Take a look at three new engines shipping out. We take great pride in building our own pallets, wrapping them in protective shrink wrap, supplying break-in instructions and nose loading them during transit.
Take a look at three new engines shipping out. We take great pride in building our own pallets, wrapping them in protective shrink wrap, supplying break-in instructions and nose loading them during transit.
Technology is progressing at an ever increasing rate. The future is now! It seems you can’t go a day without reading about robots, self driving cars or even the new Hyperloop projects which will transport people hundreds of miles in mere minutes. Many of those in the automotive and transportation sectors believe diesel engines best days are behind them. A team of scientists however believe there is still use left for the diesel engines in the world of tomorrow.
A team of researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland are working on a different fuel source for the engines known as Dimethyl Ether (DME). DME is a biofuel derived from methane. Methane is commonly captured from decomposing organic material, agriculture, waste and coal and reused as a fuel source. DME is viewed as a clean diesel fuel source and will be able to be used with existing diesel engines.
The problem with electric or hydrogen based engines is that every truck, bus or agriculture vehicle would have to replace or adapt its existing engine. This wouldn’t be the first massive change to diesel engine design. Manufactures were forced to re-engineer diesel engines with emissions abatement technology in the late 1990s. Fortunately, the EPA Tier Regulations first brought forth in 1994, offered a gradual approach to reducing emissions regulations over a period of 30 years, thus allowing manufactures time to perfect the technology. Older less efficient diesel engines currently in use were allowed to be grandfathered in.
The use of DME as a fuel source could be the solution the to the emissions problem without sacrificing horsepower, torque or costly maintenance repairs. The transition to DME would be fairly simple for manufacturers who will be able to adapt current technology of existing motors rather than design a new engine from scratch.
Diesel fuel has always had a bit of an image problem due to the emissions the engines create. Just recently China vowed to ban the use of diesel engines in the coming years. Europe is also on board with the UK and France introducing a plan to phase out both new diesel and gas engine manufacturing starting in the year 2040. India, not wanting to be left behind, announced they are committing $2 billion to developing second hand biofuels. All countries are looking towards alternative fuels as demand for energy grows and supply diminish.
Mr. Ahmed Osman, a scientist, working on the DME project at Queen’s University, stated, “Diesel fuel is finite and the world will eventually run out of oil and gas, quite possibly, by the second half of this century. As a result, there is a real need for clean renewable energy sources.”
DME produces virtually no toxins, unlike fossil fuels. The new fuel source is also incredibly easy to store and transport as its natural state is a gas much like propane. However, it can also be stored as liquid for filling stations. Mr. Ahmed believe that DME has limitless possibilities including a heating and cooking oil replacement, transportation fuel or used in mass quantities for power generation.
DME is not a new product but has been around for decades, mostly in use as a propellant. During the 1990s when CFCs were banned, DME gasses were uses as a suitable replacement in aerosol containers. Some countries such as Brazil, Egypt, Japan, Korea and Japan have used it for energy as well. There is no smoke or fumes with DME and can be produced from renewable sources such as food waste in landfills.
Nobody knows what the future will hold for diesel. Prolific diesel engine manufacturer, Cummins Inc., is hedging their bets by developing electric engine technology of their own. Just a few weeks ago they were the first company to introduce the very first electric powered semi-truck. While many companies are putting their money into electric powered research others are not quite ready to abandon diesel technology. US based Obreon Fuels is one such company that is banking its future on the diesel engine and DME.
President of Obreon Fuels, Rebecca Boudreaux, believes that diesel will be here to stay. She stated, “Compression engines are extremely powerful which is why they have been used around the world for a very long time. DME behaves just like diesel in these engines.” Where diesel has an advantage over gas or electric engines is the greater potential energy stored in the fuel. The more energy available for compression means the greater torque generated for pulling heavy loads. Diesel will always be the fuel of choice for fuel efficiency and trucking.
The commitment to alternative fuel sources has grown increasingly from a back burner idea just a few years ago to a full fledged movement within the automotive industry. The Big 3 Automakers have been tinkering around with alternative fuels for roughly 10-15 years but only now have the prototypes moved into actual production. Mack Trucks is one of the companies with eye on the future.
For over 100 years Mack has been producing “tough as nails” diesel engines and heavy duty off-road industrial equipment. Over that time period they have seen their fair share of changes in the market. Mack Trucks was acquired by Volvo in 2000 but still produces trucks in conjunction with Volvo. The company is enthusiastic about DME and began testing the fuel with Obreon Fuels this year. The companies partnered up with New York City’s Department of Sanitation to test DME fuel in its fleet of Mack Pinnacle Trucks. The data gathered will help the companies develop a fuel and engine that runs optimally for both on-road and off-road applications.
Director of Product Strategy at Mack Trucks, Roy Horton, believes diesel engines will be around for a long time and are excited about the use of the DME with existing technology. Mr. Horton stated, “Our long-term outlook on diesel is that it will still be around for many years to come, and regarding the engine development, we have proven that the engine technology is capable.”
DME is certainly an exciting opportunity for the diesel engine industry and only time will tell if this fuel source could be the next big thing for the industry.
Legendary diesel engine manufacturer, Cummins Inc., has unveiled a revolutionary electric powered semi-truck prototype. The declaration comes just weeks before Tesla’s anticipated announcement of their own electric tractor trailer. The Cummins electric semi-truck will be regarded as a Class 7 Heavy Duty Truck Cab with 140 kWh battery pack.
Cummins does not plan to get into the semi truck manufacturing market but rather sell their heavy duty electric engine to commercial fleets and municipal government markets. The new engine system is known as the AEOS Engine, named after Greek mythological hero, Helio’s favorite horse. The 18,000 lbs., AEOS Tractor Trailer is rated to haul a 22 ton load and will be fully available starting in 2019.
The new AEOS engine is designed for cartage transportation and has a 100 mile operating range. Cartage trucking mostly specializes in the distribution of freight in a radius around major metropolitan areas or shipping ports. Examples of Class 7 Trucks would be food or package delivery vehicles ie.. (UPS or Bread Trucks.)
The new engine is not suited for long-haul trucking due to its short battery life. The Cummins Semi-Truck will need to be re-charged after 100 miles and take 1 hour at any 140 kWh charging station. Cummins hopes to get the charging time down to 20 minutes by 2020. Also in 2020 Cummins will have an extended version available with a small diesel engine which will act as an on-board generator for the batteries. The new low emissions diesel hybrid will be able to go 300 miles between charges and offer 50% fuel savings compared to the diesel hybrids on the market today. The company is researching the viability of adding solar powers to the top of the truck to further produce energy on the fly.
Cummins is planning for the future of on-road trucking whatever that might be. Upper management at Cummins has always been forward thinking. Cummins CEO, Thomas Linebarger said, “There are more technologies coming into economic relevance than we’ve seen in my career, ever. This is what we do. We feel we do better when technologies are shifting.”
The company, first started by Clessie Cummins in 1919, has seen many changes throughout its 98 year history. Over the years the organization has overcome many roadblocks to success in its journey. The company embraced the shift from 2-Stroke to 4-Stroke diesel engines instead of going under. In recent years the industry leader has been a pioneer in environmental issues and diesel particulate after-treatment systems for all of its engines. Rival Caterpillar Inc. decided to exit the over-the-road trucking industry in 2010 after failing to adapt to changing emissions regulations.
Cummins enters an already crowded electric / self driving vehicle market dominated by Bosch, Google, Daimler, Tesla and dozens of others. Much like the large auto and diesel competition, Cummins has been working on this technology for around a decade now. Cummins believes its experience in the trucking industry gives it an edge over newer startups like Tesla.
Tesla however is banking that its propriety batteries will be considered as the “gold standard” in the electric engine industry. Tesla makes its own batteries at its gigantic factory in the Nevada desert. Elon Musk wants to be in the battery business and license or sell the technology to all other electric engine manufacturers for years to come. Still there is a steep learning curve in the trucking industry.
What Tesla and upstarts like Google lack is the knowledge of the trucking customer base. Linebarger stated, “Where Cummins has an edge, is in understanding our customer’s needs. We know that we cannot have one solution for everybody which is why Cummins will continue to provide a variety of power technologies — including electric, diesel, natural gas and future alternative fuels — for different applications. We need to make sure we have the right technology for the right application. Even if the electrified power train replaces the internal combustion engine completely, that’s still a 20- to 25-year transition period customers have to manage through. If we have good technology, they’ll want to buy it from us.”
Still the technology is in its infancy. A Class 8 electronic truck engine does not make practical sense at this time. An all-electric powertrain with current battery power technology does not meet the demands of the long-haul trucking industry. Batteries will only go 200-300 miles before needing to recharge. Even 20 minute recharging times are much too long for truck drivers on tight delivery schedules. A Cummins ISX diesel engine will go about 6 MPG and typically carry twin 150 gallon tanks. That means a Cummins diesel powered semi could go 1,800 miles without having to stop and fill up. If a long-haul trucker relied only on a pure battery powered vehicle they would have to stop every 2-3 hours to recharge vs. every 2-3 days running pure diesel. Factor in the current 1 hour re-charge time and lack of charging stations and you have a system that just doesn’t work. Electric engine technology is still unproven with regards to nominal torque rating, handing up steep grades, pulling large loads, operating in the cold and on the fly repair needs.
There are many companies out there trying to improve the battery life and safety of the lithium ion battery technology which has not essentially changed since its inception in the early 1970s. Over a battery’s lifespan the unit degrades increasingly over time with a rapid reduction in charge capacity, cycle life (full recharge) and stability due to chemical changes to the electrodes in the battery. A 2015 study done by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology found the battery life of a lithium ion battery varies greatly with 30% loss of charge after 3000 full recharge cycles for some units and 5000 full recharge cycles for others. The study also found that safety standards for some batteries were not consistent and that for large stationary batteries to be profitable that at least 3000 recharge cycles needed to be met. Still scientists are working hard to solve the battery life issue. Companies like Siemens are field testing eHighways which would consist of overhead wires to charge onboard batteries. The 150 year old technology, which was used to power electric trains and street cars, could get a new lease on life. The company stated that building out an overhead wire infrastructure could save $227 billion over the cost of producing more powerful hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Only time will tell what the future may hold for the electric engine in the over-the-road trucking industry. With the advent of change it forces a premium on faster pace adaption. Innovation and advancement are built on the rapid need to adapt to survive. Cummins seems to not only understand this concept but embrace it. Eventually, one of these newer companies will figure out a long lasting battery to harness great amounts of energy in a compact space. As technology progresses it will be up to the manufacturers, companies and ultimately the drivers to keep up with the changes. Those who do not adapt will go the way of the dinosaurs. Greek philosopher Heraclitus said it best, “All is flux, nothing stays still – there is nothing permanent except change.”
Each week here at Capital Reman is different in its own way. This week we shipped out 5 engines and had an awesome week production-wise. Everyone is working well as a team and it is really showing in the quality we are putting out the door. Our old pal Dennis Gordon did great in his new role as Director of Operations. Here are a few pictures of the guys in action. Thanks again to all of our loyal customers and vendors.
The Cummins N-14 is a great engine; quite possibly the best Cummins engine ever produced. These engines are the stuff dreams are made of if you’re an old school guy looking for reliability. No doubt, the N14 is part of “1,000,000 mile club”. The engine features the best of engineering fundamentals mixed with one of the first electronic control system. First designed in the late 1980s it was sent into full production in 1991. The N14 engine is the follow up to the vastly popular Cummins 855 Big Cam which was produced 1976-1985. Cummins listened to it customers and designed a more powerful version of the 855 while maintaining a similar profile and bore/stroke architecture. Overall, the biggest structural difference between the 855 and N14 is the air-to-air cooling system changes but both engines are very similar.
The N-14 was produced until 2001 and saw many changes over its 10+ year run for Cummins. The most radical change over the 855 was the incorporation of the electronic control module (ECM). Detroit Diesel rolled out the first commercial electronic diesel engine in 1987 with its ground breaking Series 60 Engine and Cummins followed suit. With the advent of the first EPA Tier emissions regulations in 1994 the future of diesel engines was going to be electronic diagnostics. The N14 Celect was the first Cummins engine to feature an electronic injection system. The Celect fuel system produces systematic pressure throughout each injection cycle unlike the common rail fuel system of the 855, or older M11 or L10 models. Albeit the injectors are still cam actuated the ECM controls the metered flow of fuel to the injectors. In 1997 Cummins introduced the N14 Celect Plus which further fine-tuned the ECM to control many more custom parameters of the fuel system.
In addition of an ECM the N14 was designed for emissions purposes to consume much less oil. The N14 diesel was engineered in a way where oil flow is much more uniform thus requiring the engine to consume about 20%-30% less oil than the Cummins 855. Engineers at Cummins also came up with new pistons that positioned the top ring much closer to the uppermost part of the piston. This new design reduced a large open space between the ring and the piston liner. By utilizing this space the combustion chamber moved closer to the top ring which meant the oil got much hotter and burned off more completely. In addition to internal changes, engineers also developed an API CF-4 and API CG-4 oil for the N14 that was much more thermally stable and easier to breakdown on a molecular level.
For all of the great aspects of the Cummins N14 its Achilles Heel has always been the injectors. The L10, M11 and N14 all have problems with injector failures and the surrounding electronics. The fuel system’s main components consists of the injectors, injector wiring harness and the ECM. A common occurrence will happen when, for example, when the ECM shows a 111 or 343 code in an N-14 Celect Plus model. This means the ECM isn’t grounded to the injector. Usually this starts out with only 1 injector shown to be malfunctioning but can quickly spread to others. If this happens you immediately want to shut down the engine.
These early electronic engines offered no protection against the wiring harness shortening out. There are 6 injector driver connections on the ECM which are attached to the injectors via a wiring harness. If an injector goes bad it is advised to pull out the wiring from the injector and replace immediately before the faulty wire burns up the ECM motherboard. Usually if you unplug # 1, 2, 3, or 4 injector drivers in time you can save the ECM/injectors. The wiring harnesses are known to have problems and are very expensive to replace.
Another issue with the N14 ECM is a faulty fuel solenoid. The solenoid is situated on the bottom of the ECM. If the solenoid shorts it will heat up the ECM slowly and can then destroy the entire fuel solenoid circuit, memory chip and the injector timing chip. Usually the solenoid gets so hot it melts the solder on the chips. For a 50 pin connection all it takes is one pin to loosen from the heat to destroy the ECM. It is recommended that drivers carry 1-2 extra injectors in the truck in case one goes out. Usually they go out in pairs which makes sense to carry 2 at all times.
• Injectors overfill with fuel and it overfills the crankcase
• Injector O-Rings will leak
• Misfires occurring due to a clogged filter screen on top of the injector pump
• Injector cup failures allow water in the fuel
• Over revving can cause scoring on the injector plunger barrel
• Oil Coolers are prone to clogging
• Fuel lines prone to fraying allowing debris into the injector
The type of fuel and additives used with the N-14 make a world of difference. Many fleet operators use Lucas oil additives or Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) Liquid Moly solutions. ATF additives prevent oil loss, helps protect and regenerate seals and rings, cleans out oil sludge, improves steering performance and helps protect the engine during shifting. Most operators will put in 1 quart of ATF per 100 gallons of fuel. However it is important to note ATF Fluid is red in nature and will show up as off-road fuel at most DOT Weight Stations. You could end up with some pretty big fines if you don’t have the proper documentation. Other preventative measures with the N-14 include using an alcohol based additive to kill off algae from newer blends of fuel. The algae in these various blends tends to eat through the older OEM fuel lines. If you use winter and summer blend diesel fuels make sure to use blends from a reputable supplier instead of some discount brand as the N-14 doesn’t do well with overly chemically blended fuels; the basic stuff will do just fine.
Even though the N14 has some injector issues make no mistake the N14 is a workhorse. This diesel engine has the power to get the job done, is easy to maintain and will last a long time. It is recommended that the oil filter, fuel filter and coolant filters all be replaced every 11,500 miles. The N-14 does not do well with cheaper filters that don’t further remove particulate matter. The early Cummins ISB series engines, (5.9 L and 6.7 L) were known to ship with cheaper less efficient filters which were also used in the early N-14 engines as well. Fleetguard or Donaldson makes a fine aftermarket filter for newer replacement purposes. Other than the fuel filters it is recommended that the valves be adjusted every 125,000 miles but a major overall should not be needed for 500,000 – 1,000,000 miles.
• Displacement: 14.0 Liter
• Bore: 5.5”, 140 mm
• Stroke: 6.0”, 152 mm
• Cylinders: 6 In-Line
• Fuel System: PT
• Horsepower: 310 – 525 HP @ 2100 RPM, 360 HP @ 1800 RPM Marine
• Power Rating: 231 – 391 kW standard, 269 kW Marine
• Aspiration: Turbocharged / Waterjacket Aftercooled / Naturally Aspirated Options
• Rating Type: Continuous
• Dry Weight: 2800 lbs., 1300 kg
• Dimensions: Length 59 in, 1496 mm, Width 33 in, 854 mm, Height 51 in, 1293 mm.
• Compression Ratio: 17:1
• Injector Firing Order: 1-5-3-6-2-4
• Valve Timing: A Mark Cylinder 1-6, B Mark Cylinder 5-2, C Mark Cylinder 3-4
• Clearances: Intake Valves: 14 thousands, Exhaust Valves: 27 thousands
• Emissions Certifications: Meets NOx requirements International Maritime Organization (IMO), Maripol 73/78 Annex VI Regulation 13 and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
More than 5 months ago the State of Colorado made history with the debut of the first self-driving tractor trailer test drive in the U.S. The test paired up infamous beer produce Budweiser with Uber Technologies. The tractor trailer was packed with 50,000 beers and drove successfully from Fort Collins, CO to Colorado Springs, CO a trip that encompassed over 120 miles. The journey was accompanied by the Highway Patrol and encountered no problems.
Technology is changing rapidly and currently there are no laws on the books in Colorado that address self-driving vehicles. The self-driving car is being created from the ground up as we speak. We potentially are on the brink of technology that will radically change the way we all live in the future.
Currently 14 states have legislation on the books with Nevada, California, Michigan and Arizona being the most prominent testing grounds for self-driving technology. Although every state in the nation has introduced proposals for autonomous vehicle legislation, few have enacted anything permanent. California has the strictest laws regarding self-driving vehicles. The state requires that companies publicly report crashes and disengagements, where the human driver takes over from the auto-pilot. Recently the state has proposed new legislation to finally move self-driving vehicles from testing to actual reality.
California is the hotbed of the self-driving cars with 27 companies all testing prototypes. The law also states that self-driving cars must be accompanied but a human driver behind the wheel at all times. This technology is a potential game changer. In addition to curbing traffic jams, it could save lives. There are approximately 3000 deaths per year in California due to traffic accidents; 90% are caused by human error. The technology has high hopes by making people more mobile, curbing gas and diesel emissions and boost the economy.
On Thursday, the Colorado Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony from people for and against Senate Bill 17-213. The bill was sponsored by Owen Hill and Dominick Moreno which outlines the framework to allow autonomous vehicles on Colorado roads as long as they obey state and federal laws. If the vehicles do not meet state and federal laws companies must coordinate with CDOT and the State Patrol to do any sort of testing on public roads.
Overall the level of optimism for the technology is high across the board. The US Department of Transportation is supporting the technology and announced plans for a nationwide software system called RoadX to curb congestion issues, reduce crashes and solve growth issues in cities and on highways. The aim is to have one software network that all companies can use. Every vehicle, regardless of manufacturer, would all be connected using the same maps and traffic data. Self-driving cars currently use GPS, lasers, sensors and cameras to determine traffic and road conditions.
Those who spoke against the bill included Charles Perko of EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel of Pueblo. He stated he once witnessed a colleague get serious injured in an accident involving a self-operated machine. He worries that accidents could increase if the technology continues to expand in the industrial and transportation sector. Kiersten Forseth, of the Colorado AFL-CIO represented commercial drivers, primarily over-the-road truckers. She was in favor of the technology and largely said the transportation industry is behind automation however she was worried about not having a “fail-safe” solution such as an experienced driver behind the wheel at all times.
Many others spoke about the future benefits such as Nathan Weathers of the Colorado Farm Bureau. He stated that he began using auto-pilot technology in 1998 on his tractor and never looked back. The auto-pilot features reduce fatigue and increases efficiently on large farms. Others, such as the Advocacy Denver, stated that the technology would help those with disabilities become much more independent.
Hal Lenox of General Motors Company attended the meeting on behalf of the company. He stated that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 94% of all traffic accidents in 2015 were the result of human error and that this technology would decrease accidents dramatically with both gas powered vehicles as well as over the road diesel engine vehicles. Mr. Lenox also spoke about how the law needs to change in Colorado for GM to explore further self-driving vehicle possibilities in Colorado. Currently all of the laws on the book are catered to human drivers behind the wheel.
A motion for an amendment to require a human backup driver in vehicles was recommended by Senator Nancy Todd but was ultimately rejected. The debate going forward is whether or not a “backup driver” will be required for testing purposes. Those who voted against the amendment stated that adding too many regulations at the beginning is not a good way to help this industry grow.
Senate Bill 17-213 passed with a 5-0 vote and will move on to a full hearing in the State Senate. Time will tell what the future may hold for the advent of self-driving technology in Colorado but it looks like things are moving in the right direction.
Capital Reman Exchange is proud to call Colorado our home. Based in the Mile High City, we call the Capitol City of Colorado our home, but ensure it is our client’s capital equipment and trust we strive to earn each and every day. We achieve trust through hands on ownership and an employee base that is second to none in skill and training.
Our modern facilities and equipment include our full machine shop and separate engine building departments. These facilities help keep Capital Reman Exchange a cut above the competition and allows us the flexibility to work with customers who are individual owners, fleet managers or anywhere on the spectrum.
We a certified AERA (Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association) machine shop. Our team of in-house diesel experts are qualified to assist you with:
- Remanufactured Diesel Engines
- Used Diesel Engines
- Camshafts and Followers
- Cylinder Heads
- Connecting Rods
- Rocker Assemblies
- Inframe and Overhaul Kits
We believe our consultative approach to solving diesel engine problems helps to craft the perfect solution to fit your specific application. Call us today, we would love to help you with all of your heavy duty engine needs!
All OEM manufacturer’s brand name, tradename, symbols or descriptions are for internal reference only. Any statement, website content, advertisement, literature or brochure should NOT be interpreted or implied as having any direct relationship with OEM manufacturers or their respective dealer network. Under no circumstance is any engine part or engine advertised by Capital Reman Exchange, LLC affiliated with any OEM manufacturers which includes but not limited to Caterpillar®, Cummins®, Detroit Diesel®, Mack®, John Deere®, Komatsu®, Waukesha®.