The Disposable Truck

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Trucks continue to get bigger – what buyers seem to want – while their engines get smaller, which is effectively a function of what the government demands, as the downsizing of engines is one of the ways for the car companies to reduce the fuel consumption of the vehicles so equipped.

Which they have to do – not because buyers of trucks (or even most cars) are demanding fuel economy uber alles but because the government refuses to accept that lots of buyers care about other things uber alles. So the government mandates the fuel economy they’re not particularly interested in, in order to force buyers to be more “efficient” – no matter what it costs them.

And the car companies try to figure a way to make those smaller, more “efficient” engines perform at a level acceptable to buyers.

Enter the 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 – the leading edge of this strange, increasingly desperate dynamic. It will be the first full-size truck to come standard with a four cylinder engine – comparable in size (2.7 liters) to the engines that power mid-sized cars that weigh 1,000-plus pounds less and which aren’t tasked with towing thousands of pounds.

The little engine replaces the 4.3 liter V6 that is the current Silverado’s standard engine and makes up for its lack of displacement via heavy turbocharging – which adds power-on-demand but also adds parts and internal stress as well as costs, both up front and down the road.

Probably just after the warranty expires.

As opposed to the 4.3 V6, which doesn’t need a turbo to make power and is a much simpler, lower-maintenance design. It  is basically a Chevy small-block V8 less two cylinders. It shares the famous – and famously simple – layout that made its debut back in 1955. A very proven – and very durable – design.

One camshaft, not mounted over the heads. Two valves in those heads. A timing chain that never needs to be replaced instead of a belt that periodically does. And, of course, no turbo. So, no worries about having to replace a turbo after the warranty runs out. Ever.

Not even after 250,000 miles. Regular vs. premium unleaded fuel.

The 2.7 liter engine is turbocharged and intercooled and double overhead cammed, with twice as many valves in its head. It makes 310 hp vs. 285 hp for the force-retired V6, but it takes 22 pounds of boost (and premium unleaded) to do it. That is a lot of pressure on an engine. Maybe it will hold up. Maybe not.

If not, who gets the bill?

A replacement turbo will generally cost you $800-$1,500 in parts and labor. How much gas did you save, again?

Naturally, the car press doesn’t mention any of that – nor that the fuel economy gains will probably be trivial vs. the simpler, lower-cost 4.3 liter V6 and not sufficient to offset the higher cost of the turbo’d engine as well as the higher cost of maintaining and repairing it.

That has been true so far, at least.

Consider the 3.5 liter twin-turbo V6 Ford puts into the Silverado’s cross-street rival, the F-150 pick-up, as the “fuel saving” alternative to the 5.0 liter V8 (which is still available, for now – but no longer the F-truck’s top engine).

The “EcoBoost” 3.5 V6 carries an EPA rating of 17 city, 23 highway – vs. 16 city, 22 highway for the same truck with the V8 but no twin-turbos.

You get 1 mile more per gallon . . . on the EPA’s test loop.

Even in a best-case scenario, the “efficiency” gain is unnoticeable – from the buyer’s perspective. What’s the advantage, then, for the buyer? It’s true the turbo’d engine makes more torque (and lower in the RPM range) than engines not turbo’d, but in that case why not turbocharge the bigger engine – and get even more torque?

Because, of course, it’s not torque or anything that most buyers care about that’s the object of this exercise – which is to eke out small MPG gains on an individual-vehicle basis that factor and become very important – to the government – on a fleet average basis. Your small-engined truck may not give you a noticeable MPG uptick, but that 1 MPG uptick on the EPA’s test loop times all the trucks just like yours that Ford or Chevy or whoever builds is noticeable when the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) figures are calculated.

And that’s what’s driving this madness.

A small turbo four in place of a V6 – or a small turbo V6 in place of a V8 – improves the car company’s CAFE numbers, helps them dodge fines for “non-compliance.” Naturally, the costs of compliance are passed on to you, in the form of a more complex, expensive vehicle. One that also probably needs premium unleaded to deliver its fractional MPG gains, too.

The car companies paper that over by trying to get you – the buyer – to focus on the increased power/torque the turbo’d engine makes – and that is certainly true. But again the question arises – why not just make a more powerful and simpler, less-expensive-to-build and keep up V6 or V8 in that case, if more power is desired? Especially given the trivial “efficiency” gains achieved by going with the smaller, more technically complex, expensive and stressed engine?

Those “efficiency” gains by the way, are often a loss – in real world driving.

In the real world, a small but turbo’d-to-make-up-for-it engine uses more gas than the larger, not turbo’d engine because it’s necessary to force-feed the small engine to make it temporarily swell with the power of the larger engine. Because the engine is small and off-boost, makes small power, the driver is usually calling up the boost (via his right foot) to make up for that smallness, keeping the engine perpetually swelling with turbo-boosted power and using the fuel necessary to support that.

No free lunches.

Ask anyone who has actually driven these things – like me, for example. If you Faberge Egg-under-the-accelerator pedal then yes, you might squeeze out a slightly noticeable MPG advantage vs. the larger engine without the turbo. But who drives that way? More to the point, why would anyone drive that way. What would be the point, in a truck?

Which isn’t a Prius.

The whole thing is incongruous and more-than-slightly batty – like dieting by eating two Bic Macs and a small diet Coke.

But the car companies peddle these littler turbo’d engines over slightly less “efficient” – but more appropriate – larger engines because it appeases the federal Ayatollahs issuing the fuel efficiency fatwas and the buyer be damned – to bowdlerize what J.P. Morgan is supposed to have said once about the public.

The 2.7 turbo four is an impressive piece of engineering, no question. So is the Tesla. So is the Great Pyramid of Cheops. 

But that’s not the point. In a truck, at least, the point is – or used to be – simplicity, ruggedness, longevity and keeping the cost of buying and running the thing down.

If it used a bit more fuel, so be it – and so what.

The federal ayatollahs be damned.

. . .

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    • Hi Free Speech,

      Given that most Americans submit to being fondled – to having their children and elderly parents fondled – I doubt they’d get their backs up about much of anything. If a “terrorist” could hide something “dangerous” in his crotch why not in his prison wallet? Spread ’em! Okay….it’s for our saaaaaaaafety.

    • Not only would they all do it….but they’d think us “criminals” for not doing it, and ask “What have you got to hide?”.

      • Re: the logout woes — I think we might inadvertently be the culprits, I noticed there being times while using my phone to comment, that I accidentally tap the Log out button without realizing it. No time to test it at the moment but I think it might’ve asked me “are you sure” but I either still hit the wrong thing or it still logged me out anyway. But yeah it’s easy to do it by mistake om a touchscreen gor aure

          • But I use a real computer, Moose… Never had a problem till recently. I think I was just “due’- as it’s happened to countless others in the past. My theory is that certain politically-incorrect words may trigger it, and just before it happened, i used the knee-grow one 🙂

            Thanks for the tip though, Moose. I’ll keep an extra eye open for anything like that, just ion case.

  1. On the bright side, the vast majority of half ton pickups haul nothing more than a briefcase and triple carmel vanilla latte (lowfat). so no problem for the masses. For those who need more, get a real truck with a diesel

    • Trouble is, even on the used market, the real trucks, even with diesels, are more often the luxury specials, with heated leather seats and carpeting, and electrically-opening tailgates, etc. Hard-pressed to find the work variety.

      • Exactly Nunzio. My brother got a 2017 F350 diesel. The sumbitch has mood lighting in the door handles, push button tailgate and a sun roof over the whole cab on a 4 door. If you want leather seats instead of cloth, that’s what the dealerships have in stock. The salesman at the dealership told him they don’t stock leather seats without all the options.

        I told him congratulations, you spent an extra 6-7 grand for a bunch of worthless shit. People roll their eyes at my comments about “luxury pickups” but I can’t help it. What good is any of that shit? My 5 year old son was impressed with the door handle lighting that changes colors…….for about 5 minutes.

        The problem is that you can’t find good used pickups because there’s too much crap on most of them. All of the electronic push button stuff wears out and it cannot be fixed simply and cheaply.

        • It’s so sad, Ancap51. If people still worked on their own vehicles, none of this crap would fly.

          We should be able to buy a real truck for just the price of all the options and luxuries that are crammed into these $60K-$70K play-things.

  2. Well, at least there are plenty of diesels here in Thailand. They may not be the big v8s you typically see in the States but by god they are available.

  3. Wow, lots of wrong here, is this like a red-pill incel car site of some sort?

    Lets start of with this being a timing chain engine, not a timing belt engine, and that the 4.3 V6 engine, that will still be available as well, is based on the LS engines, not the 4.3 V6 that was related to the pre 1997 SBC. still a good proven design, but they are 2 different engines, the rest is just drivel…….

    Also, why all the hate for 4 cylinders? The Model T was a 4 cylinder…..most of the cars that built the foundations of the car companies that we have in this country today stared with 1-4 cylinder engines, the first Cadillacs were 1-cylinder cars.

    I get your vibe and I get the nostalgia for the old times, but you lay the doom and destruction shmear on way too thick.

    • MrR,
      “Also, why all the hate for 4 cylinders? The Model T was a 4 cylinder”.
      Do you know how much a Model T weighs? Do you know the top speed of a Model T?
      A 4 cylinder in a half ton pick up? Come on man. I have been servicing and repairing automobiles for 38 years now and I have witnessed the progression in automotive technology in a manner that most people don’t understand. In my opinion, 2005 seems to be the last of the good, reliable vehicles out there. Direct injection, turbos, DSG transmissions, etc., all junk. It’s great for my bottom line, but it also increases the consumers expenses, and not a little, but huge repair bills, for what? 2 more mpg. I think Eric’s buddy Graves can contribute his two cents, he’s a wrench!

      • DI and DSG…definitely a step in the wrong direction. Turbos? Came into the mass automotive market a little to early.

      • Yep,
        2005 is about the limit, a little earlier for some crap like coded ignition lock cylinders and keys, what a pile of crap! Too many program and code dependent modules to run everything including the dome lights and the heater controls. Way too much expensive un-repairable crap meant to operate the basics, which is completely uncalled for, and outrageously expense. And we aren’t even into stupid shit like AirBags and othe Nanny-Crap devices. New AC refrigerant coming out now, along with MANDATORY Federal licensing to purchase and service, not to even begin to talk about the prive of the NEW HVAC equipment required… ass, I’m not touching the shit….people need to sweat, they might lose some fucking weight, besides in their wallet! It’s all fake a hell anyway, always has been since the 1978 OZONE HOLE scam completely concocted by Dupont! I hope those fuckers have their own Freon factory in Hell, cause that’s where they need to go!

        • Hey GTC – hole in ozone…. havnt heard that since I was a kid…. wait weren’t we all supposed to be fried by now???

          • Hahaha! I remember the hole in the ozone bullshit too! That was right up there with “Open all the windows if there’s a tornado. It’ll ‘equalize the pressure’ and lessen damage” ROTFL! At least they had the sense to abandon the latter. (Open the windows… If a tornady strikes your house…their ain’t gonna be no windows!).

            I remember as a CHILD ridiculing that one…and all the adults would say “Oh nom, that’s what the government scientists say, I think they know a little more than you do!”. No wonder I couldn’t wait to get out of their stupid skools!

            It sounds so absurd- open the windows- that people hearing it today who aren’t old enough to remember that that was official Weather Service catechism, probably think we’re lying!

            • Actually, the science behind opening the windows is sound. Many homes which are not directly hit explode as the extreme low pressure of a tornado passes close or overhead. Been there, seen that. The then-record tornado of 1974 that touched down at the Tennessee River south of Huntsville, which did not leave the ground until it took out much of the town of Xenia, Ohio, passed within 1/2 mile of us. Interior doors slammed shut and the outside basement doors were ripped open as the pressure dropped almost instantly and the air was sucked out of the house. But the house stood with no damage.

              The recommendation was always to open only the windows on the NE side of the house since most tornadoes approach from the SW. That was based on hoping you would get the least rain in the house. The real reason the recommendation went away had nothing to do with science. People were opening the windows only when the storm was 2 blocks away, debris was already flying, and they were hit by broken glass from the window as crap hit it.

              I have a picture of a home outside of Huntsville after that 1974 storm. The entire home is gone. The kitchen table is sitting exactly where it was, and a half-gallon, paper, milk container is sitting on the table. It was exactly in the center of the decompression area when the home exploded. Many homes had no roofs but all the contents of the attics, rolls of toilet paper to bureaus, were all still sitting on the attic floor. Decompression, not wind, caused those houses to be destroyed.

              • That’s ridiculous. A tornado can hit a house and completely destroy it, while one a few hundred feet away can be completely unscathed. It’s the wind, and getting pummeled with all of the debris that does the damage. The pressure extremes which would cause something to explode, aren’t that great, unless you’re right in the midst of the tornado- and in that case, the wind and debris will get you anyway.

                Even if such were true about opening the windows relieving the pressure, it wouldn’t matter, because if the pressure is so great as to damage the house, the windows would blow out first, anyway.

                Even the goobermint scientists have admitted their error about opening the windows.

                Witness too, people who survive a direct hit by a tornado, such as by hunkering in a bathtub, while the whole house is destroyed or blown away. They often walk away unscathed. If pressure was an issue, their bodies/organs would have exploded.

                A tornado went by a few years ago not a quarter mile from my south property line. Wouldn’t have even known it…it wasn’t even raining here; no wind. My mobile home didn’t even flinch. Only way ya knew where the tornado had been: The big meta-sided barn down the road was reduced to a pile of rubble. (I’ll bet 8 has some great tornado stories!)

    • Eric was not talking about the lS based 4.3, I don’t know/care HOW the cam(s) are driven. He WAS talking about the venerable near bulletproof 4.3 V 6 shrunken from the small block 350. It is a simple reliable straightforward design (though I do question Eric’s statement that the timine chain NEVER needs replacing.. I’ve not seen any yet, the two closest to forever timing chains I’ve ever been around are the early Jaguar inline twin cam six, commencing 1948 and up to maybe 1968 or so, and the Porsche two litre boxer six and later enlargements on the same pattern. THAT engine is so powerful, lightweight, and reliable it is the powerplant specified for some German built zeppelins, and lasts as long or longsr than any other aircraft designed engine.

      Back to the V 6 vs inline four….. yeah, you can get the power out of a smaller displacement engine.. for a while, and at MUCH higher cost. I’ve race prepared a few engines, and been around racing in sports cars off and on over the years. Just about anyone can develop nearly double the rated horsepower, perhaps a hundred hore per litre, on a NA race prepared engine turing high revs, open exhaust, and other such things. That will cost you $X. But the season champion will have developed perhaps twenty percent MORE horsepower AND have the same engine hang together for every race of the season. He will also soend anywhere from fur to ten timesa as much money and more than double the time building that engine. Today’s engine designers, in desparate attempts to appease Uncle Stupid, are playing that game, except its not their money its the buyers’ money. And the long term reliability necessary to finish a twenty four hour race in the money does not have to be there for a four hour race… so the corners cut don’t affect the company until long after the fact, when warranty expires and the owner has t junk the car because its only worth $4K as a car, but maybe $6K as parts.

      I’ve worked on some of the “newer” cars.. Audi (the worst), Lexus/Toyota, even the silly Ford 5.4 V8, which at about 150K is in the large repair bill category. That stupid twin cam with variable cam timing, and the even more ridiculous single row roller timing chain without proper lube, wears out far too soon, and all the bits to renew the chain (and by necessity the coigs)add about $400 to the price of having the heads off, which need to coe off far too soon anyway. Meanwhile my 7.3 Powerstroke approaches 350K with nothing done to engine or trancmission, had all the pwer I’ve ever needed (I’ve run the combination at 26,700 lbs gross, up the West Coast, 75 mph cruise no problem, and still gets about 14 mpg doing it. But the EPA trashed that engine, leading proximally and causally to the disastrous 6.0……

      The stupid EPA cannot grasp the FACT that the added environmental “load” to manufacture all those extra parts and systems, including the replcement parts because they break far too soon, is far greater than the envirinmental “load” incurred because a truck gets 22 mpg with the ecurrent production mill and ONLY 23 for the new too insane to believe it smaller displacement semi-race engines now being mandated.

      • That’s not what the epa is about. the epa is all and only about bringing about the removal of personal transportation for the masses. In line with the international bank cartel and other large corporations that dictate to all western countries what to do. The first way to enslave the people is to remove their inexpensive means of mobility of their choice to that of the mobility dictated by super pathological bullies that the ibc use to control the population.

        • You are correct. Environmentalism is all about CONTROL.
          If environmentalism restricted itself to truly caring for our natural resources, I would have no problem with it. However, with the “secret science” and questionable funding that these environmental groups possess, paid for by the feds, taints the whole barrel. It turns out that many claims that environmentalists make have no basis in fact and are not based on good, honest, scientific investigation. This is why “environmental scientists” have to hide their data, as it does not fit their agenda. A good example of this is the so-called “global warming” crap, now renamed “climate change”. For one, the climate is always changing. The East Anglia emails in which data was purposely falsified by “climate scientists” comes to mind. Not only that, the “climate scientists” purposely installed temperature monitoring sensors in cities, contrary to manufacturers recommendations and good scientific practices, in asphalt-covered parking lots, and other “heat sink” areas in order to “prove” their (faulty) hypothesis. This is scientific dishonesty at its worst.
          It turns out that the solar system is in a “cooling cycle” due to decreased solar activity. There are two long-term solar cycles that reinforce themselves when in phase and cancel themselves out when out-of-phase”. Look up the “Maunder minimum”. There are no SUVs on Mars or other planets, yet they are also experiencing the same solar variaability.
          Environmentalism has been the method used to impose communist principles on western society–especially in the USA.
          Environmentalists are not content with promoting clean water, air and land, but are hell-bent on controlling human behavior, and yes, promoting extermination plans for much of humanity as these “anointed” types consider mankind to be a pestilence (except for themselves) to be reduced in population “by any means necessary”.
          Environmentalists HATE the God-given concept of private property and have imposed government-backed and enforced “land use controls” on private property owners without compensation–clearly an unconstitutional “taking” of private property. If environmentalists want to control land use, let them purchase it themselves–not by government force. Today the only method of negating government-imposed land use restrictions is “shoot, shovel, and shut up”.
          If environmentalists had their way, the earth’s human population would be reduced by approximately 90%, with the remainder to (be forced) to live in cities, in soviet-style high rise apartments, utilizing bicycles, buses and trains for transportation. The use of automobiles and access to “pristine wilderness (rural) areas” would be off-limits to us mere mortals, and would only be available for these “anointed” environmentalists.
          The “endangered species act” is another abuse of environmentalism. Species are always changing, to adapt to their environments–”survival if the fittest”. In fact, the hoopla over the “spotted owl” (that placed much northwest timber land “off-limits” to logging) turned out to be nothing but scientific misconduct and arrogance. There are virtually identical species in other parts of the northwest.
          More scientific malpractice occurred when government biologists attempted to “plant” lynx fur in certain areas to provide an excuse for making those areas “off-limits” for logging or development. Fortunately, these “scientists” were caught–however, no punishment was given.
          In a nutshell, today’s environmentalism IS communism… like watermelon…”green” on the outside and “red” (communist) on the inside…
          It is interesting to note that communist and third-world countries have the WORST environmental conditions on the planet. Instead of the USA and other developed countries spending billions to get rid of that last half-percent of pollution, it would behoove the communist countries to improve their conditions first. Here is a question for you environmentalists: Why is there a push for restrictive environmental regulations, but only on the developed first-world countries, and not the “gross polluters” such as India and China?

          • Well-said, Anarchyst!

            And think of the implications: Even if their “science” and data were true, would that somehow give them the moral right to impose or prohibit certain actions on everyone and their property?

            Sadly, that has become the accepted norm- a “scientocracy”. It was pretty much what the Nazis were doing. And now it is thoroughly accepted throughout the Western world- so even if they discard one particular “War On ______ ” (Global Warming; eating eggs/salt/butter, …) they just replace it with something else, and as long as the white-coated priests say that it is the current height of knowledge and truth, it is universally accepted that it is only fitting to force all to comply with their edicts…even if those edicts diametrically contradict the previous ones.

            Forced “utopia” via universal forced compliance based on what “they” say is best- and all who refuse to comply or accept the mantras of the white-coated priests, and their prophets, the celebrities and newscasters, are counted as enemies who are fight against their wonderful “utopia” [Yeah, how’s that working out for them?]

    • Hi Mr,

      I don’t understand why you assert that I “hate” four cylinders. I wrote nothing to even imply that. I did write that federal fuel economy ukase is pressuring the auto industry to put inappropriately small engines in vehicles. These engines are too small to adequately power the vehicles – so they are turbocharged to provide on-demand power, which I explained in the article. Along with the downsides of that – which are several.

      I asked how this benefits the buyer – vs. a simpler, less expensive larger engine – which is what buyers would prefer (as expressed by their buying patterns, when the free choice is available to them).

      I have a four cylinder-powered truck myself. But it’s a compact-sized truck. So it does not need a turbo. And I would not want a turbo, even if one were available – because I like a simple, affordable, long-lived and easy to repair truck.

      • Eric,
        I’ve flown behind, maintained, or driven turbocharged engines since 1972, a turbocharger requires a few changes in managing the engine.
        1. Synthetic oil. (I change oil at 5K miles. I know the oil and additives can go at least 10K.)
        2. Don’t get into the boost until the oil is at least 100 degrees.
        3. Let the engine idle for at least minute when before you shut it down.
        When I had my first turbo’d car in the ’80’s I added an external cooler, larger sump and a pre-luber.
        I’ve owned 5 cars with over 400K miles and have never, ever had a problem related to the turbo or heat (sludging.)
        The systems have improved to the point where I have not added any cooling components to my ST. (Oil capacity is larger than the coolant capacity.)
        Heck, you can even find reverse flow convection cooling which was done 80 years ago on turbocharged aircraft.

        (I understand the increased cost of synthetic oil and change intervals is not going to make people happy

        • Hi Jet,

          That part’s good – but I still have to ask… why? What is the upside – for the buyer – to replacing a simple V8 with a complex, more expensive turbo V6? The efficiency gains are slight, but the up-front costs are higher and the fact that there are more parts means a greater likelihood of one of those parts eventually wearing out.

          Same argument, turbo four vs. V6.

          With a caveat: I get it if we’re talking a sports car; then a turbo makes sense. But in a truck? I don’t grok it.

          • Don’t misconstrue me. I see where the tech is being forced to go by regulators that don’t have a clue as to what they’re regulating. However, in light of the last malaise period (Which is what I think we’re in again now as far the manufacturers are concerned.) I think the manufacturers are actually doing better than they did between 1975 and 1988. I think we’ll see the 6/8 cylinder come back in 2 to 3 product cycles (Which takes us past 2025.) when someone figures out there’s a pent up demand and is willing to spend the R&D money (Assuming CAFE and EPA reach a regulatory “plateau” and use the 2020 standard instead of the 2025 standard.) to develop a engine that can achieve high enough mileage to balance out their fleet average above the 2020 CAFE 49 MPG requirements.
            Truck? I suspect you’ll see the boutique users buying the 4 banger. I see urban women in North Dallas in their boots and P/up Trucks because they’re too cool for an SUV and wouldn’t be caught dead in CUV/SUV. You grok the need for a different engine because you need it. And so will the other serious buyers. I’d bet 20% of the buyers won’t know or care what’s under the hood. And, this is assuming the General hasn’t launched prematurely.
            One last thought, aside from floor-plan requirements, I wouldn’t expect to see dealers voluntarily ordering this engine. I see them putting this truck into the hands of the casual users who do the occasional Home Depot run with a fair amount of cash on the hood.

        • “2. Don’t get into the boost until the oil is at least 100 degrees.
          3. Let the engine idle for at least minute when before you shut it down.”

          There goes the 1 mpg fuel savings!

          • By the time I reach the highway,my oil is well up temp.
            EPA mixed city for my vehicle is 26 MPG. In Dallas Highway speeds are around 70-75 MPH and we have ethanol. Give all that, I’m averaging 28.2 MPG and I’m not shy about using the engine to get onto the highway.
            Flat terrain, zero wind, 60 degrees at sea level, 55 MPH I’ve hit and sustained 42 MPG for about 40 miles. From what I’ve seen on various blogs, fleet average is around 25.4. (The car really, really loves cruise control.)

  4. It’s amusing to read the 10-15 year comments. Large numbers of cars as a whole lasting this long is a relatively new phenomenon and as such is probably only about 25 years old.

    As far as this particular engine/vehicle combination? I suspect a large percentage of truck purchasers are now boutique users who will never stress the engine. I’d bet (And apparently so is GM) that serious users will know what to buy. But, GM does have a history of some interesting engine decisions.

    As a casual user with no towing or heavy lifting, I wouldn’t be afraid of the engine. If I had to use it for towing? External air-oil cooler, larger sump, higher capacity oil pump and an engine pre-lube pump would all be on the menu for upgrades. (I’d treat it like I did my turbo engines 25 years ago. I still treat my ST like a turbocharged aircraft engine.)

  5. Apart from the government, it seems another reason cars are being made in such a disposable way is that the real customer isnt the buyer or driver as was once the case – its the finance company, as they are the one who actually pay for the thing in most cases. And they only care for the car to last as long as the lease / finance period – couldn’t care less what happens after that. Then, its someone else problem…..

  6. Sadly happening on this side of the pond as well. Ok i don’t know my pick ups as well as most guys here, but the Range Rover sport here now comes with a standard turbo 2.0 4 cylinder engine. Have driven the one with the 5.0 V8 supercharged one a couple years ago, and is sad to see that magnificent car being made with a 2.0 now thanks to our masters . Also, cant imagine the compression require to make the 300hp it does. Land rovers / Range rovers used to last forever (still see many of them from the 80s). Doubt these new generation of RRs will last that long.

    • I’ve owned and repaired (for other owers) the earlier LandRovers built during the 50’s and 60’s. The finest pwoerplant they ever put into them was the bulletproof 2.25 litre OHV four cylinder engine. I put over 100K miles on one that was well worn when I got it, and it still ran when I passed it on. Those engines would cruis the car at 70 mph all day long and return 22 mpg. That was dead stock. Those that wanted to could easily double the available horsepower at the drive wheels. Our very own Uncle Stupid removed these fine rigs from the market. Rover decided they could sell all the units they ever cared to elsewhere than North America. EPA kept chaingint the requrements nearly every year, they finally said to him bugger off. Last LandRovers into the US were I believe 1972 until they cae back with the Defender years later.

      • Thats true – heard that about the defenders (though never driven one myself). The interesting thing is with these old ones, they have the least depreciation of any car here, and even with like 200k, 20 years old, they are still worth good money. Apparently, they have the lowest scrappage rate of any car ever manufactured… because they just dont die no no matter what….. Wonder what they are going to do about the new defender, but doubt it would live up to the same standard…..

        • Hi Nasir,

          Yep – it’s because they are iconic and damned near unkillable. Over here, similar models like the classic Ford Bronco and International Scout are also now top dollar rides, if you can find someone willing to sell…

  7. I believe that there is a kind and merciful God: He called my dad out of this world 10 years ago to spare him from having to drive these kinds of trucks.

    • Sad but true, Bryce. I thank God that I’m old enough to have experienced a little of the “old world” of the 60’s and 70’s and even a good deal of the 80’s- but you see all this garbage today, interfering with every aspect of your life, and it just robs your joy.

      It shouldn’t be this way. It doesn’t have to be this way; but human nature being what it is, evil has been empowered like never before. What’s really scarey, is that more than half of the people alive today in North America, have never known anything except for the dysfunctional way things have been now for the last 30 years or so. They think it is perfectly normal.

      It reminds me of the book This Perfect Day by Ira Levin- where the main character remembers hearing his grandfather speak of the way things used to be, and comes to realize that their current “1984-ish” world is an anomaly- but everyone around him thinks that their world is perfectly normal, and the pinnacle of human achievement. (Personally, I’ve always liked that book much better than 1984 or Brave New World)

      • The bullying commissars of today are mutants that would’ve been Darwined out a couple of generations ago.

  8. Wow. Back in the day, I had an 82 *Mustang* with a 4-banger in it. Slow as molasses and unreliable. My ’02 S-10 (2.2L) just sucked a valve on it’s 3rd engine! You think I’m going to buy a 1/2 ton with a high-strung 4 cyl? WTF? you kidding me?

    Looks like we’ll all have to buy 3/4 ton trucks, till CAFE gets ahold of them…..

    • You know that there will still be a V6, 2-3 V8’s and at at least 2 diesel also available on this truck right?

      Come off the fainting couch

      • For now, and soon for an extra price. As another has remarked here, it’s jokers like us who’ll get these technological terrors in 10-15 years and be saddled with machines that will bankrupt Daddy Warbucks to fix, assuming parts are even available. But hey, there’ll probably be 1.6 liter two cylinder engines that will cost $10k to replace by then so no problem, right?

        • Hi Ross,

          The only way this cycle can continue is if low interest/debt financing continues. I don’t see that it can continue much longer. Once people are facd with having to actually pay for all this stuff, the house of cards will topple.

          • The default rate on subprime auto loans is reaching an all-time high. The house of cards is getting ready to collapse.

      • Hr Mr,

        Yes, the V6 will still be available… in the stripped/so-called “work” truck. You miss the point, which is that the V6 is being phased out in favor of the turbo four. Just as Ford will phase out the 5.0 V8 in favor of the turbo 3.5 V6. (Note that the Expedition and Navigator – both based on the F-150 – now come only with the 3.5 V6. Wait for the F-150 to follow suit.)

        Have you priced a 4WD twin-turbo F-150?

        How much more “efficient” is it vs. the 5.0 V8?

        What is the point, son?

        Yes, I know – the V6 makes more torque than the V8. But how much torque would the V8 make with a turbo? And even, without? The 5.0 V8 is a small (for a truck) V8. How much torque would a modern 7.5 liter (460 cube) V8 make? Without a turbo?

        And yes, it would use slightly more gas. Who cares?

        It’s be less expensive to make (and fix) than the turbo V6.

        The point here is that this “fuel efficiency uber alles” dementia is just that… demented.

          • Hi Mith,

            The sad thing is that we could have V8s making much more power than these turbo sixes (and fours) for much less money… were it not for the government’s fuel economy fatwas.

            It never ceases to amaze me that most people don’t even question why the government is in the fuel economy business at all. How is this any of the government’s rightful business? If I or any other person wants to buy a 10 MPG V8, and pay for the gas to feed it, then it’s our business, isn’t t?

            If the market wants tiny turbo’d fours and sixes in lieu of larger engines, in order to “save gas” – maybe 2-3 MPG or so – then the market will signal that demand.

            For government to impose it is beyond obnoxious.

        • It’s not unusual for a large turbo V 8 to make a 1500 hp in detuned form.

          I see 5.3 L GM engines making over 1,000 hp with a single turbo.

          Since you can build a home-made vehicle i most states just by sticking to old engines for the most part. Put a big engine in an old frame with windshield wipers on a couple big rig windows. Use a cab off an old 72 JD(square ones), whatever transmission and rear end you like and stretch it as far as you need to put a classic style big rig front end like a Classic Pete or a 900 WL KW or XT Freightliner and the sky’s the limit. Old Dodge, GM and Ford diesels will be just right or pick out an old Cummins or Cat or Perkins diesel, stick a 13 speed Roadranger behind it and get decent mileage with plenty of room. Use two of those old cabs back to back and have wipers front and rear. Maybe you need or simply want some huge bed. 8′ wide and however long without being over 60′ and you’re legal. Hell, I saw a Dodge diesel turned into a trike. Had a radiator in the rear with a sucker fan just like a bit loader or grader. Go ahead and stick two drive axles under it. You can already register a big rig turn into a camper as an RV. Sky’s the limit. Just remember to back up quickly when that big pusher plate gets hit by an oncoming
          Tesla, don’t want to be close to the fire.

          • I dunno, 8, I kinda like the Homer Simpson style home-made car- it’s pretty simple:

            Personally, I don’t need anything extravagant- just maybe a 12-14′ bed; crew cab, with seats in the front, and removable storage racks in the back for hauling groceries and stuff, but could be removed for bigger items. Full height toolbox behind the cab, of course, with doors down to the rockers. Manual tranny and transfer case, of course…. Mechanical injection-pump injected diesel- no electronics or electricity required……

            • Nun, nothing extravagant, just maybe a 12-14 foot bed. Yeah, that sounds about right. I notice you want a transfer case. Of course you don’t have to have 4WD with something like a Brown-Lipe 3 speed box with an under , direct and over. I was considering putting one on Blackie so when I shifted to OD I could then shit to OD with the 3 speed box.

              I’ve never had too many shifters. Nothing like a Spicer 4X5 or 5X6 so you never have to not be in the ideal gear. And a mechanical injection was what the Turbo Diesel had till 94 when it was changed to computerized. No telling how many fuel pumps were replaced which gave the GM diesel a bad rep when the PMD mounted in the valley of the V was the weak point due to heat. It was the only application the PMD was mounted in that location. Imagine having a diesel in a boat and it goes down because of a 10 dollar part that was never intended to suffer that heat. I smell big time suits and somebody at GM did too. They shot themselves in the foot on that one. All you had to do was relocate it and it was durable.

  9. Agree Eric, and richB is right-on that I doubt these make it 10-15 years. The ‘internal’ electro-mechanical equipment is going to be the death of these things.
    My ’14 6.2 has direct injection and E-lifters, doubt it will make 100K, but I could be wrong. Or at least it will require a some major internal work for these things, and who’s gonna invest say $4-5K to fix this engine internally when the trucks worth $10K. Again, maybe I’m wrong.
    But the title says it best ‘disposable trucks’
    I think I’m going to Ram next time, currently the oldest tech V8 around (i think).

  10. Unfortunately, most of the major problems of these trucks won’t appear until they are ten to fifteen years old. The first owner will most likely get fine performance. I feel bad for those folks that normally are buying these as decade old used trucks, as far fewer of them will even exist.

    Some types of used pickups are hard to find in the used market as it is today. It’s only going to make it worse and more expensive for all.

    IMHO 4 bangers, no matter what miracles they perform, aren’t up the job of a full size pickup. At least for those that use them to make a living.

    All the gas “savings” are cancelled out by having to use premium instead of regular. I am guessing they will cost MORE to fuel.

    • Forget 10 or 15 years, Rich. Many of the vehicles getting older now, are already to the point of not be practical to repair. Look at the Ford Pick-ups with the 6.0 diesels starting ’04. Almost all of ’em had major head gasket issues while still under warranty. Ford would just fix ’em to original factory spec.- no actual fixing of the design flaw that caused the premature failure. They’d often do the same truck 2 or more times. Once it is out of warranty…the next owner is stuck with something, which, if he doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars repairing every 30K-50K miles, he’ll have to have fixed properly (Bulletproofed), at a cost of over $10K.

      Same with many other vehicles that are already out there- they’re not making it anywhere near 10 or 15 years without major repairs- trannies; head gaskets; turbos (which often require engine or cab removal to service)- and as ya get to the later model stuff, it gets worse, with all of the airbags and touchscreen and keyless start and all of that BS, on top of the mechanical things (Variable Valve timing, etc. Yikes!).

      Except for some gems like the Toyota Corolla’s and such…..we’re pretty much 75% to the point you describe already. That is why you can see a nearly 20 year-old pick-up selling for ridiculous amounts- like in the teens! -which is absurd, ’cause no matter how much better the older stuff was…they still rust; the paint goes bad; suspension parts wear…etc. etc.

      I’ve been looking for an older truck to replace my F250, which is rusty. There is NOTHING out there- at least not for a reasonable price. I’m not scared of high miles, but I am NOT paying $10K for a 19 year-old truck with 200-300K miles on it that looks nice, but is still on the verge of being worn-out. I think I’ll be stuck driving my rust-bucket until the body rusts off the frame…which may happen tomorrow! 😀

      • Nun, not long ago I saw a 93 Chevy one ton single wheel 4X4, ext. cab, long bed, Turbo Diesel nearly identical to what i had. Really clean outside and in with a long list of parts that had been replaced with premium aftermarket parts. Ah, just what I’d like had 8″ X 16″ wheels with 265/75 tires, just like mine had. Mine got 16 mpg empty. The problem being $18K. Who finances one that old? I can’t come up with that at one time or I’d damn sure bought it. And there’s the kicker.

        • Good point, 8!

          Who are they selling these things to?

          No one’s gonna finance a 25 year-old truck for anyone who might actually need the financing.

          And anyone with the cold hard cash, ain’t shelling out that much for an old pick-up.

          So where do these vehicles go? Jewish lightning maybe?

          Funny you mentioned this now, too- as I just this evening heard someone mention that they had been trying to sell their car for…..[get this] TWO YEARS!!!!!

          They apparently never “get it”- that they’re either going to have to substantially lower their price…or just keep the damn things.

          You should see the local Craigslist… I hate to even look. The same vehicles over and over again, for six months…a year…or in some cases, even 2 years. They don’t even lower the prices…or if they do, they lower it $50 or $100 !!!!!

          But I’m getting used to it. The things people say these days; the absurd moves we see in the corporate world; the idiotic things the pols say and do. I’m getting used to the fact that nothing makes sense anymore- or should I say: No one has any sense any more?

        • Well, $18K versus $60K sounds pretty good!

          My GMT400 is pretty rough. Not sure it’s worth what it needs to fix it up right? Still hoping to find a decent one even if I had to spend more money on mechanical stuff.

          • The thing is though, TP, it’s not like you’re getting a frame-off restoration for $18K. It’s still just an old truck with a few newer parts thrown on. For that kind of money, plus what one would have to spend to keep it viable, long-term….the later-model crap starts looking more realistic.

            That’s why old vehicles used to be cheap. I guess now though, the newer ones are so bad….. But that doesn’t keep the old ones from rusting, nor the paint from deteriorating, nor the rubber parts from rotting; insulation on wires from cracking….

            There’s a certain point in every vehicle’s life (unless it’s a trailer queen) where preservation becomes impractical, and restoration is in order…and paying big bucks for one that’s inching closer to restoration, is a place where you don’t want to be.

            • Yeah, but is the practical life expectancy of a current brand new pickup really any better than that of a thirty year old one?

      • This guy, Bill Hewitt, has the right idea with bulletproofing the 6.0 and putting a lifetime warranty on his work.

        He also takes in the older 6.0 Powerstroke trucks and does an engine bulletproof and semi-restore on them before putting them up for sale. I would much rather spend the money for one of his units than a new truck with a small displacement turbo, and can see a larger demand for this type of service in the future and would not be surprised to see more businesses like this come on line to fill the need.

        • Yeah, I was actually thinking of that guy when I posted earlier, Guerrero.

          It’s insanity though- to buy an old truck and then have to spend c. $15K just to make the engine functional- and ya still have all of the other stuff on the truck in various stages of decay, to wear-out or break.

          Guess that’s why Bill’s been at it for years, and doesn’t really have any real competitors…people even ship him trucks from Canada to have redone and shipped back.

          They buy a 6.0 truck (And they’re still not cheap, despite the abortions under the hood); get ’em bulletproofed; have other things attended to while the motor’s out/cab’s off (Tranny? Turbo? Fuel system? Modules/computers? Suspension? etc.)…plus the cost of getting them to and fro…. a lot of these people end up having $30-$40K into a 10-14 year-old truck that is STILL a servicing nightmare.(Not to mention what they’ll get for it if someone plows into ’em/steals it- maybe a quarter of what they have into it. )

          This is what Uncle has made it come to- the lengths that we have to go to now just to have a functional vehicle. Buy new, buy used…damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

          Before I’d try and resurrect a 6.0, I’d sooner do a 12V Cummins swap. Lots cheaper…and ya end up with a better long-term product.

  11. All of the US auto manufacturers set themselves up for castration and their directors no longer have autonomy over their own business for one basic reason. When sales were slow, instead of tightening their own belts and building strictly to meet public demand, they turned to Uncle for a handout here, and a bailout there, with some heavy strings attached. Now the string are ropes and chains with Uncle Executioner at both ends. It has been proven over and over again, and people still will not get this one basic concept through their thick skulls; make the govt. your mistress and your screwed for life. No one who can afford a housemaid asks the hired hands for a loan or a bailout, they either do as they are told, or they hit the road. They damn sure don’t have any business running, and ruining, our lives and our livelihood!

    • Geeves, that is SO true, and people just keep falling for it, and never grasping all of the implications.

      Just like in NYC: From the 1920’s, the city provided low or no interest loans and tax breaks, etc. to those who wanted to construct apartment buildings- with the stipulation that the city got to “regulate” the rents- known as “rent control”.

      This resulted in literally hundreds of thousands of apartments that had to be rented for way below market value. Guess it seemed like a good thing to the landlords when they got the cheap money…..but not so much when decades later you had apartments, like the one my aunt lived in that she rented in the 50’s, and lived there to the day she died (No one gives up a rent-controlled apartment!) in ’99, who at that time in ’99 was only paying just over $200 a month rent- for an apartment that on the free market would easily rent for 10 times that amount.

      Sucks for the landlords…AND it sucked for the tenants, like my aunt, who spend half of her life in that dingy one-bedroom apartment whose windows all looked out onto an alleyway where the sun never shined.

      Everybody wants the benefits of free/cheap money, and free/cheap products and services, but few count the cost- be it to their neighbors who and themselves who pay the difference through taxes and the reduced freedom that results from enabling the politicians to have control over things they would otherwise have no control over- nor the cost of their own quality of life- i.e. being shackled for a good part of one’s life to a depressing living environment because it’s too good of a deal to give up.

      The money my aunt saved by not having to pay market rent, she squirreled away, and left to friends and relatives when she kicked the bucket.

      Like they say: Be careful what you wish for; you may get it.

      • Good and hard! Ah go screw yourself WP. What are you to determine the length of a printed thought, you bastard child of the digital aholes?

      • Hi MrR,

        Yes, new cars are powerful. They are also heavy, overcomplicated and very expensive. The “800 hp special editions” you mention are like supermodels. It’s nice to know they’re out there, but most of us will never spend a night with one.

        I agree – and have written, often – that the performance of new cars is spectacular. But I’ve also written that it is tempered by oppressive nanny state idiot-proofing, hugely expensive and disposable in a way that is unprecedented, due to the ratio of value vs. cost to repair as they age and the fact that most people who are not skilled mechanics themselves, with access to professional-grade equipment, cannot diagnose/repair them.

        What is the least expensive RWD/V8-powered new sedan you can buy? It’s a new Charger, pushing $40,000. Most such cars cost a lot more. Were you aware that until CAFE began to make such cars unaffordable, most Americans drove cars like that? Today, they drive smaller/FWD and four-cylinder powered cars.

        I wrote an article a few years back comparing my ’76 Trans-Am to the current equivalent, a new Camaro. My car was top-of-the-line back in ’76, came with almost every option you could get, including AC, power windows and locks, electric defrost, the upgrade interior, Honeycomb wheels. The price was $5,400 in ’76. Adjusted for inflation, that’s just over $24k today – which will maybe get you just barely into a base Camaro.

        And yes, I know. The new Camaro’s base four is stronger than the top-of-the-line 455 V8 was back in ’76 and the new car is quicker. But it’s a four cylinder car vs. a proper muscle car with a big V8. And while the ’76 455 was weak, stock, it can be easily and inexpensively made not-weak, at home – with basic tools, by anyone with the ability to turn a wrench.

        The insurance mafia need never know, either.

        That is s key difference and a measure of what we have lost.

        Another is that my TA is still here. Because it is almost infinitely (and economically) repairable. The new stuff is not. Check the depreciation curves vs. the cost to repair for major items such as a croaked dual clutch transmission.

        The new stuff is designed to be thrown away.

        • Eric, the pinnacle of the gasoline V8 was reached in the late ’80s to early ’90s with the throttle body injection system.

          As easy to work on as the old carburetted engines, not overly complicated and a single simple computer control for the fuel management. So simple even a shade tree mechanic could work on it.

          • I agree, Guerrero!

            And those engines gave good mileage – comparable to the latest “high tech, efficient” stuff… in part because the vehicles they were put in were significantly lighter. The curb weight of today’s stuff is unconscionable.

            • It’s hilarious, Eric.

              Years ago, they declared war on full-sized cars, and down-sized everything, to make vehicles lighter, to save that all-important couple of MPGs that Uncle is so obsessed about- and now they’ve got everyone driving around in these little cars with no trunks, which weigh more than the old full-sized cars that they jettisoned- and is forcing everyone who wants/needs a full-sized vehicle and/or cargo carrying ability, to drive trucks!

  12. The U.S.’s way of covertly ensuring compliance with the globalist edict of eliminating the IC-engined car by 2030.

    Soon, there will be no viable used cars. The older ones will be gone through attrition; the newer ones, such as the above-described junk, will also be gone- being economically unfeasible to own and drive after the warranty expires, because there’s too much crap to break and or wear-out, and it’s all too expensive to repair.

  13. Chrysler made a BIG mistake when they ceased production of the standard cab Dodge Dakota truck. This truck was larger than the “mini-trucks”, but smaller than the full-size trucks. Having owned a number of these trucks, I would buy a new one today, if they were available. Chrysler, are you listening?

  14. Oh what the f…
    Keep a massive body with a diminutive engine that is going to cost you in the years to come. Makes so much sense.
    Heaven forbid we bring back the small truck bodies or, the unspeakable, allow the small imports in. The first ‘car’ I bought was a Mitsubishi 4-banger truck with a Dodge label. I bought it and paid first year insurance for under $1k at about 80k miles and drove it into the ground at ~190k miles. The seals on the engine had just given up the ghost. I hauled motorcycles in it, lawn crap, bureaus, a fridge, etc… It was a perfect little truck. Don’t get me wrong, I love my land yacht with it’s gas guzzling, power puking V-8, but those little trucks are awesome.
    But for SAFETYNESS!!!!! and protectionism, we can’t have small pickups anymore.

    • I can understand why Ford went the direction they did and why GM took the other road. What sort of 8 Ball could see what would be going on in just a few years the way govt agency power flips and flops. It’s a major clusterfuck nobody can accurately predict…..or so it would seem.

      There is one constant you can’t deny these days, a couple actually. People are Much larger than they used to be and pickups have turned into nothing more than the new big station wagon.

      For myself, I normally need something to carry a lot of “stuff” like a station wagon would. A Chevelle station wagon would do most of my chores and that gas hog Z 71 could keep the cats in the barn entertained with all sorts of places to lie down or fight….and just generally piss on.

      • I had wanted a Dodge Magnum to have a slick station wagon. The sports wagon from “Vacation” came to mind when I drove it. I tested a couple and wanted to find a way to do it, but I couldn’t swing it financially so I went a completely different direction. I’m disappointed it didn’t take off and stay in production. Of course, our overlords safetyness bullshit made it near impossible to see out the back, but that was another matter entirely.
        But all the modern “compact SUV’s” are nothing more than jacked up station wagons. When the SUV was build off a truck frame, it had truck styling and, to some extent, truck capabilities. With them pretty much all moving to car frames and car engines, it’s the modern family truckster.

    • Just this last December I acquired that same truck, but mine with the 2.3 litre turbodiesel. The truck was gifted to me by the family which bought it new, it now has 210K on it. They had some issues with the diesel sustem, could notfigure it out, and knew I’d sort ot and use it. It returns mid-30’s in mixed town and freeway driving, is rock solid, reliable, plenty of power with that TBD. It came at just the right tome for me, too.. my venerable one ton van had just gotten totalled…. the insurance company, as is their wont, were taking forever to fairly appriase my car for the payoff. I have this funny feeling that tiny truck and I will be companions for some yars to come. Wish I could find a cap for it, though… I can’t leave anything in the bed without it sprouting legs and departing. May just have to grab myself by the scruff and build one.


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