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towing with diesels

1690 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Willie
I've been towing heavy loads with turbo diesels for quite some time and a question in another section suggested I pass some information along.

Diesels have an excellent rep for towing due to the strong torque delivery. However, there's a catch, especially with turbo diesels. The catch is that under certain load conditions, the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) can reach a point where engine damage can result in the long term. This makes use of an EGT gauge a wise investment for towing with turbo diesels. They're way cheaper than engines.

Unfortunately, the various engine manufacturers don't agree on where to mount the temperature probe or what the critical temperature may be. They sometimes differ between engine types by the same manufacturer. I have two different engines by the same manufacturer, and while they share a critical sustained EGT temperature (1400 F), one locates the probe after/downstream of the turbo and the other the same distance before the turbo. A noted engine builder notes that the EGTs are hotter before the turbo and aluminum (piston material) melts at 1350 F and suggests you err on the side of caution if you can't get specific information from the manufacturer.

There have been excellent extensive articles written on this subject. I'll briefly close by suggesting that you don't tow with a turbo diesel without an EGT. You may not think the engine is working hard, the EGT gauge may well tell you different, especially as altitude goes up. While I have a sneaking suspicion that the ECMs monitor critical parameters and limit fuel before you get into trouble, don't bet on it. Cracked pistons are the usual result of excessive EGT.
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Thanks for the tip!
Do you know of any premade kits for this? Where could I mount the gauge?
New South Performance has gauge pods, I believe they also stock VDO gauges/kits that match the VW lighting. I'm having a senior moment over who made the EGT gauges I mounted in my tow vehicles. US Gauge? IIRC, I paid around $150 for the gauge kit. The parts kit for the inframe overhaul is about $2K.

Try a search on "column pod".
Hey Wille! I bet you don't suffer from sticking turbo vanes with the resulting high EGT you see when towing!
Don't got no stinking variable vane turbos when towing :thumbsup

I try not to dwell on the difference in long term repairs between the mechanical and electronic engines. IIRC, I've spent about $2k replacing electronic widgets over 14 years.
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