Our new engineering center is now up and running at Pittsburgh Power, along with the Taylor Chassis Dynamometer, and we now have some interesting findings about the DD5 Detroit. We have been repairing these engines for quite some time now and the results have been phenomenal – engine failures have been zero with fuel mileage increases of about 1 mpg. Now, here is what is interesting. A stock 515-hp DD5 produces 515 hp using 39 psi of turbo boost, but once we tune this engine and upgrade the exhaust manifold, turbocharger and muffler, the DD5 produces 705 hp to the flywheel and 600 to the ground using only 38 lbs. of turbo boost. This engine is producing 190 additional horsepower using 1 lb. less boost! This just goes to show what a diesel engine will do if it is allowed to breathe.
One of the best engines ever (as far as producing the most horsepower per pound of turbo boost) was the Caterpillar 425-B, which made 19.3 hp per pound of boost. This 14.1 liter Detroit ranks right up there (once it can breathe) at 18.55, versus the stock configuration at only 13.20. That is more than a 40% improvement. This horsepower number of 705 has been a great setting for all of the owner operators we have been working with. Keep in mind that almost all of these professionals were more concerned with obtaining fuel mileage over power, and they made this very clear to us right from the start. Their satisfaction goes to show how insufficient stock horsepower settings and parts are for today’s applications. However, if you are concerned about making these changes to your truck because you have a hired driver behind the wheel, we can also hold this engine back for you.
Here is some good news for owners of trucks equipped with a C-12 Caterpillar under the hood. Wayne and Darrell Zeller, brothers from Canada, both have C-12 Cats and both love running them with their Pittsburgh Power Performance Computers. Many truckers with stock 550 C-15 Caterpillars have met their demise on the mountains of western Canada to these brothers. After one such pull involving some chatting on the CB, the owner of the stock C-15 pulled into the truck stop and, seeing Wayne’s 2000 Peterbilt 379, wanted to further investigate what had taken place on the hill. Parking alongside him, Wayne opened his hood and proved that he was telling the truth about having a C-12. As his victim walked away, trying not to scratch his head in public, Wayne thought to himself that maybe he should have told him about the powerbox… or, maybe not!
A couple months ago, Wayne decided to install our ported and ceramic-coated exhaust manifold and larger performance turbo on his C-12. He and Darrell were amazed at the difference these items made. Wayne now runs the powerbox on level 3 instead of 4. He said that the engine produces 10 lbs. more boost on level 3 than it did before on level 4, and that his exhaust gas temperatures have dropped from 1050 to 840 degrees. Well, just this morning, we received Darrell’s exhaust manifold in the mail. Being that he had replaced it only a few months ago, he decided to have us use his manifold rather than buy a brand new one from Caterpillar to have it ported and ceramic-coated like his brother’s. When Darrell’s manifold is ready to go, he is also going to have us send him the high-performance turbo, too. Very soon, there are going to be two very hungry “little” Cats prowling the mountains of western Canada. Maybe the owners of those stock C-15 Cats should call us for some upgrades before they are eaten – again!
Here is an interesting story about mufflers. Many times, a person will not want to change their muffler(s) until they rust apart and are ready to fall off the truck. Recently, we had a 2007 Western Star with a DD5 in the shop for a conversion and the owner felt the mufflers were okay. However, to allow the engine to breathe properly, I insisted that the free-flow quiet performance mufflers be installed. Once we removed the muffler, which looked just fine on the outside, we could tell it was rusted out, so we cut a window in the side of it. As you can see in the picture, we were shocked at what we found. The muffler didn’t look too bad from the outside, but the top section of the internal pipe was rusted through and was lying sideways across the incoming pipe, blocking almost all of the exhaust flow.
People almost never remove their stacks to make sure that their muffler is okay. By replacing a stock muffler with a quiet, performance muffler, you will gain at least 1/4 mpg, which generally translates to saving 1,000 gallons of fuel for every 100,000 miles driven. This also greatly reduces the amount of soot in the engine’s oil, along with the iron (FE) particles, which are responsible for most of the wear on an engine. So, even if your mufflers look good on the outside, do not automatically assume that they are good on the inside, too.
Don’t forget about our annual Owner Operator Snowmobile Conference – not only is it tax-deductible, but it is also a tremendous amount of fun! We are meeting February 28th at the Flying Saddle Resort in Alpine, WY. Their phone number is (307) 733-3333, and the price of the room is just $69 if you mention that you are with our event. Bring your own snowmobile or rent one in town. By the time this event comes to an end on March 3rd, you will have 25 new friends (the camaraderie is second-to-none). Just think of what it’s like to be sitting on an 800cc snowmobile at the bottom of a mountain with 24 other owner operators. Look out, mountain – here we come!