A Question Of ValueI own a '96 Ford F-250 with the 7.3L diesel engine. I would like to know if the new 6.0L Ford diesel with the new five-speed automatic transmission would fit in my truck. What would be involved in making the swap?Rex DunlapKansas City, Kansas
Assuming you could go to a Ford dealer and actually purchase a new in-the-crate engine and transmission, we're willing to bet it would cost more than the current retail value of your truck. Your best bet, if you're really in love with that '96, is to wait until a new truck with said powerplant meets an untimely demise in the form of a wreck and ends up at a salvage yard. That way you could grab everything you need, including the wiring harness, intercooler plumbing, and so on. However, the easiest way to get the new 6.0L diesel is to take the '96 to the dealer and trade it on a new truck. With the low-percent financing available today and a full factory warranty, you'll be better off in the long run.
Off-Road Magazine: Insensitive?Your featuring of the Confederate flag in the March issue offends me. What is the political statement you are referring to? As you are aware, this flag has become a symbol of hatred and violence. I will not allow it in my home.Mike davisEl Paso, Texas
When we received Mike's letter, we were unsure where we had "featured" the Confederate flag, but then it came to us: One of the Tough Truck participants at the Truckin' Nats had attached a large Confederate flag - as well as Old Glory - to the back of his Blazer, and this was the "feature" that had Mike upset. Although Mike seems to think we have some kind of political agenda that embraces the Confederate flag, the truth is we do not. We're aware certain groups do indeed use a Confederate flag as their symbol, but no one on the OFF-ROAD staff is a member.
We understand that many people view the Confederate flag in a negative sense and have rallied to have it removed from flagpoles on city, county, and state property. Again, if it's the will of the people, that's fair. On the other hand, the owner of the Blazer has every right to fly any flag he wants; it's his personal statement and it's on his personal property (the Blazer) Need we remind you, Mike, that men and women have given their lives throughout this country's history so that each of us is free to make such political statements. Honestly, we don't know if the Blazer's owner was making a statement with the Confederate flag or if he just liked its graphic style. Trust us, we don't address politics in this magazine; we're simply looking for functional and stylish trucks to photograph - with or without an attached flag, and the Blazer made for an exciting shot; End of line.
To Swap Or Not To SwapI currently own a '99 Silverado with a V-6 engine. I have the go-ahead from my wife to make a bunch of modifications to the suspension and engine. I have a budget of $30,000 to spend and my biggest question is, do I drop a V-8 in it, fix up the V-6, or trade up for a Silverado with a V-8? And should I go 5.3L (small-block), or 6.0L (big-block)? My wife wants me to keep this truck because I have had it from new and we know its history, but I don't like the new-style Silverado. So, lets say I go V-8. Will I need a new transmission? I have the automatic in it now. I have the Gibson Stainless dual exhaust on it and a Mac Industries Intake. For a six, it runs strong. But a real 'wheeler needs a V-8, right? Thanks for your help!Jerry Benchvia e-mail
Jerry, it sounds to us like you have some issues to iron out before you get started. You have a lot of choices, so let's talk about some options. A real 'wheeler doesn't necessarily need a V-8. You can install a lift system, special shocks, and large wheels and tires and still keep the V-6. The Vortec V-6 will adequately move the truck, but it won't have enough torque for huge tires or extreme off-road situations. With a $30,000 budget, and because you don't like the new body style anyway, keep the '99 as your driver and buy a used early model K-Series for your project. Even if you spend $10,000 on an early to mid-'90s truck, that still leaves you with $20,000 to spend on modifications. Any V-8 swap is a lot of work, and it's best to nab the transmission and wiring harness that came with the new V-8 for the transplant. If we were in your shoes, with your budget, we'd swap in a 5.3L Vortec; it's a strong, reliable engine that's fairly easy to find in wrecking yards. If the V-8 swap is a no-go, then spend your money on wheels, tires, and suspension components, and live with the reliability and economy of the V-6.
Editor's Note: If you have any questions, comments, rants, or raves, please feel free to contact us at OFF-ROAD magazine, Mailbox, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. You can e-mail us at email@example.com.