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Top 5 Tips for Protecting Your Diesel

Top 5 Tips for Protecting Your Diesel

Top 5 Tips for Protecting Your Diesel

If you love your diesel pickup as much as I love mine, then you know what it takes to make it look good, run good and sound good. It’s no task for the weary or lazy, however. I literally spend hours each week on my truck. It’s a way for me to escape the rigors of life and enjoy time listening to music, enjoying a frosty beverage and doing something I enjoy, whether it’s to make the truck look pristine, change the fluids or replace worn parts in the never-ending quest for better performance.

Whether you love performing your own maintenance or hire it out, here are a few tips, in no particular order, to help keep your diesel running strong.

Protect Your Fuel System

Modern diesel engines have the best fuel-delivery systems available. A pump delivers fuel to a common rail, where the intricate, high-performance injectors take over, spraying it at incredibly high pressures into the cylinder. When operating correctly, this system helps your truck rip down the road almost as quietly as your neighbor’s gasoline car. Take care of the fuel system and it’ll deliver years of excellent performance. Don’t, and you’ll spend thousands of dollars and look foolish stranded on the side of the road.

How do you do it, you ask? A preventative-maintenance program that prescribes diesel fuel additives with every tank of ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD). I use our Diesel Injector Clean and Diesel Cetane Boost every time I fill up. I’m giving my fuel system the detergents it needs to remain clean and operating like new, the lubricity the pump and injectors need to prevent premature failure and, thanks to the boost of cetane, maximum combustion efficiency to gain me the best possible torque and mpg. These two products are the key to fuel system longevity.

Rotate Those Tires

Your truck likely weighs more than 7,000 lbs. No lightweight, by any means. You’re likely running E-rated tires to help carry that extra load, but even those tires take some serious abuse every day. Since your truck carries most of its weight on the steer tires, it’s important to rotate the steer tires and drive tires frequently.

Diesel injectors require regular lubrication in the form of a fuel additive to last as designed.

How often? I rotate mine every 5,000 miles. That schedule gives me plenty of opportunity to check the brakes and suspension components while I’m under there. And, if you’re like me, you have a heavy right foot and you often test your tires’ friction capability in relation to the road surface. That certainly is a recipe for fun, but it’s also a recipe for disaster in terms of more frequent tire replacement. If you’ve replaced the shoes on your truck recently, you know the tire manufacturers aren’t giving them away, so rotate them periodically to help extend their life.

Give your baby a bath

I live up in the northwoods where the winters are long and the summers – well, sometimes they rarely come. Those long winters are abusive on our trucks because our state invests heavily in road salt. I often wonder if the plow driver laughs at us guys who try and keep our vehicles clean in the winter. Keeping your truck clean and free of salt is the most important thing to keeping your body panels where they belong. If you plan on keeping your truck for a while, you might want to take this point to heart. Whether you live in my neck of the woods or where it never snows a day out of the year, washing your truck is the best way to protect the paint and keep it looking bright and shiny. A healthy does of wax once or twice a year is also key for fending off the sun’s harmful rays. 

Change your fluids

Most people know they need an oil change every so often. They likely have a method of keeping track and change oil religiously, like every spring and fall. But, do you ever put any time into the transmission? How about the differentials? How about the coolant or brake fluid?

Your truck’s life and performance depend on the lubricants and fluids it requires. And no fluid lasts forever, so if someone tells you otherwise, call BS. You pay good money for your truck, and lots of it, too, if you just bought a new one. Each component needs a fluid change every so often to flush any contaminants that may have accumulated and replace degraded fluids. Use synthetic fluids to help promote performance and longevity for your truck. Synthetics’ longer service life also gives you the opportunity to extend service intervals, reducing the number of times you have to crawl under the truck.

Extra filtration

Diesel and soot go hand in hand. It’s a fact of life, folks. Your diesel’s combustion efficiency isn’t 100 percent, so it generates soot. Where the soot ends up is a function of the engine and its operating conditions. The exhaust system properly manages most of it, but some soot makes its way into the sump, contaminating your engine oil. Soot in small quantities and small particles is no match for the dispersants in your engine oil. The problem comes from larger quantities that stress the dispersant system until it fails, allowing larger particles to form that cause abrasive wear to your engine and form deposits that reduce engine efficiency.

Want a fool-proof way to manage soot in your engine? Use high-quality AMSOIL synthetic diesel oil and add a bypass filtration system. The oil will keep soot particles in suspension and the filtration system will remove them from the oil. Our bypass systems are capable of removing much smaller particles than the normal full-flow oil filter, which is why it’s so important to a diesel engine. Your truck is worth it. The cost to add a bypass system is minimal with respect to the love you have for your truck.

By now, I hope you picked up at least one tidbit of value to help keep your baby looking good and lasting a long time. I know with the effort I put into my truck, I’ll be driving it well into the 200,000-mile range. Some of you think that is nothing and expect a diesel to last longer. I have no doubt it will, but I’ll probably get bored by then and will want the next greatest diesel thing. Heck, maybe by the time I replace this one, we’ll have half-ton diesel pickups with as much torque as my current truck, but with fuel economy in the 40+ mpg range. Or, maybe the truck will be able to drive itself. Don’t laugh – do a little research online and you’ll find over-the-road trucks doing it today.

Either way, this outta tell you how long I plan to keep my current truck. But the only way our trucks will last for year is to show them some love.

LOOK UP MY VEHICLE

What’s the Difference Between Horsepower and Torque?

what is torque?

What’s the Difference Between Horsepower and Torque?

Rather than offer a technical explanation few people will understand, let’s talk about what torque and horsepower feel like.

You’re idling at a stoplight. Or maybe an IHRA starting line. Someone rolls up to you and revs their engine. Gives you the nod. It’s on.

You wind up the engine, the light turns green and you dump the clutch. Instantly the visceral force of the engine kicks you in the chest and slams you back in your seat. The tires smoke and scream. Your chest shakes as if home to a hive of angry hornets.

That’s torque. It’s the sheer grunt and force that transforms your vehicle from placid show horse to ferocious stallion.

This 15-second video illustrates.

As the rpm climb, horsepower takes over. Streetlights zip by, the expansion joints in the asphalt go from, “clack…clack…clack” to “clackclackclack” and the engine effortlessly pulls through the gears toward redline and a seemingly endless horizon. You could drive forever.

That’s horsepower. It’s the speed that carries you to victory. Or to the next stoplight once you return to reality.

Your dyno map to success

You can see the relationship between torque and horsepower in just about any dyno map. Here’s one I grabbed from the boys at Engine Masters – Presented by AMSOIL, a great YouTube show for gearheads.

Notice how torque is higher at low rpm, and horsepower is higher at high rpm. The two meet at 5,252 rpm. That’s because of the following equation:

Horsepower = Torque x Engine rpm/5252

Because torque and rpm are divided by 5,252, torque and horsepower are equal when the engine speed is equivalent to 5,252 rpm.

What, exactly, is torque?

Simply put, it’s a twisting or turning force applied to an object such as a wheel or crankshaft. In automotive applications, torque measures the engine’s ability to perform work. The force created by displacement of engine cylinders spins the engine crankshaft, and the transmission applies this torque to the wheels, moving the vehicle. The more force applied to the crankshaft, the more torque developed and the more work the vehicle can do.

And horsepower?

While torque measures turning force and the engine’s ability to perform work, horsepower measures how fast the engine can perform the work. Engine horsepower ratings indicate how much power an engine can produce similar to how light bulb wattage indicates how much power the bulb will use.

The amount of horsepower an engine can deliver is directly proportional to the level of torque generated by the crankshaft, which is directly proportional to the total displacement capacity of the engine.

(Did you know the term “horsepower” owes its origins in part to beer? Get the story here.)

As they say, there’s no replacement for displacement.

Because there is a limitation on the maximum displacement an engine can generate based on the size of the vehicle into which you stuff the engine, there is also a limitation on the amount of torque the engine can produce, which in turn sets a limit on the engine’s maximum horsepower.

Which is better?

That’s a question no one can answer except you. While both are necessary to drive your car or truck, the answer depends on what you’re trying to do. For most casual motorists, neither is better than the other. They just want their family sedan or SUV to navigate the grocery store parking lot and highway with ease.

But if you’re hauling a load of supplies or trying to win the trailer-pull competition at Diesel Power Challenge, you want the added grunt of a high-torque engine. If you’re trying to set a personal best lap time at the local track, you want an engine designed to maximize horsepower.

Stiction… What Is It?

Solving Stiction on Ford 6.0

Stiction… What Is It?

By now you’ve inevitably seen this term in turbo diesel enthusiast magazines.  And if you own a Ford Powerstroke 6.0L diesel engine, then you likely have experienced it. Stiction… it’s a combination of two words. Static and Friction. What it really means is that there are two components touching each other and a specific force is required to get them to move relative to each other. Like your pen resting on your desk. It requires a certain amount of force to get your pen to slide across your desk.

Solving Stiction on Ford 6.0Stiction has been a marketing term in the turbo diesel market for about the past 6-8 years now with the issues that Ford has seen with their 6.0L diesel engine. It’s a HEUI motor that, unfortunately, Ford made a poor decision to crank up the fuel pressure while utilizing similar injectors to the 7.3L diesel and they just aren’t capable of handling the pressure. So what happens is the solenoid on the injector that controls when the injector fires wears and gets sloppy. That wear puts it into a binding condition and the injector control is lost. The net result is poor idle and throttle response.

So what have some savvy entrepreneurs done? They’ve come out with a product to improve on the situation. Unfortunately the problem is irreversible. You cannot replace wear with chemistry. So can it make it better for the short term? Yes. However it is truly short term and typically ends in injector replacement.

What is the magic chemistry in a small bottle that costs so much? It is a combination of detergent and friction modifier. The detergent goes in there and cleans up any deposits in the oil side of the injector to ensure the solenoid can fire as smooth as possible. The friction modifier goes in there and coats the two metallic components and provides a more slippery surface so that the increased clearance between the two of them results in less binding. Unfortunately this method doesn’t last that long and you have to either keep adding this special juice or just replace the injectors.

I’m sure if you are a 6.0L owner you are wondering what I could have done differently. Unfortunately, based on the design and pressures, I’m doubting whether there is a foolproof method to eliminate the problem. But there are ways to lessen the pain and improve on the longevity of those injectors.

First, you want to choose a high quality synthetic diesel engine oil, like AMSOIL, to ensure your injectors are staying clean and the oil is providing the best wear protection possible. Regular oil change intervals using a high quality oil filter is step two to this important process. And finally if you are trying to keep the oil side of the injector clean you better think about the nozzle of the injector and keeping that fuel flowing as Ford intended. Using a concentrated dose of diesel fuel additive, like AMSOIL Diesel Injector Clean, will help keep that injector flowing like new.

One more thing for northern climate enthusiasts to consider is engine oil viscosity. Since the HEUI injector uses engine oil to build fuel pressure it is very important to ensure the viscosity of the oil is suitable to promote development of proper fuel pressure. Take a look into your owner’s manual the next time you are in the garage. Your book will tell you that a 5W-40 or 15W-40 oil is recommended in most conditions, however if the temperature drops into the freezing range, Ford recommends you change to a 10W-30. No mystery why that is. The lower viscosity of the 10W-30 will flow more freely in cold temps and help develop fuel pressure much easier. Something to consider as you plan your oil changes throughout the year. Perhaps a viscosity change in the fall is the right answer for you. Whatever you choose to do, be confident that AMSOIL has a full line of high performance turbo diesel products for your truck. Take a closer look at http://www.amsoil.com/shop/by-equipment/diesel-motors/

Photo courtesy Diesel Power Magazine

Synthetic Warehouse note: The lower viscosity does so well for the Ford 6.0 that our #1 seller thanks for various diesel forums is our HDD 5W-30. Reduce the stress on your Ford 6.0 and call us or stop in for the 100% Synthetic Heavy Duty Diesel 5W-30 (Product Code HDD)