Tow vehicle upgrade


Some test tows of my new 24’ enclosed trailer indicated that the 5.4l engine in my F-150 was going to get 8mpg at 60mph. Bummer.

So I started this thread at bf.c to learn more about diesel engines and mpg.

After shopping for F-250 diesels for a couple weeks I trekked down to central FL and picked up a low mileage 2000 F-250 with the highly respected 7.3l turbo diesel. $9k. I took the seemingly unsellable e46 down, bought the truck, rented a UHaul dolly, loaded the car up on it and towed it home. 16mpg at 75mph.

Yesterday I put $900 into a new steering box and front end bits.

The interior of the F-250 is old spartan, stained and stinky. This was somewhat jarring compared to the pristine condition of the 2006 F-150 Lariat that it was replacing. So I ordered new carpet, and a leather upholstery kit to redo the seats. That should all arrive next week.

Today I sold the F-150 for $10k.

All is well in RangerGress land. It’d be better if I could sell the e46 tho.


Might be those wheels and tail lights that are hurting it’s value. :smiley:


e46 looks like a good race car donor:evil: Chuck


Looks like in the past 9 months you have replaced almost everything in your life except your family!


-1 on the taillights. :ohmy:


Yes the taillights and wheels are appalling. My CL ad states that I have OEM-like tail lights available if one would prefer. It’s currently listed at $6500 and with all the suspension work, engine management work, tranny work and clutch replacement, it’s a helova deal. It’s also a 5spd sedan which is the least common variant.


Where is the E46 sale posted? I have a friend in Atl looking for an E46/5speed.


Here’s the short version. The complete list of maintenance conducted seemed to be scaring folks off so I pulled that ad.

If buddy contacts me I’ll send him the long version. As long as he’s not scared away by the thought of someone else spending lots of money to ensure that he didn’t have to.

It’s also on ebay.


Ranger, I have sold quite few things on Ebay and Cl lately, including an e46 BMW.

Suggestion, get that thing detailed and then take it some where nice(like a park) to take pics of it. then also shoot some video of it, video of it running and driving too. Video has been the key for me.

Had the e46 for 3 years sold it for what i paid for it. They didn’t even haggle me on the price. took about 7 days.

Nice buy on the tow rig, I am looking for a new one too. I have 1994 Chevy 2500 6.5l TD . great tow rig, just getting old too much work.


My 6.0 F250 got me 17mpg towing and 21mpg unladen on the highway. It was not stock however.
420hp, 790tq.


While we are all being helpful…

  • Never take an interior photo with the steering wheel cocked at an angle. Makes me think the alignment is way off.
  • The rear door speakers give me pause (what else got hacked into)
  • Those tail lights make it sale-proof. I’d be worried about getting busted for whatever stems and seeds are rolling around under the seats.

All that said, black over tan looks nice and the manual trans is a nice feature.

I recently wrestled with how much work to put into my E30 'vert before I sell it. I’ve decided to fix all the body work and repaint it. At which point I’ll probably decide I like it too much to sell.

PS - Nice score on the diesel rig. I towed this weekend with a 2005 GMC Dmax dually and got +/-13 mpg with my open trailer at 75-80. When I towed home from Savannah with a 53’ gooseneck it was about 10 mpg. The lesson? Buy a big trailer and take your friends’ cars for free. :lol:


At least it doesn’t have iDrive.


Front end cosmetic work. Didn’t like the aftermarket grill and the headlights were so yellowed with age that they looked awful. Last weekend I worked on one of the plastic headlights a bit with some product that was supposed to be able to remove the yellow but it didn’t seem to help much.

Pic of a new headlight to show difference.

Grill and headlights installed.

Stay tuned for the complete redo of the interior. New carpet and the crappy cloth seats are getting re-upholstered with leather.


For yellowed headlights, I’ve had great luck with the following process:
-600 grit
-1000 grit
-rubbing compound
-Meguiar’s Plast-X plastic polish (a very fine rubbing compound)

And good choice in losing that aftermarket grill.


Yesterday Ludo, the French SpecE30 newby, was at a DE at Roebling. He started having smoke and power problems from his engine. He came in and found that his motor mounts had sheared. In other news, Ludo is now doing hot laps in his SpecE30. Expect to see him at Comp school soon.

Ludo brought his car to my house. A compression test showed it kind of on the low side, about 20psi lower than a cherry new build, but no outlying pistons. No "smoking gun of a tired ring that would explain blue smoke and low power.

The motor mounts sheared because the passenger side mount didn’t have a heat shield. It was certainly already destroyed when Ludo bought the car, it just wasn’t obvious to the eye.

We noted that it was low on coolant so I started putting water in. To our dismay it took a lot of water. After putting in ~1.5gal we found that when the engine shifted because of the failed motor mounts, the alternator had cut a hose. Common enough. That worried me. No telling how many laps at RR had been run with an aircooled M20. The oil showed no sign of water but I still worried about the HG, a possible cracked head, and failed rings. I remembered vividly the coolant hose failure that killed engine #5, and my failure to replace the rings that doomed #6.

We considered our options, putting in one of my spare motors being one of them, and decided to try the option of “hope for the best”. Drawing from my spares, Ludo replaced the motor mounts and coolant hose while I spent a couple hrs spot painting the F-250, a project I was determined to get done yesterday.

Then we filled Ludo’s motor back up with water, he ran a few test laps around the neighborhood, all seemed to be well, and he drove it into his trailer. Maybe his engine actually survived the loss of all coolant running flat out for a couple laps. How 'bout that?

Today I drove on with the project of paint repair on the new F-250. I’ve done a fair amount of work on paint with various buffers and various types of polishing and rubbing compounds, but I’ve never wet sanded. Until today.

There were so many scratches, from driving thru bushes by the looks of them, that I was wet sanding for hours. I used 1500grit to remove or at least beat down scratches. Once I’d removed the scratch, or beat it down as much as I dared, I used a rubbing compound by hand to make the areas less dull. There were so many scratches on the sides of the truck that I wet sanded and then hand-compounded almost the entire sides of the truck. And it’s a big truck. Finally I did both sides of the truck with a dual action buffer and rubbing compound.

Using a rubbing compound by hand is pretty aggressive. Using it on a dual action buffer isn’t all that aggressive. At least in my experience.

Then I waxed the sides and the hood to protect the virgin paint. Virgin has to be protected. Ok, I didn’t always feel that way.

That was 6hrs of work w/o a break. The truck’s paint looks a helova lot better now. Except for the rocker panels, most of the scratches are now gone. Maybe I’ll have the rocker panels resprayed…the paint there is pretty pockmarked. And I still have to hit the hood and tailgate with the buffer.


what, no pictures?!

To complement the report from saturday’s event, I re did the compression test once at home (after a blown tire trailer on the 6 miles drive…) and I got pretty much the same results (good or bad, that’s still open to discussion) as I had two months ago after we unseized it.


I’ve found that duplicolor perfect match is worthy of the name. I know it seams to defy the laws of physics but you can just spray it on a scratch without having to respray an entire panel. Give it a try in the bed if you’re hesitant.


I was using a little jar of spot paint but to do the rockers I ordered some Duplicolor spray. I figure that I’ll do some real sanding with 200 as if I was going to repaint the panels for real. Then I’ll use high build primer and some more sanding until the little pockmarks are filled. Then spray on the Duplicolor, fix the flaws, and finally spray on clearcoat. I’ve never used clearcoat before. Fortunately, the rocker arm panels don’t really grab the eye so the consequences of my inexperience shouldn’t be very noticeable.