Be careful what you make illegal — no engine braking

Be careful what you make illegal — no engine braking

To the editor:

New Bremen used to have such a (No Engine Brake) sign on state Route 274, but they took it down. Everyday when I drove my diesel engine vehicle to work in New Bremen, I violated the law in slowing down to 45 mph.

You see, the software that controls the engine will engine brake when you let off the gas or touch the brake enough to trip the tail lights. You have no control over it; the software does it.

Diesels produce tremendous engine brake torque. It is a bit louder and probably no match for an 18-wheeler, but I sure don’t need a “Barney Fife-citizen” with a cellphone trying to report me for what I can’t control.

It engine brakes down through the nine gears in the automatic transmission all based on the software programmed in the vehicle. Hybrid vehicles will do the same thing as the regenerative brake to charge the battery for electric mode.

Please be careful what you make illegal!

I drive the highest mileage non-hybrid vehicle sold in America that has a 1.6L turbo diesel in my Chevy. That engine is now available in the 2018 Chevy Equinox as well as a 2.8L in the Colorado diesel pickup, and a 6.6L in the 3500HD diesel pickup. With automatics, they probably run very similar software, and a 6.6L would probably be much louder than my 1.6L.

Facts about diesel:

• Diesel is the only fuel that you can get more BTU’s of energy out of it than what it takes to make it.

• It is the highest energy density fuel you can run in a vehicle.

• 18-wheelers are not the only things that run diesel and engine brake; large diesel pickup trucks with heavy trailers can develop 300-brake horsepower with engine braking.

• It is an integral part of the braking system and can provide shorter stops. It also saves brakes and brake parts through lower temperature due to reduced load on the friction brakes.

Want to see the effect of reduced braking? Next time someone pulls out in front of you, only use the emergency/parking brake to try to stop your car. Probably 60 to 70 percent of the stopping force is in the front brakes that you won’t be using, and your results may not be what you want.

Bill McCroskey


Be careful what you make illegal — no engine braking