Extreme Diesel

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Mike Ryan’s 2008 Freightliner Cascadia

My interest in the rapidly improving world of diesel propulsion technology was peaked recently, after reading an article about one man and his truck. The man was interesting enough. He is a “Hollywood” stunt driver, having worked on many films, including the Fast and the Furious ensemble, a race truck driver and promoter with over three decades of experience, and possibly the only man to perform in a famous you tube video drifting a class A road tractor, but he is so much more than just these things.

He is also a pioneering innovator in the field of diesel propulsion technology. His name is Mike Ryan, and while he will never refer to himself in this lofty status, the fact remains that much of the research and data that he has accumulated in racing a diesel powered Freightliner truck up Pike’s Peak, annually for over ten years, is being used to enhance performance and efficiency in 2014 production passenger cars and light trucks.

With a lot of help from Freightliner and Banks Performance Engineering, as well as the team at Ryan Motorsports, Mike Ryan’s Freightliner Cascadia is breaking new ground in diesel performance modification. The 14.0-liter Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine, in the 2008 Cascadia, produces in excess of 2,400-horsepower and an astounding 4,000+ lb.-ft. of torque, using serious air induction components and state-of-the-art injection equipment.

The Series 60 engine is loaded with extras from Banks Performance Engineering. An S510 Borg Warner Turbocharger with Tial waste gates and blow off valves, coupled with a Whipple 8.3-liter twin-screw supercharger force massive amounts of air into the diesel engine. A Banks purpose built three filter air intake manifold, mounting brackets, and Banks drive system complete the induction package. A Banks Straight Shot water and methanol injection system cools the supercharger, acts as an intercooler, and keeps the external intercooler face cool. It is controlled by the Banks IQ Man-Machine Interface System with GPS.

The S510 Borg Warner turbo provides induction at higher RPMs while the Whipple supercharger crams air down into the engine constantly. This translates into faster takeoffs and zero turbo-lag. The specially designed air intake provides clean, cool air to the beastly diesel while the Banks IQ Man-Machine Interface monitors ambient temperature, altitude, and vehicle speed and accurately administers the  water and methanol spray injection.

The water and methanol, injected into the air intake at proper intervals, keep the supercharger air temperature lower. This allows the engine to more thoroughly and efficiently burn fuel. Water injected onto the surface of the intercooler provides a drawn air temperature reduction for  the turbochargers. Cooler air is denser air and allows the diesel to more consistently atomize fuel; increasing horsepower and proficiency. The results speak for themselves; a diesel engine which outperforms gasoline engines and achieves much better fuel mileage.

Here is a list of  production vehicles that are offered with comparable diesel technology to that of Mike Ryan’s Banks Super Turbo Freightliner.

2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Executive with a 3.0-liter, 24-valve, direct injected turbo diesel engine. It makes 240-horsepower and a whopping 400 lb.-ft. of torque.

2014 BMW 535d Sedan features a 3.5-liter common rail injected turbocharged engine with knock control and dual-overhead-cam configuration. It produces 255-horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque.

2014 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC uses a 3.0-liter V-6 turbo-diesel with Blue TEC technology. It makes 240-horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque and runs on clean diesel or bio-diesel fuel.

2014 Audi A8 L 3.0 TDI produces 240-horsepower and makes 406 lb.-ft. of torque using a 24-valve, six-cylinder diesel engine with turbocharger and direct injection. It goes from 0-60 mph in 6.4-seconds.

2014 Porsche Cayenne Diesel is powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 turbo-diesel that uses Variable Turbine Geometry (VGT). Incoming exhaust gases drive an electronically controlled, variable turbine impeller which is constantly adjusted to achieve maximum performance and efficiency. It turns out 240-horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.