Thursday 7 March 2013

CGI diesels in the news at Navistar

Diesel engines with compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder blocks are hitting the headlines at Navistar International.

Navistar has just showcased its production-ready International TerraStar  4x4 commercial truck, one of the company's newest additions to its Class 5-8 portfolio, at the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Launched in 2010 in a 4x2 configuration, the TerraStar, is the smaller sibling to the DuraStar.
        At the heart of the TerraStar 4x4 is the 300 bbhp, 6.4-liter V8 MaxxForce 7 diesel engine, delivering 660lbft torque. This engine features a compacted graphite iron (CGI) block offering high strength without added weight.

According to Navistar, the 6.4-liter V8 in the TerraStar 4x4 does not have selective catalytic reduction (SCR) - see also below. However, Navistar adds that it is ‘currently transitioning to SCR’.

In December Navistar began deliveries of the ProStar+ with the Cummins ISX15 15-litre engine equipped with SCR.  Then, on 30 April 30 2013, Navistar will begin shipments of the ProStar+ with the MaxxForce 13-litre SCR engine and it is already working to ‘transition our mid-range engines to SCR by mid-2014’, according to reliable sources at International Trucks.

Back in May 2010, under a new multi-year agreement, Navistar Engine Group announced it would supply its V8 turbocharged MaxxForce 7 diesel engine to Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc., a leading maker of Class A recreational vehicles.

Navistar added that beginning June 2010, MaxxForce 7 engines, manufactured in Huntsville, Alabama, would power Tiffin’s new Allegro Breeze recreational vehicle, manufactured in Red Bay, Alabama. Now, Navistar is putting the MaxxForce 7 into the TerraStar 4x4.

The MaxxForce 7 dates back to the 6.7-litre PowerStroke engine Navistar delivered to Ford between 2008 and 2011; that is until the companies had a 'coming together' over the engine. Navistar describes the engine as 'a significantly improved' turbocharged V8 turbodiesel  with a high pressure (1,900 bar) common rail fuelling system with piezo injectors, dual sequential turbochargers and the CGI cylinder block which it claims is 'the industry's only Class 4-7 CGI block'. Dry weight of the engine is 556lb.   

Last month, Navistar’s CGI engines were again in the news when, in a statement, Navistar International chairman and chief executive Lewis Campbell, was upbeat about the the future of the MaxxForce 13 diesel engine.


In news reports, Campbell predicted the damage to the commercial truck marker's share of the North American market would be short-lived, as Navistar moved away from a failed strategy for treating engine exhaust.

Navistar's average share of the heavy-duty truck market in the 12 months to the end of January was 16.5%, down from about 21% in 2011 according to industry estimates.

Campbell said that he expected that in 2014 Navistar would regain lost ground with a revamped line of engines. Navistar is the third-largest seller of heavy-duty trucks in North America behind Daimler’s Freightliner and Paccar’s Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks.

Campbell hopes Navistar's MaxxForce 13-litre engines using Cummins Inc.’s exhaust-treatment technology will be ‘a hit’ with buyers once truck operators become familiar with the engines. Cummins technology, which uses SCR adopted by all other North American heavy-duty truck and engine makers, additionally treats the exhaust with urea.

The MaxxForce 13-litre engine (based on an original design by MAN in Germany and featuring compact graphite iron – CGI – cylinder blocks) is the centrepiece of the company's large diesel engine line-up.

Campbell claimed demand for Navistar's International brand trucks should receive a boost from the completion of warranty-related engine repairs that have dogged heavy-duty trucks sold since 2010. He anticipates warranty claims this year will be significantly less than in 2012, adding that no new problems have been discovered.

"Once we get all those trucks converted, I think you'll be surprised at how quickly we regain share," Campbell is reported as saying.


However, Navistar awaits the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to certify that its 13-litre engines meet the agency's latest standard for reducing nitrogen oxide (NO) in diesel engine exhaust.

Navistar submitted its 13-litre engine for certification in early January. Campbell said the evaluation remains under way and reiterated earlier forecasts that the certified engine could reach the market slightly ahead of schedule in late March.

Navistar's Pro-Star line of heavy-duty trucks proved popular with fleet operators before buyers pulled back on their purchases last year because of concerns over performance of the 13-litre engines and the lack of a 15-litre engine in the company's engine line-up.

Campbell replaced CEO Daniel Ustian last August and duly ate humble pie. He remedied Navistar's lack of a 15-litre engine by purchasing ISX15 engines from rival Cummins Inc. of Columbus, Indiana. He abandoned Navistar's programme to develop its own 15-litre engine which would have taken too long.

Cummins' 15-litre ISX15 engine has been available in Navistar trucks since December. Since then, Navistar reportedly has shipped about 700 trucks in the US and Canada with 15-litre Cummins engines, according to Campbell.

Campbell is hoping that use of Cummins-built exhaust-treatment components on Navistar's 13-litre will ease truck buyers' anxiety about the Navistar's engines.

"Any time anybody brings out a new engine there's a wait-and-see period," opined Campbell, 66 years old and a former CEO of Textron Corporation. "But we think the experience is going to be great."

The Lisle, Illinois-based company tried for over two years to meet the EPA's NO standard with a treatment process different from the rest of the North American truck industry. Former CEO Ustian, who retired from the company last year, believed Navistar could grab market share by using credits and pursuing an exhaust-treatment process that was less expensive than systems used by rivals. That clearly failed.

But Navistar's inability to meet the EPA's requirement forced the company to abandon Ustian’s failed strategy. In the aftermath, Campbell vowed to wipe the slate clean and improve the company's accountability for deadlines. He now claims Navistar is back “on track”.

Campbell is refocusing the company on its North American truck and engine businesses, and emphasizing higher margins through better product quality and lower expenses for materials, manufacturing and other overhead.

Navistar recently sold its stakes in two joint ventures to make trucks and engines in India and intends to close a truck-assembly plant in Garland, Texas.