Truck Stats

Last year, Tyla got me an OBDII data logger (Automatic) for my birthday and, of course, I ended up writing an app to download my trip data so I could analyze it. I still get those analysis reports twice per day and they continue to be interesting. For example, I don’t know why, but the last two weeks have had some of the worst traffic on my way home from work in the last year. Now that I have over a year of data, there’s enough to calculate some semi-interesting stats on my drives in our 2016 F150 3.5L Ecoboost:

    • The average trip to work takes me 26.3 minutes.
    • The average trip home takes me 33.9 minutes.
    • It feels like if I leave work a couple minutes early, I’ll avoid the worst of the traffic. Here’s my average commute time based on when I leave. (The x-axis is in 24 hour time so 17 is 5pm.) The y-axis is my average commute home in minutes. It does look like if I leave about 10 minutes before 5 my commute is generally 5-10 minutes faster.
    • My most fuel efficient trip was a 43.7mpg drive along the 3.5 mile route from my house to Home Depot. Not bad for a 5000 pound truck! (A lot of it is downhill and I like to see how little gas I can use on that route…)
      • Best fuel mileage for a trip over 10 miles: Church to Totem Lake AutoZone 28.0mpg
      • Best fuel mileage for a trip over 50 miles: Crystal Mountain to our house 24.7mpg
    • My worst gas mileage is going from Work to the butcher. It’s a short trip and when it’s really cold, my truck spends the whole time idling at stop lights and trying to warm up. I’ve gotten 3.5mpg on that route a couple times!
    • Of the days that I drive the truck, I spend an average of 69.3 minute driving.
    • The most driving in one day was 366 minutes. That was May 25, 2018 when we drove down to Ocean Park for Memorial Day.

I love having all this data! I could do this all night but I should probably cut it off here and go to bed. By the way, all of these charts and stats were created with public preview of Azure Data Explorer. We’ve been using that product internally for a couple years and it makes stuff like the stats above ridiculously fast and easy. If you’re at all involved in data engineering or data analysis, you need to get familiar with Azure Data Explorer!

F150 Tonneau Cover

Shortly after I bough the truck, we took it on a weekend getaway. It rained on the way back so I tarped up. As I was fighting the tarp and the wind, I thought about how many times I’d be doing that over the course owning the truck. It didn’t take much to convince me to look for a better solution.

I ended up buying a TruXedo cover. They have a variety of models but I think I got the fanciest one: the Lo Pro QT. I paid about to have it $450 shipped from Amazon. If you order one, make sure you get the right size for your truck. Thanks to Jay for originally recommending this to me. Installation was pretty easy for me, but I heard that Don and Logan struggled with the install on Don’s truck recently.

Over the last 10 months I’ve grown to really enjoy this. Sure, it’s not as fancy as other retractable ones that roll down into the bed, but this one also cost a small fraction of the cost of those nicer models. I’ve used it to cover camping gear, trash for the dump, groceries and even loads of mulch and dirt. I can unroll it or roll it up in less than a minute and there’s very little vibration or flapping as I drive down the road.

There are no signs of wear or fading on it yet, but even if I have to buy another one in 5 or 10 years, I’ll still say it’s a good investment.

Truxedo Bed Cover

You may have heard that we get a little bit of wet weather around here in the fall, spring and summer. That means that there will be a lot of tarps in my future to cover up loads in the bed when we are taking trips or even just transporting stuff around town. I wouldn’t mind having a cap for the back of the truck, but I have no good place to store it, so I started looking at rollable covers. Jay has a Truxedo model and they had good reviews so I went for it. The specific model I got was the Truxedo Lo Pro QT.

Installation took about 30-45 minutes as I figured it out and adjusted it, but now I could probably do it in 20 minutes by myself or even less if I had another pair of hands. Two rails are clamped onto the top of the bed sides and then the roll clamps to one end of the rails. You can store it rolled up or quickly unroll it and get it locked in place. There’s a tension adjustment so it stays tight and they say it will hold 300 pounds on top of the cover (so you don’t have to worry about snow load, etc.)

I would have preferred one of fancier models that rolls down into the bed, but those were about four times the cost. This was a good deal and I think it will work really well.

truxedo2 truxedo1

Tiny Truck Tweaks

I liked the way the Plasti Dip looked on the back of my truck so I decided to do it on the F150 logos on the sides too. It was a quick job and I actually was able to do it in the garage. My truck barely fits in with the mirrors folded and there’s a small chance that if I was creative I could even close the garage door.


The other small tweak I made was to my antenna. It stuck up probably 8-10 inches above the top of the truck. I like the idea of it hitting a garage roof to give me warning, but that’s way too much warning. Since I regularly park in garages at work, it was pretty annoying. The solution? Cut it shorter. There’s really nothing too fancy about it. Antennas just unscrew and then you can cut them with a hacksaw. I tried to use some JB Weld to put the ball back on top of the antenna, but I couldn’t get it to stick on solidly so I just left it off. Who cares? I suppose I damaged my radio reception a little, but I almost never use the radio and it worked fine even with the antenna completely unscrewed.


Road Angles

How steep is that crazy hill by your house? Are they steep enough to ski if covered by snow? Hills look a lot different from a car than they do from foot or on skis.

It turns out that roads aren’t very steep at all. A good ski run is 15-25 degrees of slope with the craziest runs being up near 40 degrees. The steepest you’ll get on most roads is 5 degrees and that is certainly accompanied by warning signs. Most hills on the highway are barely 1 degree.

I know this thanks to a fun display on my new truck. It shows the pitch and roll of the truck as well as the how much the front wheels are turned. I suppose this might be important in certain off road situations, but mostly it’s just something fun to look at.