Your Tax Dollars At Work… On A Four-Cylinder Truck Diesel

your tax dollars at work 8230 on a four cylinder truck diesel reports that you may not have to wait for Mahindra to work through its legal issues to get an efficient diesel-powered pickup, as the DOE has funded development of a four-cylinder Cummins diesel engine which is being demonstrated in a Nissan Titan. According to the report

Cummins refers to the engine by the codename “LA-4” with a 2.8-liter displacement (170 cubic inches). Initial power figures on the engine dyno have the mule test engine producing 350 pounds-feet of torque at around 1,800 rpm. A chart in the presentation shows targeted power levels to be approximately 220 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet.

The engine is likely a derivative of the four-cylinder ISF architecture that Cummins builds overseas, with 2.8-liter and 3.8-liter displacements. The overseas 3.8-liter is rated at 168 horsepower and 443 pounds-feet of torque…

To meet U.S. clean-diesel standards, the 2.8 would use diesel exhaust fluid to scrub nitrogen oxide emissions, like Ford and GM use today in their heavy-duty diesel pickups. It would also feature a so-called passive NOx storage system that would capture and hold NOx during cold starts, releasing the gas when temperatures rise to levels of max efficiency for DEF. The passive system would save fuel used today to jumpstart NOx scrubbing when the system is cold.

The upshot? 28 MPG combined, according to Given the discrepancy between EPA fuel economy numbers and the CAFE method, that means this engine could make a Titan (which gets 13/18 MPG EPA with its stock V8) more than compliant with the 2015 30 MPG truck standard. And because the DOE spent only $15m, this probably qualifies as one of the more promising government fuel-economy improvement programs in some time. After all, improving truck efficiency is one of the toughest aspects of CAFE compliance… and if a Titan can get nearly 30 MPG combined (about the same as current four-cylinder family sedans), the government’s $15m just bought it a crushing blow to the industry’s anti-CAFE carping.

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  • Sam P Sam P on May 20, 2011

    The 2.8 liter VM Motori CRD four in my folks' '06 Liberty is awesome. Great engine. Quiet for a diesel and 31-32 mpg at 65 mph in the 4300 pound Jeeplet. Now a Cummins this size in a pickup truck would just rule.

    • Tommy Boy Tommy Boy on May 20, 2011

      Ditto both comments on the Jeep Liberty CRD on this thread. I've a 2006, bought new -- the availability of the small diesel was the only reason I purchased the Jeep (otherwise I would have defaulted to a Japanese brand for quality purposes). When the EGR goes, I'm researching if I can unplug the MAP sensor to bypass it without having a constant CEL on (the Lost KJ web site has some discussion about this). No urea injection or DPF, I'm maintaining this thing at better than by the book to try to hold on to it for a long time, since it appears that future diesels are going to be emissions-imposed complexity, and thus maintenance as they get older, nightmares (not to mention accompanying declines in efficiency and fuel economy). Similar to what folks with complex hybrids are soon to discover as those vehicles are now starting to get up there.

  • Djoelt1 Djoelt1 on May 20, 2011

    To those who complain that the clean diesels are more complicated and less reliable than the old way: Sorry, but you can't store the soot from your diesel in my lungs any more. If it costs you more, too bad. That is entirely your problem. Every person from every political persuasion - and particularly libertarians - should love the fact that another externality has been eliminated from the market. Next up, you can't put the C02 from your car in the atmosphere without providing a means of removing an equal amount somewhere else at your cost. Done and lets move on.

  • FreedMike Kudos to Chris for making an uninteresting car interesting to read about.
  • FreedMike Alfa had its’ shot in this market, and it didn’t work out. Of course, based on Alfa’s horrid history of reliability record, scathing quality related reports like this one certainly didn’t help. Yes, the base models weren’t that bad, but this kind of atrocious press was the worst possible thing for a brand that got drummed out of this market over quality issues. Besides, Dodge is a LOT more viable in this market than Alfa Romeo. Let the Europeans have Alfas.
  • Dukeisduke That charging station in the picture looks like it's nailed to the back of an old utility pole and weather beaten chest of drawers. Lol, WTH?
  • Dukeisduke Corey, do you have links for some of those ads? I'd like to be able to zoom in on them.
  • Dukeisduke A free Model T Touring Car? Heck, I'd take one of those, even today. The ABC radio news ad has a few names I recognize - columnist Walter Winchell (he later narrated TV's "The Untouchables"), Drew Pearson, who was an accomplished journalist and writer, Dorothy Kilgallen, a columnist who later appeared on game shows in the '50s, like "What's My Line?", and Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons.