Diesel engine makers will have new features for their work on roads and bridges in the year 2000, even if it is an off year for required changes in exhaust emission controls.
While the Environmental Protection Agency, issuer of exhaust emissions rules, appears to be planning tighter controls on big truck diesels by 2004 or 2007, other matters were making the news when this years products were examined.
Right at the top of 2000 changes were diets for weighty diesels and improvements in electronic controls for the engines. Both moves were viewed as high in customer appeal because reduced weight cuts fuel consumption and better engine control can curb use at a time when gas prices seem to be rising steadily.
A forward march
Cummins Engine Co. could be at the head of the parade of improvements. The company said its ISM diesel has a new torque rating of 2100 rpm "for excellent driveability and outstanding acceleration." The ISM now delivers 10 times more power than the M11Plus that it replaced in the engine line.
Also relatively new from Cummins for the vocational market, which includes road and bridge projects, is the ISC engine, a 24-valve, in-line 6-cylinder turbo-charged diesel.
It combines "advanced electronic engine controls, high-pressure fuel injection and heavy-duty components."
Cummins also is advancing its new QSX15 diesel as an engine to excel in project work well into the 21st century. The engines life to overhaul was said to be 20% longer than that of the producers established N14Plus powerplant.
Caterpillars Truck Engine Division entered 2000 with its 14.6-liter C-15 and 15.8-liter C-16 diesels. Both engines were said to be built on the proven design platform of the 200-billion-mile Cat 3406 engine. The two engines "are the next step in the evolution of high horsepower Caterpillar truck engines," said David Semlow, Caterpillar truck division marketing manager. "These two engines provide dozens of enhanced features and offer the best overall value in the industry."
"Lighter, more reliable, quieter and more fuel efficient" are the traits that differentiate the two engines from their predecessors.
ADEM 2000 (Advanced Diesel Engine Management) provides an advanced processor, additional memory and enhanced compatibility with new vehicle technology to track the engines most crucial information, the producer said.
With horsepower ratings of 575 and 600, the C-16 tops the line of high horsepower engines from Caterpillar.
A new 530E HT engine leads diesel offerings of the International line this spring. It is a 530-cu-in., electronically controlled in-line six that turns out 330 hp and a peak torque of 535 ft lb, according to Scott Benjamin, national account manager.
"The engines are outstanding on exhaust emission suppression," he said. "Our lines advanced electronic controls enable the company to feel that it can already meet emission limits at least until the middle of this decade."
At Volvo Truck of North America, the C version of the lines 12-l diesel engine, introduced late in 1999, leads the firms power offerings. That ranking came from Frank Bio, director of marketing for Volvo power.
Internal engine changes that have reduced noise output, among other advances, are among chief improvements in Volvo offerings, he added.
If forthcoming emission rules call for the use of "clean" diesel fuel with a low sulfur content, Volvo could have a head start on the competition in meeting the regulation, according to Mike McReynolds, a product planner at the companys Greensboro, N.C., headquarters.
The fuel is undergoing emissions testing at the parent firms headquarters in Sweden.
Work with advanced electronics is a major effort in the firms labs in Greensboro.
Like most of the competition, Mack Trucks has made small, but important improvements in its diesels for 2000, according to Curt Hassinger, powertrain product marketing manager.
"We are working on weight reductions and electronic advances," he said, "but it is difficult to make major changes on a well developed product such as our engines."