We have proved them wrong! You the owner-operators of North America, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland, along with us at Pittsburgh Power Inc.
I loved and still do enjoy working with my hands. However back in 1977 diesel engines were dirty, noisy and slow. A small cam NTC 350 was a big hammer and this was the start of the Big Cam NTC Cummins. In 1977 nobody no one gave extra fuel to diesel engine, but I did. I realized that most owner-operators were gear heads just like I was and if I could drive a high performance Corvette as my every day car why couldn't an owner-operator have a performance diesel engine in his every day truck.
Also back then it wasn't un-common to leave Pittsburgh's steel mills with a double load of steel coils and the extra power was certainly welcomed. Being the black sheep eliminated me from belonging to a few diesel engine organizations and many times I was told "Oh, you're that guy that tunes up the engines, you know its going to come back and bite you. You just can't give these engine more power than they were designed for".
Well I always had faith in the owner-operators I dealt with and we did NOT have failures, we did install turbo boost gauges and exhaust gas temperature gauges and the drivers drove by them. I remember when Cummins built the first NTC 444 and Caterpillar had their 3406-B 425 and both companies said they would never build a larger engine. We were already building the engine with an additional 200 horsepower and NOT having any problems.
So if someone want to consider you the black sheep, so be it, stick by your guns, dreams and ambitions and go for what you truly believe! By the way, I'm not considered the black sheep anymore, the engine manufactures and many other diesel engine shops have got into the performance side of diesels.
Over the years many of you have spoke with Gary at our shop and he has been with us for 31 years and he also came form the world of high performance Corvettes and was trained by General Motors.
Did you notice I changed the heading of this article to include the words High Fuel Mileage? The reason is because for the past several years we have been consumed with trying to improve fuel mileage and we have never lost sight of what we have been known for over the years which is performance. Now, when I say performance we ARE NOT building 1000 plus horsepower engines, we prefer to be in the 585 to 700 horsepower range, oh you have the option to have anything you want, however this is our average engine. Many times someone will call and say "I don't want power, just fuel mileage".
Think about this, a semi truck burns most of its fuel pulling a hill, mountain or grade and this country is NOT flat, so the longer you spend on the hill, grade or mountain the more fuel you will burn. WOT, or wide open throttle will drink fuel even on a 430 hp 60 Series Detroit. So if you want to drive a slug, you will NEVER have great fuel mileage. A Sixty Series 12.7 Detroit works best at 585 hp and up and what is amazing when we give the owner-operator of the 430 the 585 computer program he NEVER want to go back to stock. The DD5 14 liter Detroits love to produce about 625 hp and will produce great fuel mileage there and you never have to push the throttle to the floor.
This also holds true for the Caterpillar and Cummins Engines. The C-15 Cat from 585 to 700 plus hp is a pleasure to drive and the Acert Cat from 2005 through 2009 when properly fixed is my favorite engine to drive. If you want to build a powerful engine for sled pulling or drag racing, lets build a 14 liter Detroit, right now you can have 1950 hp at 2800 RPM.
Once you go over 2800 RPM the rocker arms will break so we are looking into having Billet rocker arms made so the engine cam pull up into the 3000 plus RPM range. This is NOT a street able engine and is ONLY for competition, I just want you to realize we can still build ultimate horsepower and the 14 liter Detroit is capable of this. Those for you who are un-happy with your DD5 Detroit engine, there is hope. In fact there is hope for all Cummins, Caterpillar and Detroit Engines except the DD15, we have NOT started on that contraption yet.
Mike Ryan who holds the track record for racing a truck up Pikes Peak is a nice guy, however he is NOT a truck driver, he is a stunt driver from Hollywood. I think the record should be held by an owner-operator and if you would like to build a truck to take this record away for Mike Ryan, Mr. Hollywood, we would like to build the engine.
If you have the money to build such a truck, I have the perfect driver in mind, Ron Atwell, owner-operator of a high performance 12.7 DD4 Detroit. This man would not be intimidated by the gravel roads climbing up to 14,000 feet of Pikes Peak. Think about it, it will take a lot of money, however it would be a lot of fun
Ops here comes another Peterbilt Glider Kit built by Pittsburgh Power Inc. powered by an ISX 600 plus Cummins Engine and 18 speed transmission. This is a heavy haul truck that will be used to move equipment in oil fields of Pennsylvania. This truck has a 20,000 lb. front axle and 4:56 46,000 lb. rears and a double frame. We will keep you posted as we build this Pete. We waited a long time to get this glider kit!
Remember: Enthusiasm is the sustaining power of all great actions!
Pittsburgh Power Inc.
3600 South Noah Dr. Saxonburg, Pa. 16056
Many of the articles compiled here where written by Bruce Mallinson. Attribution to other contributors is given in the specific articles.