Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Obsession

As I said in the last post, I bought a pickup. I have been driving a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 LT extended cab, and it had 185k on it when it puttered off into the sunset. I loved that truck - it was classy, it rode nice, and it ran like a scalded dog, Pass everything but the fuel pumps, because it had the tow/haul package with the tranny cooler and 4.10 limited slip rears. When I bought it, gas was $1.39/gal. Yes, I'm obsessive and kept track of every expense, repair and so on. I also had it chipped, a lower temp thermostat, cat back duals, and a K&N intake setup to let 'er breath a bit better. Before I loaded it down with a ton of crap in the toolbox and in the extended cab, it would fry the tires.

So I was all set to buy another Chevy. But, as I got to looking around, I got the impression that the new ones were not as well done as my older version. The interiors seemed more cheaply made, and finding out they didn't even have a change holder in the console anymore only heightened that impression. Plus, I got to seeing how ALL the other manufacturers offered a console shifter with their bucket seats, but not GM. Column shifter all the way, baybee. Even their new revamped 2014 doesn't have that available. I noticed on a USA Today article that there were a bunch of commenters that were looking for just that option in the all new and improved model only to find out there would not be one. I'm not the only one that figured they'd buy something else.

Plus there was the whole Government Motors thing, along with Ram trucks. Sorry, but I'm of the opinion that I should get a taxpayer's discount when purchasing one of their products. I'll always feel that way. And frankly, from what I've seen, the Ram's have one of the better powertrains, but after that not so much. Their cabs just can't handle being rode hard and put away wet - the doors rattle and have to be slammed, stuff is always falling off, and so on. The heavier ones with Cummins diesels can't be beat for towing, but the cabs are still junk. My neighbor has also broken his frame a couple times. The truck is falling apart, but that Cummins keeps right on pluggin' away.

I don't need a heavy pickup.

Toyota and Nissan don't make very good mileage, and their designs are dated. I was wanting a certain set of options, and they both seemed to think the luxury stuff I was looking at required DVD players for the back seat.Yeah, like I need that.

You can probably imagine how obsessive I was looking at trucks online and trying to find what I wanted. and AutoTrader kinda suck, because not all dealers pay to be on their sites. Plus it's hard to fine tune searches there - yeah, you can weed F150s out of the others, but finding extended cab FX4s with the luxury package not so much. is where it's at to find a specific vehicle. Much better.

I was also looking for an extended cab, but in these days of crew cabs, they are kinda hard to find. So, what I was looking for was a four wheel drive crew cab pickup with the luxury seats. I was pretty well spoiled by the power leather seats in the ol' Z71, and my butt wanted the same thing. Ford has ten way power heated/cooled leather seats with power foot pedals. Check!

I was also pretty well impressed with the looks of the FX4 - comparable to the Z71. It has skid plates standard. The real off road Ford is the Raptor, but it comes with the 6.2 L V8. I like power, but I'm more into better fuel economy. The Lariats, Platinums and Limiteds all have skid plates as an option, but most do not have them installed. Another thing is that all those other trims have is fake wood interiors. I'm not into the tons of plastic chrome slathered all over the outside, nor am I into fake wood. The FX4 has none of that.

I was also really wanting a tail gate step. Ford offers a step that pulls out of the tailgate when it's dropped, then it angles downward with a flap that flips over giving your foot some purchase. A fairly tall rod handle is folded into the tailgate, and flipping it up gives you something to grab to climb into the bed. The dealer I went to had a Platinum equipped just like the FX4 but with the tailgate step, 3.23 locking rears instead of 3.55s, the power retracting running boards (which I think is a bit much). No skid plates. I was really into the idea of the lower gears, but not so much having a four wheel drive pickup w/o skid plates.

So I went with the FX4.

That is ruby red metallic clearcoat - it's an extra cost option. I also was considering black or gray like the ol' Z71, but this is the color I really wanted. FX4s have an option called the FX Appearance Package, which is flat black painted 20"wheels (the same ones as these but different paint), red piping trim on the seats, red trimmed FX4 badging, and some hockey stick shaped stripes on the side plus a big patch on the hood. I was all for everything but the stupid decals. Were I to find one of those, the decals were gonna be history. But I like the low key low gloss silver/gray these wheels have.

Just about everything has a backup camera these days - that is what the eye is for on the tailgate badge.

The view from the cab.

Free Sirius for a few months.

The home screen. The little bucket seats are for heating and cooling. There is an electric trailer brake controller built in, and the knob controls the four wheel drive and locking rear. The two buttons at the top are for a hill descent program and for turning the traction control off.

Not even 500 miles yet, and I'm averaging 14.2mpg. I did fill it up in Dodge after coming back from Wichita, and it was windier than you know what. It said 13.8mpg, but actual was 14.0. Of course there are several other screens for different stuff there as well.

This thing has the Ecoboost 3.5 L V6 with twin turbos and a six speed auto. This setup has more torque and hp than their 5.0 V8 that is offered, and has much better mileage than the 6.2. I can tell you there is some turbo lag, but not much. I took it out to the old back road today, and ran it through were I thought our old quarter mile marks were. Probably over eighty five through the quarter, and it is electronically governed at 100mph. Runs good! I think the Z71 would take it at first, but on down the quarter the Ford would suck it's doors.

I sure thought about changing out the air intake, adding a low restriction exhaust, and chipping this puppy. "They" say it really unlocks a bunch more power and torque, but I've got a warranty to consider. Ford isn't gonna stand behind their turbos if I put something upstream from them that ain't factory. And used to be, you could tweak the chip, and if you had some trouble, change it back before taking it to the dealer. Not anymore - they have telltales that let 'em know if it's been messed with. I may have been a fool, but I purchased an extended warranty, just because I'm pretty sure all this electronic crap isn't gonna make it for six years trouble free. After all, this thing is using Microsoft Sync, so there ya go.

For sure I'm getting some brush guards - the plastic crap on the Chevy up front looks stouter than this thing. I don't think it will take a pheasant hit very well. And I still may get a cat back exhaust - the service manager I talked to said they didn't have any conflicts with the warranty if I did that because I would be replacing all the parts that the warranty would cover, plus they didn't affect the other factory parts.So I got an unofficial go ahead there, more or less.

So, I'm hoping this thing lasts as long as I tend to keep vehicles. I really don't want to get something else for a long, long, time.


CGHill said...

I admit to being a little bit leery of little engines with big blowers, but 85 in the quarter? That's even with my Infiniti, even with half a ton of additional mass to schlep around.

And hey, Ford wants to sell a lot of these down the road, so I'm pretty sure they'll work with you.

Anonymous said...

And I love that it's sporting the purple on the front bumper!

Anonymous said...

All I can see you got a red car. You can laugh all you want!

Jeffro said...

Tat: That's what I'd expect coming from your perspective and experience actually driving - not laughing at ya at all.

I get the feeling that even if you did have to learn to drive, the autos would be just another appliance to you. Which is great - I'm not sure how being a gear head happens! I sure don't wax poetic over my toaster!

Erin Palette said...

But does the new car have a change holder? This is critical information!

Jeffro said...

Absolutely it does! New and Improved! It holds pennies, which the Chevy did not!

drjim said...

Your neighbor broke the frame?

How the heck does THAT happen?

Jeffro said...


Towing beyond capacity. He has a fifth wheel bale trailer that has to be fifty plus feet long. His pickups have had some relief since he picked up a couple semis and floats!

So, yeah, not sure if a Chevy or a Ford could have taken that kind of abuse, either.

drjim said...


Well, it's his own fault, then.

lisa said...

Nice wheels! We have had dodge, chevy, toyota, ford, nissan and you can get a lemon no matter what you drive! We bought a dodge 3500 cummins diesel, it is a 98 and over 100,000 miles. The hubby drives a 2500 chevy, and we have the old 78 ford. Who knows, what to buy these days. We always seem to buy old trucks because we use them for farm trucks and they get beat up any way. I buy new cars if possible and that is it. Enjoy your truck, I even like the color!

jed said...

Too many gizmos and flashy things for me, but if it makes you happy, then it's all good.

I'm sure they have their reasons, but these days, I'd rather see a turbo diesel in a full-size pickup. If Volkswagen, Porsche, and Jeep can make them work in their respective vehicles, Ford ought to be able to manage it too. (Yeah, I'm sure they're available as options somewhere in the line, but I mean more as a mainstream thing.)

I think the brush guard is a good idea. It'll give you someplace to mount a handful of Piaa's and a winch. Just kidding. But the right one will look nice and protect the front end some, as you say.

Jeffro said...

I suppose the reason why a light duty pickup not having a diesel is profits. More than likely such trucks would primarily be strippers and thus less profit for the manufacturers.

I know there would be a market for them; plenty of people have expressed their desire to own one. Something simple and rugged and long lived. I guess that concept is an anathema to the bean counters.

As for me, I wanted a "go to town pickup" as they are known around here. Hauling will be minimal, as will off roading. Comfort is real big here. Maybe I'm killing the environment or something for not choosing a small car, but I'm not doing painful yoga exercises just to climb in and out.

jed said...

Gotta disagree with you, Jeffro. These days, aren't most pickup sales the "go to town" sort. IIRC, pickup sales are (or were) one of things saving the Big 3's collective asses in the face of CAFE regulations. With the demise of the big sedans and station wagons, people who want a big vehicle turn to what's left, which is pickups and SUVs. I read something a while back analyzing that, with numbers and such even. And if there's a market for a Porsche Cayenne diesel, then I think maybe a TDi full-size pickup, particularly loaded with comfort features, isn't off at all.

Speaking of features, I came across that Cayenne at the dentist's office, where I actually made it through an entire issue of Motor Trend. I also read about, don't recall which vehicle, I think a new Caddy sedan, has a vibrator in the seat as the warning mechanism for the lane-following assistance. I wonder whether anybody's butt wanted that!

Jeffro said...

I'm not disagreeing with what you are saying - I wasn't even considering why people are buying trucks because there aren't any large "comfort" cars to speak of anymore - I agree with all that. Just from what I hear, there would be a lot of people that would like a less optioned diesel truck, but my cynicism makes me believe that the bean counters would rather not invest in such a possibility as long as they're rolling in dough from what they are already selling without having to spend money to change a thing.

Maybe there really is an untapped high profit potential there and I'm missing it. It's not like the drivetrains aren't available in the ol' catalog - plenty of stuff in Yurrup.

NotClauswitz said...

We got a fairly stripped '06 F-150 4x4 Extra cab that still has more than I ever had before: electric windows and mirrors! A full-length crew-cab wouldn't fit in the Condo parking spot - but now that we're moving to a HOUSE in the mountains I need a bed extender to help with the load.
I never considered any GM product (my buddy's Pete's GMC steered like a Conestoga wagon) or the Dodge either (cheap interior), and the imports were over-priced for the motor they had.

drjim said...

"The imports were over-priced for the motor they had."

Oh, boy, have you ever got that right!

As much as I liked the Honda Pilot when I looked at it, there was just no way I was going to tow a 6,000 pound trailer with it!

And I tow a 6,000 pound trailer on a regular basis for my radio club. It has a 65' crank-up tower, a 10 kW generator, and some big storage boxes loaded with cables and stuff for our "portable" operations.

I've got a "thing" against towing a trailer that weighs twice what the tow vehicle!

NotClauswitz said...

I WANTED to buy a cool lookin' FJ Toyota - with a V-8, but no dice. How can they call it an offroad 4x4 without a big lazy v-8?

Kevin said...

I've heard very good things about the Eco-Boost engine, but this thread at F150Forum is disturbing. Short version, guy in Canada has had THREE catastrophic Eco-Boost engine failures in his 2012, and Ford is not being cooperative.

I like my 2002 Crew-cab F250 diesel, thank you. And my 2011 5.0 GT Mustang.

Jeffro said...

Damn! What a CF that guy has gone through!

I had run across several horror stories involving what "they think" is condensation in the intake tube downstream from the aftercooler causing major problems. I know there are updates on the '13s, and that most of the incidents happened when the truck is used for towing in very humid climes. So I figured I'd probably be ok. Sure hope so, anyhow.....

There is even a Facebook page for that problem, too.

And, the thought of a several year old 'Stang GT has crossed my mind way more than once!

drjim said...

Yeah, I read all fifty nine pages of that thread!

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