Author Topic: A Lugging Debate, Please...  (Read 5228 times)

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Offline Greg M.

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« on: August 10, 2008, 07:16:00 pm »
Seriously... Ok, maybe not a debate... just looking for your definitions or explanations...    Part A - Define lugging your engine... (yes, I know you're not supposed to do it).    But I'm wondering if some of you really experienced mechanics have a technical description of what lugging is? Or did we all learn our own version from Dad or a big brother, whomever... and it's just a feeling, and you know it, when you do it.    Part B - How about your Connie (or other m/c) what do you consider lugging your bike? And how much of it depends on: the load you're carrying, or the hill you're climbing?    Please register your 2 cents, or JMHO, etc. regarding this subject :)  
Greg M.  Newcastle, Wa.103

Offline Greg M.

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2008, 12:09:00 pm »
The reason I'm curious about this, is that lots of folks use this term when describing engine performance, or someone's driving or riding behavior. And it seems to me, their definitions are quite varied... so I'm looking to you all for opinions.    Ok, I'll start:   Part A - Lugging would be when you try to accelerate on flat terrain, or even maintain speed while going uphill... but if your rpm's are too low, than the increased throttle input doesn't give the desired result - That's lugging. True, or False?    Part B - On my Concours, with just me (200#) and no additional load... I can maintain speed, even traveling up and down rolling hills, and even speed up gradually, riding at between 3000 and 4000 rpm. I realize that this is not in the prime power band of the engine, but that's something else, right? And yes, if I have more load, or want to speed up really quick, I'll drop down a gear. But I would say, that I'm not lugging my engine, if I'm riding along at 3500rpm. True, or False?    Comments, clarifications... What say you all??  Thanks :)  
Greg M.  Newcastle, Wa.103

Offline Wizeguy

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2008, 12:55:00 pm »
Greg, I pretty much agree with your definitions.  And no, I don't believe cruising @ around 3.5K is lugging your motor.  Personally, I would stay more in the 4-5 range instead of 3-4, but I'll let those with some engineering or engine building background speak to the finer points of why.    Now if you're loaded down, you need to accelerate, and you give it full throttle from 3500...  well, I'd say you should be dropping down a gear for that.    In fact, I suppose that's the most accurate definition of "lugging" that I can think of - getting on the throttle below the engine's optimum range of power production.    I normally keeps the revs @ around 4K or higher.  In my mind, since this motor LOVES the higher range, if you're not vibrating your hands to death then why not keep the RPM up?    RPM = FUN  Mike B / Gig Harbor, WA  
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Offline S Smith

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2008, 01:11:00 pm »
Hmmm...  this was one of those things that I find hard to describe, but know what it is when it happens. I found these definitions that seem to fit...    * To cause (an engine, for example) to run poorly or hesitate. ie If you ride too slowly in higher gears, you'll lug the engine.    * To run poorly or hesitate because of strain. Used of an engine: The motor lugs on hills.      I think lugging on a m/c is definitely more affected by the weight carried and whether on a hill or not.       --  Steve Smith, #3184  COG Northest Area Director  (somewhere in south central CT)    If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space.  
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Offline Brett0769

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2008, 02:35:00 pm »
I'll chime in on this one. Lugging, to me, is trying to hard accelerate from low RPMs, which results in a lag as the engine tries to catch up to your demands. I don't experience noticeable lugging above 3500 RPM and do my very best never to be below that. I've found my best gas mileage occurs when I keep the tach below 4000, but of course, where's the fun in that? I've never had a problem with lugging due to load or terrain that didn't also include the RPM factor, a quick downshift will always correct it. I carry my g/f at times but that's more of an issue braking than accelerating, got to think ahead a bit. Connie's got plenty of power to pull us both at greater than lawful speeds.  '06 C10  AMA# 1019197  COG# 8229  CDA# 0267  <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brett0769/2739088475/" title="Connie 8-08 by Brett0769, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3245/2739088475_f0196924f5_t.jpg" width="100" height="75" alt="Connie 8-08" />[/url]
'06 C10  Brett Hatfield  AMA# 1019197  COG# 8229 (CDA# 0267)    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brett0769/2793453582/" title="Trip Home by Brett0769, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3223/2793453582_bba89ca959_t.jpg" width="100" height="75" alt="Trip Home" />[/url]

Offline Greg M.

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2008, 03:13:00 pm »
Cool, thanks guys!!! So yeah, then I am on about the same page as you 3 regarding this topic.  Other points of view about this???    And yes Mike (wizeguy) I agree RPM = FUN... and if you're going out for a FUN ride, the twisties, whatever, then do it for fun. Ya-hoo!!    But what about a daily commute on a boring highway with some traffic... or a long trip by yourself where you are in no hurry at all... (When adrenaline fun is no factor at all). Then, during that kinda ride, you might also be thinking, "Take it easy on my engine and optimize gas mileage."    Then it would make the most sense to cruise along between 3 and 4 grand, right? You're saving wear and tear on all your engine parts and getting better mpg's.  True, or False?  And you're not hurting anything right?  And yes, as said before, if you've got a steeper hill, or are carrying a load... you're gonna drop into the gear that'll get her done :)  
Greg M.  Newcastle, Wa.103

Offline Brett0769

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2008, 03:23:00 pm »
If it's a debate between running at 3-4k RPM and 4-5k RPM I think the wear and tear on your engine will be far more affected by the type of oil you're running and the frequency with which you change it. Gas mileage will be affected greatly though. On the highway, I find myself around 4000 RPM in 6th gear just because of the speed limit. But, whenever I'm in traffic, regardless of speed, I like to keep it at 4000 or higher so I can jump out of the way of stupid, which is always lurking, awaiting an opportunity to ambush me.   '06 C10  AMA# 1019197  COG# 8229  CDA# 0267  <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brett0769/2739088475/" title="Connie 8-08 by Brett0769, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3245/2739088475_f0196924f5_t.jpg" width="100" height="75" alt="Connie 8-08" />[/url]
'06 C10  Brett Hatfield  AMA# 1019197  COG# 8229 (CDA# 0267)    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brett0769/2793453582/" title="Trip Home by Brett0769, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3223/2793453582_bba89ca959_t.jpg" width="100" height="75" alt="Trip Home" />[/url]

Offline Greg M.

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2008, 04:01:00 pm »
Good point, And another reason I might run at 3500rpm instead of 4500rpm (all else being equal, boring hwy, commute, etc) besides mpg's... Is that there is less buzz, and that really affects me.    Anyway, thanks again, I was curious if my definition of "lugging an engine" was in line with most others, and it looks like it is.  
Greg M.  Newcastle, Wa.103

Offline norm-9688

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2008, 05:20:00 pm »
Oh NO Brett said OIL :gasp:  I agree with most, I run my bike around 3500-4000 RPM most the time but in traffic I will let it get down to 2000-2500. I think if you get to WOT and the bike is straining to pull then you are luggin the engine. I think the biggest effect will be lower MPG, its very unlikely that you could do any engine damage.  CT AAD  COG #7011-A  2003 Concours-Mary Ann  1995 Honda Nighthawk 750 wifes    

Offline rowmer1

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2008, 11:00:00 am »
As you all know the cylinders fire one at a time. In a "low rpm", "heavy load" situation the amount of time it takes between each cylinder to fire places an unusually heavy stress on the connecting rods,rod bearings, and crankshaft bearings. "Lugging" Not good for the motor! Downshift keep your rpm's up and your motor will thank you for it. Think of the team of Clydesdale's working together to pull that Beer Wagon around. All those horses  help each other and keep the load off of one horse. Did someone say "Beer"?    

Offline Steve in Sunny Fla

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2008, 07:26:00 pm »
 I know Norm is an experienced mechanic, but I disagree that lugging and engine won't cause serious engine damage. It can - and will. Lugging occurs at low rpm when the engine is being asked to deliver more torque than it makes, thereby effectively brake stalling the engine. At this point, cylinder pressure is very high, and oil pressure is low due to low rpms. Under this scenario, the pressure on the rod bearings is high on the top side, and the oil layer is easily squished out of the bearing clearance. The rod bearing contacts the crank, and all the bearing squish is pounded out of the bearing, setting up the bearing for a good spinning in the rod bore. Engines that are lugged or experience preignition / detonation will clearly show this An inspection of the bearings will show a polished top half with no squish tension, and an oil film around the backside of the bearing between the bearing and the rod. HTH, Steve   Shleper of the 7th gear unit and performance exhaust cam sprockets.       My bike - "SHOODABEN" - 1109cc's of what an 04 concours "shoodaben"!
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Offline norm-9688

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2008, 07:35:00 pm »
STEVE !!! Good to see ya over here !!  I agree with Steve that heavy lugging can cause the damage he outlines but I was not thinking that the OP was taking about luggin the engine to the point of stalling.  Steve is correct that heavy lugging of the engine could cause damage.  CT AAD  COG #7011-A  2003 Concours-Mary Ann  1995 Honda Nighthawk 750 wifes    

Offline Boburns

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2008, 09:21:00 am »
I think of lugging as just being too lazy to drop a gear or two when accelerating.     Some folks (who shall go nameless)are just whimsical enough when passing a cager to just leave the bike in its top gear and pass about the same way a cage would pass - smoothly, efficiently, and without warranting undue attention.    Others, when passing, choose to "make a statement" i.e., dump the bike into a lower gear, maybe even drop two gears, and blow by the said cager as though he was towing the Queen Mary. This can be fun.     No. It IS fun.     The space/time continuum warps, things become blurry, and you are reminded why the hell you bought transportation with a 1:5 horsepower to weight ratio to begin with.             Bob "Flylooper" Burns  COG #5887  E Clampus Vitus, YB#1  '04 FJR 1300  
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Offline raulb

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2008, 12:25:00 pm »
Riding or starting out in a gear higher than is needed.  Like starting out   in 2nd (OK, I know, good luck trying that on a Connie) or tooling around   in 6th when conditions require 3rd.    These are, I realize, pretty much covered by your own description.  raulb    2003 Connie  COG #6043  CDA #281  AMA #699463    "It may not be smart or correct, but   it's one of the things that make us   what we are."  --Red Green, "The New   Red Green Show"
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Offline Froggz

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2008, 10:35:00 pm »
Just in case we need to be reminded again:    The space/time continuum warps, things become blurry, and you are reminded why the hell you bought transportation with a 1:5 horsepower to weight ratio to begin with.    Thanks flylooper   :eg:    Claude / BC, Canada  COG #8173  2008 C14 aka Ribbit II    
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Offline Colt45

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2008, 10:09:00 pm »
Mack Trucks define lugging as any combination of load and RPM that prevents acceleration with full throttle.      That means a steep hill at 6k could qualify.  It also looks to agree with Steve's explanation.    
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Offline JohnnyLunchBox

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2008, 01:53:00 am »
I've been loyal to my Buell Uluysses in the past year or two.  What is this lugging you speak of?    Seriously, think of trying to start a ten speed bike in tenth gear, that's a lot of pressure on your "connecting rods"  
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Offline Rev Ryder

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2008, 11:16:00 am »
Lugging the engine is riding at any speed/rpm lower than you can get the turbo to spool at.  :eg:    Steve is right about potential for engine damage.  Have you ever had the rpm pretty low and rolled on some throttle only to hear the engine ping?  If so, you were DEFINITELY lugging the engine seriously.  At that point the engine is very susceptible to damage exactly as Steve described as well as any of the other damages that can result from detonation/pre-ignition.  This is about the hardest load you can put on an engine and it's occurring at a point where the engine is not at all prepared for heavy stress, namely when the oil pressure is minimal.  Good posts Steve and Rowmer1.        
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Offline David_Clancy_ON

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A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2008, 01:30:00 pm »
Its a Japanese 4 motor redlined at 10,500. Revs will not hurt it. Lugging can. Besides with a few more revs you have more throttle control. Riding a twisty road you can add or reduce power more controllably. I use 4,000 rpm min. on twisties. Cruising on the slab at 60mph or more put her in 6th and let the revs fall where they may.   A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what it was built for.
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Offline Tour1

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Re: A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2017, 11:22:03 pm »
Not sure how I got to this topic but my trucker family would call lugging when the engine gets too much gas at too low rpm, whatever that happens to be for your engine.  In addition to the bad things everybody else said would happen, lugging the engine can burn or melt holes in the pistons.  They are designed to absorb a limited amount of heat and the hotter they get the weaker the metal becomes as it almost melts.  I've seen holes melted in truck pistons.
when rpms are too high some parts may depart the normal path and exit through the cylinder block or crankcase.  I've seen that happen to outboards that got some air into the prop.
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Offline LSGiant

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Re: A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2017, 10:17:59 pm »
Holes being burned in pistons is caused by the engine running lean (to little fuel) or poor cylinder head or engine block cooling.
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Offline Wizeguy

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Re: A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2017, 10:31:36 pm »
Holy...thread...resurrection..........

It's bizarre to read something you don't recall writing, thinking you're finally losing it, and then realizing you wrote it 9 years ago.   :-\
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2017, 01:59:55 am »
Holes being burned in pistons is caused by the engine running lean (to little fuel) or poor cylinder head or engine block cooling.
... Or too much ignition timing (particularly at low RPMs) or too little valve overlap, etc.  Usually it is a combination of things any of which can singularly or in concert start the chain reaction of "too high cylinder pressures" that quickly escalate to damage or destruction. 
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Offline Tour1

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Re: A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2017, 03:12:42 am »
Holy...thread...resurrection..........

It's bizarre to read something you don't recall writing, thinking you're finally losing it, and then realizing you wrote it 9 years ago.   :-\
My bad... when I read new threads from oldest to newest I click the "previous" button and if there aren't any stickies it goes to the oldest topic still in the section.  I should have looked at the year.
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Offline Nosmo

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Re: A Lugging Debate, Please...
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2017, 03:50:40 pm »
Also, when the RPM's are very low, and you are demanding power from the engine, it is stil generating a lot of heat, but the water pump is spinning very slowly, not circulating coolant as muh as it should be, so overheating can become an issue.

When I was an aircraft mechanic, I had some customers who insisted on running their engines at lower-than-recommended RPM's, but with the propeller adjusted to a higher pitch, just like being in a higher gear, thinking this was like an over-drive that would save them fuel and engne wear.  Results were usually cylinder and ring problems early on (piston ring lands hammered out, upper cylinder walls worn), followed by the bottom-end problems as mentioned above, bearing and piston pin wear. 

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