Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents -

Diesel news from the North Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Auto Show and high­lights from the Dakar Rally

We sto­ically braved the win­try Jan­uary cold and headed off to the North Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Auto Show (NAIAS) at the Cobo Cen­ter in Detroit, Michi­gan, psyched to talk to manufacturers about their re­cently an­nounced diesel engines. That meant an up­date from ram, more in­for­ma­tion from ford, and( hope­fully) both mazda and hyundai. we were taken to­tally by sur­prise, as were most re­porters, by Gen­eral Mo­tors' an­nounce­ment of an all­new 3.0-liter diesel en­gine for the all-new Sil­ver­ado.


At Ram, the le­gal bat­tles, while de­lay­ing some sales, had a pos­i­tive out­come. Ac­cord­ing to a Ram spokesper­son, “EPA mea­sure­ment method­ol­ogy changed. This af­fected the en­tire au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try, not only diesel engines...” In the case of the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel, its high­way-cy­cle rat­ing changed to 27 mpg, as an­tic­i­pated, from 28 mpg. City and com­bined-cy­cle rat­ings re­mained un­changed at 20 and 23, re­spec­tively. But “all three rat­ings were still best-in-class,” we were told. Since sum­mer, all Ram diesels for both light- and heavy-duty were/are cer­ti­fied for sale. (Heavy-duty diesels didn’t go un­der the ju­di­cial knife and were al­ways on sale.)

Ram did an­nounce an up­graded diesel en­gine for model year 2019, but there are zero de­tails avail­able as yet. That’s fu­ture prod­uct info that the com­pany is not yet dis­cussing, ac­cord­ing to our in­ter­nal con­tacts. We don’t ex­pect any de­tails un­til fall, but will scout the 2018 SAE show in April for in­for­ma­tion.

What was abun­dantly clear is they have an all-new Ram 1500 that re­de­fines the ul­tra-bold Ram front end. Like it or not, so­phis­ti­ca­tion has tamed the wild Ram, eas­ily ob­serv­able at the sleek front end with its chis­eled Ram’s head logo. It’s lighter, longer and wider. Along with the new look comes full LED Adap­tive Front light­ing (AFS) which in­cludes twin bi-func­tional pro­jec­tor head­lamps, fog lamps and tail lamps.

At their re­veal, Mike Man­ley, head of Ram brand, spoke about ca­pa­bil­ity and im­prove­ments, like the 225-pound weight sav­ings, a frame that’s 98 per­cent high-strength steel, and in­creased pay­load, now 2,300 pounds with 12,750-pound trailer tow ca­pa­bil­ity. Ram alone of­fers air sus­pen­sion and this con­tin­ues with a new gen­er­a­tion of bags. Also, Ram has switched to Fre­quency Re­sponse Damp­ing (FRD) shocks, some­thing we will in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther in the fu­ture.

Also new is the etorque mild hy­brid sys­tems fit­ted to Gen2 3.6-liter Pen­tas­tar V6s and the 5.7-liter HEMI. etorque uses a 48-volt bat­tery pack and belt-drive mo­tor-gen­er­a­tor to en­able stop/start and of­fer torque as­sist of up to 90 lb-ft. The mo­tor-gen­er­a­tor also en­ables re­gen­er­a­tion of brake en­ergy, as do all other hy­brids.

This should re­duce brake wear. Hope­fully, we’ll get to see the mild hy­brid ap­pli­ca­tion with the diesel en­gine as well in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture.

There’s also some fun to be had, like a 900-Watt Har­mon Kar­don 19-speaker, 10” sub­woofer, and ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion au­dio sys­tem said to be the most pow­er­ful in any pro­duc­tion pickup. It fea­tures a 12inch con­fig­urable touch­screen with Ram-spe­cific graph­ics and split-screen ca­pa­bil­ity, with a full 360-de­gree bird­s­eye view mode and new Sir­ius XM 360L per­son­al­ized lis­ten­ing.


Mazda of­fered noth­ing about its ex­cit­ing SKYACTIV-X gaso­line-diesel, nor its SKYACTIV-D diesel. They weren’t there. Later, talk­ing to our Mazda con­tacts, we learned a bit about the mo­tor. It will dis­place 2.2 liters and of­fer “torque equal to our SKYACTIV gas engines.” That puts out­put around 310 lb-ft, a re­spectable num­ber for haul­ing the kind of cargo Maz­das do, peo­ple and their stuff. Mazda prom­ises that we’ll know more as soon as SKYACTIV-D re­ceives CARB cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. And it will be avail­able in model year 2019. We ex­pect more news and de­tails well be­fore then.


Hyundai is also play­ing it close and quiet on their re­cently an­nounced diesel en­gine; at the ear­li­est, noth­ing about the mo­tor will be made avail­able un­til the New York Auto Show in April. How­ever, we think it likely their en­gine will be based on one of the diesels cur­rently of­fered in Europe—why rein­vent the wheel af­ter all?

In Europe, Hyundai of­fers diesels rang­ing from a 1.2L in­line 3-cylin­der to an 18-liter V8. We find the most likely can­di­dates to be their 3.0-liter V6—ev­ery­body else (Ford, GM, Ram) has a 3.0-liter fit­ted into their Santa Fe or Tuc­son crossovers. But they could sur­prise us with a fuel sip­per, like their tur­bocharged in­line 4-cylin­der diesels: a 182-hp/295 lb-ft 2.0L and a 197-hp/325 lb-ft 2.2L. Ei­ther could be a bet­ter, lighter, more fuel-ef­fi­cient fit for Tuc­son or Santa Fe as 295-325 torques is pretty darn good for get­ting off the line, pass­ing, or pulling a light trailer. Both of those engines are modern, with bal­ancer shaft, lad­der frame, lightweight up­pers, and piezo-elec­tric 1,800-bar com­mon-rail in­jec­tion. They do not, as used in Europe, cur­rently have SCR, which will be ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary for North Amer­i­can cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.


Chevro­let de­liv­ered its lat­est Sil­ver­ado lineup dur­ing a pre-show event held at Detroit’s East­ern Mar­ket. Against a back­drop of older Chevro­let light-duty trucks, Chevy brought out its new­est—and com­pletely re­designed—trucks while stress­ing Chevro­let’s 100-year his­tory and the dura­bil­ity and de­pend­abil­ity of Chevy trucks.

Af­ter the new LT Trail­boss was driven onto the stage (it’s a 2-inch fac­tory lift based off Z71, with lock­ing rear diff, skid plates, Ran­cho shocks, 18” wheels with Goodyear Du­ra­trac tires, and all of it fully war­ranted), Chevro­let’s global brand chief Alan Batey stressed three key points for truck buy­ers. One, they de­pend on trucks for more than trans­port; two, they want and de­mand com­fort; and three, they want the per­fect truck for them­selves. Hence a lineup of eight dis­tinct trim lev­els.

There are im­por­tant dif­fer­ences in the 2019 Sil­ver­ado that in­clude mixed ma­te­ri­als, which Mark Reuss, Ex­ec­u­tive VP of Gen­eral Mo­tors, says “is bet­ter than re­ly­ing on alu­minum.” For in­stance, there’s boxed steel and high-strength steels for light­ness and weight saving. Seven dif­fer­ent grades of steel are in­te­grated In the safety cage alone. “Swing” pan­els, like the hood and doors, are now alu­minum, as is the forged up­per SLA con­trol arm. Chevro­let re-en­gi­neered the bed, us­ing stronger steel, and in­creased width above the wheel wells to cre­ate an ad­di­tional 63 cu­bic feet of cargo vol­ume. The new truck is a bit longer over­all, by 41mm or 1.6 inches. More im­por­tant is the 100mm (3.9”) longer wheel­base that de­liv­ers more in­te­rior vol­ume, par­tic­u­larly for the rear seat pas­sen­gers.

But you wanted to know about engines, right? There are now six en­gine/trans­mis­sion com­bi­na­tions, start­ing with the 6.2-liter V8 and 5.3-liter V8 gas engines that now have cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion for 1-7 cylin­ders un­der all load con­di­tions. That’s new and sig­nif­i­cant. Noth­ing was said about the cur­rent 4.3L V6.

Now for the new diesel—we again spoke to Mike Siegrest, our source for GM diesel de­tails. Here is ev­ery­thing known to any­one out­side GM: “It’s a diesel. It’s a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel en­gine. It’s all-new. It’s an in­line 6-cylin­der en­gine. It will be man­u­fac­tured at Flint (Michi­gan) En­gine Op­er­a­tions. It will be a Du­ra­max.” Wow, we were speech­less. But that is all any­one at Gen­eral Mo­tors will, or can, say for now. How­ever, there are a few more de­tails we can re­veal.

Gen­eral Mo­tors has brought its soft­ware de­vel­op­ment in-house, so, as with the 1.6-liter we re­cently cov­ered, we ex­pect the ex­pe­ri­ence from Turin, Italy, GM’S cen­ter of ex­cel­lence in diesel engines was called upon dur­ing de­sign and engi­neer­ing. We’re also sure that the cal­i­bra­tion was done in North Amer­ica, as it was with the 6.6L, 2.8L, and 1.6L engines be­fore it.

We were able to talk in vague gen­er­al­i­ties about the en­gine. It was de­signed as an in­line en­gine since the even dis­tri­bu­tion of crank­shaft forces makes it in­her­ently smoother than a V6 or V8, which is an ad­van­tage. Think less ro­ta­tional mass at the crank­shaft and no re­quire­ment for a bal­ance shaft, among other ben­e­fits. We did learn that GM ex­pects the new mo­tor will have the best per­for­mance in the half-ton pickup seg­ment and be highly fuel ef­fi­cient. Note that the

new en­gine gives GM across-the-board diesels: Cruze, Colorado, Equinox, Ex­press van and Sil­ver­ado (for now only the 6.6L), with medium-duty trucks to be shown a few weeks af­ter the NAIAS.


Ford, on the other hand, had far more de­tails avail­able on its 3.0-liter diesel, slated now for F-150. ( And cer­tainly adapt­able to other ve­hi­cles!—ed.) We spoke first to Brian Bell, F-150 mar­ket­ing man­ager. “We've looked at the diesel busi­ness case sev­eral times since lightweight­ing F-150 in 2015, and the time was right,” he told UDBG. “A 3.0-liter diesel would be great for cus­tomers. It would give them power, econ­omy, ca­pa­bil­ity; we be­gan the en­gine pro­gram shortly af­ter the new F-150 launched.”

Fac­tored into the equa­tion were fuel prices. “It all started with the cus­tomer busi­ness case. Who are they, what are they go­ing to use the truck for, does it make sense for them? Ecoboost is a fan­tas­tic pow­er­train for our cus­tomers. It has tre­men­dous tow­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, lots of lowend torque. But, when we could put the smaller dis­place­ment diesel en­gine in, it made sense for our cus­tomers who tow or haul fre­quently. That’s who we see as our cus­tomers.”

Likely you al­ready know the specifics about power from the British-built mo­tor, an­nounced as 250 horse­power and 440 lb-ft of torque at 1700 rpm. Tow­ing ca­pac­ity is 11,400 pounds and pay­load ca­pac­ity is 2,020 pounds for twowheel-drive sin­gle-cab mod­els. “We're ex­pect­ing fuel econ­omy num­bers of 30 mpg high­way once EPA has com­pleted test­ing. The team feels very con­fi­dent,” Bell told us.

What you may not know is that like the 6.7 Power Stroke this is a Ford en­gi­neered, de- signed, and pro­duced pow­er­train. It’s an en­gine whose ar­chi­tec­ture has been well proven and built at Ford’s Da­gen­ham fa­cil­ity in the UK. How­ever, there’s been a lot of up­dates and engi­neer­ing changes for the North Amer­i­can cus­tomer. “We want the low-end torque,” Bell con­tin­ued. “We want truck’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties built-in.”

The new mill is bolted to Ford’s 10-speed trans­mis­sion, which launched in 2017. That trans­mis­sion fea­tures non-se­quen­tial shift­ing, so it’s smart enough to go to what­ever gear is needed. It has three over­drive gears and a rel­a­tively low first gear for good launch, even when tow­ing. It fea­tures di­rect-act­ing hy­draulic shift con­trol, with six for­ward un­der­drive gears, one di­rect-drive gear, as well as those over­drive gears.

Ford pre­dicts a take rate of about 5 per­cent for the diesel op­tion, as the pow­er­train is for a very spe­cific cus­tomer who will tow fre­quently, haul fre­quently, and is look­ing for diesel’s low- end torque and fuel econ­omy while work­ing. “That's their real ben­e­fit. In fact, over 75% of F-150 cus­tomers tow,” Bell said.

We have yet to dive as deeply into the new mo­tor as we will, but Terry Far­rell and Jim Mo­cio, chief pro­gram en­gi­neer and ve­hi­cle engi­neer­ing man­ager, helped us with the broad strokes. The block is Com­pacted Graphite Iron (CGI), and oil ca­pac­ity with fil­ter is 6.5 quarts (6.15 liters). The over­head cams are belt-driven, a sin­gle VGT turbo is used, and in­jec­tion pres­sures, de­liv­ered through piezo-elec­tric in­jec­tors, are fa­mil­iar at 29,000 psi. For the SCR sys­tem, it is ex­pected the DEF sys­tem will re­quire a re­fill ev­ery 7-8,000 miles and ca­pac­ity is 22.5 quarts. Far­rell noted that there is a gauge in one screen of the elec­tronic driver in­for­ma­tion clus­ter to pre­dict use.

For more in-depth in­for­ma­tion on all of these new prod­ucts from Chevro­let, Ford, and Ram, as well as Hyundai and Mazda, we’ll just have to wait. UDBG

Ram came to Detroit with all-new trucks. Their more so­phis­ti­cated ap­pear­ance is a step away from the bold­ness of the orig­i­nal and more in line with modern 1500 buy­ers. We know noth­ing about their new diesel other than we’ll see it in model year 2019.

Alan Batey, global chief of Chevro­let, touted the wide va­ri­ety of new Sil­ver­a­dos avail­able to suit ev­ery taste, from the Work Truck to the new RST street-per­for­mance look.

Ford’s 3.0-liter uses a ribbed tim­ing belt to drive and sync a pair of over­head cams. Like other engines in the class of modern diesels, Ford’s in­jec­tors func­tion at 29,000 psi, and the block is CGI or com­pacted graphite iron. CGI low­ers weight while in­creas­ing strength.

Ford’s in­jec­tion sys­tem, ven­dor yet un­known, sup­plies mul­ti­ple in­jec­tions. How many? We as­sume around seven me­chan­i­cal in­jec­tors and await con­fir­ma­tion. De­tails are few, but thanks to em­bed­ded sign­posts, we know the pis­tons are alu­minum al­loy. Cooled EGR is also used, but at what rate we’re still ex­plor­ing.

Terry Far­rell (left) and Jim Mo­cio, chief pro­gram en­gi­neer and ve­hi­cle engi­neer­ing man­ager, helped us un­der­stand the broad strokes of Ford’s new diesel.

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