High Performance Diesel Engines

Bruce Mallinson
March 2018

Several years ago, an owner-operator from the Los Angeles area called me to talk about engines and his father said to him, “Son, with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s been about 18 years since I heard that statement and I have never forgotten it.

JR Hillhouse out of Mississippi runs an ultra-clean 379 Pete with a C-15 Cat that we re-worked. The horsepower it produces is about 100 more than we anticipated. He chose to accept the extra power and when I call him and ask how the truck is running his saying is “She’ll do anything you ask her to do”.

I personally have always had great running cars, trucks, boats, and snowmobiles. Mike Lane, an owner-operator out of Ogden, Utah, a very good snowmobiling friend of mine, called me this past January and told me I can now have my 850cc Ski Doo snowmobile turbocharged for half of what the cost was a few years ago. He knows I love turbochargers and all my vehicles except one is turbocharged. He didn’t have to twist my arm very hard when he told me I would have 200 horsepower with only 6 psi of turbo boost! Think about the horsepower to weight ratio, the snowmobile only weighs 450 pounds, it will accelerate from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds! The stock 850 cc engine will produce 165 horsepower at sea level, however we do most of our riding at 10,000 feet or higher. A normally aspirated engine will lose 3% of its power for every 1000 feet of elevation so the 850 engine will only produce about 115 horsepower at 10,000 feet. With the turbocharger the 850 will produce 200 horsepower regardless of the altitude. January 23, 2018, I arrived at AD Triple S Motorsports in Ogden, Utah and Brayden went to work on my sled. The next morning, we went for a test ride in the mountains, WOW, anytime you push on the throttle the skies come up off the snow. The following weekend was the Owner-Operator Snowmobile Conference in Cook City, Montana, and yes, the turbocharged snowmobile did get me in trouble 4 times in 3 days. I had to think about the statement “With great power comes great responsibility.” A 200-horsepower sled will take you places you really should not be, especially at my age.

Lamar Cohen, an owner-operator out of Virginia also turbocharged his Polaris in Mike Lane’s trailer in 38 degree temperatures. At 8:30 Tuesday evening he had his sled all apart and pieces were scattered everywhere, and we were leaving the next morning. He and Mike finished assembling the Polaris, and he now has 200 horsepower, however he used a little more common sense than I did and did not get into trouble.

Horsepower and torque are wonderful things, and today’s semi-trucks with the steel pistons in the diesel engines will produce an abundance of power with the correct exhaust manifold, turbocharger, air filters, mufflers, ECM tuning or the Pittsburgh Power Computer. Know what you have and respect it. DA Santucci, Speed Specialist, was the builder of my racecar engines and his saying was “A great running engine is capable of blowing itself apart, and you the driver must keep it together.”

Good news today from the Engineering Department of Pittsburgh Power. The Freightliners equipped with the DD15 Detroit Engine from 2012 through 2016 can now be custom programmed for additional horsepower up to 620 to the ground, which is 730 flywheel horsepower. With the “Dorothy”, soot separator installed on the EGR system, to remove the soot prior to entering the intake manifold, and the custom tuning, the DD15 will be a very fuel efficient, powerful, long lasting diesel engine. With Dorothy eating the soot the emissions are greatly reduced, the Diesel Exhaust Fluid consumption is reduced by 30% and the regens of the Diesel Particulate Filter are greatly reduced. It’s all positive, great results come from great engineering! For 41 years in the diesel engine business we have always forged ahead to improve the engine, whether it was for power, fuel economy, or engine longevity. There is another saying that we live by at Pittsburgh Power and that is “What if”, what if we try this, what will the result be? In research and development there are always failures before the positive outcome. R&D is time consuming, expensive, and at times very frustrating. It will cause you to have sleepless nights, but when everything comes together, the final product will put a smile on your face and you know you gave it your best. Then it’s time for the next project because faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see.

Written by: Bruce Mallinson, Pittsburgh Power, Inc.,
3600 S. Noah Dr., Saxonburg, PA 16056
Phone 724-360-4080
Website: www. Pittsburghpower.com