High Performance Diesel Engines

Bruce Mallinson & Andrew Wilson
July 2021

High performance trucks are a keepsake! Chuck Carlson of Western PA owns this beautiful 4300 IHC originally powered with a Big Cam III 400 horsepower Cummins engine. Once it was time for an in-chassis rebuild he brought it to our shop for an ultra-high horsepower rebuild back in the late 1980’s. After disassembling the deck surface was cleaned, inspected for cracks, upper counter bores miked for liner protrusion and concentricity, and upper counter bores machines for .020 liner shims. We then installed new cam bearings, a high lift camshaft, and timed to a retarded setting. Always retard timing when power is increased. New main bearings were installed along with ceramic and Teflon coated high strength Cummins pistons. These pistons were designed for our performance engines by my good friend Mark Chappell, the performance parts engineer for Cummins in Columbus, IN.  Performance parts included: Premium Golds heads, ultra-high flow injectors, fuel pump built by Pat Sharp (37 years with Pittsburgh Power), our Holset high altitude polished turbocharger, dual fuel line kit, dual power valve to make this a 2-stage engine.  Why 2 stages? With 800 plus horsepower under your right foot that is super responsive, it’s nice to be able to have a lower horsepower setting black ice, snow, sand, gravel, or soft dirt.  And as always, we installed a new Torsional Damper to keep it running smooth for another half a million miles. Chuck currently drives a much newer electronic engine powered truck, however this 35-year-old IHC has a special place in his heart.

On maintaining emissions systems, it’s vitally important you use preventative measures to keep your emissions systems working properly so they do not fail and cost you more in the long run. Not only are the particulate filters expensive to replace, but the costly sensors can also fail if not maintained. For both the DOC and SCR you have inlet and outlet temperatures sensors. The DOC has inlet and outlet pressure sensors, and the SCR has inlet and outlet NOx sensors. That’s a lot of sensors. If not maintained carbon buildup and oxidation can permanently damage them. In addition, the sensor bungs can oxidize and seize so it’s difficult to remove a sensor without damaging the bung or sensor. If you take a look at the photos included here, they are from a DD15 with 600,000 miles and the emissions system was never serviced and never cleaned. We tried to clean the DPF but there was a sizable chunk of the filter missing. You can also see the poor conditions of the sensors, specifically the rusted threads. As you know, in addition to servicing your emissions system every 250,000 miles, we recommend running the Max Mileage Fuel Borne Catalyst to keep everything clean and working correctly.

Max Mileage FBC will soon have a Winterized Mix. To make it easier for our Max Mileage users during the winter months, you now have an all-in-one winter mix that is formulated with Diesel Guard, a best-in-class antigel de-icer. Keep in mind that because the catalyst is mixed with the antigel, you will need more of the product and dosing will double by the current amount. For example, you would normally need 4 oz for 100 gallons, but with the winterized mix you will need 8oz for the same 100 gallons. Speaking of Max Mileage, we have a subscription program on our website where you can get free shipping on Max Mileage when you sign up to have it delivered to your door every 30 to 90 days. We currently have 122 dealers in North America with the Max Mileage Catalyst in stock.

For those of you who call for parts or service, please be aware that we get hundreds of calls every day and we prioritize customers who use our products or have their truck serviced in our shop.  Pete and Ethan are on the radio show every week and are who most callers ask for.  Please know we have other employees who are just as capable and knowledgeable that will be able to help you. In our engineering department we have 5 engineers who are all very experienced and capable to take your calls. In our parts and service department, we have Dan, Craig, and Eric who have spent years working in the shop as technicians and advisors.  They are very knowledgeable about truck parts and how to install them, as well as our service department and how we can help your truck in our shop. If you leave a voicemail, please be patient while we work diligently to return your call. We are a small company that works very hard to serve a large customer base. 

Remote tuning, we have 102 remote dealers in North America so if your truck or tractor needs tuning, look on our website at the remote tuning map and find the dealer closest to you and give them a call and make an appointment. They in turn call our engineering department with the appointment and we will be available for you. Recently we started tuning Cummins Q-series off-highway engines. We currently have 5 electrical engineers on staff.  If your truck has electrical issues, get it to our shop, we can fix anything if it’s here. Electrical problems are hard to diagnose over the phone. 

Here is an aerial view of our shop in Saxonburg, PA.  We sit on 3.5 acres, with 4.5 acres across the street.  The front building was erected in 2008, and the rear building which houses the engineering center and 3 dynamometers, was built in 2014.  Long Haul Detailing is in our building across the street, and we are under construction of an additional building for them.

Written by; Bruce Mallinson & Andrew Wilson, Pittsburgh Power Inc., 3600 S. Noah Dr., Saxonburg, Pa. 16056 Website:  PittsburghPower.com, Phone 724-360-4080