Our Decision to “Bullet Proof” SEEMORE

Posted In: Blog, Maintenance, SEEMORE, Towing, Video

Lately it seems our YouTube Channel has become a saga called As The Truck Turns. Indeed, it seems we’ve launched an entire video series that documents its woes. So why are we keeping the truck?

Let’s backtrack a moment. We bought SEEMORE, a 2007 Ford F250 6.0L Diesel, new in 2007. Over the past decade, we’ve taken the truck to 49 states and much of Canada. Every summer we load up SEEMORE and head out in search of adventure and pale ale.

Has it been perfect? No, we’ve had a couple of major problems. The high pressure oil pump failed in a way that prevented the engine from starting when warm (which was incredibly annoying). Worse, the EGR cooler failed, causing about 2 weeks of downtime when we were without our truck. Recently the injectors showed signs of failing, and “stiction” made cold starts a nightmare.

When we bought our truck, the issues with the 6.0L were just being discovered. In the years subsequent to 2007, these issues led to a class action lawsuit against Ford, and another massive lawsuit between Ford and International/Navistar, the company responsible for designing the engine. So far, so bad.

But note that Ford sold about a million 6.0L engines to customers in North America. There are a LOT of these trucks on the road. And that’s a good thing. That large install base incentivized aftermarket companies to examine the engine, and engineer solutions to problems. (Ford doesn’t do so because it would rather just sell you a new truck.)

One aftermarket company– Bullet Proof Diesel in Mesa, Arizona — engineered and crafted a series of solutions to the key problem areas of the 6.0L engine. Diesel technicians around the country have been installing parts sold by Bullet Proof Diesel in these engines. In fact, this practice has become so popular that the phrase “bulletproofing” a truck has been used indiscriminately by many. But to have a truly “bulletproofed” truck, one must use genuine parts by Bullet Proof Diesel.

Back to SEEMORE: the truck is 10 years old and has 124000 miles on the odometer. In the eyes of some people, it’s certainly a candidate for retirement. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to trade it in on a new truck.

To have a truly “bulletproofed” truck, one must use genuine parts by Bullet Proof Diesel.

We made a few inquiries with our Ford dealership about buying a new model. We even looked at a few trucks, paying special attention to the window stickers. Have you priced a new diesel truck lately? If not, you may be in for a case of sticker shock. It’s easy for a new Ford F250 price to exceed $60,000, and some exceed $80,000. Since we buy a new vehicle so rarely, we’d probably spring for one of the nicer models. Even assuming we negotiate a discount, this would probably be a $55,000 expense. Add to that initial cost the sales taxes, registration fees, and cost of insurance and you begin to see the full picture. Any way you slice it, it’s a lot of money for a tool that’s used to haul around a travel trailer and make trips to Costco — especially when we already have such a truck sitting in our driveway. It simply makes more sense to fix the one we own.

So I decided to go the bulletproof route and squeeze more life out of our truck. I spoke with several mechanics around the country about the cost to truly “fix” the issues with the 6.0L. The cost typically ranged from $4000 on the low side to $10,000 on the high side. While it’s a lot of money, it’s also a fraction of the cost of a new truck. In fact, I suspect that the combined sales tax, registration fees, and insurance costs of a new truck would pay for a complete fix on an older 6.0L, depending on where you get the work done.

The next question: where to get the work done? I dropped by PowerStroke Specialties, the shop of Bill Hewitt in Buford, Georgia — which is located only a few hours away from our Alabama home. Bill is a YouTube legend and undoubtedly one of the most knowledgeable 6.0L mechanics around. Unfortunately Bill was out of town on the day we visited, and my efforts to contact him were unsuccessful.

I also spoke to a diesel technician in Aledo, Texas known as Mad Matt (Mad Matt’s Diesel Performance) and he gave me some excellent advice and feedback. Impressed by his knowledge and insight, I was really thinking about taking SEEMORE to Mad Matt’s. He seems like a great guy who really knows his stuff.

But since I knew I wanted to use genuine Bullet Proof Diesel parts, I decided to approach Bullet Proof Diesel itself. I crafted a sponsorship proposition. Would BPD be willing to donate the parts for bulletproofing our truck? In exchange, we’d explain to our audience the benefits of using genuine BPD parts in this sort of job.

Since I knew I wanted to use genuine Bullet Proof Diesel parts, I decided to approach Bullet Proof Diesel itself.

In reply, Bullet Proof Diesel made us an offer — if we would travel to Mesa, AZ, BPD would handle the job in house. So the BPD parts would be installed by BPD technicians. Even better, we’d get the work done at a nice discount. It would still end up costing us a chunk of dough, but we’d be getting the best parts and best service at a nice price. This was an opportunity we could not refuse.

That’s why we chose to start 2017 by crossing the country to Bullet Proof Diesel. Note that we had already decided to “bulletproof” our truck. Having the work done at Bullet Proof Diesel by BPD technicians was a best case scenario.

For those of us with towable RVs, the tow vehicle is the beating heart of the rig. It’s important to have absolute confidence in its performance and reliability. I believe that the 6.0L Ford can be a great engine, once the problem areas have been addressed. I look forward to using our “bulletproofed” truck for many camping seasons to come.

Stay tuned for many updates about our “bulletproofed” SEEMORE!

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