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August 2011 Direct Injection - Editorial

28-mpg Cummins-Powered Nissan Titan ½-ton

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As we were going to press with this issue, we received a document the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and Cummins just published on a new ½-ton diesel engine program—and we knew you’d want to hear about it! The 26-page presentation, titled ATP-LD; Cummins Next Generation Tier 2 Bin 2 Diesel Engine, outlines a project Cummins and the DOE began in October 2010 to develop a diesel engine that would offer a 40-percent fuel economy improvement compared to what the current V-8-powered ½-ton diesel pickups provide.

½-Ton Diesel Goals: 28 mpg, 220 hp, and 350 lb-ft
This $30 million project is to be jointly funded by Cummins and the DOE. The goal is to develop a lightweight diesel engine to meet Tier 2 Bin 2 emissions, while achieving high efficiency (28 mpg), with an acceptable amount of engine power (350 lb-ft)—and for a price truck buyers will be willing to pay.

The Nissan Connection
The interesting part of the project is that Cummins and the DOE have partnered with Nissan to develop the new powertrain using a ’10 Titan. While this could be a glimpse into Nissan’s future product plans (and we hope it is), you should keep in mind that the project isn’t scheduled to be completed till 2014. And by then, the Nissan Titan is slated for a total redo. Plus, this engine development project is being paid for by Cummins and American taxpayers—so it could end up in all kinds of future vehicles.

New Technology
The 28-mpg, 350-lb-ft ½-ton diesel engine program is based on a 2.8L common-rail four-cylinder engine that appears to share some technology (namely the aluminum cylinder head) with the as-yet-to-be-released 5.6L Cummins V-8 engine we told you about in the “New Cummins V-6 and V-8” (Dec. ’06) article. This new four-cylinder Cummins is all about power density and aims to produce as much torque as possible from as small an engine as possible for the best fuel economy and lowest cost. The engine will use steel pistons, a sheetmetal exhaust manifold (instead of cast iron), have the DPF and catalyst mounted directly on the engine, and feature dual-wall exhaust tubing to retain as much exhaust heat as possible so as not to require excessive amounts of fuel to initiate DPF regeneration. The engine was also designed around a forged crankshaft, which will be smaller and lighter than a comparable-strength cast-iron version.

And Then There’s the Radical Stuff
The Cummins and DOE report goes on to suggest that the engine will also employ variable-valve timing, premixed controlled compression ignition (PCCI), and that the intercooler and urea system will also be mounted right on the engine. But the part that really caught our eye was that the paper also alludes to a low-viscosity 0W-20 synthetic oil will likely be utilized.

Keep An Eye Out
The first prototype “mule” drive of the 2.8L Cummins-powered Nissan Titan pickup was in April 2011. By the time you read this, we expect there to be a few test trucks out on the open road undergoing evaluation. Keep your eyes peeled for these trucks in Indiana, Michigan, and California, and look for more details about this exciting new project in next month’s Diesel Power.

David Kennedy
David.Kennedy@sorc.com

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