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Sunday, February 15, 2015

17th vehicle - F-250 Powerstroke Diesel

I overheard a couple of guys at work one day talking about a vehicle they had seen for sale.  Both of them liked it and wanted it, but one had no money and the other wasn't really in the market for it.  I liked what I was hearing:  A Ford F-250 4x4 with one of the new Powerstroke Diesel engines.  I asked the guys if they were interested in it, and they were not.  I asked about where to see it.

Over the years I'd test-driven a couple of Ford diesel trucks at dealerships and liked them.  The trucks I had driven did not have turbochargers though, so they weren't very powerful.  The acceleration wasn't much to write home about on those trucks, and they were more expensive than a large gas motor, on account of the diesel engine.  So I never really was interested in a Ford diesel, until the Powerstroke engine came out.

The Powerstroke was Ford's answer to the Dodge Ram truck fitted with the inline 6 cylinder 5.9 liter Cummins turbo-diesel engine.  Dodge came out with the duo in 1989 and the trucks sold like hotcakes.  Ford had a diesel truck, but it didn't have 160 horsepower and 400 ft-lbs of torque like the turbocharged Cummins.

The Powerstroke was introduced in 1994.5.  It was a 7.3 liter V-8, and it arrived with a turbocharger and electronic fuel injection.  The engine produced 210 horsepower and 425 ft-lb of torque.  Torque (or twisting force) is important for towing, and why so many tow vehicles use big block engines.  Engines with a longer piston stroke typically have bigger torque than small ones, which are optimized to make horsepower at higher RPM.

Long story short, I bought the F-250.  I still have it, still drive it daily, and I still love it.  It's quite a bit more beat up than when I bought it, because I actually use it as a truck.

Below: A poser truck

Below: A useful truck.  Unlike the above owner, I don't cry when my truck gets a dent or a scratch :)

I've thought about hot-rodding the truck by putting a power control module in it.  It's pretty easy to make the electronic fuel injection blast more fuel into the engine and get more power from it.  I've also thought about fitting an inter-cooler to it.  But in reality the old truck doesn't need more power.  That's just the part of me that's never satisfied with whatever power I have :)

Some day I might entertain the idea of having a newer turbo-diesel truck with an inter-cooler and more power. Unfortunately those trucks cost a fortune, and there are a lot more important things to spend $60K on besides a shiny new truck!

Still, the new Ford 6.7 liter diesel engine specifications are pretty jaw-dropping:  440 horsepower and 860 ft-lbs of torque (before hot-rodding)!  That's about double the specs for my engine, and it's delivered with less emissions.  You could pull the Empire State Building clear to Florida with that kind of juice!

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