Line One
High Performance Diesels

The Alban Engines Power Day 2003 in Elkridge, MD, was a big success.

Owner-operators were drawn from far-off points, including Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania. And many local owner-operators from the Baltimore and Washington, DC, area brought their trucks to see just who would be the “King of the Hill” for 2003.

The competition began when the first truck rolled onto the Taylor dyno. And what a beginning it was. Scott Sharp put 1,008 horsepower to the ground on his first run with his 550 3406-E Caterpillar-powered Peterbilt and 1,018 hp on his second run.

We all questioned how an electronic engine could be producing this kind of horsepower. We thought there must be a problem with the dyno. Now keep in mind that we had Gene Glanzer and Tony Losiniecki, operating engineers from Taylor Dynamometer, at the controls. And I must say, they were shocked, too.

So, to see if the dyno was reading correctly, Kip Jones put his 2003 Peterbilt tri-axle dump, powered by a Cummins ISX Signature 600, on the dyno. We know that this engine is completely stock because we haven’t made a Pittsburgh Power computer for this engine.

Well, Kip’s truck answered our question. The Taylor dyno was right on. The Signature 600 put 530 hp to the ground, and if there is a 12 percent power loss through the drive line, that comes out to 602 flywheel horsepower.

Several years ago, the average power loss was around 20 percent; however, the newer transmissions and differentials require less power to turn them.

So, since we knew the dyno was reading correct horsepower, we were back to the power runs. There were six classes: Electronic Caterpillar; Mechanical Caterpillar; Electronic Cummins; Mechanical Cummins; Electronic Detroit; and Modified. No Macks or older mechanical Detroit Diesels came for the event.

First place in Electronic Caterpillar went to Harvey Raynor, with a 550 Cat producing 621 hp. Harvey has a Pittsburgh Power Cat Box on this truck; however, it was turned off for this run. Harvey made two runs; the second run was with the Cat Box on level 7. His to-the-ground horsepower jumped an additional 206 hp for a total of 827 hp. So the Cat Box was producing an additional 234 flywheel horsepower with his truck on level 7.

Second place went to Scott Jackson with 598 hp to the ground.

First place for Mechanical Caterpillar went to Ty Jackson with 682 hp out of a 3406-B Cat.

Second place was Steve Vanover with 602 hp from a 3406-B Cat.

First place for Electronic Cummins went to Kip Jones with 530 hp from his stock Signature 600 Cummins in a 2003 Peterbilt tri-axle dump.

Second place went to Brent Kurtz with 471 hp from an N-14 in a 1968 Kenworth.

First place for Mechanical Cummins was OOIDA member Ted Streit with 855 hp from an old NTC Big Cam III in a 1985 Autocar. The reason we say old is that the block has never been out of the chassis. With a 15 percent drive train loss, that engine is producing 1,006 flywheel horsepower. That is what a high lift cam, ceramic-coated pistons and a fuel pump built by Diesel Injection of Pittsburgh’s Pat Sharp can do.

Second place went to Dwayne Catterton with 937 hp. So why did Dwayne get second place with more horsepower, while his Peterbilt is powered by a KTA Cummins that is 1,150 cubic inches? If you divide the horsepower into the cubic inches it comes out to 0.8147 hp per cubic inch, whereas the NTC is 855 cubic inch and produced 1 hp per cubic inch. By doing it this way, all of the KTAs ran with the NTCs.

Ralph Dineen, a 52-year-old ex-stock car racer, put a whooping 1,260 hp to the ground with a 12.7-liter Detroit to lead the Electronic Detroit class. That is 1.5796 hp per cubic inch — with the smallest engine at the event. The crowd went wild. Nobody could believe it, so Ralph did it several times just to prove a point.

Now, don’t think it’s over, because Ralph has a friend who was running in the Modified class with a 12.7-liter Detroit. His name is John Chase. Chase put 1,260 hp to the ground, not once but several times.

During one run, his Detroit spiked 1,470 hp; however, it had to hold the power for 5 seconds. It did hold 1,260 hp (1.6195 hp per cubic inch) many times. While John was on the dyno, he would visit his bunk between runs, and after each visit, his Detroit would produce more power. We don’t know what he was doing in that bunk, but it worked.

John Chase is truly “The King of the Hill.”

Well, West Coast boys, you didn’t show up last year and you didn’t show up this year. So for next year, bring us East Coast boys your biggest and baddest. It looks like the East is truly the home of the high-performance diesels.

Bruce Mallinson is the CEO of Diesel Injection of Pittsburgh, located in Cheswick, PA. Bruce Mallinson can be reached

The above column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Land Line Magazine.