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Dirt road dangers and kids

Important safety lessons about dirt roads, kids and their first car, I mean truck. Country roads are not just a John Denver song. I grew up on dirt roads, drove too fast, jumped snow banks and drove in the ditch. I had an angel not letting me get in trouble, but I learned a lot. Like me, my sons learned to drive in the country. Dirt-gravel roads can be dangerous, soft shoulders try to suck you in the ditch, but the ditch is usually safer than trying to turn hard to the left and roll your truck. My sons both had classmates that died on dirt roads because of soft shoulders and no training. If you get near the soft shoulder, of course slow down, but don’t try to abruptly turn away from the shoulder (usually don’t turn left). If you have to and it’s not a deep ditch or a cliff, just drive down the ditch. You can get pulled out of a ditch, but rolling the truck can be very bad.

Then there is towing wide trailers on gravel when the trailer will drop in the shoulder before the truck. In the country there can be farm machinery as wide as the road over the next hill, like combines and swathers. Some gravel roads are very narrow and then there are hills and not everyone drives on their side of the road on hills. At night, there is always the danger of deer, cows, coyotes and pheasants crossing the road to commit suicide in your radiator. And, of course, there’s irrigation sprinklers that aren’t adjusted to keep the rain bird end gun from pouring water on country roads. Following a semi-truck too close can put you in a dirt cloud, where it will be hard to see the gravel road and you won’t see vehicles coming at you going past the truck in your direction. Dirt roads get damaged easier than pavement, leaving soft spots you don’t expect and wash board roads that will bounce your vehicle sideways. Rain, mud and snow make the point that slowing down is the best thing you can do, slow down!

Why should your child’s first car be a truck? I started driving when I was 9 or 10 years old. First trucks I drove was a 1953 Ford F250 and the 1947 Chevy 2 ton. When we loaded hay from the field with the Chevy, my brother fell off the bales a few times with what my dad called “jack rabbit starts.” I think trucks being taller with better visibility and a frame under them, makes them a stronger vehicle. A single cab truck can only hold two friends. Trucks don’t have the speed of a muscle car. They need a truck to haul around a lawn mower and make money or haul their parents new furniture. Trucks are great for moving to college. Trucks can last for decades. I have a nephew I sold a truck to 15 years ago and he’s giving it to his son. You always need a truck. All your friends will want to borrow it. I think you should collect them. ❖

Fence Post 2020 Ram 2500 and Cimarron Freedom toy hauler

Six months into the virus of 2020, many things are changing. Especially the way we work, buy things and what is important to buy. RV sales are up over 600%, trailer hitches are sold out and on back order. Hiking boots are sold out in my size. Guns are sold out on many models. Even new bicycles are scarce. The trend is folks aren’t flying to vacations. They’d rather buy an RV and visit the mountains and national parks. Fresh air away from the crowds are today’s buzz words.

You’d think that would make me happy. I sell trailer hitches on my websites. I have 10 of them on back order. I need new hiking boots to shoot video’s on mountain trails. That turned into a day on websites trying to find a deal. I used to just worry about buying toilet paper and water. We have a whole new world to navigate with new habits to work on. Since I’m home more doing Zoom video’s from my office, I discovered I’m too close to the refrigerator. It calls to me to eat more snacks. So I’ll be breaking in my new hiking boots jogging (maybe walking briskly) around the property, stepping over snakes, turtles and lizards. Maybe I could dig my bicycle out of the box, where ever it is.

I’m still blessed to be reviewing new trucks, trailers and accessories. Last week my son David and I drove a new 2020 Ram 2500 towing a new Cimarron Freedom toy hauler from Transwest. Using my trail book and OnX trail app on my phone, we went to a trail called Pierson Park Road. Lots of ATV’s and Jeeps on the mountain trails so we went on a Wednesday. Map books and even the new phone apps are not good about describing trail staging area’s (parking). That’s the dilemma, I’ve been on this trail but this trip, where I parked last time has a new wood fence. According to the trail book, there’s a parking area. Not anymore, so towing the 37-foot gooseneck trailer up a steep trail with tight switchbacks on the mountain was challenging. Looks bad ahead of me so I got to back down the tight curves and steep slope. My son spotted me so I wouldn’t back off the cliff and we made it down the mountain. Found a small spot to park, we unloaded our ATV’s and off to climb the mountain.

My first drive was in a 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie with 6.4L Hemi gas engine and the new ZF automatic 8-speed transmission that came out last year. A crew cab, air ride, power running boards and a 12 in center stack screen. I can even listen to Willie Nelsen on the way to Estes. We were trailering a 2020 Cimarron Freedom toy hauler that Transwest sells. The Cimarron is made for mountain trails with more clearance under the trailer, the black and gray tank don’t hang down. The tires are 14 ply made for rough roads. Spread axles for better weight distribution, with a dove tail rubber floor with an 8 foot ramp. Easy to load side by sides and ATV’s. The Outlaw conversion in the living quarters is top notch with real wood, full kitchen, bathroom and beds. The floor in the garage is all rubber with E-track all the way on both sides of the floor for tying down the toys. Plenty of cabinets, LED lights, well insulated. The doors to the garage are raised so you can hose out the mud and not get where you sleep wet. Since it’s a well-built heavy duty trailer, it’s just pushing a button for the hydraulic jack to get the floor level. I have a fun job, up on the mountains driving new rigs and off-roading. ❖

My first jeep

I’ve owned lots of trucks. Had a few trucks that I rebuilt as project trucks for videos. But this is my first Jeep. I have a side-by-side and many ATVs, so this is like a bigger side-by-side and way cheaper than a Razor. It’s a 1987 Wrangler, the first one. The last year for Jeep CJ7 was 1986. I’ve always wanted a Jeep, from clear back in the 1970s watching Billy Jack movies. Several of his five Billy Jack movies had Jeep CJ5s. One movie he drove a International Scout. When I worked for Al Ward Feedlot, I used Coach Willard’s CJ2 to check the feed bunks. You couldn’t hurt that Jeep, never used oil, never leaked oil. But I picked a cheap Jeep that had problems, not leaking oil but mostly electrical. When you buy an old jeep, it usually has had several owners. So did mine, it came with a AMC carbureted 4.2L inline 6 and a Peugeot transmission. The owner I bought it from put in a Chrysler 5-speed transmission and a 4.0L inline 6 HO with fuel injection out of a 1996 Jeep Cherokee. One owner put on 2 inch longer shackle hangers and lowered the transfer case to keep the axle pinion angles right. I put on 33 inch tires making it 3.5 inches taller than stock. The hard stuff has already been done, new gauges, custom aluminum dash, KC lights and bull bar.

Having problems now with the electric fan on the new engine, trying to decide if I should go back to the mechanical fan that was on the 4.2L. My oldest son Dave and I took my new Jeep up the mountain last week to Moffat Tunnel. Learned fast to let some of the air out of the tires so I wouldn’t loose any more teeth. Half way up the mountain it blew a fuse, thought we had the gremlins gone after my youngest son installed an external regulator. But my oldest son had fun pushing me down the mountain to my trailer. So we installed a kill switch, and bought a box of fuses. Still working on the fan situation. Probably next year I’ll have my mechanic Ruben install lockers in both axles. That’s the thing with Jeeps, you can upgrade them forever. But it has seat belts for four and a roll bar, making it good for grandkids on easy trails. Going to weld a receiver hitch on the front frame for a snow plow and winch. Bikini top gives you plenty of ventilation. Does have a heater which will be nice with the snow plow.

My Billy Jack Jeep is a looker, chrome bumper, chrome grill and flames. It’s fits my car trailer and I can use it in new truck reviews. Looking forward to a dependable Jeep for mountain trails with the family and all our off-road toys. It’s good to have a project to work on. My sons have fun working on my projects especially pushing me down the mountain. I think my next project truck will be a tractor with a loader with flames painted on the hood. ❖

2020 Honda Ridgeline review

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and yes, Honda builds a truck. It’s a controversy. Honda transformed a SUV Pilot into a usable midsize pickup truck. Truck enthusiasts can get offended if a truck doesn’t have a frame, doesn’t look like other trucks, is rear wheel drive and looks like a El Camino. Times are changing, we’re looking at electric trucks, V-6 engines and not towing a space shuttle or a train. I like trucks too, I like body on frame, the sound of a V-8 and towing heavy trailers. But there is room for other kinds of trucks. Honda Ridgeline with a 3.5L V-6 putting our 280 horsepower and now a 9-speed automatic tranny has the largest crew cab in the mid-size trucks (Ranger, Colorado, Canyon, Tacoma, Frontier). Yes it’s 4 wheel independent suspension like cars, is front wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive like cars, is unibody construction like cars. But you sit in a taller seat, more like trucks with thigh support, easier to get in and out than cars. Great visibility, automatic 4×4 that can be set in modes for sand, mud and snow.

The new “big deal” for trucks now is the magic tailgate. From steps, transformer gate to barn doors, truck manufacturers are obsessed with what they can make a truck tailgate do. Honda Ridgeline has a tailgate that drops normally and then can swing to the side so you can walk right up to cargo in the bed. In the old days, 60s and 70s, we had mini-trucks, like Ford Courier, Chevy LUV, Dodge D50 that were small but you could reach over the side and touch the bed floor. Now trucks are so darn tall you have to use a ladder to reach the bed floor. Ridgeline bed is low, so I can touch the floor, grab my tools, shovel and actually use the bed. But wait there’s more, open the tailgate and 1/2 of the floor is a trunk, a big lockable trunk. It’s over 2 feet deep, is sealed and has a drain hole. So it can become a super cooler or storage for anything, including your teenager. No don’t do that, I’ve only got one teenage granddaughter to climb in.

Ridgeline can tow 5,000 pounds, bet your car can’t do that. There is more than 4 feet between the bed fender wells so you can haul plywood and drywall. And it’s fun to drive, the 4-wheel independent suspension makes it ride like a car. Roomy cab for us heavy duty reporters and it has a paddle shifter behind the steering wheel, just like your race car or side by side. This could be the future of smaller trucks, ride like a car, front-wheel drive, a bed you can use and convenient. Trucks do evolve too, no Virginia it’s not a big off-roader and it doesn’t tow a house. It is an ultimate tail gate party animal with a 120V plug in the bed, super cooler built in the bed and the front wall of the bed is a giant speaker. So crank up Willie Nelson and park by your mail box, maybe this is the week your virus check comes. Then you can show your mailman your new shiny Honda Ridgeline TRUCK. ❖

Weigh-Safe true tow hitch

Weigh-Safe is known for an aluminum adjustable hitch with a built-in scale. It’s important to know your trailer’s tongue weight, most folks don’t. It’s a hassle to weigh your trailer three times to get your tongue weight and scales are not on every corner. But having the right tongue weight means better, safer trailering. That’s most of what you need, but to complete the trailer package you need a Weight Distributing Hitch. WDHs lift the rear of the truck which transfer some of the trailer tongue weight to your trucks front axle. This makes the truck and trailer level, so all the axles and brakes work better. Now all you need is built-in trailer sway control.

On a bumper pull trailer, if you have too little tongue weight, the trailer can sway and be dangerous, too much tongue weight and the truck squats too much. If you have too much trailer tongue weight, your truck or SUV will squat excessively, aim your headlights to the stars and stress your trucks rear axle, brakes and suspension. Some trailers axles are too close to the middle and are susceptible to sway.

New from Weigh-Safe is True Tow scale hitch for fine-tuning adjustable tongue weight with weight-distributing-hitch built in and sway-control. This unique, one-of-a-kind-hitch has it all. Biggest thing in towing trailers in years.

How Does the New Weigh-Safe True Tow Work?

Distributed Tongue Weight, is the number that the Weigh-Safe, True Tow app on your phone gives you after you’ve entered trailer loaded weight and three measurements. Then all you do is, with the boxed end wrench that comes with True Tow, tighten or loosen the lead screw on the hitch head. Doing this tightens the sway bars that you would normally do by manually lifting the spring arms and guessing the tongue weight. True Tow gives you the tongue weight and gives you a range for 10% to 15% of tongue weight. It’s scientific and accurate for safe trailering.

The lead screw is attached to a central beam under the main frame of the hitch head that is attached to the end of the spring arms. The spring arm brackets at the end of the beam sit below the weight ball. The lead screw moves the central beam up and down putting pressure on the spring arms or relieving pressure from the spring arms. Since the weigh ball is on top of the central beam, when you crank the lead screw to lower the tongue weight the scale reads that weight. So, tightening the lead screw lowers your tongue weight. A great way to adjust the tongue weight without touching the spring arms. It’s a unique system.

Besides True Tow weighing your trailers tongue weight, making it easy to adjust tongue weight, it also has four points of friction for trailer sway control on the spring arms. It doesn’t get better than this.

The phone app that comes with True Tow, stores your trailer info from hitch height to tongue weight and trailer weight. True Tow comes with a locking two pin for adjusting hitch height without tools. I used this hitch for a week with two trucks. Tried to make the trailer sway with side to side movement and the trailer towed straight with no rebound.

For more info see my video: www.MrTruck.TV. ❖

Reviewing trucks in heaven

It’s weird being here during the end of the world. Went to my sisters funeral in Oklahoma last week, her fourth cancer got her. This week Denver and Boulder are shut down because of the virus. Trying to decide if I can afford to stay home and wait it out and just how much can I do at home with webcast and podcast. I have a laptop camera ordered from China, might get it when the virus is done with us. I’m wearing rubber gloves when I go to town, change them three times. Can’t wash my hands with each door knob I use or each time I use a credit card. Just try to buy hand sanitizer. I guess I should stop complaining, my grandkids are healthy.

Oh well a year from now we’ll all be barbecuing. Gas will be $1 a gallon. I’ll be reviewing the new electric trucks, churches will be packed and all businesses will be closed on Sunday. I’ll be eating out every day and smoking cigars, no I quit the cigars, I don’t want to cough for the wrong reason. That’s a good thing about coming close to death, it improves your character. What am I going to do with the 80 cases of toilet paper and four pallets of water bottles? I’ll donate them to a church. I’ll also donate more to food banks. I’m finding out that most folks are good people, I wasn’t sure for awhile.

I would want to be the journalist that interviews God. I think He drives a truck, a lifted diesel. Maybe I can do a podcast with Him.

I’m still getting new trucks every week to review. Next month we’ll review the new Weigh-Safe WDH scale hitch. They’re known for having the scale built into the hitch. Now they have added a weight distributing hitch so you can do it all and even adjust the tongue weight with it. Testing it this week in the bunker.

Next month things will be better. Grass will be green, it will be in the 70s and I have three more months to do taxes. Life is good, wait until you see me in a tank top and shorts. Might even get my first tattoo at 62. I always thought, the world would end with a nuke or zombies. Can’t be the end of the world, it will be much quicker than this. It’s just a warning. ❖

Helper SumoSprings for trailers

Self-Adjusting Torsion Stabilizers from SuperSprings: Trailers get ignored. Tire dealers and brother-in-laws tell you that you don’t need to balance trailer tires. They are wrong. Trailer manufactures will tell you that you don’t need shock absorbers for trailers. They are wrong.

But it’s not easy to add shock absorbers to trailer axles. Until now, I’ve used SuperSpring overloads on my trucks and SumoSprings on my truck. Five years ago, SuperSprings told me that it had a great cushion for trailer springs but trailer SumoSprings only worked on trailers with the axle under the leaf springs. My toy hauler had the opposite with leaf springs under the axle. Five years later, lo and behold, SuperSprings came out with what I needed.

With the axle under the leaf springs there’s not much room between the springs and the trailer frame and the holding tanks on my toy hauler RV. SumoSprings are memory foam, closed micro-cellular urethane. They provide a cushion to absorb the shock from the road and they help control the leaf springs similar to shock absorbers.

This means a smoother ride, less damage to the trailer from the axle banging things and a trailer that has a controlled suspension. It only took an hour to install. Think about all the glued together particle board cabinets that go in an RV. If you’ve ever seen an RV travel trailer in an accident, there’s not much left. According to SuperSprings, the Sumo urethane cushion compresses 50% adding 500 pounds capacity to each axle. Improving the ride of a toy hauler RV or any RV trailer saves money, less cracked cabinets, broken fresh water tank brackets or pulled apart trailer brake wires. That’s all happened to me.

Not an airbag, not that there’s room, which means no air leaks, no air compressors and no maintenance. SumoSprings come with spacers so you can adjust the height. RVs and cargo trailers are a giant billboard sign and are terrible with side wind. SumoSprings can help reduce body roll. Less bouncing down the road means the leaf spring suspension parts last longer. You can mount the SumoSprings on either side of the axle, wherever you have room. And if you have a propane gas line going along the trailer frame near the axle, Sumo comes with several rubber/steel brackets to move the propane line away from the movement. So keep your trailer in your lane and don’t hold your breath each time you see a pothole. They are planning on paving some of the roads in Colorado. ❖

Horse trailer trends and toy haulers

Times are changing, growing up with horses, thought everyone wanted a horse. Now with urban sprawl and zoning changes, it’s not always easy to enjoy horses at home.

To stimulate the market, I think we need more John Wayne movies and maybe Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. The trend in the horse market is less horse trailers. To keep factories open, horse trailer manufacturers have gone to economical living quarters, show animal trailers and toy haulers.

I’ve watched Cimarron horse trailers thrive with the new trends. They have excelled with show animal trailers for beef, pigs, sheep and llamas. Special sizes, unique gates and ventilation make them very usable.

Transwest Truck Trailer RV has a booth in the Hall of Education at the National Western Stock Show with economical living quarter horse trailers, show animal trailers and the new toys haulers. I interviewed CJ Altenburg with Transwest at their booth at the National Western. First trailer we looked at was a Cimarron Freedom toy hauler. It’s made to be comfortable while camping with your ATV’s, side by sides and snowmobiles. Gradual rear ramp and dovetail are covered in rubber for traction and it’s easier to clean the mud and snow out with your toys. The floor has E-Track to tie down the ATV’s, side by sides and snowmobiles. Plenty of ventilation on the sides to get rid of gas fumes and low profile Max Air fans in the ceiling regulate air flow. Lots of storage, shelfs, tables and helmet hooks. Heavy vinyl seats that fold into beds take the abuse of boots and mud when you rest from the trail. Beds in the living quarters and kitchen are made for a large crew. Generator built into the wall, for a clean low profile roof helps with fuel milage and an air spoiler on the roof blows the dust off the ramp door and makes for a fast trailer.

Another trending trailer in the Transwest booth at NWSS, is the Cimarron economical comfort package stock trailer with a couch bed, heat strip, storage and it’s affordable. Closet tack room is one-half the width of the trailer. Cimarron aluminum trailers are well made, beautiful and long lasting. There is a big difference between a Cimarron Toy Hauler and the usual RV toy hauler. Transwest also has Logan Coach trailers in their booth.

I’ll be roaming around the National Western Stock Show, checking out what’s new and I’ll be chasing the grandkids around the petting zoo upstairs in the Hall of Education. ❖

2020 GMC 1500 AT4 CarbonPro

Some trucks just stand out. The GMC 1500 AT4 CarbonPro is one of them. It’s a sexy beast with the 2-inch lift, aggressive Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires and diesel engine with a 10-speed.

It has a crew cab 4×4 with a CarbonPro bed. It’s space age technology with cameras that show what’s in front of you, on the side of you and at the rear. It even has camera angles of the outside of your tires. GM 1500’s with the 3.0L inline six cylinder diesels are the only half-tons with exhaust brakes. On the 10-speeds tow-haul and exhaust brakes come on with one button together. Another remarkable distinction for the 3.0L diesel, is it’s the same price as the premium 6.2L V-8 gas engine.

The only production truck with a carbon fiber composite bed inside is used in super sports cars. It’s light and durable and weighs 25% less than a steel bed (60 pounds) which means 60 pounds more payload. Dent resistant, scratch resistant, corrosion resistant and the CarbonPro comes with two extra tie-downs in the front of the bed. Then there’s the testing: dropping cinder blocks in the CarbonPro, dropping 1,800 pounds of gravel, dropping 450-pound water filled steel drums into the CarbonPro bed. Snowmobile test, track with metal studs driven on the bed and accelerated to wide open throttle with a 250 pound rider. Then of course extreme weather testing and using a generator exhaust pipe directed to the corner of the bed to try and melt it. So this is the bed you can’t wear out.

And then there is the 15-inch Heads-Up Display, I love it. Just look at the windshield and you see, gauges, cruise control, off-road angles and more.

The new 3.0L inline six cylinder diesel has 277 horsepower and 460 torque. And it accelerates well with a trailer, I think the best in class. Ninety percent of the torque of this diesel is available at 1,250 RPM, like a hair above idle.

The 2020 truck I drove was rated to tow 9,100 pounds, 910 tongue weight, and I know that because there is a label in the drivers’ door frame that tells me all the specs I need to know about towing and payload capacity which shows 1,456 pounds.

The EPA MPG states 24 combined, 26 highway and 22 mpg in the city. This is a loaded truck with a MSRP of $66,295. This truck has a teen driver mode, that records excessive speed and distractions. Now if it could just shut off the phones while driving. Need a grandpa driver mode, as my grandkids remind me if I answer my phone on the road.

This package comes with auto-locking rear diff, X31 off-road suspension, HD air filter, skid plates and Hill Descent Control. A popular option on only GMC, MultiPro Tailgates is the tri folding tailgate that makes a stair case to the bed. This one had dealer installed Kicker audio weather proof speakers in the MultiPro Tailgate. Besides all the cameras on the outside, the rear-view mirror is a camera on top of the cab. It’s an intense, wide angle view. But if contrast is too bright for you, just flip the lever on the mirror and it becomes a normal mirror.

The diesel engine option is $2,495. Adaptive cruise control is my favorite. Sunroof, aluminum 18-inch wheels and more aluminum in the hood doors and tailgate. ❖

New half-ton diesels for 2020

Finally 30 years later, the Big Three all have half-ton diesels. The 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax Diesel 3.0L inline 6 is the new kid on the block, which completes Detroit. And Ram 1500 3.0L EcoDiesel is back with its third generation after the Environmental Protection Agency problem.

The two diesels they sent me for review were similar. Both 3.0 L diesels, the Ram is a V-6, but the New Silverado is an inline 6 cylinder. The Ram is leading in torque at 480 with 260 horsepower. Silverado is leading in horsepower at 277 and torque is 460. Ram is still the 8-speed automatic and Silverado is the new 10-speed transmission shared with Ford F150. The two trucks even have the same EPA MPG in 4×4 configuration at 29 MPG. Silverado Edges out Ram by 1 mpg in a 4×2.

We towed a 7,600 pound Iron Bull dump trailer to Estes Park, Colo. The Silverado is the only half-ton diesel with an exhaust brake. Even though the Ram had an 8-speed and no exhaust brake, both trucks performed similarly up and down the mountain over curvy roads on Highway 36 to Estes. It appears the exhaust brake and 10-speed in tow-haul mode in the Silverado doesn’t reach high enough RPMs to down shift and build back pressure to be as effective as what we see in the heavy duty pickup trucks.

Ford had the same problem with its V-6 3.0l diesel in the F150. Then in the limited model with the high output 3.5L EcoBoost gas engine and the Expedition Platinum model with the same engine, both with 10-speeds. Ford changed the calibration so they shifted in tow-haul mode at higher RPMs and it made control coming down the mountain with a trailer dramatically better without wearing out the brakes. Since the Silverado 3.0L Duramax shares the same 10-speed transmission as the Ford F150, that same calibration may improve the 3.0L Duramax.

The Silverado Duramax 1500 with the 7,600 pound trailer, accelerated a little better than the Ram EcoDiesel. The Ram had better control in tow-haul mode coming down the mountain. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has a max towing capacity of 12,560 pounds, compared to 9,300 pounds with the Silverado. The Ram was a Tradesman as a base work truck with a Quadcab 4×2 which helped the truck by being lighter giving it a 2,055 pound payload. The Silverado 1500 Duramax was a RST loaded model 4×2 double cab, being heavier lowering the payload to 1,800 pounds.

I do appreciate the new door sticker on the Silverado. Now on all the Chevy trucks, in the drivers door frame is a label that tells you that trucks payload, max tongue which converts to max trailer weight, weight distributing, and combined weight of the truck and trailer. Ram has a website where you can put in your trucks VIN number and you can get those max weights. Ford wants you to spend a couple hours on the internet to find out the same info.

The 3.0L EcoDiesel option on Ram is $4,995 in the Tradesman. The higher you go up in models, the cheaper the diesel option is. Nice thing with Ram, is the 3.0L diesel is available on all models and configurations. Silverado 3.0L Duramax on the midline RST model option is $3,890. But Silverado only is available on LT models and above. Ford F150 3.0L diesel started that way, only available on high end models. And XLT model was only available in a diesel to fleets. Then they discovered the error of their ways and let us all buy the diesel XLT. Over the road semi-trucks and farm tractors use inline 6 cylinder diesels. Cummins in Ram Heavy Duty do well with the inline diesel. I was surprised to see Chevy go with an inline 6 diesel in a half-ton. Time will tell how this aluminum diesel holds up. ❖