Diesel Power Challenge 2013 marks the ninth time we’ve run the event and just the second time we’ve had our readers vote in the field of competitors. To find out more about the trucks you voted in, keep reading.
Diesel Power Challenge is the ultimate diesel event that pits 10 reader-selected trucks against one anOther in seven scored categories: dyno, trailer tow obstacle course, eighth-mile trailer tow acceleration run, heads-up drag racing, driving loop, fuel economy, and finally the sled pull. Whoever holds the most points at the end of the event wins.
Returning to Denver, Colorado, for 2013 was last year’s winner, Erik Clausen, ready to defend his championship title. Our competitors battled weather, breakage, and each Other in an all-out clash, resulting in one of the most exciting Diesel Power Challenge events to date.
We’ll be bringing you complete event coverage in next month’s October 2013 issue, which goes on sale 8/27/13. But for now, get to know each of our nine trucks—and what happened to the one that didn’t make it—in the following pages.
2008 Ford F-250, 6.4L Power Stroke
With the level of competition present at last year’s Diesel Power Challenge (and the fact that a Power Stroke-powered Ford had never taken home the crown), no one expected Erik Clausen’s ’08 F-250 to come out of nowhere and take the win. Yet that’s exactly what it did. Actually showing up as an alternate Ford candidate, Erik took the place of anOther 6.4L Power Stroke that had suffered a catastrophic engine failure prior to the Challenge. Things are definitely different now, though. This year, Erik is no alternate—he’s the man to beat!
This year, Erik is no alternate — he’s the man to beat!
Building on last year’s rock-solid-reliable setup, Erik had the experts at Elite Diesel Engineering build him a complete 6.4L engine with all the latest and greatest aftermarket parts available for the International V-8. Parts like Carrillo forged connecting rods and coated rod bearings, Elite’s 0.040-inch overbore coated and valve-relieved MaxxForce 7 pistons, Stage 1+ camshaft, ceramic-coated (and ported) heads, and cryogenically treated internals should give you a taste of what Erik’s 6.4L brings to the table.
Stepping up the fuel system, the Super Duty now sports dual K16 high-pressure fuel pumps and 150hp nozzles (vs. a single Dragon Flow pump and 110hp nozzles last year). Since these injection system upgrades can support more than 1,000 hp, a massive, 98mm-inducer turbo was thrown in front of the High Power compounds. The new, three-stage turbo setup relies on a 62mm variable-geometry unit to get things started, a 76mm ceramic ball bearing charger taking care of the midrange, and the 98mm monstrosity hitting hard up top. Erik’s strategy is to compete solely on fuel, with a two-stage nitrous system on tap if a bigger number is needed while on the dyno.
With this kind of engine work, Erik will no longer be considered a long shot or an underdog. In fact, he’ll probably have a bull’s-eye on his back throughout the event, which he’s perfectly fine with. “I am putting the pressure on myself this year,” he says. “Since everything went so smooth last year, I want to show that I didn’t luck into the win, and that I’m deserving of the DPC crown.”
Better Than Last Year
One thing’s for sure: This time, no one will underestimate Erik and what his ’08 Super Duty is capable of. Look for the big, blue Ford to place at or near the top of the chassis dyno, improve on its 11-second eighth-mile trailer tow and quarter-mile drag race times, and yank the sled even further down the pulling track. Also, watch for Erik’s superior driver skills to once again surface in the trailer obstacle course. Completely prepared to defend his title, Erik had this to say about Diesel Power Challenge 2013: “The year following the DPC has been pretty eye opening. I didn’t realize how big the win was for Ford fans. This alone drives me to repeat, and I will do all I can to get it done again.”
Name/City: Erik Clausen, Cantua Creek, California
Vehicle: 2008 F-250 Super Duty
Driver Experience: Dyno, drag racing, towing, sled pulling, wrenching
Engine: 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 built with Carrillo rods, Elite Diesel Stage 1+ cam, cryo’d internals
Turbos: Elite Diesel triple turbos, 98mm atmospheric feeding Elite Diesel’s High Power compounds (98/76/62), No Limit Fabrication intercooler
Electronics: SCT via Gearhead Automotive Performance
Injection System: Elite Diesel lift pump, dual K16 pumps, 150hp nozzles
Injectables: Nitrous Express two-stage system
Intake/Exhaust System: Custom intake, Flo-Pro 5-inch exhaust
Transmission: Elite Diesel Stage 5 with Sun Coast torque converter
Suspension: Four-link coilover front and rear, 8 inches of lift
Tires: 37x13.50R22 Nitto Trail Grappler
Wheels: 22x12 American Force
gearing: 4.30 gears
Other: Free-spin front hub conversion, 300M rear axleshafts, 1480 U-joints
1999 Ford F-250, 7.3L Power Stroke
The die-hard nature of diesel enthusiasts never ceases to amaze us… Just four days before Diesel Power Challenge 2013 was set to kick off in Denver, David Heafner was knee deep in an engine build more than 1,800 miles away. What was the reason for the last-minute scramble to build an entire 7.3L? Weeks earlier, the combination of 400/400 injectors, a 76mm Precision turbo, and more than 800 fuel-only, rear-wheel horsepower finally pushed the stock-bottom-end, forged-rod Power Stroke over the edge. A connecting rod failure occurred while cruising down the highway. Lucky for him, he had just enough time to fix it.
To us, it’s proof that the 7.3L and, more importantly, HEUI, isn’t dead yet.
Addressing the weak links, David threw a set of Manley rods in a different block and added a bedplate to tie the main bearing caps to the oil pan rail. With the bottom end secured, the heads were fire-ringed to guarantee contained combustion. The now-bulletproofed engine will handle all the fueling David can throw at it, so we won’t be surprised if he puts up a solid torque number on the dyno (if he can get the big 76 to spool), as well as improve on his previous, fuel-only 800-rwhp mark. One thousand horsepower could easily be breeched with his two-stage nitrous system in the mix, so we expect to see a mid-pack finish on the rollers.
Look for David’s F-250 to excel at the dragstrip, too. The lightweight, regular cab Super Duty has the power to click off a 10-second quarter-mile, the right stance and footprint for the eighth-mile trailer tow, and could surprise many during the sled pull. The hard-packed, pavement-like pulling surface in Colorado may just suit the track-friendly Toyo Proxes perfectly. With weight on David’s side, we also expect to see 20 mpg during the fuel economy ride and drive. Like most competitors, David’s strategy for tackling the event is repeatability. “I’m going to just try to be as consistent as possible and not break,” he says.
2010 marked the last time we had a 7.3L compete in Diesel Power Challenge, so it was nice to see David’s ’99 F-250 receive so many votes from readers. To us, it’s proof that the 7.3L and, more importantly, HEUI, isn’t dead yet in the minds of diesel gurus. In an ironic twist of fate, Fourth Place finisher from Diesel Power Challenge 2010—and owner of a 10-second 7.3L-powered F-250—Brian Jelich, is part of his crew. Brian’s past experience competing in our event will no doubt help prepare David for what he’ll face out in Denver. Of course, once the new engine was finished, there was no time to spare. It had to be bolted into the truck, loaded on the trailer, and he and his crew set out on a 29-hour drive, bound for the Rockies.
Name/City: David Heafner, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Vehicle: 1999 F-250 Super Duty
Driver Experience: Dyno, drag racing, towing, sled pulling, wrenching
Engine: 7.3L Power Stroke V-8 built with Manley rods, bedplate, Hypermax fire-ringed heads, H11 head studs, stiffer valvesprings, chromoly pushrods
Turbos: Precision Turbo & Engine 76mm
Electronics: TS Performance six-position chip tuned by Swamp’s Diesel
Injection System: Fuelab lift pump, Swamp’s Diesel Gen 3 high-pressure oil pump, Swamp’s Diesel 400/400 hybrid injectors
Injectables: Progressive Nitrous Express two-stage system, Snow Performance Stage 2 water-methanol
Intake/Exhaust System: Custom intake with AFE filter/custom 4-inch exhaust with 7-inch stack
Transmission: Twisted Diesel E4OD with Sun Coast triple-disc torque converter
Suspension: Stock with Rancho shocks, TDP traction bars
Tires: 32x11.50R18 Toyo Proxes
Wheels: 18x12 Pacer
Gearing: 3.73 gears