Month: February 2016


Have you ever heard of a 10 second tow rig or a daily drive that can clock 123 mph in about 10.93 seconds? Chances are you haven’t. But there is one Aaron Flournoy who has achieved just that, with a 2006 Dodge Ram.

Aaron Flournoy had purchased a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 because he wanted great mileage and a relatively all purpose vehicle. The Dodge Ram has been a popular choice for those who needed power and fuel economy. But not being someone to be satiated with normal performance, Aaron Flournoy soon opted for upgrades. He got a programmer, new exhaust and an intake. He quickly got a 62mm turbocharger, a lift pump, bigger injectors and the transmission was also replaced.

Aaron’s quest for more speed while not compromising on the other perks of driving the Ram saw him go through several changes over the years. By 2010, the Ram he had bought and the one he had transformed it into bore very little semblance, spec-wise. Aaron went for many upgrades. He opted to rebuild the valve body, billet input and output along with the intermediate shafts. Lastly, the converter was upgraded and eventually Aaron landed with a 595 rear-wheel horsepower.

In 2010, after subjecting the car to a new set of twins, a second CP3 and even larger injectors, the Ram failed to clock 1600 rpm. Aaron checked the compression test and the cranking pressure was 100 psi down on some cylinders. It so happened that two rods were bent and four were worn out severely. Instead of a quick fix or easy remedy, Aaron wanted the engine to undergo a holistic uplift.

The engine underwent extensive machine work and was later assembled by Aaron with the help of some friends. The makeover included a new set of ARP main studs, a girdle, shot-peened 12-valve connecting rods, factory condition Cummins pistons, a Stage 3 Colt camshaft, a set of ARP 625 head studs and a ported 5.9L head with titanium valve.

The result was an 11-second time-slip with 868 rear-wheel horsepower. After clocking 40,000 miles with the new engine and four years later, Aaron added a bit more fuel injection and then perfected his launch. The outcome was a 10-second time-slip to clock 123 mph.


Much before refined diesel was stringently controlled by EPA norms and international agencies, there was raw or crude diesel. Much before sleek diesel engines, there were large, rather odd looking engines that were primarily tasked for function and not for comforting or fluidic designs of the vessels. One of the finest masterpieces of such diesel engines can be explored in the WWII Balao Class Submarine.

When the Second World War was inching towards an end, the navies of the Allied Forces needed more dominating and powerful presence in the waters and under. Thus, one needed submarines that could be in the waters for a long time and often in troubled enemy waters. For such operations, one needs an engine, rather a power plant that is reliable and has enough jus to last the mission.

The USS Pampanito (SS-383) was the first of its kind boat built which could store 110,000 gallons of diesel. There were several such submarines built from 1942 through 1944 which formed the Word War II Balao Class Fleet.

The USS Pampanito had 4 Fairbanks Morse 38D 8 1/8 model motors, which used opposed piston, in-line 10-cylinder engine with a bore of 8 1/8 inches and a stroke of 10 inches. Each ship had an auxiliary engine, the Fairbanks Morse Model 38E 5¼, which was a 7-cylinder, opposed piston, air-starting engine rated at 440HP with a bore of 5 1/4 inches and a stroke of 7 1/4 inches.

While operating at the surface, the submarine had two diesel engines driving the motor generators and two more powering the batteries. There was a fifth engine to provide electrical power for the auxiliary equipment onboard and the lights. The engines could operate at 300 rpm with peak performance clocking at 400 rpm.

The most stunning feature of the USS Pampanito was the ability to store 110,000 gallons of diesel for the five engines. To make this possible and to make the technology work, the ship had a bunker with a centrifugal purifying system. The Fairbanks Morse 38D 8 1/8 engines could generate 1600 horsepower.

Fascinatingly, despite the technology being almost seventy years old, Fairbanks Morse still manufactures spare parts for the engine as the engine had been in widespread use for many years after the war, well into the eighties.

Presently, the USS Pampanito is at pier 41 at the San Francisco Maritime Museum.



In some countries, there are more cars running on gasoline or gas instead of diesel. A typical example is the United States. In some regions of the world, there are more diesel cars than gasoline models. In some countries, like the United Kingdom, there is a fine balance between the two. So if you own a diesel car and fill it up with gasoline or if you own a gasser and fill it up with diesel, what kind of consequences would you be staring at?

Jon Bentley, the presenter of Fifth Gear, a television show in the UK, tried to experiment with both and had some stunning results to share. While most car owners or motorists would do this mistakenly or rather callously, Jon was well aware of what he was up to. Don’t go around experimenting but the findings are worth knowing.

Jon Bentley used Ford Escort, a sixth generation gasoline powered model, and Vauxhall Astra diesel. The Escort debuted in 1995 and the Astra debuted in 1991. Both vehicles are old and are thus ideal for the experiment. Newer or more advanced cars have better engines and the fuel systems are more robust. The case of wrong fuel can be of much greater jeopardy for older cars.

As the Escort got filled with diesel and the Astra got filled with gasoline, both cars seemed to run fine for a while. Despite the wrong fuel being loaded in the tanks, the cars used up the right fuel for some time till it was consumed entirely or got blended with the wrong fuel, to an extent to lose its presence and thus significance.

The Escort running on diesel instead of gasoline started to cut out sporadically. There were hiccups and then shudders. The Astra ran longer but when it did start to have problems, it just stopped and did not run an inch more. At this stage, you may wonder that your Escort would need some help and the Astra would have gone kaput. But neither of the two is true.

Jon just refilled the tanks with the right fuels and after some hiccups, which were insignificant, the two cars ran just as they were supposed to.

To sum it up, older vehicles will have problems with the wrong fuel. New cars will have fewer problems and may not come to a grinding halt but repeating the mistake time and again will damage the engines and transmission.