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How altitude affects diesel engine performance


Altitude affects the performance of all engines, this page provides some insight as to how.

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Altitude corrections for diesel engines

Essentially, the higher one goes the thinner is the air. If you go high enough a carbureted engine stops working, that's at about 4000 meters or 12,000 feet. Any higher than that you'll need fuel injection. Try climbing a hill at that altitude, and most of us will be puffing and panting after 50 meters or so.
So too diesel engines lose power with altitude.

image-power at altitude
Rough altitude power corrections
Detroit NA 2-Stroke engines:
  • 2.5% Reduction in power per 1000 ft
  • 0.8% Reduction in power per 100 m
4-Cycle Naturally aspirated engines:
  • 3% loss in power per 1000 ft
  • 1% loss in power per 100 m
All turbocharged engines
  • 1.5% loss in power per 1000 ft
  • 0.5% loss in power per 100 m

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