Electronics with Diesel engines!.

Submitted: Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 19:36
ThreadID: 104503 Views:3058 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
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Apart from things going wrong when your away from a diagnostic machine, its very noticeable that the modern diesel certainly blows less smoke than the oldies, and that has carried through all aspects of motors from cars, 4bys, trucks.,earthmoving equipment...I followed two vehicles to-day that made me think about this , one was a early model R600 mack tipper pulling a dog trailer, the other a early model landcruiser ute, both nearly blocked out the sun with smoke..lol...I remember the early benz diesel cars where capable of 500,000trouble free ks, but that black soot all over the back of them!.. you don't see much coming out of a modern diesel these days , I guess electronics have proven themselves in this regard, irrespect of what reliability probs might be out there.

Cheers Axle.

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Reply By: Ross M - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 20:12

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 20:12
All the modern stuff is controlled so the amount of injected fuel with the know level of boost means a far cleaner burn which couldn't be always factored in with the earlier stuff.

If when pulling an old diesel is blowing lots of smoke, then it hasn't been very well maintained or tuned in the first place. they should have a reasonably clean running point and should be adjusted so overfuelling isn't going to occur.

You might have been following two of the worst examples of negative maintenance.
AnswerID: 518824

Follow Up By: Axle - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 20:32

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 20:32
G/Day Ross, Yes I reckon your right, but whats still very noticeable out there on the road is the difference between the clean running point of a good oldie and the newies, One blows smoke the other doesn't...lol,, a good thing I guess!

Cheers Axle.
FollowupID: 798748

Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 20:50

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 20:50
Axle - I've seen lots of late model diesel cars and utes blowing out lots of black smoke - thus showing, that despite all the new fancy electronic controls on diesels, they still do smoke.
The problem is that todays diesels are so cluttered with highly complex injection systems - vast amounts of wiring, CAN bus with ECM's and BCM's, sensors and connectors - highly complex dual or variable vane turbos - diesel fuel particulate filters - and exhaust gas recirculation systems - that all this stuff needs serious protection from dirt, dust, and rough treatment - and it needs regular and constant maintainence to keep it all functioning as designed.

I think we have gained a slight increase in air quality and a small improvement in fuel consumption - all at the cost of horrendous complexity, increased maintenance costs and a shorter overall vehicle life.

If you chose between a non-electronic old Troopy and a new fulllly electronic Troopy - I reckon I know which one will still be going with low maintenance costs after 400,000kms of bashing around the North of Australia and regularly doing creek crossings up to the window sills!

That smokey, simple old Mack will still be cranking up every morning in 2030, unless the cab falls off with rust!

Modern vehicles don't wear out any more - they die an electronic death. Some major electronic part will crap itself at 300,000kms, and it costs more than the vehicle is now worth to replace.

I'm waiting for the new Troopy with the fully sealed bonnet and the sticker that says "no user-servicable parts inside"!
If the new Troopy craps itself under warranty, you'll take it back and they'll bin the whole car and give you a complete new one - just like a Chinese toaster! LOL

AnswerID: 518829

Follow Up By: 08crd - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 22:03

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 22:03
That post is so true, however I grew up with grey motors, red motors, slant motors, HP179's, 4 bolt 350's.
None of them can shine a light on these new motors, 300,000k's is now the norm before a rebuild.
In the 'good old days' 160,000 k's was the norm.
Having said that, give me a 265 hemi with triple webers or a 149 grey with a 1/4" of the head and triple SU's,any day.lol
The heart over rides the brain every time.
FollowupID: 798753

Follow Up By: Road Warrior - Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 22:09

Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 22:09
My Territory diesel can smoke quite a bit, but usually only when I give it a bootfull. I call it a factory fitted Tailgater Mitigation System.

As for the longevity, yes the elecdickery in modern cars may well be a limiting factor but you have to admit these modern diesels are pretty good. 440nm out of only 2.7 litres in a 2 tonne car returning 9.0 litres/100 in the city, colour me happy.
FollowupID: 798754

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 09:29

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 09:29
All diesels will blow smoke, it's the amount and for how long for that differs....... diesel has a very poor burn rate compared with other fuels, the only way to get it to burn better is change the design of diesel or add a burning aid like LPG.

You will find a CRD will blow smoke when under load for a few seconds at the most compared with the old dinosaur diesels that would keep on blowing smoke.

Euro 5 blow less smoke and the soon to be introduced Euro 6 will blow less again and with a clean exhaust pipe.

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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:43

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:43
It is not just the advances in electronic engine management systems that has improved the amount of black smoke exhausted by a diesel engine but also improvements in exhaust systems. I believe that all vehicles built to Euro 5 or newer standards are fitted with both a catalytic converter and a diesel particulate filter (my 2008 auto D40 Navara is a case in point). The design of DPFs is also improving so we should get to a situation in the not too distant future where engineering improvements will have diesels running cleaner than petrol engines. Of course if the vehicle is not maintained properly then all this will be for nought.
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 00:23

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 00:23
HJ47 runs just fine if it's well maintained. Blows a bit of smoke when you start it up, but once warm, settles down nicely.
AnswerID: 518841

Follow Up By: Mudripper - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 12:12

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 12:12
Same here with my 1983 HJ47 Troopy!
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Reply By: Rockape - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 05:31

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 05:31
from my point of view, there has been a huge change in smoke since the use of electronic engines.

This is really evident in an underground mine. A couple of simple examples are at a crosscut where trucks are loaded, if you handled on any of the services you were instantly black from diesel soot. If it got any your face, your skin would burn. In areas where there was low ventilation and a lot of activity from boggers and trucks, you often had trouble seeing and breathing. Many of the open cab boggers had medi-air bottles and masks so you could breath.

Since the use of electronics on diesel engines this has all stopped. No soot on the backs, or burning eyes, now you can actually see where you are going.

The engines are very reliable when it comes to the electronics, even though they are operating in a very unfriendly environment of corrosive water, mud and lots of dust.

AnswerID: 518843

Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 12:56

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 12:56
just thought I would show a photo of a near new non electronic engine starting.

FollowupID: 798780

Follow Up By: Axle - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 13:45

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 13:45
LOL RA!!, Bit like my landrover!.

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Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 09:22

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 09:22
There are variations on the theme and a variety of advances good and bad.

what is most certainly true is that all older purely mechanical injection diesels are very much dependenent on proper adjustment for good performance and lowest emissions.

There is also a considerable variation with age, model and brand.
Mack R600s are known to be one of the dirtier trucks on the road even among their own generation.

Most of the later model purely mechanical injected diesels in good repair run considerably cleaner than their predecessors.

The two bob each way electronic controlled conventional diesel pump engines run a hell of a lot cleaner again and go considerably better....and there is some good solid reliable electronics around......these engines are able to tune them selves on the go and adjust fuel flow and timing in response to various factors in a way that mechanical pumps never could.

Then we move across to this new common rail technology.
The single biggest issue with common rail is the fuel pressure at the injector.
This requires very tight tolerance in both the injector and the pump.....unfortunately this make all those parts expensive and vunerable to damage from poor fuel quality.

If the electronics is well designed, I do not believe it is the electronics that will be the cause of the vehicle not being viable to continue in service.

It will be the short life of the injectors and fuel pump and the cost of their replacement.

I could put a full set of injectors in my electronically controlled conventional diesel pump hilux, for the price of a single injector in it's common rail cousin.
AND I could do it my self......AND those cheap injectors are known to run in excess of 300 000Km.

By the time a well looked after, low KM common rail diesel becomes an economical used car purchase ( a good cheap car), it is likely that a a fuel system rebuild will cost way more than the vehicle is worth...and it will probably need that rebiuld.

I doubt that we will see these common rail vehicles going strong at 300 000Km on their original injectors and diesel pumps like many old school diesels have and do.

So remember that R600 would have gone on the road for the first time in the 70's or early 80s and may be 30 or 40 years old.

AnswerID: 518850

Follow Up By: Axle - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 13:53

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 13:53
I'd say your right mate in regard to common rail stuff, ,But as time goes on maybe they might get filtration sorted so no contamination can get to these hi pressure units at all , although they appear to be fast wearing units anyhow.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:40

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:40
Bantam - The Mack END673 engine that formed the basis of the powerplant for the Mack R-600 was first released, in Naturally Aspirated form, in 1957.
Around 1960, the END673 was offered with turbocharging and became the ENDT673 - the famous 237HP engine that powered the original R-600 Mack.
The R-600 was first produced in Australia in 1966, but the truck was available in the U.S. for a couple of years prior to this date. So the engine has been around, for over 50 yrs, and the R-600 has been around for a little under 50 yrs.

In the late 1970's, new emission control laws saw Mack introduce a "puff limiter" to the Bosch APE inline fuel pumps on the ENDT673. The puff limiters job was reduce overfuelling and the resultant massive cloud of black smoke, as typically shown in Rockapes photo above.

The puff limiter works by withholding full rack travel on the pump at low engine RPM when the driver floors the go pedal. The puff limiter operates via a diaphragm that is connected to the manifold and which measures turbo boost pressure.

As the turbo spools up, the intake manifold pressure increases, and the puff limiter matches the rack movement to the boost pressure to match the fuel being injected to the amount of intake air available. This stops overfuelling and the resultant huge "puff" of black smoke.

However, many truck owners often disconnect the puff limiter to try and gain extra power - and it's not unknown for truck owners to "screw up the pump" (i.e., increase the amount of fuel injected on each pump stroke). As a result, we get smokey, annoying trucks.

Overfuelling is a particularly nasty condition with diesels. No matter what age your diesel, it should never show any visible black smoke in the exhaust at full throttle - and only a tiny amount upon hard acceleration.

Overfuelling results in the oil film being washed off cylinder walls, with resultant possible piston scuffing and eventual seizure - it floods the combustion chamber with soot and excess fuel that is not burnt, and which fuel and soot goes past the rings and dilutes the oil.
In addition, overfuelling merely wastes fuel and increases fuel consumption.

The earlier Jap diesels with mechanical injection and aneroid control of the rack were terrors for overfuelling when driven hard at high speeds. This is easily discerned by the crankcase oil turning filthy black with soot buildup - often long before the specified oil change is due.
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