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Reman engines: powering cost efficiency + quality

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Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine

Cummins remanWhen making a major purchase, in almost every instance, there is the option for a used, refurbished or remanufactured version. It can be a great option for those looking for a more cost-focused solution. Of course, trucks are the lifeblood of any successful fleet—it’s an investment and a livelihood, and a fleet manager needs to be confident when investing in a remanufactured engine, transmission or axle. To build that confidence, he or she needs to understand the remanufacturing process, the quality of the parts being used and the warranty options that come with it. With this in mind, Fleet Equipment spoke with the major engine manufacturers to get the full scoop on what fleet managers can expect when looking for reman options.

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“Any engine or transmission can be remanufactured,” says Betsy Ballard, director of product development and growth for Detroit Reman. “However, when it comes to engines in particular, the older the better. There is more core material available for older models and a larger supply of component parts to go with them. In addition, older engines are more mechanical and therefore easier to manage and test compared to newer engines that have more complex electronics.”

Ballard went on to explain that there is also greater knowledge of older engines since time has uncovered common aftermarket quality issues or failures; the readily available information about these problems makes them easy to fix during the remanufacturing process. “That said,” she added, “with the exception of low volume builds, most engines and transmissions are good reman candidates.”

“In addition to a cost savings, reman provides products for customers to service their trucks deep into the product lifecycle,” says Scott Pond, a product manager for Navistar. “Most manufacturers of engines and transmissions do not continue to make new assemblies once production stops, thereby making reman attractive.

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“In addition to engines and engine components under Navistar’s ReNEWed brand,” Pond continues, “we offer a wide breadth of reman products. These include transmissions, brakes components, clutches, rear differentials, engine components, and aftertreatment.”

Cummins’ reman program, ReCon, offers most of the company’s mid-range and heavy-duty engines as options, and remanufactures them with 100% genuine Cummins parts. According to Shawn Zwicker, Cummins director of new and ReCon products management, global operations, there are four questions that must be answered when the company considers adding a particular engine to its ReCon portfolio:

  1. From an engineering standpoint, can the engine be remanufactured? This question investigates if there is enough material in the large castings to allow them to be re-machined while meeting original factory tolerances and structural integrity.REMACK Engine
  2. Is there enough population of a particular platform or model in the field to justify the release of a ReCon version?
  3. Is that population being used in an application that will reach the end of life of the original engine?
  4. Finally, is that population in a location that allows the import of ReCon products, and is the return of core logistically feasible?

On an individual level, Zwicker explained that each engine must pass a core inspection with the following criteria before it is remanufactured:

  • The core must be in “out-of-frame” condition and complete with applicable component parts or any acceptable up-rate.
  • Component castings are not visibly cracked, broken or damaged, unless allowable under Cummins’ component core inspection criteria.
  • The core is not damaged by non-operational causes such as rust, rough handling or fire.
  • The oil pan is free from all oils and fluids except for normal drainage that occurs during shipment.
  • The engine core returned with competitive turbocharger core is acceptable with an additional charge.

As for other OEM remanufacturing options: Volvo remanufactures its D11, D12, D13 and D16 engines and I-Shift transmissions. The reman process involves giving the engines new bearings, gaskets, liners, o-rings, piston rings, seals and bushings and, as needed, cylinder heads and block and cylinder head covers, oil pumps, connecting and push rods, rocker assemblies and crankshafts.

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The Mack Trucks engine reman operation, known as REMACK, offers E6, E7, E-TECH and ASET engines and Maxitorque T200 or T300 five- to 18-speed transmissions. All necessary parts and components of both the engines and transmissions are tested and remanufactured or replaced.

According to Ballard, Detroit Reman currently offers gas and heavy-duty diesel engines and components, manual and automatic transmissions, turbochargers, engine fuel systems and electronics such as industrial electronic components, wiring harnesses, engine control modules and EGR components.

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