Chick’s Corner: My Diesel Wishlist


Whether you’ll be taking that much-needed break from the rat race or gearing up for another overhaul, there’s no denying that Christmas is in the air. Families are coming together, and while the temperatures drop, spirits are high with cheer and love.

What else comes with the Christmas season? Wishing, of course. But these aren’t going to be wishes for an Oculus Rift or a trip to the Bahamas; these are wishes for changes to the diesel world! Without further ado, let’s jump in.

#1: DEF/SCR Go Away


Recently, I did an exposé on diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). I explored its origins, its involvement with Selective Catalyst Reduction, and its pros and cons. If that article on the blue stuff had anything to teach me, it’s that DEF is kind of a hassle.

Not only is it another maintenance chore to do, but it is also potentially dangerous thanks to its filler neck resembling the diesel fuel filler neck. What’s more, DEF’s inherent delicacy makes it even more of a headache to use, since it can’t handle temperatures outside of 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit, nor can it handle exposure to air without crystallizing.


I’ve gathered from many of our fans that emissions restrictions and gadgetry (DPFs, catalytic converters, EGRs, etc.) are not popular; rolling coal and letting loose with everything you’ve got are the orders of the day. Still, throwing the DEF baby out with the environmental bathwater, so to speak, seems a little extreme to me. Maybe just settling for getting rid of DEF and SCR is all we need for right now; anyone want to start the hashtag #nomoreregencycles?

#2: Nissan Gets It Right Next Time


I gave my honest take on the 2016 Titan XD earlier this year. To give credit where it was due, the truck was a notable improvement in many ways over the tired and ready-to-retire generation that ran from 2003-2015; but that did little to overcome some of its downsides.

One downside was its price point. It honestly made more sense to get a Big Three diesel truck, considering the Titan had nothing better to offer customers in terms of payload or performance. Also, I could never get used to the “face” of the truck – big and not at all aerodynamic, I remarked that it would become a “big gallery of dead bugs.” I stand by that statement.

It may seem harsh for me to bring out a departed horse for another ill-deserved whipping, but this time I do it out of love – I want Nissan to succeed, and the only way that will happen is by acknowledging what they got wrong and doing better next time. So, Nissan, I wish that you will get it right next time.

#3: More Mainstream Acceptance


It’s no secret that diesels have something of a bad name these days. Volkswagen certainly didn’t help when it was revealed in September 2015 that the automaker had been fudging the numbers to help its TDI models pass emissions testing.

Still, with some of the advancements made in recent years, diesel is cleaner than ever before and has the potential to overtake gasoline motors when it comes to fuel economy and power output. By wishing for more mainstream acceptance, I think it would be neat to see diesel-powered vehicles increase in market share.


Coinciding with that, perhaps this would eventually lead to the end of the “chicken tax,” a ridiculous tariff program stretching all the way back to the 1960s after President Lyndon Johnson put a 25-percent import fee on all pickup trucks coming from Europe. We could finally see what it would be like to drive the Volkswagen Amarok, powered by a 3.0-liter diesel and six-speed manual transmission.

#4: 1,000 Lb-Ft of Torque From The Factory

Cummins, Duramax, and Power Stroke engines are bigger and stronger than ever before. So when will they finally cross the 1,000 lb-ft mark?

Truck owners across the country have all been a part of that conversation that starts with, “Yeah, well, my [brand] pulls better than your [brand]!” And for their part, each of the Big Three has stoked that fire year after year by ramping up the torque output of each of their motors.

For 2016, Ram has claimed its 6.7-liter Cummins makes 900 lb-ft of torque; GM’s 6.6-liter Duramax makes 910 lb-ft of torque; and Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke makes 925 lb-ft of torque. It feels like we’re so close already to the “1,000” that the point in waiting any longer is ludicrous.

At 920 lb-ft of torque, the 2017 Power Stroke is the closest of the Big Three to breaking through the 1,000 lb-ft ceiling.

At 920 lb-ft of torque, the 2017 Power Stroke is the closest of the Big Three to breaking through the 1,000 lb-ft ceiling.

So here’s to wishing that one of the Big Three will finally pull out all the stops and surge past the four-digit threshold – who do you think it will be?

#5: Every Truck With A Trailer (ETWAT)

A big draw of driving a diesel is all of that pulling power going to work on cargo. From flatbed to enclosed 30-footers, the torque capable from a diesel motor is only matched by an electric, and those are a long ways off from ever reaching the range of good ol’ diesel, as least for the time being.

The automakers obviously know this, and have each developed ways to make hitching and hauling a trailer simpler and easier to do. Cameras, guidance graphics, trailer sway control, and other bits of technology have been worked into all heavy-duty pickups. Some may say that having such electronic “nannies” detracts from the manliness of hitching a trailer, but the added convenience and safety is a plus in many people’s minds.2017 Ford F-250 Lariat Crew Cab 4x4

But I digress – the point I’m trying to make here is that with all of this technology revolving around towing, wouldn’t it be nice to just have a trailer to go with your truck, straight from the showroom? That’s why I think “Every Truck With A Trailer,” or ETWAT, is the way to go.

The basic idea would be thus – you roll into a showroom, pick the truck you want, and based on the trim package you wound up with, you could have a selection of trailers to go with it, free of charge. The dealership still makes a boatload (no pun intended) of money, and you have the means to haul stuff around. As for where you would leave the trailer when not in use, that would be at your discretion and foreplanning.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD HighCountry

What are some wishes you think I missed? Deposit your two cents below, and have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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