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What’s the scoop with Heath Diesel?

restoguy

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So I finally got around to working on my poor 6.5 that had an unfortunate encounter with a pregnant whtietail few years ago. As part of the rebuild, I’m planning to send my ecm back to Heath for a re-tune.

When I called, the recording said something about being a ‘Dieselsite’ company. Checked the web, sure enough. Heath Diesel was bought out by Dieselsite last Feb-ish. And the return address for the ecm is now in Florida. Anyone know the story behind that situation?

I know some people didn’t care much for them but I spent quite a bit of money there. Just curious what happened and what to expect going forward.
 

Will L.

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He did say he would work with them for a while l, especially on tune info. Ut when ai spoke to them on the phone a couple months back trying to help a neighbor here solve an issue- they didn’t know the 6.5 from a hole in the ground. They didn’t have any answers on the tunes, they couldn’t warranty his broken turbo master he bought in November- the spring broke and they couldn’t sell just a spring to get the same one in their. In the end her comment was- sounds like you need to get a duramax and get rid old that old junk.

Had several people on the hummer forum have worse stories than that already- my prediction is they won’t be dealing in 6.5 come 2022, only because it will take a year to purge inventory of 6.5 stuff.
 

WECSOG

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That's bad to hear. I don't plan on ever going to a Duramax. Just don't like aluminum-head, electronic controlled diesels.
I know the 6.5 is electronic control, but it can be dealt with and even reverted to mechanical if necessary.
 

THEFERMANATOR

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That's bad to hear. I don't plan on ever going to a Duramax. Just don't like aluminum-head, electronic controlled diesels.
I know the 6.5 is electronic control, but it can be dealt with and even reverted to mechanical if necessary.
It's been 22 years now since the Duramax test mules came out, and we've yet to see problems with aluminum heads. Ford has even gone to them now. As far as electronic controls, the 6 5's ds4 has by far been the most failure prone system used. I'm not telling you to upgrade, but electronics and aluminum heads have not been problems except in rumor with them. Injectors have had trouble, but that is most all common rail diesel's, 23,000 psi and higher takes a toll on them.
 

WECSOG

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It's been 22 years now since the Duramax test mules came out, and we've yet to see problems with aluminum heads. Ford has even gone to them now. As far as electronic controls, the 6 5's ds4 has by far been the most failure prone system used. I'm not telling you to upgrade, but electronics and aluminum heads have not been problems except in rumor with them. Injectors have had trouble, but that is most all common rail diesel's, 23,000 psi and higher takes a toll on them.
I've seen and had plenty of problems with aluminum heads, and with electronic controls.
That "failure prone system" is mostly caused by the stock mounting location of the pcm, and the fix is simple, well known and inexpensive.
Also, 22 years is nothing. My Ford gas V10 is nearly that old and has aluminum heads. That doesn't mean it's a good design, nor that it hasn't had problems. And if it failed tomorrow, a replacement would cost more than the whole truck is worth.
My 1st Gen Cummins is over 30 years old, and I would take it over a Duramax and a Powerstroke.
My 6.2 is even older. I wouldn't choose it over a 1st gen Cummins, but I would choose it over any "modern" diesel. Not least because I could buy a complete running replacement for less than the price of a typical repair of a modern diesel.

Oh, and btw the fact that "Ford has even gone" to a given technology is, based on things I've seen from Ford over the years, tantamount to a blanket condemnation of that technology.
 

restoguy

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Sad to hear but I guess a guy is allowed to retire and sell out if he wants to. Bill didn’t know everything but he had done an awful lot of R&D with this motor and seemed to get good reliable performance out of them. Guess I may be going elsewhere for the tune this time around.

I’d have been money ahead to swap a Dmax in when the motor went down back in 09, but I was determined to show the haters a thing or two! I’ve made believers out of a couple but I have so much in it that now I’ve got to ride this pony. Besides, I’m GMT400 ’til I die.
 

Husker6.5

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@WECSOG The DS4's problems go way beyond just the PMD and its location. As for aluminum heads and diesels, 22 years in production and what totals out to probably several billion miles of driving has shown the D-Max design to be FAR more reliable than the 6.5's cast iron heads.
 

WarWagon

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I respect the cooling system balance flow research Heath published. Buct F'K him as he was one of those that put 6.5 turbo research decades behind and cost me a lot of money in fuel by NOT having alternatives available. Just sold a battery for the butt plug GMx... Yes, some worse places out there and he found that to sell out too.

Well except for the LLY Duramax where "A" problem of many for it's overheating was rumored to be a head casting problem.

Hell, even the Olds V6 Diesel had an aluminum head for the FWD version.
 

FellowTraveler

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I respect the cooling system balance flow research Heath published. Buct F'K him as he was one of those that put 6.5 turbo research decades behind and cost me a lot of money in fuel by NOT having alternatives available. Just sold a battery for the butt plug GMx... Yes, some worse places out there and he found that to sell out too.

Well except for the LLY Duramax where "A" problem of many for it's overheating was rumored to be a head casting problem.

Hell, even the Olds V6 Diesel had an aluminum head for the FWD version.
Lets we forget the magic 400++++ HP Merlin products and his water injection system.

With the large rewards offered for reporting missing emissions components on vehicles it is more than reasonable too believe that shops will rat tat tat u out in a NY second to the E P A.......
 

FellowTraveler

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@WECSOG The DS4's problems go way beyond just the PMD and its location. As for aluminum heads and diesels, 22 years in production and what totals out to probably several billion miles of driving has shown the D-Max design to be FAR more reliable than the 6.5's cast iron heads.
Yep, D-Max Japanese tech all the way from the beginning.
 

Will L.

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I’ve been stuck to 6.5 over dmax based on cash and experience with it. I know I hat will break and know it good enough to know when it will break, and when it does none of the parts are really high. Dmax is proven reliable enough I would buy any one of them, just know that is is more expensive up front and long term. The comment she made about the dmax wasn’t so much upsetting to me because of dmax problems or cost— but Heath’s shop is honestly built around the 6.5 not the dmax. It’s like going to a bbq restaurant and when you ask the waiter their recommendation and they say the salad. Maybe I am off in la-la land here, but is Heath well known in the dmax world as one of the to to guys for maxing out the dmax? If he never had the lsr 6.5 truck where would his shop be?

The Gal I spoke with on the phone said “WE” as to imply she is one of the new owners. Husband & Wife team or she is a partner of some kind? If the other(s) involved do know their stuff with the 6.5, having her answer the phones means their business decisions are incompetent. I did ask if there was anyone that could call me back more familiar with the 6.5 sometime later in the week, and her comment was to the effect of “I know everything they know about them”. Any way you slice it, when the only person available for a week at a time is someone who ho knows nothing about a 6.5 .... ya won’t be much help when there is a question on your product or technical issue that need to get worked out. And solving a tune issue or being able to plan a special tune - hahaha yeah right!

He and his brother wanted to retire, never gonna hold that against a person. But knowing many mechanic shop owners that sold their business, unless it was paid for in full they usually stuck around one day a week to make a smooth transition ensuring the new owners got enough income to make those monthly payments and not have it go under before getting paid off. Hope he (they) have been paid in full by now. Seen a few where the new owners wrecked the reputation in short order and when the business repo happens the old owner can’t save it because customers are buying not just a part or repair but customer service. And knowing the warranty means squat doesn’t exactly count as a selling feature.
 

Husker6.5

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My guess is that the female on the other end of the phone was just using the Royal Form of 'we', as in "We are not amused, off with your head." I doubt seriously that somebody with an ownership share in the former Heath Diesel would be that ignorant of their new product line/motor. Most likely you spoke with the official "phone answerer, package signer-for, order taker, office manager" who doesn't want the buying public to know their ignorance - which usually means that that person doesn't know squat about the products and especially a new product line for a platform never dealt with before since they've not had the chance to get to know anything about it by osmosis or exposure around the shop/office/warehouse.
 

Will L.

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I follow that thought line but I must break the rules and quote myself:
“having her answer the phones means their business decisions are incompetent”

And the fact that the guy I was helping was willing to buy a new tune and they couldn’t have anyone get back to him within a week that can discuss the tune changes he wanted?
8A12682A-28C5-436A-AF0D-2A0654E93BDC.png
 

WECSOG

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That's bad to hear. I don't plan on ever going to a Duramax. Just don't like aluminum-head, electronic controlled diesels.
I know the 6.5 is electronic control, but it can be dealt with and even reverted to mechanical if necessary.
I know; bad form to quote my own post. But since a few folks seem to have misconstrued my statements as denigrating the Dmax, allow me to clarify my position.
For the average person who is thinking about buying his first diesel truck (let's say used and sub-$25K), my personal recommendation would be to find a fairly low mileage Cummins truck, 24V but not an early 24V. My second recommendation would probably be a fairly low mileage 7.3 PSD although I really, really hate to recommend any Ford. And to clarify that, I am not in any way a Ford fan. The Dmax is probably a better engine. But PSDs are dirt common, the 7.3 has a pretty good reputation, and both parts and mechanics who are familiar with them abound. I expect that this hypothetical average buyer is looking to drive the truck a reasonable number of miles, use it for daily driving and hauling reasonable loads, and then sell or trade it before it starts developing too many problems.
The Dmax is probably a great candidate for that as well. In fact, I have a very favorable opinion of Isuzus in general.


But the foregoing does not describe me. I didn't accidentally stumble into a discussion about the demise of the former Heath Diesel Service, in the 6.5 Performance section, to ask what diesel I should buy. I already have several diesel trucks, generators, tractors and engines. I like mechanical diesels and have no problem tinkering with them.

I did buy another diesel truck recently, and it has a 6.5 TD in it. I was looking for something in the $7K and under range. I found a few 24V Cummins trucks in that range; in fact I could have bought an '01 Dodge 3500 flatbed, manual transmission, 24V truck with reasonable miles for $6K. That truck did sell, but not before I had ample opportunity to buy it. But there's that whole computer control issue.
I wanted a 12V. I found a few. One complete, obvious scam, a few thoroughly worn out trucks with all sorts of issues (especially in the electronics btw), and a couple of trucks that looked to be great candidates but sold before I had a chance to go look at them.

I eventually decided I wanted a C3500HD with the 6.5 and NV4500. They are simple, cheap to work on, have decent components, are (unlike any light truck including the Dodges that came so equipped) very well suited for the weight and power of a Cummins 6BT or even a 53 series Detroit, and are not difficult to find in my price range.
Find one I did, and it runs and drives well. My plan is to stay with the 6.5 until it needs serious work, then swap in a 6BT that I already have in a truck I no longer drive.

If I wanted to spend what a modern diesel truck costs, I would instead buy a 453T, couple it with some kind of Roadranger manual trans, and look around for just the right old truck to drop it into. Perhaps another C3500HD, unless something more interesting presented itself.
Although I do have that '67 K20...🤔
 

restoguy

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Not to derail my own thread but a heavy truck salesman I know, who’s been in that biz for decades, swears that the C3500HD was supposed to have a small Cat as an option but they backed out at the last minute. True or not, idk. I drive one, a gasser, for work almost every day. Plenty to like about that chassis.
 

restoguy

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I believe they had sold Detroit to Penske by 92 when the HD rolled out. But either way, it does seem to me that the chassis was prime for something truely ‘commercial’ and could have been kicked down the hill at the last minute for any number of reasons. Including bean counters!
 
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