Friday, November 7, 2014

The Turbo

I'm trying to do something with this truck that I've never done before:  Reach one million miles without changing the major components under the hood.  Of course, maintenance is the key.  Everything must be greased on schedule, every filter changed on schedule, and every lubricant must be sampled to check that it's doing what it's supposed to.

Most of the other drivers I talk to will regularly go through component after component.  Wearing everything out far before it should be.  We do about 100,000 miles a year.  And our max speed is 58 MPH.  We will go faster depending on what the customer demands, but on average our loads have enough time to get there at 58 MPH.  We never idle the engine and I mean NEVER!  Idling these engines is death to the internal components.  The turbo is not designed to be run at an idle.  When the engine is idling, the turbo isn't spinning at its optimal rate and the turbo just doesn't handle this for a prolonged period.

The older engines without exhaust gas recirculation handled idling much better then these new emissions compliant engines.  Without a turbo, the engine is useless.  The blades in the turbo can become pitted and the internal parts wear out.  Over time the turbo can fail.  Mine has lasted over 700,000 miles so far and it passes every inspection I throw at it.

Every 100,000 miles, I adjust the overhead valves in the head.  When I get this done, I throw the truck on the dyno.  So far at 700,000 miles, I'm still getting 70% power to the ground.  That's pretty good.  It indicates that the turbo is working and everything is chugging right along.  I could tweak the systems on the truck and tune it for more horsepower, but when the original configuration is tinkered with, it pushes the components to their limits.  This can result in more performance, but at a higher price.

There are aftermarket turbos that would yield more power, but with more wear and tear on the other internal components of the engine.  The battle is on to maintain this truck as it ages.  The last truck we had went to 1,030,000 before it completely failed, but we replaced the engine and ran that engine out another 300,000 miles before we traded it in for a new model.

As with any business its about return on investment. The longer you can successfully run the truck, the more of a return you get.   

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