THE FUTURE OF DIESELS 
                             October 1997

 submitted to the FSRO - (Full Size Rig Organization) 

John Meister, 
Independent Lifetime AMSOIL Dealer, 
former editor - Cherokee America & Full Size Jeep pages on off-road.com

"Diesels get added attention in `supercar` project" reads the heading on 
the page of technical news in the lastest issue of Design News (10-6-97
page 22).  

The article reports that the federal administration is leaning toward the Diesel 
engine as  part of it's envisioned "supercar".  The aim: to produce the world's 
cleanest Diesel engines.  Compared with current Diesels the new engines would 
emit 80 percent less oxides of Nitrogen and 50 percent fewer particulates.  

Possible means of accomplishing this is through different fuel sources,
improving injectors, engine controls, sensors and by reducing emissions
with new catalysts and traps.

Then on page 27 of the same issue in the engineering news section is the
bold title:
"The `Supercar` may have a diesel under the hood".  The subtitle reads: "The 
partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) has lofty, long-range
goals-but the short-term plan is to build a better diesel."  
   (Michael Puttre' Associate Editor pp 27,28 Design News 10-6-97)

IN the middle of two page article this noteworthy passage appears: "The Big Three 
back developing a variety of diesel compression-ignition, direct injection (CIDI)
engines as the powerplant for the PNGV prototype.  Current diesel designs feature a 
40% peak thermal efficiency and are easy to manufacture.  Nevertheless emissions 
are still higher than for gasoline engines, af act that doesn't sit well with the

Later in the article: "Die-hard diesel. The fuel efficiency of diesel engines 
has reawakened industry interest in the technology.  While consumers flirted 
with diesel during the oil crises of the 1970s..."  Later still they mention 
the use of Dimethyl ehter (DME) as an alternative, low-emissions fuel...

The article made a point of mentioning that all military ground vehicles in the
U.S. inventory are Diesel-powered, and so is the bulk of U.S. ground freight and
bus traffic.  In France and Belgium almost half of the passenger cars have Diesel 

Personally, I was offended by a couple minor points in the article.  
One, it should be "Diesel" (see "how it all started" below).  
Second, they do not cite the emissions that the government is concerned
about.  I find this misleading because a Diesel engine produces little or
no CO, has less hydrocarbon emission than a gas engine, roughly half the
oxides of nitrogen that comparable gas engine produces...  
so what is it that is higher?  Particulates?  

The unburned carbon particles also known as soot.  The smell?  That's aldehyde.  
The other stuff is water vapor and carbon dioxide.  The data that I have on Oxides 
of Nitrogen predates catalytic converters so the Diesel engine may produce more 
than a modern gas engine.  In fact, the article does mention that to reduce the 
Oxides of Nitrogen the U.S. Department of Energy is working with USCAR and 
Lockheed Martin Energy Systems to produce a new catalysts for catalytic converters.

However, the truly noxious and deadly gases are produced by gasoline spark-ignited
engines.  How many people have you heard of that committed suicide by locking themselves
in their garage with their Diesel motors running?  I rest my case for the Diesel.

March 18, 1858, Paris, France, a German couple had a baby boy and they named him 
Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel.  On February 28, 1892 Imperial German Patent #67207 
was issued for an internal combustion engine using compression ignition.  

On Feburary 17, 1897 a 250mm x 400mm engine produced 13.1kw of power during a 
successful test.  Even this early prototype was 26.2% efficient!  This was a 
significant milestone in engine technology. During that time a steam engine was 
at best about 18% efficient!  On July 16, 1895 US Patent #542,846 was issued on 
the Diesel Engine.  In spite of it's efficiency and potential Rudolf and his 
business enterprise was in serious financial straits and on September 29, 1913  
while crossing the English Channel Rudolf threw himself into the frigid waters.  
What is tragic is that with the onset of World War I his invention became
immensly popular and continues to be popular even today.

I became a Diesel nut with my first Diesel, a 1980 Olds Cutlass.  It provided 
230,000 miles of service.  I've lost count of the Diesels I've owned during and 
since I that car.  The torque, the feel and the power of a Diesel are something 
that must be experienced to be understood.  If you're going for neck
snapping acceleration, you're on the wrong page.  

Ignorance of Diesels is widespread and I believe is the reason why more Americans 
are not driving them.  Perhaps when California finally falls into the ocean Diesels 
will become more popular in the states.  Ignorant American Diesel owners
and hastily prepared American manufacturered Diesels did much to discredit
the most efficient internal combustion known to man.  While Americans remain unaware,
Europeans enjoy a wide variety of choices in superb Diesel motorcars.  Why you can even own
a new XJ style Jeep Cherokee with a 2.5L Turbo Diesel over there!  Imagine having a vehicle 
that will do 0 to 60mph in less than 18 seconds and still get close to 30 mpg, in town!  

At an idle a Diesel will NOT overheat because the fuel is burned in the
center of the chamber and it's energy is dissipated by pushing the piston
and not in heating up the cylinder wall.  A gas engine left to idle will
quickly overheat if sufficient engine cooling is not available.  It is not
uncommon for a Diesel to be left running over
night in severe climates or by skiers or travelers.  Because of the efficiency
of the engine is uses very little fuel during idle.

To make a Diesel engine produce more power all you do is add air.  Hence the 
popularity of Turbo Diesels.  Diesels come in two types, direct and indirect 
injection.  Direct Injection is noisier and requires higher pump pressures, but 
does not require glow plugs and is more efficient than indirect injection.  

Indirect injection uses a pre-combustion chamber.  In this chamber resides the 
injector and a glow plug.  Most Diesels fall into this category.  The Cummins Turbo
Diesel and the VW TDI are both Direct Injection, and Turbo Charged.  Since cool 
air has more energy potential than hot air, an intercooler is often used on a Turbo
Diesel to cool the air after it is compressed.   It is not uncommon for a Turbo 
Charged Diesel to produce as much or more torque than a comparable gas engine.  

For example, in 1985 Jeep XJs were delivered the Renault 2.1L Turbo Diesel and 
the 2.5L 4 cylinder.  The 2.1L TD produced 85hp at 3,250 rpm and 132 ft lbs of 
torque at 3,000 rpms.  The 2.5L gas engine produced 105 hp at 5,000 rpm and 
132 ft lbs of torque at 2,800 rpm.   The same torque from a smaller DIESEL engine! 
My 85 xj did 0 to 60 mph in around 19 seconds and gave 26 mpg in town and 32 mpg 
on the highway!  

Diesel engines are approximately 40% efficient, meaning they derive 40% useful 
energy from the fuel they burn.  A typical fuel injected gasoline engine might 
be running in the 20% range while a carburetored engine is closer to 15%.  The 
balance of the energy is dissipated in the form of HEAT.  Heat from combustion, 
but also in the form of friction.

The engine oil is intended to help with both of these issues in the internal 
combustion engine. First it is designed to reduce friction.  It does this by 
acting as little ball bearings between metal surfaces.  Second it transfers 
heat from parts close to the combustion chamber to the block and to the oil pan.  
Since most Diesel engines significantly abuse the oil, it is not uncommon for 
them to come with an oil cooler from the factory.  A third thing that motor oil 
does is transfer engine contaminants away from the metal parts and hopefully 
into the oil filter.  These contaminants may come in from the air intake or 
exist as byproducts of combustion.  

In Diesels highly abrasive carbon particles are often left over from incomplete 
combustion.  This also one of those things that ignorance loves to point to 
coming out the exhaust pipe of a Diesel... that black smoke.  The unburned 
carbon particles known as soot.  (this is why an egr valve on a Diesel doesn't 
make sense to me, it essentially takes the unburned carbon particles, abrasive 
by nature, and puts them back into the cylinder in an effort to lower the 
combustion temperature and hence the oxides of Nitrogen.)

Motor oil tends to break down chemically and oxidize when exposed to pressures 
and heat. It is also expected to carry metal, silicon and carbon particles away 
from moving parts, primarily by suspending them and secondarily by transfering 
them to a filter medium.  AMSOIL Oil Filters are specifically designed to filter
Synthetic oil.  In addition, they offer Bypass filters that will filter all the
oil in your crankcase down to 1 micron, typically in about 5 minutes at 45 miles
per hour for a 5 quart crankcase.

Diesels are incredibly hard on oil.  If you own a Diesel you should never
run 10W40 motor oil, here's why:  the additives required to produce the
viscosity index tends to break down under the pressure of the rings 
and collects there allowing for cylinder wall damage.  

Any oil run in a Diesel should have the "C" rating for Combustion Ignition.  
Each rating is unique and not necessarily progressive. For
the vast majority of Diesels the CD or CE rating is acceptable.  A web page URL
is provided below that provides a FAQ on motor oils.

A Diesel "wears" oil out faster than a gas motor.  This is most noticeable in
the recommended drain intervals for AMSOIL Synthetic Oils.  For a gas engine it
is the 25,000 mile or 1 year for an oil change.  Even with the same oil, it 
is reduced to 15,000 miles or one year, for Diesels, and then only for light duty 
use.  For medium to heavy duty Diesels they recommend oil analysis to determine 
the drain interval.  While this may sound like a short drain interval, consider 
that most folks that care about their engines will typically change the oil and 
filter at 2,000 to 3,000 mile intervals.  I've successfully with oil analysis gone 
about 8,000 miles on a Turbo Diesel using AMSOIL 100% Synthetic Marine Grade 15w40
Diesel Oil.  On my gas powered rigs I'm up to over two years on one rig.  Since 
I drive used vehicles something usually breaks from old age that causes me to have 
to change the oil before it needs to be changed, or worse yet I don't keep enough 
of the same "flavor" around and end up mixing the oil with another weight or with
dinosaur oil, which is fine, but it sure louses up any chance of a valid oil analysis.

I have seen documented reports of significantly longer oil drains on big Diesel 
powered rigs, but the point is that Synthetic Oil is better for a Diesel because 
it withstands the heat and pressures and provides superior lubrication.  It
does not break down or shear as a mineral (dinosaur) oil will.  It has a higher 
cling factor so it remains on metal surfaces after shutdown.  In fact, this cling factor
has saved motors when oil pumps have failed or when something caused the oil to
be drained while in use.  My 5.7L Diesel was spared because of this cling
factor when a bypass filter I had setup was damaged.

Oil has many technical properties by which to measure it's performance.  Synthethic 
oils are better in all categories, except perhaps initial cost.  AMSOIL has
been producing API approved Synthetic Oils since the mid 70's.  They have a proven 
formula that has been proven over thousands of heavy duty use.  I've driven 
from Seattle to Chicago and back in my GMC Jimmy with a 6.2L Diesel with a 
crankcase full of AMSOIL 15w40, and then some without oil loss or overheating 
concerns, even though I was towing a trailer, using the air conditioner and 
traveling in mid-summer.

To further protect a Diesel engine a good air filter is required.  If you see 
a Diesel truck smoking heavily, it probably has a clogged air filter and or 
needs an oil change, or more seriously, the injection system is in need of

On my 5.7L Diesel, and all my rigs, I use an AMSOIL Lifetime Air Filter or an 
AMSOIL Two Stage Air Filter.   It provides superior engine protection over other 
types of filtration, with the possible exception of an oil bath air cleaner.  
There are filters that will permit more CFM of air flow, but not at the level 
of filtration found in an AMSOIL oil-soaked foam filter unit.

Combining an AMSOIL Air Filter with AMSOIL Synthetic oil can improve your
Diesel's overall performance by providing more clean air and reduce internal
friction.  Fuel savings of 10% are not uncommon.  However, most of us tend to use the
extra power and not realize the savings.  Using AMSOIL Synthetic Gear Lube and
Automatic Transmission Fluid would add to the overall reduction in friction and heat
reduction and overall vehicle longevity while reducing maintenance costs.

To give you an idea of how much more efficient they are than a paper
element I ran some 0 to 60 mph tests, whether this test could have been performed
with a calendar rather than a stopwatch will not be debate here, but the results
speak for themselves:

PAPER element, new -  0 to 60 mph - 26 seconds
AMSOIL element, new - 0 to 60 mph - 19 seconds

A 27% increase in performance, for a filter that costs one half to one
third of the "cotton-gauze" unit, and about twice what a paper element
costs. I will admit that I have not experienced that kind of performance
increase on every vehicle.

AMSOIL also provides Diesel Fuel Modifier, Diesel Fuel Concentrate and
Cetane Boost to help keep your injectors clean, to help your fuel keep from 
gelling and to increase the cetane content of your fuel for more power.

Much of this information is presented in on-line catalog.  You may contact
AMSOIL directly at 1.800.956.5695 from 7am to 5pm Central Time Monday
through Friday to obtain these products or to receive a catalog, 
your customer number is 283461.  


 http://www.62-65-dieselpage.com/          (6.2L & 6.5L page)
 http://biodiesel.ag.uidaho.edu/index.html    (bio Diesel page)
 http://www.vw.com/cars/tdi/                (vw's TDI)

that's all for this month,
john meister from 
Snohomish, Washington

Copyright © 1997 - John Meister, Clearview Consulting


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