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BlogTalkRadio Owes Me $39,000
Posted by: Dale Franks on Sunday, April 01, 2007

I wasn't gonna blog about this, but I just can't help myself.

Three weeks ago, on Friday, BlogTalkRadio screwed up the air time for the call-in podcast, apparently as a result of a screw-up in converting to the new Daylight Savings Time that was implemented this year. As a result, our podcast for that day aired live an hour later, at 9:00pm Pacific, 12:00am Eastern.

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. On this particular day, however, it changed my life.

You see, that morning, on my way to work, my 2004 Nissan Murano went Tango Uniform. I was on my way to work, when the Catalytic Converter A just fell apart. So, instead of going to work, I had to turn around, and limp back to Mossy Nissan in "fail-safe" mode, i.e., at 40 MPH. I had to take a vacation day that Friday, and drop off the Murano at the service desk that morning. Fortunately, because it was an emissions problem, the repair was still under warranty, and therefore, free.

That evening, though, with an extra hour to burn, The Lovely Christine (TLC) and I went out to dinner. After dinner, on the way home, purely as a lark, because the restaurant was located near Auto Park Way, I decided to do some pricing on a new vehicle.

You see, TLC has been begging me to get either a motor home—which I am dead set against for economic reasons—or a travel trailer, so we can do a little bit of travel. So, I've been looking at trucks for the last year but haven't been able to afford one. I've tried to do a deal on a Nissan Titan for over a year, but the balance remaining on my Murano lease has made it impossible.

Anyway, we dropped by the GMC dealership, and looked at some stuff, but I wasn't impressed.

Then, for reasons I still don't really understand, we stopped off at Jack Powell Dodge. I've never been a Dodge fan, so I honestly have no idea why we went there. But, because we had the time, and it was on the way...we did.

And when we did, I saw a truck that I simply had to have. I mean, I couldn't live without it.

Normally, I would eschew a Dodge truck. I really don't like the Hemi engine that Dodge is using now. Yes, I know the Hemi has been around for the last 50 years. But that has been as a custom job. The problem with the Hemi is that it has a cast-iron engine block but aluminum cylinder heads. And the plain fact is that no US stock manufacturer has managed to build a long-life engine that mates both aluminum and cast iron. The difference between the expansion coefficients of the two metals means that cracks in one or the other has always caused problems.

As it happens, however, the Hemi engine isn't the only one available for the Dodge truck. They also also offer the old, reliable, runs-forever, straight-six Cummins Diesel engine. That's an engine that's good for 500,000+ miles with regular maintenance. And, it'll pull practically anything, with a tow limit of 13,900 pounds.

Now, I was in a pretty pickle with the Murano. I didn't buy it, you see, I leased it. And my lease payoff was nearly $21,000. But, Jack Powell had a brand new Dodge 2500 Bighorn Edition with the Cummins Diesel engine in the 2006 model year that they were desperate to get off the lot.

I fell in love with it.

I didn't have time on that Friday night to work out a deal. And, frankly, with what I owed on the Murano's lease, I didn't think a deal was even possible. But, after looking at it, I committed to go back the next morning to see if we could come to some sort of agreement to buy out the Murano, and leave me with a payment I could afford.

As it turns out, we could.

The thing is, Jack Powell was desperate to get rid of the last four 2006 models that were left on the lot. So, they slashed $10,000 off the sticker price. In addition, they gave me a $5,500 dealer cash rebate on it. With an additional cash payment of $1,500—which made a big dent in my savings account—I ended up, tax, title, and license included, with paying $39,000 on a truck with a MSRP of over $41,000.

Normally, that wouldn't be a great deal, but, considering that they were able to buy out my lease, and sell me, rather than lease me, the truck, it was the absolute best deal I could've gotten. And the payment—while a little more—is close to the monthly lease payment I was paying for the Murano.

So, I bought it.

This is what it looks like, filling up my driveway. It has the 8' long bed, so, even if my garage was completely empty, instead of full of crap, it still wouldn't fit. Cripes, I don't think my garage is tall enough to park the truck in, much less long enough. In fact, I'm taller sitting in the driver's seat than I am standing on the ground.

It's hard to tell, but that's my tiny little head behind the driver's seat. It's a big truck.

Here's a side view, with Starbuck the Wonder Dog barely able to look out the rear window. I invite you to imagine how hard this monster is to park.

Here I am standing beside the truck. Notice two things: a) the door handles are at titty height on me, and I'm not a small guy, and b) there's no way that TLC can pull her convertible out of the driveway if my truck is parked in it.

Starbuck the Wonder Dog is even happier with the truck than I am. She gets the whole back of the cab to herself.

So, now, if TLC wants a trailer, well, it doesn't matter what she wants. No matter what it is, I can pull it with this truck. I may not be able to park this truck in a normal parking lot, but, by God, I can pull a house with this truck. And it comes stock with the towing package, so it's already trailer-ready.

And, because it's a diesel, not only do I get better mileage—the Murano never got 18 MPG on average—diesel costs significantly less than unleaded gasoline. Gas costs about $3.23 per gallon here, but I filled up with Diesel #2 this evening for $2.95 per gallon. Of course, with a 34 gallon tank, that still comes out to about $90 per tank, but I can go almost 600 miles per tank of diesel.

Still, if BlogTalkRadio hadn't mistakenly messed up the showtime, I never even would've seen this truck. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't've bought it. So, as near as I can tell, BlogTalkRadio now owes me $39,000.


Every time I drive this truck, I like it even more than I did when I bought it. Or, at least, I did until today. This morning, on the way to the beach, I saw a GMC 4500 with a metallic maroon paint job fitted out with a standard pickup bed. It looked kind of like this:

Now, that's a truck.

But, I understand that the equivalent Dodge Ram 4500 with the 6.7 liter Cummins Diesel engine has 610 ft/lbs of torque, and a 16,500 lb. tow limit. Hmmmmm.

Well, maybe in another 5 years...
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I see big trucks like that all the time here in texas, but I wonder what kind of eco-glares you’ll get driving that thing around Cali?

I want a diesel truck too, but the price on diesel is a bit different here in Texas. It’s still cheaper than you’re price, but right now it’s about the same price as the super premium gas, so about $.20 more expensive than regular unleaded which is $2.50 maybe? so diesel is around $2.70. I’ll have to do some math to make sure that the extra mileage still saves me money.

Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Nice truck!! Hemi, of course, is the short reference to the hemispherical combustion chamber which has been in use since the early days of auto-mo-bubbles, at least 100 years old. To be honest, I’m not even sure if the current "hemi" truly employs hemispherical combustion chambers. But you did good getting a diesel (one of my favorite jokes of all time - ’diesel fitter’ comes to mind everytime diesel is mentioned).

And ’Dogs love trucks’, but I think Nissan owns the right to that phrase. ; -)
Written By: Bob Feighner
URL: http://
Funny you should mention this; I’ve been looking at the Dodge Cummins diesel myself. And, I’ve been a GM man for years. The issue for us, mostly, is mileage. BitsBox, a very customized 1998 GMC Safari conversion, gets around 21 on the open road. Not bad, considering.

Owing to the fact that they’re not making that body style anymore, I am forced to move into something larger if I want to continue towing my camper trailer. (A Kiwi 21c, Around 5000 lbs GV)

Now, the big diesel may seem kind of overkill for the purpose, but consider the mileage difference in just about any gas fired vehicle under these conditions; Just about any gas powered vehicle will drop mileage rather dramatically went away. Not so the diesel. To the point where... well... take GMC’s latest gasser Frankenstein... for which they claim 20 over the road MPG. Not bad. Drop a trailer on it, however, and the mileage does precisely what it does in my Safari... it drops to about 9. (Ouch!)

The Diesel loses a little in the way of fuel mileage as well under towing configurations. The configuration you have, is the one that we’ve been looking at for some time, though I think I’d want the stick, myself. Anwyay...We’re hearing 19-21 mpg on the open road for that one, too... and when you drop a 5000lb trailer on it, well, it drops as well... to about 16-17. So they tell me in the camping newsgroups anyway. You can imagine there’s a certain amount of expertise about such things there.

You can understand why it would be far more livable on that MPG factor alone... But I will admit to you and that’s not the only reason; there is something to the mystique of driving a vehicle with something on the order of 590 ft. lbs. of torque, bone stock. Personally, I’m thinking BullyDog is my friend. Somewhere in the mid 800’s on setting "5".... Then again, I haven’t paid for the tires I’d be melting with that thing. ..(grin)

And finally, I noticed just yesterday while gassing up of the truck stop, that the price of diesel was 12¢ lower than the price of gasoline. Happens every spring, around here, when the idiot regulations the Federal government pawned off on us as "environmentally sound" come into play, and the refiners have to retool. They’ll reverse the situation come July, and diesel will go back to normal... being perhaps a dime more expensive than regular unleaded.

Written By: Bithead
That truck looks okay, I guess, but that is one photogenic dog. I am betting the dog also gets better gas mileage.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Great looking truck. BEWARE Al Gore and the Global Warming crowd are coming for you. That truck contributes as much Global Warming as Gore’s Thundermug. “The Church of all things Human are Evil” has condemned you for you obvious homo sapiens. Greenpeace has issued a press statement demanding your truck be sunk as a artificial reef, and expect an investigator from the Democratic Controlled Congress. All is not Bleak. The Reverend Billie Sol Haggis’s “Church of What’s Happening Now” has awarded you the scofflaw of the year award for your defiance of political correctness.
Written By: James E. Fish
Is this your first truck????
Written By: Rick
URL: http://
Yep, it is. In the past decade, I’ve gone from sports cars, to SUVs, to a Pickup.
Written By: Dale Franks
Reminds me of the time I went to the local Honda dealer for an oil filter, and came home with a new ’Wing.
Written By: Blackwing1
URL: http://
No wonder you’re excited. I will never be without a pickup, they’re just too useful.
Written By: Rick
URL: http://
Just about any gas powered vehicle will drop mileage rather dramatically went away. Not so the diesel.
Not so. My uncle owns a Dodge Ram Cummins diesel. He reported around 25-30 mpg highway which dropped to 15-16 with his trailer. He sold it because he’s selling the trailer.

One bad thing about the diesels, crappy aftermarket. My uncle’s one complaint was being a slave to the dealership for repairs. And if anything breaks on the engine, I believe he had to swap out a starter, it is more $ than gas right off the bat.

Oh the other bad thing is that lots of torque can mean transmission trouble. I know a GM diesel guy that has to watch the throttle in certain gears or he can send his Allison transmission into limp-home mode by over-torquing it. He has to pull over, shut down the truck for a few seconds and then start it back up to get back to normal.
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
Not so. My uncle owns a Dodge Ram Cummins diesel. He reported around 25-30 mpg highway which dropped to 15-16 with his trailer. He sold it because he’s selling the trailer.
Still better than nine.
I’m curious; what kind of trailer was he towing? Mind, I’m talking to people who own the things and two various camper trailers with them.

Which reminds me, something I forgot to ask of Dale...

Please to let us know, what kind of mileage you get after the break in. I’m given to understand, that the MPG ratings tend to continue increasing until you get to about 40,000 miles or so, as the engine loosens up.

Oh the other bad thing is that lots of torque can mean transmission trouble. I know a GM diesel guy that has to watch the throttle in certain gears or he can send his Allison transmission into limp-home mode by over-torquing it. He has to pull over, shut down the truck for a few seconds and then start it back up to get back to normal.
I’m told that’s particularly true of trucks that have been "chipped", and it’s not limited to GM’s as I gather it. I’m not sure why; I would think that part of the chip kit would be a modification to the TCU timings and whatnot. (Shrug)

Written By: Bithead

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