Truck Questions

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by rkmurphy, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. rkmurphy

    rkmurphy Well-Known Member

    I have a 2004 Dodge Dakota 2WD 3.7 V6 Auto with about 91.5k miles on it. The gears in the rear are 3.55.

    The bottom line is this...the gas mileage sucks and it doesn't tow very well. I do a lot of city driving and average about 14-15 mpg. I can squeeze 18-19 mpg out of it on the highway. Towing gives me around 11-13 mpg.

    I can't afford a truck payment...and I want to lift it.

    Now here is the challenge. What can I do to improve the gas mileage (keep the lift in mind) and improve the towing while keeping it a reliable vehicle that can last me 2-3 years to come?

    Would appreciate the suggestions!!
     
  2. anytide

    anytide Administrator Staff Member

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    why do you want to lift a 2wd truck??  -you'll prolly lose mileage by messing with the gearing ,save the lift $ and put it in the gas tank ;)
    the mileage is as good as it gets for that truck :-/

    my .02               -anytide
    p.s. as long as it gets the skiff to the ramp so WE can fish -were good ;D
     

  3. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

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    Check the misc. for sale and see TomFL's post on the $1,500 rear end job. That is a lot of gas. Ask him how much better his milage got with the different rear and then you have the data to examine.

    X2 on the lift and the advice. To improve mileage you need a smaller engine/smaller vehicle, with a smaller engine you won't be happy with the towing. Keep it the way it is.
     
  4. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

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    Lifting the truck will give you worse gas milage, and if you put on beefier tires it will really suck. The MPG you are getting is actually pretty good and you won't do better in a mid/full size truck without going to a hybrid. Don't waste the money.
     
  5. noeettica

    noeettica Well-Known Member

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    Right on the money :)

     
  6. rkmurphy

    rkmurphy Well-Known Member

    Well the gearing is mostly to take some of the load off the drivetrain. I would only do the gears if I put on the lift to put the final drive ratio closer to stock.

    The stock tires are 29". The lift is 3/3.5" suspension (front/rear) and 3" body and I would be putting 33x12.50 BFG ATs on it. So it wouldn't be a huge jump.
     
  7. anytide

    anytide Administrator Staff Member

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    more drag, more weight, less mileage :'( -sorry buddy
    -anytide
     
  8. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

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    29's to 33's is a very big bump actually, it may not look like it, but it will cost you. It doesn't make sense since you are worried about stress on a drive train, bigger tires means more rolling mass and bigger stresses on the axles, bearings, brakes, motor, tranny and gears. Even if you regear you will lose mpg just from the aerodynamic disadvantages of lifting a truck. Also lifting a truck changes the running angle of the drive line and makes it wear out faster.
    The amount of money you will spend on the 2 lift kits, gearing, tires, and upgrading your brakes (yes you need to do that with bigger tires, anyone who tells you different doesn't know much about lifts), could probably easily pay for a year or so worth of gas.
     
  9. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

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    Drive it the way it is until it won't drive anymore.
     
  10. rkmurphy

    rkmurphy Well-Known Member

    Hmmm...so what I've gotten out of this is...lift the truck and stop bitching about gas mileage. I know I'd lose a little. As long as I can push this truck another 60k miles or so, I'm okay. I may pop a K&N system on it for a little mileage boost, too.

    The suspension lift is a sunk cost...I need new suspension anyway. Same goes for tires. So the added expense is in the body lift and rims. Gears is something I should probably do anyway.

    If I'm going to keep the beast, I'd rather invest a little money in making it something that I really enjoy driving which is why I want the lift...I always wanted it but didn't want to void my extended warranty. Now that's an issue anymore.
     
  11. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

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    How did you get that? :-? I know where you are coming from cause I've been there myself several times. I will tell you from experience that if you hate the truck now, you will hate it even more after the lift and fancy stuff's bolted on, and be pissed you wasted the money and quickly start looking for another truck. The phrase "lipstick on a pig" sums it up. Trust me I have the reciepts for thousands :mad:

    Plus if your underpowered motor doesn't tow well now it will really be bad after a lift cause now it has to push the extra rolling mass. Your acceleration will be much slower and overall power will be reduced. And everything will start wearing out quicker. If you want it to last another 60k just tune it up right and drive easy. Put the money in the bank so you can put it towards a full-sized truck in a few years.

    PS. forget the intake systems, I've tried many of them, it won't make any hardcore difference without a full exhuast, bigger throttle body, remapped computer.....
     
  12. anytide

    anytide Administrator Staff Member

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    buy yourself a toy to mess with , jack it, up with some of those 33" erasers on it and play with it,,, cant afford down time with you primary vehicle
    theres plenty of good deals out there,, messing w' your primary tranportation is a no no :-?
    -anytide
     
  13. AfterHours2

    AfterHours2 Stripper in my own Mind!

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    A little word of friendly advice, I wouldnt go with the body and suspension lift at the same time. Instead of doing 3" body and 3" suspension just buy the 6" suspension kit. I know it costs quite a bit more but I have seen trucks sheared off a body lift and it is not very safe. I actually have a newer Tundra that I put a leveling kit on the front and stuck 35" on it. My gas mileage has not suffered a bit so I dont know what most people are refering too when they say it will get way worse. Just my opinion. Just lift it, fat chicks cant jump! ;D
     
  14. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

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    After hours? did you install the recalibration kit for the speedo when you did the lift? if not then there is no way to know how much mpg you've lost since your speedo and odometer is off. ;)
     
  15. AfterHours2

    AfterHours2 Stripper in my own Mind!

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    My speedo was never a factor on my truck. It was installed by a local toyota dealer and everything to my knowledge is jam up. My father also has the same truck with the identical set up and his was never an issue either. In fact, the tundra is sold from the factory with a much larger kit than mine and no reports of loss mileage that I have heard of. Maybe the tundras are just different. ;)
     
  16. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

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    Check your dealer invioce reciept, if it doesn't specifically list speedometer recalibration then they didn't do it and it is off (will be listed seperately as a charge). If it is off then it would make it seem like you are driving slower and getting better gas milage since you have a larger diameter tire when in fact the opposite is true. Yes all manufacturers offer off-road packages with bigger tires, but they usually come with bigger gears, tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, and in some of Toyotas cases a remapped computer with the TRD package.
     
  17. floridanative1028

    floridanative1028 I Love microskiff.com!

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    Aftermarket cat-back exhaust yes, but there is no need for a bigger throttle body, full exhaust, or a tune for your computer just for an intake to make a difference. You could never max out the flow on the stock throttle body with the stock heads. You'll notice the difference right away with an intake and a good 2 1/4"-2 1/2" exhaust system because your engine will be running more efficiently.
     
  18. AfterHours2

    AfterHours2 Stripper in my own Mind!

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    The original tires that come on the truck are equivalent to a 32.8". Jumping up to a 35" will not make a difference. I think you have been mislead by others that jack their truck up 10" and stick 40" tires on it. Now that will mess up your mpg. Also, my truck has the trd package and their is no upgrade for the brake system, unless you order cross drilled rotors.. ;)
     
  19. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

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    I didn't say it wouldn't make a difference, I said it wouldn't make a hardcore difference. Most of these "intake systems" claim they will increase your hp up to 15-25hp. That is simply not true if you read the fine print, or heck just look up any magazine that has tested any of them, the numbers they give are when combined with other upgrades like I listed. I've personally dynoed a few of my vehicles with different mods, realistically you would be looking at 1-5hp, if that with just a "cold air intake system." Reason being most vehicles are already designed to draft cool air. It may sound more aggressive, and you will swear it's doing alot, but Many runs on the track have proved different.

    A major difference in mpg, most likely not, but definately a difference. Just look at the math, 32.8" to 35" is a 7% increase roughly. Without a corrected speedo that means everything is off 7% (there is actually more math that goes into it making it worse after certain speeds, but that's another story). Really though I've always told people if you have money to mod your ride then you shouldn't have to worry about MPG! A bigger concern to me would be that you may be traveling faster then you think since the speedo is reading 7% slower and gets compounded with speed increase. I speak from experience on this one, it's not something you can argue in court, especially since modifying a vehicle beyond it's factory configuration is technically not legal, more of a grey area, something most traffic accident lawyers like to keep in there back pocket to help them win cases. As far as brakes are concerned some offroad packages used to come with 4 wheel disc brakes instead of drums in the rear, as well as larger diameter rotors in the front, some newer ones don't, but I would never put radically larger wheels and tires on a vehicle without compensating the brakes as well, I've learned my lesson on this one too.

    Anyway, I'm just trying to look out, I used to do this for a living, I've had many vehicles and most of them modified in major ways until now. As I get older and gas prices keep going up it just doesn't seem worth it anymore :(. Heck if I didn't mountain bike and need to tow a boat, I'd be driving a Hyundai! :-[
     
  20. floridanative1028

    floridanative1028 I Love microskiff.com!

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    15-25 hp increases are measured at the crankshaft in optimum atmospheric conditions so technically its not a bogus claim. Rear wheel horsepower increase is probably closer to 5. Kinda like outboard manufacturers who don't measure horsepower from the prop.
     
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