Talk'n Torque: I’m A Quitter

April 2017 Column, Feature Brady L. Kay

I’m sorry to disappoint every family member, teacher or coach who has ever encouraged me throughout my entire life to never quit. I apologize because I’ve reached that point where I feel I have no choice but to give up and officially go on record as a quitter. What am I quitting? I no longer believe in deleted trucks.

You could argue that nothing has been more controversial in our industry over the past few years than the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. It’s a part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 where the law appropriated funds to federal and state loan programs to either rebuild diesel-powered vehicle engines to more stringent emission standards or install emission reduction systems.

Translation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) basically came in and said, “Starting with all 2008 models, we’re going to rob you of your horsepower and make sure you get worse fuel economy from now on. Have a nice day, diesel truck owner. Sorry.”

Aftermarket companies took the crippling news two different ways. Some began developing legal products from day one to help counterbalance these restrictions, but the majority began to figure out a way to beat the system. It was always illegal from that day forward, but it became so common to delete these emission reduction systems that truck owners today still openly and freely admit they do it to gain back fuel economy and horsepower. I can’t say I blame anyone, even with the EPA threatening to take down your VIN if you’re caught and flag your truck as “race only.” If they did flag your truck it would then make it impossible for you to ever register it again. Whoa! 

This went on for a couple of years until major players like H&S Performance were slapped with a fine so large that it could wipe out a third world country. The whole time this was going on I saw this “problem” as someone else’s, but now that fight seems to be getting closer to home each day.

It’s becoming harder and harder to find these illegal aftermarket products, ahem, I mean that’s what I’ve been told by others of course, and in the big picture that’s probably a good thing. Plus shops could now be fined up to $10K per deleted truck, so if you like your local diesel shop, you won’t want to demand anything that could put them on the EPA’s hit list, right?

The risks have never been greater and the threats have never been more real for all of us, so as the editor of Diesel Tech I feel it’s time just to accept that these restrictions are here to stay. To fight the EPA is pointless and in the end could prove to be very costly.

It took a few years for more aftermarket companies to get onboard, but the good news is we do have a lot more answers today than we did a few years back when deleting a truck appeared to be the only answer. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m still not thrilled by the EPA’s decision and I don’t agree with it one bit, but you can still legally modify your truck and put up big horsepower numbers while improving your fuel economy on your daily driver. We’re so confident, in fact, that our upcoming project truck—a 2016 Duramax that will kick off in our magazine in a couple of months—is going to prove this with our completely one-hundred-percent-compliant build.

Yes, I’m a quitter, but as contradicting as it may sound I’m not giving up. Increased horsepower and improved fuel economy are two of the biggest reasons we modify our diesel trucks. This is where we need to be as an industry and by doing it legally we’ll have nothing to hide and everything to gain.








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