What’s Hot Going into the New Year
Is it too soon to call it the “roaring twenties?” The economy is good right now, unemployment is low, and the diesel business is still rolling on, and rolling strong. A new decade is a good time to take pause and to look at some of the current trends that are following us into this brand new year and decade.
Emissions Legal Tuning
As of this year there’s very little in the form of “delete” tuning for newer trucks that involves removing the DPF, but that doesn’t mean that tuning is dead. Many companies like Edge, PPEI, and Banks are bringing clean horsepower into the ’20s, as tunes that offer a slight gain in fuel economy along with a substantial increase in horsepower are still available. The Edge Pulsar L5P tuner for instance can rack up more than 90hp on the new, already-powerful ’17 to ’19 GMs while still being emissions compliant. So don’t worry if a customer with a new truck comes in asking for “a little more power and better mileage,” diesel tuning is still alive and well!
Diesel trucks have been fairly complicated ever since they went common-rail, but in the last 10 years or so they’ve really started to get to a point where a fairly advanced mechanic is needed to do the job. More computing power and exhaust aftertreatments are two of the big changes that make newer diesels harder to work on, and ’10-and-up trucks are starting to break. We’re seeing Dodges eat turbos and sometimes even engines, Fords with emissions issues, and GMs with failing sensors and aftertreatment issues. Unfortunately, more often that not, a “parts cannon” approach is used by dealerships to fix these problems, which rarely reveals an underlying cause. Our advice to you? If you see a lot of a certain truck you’re unfamiliar with come into your shop, call a friend, call another mechanic, call someone in a different state and see if they’ve run into the same problem. You never know a simple phone call could save you hours on diagnosis.
Classics Making a Comeback
With the price and complexity of new trucks, older diesels are starting to make a comeback. 7.3L Fords, 5.9L 12-valve and 24-valve VP Dodges, and ’05-and-up GMs are all $10,000 trucks, if they’re 4x4s and in decent shape. Now that these older trucks are commanding a decent amount of money, they’ve gotten rid of the folks who “really can’t afford” diesels, and attract a more affluent crowd. These buyers have money to spend on fixing up their old trucks and also performance parts, so don’t be surprised if you see a resurgence in this type of business, both in repair and performance.