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Old 10-23-2011, 10:53 AM
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How have diesel pickup trucks gotten so fast lately?

I was watching one of the first episodes of "Pinks" about 4 years ago or so, back when they actually did race for pink slips, and one of that night's two competitors was a guy who, I believe, owned a company called "Bully Dog", which apparently sells high performance stuff for diesel trucks.

Now you'd assume that the fairly wealthy owner of a well established company who has access to any performance part he wants at wholesale prices, would build his own high performance truck, which is used to advertise their business, to be as fast as possible, so they could showcase their wares..... This truck had "Bully Dog" written all over it after all.

But as I expected, as a heavy diesel, the truck wasnt really very fast. In fact, as I recall, the only reason they won the other guy's pink slip, was because they were sandbagging and playing games almost the whole time!

I dont remember their actual 1/4 mile times, but it was around like mid 14's or so. Now for a diesel truck, that seemed pretty fast though.

But recently, I have watched newer, and probably better built diesel trucks at different drag strips, and I've been completely blown away by how fast these trucks have been!

I dont know what's changed in the last 3 years or so, but somehow diesels have gotten a whole lot faster.....

As I recall, most or all of these trucks have been 4 wheel drive, so they have been probably geared for drag racing in 4x4 for better traction off the line.

But I've seen trucks that looked somewhat close to stock, with mostly stock bodies running like 9 or 10 second 1/4 miles! But whats most impressive is how fast they get out of the hole......... I guess due to huge diesel low end torque, and not so great high RPM performance, they do best at the bottom end of the tach and track. These trucks are leaving the line as fast as some 8 second full comp drag cars I've seen! I guess they have to go fast at the beginning to make up for less top end performance. But even their top end performance seemed pretty good........

They must have 1 or more huge turbos, but there has to be something else to it, because people have been putting turbos on diesels for a long time, but they were never capable of running anywhere near this fast........

So what has changed, and how are these trucks with diesel engines managing to go so fast?

I saw a special about 4 years ago where a a few people had built a diesel road course racer, but they still weren't quite up to the performance of cars running gas engines. In this special was the owner of a big aftermarket high performance auto parts producer(dont remember who it was), and he was then saying that he was working on developing competitive turbocharged diesel race cars, and diesel performance street cars as well.

So maybe the day of the diesel is upon us......... Although they will not replace gas engines in high performance applications, maybe they will be competitive with them......

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Old 10-23-2011, 03:02 PM
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Pretty much one word........TURBOCHARGERS! That is what has put the performance into deisels. Everything in a deisel is built strong, and as such they can put some large amounts of boost pressure to them to get some very large power gains.
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:24 PM
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fast at Bonneville

A few years ago I watched a Green international Diesel truck from Oregon run over 250.. fast flat out !
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:56 PM
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i would have to agree with the turbocharger thing, but the other thing to consider is look at the tractor pullers. So it hasn't nessesarily been a recent surge of performance overall.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:28 PM
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Street diesels have gotten insane, lately. I worked for the local Dodge dealer, and we had a chassis dyno in house. Every 3 or 4 months, we'd do a "Dyno Days", run whatcha brung, kinda deal. More than one local truck broke 500 hp, and a couple were past 800. NADP brought their truck, and IIRC it was 2200 hp (no cost spared here, obviously). Many guys running huge turbos and injectors, plus water/methanol injection. Of course, most guys do a bunch to the engine, then absolutelt GRENADE the stock transmission, get a built tranny, blow the diffs, ect. Sounds just like gas rodding, right?
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