In June I purchased a new 09 F350 Lariat 6.4L PSD. Thought I'd report my experience to date on the 4200 mile trip home in hopes of giving others info to consider/compare to etc. I've previously benefitted from information, experience, expertise of others and wanted to give back a little.
F350 Lariat CC long bed 4x4
, SRW with 5 spd auto, 3.55 LS gearing and 18" rims, aftermarket Line X bedliner and canopy installed before I picked it up. Edge Insight installed at about 500 miles.
Travel to date:
I picked the truck up in Portland on June 27 and spent the first couple of days there - city driving. Left Portland on June 29 and drove back home to Anchorage through Coeur D'Alene, ID; Banff and Jasper National Parks, AB through northern BC and southern Yukon Territory to Skagway, AK. Caught the State ferry to Juneau, AK and spent 10 days on my boat, then drove home to Anchorage arriving July 22. Total miles so far - 4184 as she sits in the driveway.
My mileage overall has been 16.37 - driving mostly highway but with lots of fairly serious mountain grades, lots of stops for photos, and about two and a half tanks of city driving in Coeur D'Alene and Juneau. Ran basically unloaded except for 2 passengers, canopy, and 200 lbs of gear to Coeur D'Alene and alone with gear and canopy for remainder except for about 900 miles and with about 1000 lbs additional load mostly between Haines, AK through BC and Yukon and on to Anchorage. I've addeded Ford's
cetane booster to every tank of fuel as the consensus of all I've read is that it's a good thing to do. Comparing my MPG to others who haven't used cetane booster I'd have to agree.
My MPG appears to have been improving as I drive more miles when accounting for city driving segments and additional load. Of course I drive like an old man with a new truck
on a sightseeing trip so that may have something to do with it.
Except for fthe first 1000 miles (which were driven at variable speeds mostly highway but up and down per break-in recommendations) I've driven mostly between 55 and 60 on highway segments while accommodating for Canadian speed limits as well as lots of construction and poor road conditions on the Alaska Highway and my desire to enjoy the country and see/photograph game animals. Substantial numbers of miles were spent at relatively slow speed highway driving throughout north central BC and Yukon in early morning and late evening drives. In one approximately 25 mile stretch of highway in north central BC I saw and photographed: mule deer, elk, Stone sheep, woodland caribou, moose, black bear, and wood bison so it was worth it to me - particularly since I didn't have to be anywhere at a specific time.
Below is mileage
data on my trip segments (except for the last segment from Tok, AK to Anchorage - missing because I haven't filled tank yet.) In general my experience has been that the Lie-O-Meter has been pretty damned accurate. More accurate in some ways than manual (or spreadsheet) calculations. Significant differences have arisen only when there have been significant differences in how I filled the tank. There were a couple of times when I purposely overfilled the tank and they show up in the calculated mileage. In those instances I think the Lie-O-Meter is actually far more accurate.
Segment Trip Distance Gallons
Lie-o-Meter Mileage Calculated Mileage
1 133.4 8.89 12.0 15.01
2 347.1 22.35 16.4 15.53
3 267.7 17.51 15.5 15.29
4 176.1 11.17 15.7 15.76
5 329.1 19.97 16.2 16.48
6 250.0 14.76 17.5 16.93
7 128.8 15.59 15.9 12.16
8 235.0 10.28 16.3 22.85
9 324.2 22.01 16.2 14.73
10 340.1 16.69 17.6 20.38
11 451.8 30.00 14.8 15.06
12 179.8 11.82 14.4 15.20
13 449.3 24.50 19.0 18.34
Total 3612.4 220.56 16.37
The truck had 231 miles on it when I picked it up (it was driven from dealer in Bend, OR to Gresham, OR where I purchased and picked it up.) When not driving in mountainous terrain I think 19-20 mpg is eminently doable for this truck. On a flat stretch of road it just lopes along happily and I don't think any load short of 10,000 lbs will affect mileage too horribly on some of the long flat stretches on the high plains or Great Basin areas.
Cost per mile for fuel and cetane booster has been $.20/mile. Those costs are driven by the price of diesel, which gets progressively more expensive as you drive north through Canadian provinces and Alaska where communities are more remote, more distant and more isolated (and everything gets more expensive. See below for fuel costs. I didn't spend time looking for lowest cost diesel and in some small communities there aren't much choices. But in Tok, AK I was able to save a dime a gallon by paying attention.
Canadian fuel costs converted from per liter to per US gallon but remain in Canadian currency. Costs in US are US currency.
$2.69 (US) Biggs, OR
$2.59 (US) Coeur D'Alene, ID
$3.66 (CA) Cranbrook, BC
$3.37 (CA) Jasper, AB
$3.44 (CA) Grand Prairie, AB
$3.63 (CA) Ft. St. John, BC
$4.08 (CA) Ft. Nelson, BC
$4.16 (CA) Watson Lake, YT
$3.63 (US) Tok, AK
I've had 12 regens - averaging one every 311 miles (have shut down in the middle of a couple so had follow-ups within about 70 miles of re-start). Regens have averaged 12 minutes in duration but ranged from 4 minutes to 22 minutes. Median regen duration is 10 minutes and mode for regen duration is also 10 minutes. The regens drop Lie-O-Meter calculated gas mileage between .1 and .4 mpg.
Other Technical Data:
coolant operating temperature for my truck is 192-196 degrees Farenheit. Engine
oil temps run almost exactly parallel with coolant temps. EGT runs at about 550-650 degrees Farenheit at steady highway speed and bumps up to @ 1150-1300 degrees during regens at highway speed. My Edge Insight won't display transmission oil temperature. I understand it's a programming issue that I might be able to resolve but couldn't during the trip.
Overall I'd have to say I'm pretty much entirely satisfied with the truck. It's remarkably quiet (more quiet than my gas truck), solid, handles very well for it's size, rides far better than I expected given that it's equipped with extra heavy duty springs
for future camper and towing, and gets mileage in the range I'd hoped for (and I have a feeling it will get better MPG as it gets more miles on it.) Most importantly it will do everything I bought it to do and apparently do it without straining. But absolutely most important of all is the fact that my wife (a Boston-born judge but 25 year Alaskan) loves it.
I was more than a little concerned about mileage and reliability based on all the problem reports I'd heard and about the poor mileage experiences of many owners on various forums. So concerned, in fact, that I decided I had to buy the Premium 7 yr/100K ESP and the Premium maintenance plan with 5000 mile servcie intervals (since I live where it's routinely -20 F, roads can be rough and dusty, and I plan to be off road
(and on gravel or worse roads) routinely as well has hauling/towing. I intend to have the truck serviced every 5k by a Ford dealer, have only the Ford dealer work on it and basically be prepared to demonstrate to them that if there's a mechanical problem it's THEIR problem.
My experience in buying the truck was interesting. I had a truck picked out here in Anchorage but when I went to drive and buy it the dealer couldn't find it. After 45 minutes of searching they determined it had been stolen from the lot (along with 6 other vehicles in the past month.) They couldn't (or didn't care to) find another truck equipped as I wanted it so I did internet searches of dealership inventories throughout the inter-mountain Northwest, including North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and even northern California. Found one truck at a Montana dealer I was ready to buy but the dealer quibbled with me over $135 on a $57,000 truck. Then when I said OK charge it to my credit card he couldn't do that without raising the price. I gave him a chance to give me a deal on an ESP and maintenance plan - figuring he'd have some room to bargain and could find a way to accommodate me. He eventually did but was slow in getting back to me. It cost him a sale.
In the meantime I got a response from Gresham Ford in Gresham, OR (a suburb of Portland). Steve Renner there did everything he could be expected to do to find me a vehicle, give me a good price, and make things easy for me. The only hitch was the ESP and Premium Maintenance Plan quotes from Gresham Ford were uncompetitive.
But I bought the truck from Steve at Gresham Ford because of the way he treated me (and the price) and did extensive internet research seeking quotes on Premium ESP and Maintenance Plans. I got the best quotes from Mike Potts of Ford-Warranty-online.com and Jeremy at Buy-Ford-Warranty.com. I re-contacted Troy Dietrich at FDWarranty.com and Ford of Greenfield, MA since Troy had given me competitive quotes and also frequents (and I believe supports) this site. Troy was able to meet the best quote I had received and was very direct and honest in dealing with me. So I bought the ESP and Maintenance plans from him.
I cannot say enough positive about my experience in dealing with Steve Renner at Gresham Ford. He was responsive, professional, could answer my questions and do it fast. When he didn't have the exact vehicle I wanted he searched till he found one and gave me a very good price. He gave me a good price on a Line X bedliner and arranged to have it installed. When I told him I intended to get a canopy installed before I left Portland he recommended a canopy dealer who carried the canopy I was looking for and, when I bought the canopy (the dealer recommended by Steve quoted me the best price of three different canopy dealers), Steve personally took the truck there and sat while they installed it so my truck was completely ready to go when I arrived in Portland. He offered to pick me up at the airport and would have done so had I not had friends who wanted to do it.
I'm not someone who will put up with BS or getting conned or jerked around and I found a number of dealers who tried to do all three - usually quite courteously and with a smile but once or twice fairly rudely. One couldn't believe a price I'd been quoted for a truck at another dealer and wanted to argue with me about it - basically calling me a liar. For fun I documented the quote and he apologized but still wanted to argue. He lost a potential customer. Some of the dealers had outrageous quotes for ESPs and Maintenance plans. Apparently they believe no one does any research - or they don't care and will forego a sale unless they make their arbitrarily determined profit margin. I'm fine with everyone making a profit - everyone has to make a living. I just don't like to be lied to or screwed unnecessarily.
The direct, honest and helpful approaches I found from Steve Renner at Gresham Ford and Troy Dietrich at FDWarranty.com/Ford of Greenfield were, ultimately the reasons I chose to purchase from them. They were both great to deal with.
A couple of other observations:
This is the most refined truck I've owned (I've owned Ford trucks
since 1968) and also may be the most powerful. It is quieter, more comfortable and has more amenities than any passenger car I've owned. I find the sound system to be great and really appreciated the Sirius satellite radio as well as the ability to connect my Ipod with my own choice of music when I wanted it. Though all the Sirius materials say I can't subscribe here in Anchorage (and it's true that I lost the signal a little outside of Tok) I may have to find a way to keep a subscription just for those times when I'm traveling in Canada and the Lower 48 (I'll be driving down to hunt elk in Idaho and Montana for a month or so this fall and pretty much every year).
This is the first vehicle I've ever owned with an automatic transmission and I would not have purchased an automatic this time except it was the only way to get the 3.55 axle (which I wanted to help with mileage since I won't be towing or hauling tremendously large loads). When pulling a grade with the cruise control set I find that if the engine
starts to lag a bit below the set speed there is a quick downshift and throttle boost and the thing takes off like a rocket - it will literally jerk my head back into the head rest. While I generally putter along and keep the turbo boost at or below 10 psi when accelerating (for MPG and because I'm not in a hurry anyway) I find that when I want to pass something there is MORE than plenty of power to get the job done RIGHT NOW so I'm pretty happy. It won't compete with the '67 GTO I had off the line or in a quarter mile and it doesn't have the raw acceleration of the motorcycles I rode years ago but for a behemoth that will haul or tow about anything I want it to it seems to have plenty of power. If I'd done a bit more research I would have probably bought a 6 speed manual transmission with 3.73 gearing. I would prefer the control I'd have and mileage would have been just as good or better. The gearing of the 6 speed and 3.73 rear end would actually be about the same as the 5 speed 3.55 if I calculate it right.
I love the step built into the tailgate. It's been very helpful as I loaded and unloaded some heavy items alone and just makes things generally more convenient to get into and out of the bed. Great idea Ford!
I also find the rearview camera (and sensors) helpful though I'm not entirely used to using it as fully as I should. Old habits are hard to break and I either turn my head or look at the mirrors first.
So, did I say I was pretty much completely satisfied? I am so far.
I'm hoping that with the proper care and maintenance this truck will last for as long as I want it to. I intend to do my part
and make sure the Ford dealers who service it do theirs. I hope that most of the problems early buyers of the 6.4L PSD experienced have been ironed out by Ford by the time mine was built.
This forum and several others were invaluable sources
of information to me in considering what truck to buy, how it should be equipped for what I want it to do, providing information about what to expect, what to do and not do, what potential problems were out there and how some could be avoided, and generally providing excellent resources, information and advice.
So, for all of you who so generously shared your time, resources, experience and expertise THANK YOU!!!
I hope the information I've provided on my experience can be at least a bit useful to others. At any rate it's the only way I can try to repay those who were so helpful to me