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Discussion Starter #1
I'm interested in a Promaster but have some concerns and questions. I'd like to draw on the wisdom of the forum.

Back in the '70s I had a Ford Econoline that I built into a simple camper: double bed, VW sink/ice box unit, skylight. I'd like to do that again, plus haul my motorcycle (BMW F800 ST), a couple of kayaks, two bicycles, my wife and our dog -- maybe not all at once. ;)

I now drive a VW Jetta TDI Diesel Sportwagen and am intrigued by the i4 Diesel option for the truck. My dealer predicts June/July, BTW. I'm used to Diesel and like it, especially efficiency and torque. People buy horsepower but drive torque, as they say.

But the EcoDiesel uses DEF, similar to the blue goo VW, Mercedes and Audi require in their larger displacement Diesels. I read somewhere that the PM needs DEF refills every 4000 miles. That seems odd, given passenger cars going 10k miles on a tank of urea. Does anyone know if Dodge will charge Mercedes type money for urea? Will the PM be able to use generic urea?

I'm also worried about reliability. Not the engine so much as the emission systems. VW has problems with EGR plumbing and also Diesel particulate filters. The latter are insanely expensive if one fails after the 80,000-mile federal warranty expires, which is why I'm thinking about shopping to replace my Jetta in the next year. Any word on how these systems have performed in Europe? Are the US versions the same as Europe or do we get lots of untested add-ons to go with the DEF and EGR setups?

I realize definitive answers to all this may be over the horizon, but any info would be appreciated, as would suggestions on options or observations about my intended use of this vehicle. I have also read some info here about heat and AC and am concerned that the cargo area will be way too hot or cold in extreme conditions.

Many thanks in advance for any ideas,

-dan
 

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Wow Dan, you and I think alike.

My wife has the same car. Just gave up on it and went gas. High priced special VW maintenance for the diesel. Over priced VW oil changes for the special diesel. VWs reinvention of the automatic transmission that does not work right. They gave all owners free extended warranty. Turbo lag got dangerous too. Got worse with age.

I read all the Ram diesel sections in the manual. I got the impression, reading the manual, that DEF fluid capacity was heavily padded. Meaning it nags for refill sooner that it needs to by a lot. I assume because you're DOA without it.

I'm kinda routing for gas to win out in my pros and cons debate.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dwight,

My Veedub is a three-pedal model, so no DSG woes, but two EGR filters and one DPF. Would have cost me thousands and VW tried to claim the EGR was not covered by the emissions warranty. Yeah, right. But 47 mpg and great handling will be hard to give up.

I realize the payback for the PM Diesel is way out there, but I would like it for its cruising range and torque. And I do not like traditional torque converter automatics. But your comments about the DSG remind me that this would have a Fiat manu-matic gearbox [shudder].

Still, it's an interesting vehicle and I plan to keep researching.

-dan
 

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Just curious if you have driven the PM? It is pretty sporty feeling, maybe more so than the VW. Its a lot faster the the VW.
 

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......cut........

People buy horsepower but drive torque, as they say.

......cut.......

Many thanks in advance for any ideas,

-dan
My 2 cents ......

We hear this a lot, but I'm not sure I agree with either point of that statement, depending on driving style and or needs.

For the first part -- buying horsepower -- there is a lot of marketing directed towards pushing high-torque engines. And we see lots of guys almost bragging about having 800 lb-ft rather than 400 HP in their trucks. I'm pretty sure many of these guys bought torque.

When you get any vehicle on the road, no matter how much torque it has, the vehicle will perform better as that torque is used at higher RPMs. Simple physics says that an engine with 800 lb-ft of torque can pull much harder at higher RPMs. And by definition torque at higher RPMs is power.

Also, as to driving torque instead of power, many drivers prefer really high RPMs. It's a matter of driving preference and or style. Many performance motorcycles are tuned for power at high RPMs, as are high-performance sports cars (particularly the naturally aspirated models).

It comes down to personal preference. And that can change over time. Not that long ago most cars had large V8s with lots of torque at relatively low RPMs. Today many of these same drivers have vehicles with 4-cylinder engines with much less torque but can spin far faster than V8s of the past. We can adapt to technology. Just takes time.
 

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Wow Dan, you and I think alike.

My wife has the same car. Just gave up on it and went gas. High priced special VW maintenance for the diesel. Over priced VW oil changes for the special diesel. VWs reinvention of the automatic transmission that does not work right. They gave all owners free extended warranty. Turbo lag got dangerous too. Got worse with age.

I read all the Ram diesel sections in the manual. I got the impression, reading the manual, that DEF fluid capacity was heavily padded. Meaning it nags for refill sooner that it needs to by a lot. I assume because you're DOA without it.

I'm kinda routing for gas to win out in my pros and cons debate.
People are making WAY, WAY too big a deal about the DEF factor. It's $11.74 at WalMart for a 2.5 gallon jug, cheaper at the pump at truck stops. Works in all DEF required vehicles. Just pour it in and go when you get your warning light. You have plenty of time and starts to do this. It's virtually available everywhere now and the dealer is the last place to buy it. I'm getting about 7k miles per 3 gallon tank of DEF on our '13 Sprinter which I never let idle more than necessary. Adding DEF is like adding windshield washer fluid, same basic setup.

Unfortunately, the EGR and DPF factors are real, and problematic if you do the things that cause the problems. The worst thing you can do with these new diesels, (any of them), is let them idle needlessly. That's what more than anything clogs the EGR and DPF's. It's a known problem and all too often happens on the Sprinter V6 engine, (see any municipality that uses Sprinters as ambulances). Also on the Cummins in the Ram pickups too.

The diesel in the PM will use about 9 qts of a specific spec of synthetic oil which is available lots of places for $6.50 to $10.00 per qt, as do all the new diesel engines. (I get mine for the Sprinter at Amazon for the $6.50 price)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Fantastic info; thank you! A few comments . . .

@Obrian: no, I haven't driven a PM yet and of course cannot try the Diesel version until June or July. I hope to drive the gasser in a few days.

@Chance: good points. I disagree only about RPMs. Each engine has a torque and horsepower curve and where they intersect is the sweet spot for power. Depending on a lot of design factors, that can be at relatively high or low RPMs, or in between. Where you get the most efficiency varies by engine as well. My VW Diesel gets better mileage at 60 mph in 5th than in 6th, for example. I need to drive more like 70 in 6th to get best mileage. The engine starts to make max torque at 1750 RPM (!) but is not as efficient there as at around 2200.

@bobojay: this is just the kind of real world info I was looking for. Many thanks.

-dan
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I just downloaded the Diesel supplement to the owner's manual. I'm not done reading, but am thrilled to see that the system lets you know when the DPF is reaching capacity and also when it is doing an active regen. This is huge because it allows you to prevent interrupting a regen, which I'm convinced is part of the trouble with VW DPFs.

In other words, with no dash indicator, it is way too easy to shut down a VW in the middle of a regen. Yes it is supposed to pick up later and complete, but sometimes you end up interrupting the 2nd regen attempt and things can go downhill from there.

With the indicator light on, I'd try, when convenient, to keep driving my Promaster until the light goes out -- usually only a few minutes unless you are stuck in heavy traffic.

-dan
 

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....cut........I disagree only about RPMs. Each engine has a torque and horsepower curve and where they intersect is the sweet spot for power......cut,,,,,,,.
Dan, what I've always found funny about the ongoing "power vs torque" debate is that I see them pretty much as one and the same.

When we look at a torque curve as a function of RPMs, which is the way we normally see them, it has all the information necessary to draw the same engine's horsepower curve as a function of RPMs.

The two are not independent of each other as most people think. When mechanical engineers test an engine in a lab they measure torque at various RPMs. They then draw a torque curve from that data. The power (as in HP) curve is calculated off that same set of data. It's simply another way to view the same data.

In my opinion people make way too much out of the difference between the torque and horsepower curves. It's exactly the same data displayed in a different form.

The only thing that's important to me is that different engines have different characteristics and therefore their curves have different shapes as well as magnitudes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@Chance,

Having put Porsches on dynos and looked at torque curves for lots of motorcycles in road test writeups, I completely agree with you. If I were to quibble it would be the phrase "pretty much as one and the same," but your final sentence is exactly where my understanding of all this lies, so why quibble [grin]?

-dan
 

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@Chance,

Having put Porsches on dynos and looked at torque curves for lots of motorcycles in road test writeups, I completely agree with you. If I were to quibble it would be the phrase "pretty much as one and the same," but your final sentence is exactly where my understanding of all this lies, so why quibble [grin]?

-dan
I don't mean the same curve literally, but same exact information.

To me personally it's no different than one power curve in kilowatts and another in horsepower. Yeah, they are different curves but the data is exactly the same -- just displayed differently.

Since they are not independent, why not discuss engine characteristics in terms that have more useful meaning? That's what I'd like to see more of.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I drove a gasser, 118" low roof today. I was very impressed with how maneuverable it is.

Pros: handling, visibility out the front, cargo space, brakes (love the Brembos on my BMW bike), backup assist beeper really does help.

Cons: somewhat noisy (road noise), driver side door divider between main glass and fixed vent cuts the mirror view right in half, panel fit/seams the worst I've seen on a new vehicle in years.

Can't wait to drive a Diesel, which will be the real test.

-dan
 

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Cons: somewhat noisy (road noise), driver side door divider between main glass and fixed vent cuts the mirror view right in half, panel fit/seams the worst I've seen on a new vehicle in years.
You should have seen the panel/door fits on our 2013 Sprinter van when we first got it. Right rear cargo door wouldn't even close all the way among other things
 

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Discussion Starter #16
alarmguy:

Thanks for the info. It looked to me like the only way to get away from the divider would be to move the seat forward or back. Moving the mirror obviously changes the view aft, but does not change that you are looking "through" the divider to see the image.

It's not a deal killer, especially considering I may end up with the seat adjusted quite differently in the Diesel cab, depending on how the strange (for me) two-pedal dance works out.

-dan
 

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Fantastic info; thank you! A few comments . . .

@Obrian: no, I haven't driven a PM yet and of course cannot try the Diesel version until June or July. I hope to drive the gasser in a few days.

@Chance: good points. I disagree only about RPMs. Each engine has a torque and horsepower curve and where they intersect is the sweet spot for power. Depending on a lot of design factors, that can be at relatively high or low RPMs, or in between. Where you get the most efficiency varies by engine as well. My VW Diesel gets better mileage at 60 mph in 5th than in 6th, for example. I need to drive more like 70 in 6th to get best mileage. The engine starts to make max torque at 1750 RPM (!) but is not as efficient there as at around 2200.

@bobojay: this is just the kind of real world info I was looking for. Many thanks.

-dan
Danham, I drove a prototype diesel in the summer and it was interesting to say the least. The auto-manual will take some getting used to and some may balk at the thought to buy a diesel during the test drive because it is exactly like a stick but you don't shift. If you are used to driving a stick in your current truck this may not be an issue. I did a little math and I chose the gasser. I only drive about 30,000/year and at the current fuel rates it would take me about 5-6 years to pay down the extra cost of the motor and I didn't add the DEF or the $150 oil changes it needs to that figure. I had posted a spreadsheet about it on the thread of "diesel vs. gasser" or something like that.
 

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Danham, I drove a prototype diesel in the summer and it was interesting to say the least. The auto-manual will take some getting used to and some may balk at the thought to buy a diesel during the test drive because it is exactly like a stick but you don't shift. If you are used to driving a stick in your current truck this may not be an issue. I did a little math and I chose the gasser. I only drive about 30,000/year and at the current fuel rates it would take me about 5-6 years to pay down the extra cost of the motor and I didn't add the DEF or the $150 oil changes it needs to that figure. I had posted a spreadsheet about it on the thread of "diesel vs. gasser" or something like that.
Sorry, the post is on the '2014 Promaster reviews' and under "YouTube mileage review from delivery guy". all the way at the bottom
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks miked. My present ride is a stick 6-speed Diesel Jetta Sportwagen, so the more like a stick the PM is, the happier I'll be.

-dan
 

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Thanks miked. My present ride is a stick 6-speed Diesel Jetta Sportwagen, so the more like a stick the PM is, the happier I'll be.

-dan
Most likely but I would for sure drive one first. There is a lag between 1st & 2nd gear that may not be an issue to some but I felt that maybe making a left turn across traffic would make you hesitate. They could have changed that by now but after you get into 2nd the shifts are pretty smooth. RAM has a hill assist that hits the brakes if your stopped and start rolling backwards, pretty smart but maybe most manuals have that also. The diesel did have plenty of acceleration but not nearly as quick as the gasser. I wanted a diesel so bad because I thought it would pay off in extra mileage but only if I drove maybe 100,000 a year it would be worth it. That diesel has been around since the 80's and this is the 3rd generation. A close engineer friend is working on the diesel and said just the introduction of the DEF and emission standards is causing RAM much grief, That is why it has been delayed so many times. This powerpack runs like a champ across the pond but here is another story.
 
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