It was back in 1892 when Rudolf Diesel locked down a patent for his wacky "engine with compression ignition." While at first the bulky mill was only for marine and stationary applications, Rudi stood before the world and with a maniacal laugh professed, "The automotive engine will come, and then I will consider my life's work complete."
As with how those predictions always go, he croaked not long after spouting those words. But look at us now: Diesels are in high demand-again. Their previous peak was in 1981 after the oil crisis, but we all know history likes repeating itself. And this time, it seems our love affair with the torquey beast will be more than a May-September deal; the diesel is here to stay. Take a gander at this exploding niche in the aftermarket industry and the busload of available enhancements.
Diesel Part: A2 Attitude Diesel Controller/Monitor/GPS/Back-Up Camera for '04 1/2-'05 Dodge Cummins, all Duramax, and '99-'05 Ford Power Stroke engines
What It Is: Read the product name again! You can keep an eye on all sorts of things, including actual speed (corrected for non-stock tire diameters), engine rpm, auto-trans slippage, turbo boost level, throttle percentage, and barometric pressure.
Why It's Cool: For some applications it can capture 1/4-mile and 0-60 times.
MSRP: So new, it will be hitting the shelves as you're reading this; therefore, no pricing available at press time
Where to Get It: Edge Products, 888/360-3343 or 801/476-3343, www.edgeproducts.com
Diesel Part: Power Module for the Power Stroke
What It Is: Allows you to pick stock, 60-, or 120hp power increases on the fly.
Why It's Cool: You can run lower power levels for towing the heavy junk, or higher for light loads or empty driving. Thanks to direct plug-in connectors, it's a quick install.
Where to Get It: ACCEL, 216/688-8300, www.mrgasket.com
Diesel Part: Diesel Triple-Clutch Custom Torque Converter for Cummins, Duramax, and Power Stroke
What It Is: The multiclutch design is said to lower the stall speed from stock 2,000-2,500 rpm to 1,400-1,900, depending on your application. The converter has a billet front cover and laser-cut clutch-plate assembly.
Why It's Cool: Upping the gas mileage, acceleration, and towing capacity is hard to refuse.
MSRP: $895 to $1,295
Where to Get It: Pro-Torque, 631/218-8700, www.protorque.com
Diesel Part: Cold Air Intake System for Cummins and Power Stroke engines
What It Is: Power Stroke gains are 114 lb-ft of torque and 18 hp. Cummins flows 80 percent more than stock, which means faster turbo spool-up and lower exhaust gas temperature (EGT). Includes an extra-large filter and high-flow intake tube.
Why It's Cool: It has a patented Pro-GUARD 7 filter with seven layers of media for collecting a lot of dirt.
MSRP: $596.42 for the Cummins, $657.14 for the Power Stroke
Where to Get It: Advanced Flow Engineering, 951/493-7100, afefilters.com
Diesel Part: High-Performance Fuel Injectors for the Cummins
What It Is: Hi-po means improved fuel delivery, economy, and throttle response.
Why It's Cool: You might end up with 60 to 125 more horsepower.
MSRP: $450 to $550 per set
Where to Get It: Area Diesel Service, 800/637-2658 or 800/237-4692, www.areadiesel.com
Diesel Part: NPG+ Waterless Engine Coolant
What It Is: A lifetime coolant that requires just the initial conversion; no seasonal changes or additives are needed.
Why It's Cool: Improvement of 5 percent in fuel economy can be a side effect, as can an increase in pulling capacity while towing.
MSRP: $27.75 per gallon
Where to Get It: Evans Cooling, 888/990-COOL or 866/227-9963 (diesel tech), www.evanscooling.com
Diesel Part: 13-Inch Multi-Disc Torque Converter Series for Duramax and Power Stroke engines
What It Is: The Duramax is called Vigilante, while the Power Stroke is Stallion. Both have three internal clutch plates.
Why It's Cool: This increases clutch surface, which translates into a more durable unit for towing and off-road riding.
Where to Get It: Precision Industries, 901/466-0267, www.converter.com
Diesel Part: Aurora MST
What It Is: The Multi-Stage-Turbo automatically balances exhaust pressure and intake boost pressure for turbo efficiency and response. The response of the variable valve can be adjusted for your engine configuration.
Why It's Cool: As they say, "big turbo" performance with "small turbo" spool-up.
MSRP: Starting at $3,283 for the complete kit, including the manifold and so on
Where to Get It: ATS Diesel, 800/949-6002, www.atsdiesel.co