If you build it right and maintain it, it just might last a lifetime! 25 years ago, a young man from Pennsylvania came into my office and said he wanted to spec out a new Marmon tri-axle logging truck that would carry the loader behind the cab. This truck was to be a 25-year-old Nathan Exley’s first new truck. I was 45 years old at the time and had been a Marmon Truck Dealer since 1990. Nathan and I were rookies at building a specialized log truck that would never see a 4-lane highway, all off-road and 2-lane mountain roads, but we went for it. Together, we studied all the Marmon specs, Cat engines, Eaton transmissions and Rockwell differentials and came up with a plan.
This truck would never see a scale because its only job involved working in the Allegheny mountains north of Pittsburgh hauling logs back to his father’s mill. With that in mind, we were not concerned with weight, so we started with a double 3/8-inch frame (standard in the industry was a double 1/4-inch frame). The engine was to be a 425-C Caterpillar, followed-up with a 13-speed transmission. The standard “heavy duty” differentials back then were 46,000-pound rears, but the difference between 46,000-pound rears and 48,000-pound rears was 35,000 pounds more weight carrying capacity, so we went with the 48,000-pound rears. The suspension was a walking beam which rode on rubber blocks (now the walking beams ride on Link Mfg. air bags). The front axle was a 20,000-pound Eaton with dual steering boxes.
Nathan’s friends in the logging industry chastised him and me for building such an overbuilt truck, but here it is, 25 years later, and Nathan is still driving his Marmon while his negative friends have been through five trucks during this same time period. Today, this Marmon has the original paint on the cab and hood, the wheels have been replaced, the engine has been rebuilt a few times, and the 13-speed was replaced with an 18-speed. The total miles on this beast of a log hauler is 1,807,805 and it has hauled 24,843 loads. Like I said in the beginning, build it right and take care of it and it will last a long time!
We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from customers using our Max Mileage Fuel Borne Catalyst and the results are good. We’ve heard many owner operators tell us they saw decreased DEF usage with the catalyst. We’ve also heard of engines running much smoother, with more power and more responsiveness. Some owner operators are even seeing improved fuel mileage, but before we tell you how much their fuel mileage improved, you need to understand that fuel mileage is a very fickle thing. We cannot guarantee any improvement in mileage with this product because fuel mileage depends on so many different variables. However, with that said, we have a few owner operators that have seen over 10% improvement while using the catalyst! The reason for this is improved thermal efficiency that translates into getting more power from every molecule of fuel. Let’s go into more detail about that.
This is very technical. Let’s start with a standard definition of efficiency. Percent efficiency is calculated at (Output/Input) x 100. The closer the Output comes to matching that of the Input, then the closer to 100% efficient you will be – for anything. In the case of engines, we are talking about the theoretical amount of heat (BTUs) in a gallon of diesel (Input) as compared to the actual amount of heat (BTUs) liberated after the fuel is ignited (Output) which moves the piston during the power stroke. Any fuel that is still burning when the piston reaches the bottom of the stroke and the exhaust valve opens is wasted heat. That wasted heat is doing nothing to help move the truck down the road. The waste heat is reflected in the Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) by a pyrometer. Waste heat creates NOx and causes more DEF to be consumed.
So, how does our Max Mileage product work? As a Fuel Catalyst (FC), the product accelerates the burn rate of diesel in the piston-cylinder during the power stroke of the engine. About 10% more heat (BTUs) is liberated during the power stroke with the catalyst than without. This translates to about 60% lower “engine-out” soot emissions. More BTUs are contained in the larger slower-to-burn fuel molecules than the smaller easier-to-burn fuel molecules. The catalyst burns all different shapes and sizes of fuel molecules in the diesel faster, which results in an improvement in the thermal efficiency of any reciprocal internal combustion engine. More heat is released earlier on crank angle – more pressure is exerted against the piston, and more work is generated for the same amount of fuel burned with the catalyst than without.
The more heat (BTUs) from fuel that can be released while the piston is moving, the better, because that improves thermal efficiency. An increase in thermal efficiency is reflected in a lower EGT. This is what our friend Tad Kelsey observed on his EGT pyrometer. On the flat, with the cruise control at 65 mph, he has 2.5 pounds of boost and his EGT is 200 degrees lower than previously, under the same conditions, without the catalyst. Tad has gained a noticeable increase in fuel economy and uses less DEF because of both effects – that is, the improvement in thermal efficiency of his DD15 engine. Charlie, the owner of a Paccar engine from New York, saw a whopping 1.5 mpg improvement because of these same effects.
As stated before, fuel mileage is a fickle thing, but under the proper circumstances and with the proper products, it can be improved. If you have questions or want to learn more about all our performance products that can also improve your fuel efficiency, visit our facility in Saxonburg, PA, call myself or Andrew Wilson at (724) 360-4080, or check out our website at www.pittsburghpower.com today.