Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents - Text: UDBG Staff / Photg­ra­phy: UDBG Staff & Courtesy of Red Bull

The Lat­est News from Around the In­dus­try

From a truck stand­point, par­tic­u­larly a diesel truck stand­point, the North Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Auto Show brought a mixed bag. Volk­swa­gen and its suite of brands in­clud­ing Audi and even Porsche are out of the diesel busi­ness in North Amer­ica, to no one’s sur­prise. Con­ver­sa­tions with Asian man­u­fac­tur­ers of some great diesel en­gines, for in­stance Honda and Hyundai, pro­duced the same “we see no point—at this point” com­ments as in years past. We think com­pet­i­tive forces might—and it’s a 5 per­cent chance, at most— push Honda to bring their Euro­pean diesel en­gine into North Amer­ica solely for the well-re­viewed Ridge­line pickup.

Good diesel-re­lated news did ar­rive from Ford, GM and Mazda. Ford spoke about its up­com­ing 3.0-liter Power Stroke en­gine, and GM de­liv­ered a 1.6L diesel pack­ing 137 SAE cer­ti­fied horse­power and 230 lb-ft of torque. (See an In­side Look into the new GM Diesel start­ing on page 44 for more de­tails on this new baby diesel.—ed.) Mazda of­fi­cially told us that Ul­ti­mate diesel builders guide is on a short list for first view of their Sky­ac­tiv diesel, com­ing “Real Soon.” So we said, “We as­sume a sim­i­lar en­gine to the orig­i­nal Sky­ac­tiv diesel, but with SCR.” Scarcely a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, but that’s the story. We’ve in­cluded what we think that en­gine will be like.


In Detroit, Ford sur­prised every at­tend­ing jour­nal­ist; they didn’t show any new prod­uct dur­ing their press con­fer­ence. In­stead they talked about the forth­com­ing 2020 Bronco and Ranger in 2019, both all-new prod­ucts. Then Ford semi-sur­prised us, an­nounc­ing a 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke diesel en­gine for F-150. We’re sure it will be sim­i­lar to the Range Rover V6, and built by Ford at their Da­gen­ham En­gine Plant in Es­sex, Eng­land. Ford, though re­leas­ing zero specifics, says the en­gine was de­signed and en­gi­neered in-house with all the test­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion done by and at Ford. We can only hope and spec­u­late that the Bronco and Ranger will also have diesel of­fer­ings ei­ther in the new 3.0L Power Stroke or the I5 3.2L Power Stroke diesel used in the Tran­sit van.

For an idea of what to ex­pect, JLR’S 3.0L diesel, the Td6 turbo V6, is rated at 254 horse­power and 444 lb-ft of torque. You’ll re­call Ford owned Jaguar Land Rover at one point and JLR’S en­gine evolves from a base­line, the Lion en­gine cre­ated in a part­ner­ship be­tween Peu­geot, Ford, and Rover. We think the Ford’s new mo­tor will de­liver very sim­i­lar power, as there’s not much more to pull out of three liters re­li­ably. To achieve bet­ter fuel econ­omy than the cur­rent V6 Eco­boost en­gine, the new Power Stroke diesel will be equipped with a new 10-speed trans­mis­sion Ford jointly de­vel­oped with GM. Then to fur­ther im­prove fuel econ­omy the trans­mis­sion, and all F-150s us­ing that trans­mis­sion, will have in­te­grated stop-start and an e-pump to keep the gears lu­bri­cated; that should pro­duce seam­less restarts.

That 10-speed is the first all-al­loy Ford gear­box. In all, two pounds were shaved off the new, slim­mer trans­mis­sion. There will be a Sport mode and, for tow­ing, an even smarter tow/haul mode. The trans­mis­sion’s logic con­trol uses “real-time-adap­tive shift-sched­ul­ing al­go­rithms that mon­i­tor more than a dozen pow­er­train and driver con­trol sig­nals,” ac­cord­ing to Ford. That’s to put you into the right gear every time.


Sky­ac­tiv, Mazda’s name for their lat­est gas and diesel pow­er­trains, de­buted in 2011. Wow! That’s six years since our ex­pec­ta­tion that the diesel would be available for 2012/2013 model CUVS. Ob­vi­ously they never ar­rived. De­spite im­pres­sive en­gi­neer­ing prow­ess they could not meet their stated goal of meet­ing Euro6 and USA Ti­er2bin5 emis­sions stan­dards and achieve in­ter­nal Mazda Zoom-zoom, fun-to-drive guide­lines with­out a NOX cat­a­lyst.

At the Chicago Auto Show we were told that the en­gine was fully ca­pa­ble of meet­ing EPA re­quire­ments, just that it wasn’t Zoom-zoom. Thus SCR and, we’re told, a down­stream se­condary NOX sen­sor sug­gested

by the EPA. Sources told us we should ex­pect out­put of around 300 lb-ft; that’s a chunk of torque. The en­gine will still dis­place around 2.2-liters and (we think) keep Mazda’s low-low 14:1 com­pres­sion ra­tio as they were close to their num­bers with­out NOX traps and SCR. Lately most diesel en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers have dropped the com­pres­sion ra­tio down from his­toric 22:1 or 18:1 to 16:1.

Mazda planned, at the launch event, to use in­jec­tion tim­ing to achieve clean­li­ness by ini­ti­at­ing ex­pan­sion, the power stroke, at dif­fer­ent part of the com­bus­tion cycle, af­ter Top Dead Cen­ter. The only way this is pos­si­ble is with mi­cro­pro­ces­sor-con­trolled mul­ti­ple fuel in­jec­tions, now com­mon for vir­tu­ally all in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines. Ac­cord­ing to Mazda, if you in­ject fuel at TDC the tem­per­a­ture and pres­sure are high. They say this of­ten means there is a lack of uni­for­mity in the fuel-air mix­ture. Any re­gional lack of oxy­gen in the com­bust­ing fuel-air mix cre­ates soot or par­tic­u­late mat­ter. By lowering the com­pres­sion ra­tio, tem­per­a­tures don’t rise as quickly (as fuel is burned) and there is more time for the fuel to mix with air. This re­lates not only to soot for­ma­tion but to ni­tro­gen ox­ide for­ma­tion (NOX) and an in­crease in fuel econ­omy.

Mazda says an­other factor, ex­pan­sion ra­tio, or the amount of work each pis­ton does on each ig­ni­tion-ex­pan­sion stroke, is hugely af­fected by com­pres­sion ra­tio. Mazda fig­ured that if they low­ered the com­pres­sion ra­tio and ig­nited at TDC the du­ra­tion of stroke that was used as the fuel burns and ex­pands would in­crease. Ac­cord­ing to their num­bers, their diesel gen­er­ates in-cylin­der pres­sures of 130 kg/cm2 ver­sus typ­i­cal 170 kg/cm2 or 1860 psi ver­sus 2430 psi and the length of stroke (and time) when ex­pan­sion pres­sure does work is greater than con­ven­tional diesel en­gines.

If you think about less pres­sure in the cylin­der, you’ll come to the same con­clu­sion Mazda en­gi­neers did: Less pres­sure in­side each cylin­der—and the whole en­gine—means the cylin­der block can be less ro­bust. Whoa! That leads to even more, as with less pres­sure every com­po­nent in the en­gine can be sub­tly less ro­bust with­out sac­ri­fic­ing dura­bil­ity. The 2.2-liter en­gine block is made of alu­minum and is 25 kg lighter (55 pounds) than their cur­rent diesel. Its alu­minum cylin­der head has thin­ner walls, an in­te­grated ex­haust man­i­fold, and saves 3 kg (6.6 pounds). Pistons are thin­ner and 25% lighter and the crank is 25% lighter with smaller jour­nals (52 mm ver­sus 60 mm).

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