Posted on November 9, 2016
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Review Showcases Durability and Great Fuel Economy
Diesel engines offer reliability, great fuel economy and superb durability, and Toronto and Mississauga drivers know that the 2017 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel is no exception. Although there is a lot of complexity and expense to developing a diesel engine, Fiat Chrysler Automobile with its partners VM Motori are the geniuses behind bringing the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel to market.
The Block is the Ecodiesel Engine’s Foundation
With almost every component connecting inside the engine to the block, it is the block that provides the foundation of the diesel engine. Engineers used compacted graphite iron when they designed the block due to its strength over traditional iron, enabling its reduction in size and weight.
Mike Cairns, Ram Truck Brands’ Chief Engineer, described how CGI blocks are now the norm. “Unlike diesels of the past that were really heavy, this Compacted Graphite Iron block is very efficient, but gets the structural requirements you need for a diesel. So, the engine actually weighs a little more than a Hemi engine but provides great diesel performance and fuel economy.” To strengthen the block further, VM Motori used a bedplate, adding eight additional bolts to hold it down.
Compared to a lot of 90 degree V diesel engines utilized currently, the design of the block is as a 60 degree V. Although it is narrower, this design achieves further weight reduction and a tighter package overall. To hold the cast iron rods, a crankshaft of forged 4140 steel was also designed, securing the rods to cast aluminum pistons.
The rotating assembly is light while remaining strong, and the keystone shape of the top of the piston rods’ sides keep it high-performing in acceleration as well as in fuel consumption.
Unique Ecodiesel Heads Save Weight and Helps Reduce Emissions
The dual overhead camshaft heads in the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel are the first ever to appear in a light duty diesel engine, and save a huge amount of weight due to being constructed from aluminum. Two intake and exhaust valves are featured on each cylinder. Roller-finger followers operate each valve by the camshaft’s single lobe. Individual bearing caps hold the assist in reducing the friction as well as the noise, harshness and vibration.
Just off the crankshaft is a timing chain that drives the exhaust camshaft. A gear to gear mesh allows the exhaust camshaft to drive the intake camshaft. The heads house the ceramic glow plugs that are low voltage, fuel injectors and valves. This goes a long way to helping start the Ecodiesel engine quickly with a low waiting time, as well as reduce emissions.
With a high fuel injection rate achieved with the Fiat proprietary MultiJet II system, fuel is delivered into the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel much more precisely which leads to cleaner emissions as well as much more power. Up to eight fuel-injection events are handled by servovalve injectors. As well, the engine employs a Bosch fuel pump that is high pressured and delivers 2,000 bar (20,000 psi approximately) in both fuel rails.
Also notably, the design of the Ecodiesel engine includes the ability to handle B-20, or biodiesel of up to 20 percent. As blends become offered more frequently by refineries, it won’t be unusual to see them offered at many stations. Right now, biodiesel is available in Canada but may not be as common as it will become.
The Ecodiesel Turbocharger Provides a Fast Boost and Great Fuel Economy
A modern diesel engine needs a modern, responsive turbocharger to create a fast boost that adds fuel in an instant. The responsive Ecodiesel turbocharger enables more low end power. It not only results in great fuel economy, but produces superb torque. A water cooler keeps the centre section of the turbocharger from allowing oil to coke, which keeps the charger durable and long-lasting. The cover of the compressor is also unique in the Ecodiesel, and it feeds the compressor wheel by turning from its location just behind the left side high pressure fuel rail.
The Ecodiesel is a Star When it Comes to Emissions Reduction
The Ecodiesel adds on EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation), DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid), DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) to take care of emissions reduction. Allowing the Ram 15O0 Ecodiesel to maintain its robust power, the Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank holds eight gallons and holds enough to go approximately 10,000 miles.
Although the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel is not a diesel of high power like the one ton or three quarter truck, it is certainly an indication of FCA going in the right direction with smaller displacement. Designed for a different environment, the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel that tows 9,200 pounds and gets 28 mpg will be performing highly on many different fronts over the coming years.