Saturday, October 30, 2004

New Engines, New Loyalties?

Being a diesel mechanic, I stay in somewhat tune to what's happening in the EPA and emissions world. After the 2004 spec was enforced, and a date was set for enforcement, Cat and Cummins started up a huge grudge match, bnoth saying that their engine was better than the other's Cat criticized Cummins for going cooled EGR, which would allow for cooler combustion chamber temperatures and lower NOx emissions, and Cummins criticized Cat for actually not being ready by the deadline and for selling engines after the noncompliance date, but to Cat's credit, Cat absorbed the penalties for such a folly, but in a slap to cummins, got their engines certified for 2004, and are well on track for 2007 emissions laws, contending that EGR equipped engines will not be able to pass 2007 emissions laws. While that remains to be seen, I am sure Cummins is scrambling to get their engines ready for the next wave of EPA over regulation. On the flip side, Paccar pulled an interesting maneuver. Paccar, in an attempt at integrating vertically, and doing a damn good job of it i might add(read: i am glad i bought the stock when i did), after purchasing Daf trucks in Eindhoven, Holland, had their engineers build a new engine to be built for the Euro 4 and 5 emissions, and also to be tested and used in the US market. Recently unveiled in the Hannover automotive show, here's the basic stats:

Paccar MX engine:

12.7 Liter engine
single head design with integrated intake manifold
High pressure fuel injection(Really high pressure)
integrated injection pump(bad idea)
4 valves per cylinder
two stage turbocharging
Power output:
410-560 HP
1475-2028 ft lbs.

Cat C15 engine:
15.2 Liter engine
Single head design with integrated intake manifold
Unit injector system
4 valves per cylinder
two stage turbocharging
Power output:
435-625 HP
1550-2050 ft lbs.

It seems as if the Cat C15 and the MX are quite evenly matched. consider these popints howver.
Paccar's engine was designed by Daf, I work for a dealership for Daf now, and while i do feel that Daf products are high quailty, there are major design flaws in their current XF engine, which stemmed from the XE. I understand flaws are normal and possible no matter what, but we replace head gaskets on a very regular basis, and the design is seriously flawed. I give Daf for working to rectify the issue, and have tried their best to do so, and have warrantied a large amount of head gasket work. The problem lies in this: going back to the drawing board to build a new engine, in stakes as these, may not be the best idea. The Cat C15's first design came out 20 years ago, and they've had that time to work out the kinks in the basic engine design. Also, Paccar will be offering this engine in their brands in the states for their US brands, namely, Peterbilt and Kenworth. while in Europe if you buy a Daf, or a Scania, or a Volvo, you get a Daf, Scania, or Volvo engine, and your choices depend on the power output you want. It's different in the US, where you can choose between Cat or Cummins, and have a huge range of engines to choose from, thanks to standardization for mountings, etc. Plus, the driver's are going to have a major brand loyalty, very big in the states. Very much like the difference between Ford and Chevy and Mopar nuts. I have the feeling that the Paccar engine will be received as well as some of the foreign car makers who try to muscle a die hard chevy fan off the road. they dont like it, and will fight like hell to avoid it. time will tell how it works out, and we're testing an MX engine with one of our customers here, but if the MX doesn't cath on in the states, price may be the only alternative to moving them, but they are not cheap to make. time will tell, though it is possible that fleet owners will go for them big time. we shall see

Update: Having thought more about it, the Paccar MX engine could very well be very attractive to fleets above 25 trucks, due to their higher fuel efficiency claims, and simpler design, especially if they employ their own techinicians, providing, of course, that the MX is competitively priced. otherwise,, it'll be the venerable Cummins engine for them. As for the owner operator, i think the MX will sell very poorly, as they will want the engine with more pulling power, the Cat C15, most of the time, and seeing as they don't work on them, they could care less as to what the technician has to deal with on orer to repair it, so long as it's repaired right, on time, and within budget. which brings up another point, i doubt the Paccar engine will be able to meet the prices of repair that Cat does, unless it is able to shift it's manufacturing facilites to a wider base, and produce them cheaper in foreign markets, like China and Mexico, and since there is a Kenworth plant in Mexico already, that may not be a bad idea. Right now, DAF parts are horrificly expensive. so that's my verdict.

Friday, October 29, 2004

New in town

Just started the blog, yer not gonna see much till tomorrow, but a little about myself, live in the UK, will talk about anything from health care, to credit cards to cars and pollution. Originally from CA, but moved to the chilly north of scotland to be with my wife. I have a few posts in mind, many will be from british sources, but also many from US. anyone is welcome o post, and any threatenign postrs or emails will most likely be published.