FR3 Friction Reducer nanotechnology

FR3: No Other Additive Like It. We Explain the Science Behind It and Why It Matters to YOU

By Eric Trimble, Lubrication Specialties, Inc.

There is not a product in the world that contains the same chemical makeup as Hot Shot’s Secret FR3 Friction Reducer. It is truly a one-of-a-kind.

There are several different chemicals that manufacturers use in their products to help reduce friction in any lubrication application, including molybdenum, phosphorus, zinc, titanium disulfide, antimony and many more. These chemicals are known as ‘friction reducers’ or ‘extreme pressure additives’ and are widely understood within the field of tribology (the study of friction, wear, lubrication; the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion).

Another form of these friction reduction or extreme pressure additives, which have become popular of late, are nano lubricants. Nano lubricants also come in many different forms, including nano diamonds, graphite, tungsten disulfide, borate, titanium and more. Every one of these friction reducers have their pros and cons, however, through extensive lab and real-world testing, Hot Shot’s Secret is using what is believed to be the most effective nano lubricant available, nano carbons.

Nano carbon particles are spherical in shape and are less than 10 nano meters in diameter. This allows the lubricant to find the voids and blemishes on a machined surface, fill these gaps and provide a smoother surface for the lubricating film to form.

While nano carbons are highly effective on their own, the researchers at Lubrication Specialties, Inc. has found one of the most innovative chemistry makeups in the world by combining these nano carbons with two other patented lubricants. The synergy between these lubricants results in one of the world’s most advanced friction reducers, Hot Shot’s Secret FR3 Friction Reducer.

The chemistry is certainly interesting, but what does it all mean for your vehicle?

Hot Shot’s Secret FR3 Friction Reducer has many benefits, but this oil additive is proven to reduce wear of oil-wetted components by up to 43%. This means, with proper maintenance, these components will last nearly twice as long as expected. That’s less trips to the service garage and more money in your wallet.

The unique formula of the FR3 Friction Reducer also reduces the temperature in the engine by absorbing the friction heat via the nano carbons. This, coupled with its ability to improve the host oil’s properties, allows for improved oxidation and shear stability of the oil. This helps keep the engine cleaner, longer.

Increased ring sealing is another benefit of FR3 Friction Reducer. This allows for an increase in combustion efficiency and it lowers the amount of blow-by that takes place. The increased efficiency of the engine also provides an increase in fuel economy and horsepower for any vehicle by up to 5%.

Older vehicles will especially notice a difference when running Hot Shot’s Secret FR3 Friction Reducer. Any compression or fuel economy that has been lost over time will be restored, noise and vibration will be quieted, and overall performance will be noticeably improved.

Recently bought a new vehicle? Make sure it lasts by using Hot Shot’s Secret FR3 Friction Reducer. It is a fully guaranteed product, like every Hot Shot’s Secret Product, and is backed by science. For more information, click here.

Originally published in LSI Magazine – Issue 109 – Spring 2019

Diesel Motorsports Fun Facts

Diesel Motorsports Fun Facts

Back half – (drag racing)
Referring to distance from the 1/8-mile mark to the 1/4 mark of the track.

Bleach box – (drag racing)
Area where bleach is deposited for cars to perform burnouts. Gasoline (since discontinued for safety reasons), water, and TrackBite are also used. Most organizations only permit water. This is done at the start of most drag races.

Christmas tree
Also called the Tree, the electronic starting device between the lanes on the starting line.

Deep staging
When a dragster pulls so far forward that they leave the pre-stage area and turn off the pre-stage lights on the Christmas Tree, but not far enough to leave the staged area. This is legal in drag racing. This may give the driver a few inch advantage, unless the other driver deep stages too.

Dial-in – (drag racing)
When bracket racing, drivers must estimate or “dial in” the time in which they expect to run. Therefore, two unmatched cars in weight and power can compete, by a handicap system. If one runs a faster time than dialed in, it is a breakout.

Drag racing term used to group vehicles, usually sedan bodied, that still have functional doors for driver access to the vehicle, as opposed to Funny cars which have a single lightweight outer body draped over the racing chassis.

Drivers’ meeting
A meeting where drivers and officials meet before a race to discuss the upcoming event. Also referred to as Drivers’ briefing or Driver and Crew Chief meeting, as in some series, the driver and his crew chief must attend.

Elapsed Time. A term used in drag racing about the total time the run took, from start, to finish. E.T. Slip – (drag racing) Slip of paper turned in by the race timer which denotes elapsed time for both drivers, and who won the race; it may also include reaction time and “60 foot” time. This is an official document, used for timekeeping. Also known as a timeslip.

Lit the tires – (drag racing)
Lost traction, producing smoke.

Blew the tires off
Lost traction, tires spun

Meth – (drag racing)
Refers to methanol injection used in conjunction with racing fuel

Oil down
When a race car deposits oil from the engine onto the racing surface, causing a delay.

Sixty-foot time
The time it takes a vehicle to cover the first sixty feet of the racetrack. it is the most accurate measure of the launch from the starting line and is the interval most critical to a quick e.t.

A racer whose reaction time is significantly slower than an opponent’s is said to have been Tree’d.

Originally published in LSI Magazine – Issue 109 – Spring 2019

3 Reasons Diesels Last Longer

3 Reasons Modern Diesel Engines Last Longer

20 years ago, a gas engine would be considered at the end of its life at 100,000 miles, but engines today are consistently making another trip around the odometer. But where gasoline engines are reaching 200,000 plus miles, diesel engines now often run for well into their 500,000-mile ranges and beyond. Here are three of the reasons diesels last longer:

    1. THE DESIGN OF A DIESEL ENGINEWe’ve lived long enough to know BIGGER isn’t always better, but in the case of diesel engines, it is exactly why they last longer than their petrol counterparts. Diesel engines have higher compression ratios and have higher cylinder pressures than gasoline engines. Diesel engines are built with these considerations in mind. They have a larger crankshaft and camshaft, which requires larger bearings and sturdier main and rod bolts. Larger crankshafts and camshafts also means increased clearance which allows for better oil flow, better engine lubrication equals less engine wear.

There are other key design differences of the diesel engine that contribute to its longevity, they include:

      • Gear driven design
        Why it matters: You won’t have to worry about timing belt failure.
      • Piston cooling jet
        Why it matters: Sprays engine oil on the bottom of your pistons to prevent premature wear, by keeping pistons cool and properly lubricated.
      • No Spark Plugs
        Why it matters: Compression motor delivers a slower burn which creates less stress and more torque, inherent to diesel engine efficiency.


      Another reason diesel engines last longer than gas engines: diesel fuel is a type of distillate fuel, that is essentially produced from crude oil, which gives diesel engines slower cylinder wear than gasoline engines. This gives diesel fuel lubrication properties that extend diesel engine life. On the contrary, gasoline is primarily made of aromatic hydrocarbons that act similar to solvents, that are harsh and corrosive with no lubricity and therefore wears the components of your engine faster. Diesel engines have lower Exhaust Gas Temperatures (EGT’s) which also helps their longevity. Although Diesel Fuel has more BTU’s, 139,000 versus 115,000 BTU’s for gasoline, the laws of thermodynamics indicate that the expansion rate of higher compression ratio diesel engines actually cool the exhaust gases faster. Coupled with the lower auto-ignition temperature of about 410°F for diesel fuel compared to the 495°F of gasoline, the initial flame front is cooler. Diesel engines also run at a much leaner air to fuel ratio which can be anywhere from 25:1– 70:1 as opposed to 12:1 – 16:1 for gasoline, so the extra air helps cool the EGT’s. Gasoline burns much quicker than diesel fuel. Less shock to the rotating assembly occurs because of the slower laminar speed of the flame during combustion which aids in the durability of diesel engines.


  1. RPMS
    The third key to the longevity of diesel engines is the operating efficiency. Diesel engines run at lower RPMs (revolutions per minute) and achieve higher levels of torque, relative to a gas engine. Being able to operate at a lower speed to achieve the same power means less wear on your pistons, rings, cylinder walls, bearings, valves and guides which aids in lengthening diesel engine life. Diesel engines are typically left running when not in operation for short periods in time. Since a large percentage of wear occurs at startup, the constant cycling of turning the engine on and off saves in wear over that of a gasoline engine. It also reduces the heat cycles and keeps operating temperatures constant.


Expert Spotlight: Here is what Stephen Peters of PSP Diesel, known for their 6.0L builds, (South Houston, TX) has to say about why diesels last longer:

“Diesel owners are using their diesels as much more intended for their purposes; to provide maximum torque, and to run for longer durations in the day, opposed to the typical start/stop patterns of the gasoline engine. They are not subjected to quick start and stops. Starting the engine is one of the most abrasive acts of the motor. While idling the motor is not the ideal condition, most of these trucks are started in the beginning of the day and turned off at the end. They run long hours and are worked very hard, but that is their purpose.”

Peters adds, “Diesel engines are just built tougher. The blocks are bigger, the walls are thicker, and the pistons are larger, for example. And with the added bulk even, let alone the precision in tolerances in the rings to prevent blow-by, the design originates with lubrication in mind, aiding in the reduction of friction and damage to the rubbing parts.”



While diesel engines were built to last, like all valuable things you will want to take care of your investment with regular maintenance.

Diesel owners can take simple but effective preventive measures, with the use of additives for their oil and fuel mixtures. With lubricity as such a high standard in diesel operation, additives help balance out the fuel mixtures providing more lubricity in the ultra-low sulphur fuel. Motor oils designed to the higher demands of the diesel workhorse last longer and have less viscosity breakdown as well as enhanced heat transfer, and high quality engine coolant helps keep the overall operating temperatures lower to reduce added friction from heat expansion. Hot Shot’s Secret additives and coolants were specifically designed for the heavy duty rigors of diesel engines in mind.

With the simple additions of the correct engine and transmission fluids, you can be sure your diesel engine will be around for the long haul.


“Hot Shot’s Secret makes some amazing products, and we have been using them for years.

We are known for our 6.0L builds. And with the high-pressure oil systems, those injectors are really reliant on good oil quality. If not, over time, injectors build up debris, and I can give a laundry list of times that customers have come in the shop and their injectors are pretty much on their way out.  We hand them a 2qt bottle of Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator, and we don’t hear from them for another year regarding their injectors. Our customers come back stating ‘this stuff worked great and my injectors lasted another year longer!’ ”

Stephen Peters
PSP Diesel
South Houston, TX

What’s Your Diesel Smoke Telling You

What’s Your Diesel Smoke Telling You

We’ve all seen (or have caused); thick, black smoke come from the exhaust of a diesel-powered vehicle. For many of us it is our favorite part of owning a diesel in fact. However, a well running diesel should not produce visible smoke and if yours is, it could be an indication that something is not right with your engine. Let’s talk about the different colors of exhaust smoke and the potential causes.


Blue or Gray. Newer, low mileage truck owners can skip this paragraph, but many of us like to have a worn-out beater truck laying around, or maybe your teenager bought their first car from a not-so-honest guy. Blue usually means one thing: you are burning oil. You might notice a burnt oil smell while stepping on the accelerator, or maybe see blue/gray smoke leave your exhaust on startup or heavy acceleration, these are some of the telltale signs that you are burning oil.

Blue/Gray smoke could be caused by:

  • Stuck rings from stiction
  • Broken piston lands
  • Worn out or broken rings
  • Worn out cylinder bores
  • Worn out valves, valve guides, valve seals, PVC valve, injectors, turbo seals or the turbo itself.

White. This is usually the last color of smoke you want to see. If the smoke is thin, and goes away relatively quickly, then it is merely condensation. However, thicker, longer lasting smoke is a much larger headache. Your engine is more than likely burning coolant. This can be the result of a blown head gasket, damaged cylinder head, or cracked engine block – none of these are easy on the wallet. Diesels can also put out white smoke when fuel passes completely through the engine and reaches the exhaust without having been burned. This might be caused from the engine being too cool to burn the fuel, low compression in cylinder(s), fuel injection timing, defective fuel injector, burnt out glow plugs, clogged air filter or poor fuel quality.

Excessive white smoke is almost always an indication of a water leak either by a:

  • Cracked head
  • Cracked block
  • Blown head gasket

Black. Or as many people call it, “rolling coal”. People throw tuners, modules, or some kind of smoke switch, onto their diesel to make the truck add more fuel than necessary to create black smoke, as well as install larger injectors. But for those who don’t intend to smoke out everyone behind them, there’s quite a few things to check. A little black smoke is normal on a properly functioning diesel but keep an eye on the amount of smoke at different RPMs and loads so that you will be able to tell if something is amiss.

You may be experiencing black smoke because of:

  • Incorrect timing or air/fuel ratio
  • Dirty injectors
  • Worn turbocharger
  • Dirty intake manifold
  • Clogged air cleaner
  • Low cylinder compression
  • Poor quality fuel
  • Excessive carbon buildup in combustion chamber

Clear: the optimal burn in the combustion and exhaust and means everything is dialed in and well-tuned.

With these color indications provided from the tail pipe, you can easily take action for repairs or even better; get ahead of the repairs with common maintenance. “It’s not an option,” says Darwin Hippen, of Riverside, California. “In almost anything we encounter, for anything to endure, maintenance is a priority. Oil changes are critical to the lifespan of your vehicle, for longevity and performance. Friction and heat is not your friend.”
When the EPA required lower sulfur in diesel fuel, it also reduced the lubricity required within the diesel engine fuel systems. “Sulfur is imperative to the function of a diesel engine,” says Hippen. “Sulfur in the fuel itself, lubricates the injectors in the engine. Reduced sulfur jeopardizes the lifespan and the design of this extremely expensive part of the engine.” Fuel additives help counterbalance the lack of lubricity to easily and far less costly, prevent the damages from the ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.
“For a brand-new truck or a truck like mine with the miles stacked up, and everything in between,” says Hippen, “Your smoke can tell you a lot of information, and thankfully there are products like Hot Shot’s Secret additives to help keep it clear!”
Diesel Extreme: For White Smoke & Black Smoke
Stiction Eliminator: For Blue/Grey Smoke

blog-041019 diesel injector

Differences Between HEUI Injectors and Non-HEUI

Injector design has been conveyed across three primary design concepts. The mechanical based system was a system based on injector pressure and mechanical release. The 2-phase system simply allowed the activation of the injection pump to build pressure within the injector to then lift the check valve and open the flow of pressurized fuel to spray.

The High-pressure Electronic Unit Injection (HEUI) system followed as one of the first designs helping revolutionize the clean-burn, quiet diesel engine. Opposed to the prior single-shot fuel injection design, HEUI systems use an electronically controlled hydraulic activation with a high-pressure oil pump forcing a plunger within the injector to open the needle to fuel spray into the combustion chamber.

With the addition of electronic control, the HEUI system enhanced accuracy in injector cycles. The entire stroke cycle is controlled by the fuel system computer, with a much more accurate timing for injection and fuel metering with a higher injection pressure over the previous 2-stage injection design.

And with a common rail injector system, multiple injectors can fire at various stages all fed by a common line of pressurized fuel.

Shane Matt of L and M Fuel Injection Service Inc. (Lafayette, LA) says, “the inclusion of computers enable the injector to spray more than once per combustion cycle. In the old style diesel, all of the fuel was mechanically injected on top of the piston, right before top-dead-center (TDC) on the crankshaft, to coincide with the optimal heat buildup from the compression.”

“Nowadays,” says Matt, “just before that peak heat of compression build-up, just before TDC, injectors spray a pilot injection stroke with a minute amount of fuel. Once the crankshaft passes top-dead-center, the rest of the fuel is injected so that the torque is pushing the piston down after TDC, with nothing but power in downward force. Opposed to hitting all the fuel before TDC, and the need to still pass over top on the full spray, the ignition is fed just before, ‘assisting’ in the pass over TDC with optimal force remaining, to burn on the downside of the crankshaft.”

Matt claims the system provides much more torque and a quieter engine because you don’t have one big bang before TDC. “It’s a much smoother and much more efficient burn of the fuel process. The full combustion is no longer wasted on the upward stroke of the piston. The majority of the combustion takes place in the downward stroke and therefore the extra torque.”

And just as the mechanical pressurization system was replaced by the HEUI, the hydraulic unit injector typically found in the older 7.3L/6.0L Power Stroke engines and the DT466E Internationals, is now being phased out for the common rail injection system.

The newer systems utilize each injector as a spray nozzle with a constant supply of high pressured fuel supplied to the injector at all times, through a common rail of fuel. With all the injectors attached to a single rail, a high-pressure pump supplies up to 35,000 lbs. of pressure to the line. The computer then determines the amount of fuel to spray and the timing to do so. Each injector may spray various volumes of fuel, up to 5 strokes per combustion cycle. In addition to the pre-TDC injection, the common rail system may pulse another 4 times during the downward pass of the piston, providing increased torque over the HEUI system.

“You’ve got 35,000 pounds of fuel being sprayed out of these tiny orifices, just atomizing the fuel to almost a smoke, opposed to a mist,” says Matt. “With the proper air intake, the common rail system provides a much more efficient burn with nearly 100% ignition.”

By adding crystals to electric current, piezo electronics are now added to the common rail system controlling two pilot sprays, a main spray and two post sprays. Piezo-electric common-rail injectors are also quieter than their predecessors while increasing horsepower and torque.

As design specs, more sophisticated components and higher tolerances increase in the evolution of the injectors, so too does the intolerance of contaminated fuel. Shane says that most of the hazards to injectors that he’s sees in his repair service results from dirty fuel, water in the fuel, and fuel with a lack of lubrication.

“The diesel fuel system is totally lubricated by the fuel itself,” says Shane. “Government wants almost all the sulfur out of diesel fuel however, and the process they use to remove the sulfur from the fuel also removes lubricants. The hydrating process at the refinery creates a ‘dryer’ fuel more reminiscent of kerosene or jet fuel. Diesel engines are not designed for low lubricity fuel.

“Proper maintenance like changing your fuel filter, and additives, help avoid the premature wear of your fuel system,” advises Matt. “Neglecting the fuel filter can wreak havoc on a fuel system, and additives help increase lubricity, which really extends the life of fuel systems. For example, over the years, our customers that faithfully use Hot Shot’s Secret additives, their fuel systems are in pristine condition, after a longer than usual service life. We usually see them here with leaks instead of worn hard parts. On the other hand, we have those that use fuel straight from the pump without additives, and a lot of times they are in here earlier than they should be.”

“We have customers that claim added economy as well, just by using additives. When boosting the cetane, and the ‘burn-ability” of the fuel, you have more BTUs to work with, claims Shane. “Additives also have cleaning agents which helps keep your nozzle tips clean and functional. We have noticed a recognizable 25% increase in the longevity of the engine life with proper use of the additives.”


“I use Hot Shot’s Secret products in all my diesel equipment. Faithfully. It’s one of the key things now because you can’t get a fuel sample tested every time you tank up. You never know what you’re buying and you never know if the transport truck just dropped off a load that was severely hydro-treated and really low on lubricity. Why take the gamble; put a few pennies of additives in your tank and not only do you get the protection but also the peace of mind.

Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator has repaired countless issues for customers of ours. In many cases, they come in for an injector replacement, but I have to be honest with my customers and pass along a good value. I sell them Stiction Eliminator instead of an injector and it very often solves the problem for a long time.

Stiction Eliminator has cured so many problems for our 6.0L Ford customers and they keep coming back.

In my own vehicle I had a lifter tapping. I put it in there and within a day or two of driving, the tapping went away. It just cleaned out the lifter to where they functioned normally again, and the engine was far quieter.

This stuff really works. I’ve got 5 vehicles plus 5 pieces of heavy equipment. I use Stiction Eliminator, FR3 Friction Reducer, Fuel Additives, very faithfully, on everything I’ve got.”

Shane Matt of L and M Fuel Injection Service Inc. in Lafayette, LA

6 Fundamentals to “Spring Clean” Your Truck

1. Start off with something simple, and kind of fun in my opinion. Scrub down the truck, and give it a good wax. This is for more than just looks. For those of us in the rust belt, salt coats the underside of the truck, accelerating the formation of rust wherever it touches. Ideally, you have already washed it a couple of times over winter. If not, get the hose out and completely spray the underside of the truck, with special attention to the wheel wells. After washing the truck, apply a good wax, any brand will do. This will help further protect your paint not only from rust, but also cracking clear coat due to intense sunlight.

2. Next is tire pressure. I am sure that you had to check it on multiple occasions over the winter. We know that with every 10 degree drop in temperature, we lose 1 pound of pressure. You may have to add a good 7-10 psi over the course of the winter depending on how cold the season was. Over filled tires have excessive and uneven wear, with most of the wear occurring in the center of the tread pattern. The only time you would want to have the tires over filled is under very heavy load conditions, like pulling a heavy camper. Many trucks spec a 20 psi difference between front and back because the rear tires can see extra stress while pulling a trailer. Always reference your owner’s manual for proper pressure specs.

3. Speaking of pulling a trailer, 15 thousand pounds is hard on your braking system, even with trailer brakes. A brake inspection will tell you the overall health of the braking system. Pull the wheels and look at the brake linings, any lining 2 mm or less needs to be replaced; it is important to know that the thinner the brake pads get, the faster they wear. All the pads on the same axle should be within 2 mm thickness of each other. Front brakes do 70% of the work, and the rears do the other 30%, so it is easy to imagine that front pads wear faster than rears. Always replace pads on both sides of the truck at the same time.

4. Check your antifreeze, a bad oil cooler can cause all kinds of problems when antifreeze gets into the oil. Oil coolers start leaking when antifreeze has started to corrode the cooler by turning acidic. Get some test strips online and confirm the ph is above 7 and the nitrite level is in specification. Most test strips can also tell you the ethylene glycol concentration which will ensure you have boil over protection for the hot summer months.

5. Drain the water separator on your truck. Many injector problems can be traced back to water in the fuel. A separator is designed to catch water, but once its full or near full water can pass on to the fuel injection system. Water can cause all sorts of problems like damage from loss of lubrication to cracked injector tips.

6. Lastly, clean out your entire fuel system with Diesel Extreme injector cleaner. Internal injector deposits can rob power over time by throwing injection timing off. A person doesn’t notice because it is gradual, but when its restored the results can be dramatic. In addition, injector noise is usually reduced because of the increased lubricity.

Whether you use your diesel for work or play, we hope these tips benefit our readers. Comment below, to let us know topics you would like us to cover in the future!

Hot Shot’s Secret Sponsorship Profile: USMC Racing (Slidell, LA)

For those of us sleeping peacefully in our beds every night, there are thousands of soldiers out there, scattered across the globe with bombs and bullets aimed at them, sleeping in fox holes, under trees, on top of military tanks and trucks hoods, and who-knows-what other not-so-peaceful conditions; so that we can. And we say thank you!

Fortunately, thanks comes in many forms and when not in uniform protecting the stars and stripes, many of our veterans and active-duty military are finding new ways to support and give back to their own and to the civilian population as well.

Sporting a badge of honor on his chest as well as his race car, Owner/Driver at USMC Racing LLC and 0430 Embarkation Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Brian Czech provides that very opportunity in his Hot Shot’s Secret-sponsored Chesty’s Chariot race car, with USMC Racing.

And while the Marine Corps is very serious business, when trading his dress blues for his racing fire suit, Czech also trades in his strict discipline of the Corps for some fun and zany antics in his shop and at the track. With the car’s namesake in homage to the Marine of all Marine’s, the Chesty’s Chariot is not what you might think of when it comes to racing’s crème de la crème of vehicles on the race track. Instead of the high-dollar NASCAR, F1 and/or Indy Racing machines exemplifying performance perfection, the cars running in the Lemon series, Chesty’s Chariot included, is what others might call, well, a bit to the other end of the spectrum!

With the remaining resemblance of his ‘96 Crown Victoria, the tan and green digital military dressing of the Chesty’s Chariot is now criss-crossing race tracks across the country in the 24 Hours of Lemons series (Yes, that says lemons, not Le Mans). And with the hilarious attitude of the series itself, Czech’s USMC Racing team, and the shenanigans they bring along with them, are a perfect fit for the spectacle.

Czech started his love of racing well before he had joined the Marines. “I loved watching old NASCAR races with my dad,” says Brian. “I really enjoyed NASCAR in the old days, when ‘innovation’ was still alive and well prior to official restrictor plate racing. For example, those guys would place the silver foil from a Marlboro pack under their carburetors so the inspection-tent officials would ‘see’ a plate. As soon as the car fired up, the ‘plate’ would get sucked into the system and burned out in the exhaust! I grew up watching when Richard Petty’s motto rang true that if you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin!”

Czech entered the Marine Corps in 2004 and carried his passion for speed through out. During his many deployments across the globe (Okinawa, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Marstok, Afghanistan and beyond) including hostile territories dodging enemy bullets, Czech has earned his way from enlisted ranking to Chief Warrant Officer 2.

Czech started putting his foot to the floor in 2012 when he bought his first racing vehicle, a 1978 F-150 with a 460ci big block. Brian began his mods with some weight reduction, replacement of the destroyed Detroit Locker rear-end, bored the engine, replaced the heads, and started drag racing in the 12’s. “I was in this crappy truck that no one would even acknowledge. I had no sponsors and no support. No one wanted anything to do with this truck,” recalls Czech. “After I had quite a few racers just hammering me for driving a ‘farm truck’ at the track, I decided maybe it was the wrong approach. To step up to the 10’s would cost too much and my wife wouldn’t go for it!”

Prior to his 2017 deployment, he shredded the truck into parts and sold everything he could. No one wanted the body however, so it sat as an empty shell in his shop. When the junkyard came to take away his ‘baby,’ and after all the blood, sweat and tears he had personally put into the truck to build a contender, he had to watch the forklifts spear the body and take it away. “I literally had to turn around and walk away, so upset watching them ram her. And no warning!” says Czech, “They came in full tilt and pierced the hell out of it. They could have asked permission first! And then I deployed the next day.”

Czech came home to his new baby girl that was born while he was overseas, and after a couple months around the house, Czech says his wife would implore that he ‘get a hobby.’ The sitting around the house, playing Xbox and the mood swings had to change and Czech says he had heard about the 24 Hours of Lemons. “I happened to find a guy on Craigslist selling his Lemons car,” says Brian. “It had all the fixin’s; tires, fuel system, extra parts, and everything. I looked at my wife and said this is it! The Lemon cars are restricted to a value of $500, and can’t slap a turbo on it without penalty. This is perfect!” With a bit of a reluctant wife aboard, the two ventured into the new purchase and ran their first race at Carolina Motorsports Park. Ironically, for a car to make it through a 24-hour race, it has to be far from a lemon.

“Day one, the motor blew up,” says Czech, “Day two, the coolant system blew entering into turn two of the 2.27 mile track and we drove all the way around to the paddock with no coolant.” With all the bearings warped and burnt out, and the oil weep holes clogged with metal from overheating, it almost shut down the one-race team. His troops rallied however, racing their second event in November of 2018, and a complete turnaround has ensued. “We raced Road Atlanta and Barber’s this past winter. When I became an LLC, it also helped with sponsorships. Hot Shot’s Secret, for example, has come on board with some great product not only improving the car’s performance but also keeping us operational at the track.

USMC Racing LLC uses Hot Shot’s Secret in both the race car and the truck. “My daily driver is also my hauler truck,” says Czech. “And I use Hot Shot’s Secret to not only get me around the track, but to get me to the track! I’ve been using the Stiction Eliminator for a good three years now, with a very noticeable increase in oil pressure and improved throttle response. I add the Stiction Eliminator with every oil change and I use the Diesel Extreme as a standard maintenance must-have.”

Czech also follows others in racing, and their winning ways working with Hot Shot’s Secret. “HSS sponsors one of the fastest diesel trucks in the nation and I want in on that! We use the Hot Shot’s Secret Adrenaline series racing oils too (R5 20w-50 Racing Motor Oil and Adrenaline R9 75W-90 Racing Gear Oil). Hot Shot’s Secret clearly has this oil program together!”

“In addition to Hot Shot’s Secret, I am getting product discounts as sponsorships too,” Czech claims, gratefully. “Regardless if monetary sponsorship, products and/or discounts, it’s all such a great help so that we can focus on our goals – to get vets and active-duty soldiers in the car at a reduced price compared to our normal seat fee. Being a part of this team is a way for our veterans and fellow active-duty members to reconnect with their military roots, meet new friends and enjoy an awesome weekend of racing. It gives our drivers the ability to ‘let loose’ a little bit, and for some, it’s an outlet that helps them readjust and a revisit to the adrenaline fix that so many of us tend to crave.” USMC Racing offers a standard (civilians) rate of $600 to $700 for the seat time at the 24 hour Lemon races, and hopes to attract more of their fellow military brethren by offering fractional rates, to help make it happen.

“I can’t do this on my own,” states Czech. “After years of racking up debts for racing, USMC Racing is now an LLC so we can charge fees, and work with sponsorships to help fund the venture, all with the bigger picture of helping, giving back, and saying thanks to everyone as well. Our goal is to get our service members as much seat time as we can, at the least cost possible to them.”

Brian says that the 24 Hours of Lemons is a perfect opportunity because, “none of us are really that good at driving a race car! We aren’t trained for driving Porsche or WRL Miatas, but we have some civilians jump in the seats that have been, which provides a nice balance for our teams!”

USMC Racing offers their thanks to Hot Shot’s Secret racing oil, Silver Sport Transmissions, C and R Radiators, Evans Coolant, AIM Racing, Frostbiter Defrost, RaceGas, Full Tilt Racing, ATL Fuel Cells, Ardent Services, Trident Productions and all the racers that have come from around the country that have joined us! Unlike the 24 hours of Daytona or LeMans, Brian says, “If you drive the Chesty’s Chariot in the race, your name stays on the roof of the car!”

USMC Racing will be entering six events in the 2019 season including New Orleans, Carolina Motorsports Park in April and September, Houston, and Road Atlanta.

With a growing family, continual movement in the Marine Corps, and a new racing platform for his brothers/sisters in arms, Brian Czech seems to have a full plate. All in the name of service to others he continues all three, forging ahead as a Marine, a father, husband, and racer, and just a guy out having fun zipping around the race track as much as he is zipping around the globe. To Czech, and to all serving our country with honor, courage, and a commitment to keep us all safe, Semper Fi! And thank you to all of our military and first-responders wherever you may be, for your and your family’s service to our country and the betterment of our world at large.

How Do I Know to Change My Oil Brand?

Vehicle maintenance is critical to the life of an engine requiring small investments of time, money and attention during ownership. The benefit in doing so results in a longer engine life, continued reliability, improved performance and less cost in repairs over the duration of ownership. Since a vehicle’s engine consists of so many moving parts in continual friction against each other, engine parts are some of the most susceptible to wear and tear. Therefore, one of the most simple, cost effective and proven methods to keep your engine healthy and successfully heading down the road, is to continually change your motor oil.

“To save damage on your motor, and avoid breakdowns on the road,” says David Overholt of Pokey’s Performance and Repair (Montezuma, GA), “you HAVE to change your oil. If not, the oil will breakdown and the engine parts requiring lubrication will breakdown too.”

Other than the recommended mileage for an oil change, an owner can know when it’s time for a change just by testing a small sample of their oil, observing how long it takes for an oil to break down. The most common indication is that a broken down oil becomes black in color, and thin in viscosity. “You can look at an oil and tell when it’s been in an engine for a long time, and you can tell when there has been a recent service to the engine as well,” says Overholt. “If an oil makes it to black, this oil should have already been out of here.” And when the oil is not only breaking down, but doing so frequently and showing short durations before breakdown, Overholt mentions, “it might be wise to change your choice in oil brands.”

With the various brands of oils available, and the maintenance shops available for the service, it’s easier than ever to take proper care of your vehicle, and the results are proving to be true in vehicles that currently run great with hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer. With so many options to choose from, how can the consumer make the proper choice in oil selection?

Overholt says he is always testing information and theories to stay on top of everything needed in vehicle maintenance, then passing along only the best to his customers. By understanding the vehicle as such an important component of the transportation, work duty and maintenance service industry, Overholt says, “I like to study good hard facts and proven results on an oil before I change from what I currently run. When I have changed from one brand to another, it’s because there is a significant amount of testing, results and statistics proving superiority.”

When deciding on the change, Overholt provides direction to his customers that he has received in the past with repeatedly successful results, recommending that customers run a stiction eliminator as a cleaner when they make their first initial change in motor oil brands. “When you change from your current oil to what we recommend in Hot Shot’s Secret superior motor oils,” states David, “also run the Stiction Eliminator on that first oil changeover. After that, it helps even more to use the Stiction Eliminator every 5 to 10 oil-change services. The beauty however, is that once the switch is made to the Hot Shot’s Secret oil, the needed additives unavailable in many other oils, are now included in every oil-change with HSS motor oils.

Without proper attention to your motor oil says Overholt, “you’re going to pay on one end or the other.” The motto applies to the fact that a vehicle owner must make scheduled oil changes as recommended and continually make the effort throughout the ownership of the vehicle. If not, the lack of attention to your oil will cause devastating repair and maintenance conditions or worse, a very expensive replacement of your motor. Overholt advises that “paying on the maintenance is a whole lot less than paying on the repairs.”


“I never was an additive guy! I have been around diesels for many years, and got into the business of working on them. I thought in the past that maybe additives were a good idea, and I’d try a couple here and there and never really see results. Well, when I started seeing ads for Hot Shot’s Secret I started digging into my research and seeing test results from users – not even the manufacturer claims yet – but users, that were showing the results. And I knew ‘that’s what I want.’ I don’t want a product to sell my customers that maybe they will be able to tell a difference. I want to sell products that I know they are going to benefit from!

Seeing results in the field that back up the facts published, are some of my biggest evaluations in product selection; it’s one of the reasons I first chose Hot Shot’s Secret as my motor oil. And 90 to 95 percent of my customers have made the switch as well.

For example, I have a customer in the business of hauling portable storage buildings and oversized loads. This particular truck has worked hard every day, running back and forth central Georgia to south Florida. And every time he comes in for an oil change, it has never failed that since he converted from the main-shelf brands to the Hot Shot’s Secret Green Diamond synthetic oil, that his oil is not even broken down to black. I have noticed that the oil is still just as slick as it can be. Knowing that this truck gets worked like it does, and he comes in even a couple times at 1000 miles over his scheduled maintenance and you’d typically expect to see terribly broken down oil. This truck is coming back though, with obviously not brand new oil, but this Hot Shot’s Secret oil is still holding up, so much better than oils I used to use. You can tell this Green Diamond is still protecting his truck.

Even on some of the trucks that run over their recommended mileage changes, and when the oil has begun to darken, you can still feel with the Green Diamond oil, you can rub this oil between your fingers and it’s still slick. That’s what I really like, we love it!

We have a sizeable number of trucks that have converted to and will use only Hot Shot’s Secret additives. They won’t use anything else. We have a customer that will come in and buy the Everyday Diesel Treatment by the case. She says, ‘my truck runs better, it has more power, and there is a significant savings in fuel mileage – there is no doubt!’

We have an ongoing list of mentions how much customers like Hot Shot’s Secret: ‘this stuff is really impressive,’ ‘my truck sounds better,’ ‘it runs so much better,’ ‘it runs quieter now.’

I’ve been very impressed – it’s some great stuff!”

– David Overholt of Pokey’s Performance and Repair, Montezuma, GA

Why Is There No Spark Plug In a Diesel Engine?

Ask many and they will mention that the primary advantage to a diesel engine is that it provides more torque. Based on the combustion of the engine and the different use in plugs between gasoline and diesel engines, diesel provides a considerable amount of work-power over horsepower. Hence the big-rigs on the road are diesels. The utility trucks pulling boats, trailers and heavy loads are primarily diesels. And most work-site trucks are diesel vehicles to help drag away or haul heavy loads in their truck beds. With the importance in need for utility based vehicles, one can imagine how important it is to take care of a vehicle’s power-plant and understand some of the differences in their vehicle’s parts and maintenance.

“It takes torque to move weight,” states Joe Duke Skelton from Speedy Duke’s Diesel (Odessa, TX). “When comparing gas to diesel, if a gas vehicle is doing the same ‘work’ as a diesel, it’s going to burn five times more fuel.” Skelton claims that for many work-duty truck owners, once they buy a diesel, they never go back to gas for a work truck. “For the everyday driver, gas is great,” he says. “But for pushing and/or pulling any kind of a load in a vehicle, the gas owner typically finds themselves renting a diesel vehicle to get the job done.”

With a diesel, obviously the first difference that comes to mind is the fuel. Where gasoline can ignite in its current state, diesel must first become atomized for ignition. “Diesel is a cleaner burning fuel than gas,” says Skelton. “Diesels are required to have all of the emissions but the fuel burns richer and cleaner with a regeneration system helping burn solids in the emissions of the exhaust.”

With the difference in fuel, therefore a difference in plugs must also apply as the igniters of the fuel to create the combustion stroke of the piston. Where a gas engine requires a spark plug to create a spark to ignite the gasoline, the diesel motor has no spark plug, but instead uses glow plugs. “The difference in diesel,” states Skelton, “is that diesel fuel doesn’t ignite. A spark plug has no use with diesel fuel because there is no need to ‘light’ the diesel fuel. Instead, the glow plug only heats the combustion chamber.”

In combination with the piston design, and the heated chamber from the glow plugs, the diesel fuel becomes atomized into a mist. The mist becomes more volatile, therefore igniting in the combustion chamber with a much more efficient explosion, forcing the piston with a stronger force, through it’s stroke. “In the bigger picture,” says Joe, “yes, both engines require combustion, but with diesel, the use of a glow plug instead of spark, utilizes heat instead of an arc, making the fuel molecules move quicker and thereby producing more efficiency in power.” A well-tuned gas motor typically pushes in the range of 130 psi in compression. A well-tuned diesel motor typically pushes in the range of 425 psi.

With the enhanced compression, every diesel diagnosis must consider the pressure being created in a diesel engine. Skelton says, “Regardless of a fuel leak, a coolant leak, blow-by, or almost any service on a diesel, compression affects almost everything, in comparison to a gas motor.” Many of the gasoline repair shops may miss the proper analysis in the difference of diesels and therefore sometimes an owner may want to consider a specialty shop for diesel maintenance.

Blow-by for example is considered a crankcase pressure. Crankcase pressure is produced by weakened piston rings allowing the compression blowing past the rings, down into the crankcase. With added diesel compression comes more opportunity to force the combustion past the rings. The proper diesel pistons, rings and oil however, helps create a tighter seal, while still reducing the friction of a tighter tolerance piston ring, providing an added bond to reduce blow-by. “Pulling an oil fuel cap that appears puffy can be an indication of blow-by,” says Joe, “also indicating some internal engine repairs may be ahead. The condition is more noticeable on a diesel due to the higher compression. Where a gas engine can sometimes run longer under the adverse blow-by conditions, a diesel engine cannot run very well, because the higher compression blowing by the rings causes a lack of torque, thereby causing much harder starting conditions.”

With added diesel compression creating more force against the moving parts, added friction is also built into each revolution, requiring more lubricity and improved flow-through from the engine’s motor oil. “The internal components in a diesel work way harder than a gasoline engine,” says Skelton. “Fuel and oil additives can help counteract some of the intensified diesel energy by reducing the friction, reducing the wear and tear, helping eliminate engine noise on components that may be wearing and enhancing the combustion of the diesel fuel.”

By substituting the spark plug with a glow plug, the mist conversely ignites against more surface area, eventually causing a carbon build up. When build-up reduces the efficiency of the ignition, stiction eliminator additives act as a detergent throughout the motor, cleaning away the carbon interference and helping restore a more efficient and cleaner burn.

“Additives don’t make the motor run differently,” says Joe, “but they do help counteract the additional stresses incurred with a more efficient motor, thereby aiding in the longevity of the motor and helping reduce total cost of ownership in fuel economy, maintenance and repairs.”


“I have a handful of customers that come in after every over-the-road haul they make, to replenish their Hot Shot’s Secret additives and oil.

I recently had a customer that came in weekly, for about three months straight. He had a lot of miles on his engine, but the motor was in very good condition. The only issue he experienced was some top end noise. So we kept filling him up with the Hot Shot’s Secret FR3 and Everyday Diesel Treatment. He would come in religiously to add these products and after a few months, his engine noises have now gone away and his truck is running great.

I had another customer with engine noise, that after only two treatments of FR3, his engine noise went away.

On the 6.0s, 7.3s that come in, Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator saves us about 75% of the injectors that seem to be on their way out.”

– Joe Duke Skelton of Speedy Duke’s Diesel (Odessa, TX)

First Time Diesel Owner: What Should I know?

Many are making the switch, from gas to diesel. Statistics continually show increases in popularity of diesels in consumer level purchases of clean diesel and SUV purchases. Large-population states like California, Texas and Florida are showing substantial increases in diesel car, SUV, pickup truck and van registrations, with western states like Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho setting the trends with the highest percentage of diesel vehicles on the road. Industry experts claim that many are making the move because clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs typically achieve on average, a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy and 15 percent reduction in emissions when compared to a similar gasoline powered vehicles.

In the workforces of logistics, hauling and fleet duty vehicles, statistics show that over 95 percent of all large heavy-duty trucks are diesel-powered, as are a majority of medium-duty trucks. Diesel power plants are moving an estimated 70 percent of the nation’s freight, as the driving force of goods-movement-by-truck.

With so much movement by diesel, and new owners taking the wheel for their daily drivers as well, many should be aware of some of the differences. Chris Brahs, shop owner of Brahs Solutions (Albuquerque, NM) says, “The first thing noticeable is the power. The amount of torque a diesel produces far out reaches that of a gas motor.” Brahs says that the driver may notice that the diesel motor is not as high revving in RPMs, when under a strain. “When pulling their trailer for example,” says Brahs, “If someone were in a 2500 6.0L gas engine before, but now changing up to a diesel in the same truck, the overall power and torque is going to make the task seem much easier.”

The new diesel owner will also recognize that the actual movement takes place sooner. With more efficiency in torque, the driver will require less input to begin the movement, less fuel, less RPMs and less time will be required to begin shifting the load.

With more efficiency and reliability, the new diesel owner will notice a savings at the pump as well. Brahs says, “If you pull a 20,000-lb. trailer with a gas truck, you’re going to get about 4 or 5 miles to the gallon. You pull the same trailer with a diesel and your fuel economy is multiplied times over.”

Another noticeable difference at the gas pump, other than the fuel handle itself, is that the diesel fuel is not prone to ignition in the same way as gasoline. Where gasoline can ignite by flame, diesel fuel must be atomized prior to ignition.

New diesels also include exhaust brakes to help the heavier loads slow down and stop easier, without the need of the foot brakes.

Diesels are sometimes more expensive in the initial purchase, and maintenance prices are a bit more than gasoline, but the overall cost of ownership is actually less. With less repairs, breakdowns, improved mileage and longer engine life upwards of 300,000 miles, the work duty truck pays dividends in ‘the long run.’

To help prevent the added costs in maintenance however, some simple steps are available to help protect the investment even more. “The biggest thing is keeping up with the manufacturer recommendations,” says Brahs. “Everyone in our shop instructs our customers to change the oil every 5000 miles for example, or follow the direction given by the computer. In my opinion, a $100 oil change is a lot cheaper than replacing a $20,000 motor.”

Brahs also claims that the second biggest pitfall to avoid is bad information. To instead learn from experts. “Dealers unfortunately, sometimes don’t know much about diesels,” says Chris. “If the customer just spent $70,000 on a truck, they should find someone with the expertise to help educate them of the options, the abilities of the engine, the abilities of the vehicle and what to do, when and how. We continually hear that ‘the dealer never told me that,’ ‘they never showed me this,’ on and on.” Especially with a used vehicle, Brahs recommends getting a pre-purchase inspection and take it to the shop for a look. And reiterates, “for the new diesel owner, especially if considering a used one, find a reputable diesel shop, and pay a couple hundred dollars that could possibly save you 10, 15, 20,000 dollars for say, a new motor. The $200 investment could be a huge savings!”

For the new diesel owner however, the most recognizable trait is that a diesel is going to make a difference with a heavy load. “Torque makes things move,” says Chris. “And the torque on a diesel is so much greater than a gas engine.” And with any load, even in consumer based cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks, the daily driver is quite a heavy piece of equipment as well. And many are seeing their diesel making the move that much easier.

Brahs refers to the analogy that horsepower is how hard you hit the wall, torque is how far you move that wall; tons of horsepower and no torque, and the wall doesn’t move much. “I own a 2011 Dodge diesel with 210,000 miles on it,” says Chris. “I pull a lot of my ‘toy haulers’ for my veterans-based desert racing organization. I need to be able to pull my 38’ car hauler down the road at 75mph without it taking 10 miles getting to that speed. And I also have the ability to slow down really quick with the exhaust brake, tap shift transmissions and the tow/haul modes.”


“Hot Shots Secret has provided support for Outlaw Desert Racing; helping in the prevention of veterans and first-responder suicide rates.

95% of the racers we work with all drive diesels to pull their race trailers, their race trucks, their buggies, their UTVs, and power their RVs.

And while I instruct everyone to change their oil at 5000 miles, and will continue to do so until all the results are in, I’m now on the Hot Shot’s Secret 100,000 mile oil change challenge. I am working hand in hand with HSS testing their Outlaw 15w-40 oil and TBN Booster trusting that their products are keeping my personal truck in shape. I still change my oil filters every 5000 miles and I’m sending my samples to the lab. They then test the oil to make sure it’s stable and still sustaining all the recommended properties to do its job. I’m now going on 20,000 miles and the Hot Shot’s Secret oil is still holding up. I rely on the product and trust from personal testing.

I also trust in what others say and their testing of the claims that Hot Shot’s Secret says too. Lavon Miller of FirePunk pulling has been using and testing the Hot Shot Secret’s FR3 Friction Reducer on his dyno pulls and checking results too. And it works. People like Lavon Miller are not performing at their best because of shoddy products. He has a hell of an engine program with D&J, he has a hell of a transmission program with his own FirePunk transmissions and he has a hell of an oil program with Hot Shot’s Secret. Lavon has a #1 winning team for a reason!

I opted to work with Hot Shot’s Secret for our Outlaw Desert Racing program and our Class 1 team car because the Class 1 car uses the 15w-40 oil, just the same as a diesel. HSS oils and the FR3 are providing the high zinc properties required of our extreme temperatures and racing conditions in Baja. Not to mention our coolant temperatures are sitting at 220 degrees Fahrenheit. When I can reduce coolant temps as a direct result of Hot Shot’s Secret reduction in oil temps, then it’s a win-win. With HSS in it, I know my car is going to maintain for a 1000-mile race, while the competitors are blowing up.

I use the FR3 on everything! It reduces friction, lowers the temperatures, and makes the thing last longer. I put it in our Can Am racer, I put it in my truck, I put it in my wife’s car, I put it in my lawn mower, I put it in my power steering, I put it in everything I can possibly think of. Electric-driven gearboxes; Hell, I use FR3 on my drill bits!

We have farmers that buy FR3 by the 5-gallon jugs. They put it in every tractor they’ve got.

And I use the Hot Shot’s Secret motor oil in everything I can possibly use.

We have a great customer and very good friend, claiming 5 or 6 miles per gallon improvement in his ‘06 Dodge Cummins 5.9L, by just using Everyday Diesel Treatment. He buys it religiously, 10 or 15 bottles at a time, because his friends are asking him to pick up a bottle for them too.

I believe in Hot Shot’s Secret and their products.”
– Chris Brahs of Brahs Solutions & Outlaw Desert Racing, Albuquerque, NM

duramax diesel

Evolution of the Duramax

As with most pickups in the industry, the Duramax line of diesel engines has come a long way from its inception to modern day. From the introduction of the LB7 almost 20 years ago, the engine output has nearly doubled its torque from approx. 500 lb-ft, to the modern-day workhorse pushing towards 1000 lb-ft, in the L5P engine line.

Though all of the Marketing departments at the big three diesel manufacturers tout the best in trucks, Dan Zelten of Dan’s Service Center (Eagle River, WI) claims he sees the least amount of Chevy’s in the shop for engine repairs. “A lot of Ford’s, however, have provided a good amount of business for us.”

For GM, they set the trend, teaming with Japanese manufacturer Isuzu, making it to market with the first redesign of the current-style high pressure direct-injector diesel engines. Dodge Cummins and Ford Power Strokes soon followed to take advantage of the new common rail injection design.

Prior to the release of the newly designed LB7, the Duramax was delivering 400+ lb-ft of torque. The revised 6.6L V-8 turbo diesel motor came along at the turn of the century featuring aluminum heads and 32 valves. With their high-pressure, common-rail, direct fuel injection mounted under the valve covers.

As the first attempt with the new injector design, one might imagine it had its bugs to squash. “GM tried it, and it was a great motor,” says Zelten. “But the injectors were not.” The remainder of the design however, was on track and began the ascent into better delivery of torque. The LB7 Duramax diesel delivered 235 hp @ 2700 RPM with 500 lb-ft of torque at 1600 RPM.

With the injectors as an issue, the next upgrades came along in 2004, with the new LLY completely replacing the LB7 by middle of the year. The redesign incorporated a revised valve design so the injectors had improved accessibility for repairs, in addition to a turbo redesign improving low-end response. A new exhaust design introduced the recirculation system into the GM motor providing a second burn of the carbons for improved emissions. “They added the VGT (variable-geometry turbo). It was a huge jump up for drivability,” says Dan. The cumulative revisions resulted in an improvement from the LB7 300 hp @ 3,100 rpm with 520 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm, to the LLY delivering 310 hp @ 3,000 rpm with 520 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm.

By 2006 GM had hit stride adding the six-speed Allison transmission. The Duramax LLY included additional improvements in torque, measuring approx. 605 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm.

The LBZ design replaced the LLY by 2007 delivering 360 hp @ 3,200 rpm with 650 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm. Dan says, “They enhanced a little bit more with an updated VGT turbo design, new piston design, and heads that could handle more pressure. That’s when they also began to choke them out with the emissions.” The redesign included improvements to the fuel system with higher-pressure levels through improved injector design. With improved fuel in, a larger EGR cooler setup was implemented to improve exhaust quality leaving the engine. Computerization was also introduced to improve power, efficiency, and emissions.

The LBZ was followed by the LMM, which was essentially the “same motor with more emissions,” says Zelten, “like the passive catalytic converter.” The LBZ added the diesel particulate filter (DPF) to capture up to 80% more soot. With the reduction of harmful particulates, the DPF side effects include reduced fuel economy, blockage within the DPF, and the risk of expensive repairs.

In 2011 the LML evolved next in the Duramax history, incorporating a total redesign. “They drastically beefed up the motor, cooling system, transmission and emissions,” says Zelten. The DMAX combination included new attention to the fuel allowing biodiesel as an option without risk to warranty. The fuel system itself incorporated new piezo-controlled injectors, an additional injector to help DPF regeneration, a cooler-bypass EGR system and a new SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system.

The LML also introduced the smart brake system to automatically begin slowing down a heavy-loaded vehicle without applying the brakes. By taking advantage of the downshifting through the gears, the RPMs increase in the motor providing more exhaust in the turbo, to therefore utilize an internal sliding nozzle to cause backpressure.

Zelten says, “The LML transmission design changed everything over to a control solenoid for better shifting and reduced slipping.” Dan also notes that the CP4 pumps could provide an expensive repair if not maintained properly.”

With the 2017 redesign from turbocharger to injectors, fuel pumps to cylinder heads, the present-day Duramax LP5 delivers approx. 445 hp @ 2,800 rpm with 910 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm from a stock diesel. It also includes enhanced security in the computer preventing the elimination of emissions components.

When asked of any common maintenance required across the entire line of Duramax models, Zelten says, “Protect your investment. Make sure you are running a fuel additive, and change your oil. If hauling a lot, make sure to change your transmission fluid. Do the regularly needed simple stuff that is going to make these engines live and last.

Zelten also advises that while good information is available online, there is too much bad information online that overpowers accuracy. “Talk to an educated person with expertise in diesel,” says Dan. “Don’t fall for the BS posts and comments. Some of the information I read is shocking. With proper knowledge and diagnosis, these trucks are fairly simple to work on. But work with an expert for both advice and repairs. Don’t guess – take it to a shop. You’ll pay far less in the long run.”

Whether stock or modified, for those interested in more towing capabilities and pushing or pulling a heavier load, the diesel truck, regardless of manufacturer,” says Zelten, “is going to be a more reliable vehicle delivering far better gas mileage with less engine and transmission strain.”

“You can’t beat the Allison transmission behind the Duramax. Hook 12,000 lbs. to a gas truck and the driver’s foot is most of the way in it,” says Zelten, “hook on to a diesel and the truck doesn’t even downshift out of overdrive.”


“I’ve never been a big pusher of additives until Hot Shot’s Secret came out.

I now tell everyone to trust in Hot Shot’s Secret additives. It’s the #1 product out there, that I have actually seen make a difference. I use the Hot Shot’s oil, additives, transmission fluid, everything. It’s the only stuff I use!

I’ve used competitor products and it doesn’t do anything. I’ve run other stuff that runs once. As soon as the tank empties, it goes right back to the same problems. Everybody says their stuff is great, and then it doesn’t work! It’s only their Marketing that works.

Hot Shot’s Secret gave me products to try, I won my race, and I bought-in the next race that HSS was in attendance. It actually works, I’ve seen it work and it’s been proven.

I’ve used Hot Shot’s through my semi that used to smoke like no other. I ran all the ‘Hot Shots’ through it and it doesn’t smoke anymore. It’s quieter, and the power is back.

I’ve seen guys out there experiencing better fuel mileage just by running the Everyday Diesel Treatment. I’ve seen injectors clean up with the Diesel Extreme.

I call it ‘Jesus Juice!’

My drag race truck is a Crew Cab short box with a stock LBZ motor pushing 600hp to the tires. We have put ours to the test and it should not be holding up to what we have been doing. We have a stock charger in the valley with a S475 over the stock, and spray a 250 shot worth of Nitrous at it. Our best run, before expectedly burning up a piston, was a 10.5 @ 132mph.”

Dan Zelten of Dan’s Service Center, Eagle River, WI

Avoid Failing a Big-Rig Emission Test

5 Tips to Avoid Failing a Big-Rig Emission Test

Just like your favorite holiday comes around every year, so does maybe one of your not-so-favorite government stipulations to drive a vehicle; the emissions test. And regardless if one feels it’s another governmental strong-arm, or a true help for the planet to keep the air we breathe a bit cleaner, the emissions test is a requirement where failing is not an option. On occasion however, failing does happen, and when it does, the vehicle owner is required to comply before legally able to move forward, both figuratively and literally.

Emission testing checks all of the onboard emissions systems from the EGR system, the diesel particulate filter system, and diesel exhaust and fluid system on the vehicle. Big-rig testing takes place with a “sniffer,” measuring the opacity output of the engine’s exhaust at the stack. The testing agency is also in search of any solvent-particular matter such as black smoke and soot being dispersed into the air.

The difference between a personal day-to-day car and a commercial diesel truck testing typically comes down to the differences in the fuel, with automotive spark ignitions running on gasoline and big-truck combustion based on compression-ignited diesel fuel. The testing practices for on-road diesel pickups are similar to that of the larger-duty trucks as well. Caleb Matzke of Matzke Diesel (Monroe, WI) notes that standardized enforcement is becoming more prevalent in the commercial logistics sector, in continued attempts to help keep our air cleaner. Matzke mentions that “with the massive amount of vehicles on the road, compliance in testing supports the same goals. We all live on the same planet and have to breathe the same air. It’s the only planet we have and the emissions produced, regardless of spark or compression ignited vehicles, can create a real hazard.” The issue came to light in the 1970s with continued attention ever since.

Matzke says, “with particulate matter and soot output over the years, well into the 1990’s, we witnessed the development of smog in many urban areas. Emissions testing is the process for us all to do our part, keeping our countries running, but doing so with a concentration on clean air.” With the standards and systems now in place, Caleb states “the reduction of solid output and the Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) from commercial diesel engines has been reduced by leaps and bounds. Today’s air consists of far less pollutants than where we would have been, without the proper systems in place.” For diesel-based manufacturers, the federal government mandated a tiered system of emissions control that started taking place in 1998, with adjustments along the way in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. Matzke says “post-2010 diesels are now rolling off the line with exhaust output virtually as clean as the air going in.”

With any mechanical system however, failures can happen, breakdowns can take place and especially for emissions, contaminants can be reintroduced back into the system causing a failed test and worse, a complete shutdown of your truck. Following are a few tips to help avoid the undesired issues:

  1. Check your soot output. If your truck is putting out black smoke, you may be in violation of overage in soot output. Matzke says an easy test is to wipe the stack. When you see a black fingerprint on your hand or a buildup of soot on the rag, there is something amiss in the  regeneration system, where the soot and carbons are incinerated.

  3. Be aware of your check engine light. Fuel systems are very “smart” in monitoring every piece of every operation in the system. When something goes wrong, addressing the alert on the dashboard as quickly as possible. Doing so can very often help reduce the pending magnitude of the issue.

  5. Take advantage of additives. Fuel and oil additives in diesel engines help reduce carbon emissions, rust and corrosion in the system, and improve savings at the pump. Matzke recommends the use of fuel system treatments for many of his customers. “We highly recommend the Hot Shot’s Secret Everyday Diesel Treatment to our customers,” he says. “We have also implemented at our shop, the addition of HSS additives at every service interval. With the lack of lubricity quality contained in today’s ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, we’ve seen HSS product provide a significant uptick in the lifespan of injectors and high-pressure pump systems. By adding product to help keep the upstream components in good shape, the results transfer downstream as well, so that emissions components such as the diesel particulate filter (DPF) and EGR systems remain in good shape too.”

  7. Follow recommended service schedules. Caleb states it’s one of the best ways to succeed in compliance with emissions regulations, and avoid unnecessary expenses and downtime. “For example, the filter and the oxidation catalyst will last a very long time when serviced properly. Keeping the components in check in the vehicle’s exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system provides a tremendous advantage in keeping your truck on the road.”

  9. Avoid idling time. In some areas it’s even a law to turn off the engine when not in operation. But even where it is not law, a diesel engine running at idle can cause hydrocarbon absorption (a composite of cordierite, silicon carbide, or metal fibers) in the DPF. Matzke explains “the filter and the oxidation canals will actually absorb the raw diesel fuel rather than it mixing, reacting and combusting to burn off the soot, creating a heavy load (failure) condition.

Matzke mentions in conclusion to “take the time to do these little things.” With the vast complexity in fuel systems, simply paying attention to your maintenance schedules and taking advantage of additives to help improve fuel system output, makes it’s far easier to pass routine emissions testing. And by doing so, adhering to the standards and systems in place can help improve the own/operator and the Fleet owner’s bottom line.

Caleb Matzke of Matzke Diesel says:

“We use the Hot Shot’s Secret fuel treatments in our daily service regiments. We also have several customers using the EDT.

We just had -32 degree temps a couple weeks ago and tested the winter treatment in quite a few customer vehicles that were gelling up, and we saw great results keeping those vehicles on the road. We had a variety of customers using competitive oils that were clogging up and too thick and heavy in the cold. They were having issues with their intake valve actuator systems so we also added the HSS FR3 as a reduction in oil operating temperature allowing an easier dry start.

I’m now running FR3 in all of my own diesels, from our 12-weld square body up to our L5p Duramax.”