Here at Pittsburgh Power we believe in ideas and innovations that help to serve the owner operator, which is why we test many new products every year. Generally, these products are designed to make trucks more reliable, more efficient and more profitable for the owner operator. To be honest, most of these new products fail our testing and never get to be marketed, but occasionally, we have a product that exceeds everyone’s expectations and we bring it to market.
Our original Power Box was created this way, as well as the quiet performance muffler, dual fuel line kit, torsional damper, mercury-filled engine balancer, FASS fuel system, ported and polished exhaust manifolds, performance turbochargers, high flow radiators, Diesel Force cleaning system, DPF washing, ECM programming, and our latest product, the Max Mileage fuel borne catalyst. So, if you have a new product you would like us to test using our advanced equipment, please give us a call at (724) 360-4080. Speaking of new products, if you bought a used fleet truck with an ISX 450, we now have a phenomenal new program available. You will see a 96-hp increase and an additional 400 lb.-ft of torque! Keep in mind, it’s the torque that takes you up the mountain, not the horsepower.
Ethan, our lead electrical engineer, oversees the testing of new products, and he takes testing seriously. As you might remember from middle school science class, the scientific method involves developing a hypothesis and designing an experiment to see if your observations support the hypothesis. You make observations by changing one independent variable and observing how the dependent variable reacts. Other variables that could affect the result must be controlled or the test is void. The whole process typically takes a day or two.
We’ve spoken a lot in the past about the importance of replacing your engine’s torsional damper, but every so often we get a reminder why it’s so important. When a torsional damper goes bad, the silicone on the inside of the inertia housing hardens and the damper can no longer absorb vibrations. Usually there is no external evidence the damper has gone bad, but the result can be broken engine parts and interior parts that rattle and cause your seat to vibrate.
Torsional dampers have a 500,000-mile or 10-year lifespan. We recently had a 379 Pete with a Detroit 60 Series in the shop with the worst torsional damper we’ve ever seen. The inertia ring was sheared off from the inside mounting plate where it bolts to the crankshaft (see photo). The engine itself had 1.3 million miles with the original torsional damper. It should have been replaced three times by now, but it wasn’t – and you can see the result!
Speaking of dampers, we have a new Severe Duty Australian Torsional Damper available for the Cummins ISX. This damper was designed specifically for high horsepower engines pulling road trains in Australia. It features a denser silicone core to take more abuse than the standard ISX damper and it is 11 pounds heavier. It may also help if you have an engine vibration that cannot be identified or fixed. We have a severe duty torsional damper for the 12.7 Detroit as well, but it’s half an inch thicker, so you need to check for clearance.
Switching gears to fuel mileage, Reggie Freedlund is a very sharp 29-year-old owner operator with a 1998 Freightliner Century equipped with a Cummins N14 and a 13-speed. He regularly pulls a reefer and travels at 60 MPH. Modifications include a Pittsburgh Power radiator and charge air cooler, our damper and balancer, turbo boost and pyrometer gauges, two Quiet Performance Mufflers, and he runs our Max Mileage additive in his fuel. Before using Max Mileage, he averaged around 8 MPG, but now he’s getting 9.08 to 12.55 MPG! That 12.55 tank was one 2,170-mile trip logged with good conditions, but it is still an impressive number. Reggie obtains this excellent fuel economy by driving with the boost gauge and using the catalyst.
Every now and then we have a used truck for sale. Three years ago, we got a 2012 Kenworth T660 with a 450-hp ISX, 10-speed and 3.55 rears – the truck was in immaculate condition to begin with, but then we made it better. We did a Diesel Force cleaning, installed a Dorothy EGR soot separator, our exhaust manifold and high-flow intake manifold, set the overhead, installed the torsional damper and mercury-filled engine balancer, OPS, a FASS system, and reset the ECM to 650 horsepower. This truck was purchased by C.D. Martin, who is now a Max Mileage dealer out of McPherson, Kansas, who does a dedicated run from Kansas to Arizona, L.A., Denver, and then back to Kansas. He sells Max Mileage along the way, and it’s always available in his truck.
The truck is equipped with an APU, so it does not idle. C.D. runs the Rocky Mountains, and he’s still averaging between 7.1 and 9 MPG. C.D. has put 430,000 miles on this truck, running the catalyst since April. It’s a full emissions truck with zero problems. He inspected the DPF last week and it was spotless – there was no soot in the exhaust system. One of our lead technicians, Eagle Eye Adam, went over this truck front to back and gave it a clean bill of health. This is a money-making high-performance machine! As an accomplished dirt track motorcycle racer, C.D. is very mechanically inclined and even uses the catalyst in his racing motorcycle. His phone number is (417) 850-2830 if you would like to buy some Max Mileage product from him.
Trucking can be profitable and fun, if you have your truck set up to operate at its peak of power and efficiency. I have said it before and I will say it again: treat your truck right, and it will treat you right! If you have comments or questions, call us in Saxonburg, PA at (724) 360-4080 or visit our website (www.pittsburghpower.com) to see all our available products.