If you own a diesel powered vehicle, you probably appreciate the inherent qualities of this type of engine. More torque, better fuel economy, easier maintenance are some of the attributes of diesel engines like the Cummins 6.7 performance engine. Still, some motorists complain about the engine’s weak power, particularly when accelerating from a full stop. What you may not know is that a diesel engine can be tweaked to produce more power without harming fuel economy. Let’s take a look at diesel engines and what you can do to squeeze out more power.
Thanks to the work of one man, Rudolf Diesel, we have a choice when it comes to driving. Besides hybrid or rotary engines, the chief way most vehicles run is via a gasoline powered internal combustion engine. However, with Diesel’s 1892 patent of the engine that bears his name, diesel power has played a significant role in powering buses and trucks across North America. Some passenger vehicles, particularly pick up trucks, are also diesel powered giving motorists an option to gasoline.
Diesel engines have the following advantages over their gasoline counterparts:
Diesels use air compression to create combustion versus the air/fuel mixture required by gasoline powered cars. This attribute means that diesel engines do not require spark plugs and thus do not have to be tuned up. However, if you encounter engine problems, you may still need to bring your car to an auto repair shop.
Diesel fuel has a higher fuel density than gasoline resulting in fuel economy increases of 20-30% over comparable gasoline powered models.
Diesel engines are cheaper to maintain as they have less parts vs. a gasoline engine. The lifespan of a diesel engine is also significantly longer.
If it is torque you need, particularly for pulling a boat, camper, or equipment, than a diesel engine has the advantage. A diesel engine is definitely slower especially when starting from a dead stop, but when climbing hills or going over bridges, your diesel powered vehicle can definitely handle the challenge.
So, why aren’t more vehicles built in North America diesel powered? A few reasons including:
Stricter emissions control standards. Diesel engines pollute more, so not many manufacturers have improved upon the technology to produce an engine that is environmentally friendly. However, several upcoming engines from VW and others may change all of that.
Not enough power. Yes, a common complaint, even with turbo diesels, is that the engines are not powerful enough. North American drivers are accustomed to getting on the highway with a minimum amount of effort. With a diesel engine, it can take as much as twice as long to get up to full speed.
Fortunately, several aftermarket product developers are helping motorists squeeze out more power from their diesel engines. Performance programmers, made for specific diesel engines, are helping motorists see a nice spike in horsepower as well as increases in torque. The beauty of some of these aftermarket parts is that they don’t harm fuel economy. In fact, some claim to help improve it.
Yes, the number of diesel powered passenger vehicles presently on North American highways is presently very small; however with newer, cleaner and stronger engines on the way, you may soon find yourself opting for a diesel powered vehicle too.