By on June 10, 2019

fca

The domestic pickup torque wars have flared up again. Following a brief period of dormancy that came after General Motors’ 3.0-liter Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six topped Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 by 20 foot-pounds (460 vs. 440), Fiat Chrysler has arrived on the scene to declare itself king of the hill.

For the 2020 model year, FCA’s EcoDiesel 3.0-liter diesel V6 returns, this time without the baggage and after-the-fact modifications ordered by the federal government. It also pulls harder than its competition.

After a model-year hiatus, the EcoDiesel will reappear in the Ram 1500 fold for 2020, this time generating 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. The previous-gen engine, which first appeared in 2014, made 240 hp and 420 lb-ft.

Despite endowing the 1500 line with fuel economy Ford and GM couldn’t match, that older version gave FCA quite a black eye. A scandal erupted in early 2017 over the automaker’s use of undeclared auxiliary emissions control devices, forcing FCA on the defensive. The EPA launched an investigation while the Department of Justice hit the automaker with a lawsuit, forcing it to settle for a sum far less than the penalty handed down to Volkswagen. While the automaker never admitted fault in the affair, it did clean up the engine’s act.

This new mill has undergone significant changes. Among them, a new water-cooled turbocharger with variable geometry turbine, redesigned cylinder head intake ports, an updated exhaust gas recirculation system, and redesigned fuel injector nozzles. FCA claims these and other changes boost the engine’s compression ratio to 16.5:1 (up from 16:1) and make for “superb fuel economy and minimal levels of noise, vibration and harshness.”

fca

“The new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is America’s most powerful half-ton diesel pickup, following up on Ram’s Heavy Duty torque leadership and achieving what no other manufacturer has, with up to 480 lb.-ft. of torque in a 3.0-liter engine,” said Ram boss Reid Bigland, who’s currently suing his employer, in a statement.

Fuel economy ratings for the new EcoDiesel pickup have not yet been released, though Ram hopes its efforts deliver another bragging right. Buyers will be able to pair the new EcoDiesel with Ram’s adjustable air suspension, further boosting economy of the fuel variety.

As it stands, there’s already two boasts — the aforementioned torque figure, and the engine’s ability to tow 12,560 pounds. The F-150’s max diesel tow rating is 11,400 pounds; the Silverado 1500’s is still unknown. Indeed, Ram can’t yet claim best-in-class towing with any certainty.

Interestingly, Ram plans to offer the new EcoDiesel not just on the second year of its new full-size pickups, but on 2019 versions of its older-generation 1500 Classic. All Ram 1500 trims can be had with a diesel, FCA claims, including the Rebel.

Pricing and fuel economy will land closer to the engine’s fourth-quarter on-sale date.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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26 Comments on “EcoDiesel, Part II: Fiat Chrysler’s New Light Duty Diesel Aims to Anger GM and Ford, not the EPA...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “All Ram 1500 trims can be had with a diesel”

    Kudos to FCA for not burying truck engine options behind trim-level paywalls like GM and Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I don’t think it’s fair to lump GM and Ford together in this, the only engine Ford limits is the 3.0L Powerstroke, and even that is becoming more widely available.

      The 5.0 and 3.5TT can both be had in a regular cab XL.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Well, once Ford actually does make the 3.0PS and the 3.5HO available on every trim they will earn the coveted ajla stamp of approval.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Fair, but GM’s sins with the 6.2L are 10x worse IMO.

          On the other hand, just this weekend my wife and I test drove a 6.2/10A equipped Suburban Premier Plus with $12,500 advertised off sticker before any negotiating. We aren’t buying anything any time soon, but I asked the salesman how long it had been on the lot to get a discount like that. He replied that they just got it in the day before.

          Some small part of me holds out hope that that means demand is softening, and the prescription will be wider 6.2 availability. Then I remember I’ve been hoping that for years and inexplicably they aren’t listening to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          GM’s sin isn’t the premium paywall, it’s how unapologetically non competitive they keep the cheap side of it.

          Put the 6200 in everything and they can paywall the LT4 all they want.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I hope they’ve improved the reliability of this engine. My friend’s ~2014 Ecodiesel was a nightmare, despite the compelling fuel economy for which he bought it.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      With the current state of US-spec diesel emissions equipment, I really don’t see a compelling reason to buy one at all. Pay a big chunk of change more up front (~$4k or so) for the privilege of paying a good bit more for fuel and to deal with headaches even in the first few years of ownership.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        I agree with both of you. You won’t find a bigger diesel disciple than myself, but I can’t understand the prior Tier-3 & and present Tier-4 mentality of burn-more-fuel-to-save-the-environment mentality. I don’t think I’d buy a 1/2-ton diesel from any of the Big Three right now.

        Ask any Class 8 truck driver and they’ll quickly tell you about sluggish engines, heavy fuel consumption, and limp mode. I’m just glad that I don’t depend on a Tier-4 dieseel vehicle to earn my living.

        • 0 avatar

          My neighbor was a heavy truck mechanic, the issues he had with trucks when they changed over was huge. I gather it’s getting better but the first few years netted him some large flat rate income.

      • 0 avatar

        Like emissions controls in the 70’s and 80’s, there seem to get better as the make more. But year the 2014-2016 eco diesels had serious issues the last couple years before the stop sale seem to fair better. Eco diesel’s don’t bring as much of the resale premium as diesels usually do thanks to the issues. I was running the numbers and here is your using regular gas to diesel the fuel costs are within 1-2 cents per mile versus efficiency. Gonna take a long time to pay that back.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Potential buyers might want to hold off and see if they’ve solved the cooling issues.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Wake me up when we can get this engine in a car – not interested in pickups or SUVs.

    This would make for an awesome hot-hatch, or an interesting take on a muscle/pony car.

  • avatar

    Only interesting item here is the large increase in tow capacity. Be interesting to see what kind of payload numbers you can get. If it’s decent your knocking on the Titan XD hauling numbers.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “Interestingly, Ram plans to offer the new EcoDiesel not just on the second year of its new full-size pickups, but on 2019 versions of its older-generation 1500 Classic.”

    FYI, the diesel V6 available in the 2019 1500 Classic is the previous gen II Ecodiesel.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    1994 7.3 liter Powerstroke: 210 hp, 425 lb-ft.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Pretty amazing progress. And the Ecodiesel will run better and cleaner, with higher fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s just basic Hot Rodding. Crank up the compression, turn up the boost, high pressure the fuel, etc. Impressive up to a point. Except you can’t beat on them and skip maintenance like the old school diesels.

        What you’ve got is a delicate instrument. And crazy expensive to fix when things go wrong. Oh boy! And that’s not accounting for emissions equipment. Forget about wrenching on it yourself, and you can’t afford the scan tools.

        But just because the power figures are similar, it doesn’t mean you can put this 3.0 engine, or any similar 3.0 into an HD, dually or medium duty application, like the old 7.3 PS, up to 40K lbs, although it would be fun to watch.

        Nor would it work putting a 1,000 lbs/ft 6.7 Cummins, or similar Duramax or Power Stroke into a Class 8, up to 80K lbs, even though on paper, their current power figures are equal to 12 liter commercial diesels of just a few years ago.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Yeah to be honest I’d much rather have that 7.3L Powerstroke with some mild/safe tuning. It would probably get about the same MPG as this ecodiesel, be more powerful, and vastly more reliable and less expensive to keep running.

          • 0 avatar

            I had several friends in the late 90’s and early 2000’s with 7.3 (original and power stroke) They were great. But the modern diesels do have better efficiency (well and power density) The old engines had a tough time cracking 20MPG compared to the new ones. They were way more efficient then the gas engines at the time but electronic controls did make them quite a bit more efficient. I know someone who actually did extensive testing on marine diesels and found common rail electronic controls did add 10% to 20% in efficiency.

            All that said yeah much rather have an old school diesel for long term ownership.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The 6.0 PS is the best of both worlds. Big power/economy and before emissions.

            Don’t believe the hype. Even commercial users that know what they’re buying are happily spending 2X what ’05 to ’07 PS 6.0 F-250s and up, currently “book” for, when they’re cosmetically and mechanically refurbished and bulletproofed.

            And they’re better in many ways compared to new 2019 replacements costing 2X as much (after rebates).

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      1999 7.3 liter Powerstroke: 235 hp, 500 lb-ft. Still running strong 20+ years after purchase, 277k miles, pulling 16k lb horse trailer on I-69, I-465, and I-65 each weekend. Repairs? 1 alternator @65k, clutch @105k, waterpump @125k, cam sensor (warranty/recall) @175k, three glowplug relays (last one is a lifetime unit!). Unloaded:20 – 21 mpg. Pulling 16k lb @ 65mph: 12 mpg. The only issue with the lower power/torque than current engines produce is the need to get the tow rolling by using granny-low to prevent burning the clutch. These newer tech diesels have nothing on the understressed 7.3 Powerstrokes or the pre-2010 Cummins I-6s excepting repair bills.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Can it be modified to roll enough coal to cover the rear half of the bed in soot? ‘Cuz around here, that’s why people buy diesels.


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