Do you have a favorite mechanic in your hometown that does the majority of work on your truck, however, he is NOT able to tune your ECM, program the ECM or diagnose problems via the ECM?
If the check engine light constantly comes on, we will help your mechanic or you, as to the proper way to repair the problem that is causing the check engine light to turn on. We are making this service available because so many of our clients do not travel to the northeast.
For some strange reason, many owner-operators just want to stay on the I-5 corridor on the West Coast, or in the state of Texas. Now the electrical engineers at our facility can share their knowledge with our clients regardless of where they live and operate. All that is needed is the briefcase with the necessary equipment and a telephone.
Variable Geometry turbochargers on DD3 and DD4 Detroits and some ISX Cummins. I have to admit that I did NOT like variable geometry turbochargers because of the failure rate. I did like the concept, and would like to have on my 12 valve 1995 Dodge Cummins pickup, it’s just not possible because this engine is not equipped with a computer. However the failure rate of the variable geometry turbo was quite high on the early 2003 and newer diesel engines equipped with EGR. Most of the failures were the variable geometry vanes would get clogged with soot from the EGR system, however the DD3 and most of the DD4 Detroits did not have EGR systems so there is no soot to lock the variable vane into one position. We have installed several of the VG turbos and the results are amazing, out of a 12.7 liter engine we were able to develop 1800 ft. lbs. of torque at 1200 rpm and 600 horsepower without building excessive exhaust temperature.
The advantage of the variable geometry turbocharger on 12.7 Detroit is not only the fuel mileage increase, but the drivability of the engine, especially in cities, traffic, 2 lane back roads especially if there are hills involved, and varying altitudes. There is always constant power horsepower and torque under your right foot! As of this writing we are installing a variable geometry turbocharger on an ISX, this is the first one and so I have no results to tell you now, I will next month. Taking a product or engine that was prone to failures and making it a great product or engine is something we have been doing at Pittsburgh Power for the past 39 years.
Does your truck run freely across the interstate? If you remove your foot from the throttle does it slow down drastically, when you look in your mirrors do you see one side of your trailer and not the other? Many trailers trail to the right side of the highway, this is telling me the axles of the trailer are not in line with the tractor.
Think about a chain only being as strong as the weakest link: An engine’s air supply is the same, and those are ALL LINKS. A free running truck will be able to cruise along a level interstate at 2 to 8 psi of turbo boost, the lower the boost during cruise, the better the fuel mileage will be. Your job as the driver and owner is to operate the truck in this manner and to install the necessary items on the truck to make this possible. The easier the truck cruises, the longer the engine will live and the better the fuel mileage. The 264 rear gears is a huge plus in building a freely-running truck. We have in our inventory most of the items to be able to help you obtain a freely-running rig
SOOT from an ISX EGR-DPF engine: Take a look at this picture: Most all EGR engines have an excessive buildup of soot in the air-intake manifold. We have a cleaning process that will pressure-wash the inside of the engine, then we physical clean the air-intake, doser valve, EGR-valve and any other item emissions-related items so they will work as good as new or better. Please don’t ignore the emissions systems: It’s much better to have us clean and maintain them every 200,000 miles (it’s only a day’s labor) as opposed to waiting for a failure and shut down.
Pittsburgh Power Inc.
3600 South Noah Drive, Saxonburg, Pa. 16056
We talk about this subject quite often and continue to learn more about the value of fuel and exhaust flow while testing trucks on our new Taylor Dyno. For instance, our ported and ceramic coated exhaust manifold flows 20% more exhaust, lowers the exhaust temperature by 125 degrees and improves the spool up time of the turbocharger.
What we have recently learned on the C-15 Caterpillar single turbo engines is coupled with our High Performance Cat Turbo the engine gains about 100 horsepower.
We are NOT adding any additional fuel just eliminating restriction and turbulence and the net gain is 3.12 horsepower per pound of turbo boost. That is an incredible gain of power just by changing two items on the engine. Keep in mind these trucks that we test already have our high flow quiet performance mufflers and most of them have the Fleet Air filters already installed. Every day we get back reports from owner-operators that install the manifold and turbocharger at the same time and they tell us they have to learn how to drive their all over again because of the power, rate of acceleration, and response and know we know why they feel such a difference, they have just gained 100 horsepower.
This article originally appeared in
Big Rig Owner
January 1, 2015
By Bruce Mallinson
“My truck smokes!” Many times during the week, I will answer the phone and hear this statement. Before I can help you, I will first need to know what kind of truck and engine you have, when it smokes, and what color the smoke is. Once I know all that, I can help. There are four kinds of smoke: white, blue, black and black just when you shift. Usually, it is the last one. If you are seeing black smoke when shifting, you are shifting at too low of an RPM or your right foot is too heavy on the throttle when the turbo boost is below 8 psi. Let’s look at this issue first, then go over the other types of smoke later in this column
It takes 8 psi of boost to turn black smoke into clear, and if your fuel system is responsive and you push too hard on the throttle, the engine will produce black smoke until the turbo boost gets to 8 psi. Eight is the magic number, and you should know when your engine has developed 8 psi of boost by the sound of the engine and the turbo. Also, you should have a small spot mirror on the top of your driver’s side mirror bracket looking up at your stack. With one eye on the spot mirror and one eye on the turbo boost gauge, accelerate slowly. Once you get to 8 psi, give her more fuel, just don’t mash on the throttle, roll into it gently. This one change in your driving habits should decrease your amount of black smoke you see when accelerating or shifting.
Back in the days of the mechanical engines, there were aneroid valves that did not work very well so they were removed. Then, in late 1977, Cummins put the aneroid valve into the AFC fuel pump. It had some problems for a couple years, then the engineers at Cummins got them working perfect, but they were a little on the light side for fuel. We figured out how to make the adjustment so you still had response when starting out and when you shifted a gear with only a slight puff of smoke. If you were easy on the pedal, there was no smoke.
This article originally appeared in
Big Rig Owner
December 1, 2014
By Bruce Mallinson
The rebuilding of OLD IRON…
Since the EGR engine came out in 2003, we have been telling owner-operators to buy 2002 and older trucks and refurbish them. Most people don’t because they are not mechanically inclined. Well, guess what? Nobody was born mechanically inclined, and we all had to learn how to turn a wrench. You are never too old to learn and you can save yourself thousands of dollars by doing some of your own repairs.
DuWayne Ehrke, a Wisconsin farm boy, born in 1962, drove his grandfather’s Dodge pick-up when he was four years old on the tobacco farm. His parents, who were both school teachers with Masters Degrees, purchased a tobacco, hog, and dairy farm so DuWayne has been working since those early years. He had to be in the barn to milk the cows at 5 a.m. and in school at 7 a.m. Needless to say, he had to learn how to turn a wrench: Farm equipment DOES break!
To get away from farming, DuWayne became a carpenter and built custom homes. When the housing market collapsed, he decided to become an owner-operator. He called me in the fall of 2011, and we discussed which truck he should purchase. My advice was a T-600 Kenworth with a 60-Series, DD4 Detroit. His haul was from Wisconsin to Texas, mostly on level terrain, so the 12.7 Detroit would be perfect for his haul.
He found a 1998 T-600 with a 12.7 Detroit with 240,000 miles on an out-of-chassis rebuild. The transmission is a Reman 10-speed, soon to be replaced with a Micro-Blued 18 speed, with 40,000 on it and the clutch. This truck was faded blue and had been beaten by the sun. When I first saw this truck, I was shocked at how badly it needed to be painted. DuWayne is a smart guy and he knew that he had to make the truck get good fuel mileage and then the fuel savings would pay for the paint. The cost of this million mile plus truck was $13,500, and was purchased on 3-8-12.
Many of the articles compiled here where written by Bruce Mallinson. Attribution to other contributors is given in the specific articles.