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Effects from Elevation Changes

Old 03-12-2010, 05:51 PM
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Effects from Elevation Changes

I will be making a trip this April from the coast of NC to central Colorado. Im wondering what the effect of the change of elevation is going to have on my truck. Right now im at sea level and the place Im going to will put me in between 9,000-11,000 feet above sea level. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks in advance for any input. I really appreciate it!

-Tim-
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:59 PM
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Well I travel from Just below the southern tip of Alaska to Arizona and back 2 times a year thru god only knows how many mountain passes, and my 06 never misses a beat, and thats towing around 10,000 lbs so I wouldnt worry too much at all, just watch your EGT`s , good luck
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:00 PM
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Your engine will rattle a lot more above 8000 ft and you'll have less power. Both are normal. You have nothing to worry about.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:43 PM
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3 to 4 % power loss per 1000 feet for a given boost pressure.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:56 PM
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I live at 7K+ ft elevation, travel up to 10/11K ft elevation and tow heavy to those elevations ALL the time, about the most you will notice is your EGT's will be a little higher and it will take a little more go pedal to reach the boost you are used to. When I say a little, I really DO mean a little.

I also travel down to much lower elevations regularly, not much difference between running at high altitudes and say a 1200 ft altitude.

Now, if you were driving a gasser, there is a considerable amount of difference and a really bigger difference towing.

You should be just fine, nothing to worry about whatsoever.



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Old 03-12-2010, 11:51 PM
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You will have a much harder time getting used to the elevation change than your truck.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mjbarr99 View Post
You will have a much harder time getting used to the elevation change than your truck.
This is very true. I work at less than 100 ft elevation and gross over 19,000 when I pull over 8,500 ft. I really don't feel that big a difference in power as 95% of the places I go are uphill and the other 5% is about the same elevation I live at.

If you don't have an EGT guage, get one IMHO. I have a Westach Combo EGT/Boost gauge on the A pillar and back off the go pedal when I pass 1200*, this is my own set limit.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:58 AM
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Thanks alot for the help, everyone. I appreciate it!

-Tim-
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:54 AM
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My truck lives at 6000 - 7000 foot altitude. Many times I go down to sea level and back up and have never noticed any difference in performance. In my non-turbo car I notice a huge difference between sea level and 6000 feet altitude.
All turbos run out of breath at a given altitude and so will yours. Don't know what that is for your particular truck, but it is nothing to be concerned about.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:38 PM
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I live at about 6100 and have had my truck up over 14000. Still plenty of power up that high but egts rise quickly and it is very easy to bark the turbo. If your not going anyplace off the beaten path in Colorado you should be fine. Just watch backing off the throttle quickly if you are into it hard and have a great trip.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:50 PM
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A TD looses 1.2%/1k'. Craig
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by C Schomer View Post
A TD looses 1.2%/1k'. Craig
Based on what set of constants?
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by C Schomer View Post
A TD looses 1.2%/1k'. Craig


I have a couple different books that have some good reference data regarding turbos and elevational changes - that 1.2% loss is pretty much an engineering standard across the board in elevational changes. It is a very proven constant.

Corky Bell, author of Maximum Boost, also references that percent. I went to him for turbo/intercooler design when I was building my Miata for the track. He is about the most knowledgeable guy out there when it comes to turbos.

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Old 03-15-2010, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by CD in NM View Post
I have a couple different books that have some good reference data regarding turbos and elevational changes - that 1.2% loss is pretty much an engineering standard across the board in elevational changes. It is a very proven constant.

Corky Bell, author of Maximum Boost, also references that percent. I went to him for turbo/intercooler design when I was building my Miata for the track. He is about the most knowledgeable guy out there when it comes to turbos.

CD
There are lots of ways to slice and dice this and 1% here or there may be splitting hairs but 1.2% is a very exact number to a less than prefect mechanical beast.

From sea level to 10,000 feet you lose about 4.5 pounds of atmospheric pressure or about 30%, which is close but not a direct (1 to 1) effect on power output. With a turbo you can make most of this back up just by increasing the boost to compensate for the lost pressure but again it is not a direct effect as some will say you make the same power but are burning more fuel so you still have losses.

If you make 10 pounds of boost at sea level and you go to 10,000 feet and make 10 pounds of boost the total performance lose is between 3 and 4% per 1000 feet if you add 4 to 5 more pounds of boost at 10,000 feet you may have the same boost pressure but you will still have some drop in performance and this could be the 1.2% that is quoted.

Just asking for clarification on how the number came up.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CamperAndy View Post
3 to 4 % power loss per 1000 feet for a given boost pressure.
Dude, you argue about everything!
3-4% per 1000' is naturally aspirated engine power loss.
Rough #'s of course and no I don't have some irrefutable data to back it up, so don't ask.

I don't notice much, if any power gain going to low altitude with a TD. Gassers are like a whole new vehicle when you get out in the flatlands.
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