High Performance Diesel Engines

Bruce Mallinson and Leroy Pershing
February 2022

Winter brings extra challenges for truck owners with DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) equipped trucks.  DEF needs to be at a certain temperature in order to vaporize properly into the exhaust stream.  The temperature in the tank, lines and injector are controlled by either the aftertreatment control module (ACM) or engine control module (ECM).  Every system is different but usually the engine’s coolant is used to warm the DEF.  While the engine is running, the control system uses valves and pumps to circulate coolant throughout the various aftertreatment components.  Typically, coolant flows from the back of the engine to a control valve.  This valve regulates coolant flow from the engine to thaw and maintain temperatures above DEF’s freezing point of 12º.   A pump returns coolant back to the engine after circulating through the DEF tank.  If the tank is partially frozen or completely frozen, the control system will enter a routine to protect the dosing system and unthaw the fluid. During this DEF injection could be shut off.  Line heaters, if equipped, are activated and coolant flows so DEF can return to a liquid state.  The system will monitor temperatures and reinstate the warmup routine if necessary.  Any issues with the pump, valves, line heaters, etc. could paralyze the truck and should be addressed immediately. 

Winter Blend Max Mileage Fuel Borne Catalyst is good up to 30 below zero if the fuel in the truck is a northern blended fuel.  Southern fuel may not be treated and if you fill up in the south and drive north, put the Max Mileage Winter Blend in the fuel you are good to 15 degrees below zero.  Now, if you are just passing through the extreme cold and the truck is going to stay running, you're ok.  The problem arises when the engine is shut off for extended periods of time.  Just be cautious, when filling your fuel tanks in the south and traveling north, put the winter blend in the tank during that fill-up.  It would be best to purchase northern fuel, put in the Winter Blend, and be covered to 30 below zero. 

 The majority of trucks do NOT have an APU, (Auxiliary Power Unit), and this can be a life saver.  Maxx Mileage Fuel Borne Catalyst burns 60% more of the soot and carbon in the combustion chamber, however it’s still hard on the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) to do extensive idling in the bitter cold.  There is not enough heat in the engine, and you may have to do a re-gen in the morning.  

Pittsburgh Power’s Owner Operator Snowmobile Conference is the first weekend in March.  I will be arriving late in the afternoon at the Lava Mountain Lodge in Dubois Wyoming.  The lodge is located at 3577 Highway 26, zip code 82513.  Terry is our contact so please ask for him if you are making reservations.  The lodge’s phone number is 440-478-4350, and we will be staying until Sunday morning, March 6th.  Please call Cathy, our receptionists at Pittsburgh Power, 724-360-4080, and let her know if you are attending.  We normally ride 3 days, but you are welcome to extend your stay. There are plenty of trails so if you have a short track Eastern sled, you will be fine.  This is our 17th year having the Owner Operator Snowmobile Conference, and we have always had a great time riding, eating, having a few drinks, and talking snowmobiles and trucks with the fellow owner operators.

My next project truck: John Newby of Whitehall, MT owns a 379 Peterbilt powered by a C-16 Caterpillar engine.  The transmission is an 18 speed followed by a 4 speed Spicer Auxiliary transmission, so he has a total of 72 gears to from, and the rear gears are 3:55.  The Pete is equipped with 8” stacks gong 13’6” into the air. The Pete is a 4 axle unit with a 318 “ wheelbase.  John has several trailers he pulls, and some are 4 axles giving him 8 axles on the ground.  John runs from Montana to the state of Washington, so his truck works very hard using 17 to 20 pounds of turbo boost on the level when empty. John’s gross weight is 109,000 on average, and his fuel mileage average is 4.56 miles per gallon.  John is mechanically inclined and will be doing the work, Pittsburgh Power will be supplying the parts, and consulting with John as we work together to try and improve the fuel mileage by 2 miles per gallon.  The first change is to shorten the stacks, install the Pittsburgh Power shorty straight through muffler, our ported and ceramic coated exhaust manifold and  the HP2 performance Caterpillar turbocharger. If we can get the turbo boost to 11 or 12 psi on the level, the fuel mileage will improve by 1 mile per gallon.  Then we will talk about removing the 4 speed auxiliary transmission and changing the rear gears to a 2:64 or 2:47 to be able to drive the 18 speed in direct gear which is 16th gear.  The FASS Fuel System is in the future along with custom tuning the ECM for performance and economy.  Next month we will have information as to the progress of this project.  

Written by: Bruce Mallinson and Leroy Pershing, Pittsburgh Power Inc., 3600 S. Noah Dr.  Saxonburg, Pa. 16056