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While General Motors and Ford drag their feet, Chrysler says "YES" to turbodiesels in half-ton trucks

It looks as though diesel mania is finally starting to catch on in the United States. Chrysler has confirmed that it will be offering a V6 turbodiesel in its Ram 1500 "consumer grade" pickup during the third quarter of 2013 according to USA Today.
 
The Big Three (Chrysler, Ford, GM) have long offered turbodiesel engines in their heavy-duty pickups, but have been reluctant to offer diesel power in their half-ton trucks due to concerns that Americans wouldn't pony up the money for a more fuel efficient engine (the 6.7 liter Cummins turbodiesel option on heavy-duty Ram pickups is a $7,795 option).
 
Auto enthusiasts have been craving a diesel engine in half-ton pickups for years, but the manufacturers have constantly pushed back. Chrysler, however, is finally listening to its customers.  "Customers have been emphatically asking for this, thirsting for it, craving it," said Fred Diaz, CEO of Chrysler's Ram division, citing internal studies.


Ram 1500
 
Unlike the diesel engine offered in heavy-duty versions of the Ram, Cummins won’t make this engine. Italian company VM Motori will instead manufacture the 3-liter V6 turbodiesel. The same engine will be available in the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and produces 240hp and 420 lb-ft of torque in that application.
 
For comparison, the 5.7-liter V8 Hemi available in the Ram 1500 produces 360hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, which is billed as a fuel-efficient and powerful option for the F-150, is rated at 365hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. However, it wouldn't be a stretch to state that the Ram 1500 turbodiesel should have no problem outclassing the EcoBoost in EPA and real world fuel economy.
 
Chrysler is currently staying mum on pricing/fuel economy for the turbo diesel engine option, but TrueCar.com expects the company to court an additional 10,000 in the first year of availability with continued growth in the coming years.

Updated 2/14/2013 @ 2:32pm EST
Chrysler has made an offiical announement on the light-duty turbodiesel.

Sources: USA Today, Chrysler



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RE: It's about time
By Bad-Karma on 2/14/2013 11:38:54 AM , Rating: 2
Traditionally diesel engines have 2 big considerations as to what light trucks they can go in.

The first is weight. To handle the extra compression and torque the blocks are usually made of extra thick cast iron. Which adds enormous amounts of weight to the engine. Also, a lot of the other components have to be beefed up as well to handle the constant stress, which further adds to the weight.

The other is the constant high torque they generate. Diesels have an incredibly short piston stroke which translate to huge torque numbers from the crank shaft. So you have to compensate the twisting effect on the chassis by using beefier frame members and suspension. If you don't you'll actually impart a twist to your frame. Watch a semi tractor under heavy load as they attempt to accelerate from a dead stop. You'll see the whole truck kneeling and lurching to one side as the frame tries to absorb all that low end torque.

So with the weight added by the engine and the need for a heavier duty frame and suspensions it quickly eats into your ability to put a diesel into the 1/2 ton truck weight class. And for a truck, those factor again detract from the Gross Vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)with trailer use.

The upside is that the diesel, with proper maintenance, usually has an incredibly long life compared to a gasoline engine. Many diesels are just getting broken in at the 100,000 mile point while many gassers are almost ready for the junk yard.


RE: It's about time
By CharlesBennett on 2/14/2013 11:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
Diesels don't produce "constant high torque". It's based on throttle position, load and rpm.

Diesels don't have incredibly "short piston strokes". As a matter of fact, it's just the opposite for most industrial diesels and the Cummins offered in the Dodge. Long stroke engine inherently produce more torque but are rpm limited.

Diesels don't put any more stress on a chassis than an equivalent output gasoline engine.


RE: It's about time
By Bad-Karma on 2/14/2013 12:22:00 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Diesels don't produce "constant high torque". It's based on throttle position, load and rpm.


A diesel operates in a very narrow RPM band. On a dynometer you'll also see that a diesel's torque is relatively flat across that band.

quote:
Diesels don't have incredibly "short piston strokes"...


Odd...I have IH,Cummins,PS,and Cat diesels in my vehicles, I do all my own repair work, and yes they are much shorter stoked than their gasser equivalents.

quote:
Diesels don't put any more stress on a chassis than an equivalent output gasoline engine.


Again, a diesels torque curve is relatively constant and flat over a very short RPM range, while a gas engine's maximum torque is only ever realized in a very small section inside its RPM.

A diesel can maintain it's torque numbers all day, while a gasser tends to destroy itself when operated at max torque too long.


RE: It's about time
By drycrust3 on 2/14/2013 2:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Odd...I have IH,Cummins,PS,and Cat diesels in my vehicles, I do all my own repair work, and yes they are much shorter stoked than their gasser equivalents.

Are these engines turbo charged?


RE: It's about time
By Bad-Karma on 2/14/2013 3:23:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Are these engines turbo charged?


The only one I have that isn't is an old Detroit Diesel that I've rebuilding to use as a generator.


RE: It's about time
By Argon18 on 2/14/2013 4:54:35 PM , Rating: 3
How does a gasser "destroy itself" when operating at max torque? Modern high performance gasoline engines, at least the ones from BMW and Porsche that I'm familiar with, use variable valve timing to give outstanding low end torque.

The M54 engine in my 2004 BMW 325i makes maximum torque at just 3500 rpm, which is incidentally also the speed of the engine when cruising on the highway in 5th gear.

Also, claiming a diesel operated in a "very narrow rpm band" is misleading as well. My w210 Mercedes turbodiesel has an engine redline of almost 6000 rpm. 6000! and I regularly run it up there. I understand most trucks are closer to 3500 rpm, but that's more a function of how that particular engine is tuned, not of diesel technology in general.

Agree that modern diesels are a superior technology, but assumptions, generalizations, and false statements don't help anyone.


RE: It's about time
By Dorkyman on 2/14/2013 5:58:00 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. There is nothing to say a gasoline ICE will "destroy itself" via torque any more than a diesel will.

Saying that, it is true that the design criteria are different. Diesels are expected to run for decades, gassers are designed to be inexpensive, light, and moderately long-lived.


RE: It's about time
By Bad-Karma on 2/17/2013 2:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, take your gasoline powered car down and put it on a dyno. Have it tested for its max torque curve. Then with numbers in hand, head down the high ay and hold it at max torque. Shouldn't have to hold it there more than 30 minutes before your engines blows or seizes. Usually it will be a piston rod that bends or fails.

Please don't forget to record the test.

Also, did I miss something? The article is talking about a 1/2 ton truck and the diesel intended for it. I'm not speaking to your BMW.


RE: It's about time
By Varun on 2/15/2013 1:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's great that you do your own engine work, but just FYI, diesel engines don't have short piston strokes. I'm not sure where you ever came up with that idea.

In fact, the Cummins 6.7 is an undersquare engine just like most diesel engines.
"4.21 inches bore (106.9 mm) and 4.88 inches (124.0 mm) stroke"

Gas engines certainly don't destroy themselves if used at max torque unless they are just poorly designed. A Diesel engine will normally last longer (assuming both are maintained well) due to several factors such as the fuel being a lubricant and the much lower RPM. The torque curve is there - it can be mostly flat on a lot of the newer turbo engines but that's a function of the turbo. If you don't believe me, here is the torque curve of a BMW N54 3.0L Gas engine:
http://www.n54tech.com/forums/attachment.php?attac...

Turbos give great torque curves.


RE: It's about time
By Skywalker123 on 2/17/2013 12:59:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Diesels don't have incredibly "short piston strokes"...

Odd...I have IH,Cummins,PS,and Cat diesels in my vehicles, I do all my own repair work, and yes they are much shorter stoked than their gasser equivalents.


Thats odd, the Caterpillar c9 u mention in another post is has a MUCH longer stroke than most engines,

In-line 6-Cylinder, 4-Stroke-Cycle Diesel
Bore — in (mm) .................... 4.53 (115)
Stroke — in (mm) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.87 (149)
Displacement — cu in (L). . . . . . . . . . . . . 567 (9.3)
Aspiration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turbocharged


RE: It's about time
By Bad-Karma on 2/17/2013 3:07:09 PM , Rating: 2
Irrelevant, The engine is much larger in proportion than what you'll find in light duty trucks. The greater size of the block and bore is proportional to the duration of the stroke.


RE: It's about time
By Skywalker123 on 2/17/2013 5:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Diesels have an incredibly short piston stroke which translate to huge torque numbers from the crank shaft.


This is your exact quote, the size of the diesel is IRRELEVANT give me ONE example of a short stroke diesel used in trucks of any kind. Also, i repeat, short strokes dont generate torque long strokes do.


RE: It's about time
By Dr of crap on 2/14/2013 12:39:43 PM , Rating: 3
Agree with alomst all of your post.

It's the car bodies that wear out, not the engines. I have two cars over 100,000 miles and going strong running like new, one at 185,000 and one at 173,000. And you'll find stories of people keeping they're cars longer now, and the engines are just fine.

Maybe you haven't owned a "gasser" in 40 years, but they last long for MOST people.


RE: It's about time
By Bad-Karma on 2/14/2013 1:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
Very true, but most people have a tendency to take care of the body and not the engine.

I've got a F750 Super Crewzer that I use to hall my 5th wheel camper around. It has a Caterpillar C9. I last tore it down for inspection at 500K miles and only had to replace the rings. Other general components have of course failed but nothing with the engine itself. It is now at 740K(ish)and going strong.

I have an IH T444E in my F550 that is approaching 400K.

I do happen to use by-pass filters on all my diesels to promote that kind of longevity.

So like I said, if treated right these big diesels will just be breaking in at 100K miles. Try that with a gas engine.


RE: It's about time
By Spuke on 2/14/2013 7:08:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So like I said, if treated right these big diesels will just be breaking in at 100K miles. Try that with a gas engine.
This isn't the 60's. There are gas engines that last well into the 300k mile range. It's not unheard of. My daily driver is at 116k miles, nothing wrong at all with the engine. Personally, I've never owned a car that I didn't keep at LEAST 100k miles and all were sold or traded for new or newer used one's. My old 92 Nissan Sentra was sold at 250k miles, the new owner kept the car two years and sold it to someone else.


RE: It's about time
By JediJeb on 2/14/2013 11:03:20 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 96 F150 with almost 240k miles on it, and the only engine work the 4.9L I6 has had done on it is replacing a water pump when it developed a pinhole in the tube to the heater core. I know several older models from the late 70s that have even more miles and still going strong that our neighbors own. My first vehicle in high school was a 71 F100 with a 302 V8 what had over 300k miles on it when my father bought it, it only died when the radiator got clogged and it over heated. Gas engines can last a very long time if taken care of, but for diesels I can attest they will last longer, but most of those are the larger ones. My uncle had his semi's Cummins overhauled for the third time and each time it had about 1M miles on it, last time was only 900K but close enough.


RE: It's about time
By Spuke on 2/15/2013 11:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
My uncle had his semi's Cummins overhauled for the third time and each time it had about 1M miles on it, last time was only 900K but close enough.
If the
"overhaul" was a rebuild, you can do that with gas engines too. I'm not trying to crap on you or anything BTW, I really want to know. I hear diesel owners say that all the time (I'm a diesel owner too) but no one I know keeps their diesels anywhere near 1M miles to take advantage of the supposed longevity. I know you were talking about a semi and they do run their engines into the ground but in my experience there's a LOT repairs in those 1M miles.


RE: It's about time
By JediJeb on 2/15/2013 11:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it was a rebuild, and I have done those on gas engines myself too, but usually they have to be done sooner with a gas than a diesel engine. Same was always true for farm tractor engines as well. As for my uncle's truck, they were putting about 6k miles per week on it so 1M miles comes up pretty soon(roughly one east coast to west coast trip each week). My Aunt and Uncle drove together so they only came home about every three weeks. This last time the compression was getting a little low so he had it rebuilt, but hadn't had any engine problems other than the loss of power from the wear. It is rather amazing what the combination of newer engines and lubricants does for longevity of the commercial engines.

My Father is a retired school bus mechanic, and he can attest to the greater longevity of the diesel engines for that usage as opposed to the gasoline engines they used to use.


RE: It's about time
By Wy White Wolf on 2/14/2013 12:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
Guess no one ever pointed that out to all the non US manufactures that have built millions of mid to small vehicles with diesels.

Isuzu put one in a compact truck that was sold in the US.


RE: It's about time
By JediJeb on 2/14/2013 11:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
Nissan also had a small diesel truck in the 80s. I am trying to remember who made the diesel that was in the Chevy Luv also. Ford offered a 2.0 diesel in the first few years of the Ranger too as did Jeep in the early Cherokee models from 85 up.


RE: It's about time
By Skywalker123 on 2/17/2013 12:50:41 AM , Rating: 2
As someone else mentioned diesel engines arent designed to be "incredibly short stroke" and short strokes are used in high rpm engines and long strokes are used to provide a lot of torque not short strokes


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