In years gone by, diesel engines were known for their durability, longevity and strength. In short, they were great "workhorse" motors and typically used in commercial environments. Recently though, people are beginning to understand how (with a few modifications) these slumbering giants can become more performance oriented. If you want to wake your sleeping giant up a little bit, what can you do right now?

Piston Upgrades

To start off with, you can consider swapping out some of the internal engine parts to make a significant difference. For example, you can choose cast pistons which come in a variety of different configurations, according to your needs. These aftermarket pistons are made from cast aluminium, but they also have a steel insert for the compression ring and this provides a great deal of additional strength and durability for performance tuning.

If you really want a big boost, then you could consider a forged piston design. There are some caveats, however. While you will likely get greatly increased performance, you will need to take stock of the mileage that you do, as there's a certain amount of additional friction to take into account.

Con Rods

The connecting rods linked to the pistons are also an area for consideration. Here you can get aftermarket forged rods, which have nickel, chrome and vanadium added for additional performance. These are extremely durable and many will last a lifetime. Additionally, they can be reconditioned quite easily.

Crank and Cam

Standard crankshafts and camshafts can be upgraded, as well. Ask about specially designed crankshafts that have been designed for the type of enormous power required by offroading and performance climbing.

Remember that if you fit a performance camshaft, you will also need to alter the make-up of the valve train. Ordinary diesel engines were generally designed to run at low revolutions per minute, so get an aftermarket kit that can cope.

Other Parts

Finally, as you upgrade all the main engine parts, don't forget about connectors and ancillaries. Valve springs will have to be changed and with an increase in spring pressure, a larger diameter pushrod may be called for.

Getting What You Need

As you look at your options, don't forget to chat with your experienced parts supplier, so that you make sure you upgrade all the necessary parts at the same time. When you're finished, you will have an amazing amount of extra performance from your stock diesel engine.