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High Performance Diesel Engines

By Bruce Mallinson

March, 2017

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What is it that you want out of your truck? Our goal at Pittsburgh Power Inc. is to help you love your truck. I know “LOVE” may be too strong of a word for many owner-operators to comprehend when relating to a semi- truck. However, after working with many of you for 40 years, I have witnessed how you feel once we have your truck performing up to your (our) standards. Notice I said YOUR standards; yes what you are expecting out of your truck will be different than your friend’s truck or other people you truck with. When you love your truck the benefits are plentiful: First of all, you will ENJOY driving it so much more and the miles will be more pleasurable. You will drive the truck easier, with less pressure on the throttle because the response will be very much improved and the engine will respond to even slight movements of your right foot. The truck will be better maintained and kept cleaner because it makes you feel good. When you park your truck at a truck stop and walk towards the restaurant, and you turn around to look at it, I want to see a smile on your face because of how you feel towards that piece of equipment. A great running truck is a “win- win” situation: Not only will the fuel mileage improve, the truck will last twice as long because of the care you will give it, as opposed to a truck that irritates you.

We have great news for owners of PACCAR Engines! As of today, February 9, 2017 we have installed our patented Pittsburgh Power Soot Separator, did an emissions tune-up, and rebuilt and cleaned many of the sensors. The engine is running like new, and after a 10-mile drive, the soot separator had pulled enough soot out of the EGR return line to completely cover the bottom of the trap. In about 3 weeks, we will have the performance enhancement tunes for the PACCAR engine that will meet or beat the emissions standards. The engine today was a 2013 T-800 w/a MX-13. The first Soot Separator was installed on a DD-15 Detroit and the fuel mileage has improved 1-plus mile per gallon and the soot separator is working perfectly, removing most of the soot from the exhaust gases. Next month, we will have a report on the PACCAR engine and how much soot has been eliminated from the intake manifold and if any fuel mileage or performance improvements have been realized. As of now, our thoughts are that the performance will improve because the elimination of the soot allows for a more complete burn, less emissions and more horsepower to the rear wheels. We knew it would only be a matter of time before owner-operators could have a new truck, with working emissions, be so clean that they could run the engines in their garages without exhaust fans, and truck down the highway without check engine lights always coming on. The new clean-burning diesel engines are a wonderful thing when working properly, and the engineering staff at Pittsburgh Power has really come up with great emissions tune-up packages.

Coolant level in the radiator: After an engine has had all of the coolant drained from the radiator and engine block such as when an in-chassis rebuild or head gasket replacement, you must, for the next several days, check the coolant level and add coolant to bring the level back up to full. There are air pockets in the engine block and even after running the engine on the dyno we check the coolant level and top if off if necessary. However, sometimes the air has not escaped from the block until after the truck pulls a load, so always check the coolant for the next several days after the block being drained.

Another new product form Full Tilt, another cast in the USA, ported and ceramic-coated exhaust manifold is now available through us for the ISC, or PX Paccar engine. This is an 8.3-liter engine used in motor homes, medium-duty straight jobs, and light-duty trucks. This engine is rated for 180 to 220 horsepower for trucks and up to 325 for motorhomes. Back in the 1990’s, when this engine was equipped with the mechanical Robert Bosch P7100 fuel pump, we were able to increase the flow of the nozzles, and making some changes in the fuel pump, we obtained 425 horsepower and had zero engine problems. That mechanical 8.3-liter Cummins was a great engine!

We are seeing a huge increase in used truck sales of 1999 and older trucks. Naturally most of the phone calls start out with “What can I do to increase the fuel mileage?” The following will be a list of the items we have for the Cummins, Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel engines. The first items we recommend are the washable and re-usable low-restriction foam Fleet-Air Filter and our straight -through quiet performance muffler. These two items combined usually render ½ miles per gallon improvement. They are also inexpensive! THUS, there is NO excuse not to have them on your truck!! Next on the list is the torsional vibration damper and mercury-filled engine balancer. The torsional damper is a MUST to replace (YES, the silicone hardens after 500k mi., at which point it needs replaced!!) and the balancer makes the engine much smoother (and is good for life!). These two items are also inexpensive and do wonders to preserve the life of the engine, the clutch, AND your human body. The torsional damper will eliminate broken crankshafts, camshafts, accessory drive shafts, broken springs in the clutch disc, broken bolts that hold the flywheel to the crankshaft, broken flywheel housing bolts, alternator and air conditioning brackets, and vibrations in the cab, all for around a buck per 1,000 miles. The made in the USA torsional damper is a wear item and must be replaced every 500,000 miles or 10 years. Please purchase the damper from Pittsburgh Power, if you purchase it from a truck dealer or engine dealership you will get one made in China or India. Ours are made in the USA by the inventors of the silicone-filled torsional damper.

Next would be the cleaning and repairing of the ECM. After a period of years, the ECM will collect moisture, sometimes oil, and diesel fuel. We remove the cover from the ECM, give it a visual inspection, and clean any corroded connections. If it’s a Detroit DDEC4, we will replace the battery, which holds the memory. Then we calibrate it and set the horsepower and torque to meet your demands. The final process for the ECM is to run it on our desktop engine simulator, and everything the ECM does on the truck we can duplicate on the simulator. Now the engine will produce more horsepower and torque. The next item will be the Full Tilt ported and ceramic-coated exhaust manifold. This manifold will flow 20% more exhaust and allow the exhaust gas temperature to run 125 degrees cooler. There are no leaks of exhaust at the connections because of the .003” interference-fit between the male and female sections. We have placed gussets where the stock manifolds crack so the Full Tilt improved version will NOT crack. Along with the higher flow exhaust manifold comes the 15% larger turbocharger. As exhaust flow increases, the size of the turbine housing on the turbocharger must also increase. The ECM programming, exhaust manifold, and turbocharger will allow the engine to produce another ¾ to 1 mile per gallon of fuel savings. Now for the icing on the cake, the FASS Fuel System. This system removes the air from the diesel fuel: Caterpillar says that fuel can have as much as 10% air entrapped in it: You do NOT want this air to travel to the injectors, so the FASS will remove it and return excess UN-aerified fuel back to the fuel tank. The engine will gain 30 horsepower and about 3/10ths mile per gallon.

If your desire is to have adjustable horsepower and torque at your fingertips, the Pittsburgh Power Computer is the way to go! It has 7 to 9 horsepower settings and can be changed with the touch of a button or the turn of a dial as you drive. It also tells you the turbo boost and exhaust gas temperature the engine is producing.

With the above changes to a used truck, the fuel mileage will drastically improve along with engine performance, and the longevity of the engine will increase. Your driving pleasure will also improve and the old 1999 and older tractor will certainly put a smile on your face!

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