Diesel Performance - Miracle or Snake Oil


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There are so many products out there that seem to be just too good to be true and there are too many people out there that are more than willing to take advantage of another’s lack of knowledge. There are also sooo many out there that are willing to play on peoples emotions, you know, the whole “you can have amazing results for practically nothing, and for only minutes a day at no cost to you”. We’ve all heard it before. So what makes diesel performance products, like a chip, or a cold air intake, or an exhaust any different. You might ask yourself, can adding something that small to my vehicle produce as great results as so many people tell me they do? Or will these items really pay for themselves in the form of added fuel economy, and reduced wear and tear on my vehicle? It is these questions about these products that I am going to address, and at the same time educate, because knowledge is power my friends.

If you were to modify a gas engine for performance, you would be required

to install a different camshaft, bore out the cylinders to increase displacement, install high compression pistons and heads, increase fuel intake capability by installing a larger carburetor or injection system, adding a turbo charger or supercharger, adding a chip, and enlarging the exhaust system. But then you are still restricted by emission control systems. On the other hand, diesel trucks and cars are mostly turbo charged, and they already run at a higher compression ratio. Whereas on the gas vehicles you would have to make those changes. If you were to make those changes to a gas engine you would truly have a ground pounding beast, but

would lose every day drive ability. The Diesels on the other hand are nice to drive around even with considerable modification. With a cold air intake, a chip, more efficient injectors, and a more open exhaust system, the diesels are still a nice ride, but when you really give it the gas, all heck breaks loose. There is enormous power without reducing drive ability.

Because of the nature of diesel engines they are designed from the factory to withstand much higher compression ratios than a gas engine. The diesel fuel combusts when it is compressed to a certain point whether or not there is optimum air. By simply shooting more fuel into the combustion chamber you can make more power. When you then improve the air ratio & timing of the fuel - you can make dramatic power and also improve engine efficiency. Gasoline requires a spark to ignite it & must have the appropriate mixture of air to burn properly. There is also a lot more energy in a given amount of diesel fuel than in an equal amount of gasoline.

I will now break down the most popular modifications and explain their benefits.

1. A cold air intake is sealed away from the hot engine air, and is located where it can take in more air. Cold air intakes are equipped with a filter that can take in up to 300% more air. Cold air takes up less space. So there can be more air, more air helps to burn all the fuel, thus giving more power and better fuel economy.

2. Chips make alterations to how the fuel is delivered to the engine, making

it more efficient and more powerful.

3. A bigger exhaust or a mandrel bent exhaust (keeps the tube round, and the size constant) improves exhaust flow. Getting exhaust away from the engine is just as important in combustion as getting air into the engine. There are exhausts now that will even vacuum exhaust away from the engine, making it so that the engine doesn’t have to do that work.

All of these modifications add to the fuel economy of the diesel engine, and will over time actually pay for themselves in gas savings, and will continue for years after they are paid for to keep your money in your pocket. Diesels are the wave of the future and more and more economy vehicles are being produced in diesel versions because they are capable of so much better economy.

Nathan Young is owner and operator of Parleys Diesel Performance and has been a Diesel Performance enthusiast since his childhood.


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