Thursday, May 29, 2014

Do you only take care of the things you can see?

"Out of sight, out of mind" is a major problem for many of us. We all have plenty on our plates, and all too often our attention goes first to the matters most visible to us. As a consequence we neglect the unseen.... until it becomes a problem that forces us to deal with it, oftentimes when it is most inconvenient.

To quote another well-worn maxim: "A stitch in time saves nine." This especially applies to what's going on under the hood. We're talking cars here. How often do you take a few minutes for routine fluid checks on your vehicles? This includes the radiator, oil, transmission and brake fluids.

For most people their car or truck is their second largest personal expense. That's why they need to take care of it. Using premium quality motor oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid and brake fluid is only one part of your protection package. Wise vehicle owners check their fluid levels on a regular basis to insure that they are at proper fill levels. No coolant in the radiator can result in a cracked engine block. Low lubricant levels result in inadequate protection of moving parts, resulting in unnecessary wear and early retirement for the vehicle you love.

This is just a reminder, just in case you don't have a reminder method already established.

Meantime, enjoy your summer....

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Locks, Handcuffs, Houdini and AMSOIL

Locks serve many functions, most commonly to keep a door from being opened... or a vault. There are many kinds of locks. Padlocks, mortise locks, deadbolt locks, window locks, combination locks and a variety of electronic systems which have evolved in our modern technological era.

One of the great magicians of all time built a reputation around his knowledge of locks and the inner mechanisms by which they operate. His name was Harry Houdini, a master escape artist.

He was born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary in 1874, coming of age in the last years of the 19th century. It was a period in history when circuses and vaudeville flourished. There were no televisions, radios or other means of distraction available today.

He initially became a master of illusions, especially devoted to sleight of hand and card tricks, dubbing himself the "King of Cards." Eventually his repertoire grew to include all manner of puzzles and whatever seemed to bring the most gasps. As an escape artist he learned practically everything there was to know about locks, ropes, chains and handcuffs. He didn't stop there, designing new escapes that would put his life at risk, including the famous milk can escape.

Even though there was usually a trick to it, people enjoyed the work of master magicians like Houdini. Handcuff escapes, though, had their basis in understanding mechanics and science. There was no real hocus pocus here.

So it is with the magic of AMSOIL synthetic motor oil. There was no hocus pocus when AMSOIL appeared on the scene in 1972 with its 25,000 mile oil/one year oil change interval. There was no trickery involved. It was science, an understanding of chemistry that produced the first synthetic motor oil. Synthetic oils had been in use for more than two decades in jet engines because of their high and low temperature performance capabilities. It took a determined fighter pilot many years to achieve the goal of applying jet engine technology to the internal combustion engine.

The benefits of AMSOIL synthetic oils involve no illusions. It is fundamentally advanced chemistry and applied science. We don't really have to know how  magicians like Houdini do their magic. It's nice to simply enjoy the show... or the benefits of unlocking the performance capabilities of your vehicle's engine.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How Many Different Kinds of Motor Oil Do I Need?

In days of old the wheels of progress were greased with beef fat or whale blubber. Over time, in the mechanical/industrial age, more sophisticated lubricants were required, especially with the advent of the internal combustion engine.

As with everything else today, engines come in a variety of shapes and sizes with an equally vast diversity of applications. Because of the differences in these diverse applications, there is no such thing as a "one size fits all" motor oil. We do have a vast selection of lubricants for nearly everything you can drive, hence one of our current advertising campaigns is titled "AMSOIL for Any Engine."

Whether it's a weed whacker or Class 8 truck pulling trailers coast to coast over the open road, the engine needs lubrication. AMSOIL provides premium synthetic oils for both and everything in between. European cars? Yes. Two-stroke engines? Yes. Farm tractors? Yes. Ride around lawn mowers? Yes. 1950's Packards? Mini Coopers? Camaros? Pintos? Corvettes? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

Visit the AMSOIL website to learn more about what your motor oil requirements are and how we can keep your motors running, whether you're heading out on the highway or just out to the back forty.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Gary Ressler Wins Case of AMSOIL

Gary Ressler just won a case of AMSOIL 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil courtesy Road Runner magazine in an April contest. Road Runner readers are long haul riders who can't get enough of the open road. Thank you, Gary, for sending us a photo to share. That bike is a beauty and the setting equally thrilling. Ride on!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Photos from the 2014 Diesel Power Challenge

Driver meeting, Day 3, in preparation for the Fuel Economy Run.
Watching the clock as we wait for the drivers to return from the mountains.
The Sled Pull tested everyone.
The weather threatened but we got it done.
Three trophies, plus a little something extra from AMSOIL.
L to R: Matt Kauffman, Lavon Miller and Danick St. Pierre
Establishing a tradition: drinking beer from the winner's cup.
Once again, congratulations to both the winners and competitors for making this another memorable Diesel Power Challenge. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Diesel Power Challenge 2014: Nail Biter to the Last. And the Winner Is....

Lavon Miller's back seat driver helped him bring home the prize.
The best way to sum up this year’s Diesel Power Challenge is to give an overview of Thursday night’s DPC Banquet in the ballroom of the Marriott in West Denver. Sean Holman, editor of Diesel Power magazine and the director of this year’s event served as Master of Ceremonies, opening with the rhetorical, “Anybody ready to find out results?”

Holman began by thanking all the teams and sponsors who make this event possible. After a few remarks by sponsors, it was time to give out the trophies.

The Distance Award went to Danick St. Pierre. This was not for the longest distance on the sled pull three hours earlier at Adams County Fairgrounds. Rather, it was the award for most miles (1780) – or in St. Pierre’s case, as he is from Canada – for kilometers travelled (2800).

Dan Howard fueling up for the 150 mile Fuel Economy run.
The People’s Choice Award was based on all the competitors weighing in on the coolest truck out there, specifically modifications inside and out. That trophy went to Dan Howard in his 1995 Ford F-350.

The Driver Skill Award was given to Troy Sankey of Stevens Point, Wisc., who cruised to a new record in the trailer tow event in his 2006 Chevy 2500.

This year there was less carnage than in any DPC event of recent memory, but we still saw damage, and the recipient of this reward was Shiloh Ellingford whose beautiful blue 2006 Chevy 2500 was showing so much promise, till misfortunes struck in the drag race competition that interfered with his ability to complete the 150-mile fuel economy run.

After all these ancillary awards were dispensed the focus turned to the events themselves and how the competitors fared. For dramatic effect Sean Holman read the names in reverse order, as in a beauty pageant. We’ll dispense with that drama and go straight to the top three in each competition.

1st ~ Lavon Miller
2nd ~ Shiloh Ellingford
3rd ~ Matt Kauffman

Trailer Tow 
 1st ~ Troy Sankey
2nd ~ Lavon Miller
3rd ~ Shiloh Ellingford

1/8-Mile Drag w/ 10,000 Pound Trailer
1st ~ Danick St. Pierre
 2nd ~ Matt Kauffman
3rd ~ Shiloh Ellingford

1/4-Mile Drag Competition 
1st ~ Matt Kauffman 
2nd ~ Danick St. Pierre
3rd ~ Lavon Miller

Fuel Economy Run
1st ~ Danick St. Pierre
2nd ~ Wes Beech
3rd ~ Lavon Miller

Sled Pull 
1st ~ Lavon Miller
2nd ~ Wes Beech
3rd ~ Matt Kauffman

Taking a measure of the trucks before they head to the mountains.
As we entered the Day Three it was announced that five competitors still had a chance to win, two of them tied and another one point off. But by day’s end one driver left the pack behind and it was Lavon Miller in his 2004 Ram 3500 with 623.2 points, a thrilling finish to a week of thrilling experiences. The second and third place drivers were one point apart with Matt Kauffman in second at 573.7 points and Danick St. Pierre precisely a point behind.

AMSOIL had historically provided a “shopping spree” for the winners of past competitions. This year, we also gave a check for $1500 to be applied toward a performance upgrade in preparation for next year’s return to defend his title.

Noteworthy: All of the top three trucks were Cummins-powered diesels.

The competitors who received trophies all had a moment to share while up on the stage. One after another commented on the deep emotional connections that have taken place during the week. It is a week of bonding, and Lavon Miller expressed what any of the drivers probably would have felt if they had won: “It feels bad to beat your friends.”

Congratulations again to Lavon Miller of Plain City, Ohio.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day Two: Diesel Power Challenge at Bandimere Speedway

The events for Day Two of the Diesel Power Challenge take place at Bandimere Speedway, the historic quarter-mile drag strip tucked against the mountains just outside Morrison, Colorado. The speedway opened in 1958 with many of the great drag racers of all time showing their stuff here.

Because we were asked not to publish scores till released by the magazine, this will be written only to give a sense of the day. Follow #DPC14 to learn outcomes.

Trailer Tow
First event for the day is the Trailer Tow. This is a test of driver skill, but it is also timed. Fastest score wins. The drivers must tow a 10,000-pound trailer through a course of cones and park back where they started within a specified area. Minus ten points for moving a cone. Double penalty for hitting the AMSOIL boxes.

At the drivers meeting Sean Holman explained the rules for this event, after which they all walked the course as a group to see it up close. Finally, they were shown what a good run would go like. The running order was announced and the first driver

Diesel products manager Mark Nyholm places a Go-pro.
Here's how they fared: #3 Lavon Miller of Plain City, Ohio had no power steering but managed to do a very clean run.
#10 Danick St. Pierre took a tentative rather than aggressive approach and had a clean run.
#7 Ryan Anderson of Michigan did a very fast, clean run.
#9 Troy Sankey also had a fast clean run, and best run of the morning at a minute and a second.
#1 Wesley Beech won this event last year, and had the first run with problems. He knocked down one cone and re-set it up with the trailer, but by the end knocked down a second.
#5 Matt Kauffman had a good clean run. .
#4 Shilo Ellingford seemed to be strong, but unfortunately knocked down three cones as he backed into the box at the end.
#8 Dan Howard had the biggest struggle on the Trailer Tow, especially while backing through the straight chute, and by the end had some other troubles.
#2 Dan Manary and #6  Cory Chomos have dropped out due to vehicle issues and did not run today.

1/8 Mile Trailer Tow
Instead of showing towing finesse, the competitors had to show their power on the track. Each would get only one run. Here was how they fared...
Oh, wait. We can't tell you that yet.

1/4 Mile Drag
ROUND ONE: Time Trials
The quarter mile drag goes like this. The trucks make as many passes as they can in a half an hour. Based on how they placed in their solo time trials they would then be bracketed for side by side showdowns till there is only one truck standing.

Here are some of the scores on those solo passes. The first up was #9, Troy Sankey in his 2006 Chevy who ran 12.59 or 116.14 mph.
Dan Howard followed with a 14.59.
Matt Kauffman came out and ran a 13.708.
Lavon Miller had a sidewinder start but made a solid run at 11.304 in his Ram 3500.
Danick St. Pierre: 11.831
Wes Beech:  13.285 first run, 12.517 second.
Ryan Anderson  had a halting start... 16.249
Dan Howard again, 15.022...
Shilo Ellingsford.... 12.461 elapsed time but fasted mph at 127.28
All was compiled into a running order for side by side competition.

ROUND TWO: Side by Side   
After the first round was completed, this is how they were bracketed:
Ryan Anderson vs. Lavon Miller:
Wes Beech and Matt Kauffman:
Troy Sankey and Danick St. Pierre:
Shilo Ellingsford and Dan Howard.

You will find out when soon I hope. Lots of drama, thrills and heartache.

Meantime.... Thursday is Day Three, beginning with the 150 Fuel Economy Run.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day One Diesel Power Challenge: Miscellaneous Notes & Observations

The Diesel Power Challenge begins in earnest on Tuesday each year. Monday evening is a mixer designed to bring all the teams together in order to run through the rules, outline the schedule for the week and to acknowledge sponsors. Following the mixer the Diesel Power staff and video team meet to go over the approach and expectations for this year's program.

The competitors line up for the opening shot at ATS Diesel.
Before arriving at ATS Diesel for the first day's Dyno Competition, each of the trucks were shuttled to a location where beauty shots could be captured. This is, after all, a "made for DVD" event. Unlike some such programs this one is a real competition with real rules and a real victory for the winner. The results each year have been predictably unpredictable.

Soot fills the cell... the first pulls are underway.
Last year's winner, Wesley Beech, began the challenge at the back of the pack with fairly low numbers on the dyno. Yet on day two Beech won all three events at Bandimere Speedway, startling nearly everyone. This year he's back to defend the title he garnered, and despite the odds against it, he would very much like to be the first winner to repeat.

So the day began with official shots taken of the trucks. Unfortunately, Cory Chomos of Alberta, Canada had an electrical problem and could not get his truck started. The delay pushed back the start of the first dyno run by two hours. At 11:05 the first truck pulled in to the dyno cell to get strapped down, Troy Sankey of Stevens Point, Wisc.

Troy has been truck pulling for 5-6 years. The powerful twin turbo machine is beginning the challenge with a last minute issue that concerns the team. The truck has a flex joint that cracked instead of flexing. Troy is hoping it will not interfere with the dyno pull so they can take the rest of the day to repair it for the rest of the week.

Pushing Cory's Chev 2500 into the dyno cell.
The order that had been established began with last year's winner getting a chance to choose when he ran. Wesley Beech chose to take the last slot. As it turned out Cory Chomos would be permitted to go after everyone else if he could get his truck in working order. As the day slowly progressed, Chomos' hopes slowly faded. By day's end he was forced to have the truck pushed onto the dyno so he could at least get some points as DNF (Did Not Finish) gives more points than DNS (Did Not Start.) Competitors all pitched in to help the fallen team mate.

Wes Beech's team standing ready to capture the action.
Though no vehicles actually broke or blew up today, there were moments of drama. Wes Beech had the most heart-stopping issue. His nitrous solenoid stuck and the nitrous continued to rush after he shut it down. No one was precisely sure what the sound was but Beech was quickly aware when the clatter of other noises settled. He leaped from the cab, opened the hood and proceeded to take action, finally banging it with a fist and shutting it down.

Danick St. Pierre of Quebec, who did the second dyno pull of the day, produced a big nitrous backfire that caused spectators to flinch. No serious damage though.

At day's end an assortment of people from the competitor teams helps

At one point during the day AMSOIL diesel products manager Mark Nyholm was asked a question pertaining to the stress these powerful diesel engines place on the lubricants that protect them. He replied, "I'm not sure which is more stressed, the engine or the guy behind the wheel."

Day One is in the books. Wednesday we'll proceed to Bandimere Speedway for drag racing and other action.


Monday, May 5, 2014

On the Threshold of Another Diesel Power Smackdown

Editor Sean Holman, captain of the DPC
The weather is perfect, the grass is green, the ten competing teams are all checked in and things are on the ready here at the Diesel Power Challenge in Denver.

At five p.m. Monday the Diesel Power Challenge staff and all the assembled sponsors and teams met here at the Marriott Hotel in Golden for an initial debriefing with regards to the week ahead. Diesel Power editor Sean Holman spelled out the rules and expectations for the week. Having broken his arm recently he was well aware of how strange the contraption appeared to others that held his limb rigid. He said it was a steampunk weapon attached to his arm and that it shot laser beams when he held it up. We almost believed him.

This year's trophies were displayed on a table at the front, as if the teams needed any more motivation than simply being named champion. Nevertheless, AMSOIL is also sweetening the victory by awarding the winner with a $500 shopping spree and $1500 toward a performance upgrade for next year's competition. (Yes, the winner gets the opportunity to return and defend his title.)

The teams all seem prepared to do battle the Diesel Power way.

This is the Tenth hosting of the Diesel Power Challenge. Here is the list of this year’s competition.

The Competition

Wes Beech is back and ready to rumble.
Wesley Beech - 2008 Ford F-250, Reigning '13 DPC Champion; Akron, Ohio

Dan Manary - 2012 Ford F350; Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

Ryan Anderson - 2008 Ford F-250; Farmington Hills, Michigan

Dan Howard - 1995 Ford F-350; North Planes, Oregon

Lavon Miller - 2004 Ram 3500; Plain City, Ohio

Matt Kauffman - 2006 Dodge Ram 3500; Plain City, Ohio

Danick St. Pierre - 2008 Ram 2500; Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Shilo Ellingford - 2006 Chevy 2500

Cory Chomos - 2011 Chevy 2500; Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

Troy Sankey - 2006 Chevy 2500; Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Follow along in social media: #DPC14

Friday, May 2, 2014

AMSOIL Facebook: We Like It

This week AMSOIL passed the 150,000 mark for Likes on Facebook. We have plenty of stories to tell, adventures to share, people we think you should meet and products to tell you about that will exceed your expectations.  

Join us as we continue our climb.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Measure for Measure: Incremental Improvements Mean a Better Tomorrow

A micrometer is used to measure components.
Making measurements and measuring things is something we have done since the beginning. For example, it has been written that the world was created in seven days, the traditional unit of time marked by one rotation of the Earth on its axis. Of course, I will readily acknowledge that there is some disagreement on what this really means, since it says in another place that a day is like a thousand years, or vice versa.

To get more specific, and that’s what measuring is all about, the actual length of a day is 23 hours 56 minutes and four seconds. Over a period of four years these increments are assembled to create the leap year adjustment known as February 29th. (To be absolutely precise there are also occasional “leap seconds” added periodically to keep things tidy. I’d bet you didn’t know that.)

It is quite amazing how many kinds of measures there are. We have measures of time, such as weeks, hours, minutes, and years. We have measures of mass, such as grams, pounds and tons. We have measures of sound volume, of energy, of radioactivity, of pressure, of typefont sizes, of land mass, and of speed.

A bolt is a measurement of finished cloth. A board foot is a unit of volume for measuring lumber. (Bored feet is what you get when you’re not dancing.) A breve is a standard unit of relative time in music, equivalent to the length of two whole notes. Bushels are measurement units for dry commodities such as grains or fruits. In 1303 King Edward I defined a bushel as 8 gallons. A byte is a unit of information equal to eight bits in computer engineering.

Due to the increased awareness of the effects of pollution and the bi-products of living in an automotive transportation era, automakers have been going to great lengths to reduce fuel usage and improve fuel economy in cars and light trucks. And many motorists have gone to great lengths to measure how much fuel they use and miles they can drive with a gallon of fuel.

AMSOIL, too, has gone to great lengths to help motorists get better fuel economy. A lot of research has been carried out and data compiled in an effort to contribute toward these efforts. AMSOIL P.i. Performance Improver, for example, helps clean injectors and internal parts so that engines run more efficiently. P.i. has been demonstrated to improve fuel mileage an average of 2.7 up to 5.7% while simultaneously reducing emissions significantly.

In a study involving short-to-medium haul diesel trucks AMSOIL products improved fuel economy by 6.54%. The SAE J1321 is an industry standard test. Truckers who know the cost of diesel fuel these days are seeking any angle they can get to reduce their costs. Fuel economy gains are also beneficial for the environment.

Are you paying attention to the amount of gasoline you use? As the saying goes, you can't manage what you don't measure. Start measuring, and become more aware of the gains you can make when you get informed.