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How to improve MPG in an old truck

Discussion in 'General Truck Discussions' started by nyc123, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. nyc123

    nyc123New Member

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    Hi, new member here. I had an 82 F100 but sold it because I was making Saudi kings and Texas tycoons rich. Is there a way I can get 20+ mpg, maybe even 30, out of an old 70's or 80's model truck? My options I was thinking was doing a modern swap for a new engine, wiring, etc., and the other option I was thinking about was if there's something I can do to greatly improve the MPG on an old truck from those years. I think I was getting less than 10 MPG in that F100. Any suggestions on an old 150/1500 size truck with certain specs that would make this more doable, please let me know. I am just looking at what to buy now, but I like pretty much all the late 70's, 80's, and even up to mid 90's trucks. Ford, Dodge, Chevy, GMC - I'm open. I have to say, I really like how the Fords look (I know that's probably gonna tick some people off but I'm not a truck expert at all). I would also like to keep the good sound of an old truck (I had a friend suggesting making it electric...). I think if I could it with keeping the old engine, it'd be best, since I'm assuming the resale value is a lot of the old engines. If I could get an idea of costs, too, I'd appreciate it. If it costs way more to do the modern engine rather than modifying the old ones, that would change the outlook
     
  2. 7mopar

    7moparWell-Known Member

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    Guess it would be possible if you are willing to throw enough money at it. 30 MPG would be a stretch unless you are will to do a diesel swap with overdrive.
     
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    • 65 sporty

      65 sportyWell-Known Member

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      Modern drivetrain would be great, but not 30, maybe mid 20's. Like 7mopar said, diesel swap and overdrive and you still would be stretching it to get 30.
       
    • 7mopar

      7moparWell-Known Member

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      I have heard of one Ram 3500 diesel that got 32 mpg unloaded. Manual trans with od plus a gear vendor. It possible but at what expense.
       
    • nyc123

      nyc123New Member

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      How much would a diesel swap with overdrive probably cost? Couldn't I just buy an old diesel truck? Overdrive you mean gearing?
       
    • 66fs

      66fsMember

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      Some of the 70's and early 80's Ford vans with the 300 and manual O/D used to get around 30mpg on the highway.
       
    • 7mopar

      7moparWell-Known Member

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      You could buy a running truck with overdrive and add the additional unit for less than the cost of a swap and have a nicer truck.
      Dont know what the cost would be. Around here $10000 doesnt buy much and what you a suggesting could go well over $20000.
       
    • Cranky1

      Cranky1Old Stinky Fart

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      My 97 Cummins powered Dodge 2500 has knocked down 25 mpg at times and does high teens pulling a an open trailer with a 71 Duster on it. Weight of the trailer with the car was around 4400 lbs and running 70 mph with it. If you like to do a project, a 4bt Cummins can knock down 30 in a smaller pickup like a Dakota but you got to do some fab work to get it in. The 2nd gen Dakota (97-2004) tips the scales in the high 3000 lbs range and higher depending on configuration and options but you can bump up the tune on the 4 and have pretty good performance and mileage. Why Dodge never did this at the factory is beyond me.....
       
      Last edited: Nov 14, 2019 at 8:55 AM
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      • nyc123

        nyc123New Member

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        wow, 10 and 20k

        Is there a way to at least get 20 in an old truck? Maybe some sorts of doohickeys put on the engine, or fabrication here or there? What about dropping an old LS motor in it? <----I heard that somewhere else

        I have a couple buddies who are real good at this kind of stuff. Necks are as red as it gets and they've done this for years, but not for mpg
         
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        • 7mopar

          7moparWell-Known Member

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          Dodge doesn't offer the diesel in the new Dakotas like they do in the 1500 Ram? I gave up on looking at new trucks long ago. Just to expensive.
           
        • Cranky1

          Cranky1Old Stinky Fart

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          Seems the Dakotas didn't get a lot of love from Dodge. How many commercials did you see since they were first produced? And if Dodge did offer a diesel in one, I've never knew about it either.
           
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