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How is lugging bad for motor?

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Old 10-02-2007, 10:34 PM   #1
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How is lugging bad for motor?

I have a pickup with a 22re and an 1150 gs motorcycle and used to own an air cooled Volkswagen and I heard multiple times, from multiple grizzly old wisemen that "lugging that motor is the best way to kill it. Those (enter brand name here) motors like to be wound up."
It doesn't sound like the motor likes to be lugged, so I don't lug it. But can someone explain exactly HOW it is hard on the motor?
Thanks...
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:36 PM   #2
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if I knew what that meant...ide help you out
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:55 PM   #3
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Sorry,
for those not familiar with the term, lugging does not mean carrying your motor on you back. It means running the motor at low rpms under load. For example, when going uphill in a gear too high, you are 'lugging' the motor.
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:07 PM   #4
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since VW are air cooled (the ones u were talking about) and the fan spins faster at higher RPM is cools better at higher RPMS...thats why i try not to lugg mine that much...

dont know if thats the only reason, or if luggin hurts internal parts though...
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:28 PM   #5
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you want to keep your engine at peak power going up hills, so somtimes its better to wind it up.

I have heard about lugging your engine too, it can also ruin your fuel economy.
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Old 10-03-2007, 04:40 AM   #6
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it does ruin your fuel economy.
edited for correctness lol.

I ran my runner in OD-off on the interstate, doing about 75mph at 5krpm for a good hour and a half. Fuel economy was TERRIBLE, but it ran great, and I beat the crap out of it wheeling it that afternoon.

Sometimes it's good to wind it up so you get good oiling in the valvetrain and higher components.....but I wouldn't do it all the time.
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Old 10-03-2007, 04:50 AM   #7
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Look at it this way, the engine pings the worst when under load at low rpms. It's harder on the engine just like its harder to ride a bicycle up hill in a high gear.
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Old 10-03-2007, 04:53 AM   #8
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The only thing i can think of anyone lugging on purpose is a Harley, and thats just to hear the sound of it.
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:19 AM   #9
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Aside from the pinging that can happen in some engines, the biggest issue with lugging is lack of oil pressure to float the bearings. If the engine is "chugging" due to low RPMs you are below idle and likely starving main bearings, etc... or oil when they are under load and need it most.

I should add, say 1500RPM or so when oil pressure is at the max you can load the engine all you want. If it is not pinging it's fine. Unless the knock sensor is retarding the timing to fight pinging, low (with oil pressure) RPM and high loads equal better fuel economy because less of the engine's work is going into making it spin. Unfortunately, many engines do try to ping down low so that does always work. It depends on the size of the engine Vs. weight of the vehicle. It works great for diesels and sufficient large gas engines. (not 3.0's and 2.4's in built 4runners)

Frank

Last edited by elripster; 10-03-2007 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:40 AM   #10
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Lugging an engine is hard on all the internal components. However, the place where it usually has the most impact is the rod bearings. Frequently lugging an engine will cause wear at the top of the bearing, slowly making it oval. Similarly, over-reving causes wear at the bottom. Ideally, one should always run the engine in its proper RPM range for a given load.
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:59 PM   #11
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Thanks JackKnife, ElRipster and others. The fan makes sense in the Volkswagen and the oil pressure and oil distribution ideas seem to make sense also. I still can't really get my head around why rod bearings would wear on one end from lugging and on the other from high revving, though that is probably due to my own lack of understanding/experience with engines.
And just to be clear, I am not really talking about lugging to the point of hearing rattles (below idle) and my pickup doesn't seem too prone to pinging. More like climbing a steady incline in 5th and waiting to down-shift instead of downshifting at the first signs of slowing down.
Or short-shifting around town instead of running the motor through a fuller rpm range. Thanks for the replies
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Old 10-05-2007, 03:25 AM   #12
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Frank is correct but the engine is not detonating (gas pinging) when you lug a motor. What you are hearing is the rods and crank loosing its oil wedge and actually have metal to metal contact with the bearings that is why it can kill your engine. You will not have this problem on an automatic trans since it will downshift for you.

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Old 10-05-2007, 04:12 AM   #13
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In addition to all the above problems, the high piston/crank forces created by lugging the engine tend to press the oil film out of the bearings giving you metal to metal contact. Ouch!
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:55 AM   #14
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In addition to all the above problems, the high piston/crank forces created by lugging the engine tend to press the oil film out of the bearings giving you metal to metal contact. Ouch!
I had a friend who owned an 86 Celica who always lugged the motor. It had the 22RE in it with over 225k miles on it. The motor never did die but the car rotted out. Still I do not understand how all the second gear start offs didn't make a bearing go bad.

James
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