Aux. Coolant Tanks, ECM Babysitters, and More!

2020, Cooling, Dyno Tuning, ECM -

Aux. Coolant Tanks, ECM Babysitters, and More!


Auxiliary coolant tanks, we have talked about this several times on the radio show. It’s a cooling solution only to be used when a larger radiator is not available.  I invented this system back in the early 1990’s for the Big Cam 4 low flow cooling engines.  We have used it several times on motorhomes and other trucks with poorly engineered radiator systems.  It’s quite simple, you purchase a small air tank for a semi truck and mount it in the frame rail near the transmission.  Locate the pipe plugs in the coolant system of the block (usually the right side rear corner), drain the coolant from the engine, remove the pipe plug, install a shut off valve with pipe nipple, preferably for use with 1 inch hose.  Run the hose along the frame rail to the front of the air tank and install another nipple in the tank.  Remove the pipe plug on the rear of the air tank and install another nipple and attach the hose.  Route the hose back to the engine and remove a pipe plug out of the thermostat housing, below the thermostat.  Install another nipple and the hose from the tank.  Add the coolant back into the radiator plus another 5 to 6 gallons for the new coolant tank.  This new tank will cool the engine down about 20 degrees.  This is NOT a substitute for a poor radiator.  When changing radiators always call our shop with your radiator part number and we will tell you if there is a high capacity radiator for your truck.  A truck dealership can give you the part number if you give them the last 6 or 8 of your vin number.  We have been solving truck engine problems for 43 years and will continue to do so.    

If you drive a used fleet truck, most likely your ECM software includes electronic babysitters. Electronic babysitters (sometimes called nannies) are a set of ECM software functions that limit the driver’s ability to control the driveline of the truck. The goal is to protect the drivetrain from user error. In practice, they deny the driver necessary power and RPM when you need it, so your truck will pull slower and be less fuel efficient. Babysitters monitor MPH, RPM, and engine load, and if it thinks you don’t need the power it will limit the available throttle, torque, RPM, and shift points if you have an automatic. Imagine starting off with an extra heavy load at slow speeds with 150 less HP then the engine is rated. It’s extremely disappointing to drive a truck with these babysitters. Taking them off is the only way to unlock the truck’s full potential. The good news is that our Engineering Department can remove these babysitters for you. Most customers will combine this service with an ECM tune to unlock even more potential power. Almost every engine manufacturer has some sort of babysitting software. If you’re driving an old fleet truck, you’re missing out on some easy performance and mileage. 

Pittsburgh Power and our neighbors Long Haul Custom Detailing are having a truck show at our shop in Saxonburg, PA Saturday October 3rd! We’ll have a show n’ shine, live dyno pulls, ECM tunes, shop tours, five food trucks, and more! The dyno pulls will be on our chassis dyno. Discounted tunes are available as well. Please no trucks over 1,000 HP as we would like to preserve our dyno. Keep an eye on our website and social media for more details going forward. 

Several of my friends that either run, manage, or are service managers for new truck dealerships tell me 75 to 80% of their shop work is emissions related.  The trucks are under warranty, the dealerships have very high labor rates (as high as $204.00/hour in Midland and Odessa Texas), and they will not sell the Max Mileage fuel borne catalyst because it eliminates emission related problems. The same thing happened at our shop; once all of our clients put their trucks on the catalyst diet we almost had an empty shop. It took about 2 weeks and the shop filled up with other trucks and engine work.  Now, we rarely see a truck with emissions related problems at Pittsburgh Power.  However, there is still plenty of work to be accomplished. So the next time you're in a truck dealership ask them why they do not sell the Max Mileage FBC. Let me know what they have to say. We wanted to share this customer review of Max Mileage FBC. Soot is the downfall of most new diesel engines, but with Max Mileage it’s not a problem. Please read the following review:


This past Friday I had my Cummins dealer set valves and injectors and check over some of our X15 engines that will be running out of  warranty soon (we have not been purchasing extended warranty, we only have the 2 year/250,000 miles coverage.) I told the Tech I want him to tell me if he sees anything different on these trucks because I’m running a catalyst in the fuel that burns up more of the soot. He replied that if it’s working he will be able to tell as soon as he pulls the EGR crossover pipe. Anyway, after several hours I went to see and he asked what our secret additive is. I said no problem, but I want to know what he saw and he proceeds to tell me that there is virtually no buildup in the EGR crossover pipe (normally expect to see 1/8th-inch of build up) and you can still see the wall of the pipe. He also said the oil is so clean. Normally a dab of residual oil from under the valve cover on the ISX Cummins feels gritty when rubbed between the fingers. Our trucks have none of that and they are going 105 hrs between regens. We both know the product works but it’s great to hear a Cummins engine Technician tell you, “whatever you’re doing, keep it up”. The Tech also said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before and I have sent my boss pictures of what I see on your trucks”.


Don Shantz - Vernla Livestock Inc. - Wallenstine, Ontario, Canada

Written by;

Bruce Mallinson & Andrew Wilson

Pittsburgh Power, Inc.

3600 S. Noah Dr.,  Saxonburg, PA 16056