mileage of the diesel.

But if you're going to haul 10K loads or more, diesel's the way to go.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:06 PM   #12
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Life is short, I don't have a lot of fancy stuff but I wanted a diesel. My dog wanted me to have it.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 4x4 View Post
Life is short, I don't have a lot of fancy stuff but I wanted a diesel. My dog wanted me to have it.
Now I can relate !!!! Life IS short,,, AND MY DOG WANTED ME TO HAVE IT !!!
Under 1 yr and DW's new (2012) car will be paid off, under 2 yrs no more house pymts, (all hopefully) , two weeks and I'm getting a bigger run at work, (more$$) so "I Figure" by then I'll deserve a new truck, my current Jeep GC will be 13 yrs old... We've already been out looking at new TT's and 5th wheels....
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:46 PM   #14
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Running the diesel in lower gears will get it up to operating temperature much quicker. I really enjoy the diesel power and exhaust braking, but I haven't driven a new gaser with a 6 or 8-speed. I hear they make good power.
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