High Performance Diesel Engines

Bruce Mallinson
November 2016

Let's turn the hands of time back to 2003 when the EGR engines came out. I was the first person to write about building glider kits with 2002 or older engines, buying older trucks from 1995 through 2002 and refurbishing them, or keeping your older truck and rebuilding it because we knew that EGR was going to create a lot of problems with the ingested soot. Here we are 14 years later and I must say the new trucks are getting much better. We are seeing fewer problems out of the EGR, DEF and DPF engines and the breakdowns are not as frequent. The problems with the new engines such as Cummins, Detroit diesel and the Paccar engine, is low performance low torque and not a lot of throttle response. Now for the good news, the engineers at Pittsburgh power have been working diligently to improve these engines. We sat down with many owner operators who had purchased the newer equipment and we made a list of all the problems associated with 2008 and newer engines. Many of the problems were with check engine lights. We found that many in fact almost all of the check engine lights were not of a serious nature. When you think about it, if the oil pressure is good and temperature is cool, the intake air temp is correct, the turbo boost is right, and the alternator is charging, why do we need a check engine light for all the hundreds of little items that can happen as a truck is going down the highway?

What we have come up with is a way to make all the other sensors less sensitive as to constantly be tripping a check engine light. The critical sensors such as: level: temperature turbo boost oil pressure we have left stock because if there is a problem with one of the critical items we feel that you should know about it. Many of the other problems where variable geometry turbo related, doser valves, clogged doser valves, interruptions of the signals telling the DPF to be regenerated. In fact many of the problems with the 2008 and newer trucks is the interruption of the signals getting from the sensors to the ECM and from the ECM back to the related items such as the V pod, The actuator for the variable geometry turbo, the doser valve, and the signals went to regen DPF. Another problem that we see is the amount of DEF fluid that crystallizes around the injector and the atomization plate that it sprays onto. So we have developed an emissions maintenance program that cleans all of the systems involved to allow the engine to perform as it was engineered. Our estimation is that this will need to take place about every 200,000 to 250,000 miles or about four times the life of the engine between rebuilds.

The engine tune-up, emissions systems cleaning, checking of all the sensors and the signals to the related items are correct. Setting the ECM for performance fuel mileage response takes about 1 to 1 1/2 days. The end result is a fuel-efficient, powerful, pleasure to drive, responsive truck. No more check engine lights for minor things, just the major items that keep the engine running still have the sensitive check engine light. Gaining up to 150 hp and 400 pound feet of torque have been realized from the 2012 to current engines while still being emissions compliant and legal in all 50 states.

Now you can have a new or almost new class eight truck that you are proud to drive because it will run as good as or better and be much cleaner than your older truck. The very first semi truck to receive this new program and emissions cleaning process is a local western Pennsylvania W 900 L Kenworth powered by an ISX Cummins. This truck runs western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and western Maryland every day and since January 2016 it has been operating trouble free with a zero check engine lights. All of the emissions systems are working properly and the horsepower is in the 650 range along with 2000 pound feet of torque. We are having the same success with the DD 15 Detroit. We have not had the Paccar engine in to perform the emissions cleaning and tuning process. In the very near future we may be able to help you with the Mac engine and hopefully the Volvo engine. However, the Volvo engines require a lot of specialty tuning so they will probably be the last engines to have our help.

Many of you know that we are setting up remote tuning sites throughout North America and currently we have eight sites operating. If you cannot make it to western Pennsylvania we will be able to help you at the remote locations spread across this nation. You will have to call our shop at 724 -360-4080 for the name and phone number of the location nearest you. If you have a small or medium fleet of trucks and would like to be a remote turning location for us please give us a call. Any truck shop that does engine work that is interested in being a remote tuning and repair facility for Pittsburgh Power can now give us a call to get yours today!

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