How Factory Bottom Ends Are Kept Alive At Huge Torque Levels
Whether the platform is Power Stroke, Duramax or Cummins, experienced tuners, knowledgeable mechanics, and well-informed enthusiasts know exactly how much power they can squeeze out of their preferred power plant. Thanks to being overbuilt from the factory, the engines produced for use in the truck segment—namely those manufactured by Ford, Navistar, GM, and Cummins—all offer exceptional breathing room for growing horsepower. This means an exceptional amount of power can be stacked on top of a stock bottom end without negative repercussions—or even a need to make many (if any) reinforcements under the valve cover(s). It’s the automotive equivalent of getting away with murder.
So how do we get away with doubling and, in some cases, even tripling the factory horsepower and torque on a stock rotating assembly? Tuning. Tuning. Tuning. With a proficient calibrator on your side, along with careful parts selection, you can live at the unofficial limit of what your particular engine can handle almost indefinitely. The biggest key to making it possible is the ability to effectively limit what diesel engines are notorious for: torque. While torque is one of diesel’s biggest advantages, it’s also what leads to the kind of cylinder pressures that bend rods, crack pistons, and even split blocks. This time, we’re exploring how and why tuners do what they do—and what your specific engine’s factory short block is capable of enduring.