The advancements of diesel technology

The advancements of diesel technology

While significant technology advances were made to the diesel engine over the past century, the most significant advances have been made in the past 20 years. Here's a look at some of them.

As I was reflecting back on my college days studying diesel technology in the 1970s, it struck me how much diesel engine technology has advanced since then.  “Wow,” I thought, “Rudolf Diesel would probably not even recognize today’s modern version of his invention.” Diesel engine technology has advanced dramatically since Rudolf’s demonstration of a single-cylinder diesel engine in 1897. And while significant technology advances were made to the diesel engine over the past century, the most significant advances have been made in the past 20 years.

Diesel engines have advanced from mechanically-controlled systems with zero sensors, to electronically-controlled engines and aftertreatment systems with 30-plus sensors to monitor and control engine operation. In the 1980s, fuel injection pressures were in the 2000-3000 PSI range, whereas today’s diesel engines develop injection pressures in the 30,000-40,000 PSI range.

It doesn’t end there. More technology advancements are on the way to diesel engines. Some of the newest or developing advancements include:

Remote diagnostics: Can make it possible to begin failure diagnosis as soon as a failure occurs, before the truck even arrives at a repair center.
Over-the-air programming: Will make it possible to remotely flash engine (and vehicle) controller updates over the air without need for the vehicle to go to a repair center.
Over-the-air parameter adjustments: Truck manufacturers are even developing systems that may one day make it possible for automatic “on the fly” parameter adjustments. One example would be changing a truck’s governed speed limit to as it enters a new state.
Engine downspeeding: By reducing engine operating speeds, there is reduced internal friction, resulting in increased fuel economy and improved fuel consumption. For instance, with a typical linehaul truck operating at normal highway speeds, for each 100 RPM drop in engine speed, fuel economy is improved by approximately 1%.

It’s important to keep up to date as diesel engine technology advances. Resources like the Mitchell 1 TruckSeries provide information needed to help diagnose and repair advanced truck diesel engine technology.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Curtis Bogert, associate technical editor for Mitchell 1’s commercial vehicle group, as part of Mitchell 1’s series of tech tips. For more, visit Mitchell 1’s website.

You May Also Like

Scania opens orders for autonomous mining trucks

Scania’s 40-tonne autonomous heavy tipper for mining available to order, and the 50-tonne model to follow shortly afterwards.

Scania-autonomous-mining-truck

Scania announced that it has begun selling autonomous mining trucks, with s 40-tonne autonomous heavy tipper for mining available to order, and the 50-tonne model to follow shortly afterwards.

Sales of Scania autonomous mining solutions will start in Australia, with first deliveries and start of operation scheduled from 2026. Scania believes the next market will likely be Latin America, a region where it has significant market presence in the mining segment. 

Beyond standard TPMS: The crucial role of customizable tire health alerts

Delving into the shortcomings of standard TPMS and why customizable tire health alerts are crucial for commercial vehicle fleets.

Driving for Alabama: A family affair

The stories of two truck drivers for ’80s country hitmakers Alabama.

Photos by Amazing Grace Photography
So you want to write for Fleet Equipment?

Of course you do. As the premiere online publication for the heavy-duty truck market, charting the latest in trucking equipment, technology, and service trends, Fleet Equipment has a knack for digging up the stories behind the stories (while having a lot of fun along the way). Now you can be a part of it! But

Write for Fleet Equipment
Babcox Media mourns the passing of Tim Fritz, longtime editor and friend

Babcox Media Editor Tim Fritz passed away on Feb. 23 from a heart attack. He was 53 years old. Related Articles – Debating the merits of ethanol – Why isn’t a truck’s appearance part of the PM process? – Change is coming to U.S. energy policies Tim joined Babcox Media in 1990 and spent 31

Tim-Fritz-1400x700

Other Posts

BAE Systems, Eaton test electric commercial truck drive technology

Testing occurred at Eaton’s proving grounds in Marshall, Mich., on a Class 7 demonstration vehicle.

BAE-Systems-Eaton-EV-Demo-Truck
FTR: Truck orders exceed recent trends in May; vocational sales stand out

Not only are orders up m/m and y/y, FTR said this level is above recent demand trends and 2% above the average for May over the past decade.

FTR-May-Preliminary-Class-8-orders
PACCAR MX-13 CARB compliant engine available in Peterbilt 579, 567, 589

The PACCAR MX-13 diesel engine meets the CARB Omnibus Regulation and is available in high performance or efficiency focused ratings.

Cummins, PACCAR, Daimler Truck N.A. complete joint venture formation

The completed joint venture is now known as Amplify Cell Technologies.

Accelera-Daimler-Paccar