The Five Star DEF Story: We Buy a Diesel Truck, and Begin a Road Trip

We purchased a brand new 2013 Ford F350 Super Duty truck in June, 2013. We needed a 14,000 GVWR truck that could haul our pickup camper and tow our utility trailer at the same time, and would be economical to drive long distances with our slide-in camper; so, we picked a truck with the 6.7L Power Stroke engine. We had never owned a diesel powered vehicle, but after many test drives and some research, we were amazed by the quiet, clean, and powerful diesel engines that power the new Ford, Chevrolet, GM, and Dodge RAM full size pickups (we test drove each before deciding on the Ford). We travel with our pets and wanted a bigger camper which meant we had to have a big diesel truck.

We were curious about the Diesel Exhaust Fluid system on the truck and questioned the dealer about how often we would need to refill the tank and where we could get DEF. The dealer showed us the sections in the owner’s manual where we could find the DEF usage information, and we were relieved to read that a DEF refill would likely not be needed for at least 5000 miles. We found DEF by the gallon at a local auto parts store in Kent, WA, but the Ford owner’s manual advises not to store DEF inside the vehicle so we decided not to carry it in the truck or our pickup camper.

One week after taking delivery of our new F350 Super Duty, we loaded up the pickup camper, provisions, two dogs, one cat, and took off for a month-long road trip to visit family across the country. We prefer to avoid crowded freeways and enjoy driving less travelled roads with plentiful, quiet RV campgrounds. We had the trip planned out to arrive at our first stop to visit family in Waterloo, IA five days and 1800 miles after departing our home in Kent, WA.

The new truck/camper combination exceeded our expectations: plenty of power to climb hills and pass slow traffic on 2- lane roads, very quiet, and good fuel economy. The new truck averaged 10-11 MPG vs. our previous V10 gas F350/camper combination that got 7-8 MPG in similar conditions. We got familiar with all the new features of the new truck, including Ford’s information and message center where we could track fuel economy and lots of other useful information, including whether the DEF level was OK. It seemed odd there was not a gauge for monitoring how much DEF was in the tank (like a fuel gauge), but it did not seem to be a big deal (more on this later). We got in the habit of checking the Exhaust Fluid level each day.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Tad Donohue wrote:
It is nice to see that someone has finally come along and developed a portable product! I am looking forward to being able to full up on DEF when I am at home in the evening. I never seem to have time during the day and I often have trouble finding a Diesel station. Thank you 5 Star!!!

Thu, October 3, 2013 @ 12:31 PM

2. Lori B wrote:
Five Star DEF is safe, convenient, and cost effective. The refill canisters add even more cost savings!

Tue, October 8, 2013 @ 8:21 AM

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