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Edge Products Diesel Drag Truck - "The Wolverine"
By: Mike Magda, Editor
Posted: 10-04-04 21:32 PT

It used to be that the only place one could find a diesel engine in motorsports was the tow truck. But in the past few years a handful of innovative aftermarket specialists have applied racing technology to the diesel engine with eye-opening results. Most notable so far has been the Banks Engineering Dakota that has been clocked at over 222 mph at Bonneville and holds a 1-mile record at over 217 mph. Called Project Sidewinder, this street-legal Dakota has also been seen at the dragstrip, running 12.16 seconds through the quarter mile with a trap speed of 115 mph. This run took place at an altitude of 5860 feet and with 2.75:1 rear gears, two elements hardly conducive to acceleration. The engine was prepped with a single Banks turbo and was not assisted by nitrous or propane.

Now another Dodge project is ready test the limits of diesel propulsion. Edge Products has built a fullsize Ram drag truck with the goal of running under seven seconds at over 200 mph. That would put the truck in the same pit as Pro Mods and Pro Stock cars that run 500- to 700-cubic-inch engines, often supercharged or running on nitrous oxide.

“We want to give people a taste of the enormous performance potential possible by applying modern technology to a farm-bred diesel engine,” says Paul Lehman, chief executive officer at Edge Products. “Most people said that the sheer weight and mass of a diesel engine—about 1100 pounds—would keep the truck from getting anywhere near Pro Stock times. We accepted this challenge."

The Edge truck is based on a dedicated tube-frame race chassis built by well-known Pro Stock racer Jerry Bickel. Main chassis components include Bickel/Koni coil-over shocks, 4-link rear suspension, Strange brakes and huge 17-inch wide Goodyear slicks. Bickel fabricated a fullsize Dodge Ram shortbed body out of fiberglass while Greg Ozubko designed the paint scheme.

“We chose the Dodge body because Dodge is our core customer,” explains Lehman. “Ford may sell more diesels but the Dodge guys modify more of their trucks.”:thumbsup:

What’s under the removable nose has been developed in a shroud of secrecy. Lehman plans to market many of the innovations and products his company engineers for this project.

“We want to demonstrate to the world we know diesel tuning. Also, we felt there was a potential for the diesel that no one else was achieving,” says Lehman. “The goal is to sell crate motors. I’d be unable to face the world if we didn’t pull down at least 600 horsepower and still be able to drive it everyday.”

Edge, along with Diesel Dynamics, built three engines for test and development purposes. All are based on the Cummins 5.9-liter inline-6 but only the engine blocks are original equipment. Custom crankshaft and rods were sourced out but Lehman won’t disclose stroke or rod length. Custom pistons that “are not flat top” complete the rotating assembly. The cylinder heads—especially the valves—received major work to open up air flow. Edge also had custom camshafts ground to their specs. Currently stock injectors are used but Lehman says, “We feel there’s more potential with something else.” The injectors are driven by instructions from an Edge-calibrated engine management computer.

Twin turbos from Diesel Dynamics force-feed air to the cylinders to keep up with the extra fuel, according to driver Keith Lockliear. “We stuff a bunch of fuel to the engine, figure out how to feed it even more fuel, then play with the turbo and boost till we get what we call ‘mega mental’ amounts of air and boost to burn all that fuel.”

The diesel is backed by a Lenco 5-speed and special clutch setup. A typical Pro Stock car will launch at about 8000 rpm while the diesel redlines between 4000 and 5000 rpm. But it offers a ton of twisting power that can be difficult to tame. In fact, nitrous oxide is mixed with the Chevron #2 diesel fuel to spool up the turbos on the starting line.

"Nobody has unleashed this much violence and torque at the starting line. We’re easily running 50 pounds of boost at the start,” explains Lehman. “When you let go all at once, the massive torque has an effect on all the components. One of those things to slip was the turbo rotating on the flange.”

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