Note to the
Nevada State Police: we almost never exceeded the posted speed limit of
65 MPH, and if you saw a dark shadow gray crew cab over 90 it must have
been someone else.
to three cars at once was easy as we moved into the other lane, quickly
accelerated and merged back. Oh, did you know that the Ford 6.0-liter
Power Stroke Super Duty has a top speed limiter at 98 MPH? And the Power
Stroke shows no sign of diesel fade all the way up to near the century
mark we were told by another media tester that was willing to try.
At 65 MPH
the interior of the Power Stroke was as quiet as many passenger cars.
Conversation was easy even with the A/C blasting at max. You can't imagine
you are in a diesel until you slow down to about 20 MPH when the clatter
finally starts to return to the cabin.
in Bullhead City across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada, a gambling
town that looks like an ultra condensed version of Las Vegas if you subjected
Vegas to the 26,000psi compression pressures of the Power Stroke's hydraulic
rail fuel injectors. There we swapped pickups for competitive vehicle
tests between trucks towing 7,000 pound trailers up a grade of between
5% to about 7%.
Silverado with two people took off about two minutes before Stoehr and
the two of us jumped into a monochromatic red F-350 Sport dually with
a 3.73 gear ratio. A Dodge Ram had left even earlier than the Silverado.
pictured above are the 1/4-mile drag trucks, not the same as what we did
the hill climb with. Like the drag trucks, all the hill climb trucks had
similar gearing and powertrain configurations. - Mike)
other trucks ahead of us by about half a mile we started chasing after
them. The hill is about 10 miles long so we had plenty of time to catch
and pass the Dodge, equipped with a standard 5.9-liter Cummins I6 turbo
diesel and 4-speed automatic, within about 2 miles from the start of the
hill. Near as we could tell the speed difference was approximately 18
MPH as we were moving at about 78 MPH. In a later test when we drove the
Dodge ourselves we found its maximum speed was 60 MPH with the accelerator
down to the floor the entire climb. That's a significant speed difference.
upset that we didn't get to run the new 5.9-liter High Output Cummins
I6 engine against the Power Stroke or the Duramax, consider the following
limitations of the HO Cummins. The HO Cummins is only available with a
manual transmission. About 90% of Power Stroke sales are automatics. The
HO Cummins fails to meet California emissions and that of two other states.
The Power Stroke not only meets California emissions but as we stated
earlier it also meets 2004 federal requirements. We think there will be
lots of buyers in California (the most populous state in the union) who
are going to walk out of Dodge dealerships disappointed after being told
the HO Cummins is not for sale. If Navistar could do this with a diesel,
so could Cummins. The automatic 5.9-liter Cummins I6 from the factory
is not up to the challenge of the Duramax or the Power Stroke.
And for the
record, we did ask Dodge for a High Output Cummins about a month and a
half before this drive but were unable to get the vehicle delivered in
note about Dodge. Expect to see a new automatic transmission offered in
the heavy duty Rams for 2004 that will work in tandem with the High Output
Cummins. We will be watching closely to learn more about its capabilities
and would enjoy running the same tests again at that time.
Next up on
the hill climb was the Chevrolet with some noticable advantages over the
Ford. It was a 2003 short bed crew cab single rear wheel with a 6.6-liter
Duramax and 5-speed Allison automatic and should have weighed less than
the Super Duty. The Silverado also had a 1-mile head start on the 10-mile
Duty reeled in the Duramax in less than 3 miles and then passed with ease.
We were so surprised and thought that the Silverado driver did not know
we were trying to catch him that we slowed down to 45 MPH to let the Chevrolet
catch up to us. We later found out the driver was on the pedal all the
way up the hill.
As the Silverado
caught up to the back bumper of our trailer we stepped on the pedal and
tried to keep it from passing. We are sorry to say that we could not keep
the Chevrolet from passing - for long. Before the trailer of the Chevrolet
was able to clear the front bumper of the Super Duty we were already catching
and then passing the Chevrolet again.