Fuel Mileage and Performance Diesels
Years ago I was told that seventy five percent of the cost of goods sold came from the transportation of those goods. I used to believe that was an exaggeration until I considered the example of tools forged out of steel. From being iron ore in the ground to becoming a tool in your hand how much transportation is involved from start to finish? If you think about that, you will agree that 75% of the cost of goods sold is a result of transportation. So that brings me to the question "Why is our country exporting most of the oil being extracted from US soil and allowing the price of fuel to climb"? If you want to curb inflation, you must control the cost of goods sold. However, by selling our oil to China or whatever country is getting it, and causing the price of diesel fuel to increase in the United States, then the cost of goods sold will also increase, thus adding to inflation. I wonder if our politicians ever think about what happens when they overlook the simple things like the cost of diesel fuel.
Another simple thing is killing people: Diesel Particulate Filters in emergency vehicles. I have received several e-mails about a trucker whose rig was on fire, he was trapped inside, and the fire truck that was coming to his rescue had to pull over to the side of the highway while the DPF was going through its regen cycle. What’s worse for the environment? A fire truck putting out more than the allowable parts per million of soot or a fire that continues to burn because that fire truck is sitting at the side of the road cleaning up its filter instead of putting out the fire? Maybe CARB should do a study on what California’s annual wildfires do to their air quality and run those numbers against fire trucks that aren’t 2008 compliant to put this in perspective. Speaking of wildfires, DPFs have started quite a few. The high temperature regen cycles can ignite anything too close to the filter. With all this in mind let’s step back and look at the big picture here. CARB’s job is to keep the air clean and save lives. How does crippling the reliability of a fire truck accomplish this task? What about ambulances? A person was having a heart attack and before the ambulance was able to reach him it had to pull to the side of the highway and wait for its DPF to regen. Do DPFs on ambulances save lives? Even tow truck operators are too busy hauling new trucks back to the dealerships because of EGR and DPF issues. These guys are so busy that it takes them longer to respond to wrecked trucks. Are these emission laws and DPFs really saving lives or taking them?
Did you know the ISX ECU or ECM has 6400 parameters that affect the operation of the engine and truck? Change the wrong one and you have a disaster on your hands because every parameter is linked. Making a wrong move starts a chain reaction that corrupts the operating system and turns the ECM into a lifeless paperweight. This is the most complex ECM we have ever worked on and every day, progress is being made to improve what this great engine to do what you, the owner-operator, want it to do. Don't like the fact that the engine starts to cut back power at 1500 RPM? Well, we can change that. This reminds me of the old Formula Big Cam Cummins when they were set at 1800 and the transmission was an 8 or 9-speed. Being you were not able to split a gear, when shifted at 1800 into the next gear when pulling a hill, the RPM would come in at 1100 or 1200 and the engine was dead there. Those engines needed 1500 RPM and higher to be able to pull the grade. We would install a 13-speed transmission and set the RPM to 2200 or higher and also increase the horsepower by at least 50 and gain better than a mile per gallon. What may work on the level parts of our country doesn't work in the hills or mountains. So, if you want your ISX to pull strong up to 2000 RPM, we can help you. Every truck is different so we can’t do this over the phone. We need to have the truck at our shop.
The Owner-Operator Snowmobile Conference was held in Togwotee, Wyoming, and all in attendance had a wonderful time. Twenty-four people joined us and there was plenty of new snow for everyone. I asked owner-operator Todd Straight to describe how he felt about the conference and here is what Todd had to say. “The conference was sixty percent camaraderie and forty percent snowmobiling. It was a pleasure to spend time with other owner-operators away from their trucks. The employees at the lodge were great and hospitable. It was wonderful to see how everyone helped each other as a team when someone was stuck in the snow. Taking the break from trucking has improved my ability to handle the challenges at work including my breakdown in North Dakota when I had an electrical failure. I loved it so much; I will be back next year to enjoy the companionship of fellow owner-operators while snowmobiling.
Written by Bruce C. Mallinson, Pittsburgh Power Inc., 3600 S. Noah Dr., Saxonburg, Pa. 16056. Phone 724-360-4080. Email: Bruce@pittsburghpower.com