Tech Q & A


I have a 2006 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4X4. During the past two years I have broken three outer tie-rod ends while inspecting and servicing gas/oil pumping stations. Is there an aftermarket fix for this problem? Jay O’Neal, Ada, Oklahoma

Chevy Outer Tie rod end failures have been attributed to the failure of the boot, allowing contaminants and moisture inside. The result is corrosion and wear that causes excessive deflection and toe angle changes until eventually the rod end fails. Moog Suspensions has a solution. Unlike the OEM outer tie rod, the Moog tie rod end (# ES3609) features a greaseable design, that uses a premium polychloroprene boot with a special grease relief-valve Moog says is designed to resist intrusion and flush contamination out of the socket, preventing corrosion and premature wear.


I have a customer who wants us to swap the 6.4L in a 2008 F-350 Super Duty to a 5.9L Cummins. Is there a company that can provide components for us to perform the operation. I am located in Plamondon, Alberta, Canada.

That’s easy., located in Kalispell, Montana, has all the information and parts you need to install the 5.9L Cummins in the 2008 F-350.


What is the latest information on bi-fuel options for commercial pickups this year? We plan to replace part of our fleet in our commercial construction company. Dennit Morris, Las Vegas, NV

You are in luck because this year Silverado and Sierra buyers will get a CNG bi-fuel option for commercial pickups developed by IMPCO in Indiana. Ford will also get a bi-fuel CNG option on its 6.2L Super Duty developed by Westport and produced in the company’s Plymouth, Michigan facility. Ram also offers CNG direct from the factory in 2013.


My 2008 Duramax 6.6L runs great, but soon after every oil change the oil turns black very quickly. Is there a reason for this? Ross Coyle, Clovis, New Mexico

Your Duramax uses EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) and recirculates a considerable amount of its exhaust back into the engine for reburning. The engine oil turning black almost immediately after an oil change is perfectly normal. The reason for EGR is its ability to lower combustion temperatures, therefore reducing harmful NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions to the atmosphere. The EGR is the manufacturer’s response to the EPA’s implementation of more stringent emissions regulations on diesel engines.


We need to step-up the amps from our 2010 Chevy 5.3L alternators. The trucks are having a hard time keeping the batteries charged when they sit at idle on road repair jobs with flashers and warning lights on. Any suggestions? – Brad Holroyd, Costa Mesa, California

Plenty of options out there for high-output alternators. Wrangler Power Products’ ( 240-amp model is a direct replacement that delivers the same output at idle as the OE version does at high-rpm. Nations Starter & Alternator ( and DC Power ( offer models up to 300-amp.


I have a question about one of your recent builds featured in ProPickup. How did you change the computer to accept lower air pressures in the tires you installed on the Ford Super Duty? I am struggling with this issue on one of my work trucks that I am building for off-road situations and was wondering if you could let me know how you solved this annoying issue with the truck. Christopher Jerome, Toms River, New Jersey

We don’t run tire pressures low enough on our project trucks where they would trip the TPS warning system. We keep the Super Duty’s 35s inflated at 55 psi front and 50 psi rear for normal highway/off-road use and 65psi when towing. Should we hit soft sand, we’d drop them down to 30psi. In the past we have run as low as 15psi on ½-ton pickups off-road in sand and serious boulder running. Most TPMS circuits trigger warnings when the pressure drops below 25 percent of the tire pressure indicated on the door placard.

One trick we have seen used (but we don’t endorse) is placing the factory TPMS sensors in a 6” piece of 2 ½” Schedule 40 PVC pipe that has a cap on one end and a cap on the other with a valve stem in it. Pressurize the TPMS container to whatever pressure is indicated on the door placard (Schedule 40 PVC has an operating pressure of 180psi) and slip the container in your glove box or under a seat.

The truck’s computer doesn’t know what the sensors are in – just that they are under pressure. Since the computer only “sees” the pressure is satisfactory no warning lights will go off until the container’s pressure drops below that 25 percent threshold.


The stock CB in my Silverado is causing interference with the audio of the factory AM/FM radio. Ronnie Hartline, Gainesville, Georgia

When you hear CB “feedback” through the radio it’s usually becasue the CB’s coaxial cable is running across or next to the speaker wires from your AM/FM radio. Simply move them as far apart as possible or reroute the coaxial cable in a different manner.


I have a problem with the passenger-side battery dying on my 2006 F-250 Power Stroke. I have changed it out twice since I started having the problem, 2 ½ years after I bought the truck. The passenger side battery is the only one I am having a problem with. I don’t have any aftermarket accessories on the truck. Is their a solution? Bob ­Burris, Helena, Montana

We have found from experience that it is best to change batteries in pairs on pickups and construction equipment. You live in Montana where extreme cold has a definite effect on battery operation and life. Also the number of trips you drive and their length effect battery life. If the truck is not driven daily or for long enough runs the batteries won’t fully recharge from the draw that the glow plugs and starting take.


The factory wheels on my 2002 F-250 have corroded to the point that they need to be replaced. We snowplow in the winter to supplement our lawn care business, and the salt finally got to them. I want to upgrade with a new set of wheels, but I want to keep the factory specs to prevent rubbing and geometry problems as well as keep the tires under the fenders. What is the factory offset for a 2002 F-250 four-wheel drive? Joe Rector, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The stock offset for the 1999-2004 models is +6mm. You can go as far as -6mm with stock tires and still have them under the fenders and not have any geometry or rubbing issues.


I have a 2007 GMC Sierra 2500 HD with a 6.0L gas engine. With over 62,000 miles of trailer towing as well as hauling equipment and material for our landscape business, I would like to increase the power and performance without killing the fuel mileage. Will a programmer really improve performance? Ed Gray, Longmont, Colorado

There a number of companies that make programmers that will improve the horsepower and torque for your 6.0L engine. While people talk about horsepower, torque is what moves your Sierra and is quite often overlooked.

We have found that the Hypertech Max Energy Power Programmer works quite well. The company claims performance gains of 35 horsepower and an increase of 35ft-lbs of torque when using premium fuel. The numbers stated by Hypertech for regular fuel are almost as high with a gain of 28 horsepower and 30 ft-lbs of torque. The programmer has improved drivability on the pickups we have seen. Your fuel mileage will depend on how you drive, in some instances from 2 to 6 miles per gallon can be realized. Again, how heavy your foot is determines fuel mileage.


I am interested in converting my Ford 6.8 L V-10 to liquid propane. Does anyone offer a conversion for this engine? Jimmy Harris, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Yes. Roush Industries’ Cleantech Division offers liquid propane conversion kits for Class 4 and Class 5 Ford trucks equipped with the 6.8L V-10 engine. The company claims 30- to 40-percent fuel cost savings and cleaner operation with reduced maintenance costs. The basic conversation will run around $10,000 dollars.


I drive a 2004 Ram 3500 and my power windows only work with the driver’s controls. Some people have told me that the design of the window lock allows dirt and dust to get in causing the window lock to engage. Is this true and what can be done to fix the problem? Don Stiller, Muskogee, Oklahoma

Because all the switches go through the driver control first so if is faulty, the others will not work at all. You can test the passenger switches with a simple mulitmeter. Next would be checking to see if there is dirt in the driver switch, you should be able to blow it out with compressed air after you remove it. If that does not work, you will probably need a new one.