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  • August 2013 Under Pressure - Editorial

August 2013 Under Pressure - Editorial

Diesel Newbie Guidelines

Jason Sands
Jul 15, 2013
Photographers: Jason Sands
Over the past six months or so, I have noticed a rapid influx of diesel enthusiasts jumping on the Internet message forums. They know almost nothing about diesels, ask silly questions that are severely lacking in punctuation (“i want 2 no what turbo i should use”), and are all about blowing smoke, rolling coal, or “oralling the coal” in net-speak. Being an Internet OG, I feel the need to help these folks out, and since the main medium of knowledge transference on the Internet is bickering, I figured I would do it here in the nice quiet confines of the magazine.
Photo 2/2   |   New to diesels and think it’s all about smoke? Wade Moody’s Duramax-powered S-10 has run 7.58 at 181mph in the quarter-mile, without even so much as a haze.
First of All, Welcome!
This isn’t said nearly enough, for whatever reason. Welcome to the industry. Diesel performance started becoming popular just a little more than a decade ago (in the pickup industry at least), and in a very short amount of time it has become mainstream. What can be done with these trucks is truly awesome—no matter what your budget or where you’re from. There are 700hp trucks with less than $5,000 in parts, 25-mpg daily drivers, and 800,000-mile farm trucks that have never had an engine rebuild. Diesel performance is an extremely diverse field, no matter which direction you want your build to take.
When to Oral
While kids who want to blow smoke usually take a pretty good verbal beating on the Internet, virtually everybody I’ve met wanted to blow a little smoke when they first got their truck turned up. Blowing a little smoke at your house for your buddies is one thing, but blowing smoke on strangers, bicyclists, pets in cars, and convertibles is another. Diesels are the visual equivalent of ear-splitting Harleys, although “loud pipes save lives” sounds a little more plausible than “black smoke on everyone behind me saves lives.” Your truck smokes, get over it. With all that diesels have to offer, limiting yourself to making your truck smoke is just silly—and you’re going to feel like a slow jerk when you get beat by a clean-burning truck in a race.
Read, Read, Read
The expression “There is no knowledge that is not power” was originally attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1862, and it’s still true today. I’ve seen people who are new to diesel performance get some very bad advice that could lead them down roads of repair bills, useless parts, and eventually, a broken-down truck. So read. Read books, magazines, and repair manuals—anything you can get your hands on. Track down someone who has been in the loop for years and get his or her opinion. Talk to shops, sled pullers, and drag racers—people who are actually out there doing it. The most powerful decisions come from many vantage points; just listening to one person can get you in trouble. I’ll say it again in case it hasn’t sunk in, but truly, there is no knowledge that is not power.
Learn to Spell— at Least a Little
For some reason, our society is pretty darn intolerant of people who can’t spell. The single worst offense whether you’re a Dodge, Ford, or Chevy guy is usually calling a Cummins engine a “Cummings.” With that single “g” all credibility goes out the window, and no matter who you are or what you know, you’re sunk. Also, use periods, and capitalization, BUT NOT ALL THE TIME! Thank you.
Dream Big
OK, now that you’ve read, studied, learned a wee bit of grammar, and know when to smoke, it’s time to expand your mind. Diesel trucks will last nearly forever—especially in the Western United States where there’s little rust. That means your truck can grow with you, and as your bankroll increases, you can keep stepping it up, from mild to wild. So dream big, there’s no reason we can’t all be driving Corvette-eating, camper-towing, mega-hp, mega-mpg trucks someday. As someone who has made 972 hp with a daily driver, gone 142 mph while towing a camper, and achieved 59 mpg in a diesel car, I assure you the feats you can accomplish with compression-ignition are virtually limitless.
- OF



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