The Half-Ton Diesel Race Is On

November 3rd, 2014 by admin

In the arena of half ton pickups, the challenge to manufacture the best-selling diesel truck is underway. Think long-term results, because this is more of a marathon than a sprint. So far, the Ram 1500 is first to market with Chevy and Nissan currently testing vehicles. Ford is on the way and developing a diesel amidst their seemingly endless tinkering with V8 and V6 engines.

Fuel economy is foremost on truck owners’ minds. “Owners are concerned about increasing fuel efficiency when they visit our store,” says 4 Wheel Parts sales associate David Lopez. “Cold air intakes get more cold air to the engine so they waste less gas and tonneau covers cut down on drag.” These are two of the items that truck owners are benefiting from to accomplish significant savings over the lifetimes of their vehicles.


Captivating Consumers

“The Nissan/Cummins Titan 5.0L V-8 turbo diesel is the one that consumers are the most intrigued by,” says truck enthusiast Chuck Prescott. Interestingly, Ram was first offered the V-8 option, but declined because of lingering questions about fuel economy. Ram had previously ushered in its cylinder deactivation system to increase fuel economy in gas engines. Nissan’s 2015 model will sport an engine block with compacted graphite iron (CGI) and aluminum cylinder heads that will shave off weight. Although in the developmental stage, the Titan will have more than 300 hp and torque in the mid-500 ft./lb. area.

Comparing Track Records

Ford has put a lot of effort into the EcoBoost turbo and has stepped up small diesel engine development in an effort to achieve the higher federally mandated fuel economy targets. Projections are for a gain in fuel economy by as much as 20 percent, but it remains to be seen if the diesel will help them with that goal.

Chevys are currently using a variable displacement fuel management system in the half-ton Silverado 1500 V8s. There are a few downsides of this system, including the loss of power during economy mode, its complexity, and overall effects on longevity of the engines.

Worldwide, Toyota diesels have earned a reputation for durability and longevity. “Toyota in the U.S. has a track record for building good trucks and adding the diesel engine makes for a winning combination,” says Prescott. Their Tundra scheduled to debut in 2016 will sport a 5.0-liter turbo-diesel V8 from Cummins.


Cummin on Strong

Cummins is the clear choice for a majority of manufacturers. They are developing smaller diesel engines that can be used in the emerging half ton pickup market. The Indiana-headquartered company has vowed to up fuel economy from 20 to 40 percent over gasoline engines for different applications. Cummins ambitiously announced that these engines could be viable options for other vehicles including motorhomes, school buses, and delivery vehicles.

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