Freightliner Adds MB Power for Heavy-Duty Trucks

May 1, 2000
FREIGHTLINER Corporation now offers a Mercedes-Benz engine for Class 8 trucks. The MBE4000 is an in-line, six-cylinder, 12.8-liter diesel engine developed

FREIGHTLINER Corporation now offers a Mercedes-Benz engine for Class 8 trucks. The MBE4000 is an in-line, six-cylinder, 12.8-liter diesel engine developed specifically for Freightliner trucks in the North American market. It will offer an initial horsepower range of 350 to 450 and torque range from 1,350 to 1,550 lb/ft.

The MBE4000 will be available for the Freightliner Century Class S/T, Columbia, Argosy, and FL 112 heavy-duty trucks. The engine is designed for traditional linehaul applications, as well as for regional freight transportation, bulk hauling, grocery distribution, and vocational applications.

According to Mark Lampert, Freightliner senior vice-president, sales and marketing, the MBE4000 offers customers extraordinary benefits in terms of weight, performance, fuel efficiency, information management, low maintenance, and long life.

Leading the MBE4000's list of achievements is its outstanding power-to-weight ratio. With its advanced materials and componentry, the engine is up to 600 pounds lighter than some engines in its class, while delivering the performance like a much larger powerplant.

The engine reaches nearly 100% of torque at 1000 rpm for superb low-end power and excellent hill-climbing capability. A high-output turbocharger quickly responds to the throttle, providing strong acceleration to get heavy loads moving quickly. The engine's high torque rise also means less shifting of the transmission.

The engine comes standard with an engine brake that delivers 325 horsepower at 2100 rpm. Since engine braking is provided by a constant throttle valve integrated in the cylinder head, there is no additional cost and no weight penalty. For customers wanting the ultimate in compression braking power, Freightliner will offer an optional turbo-brake that provides up to 600 bhp at 2100 rpm.

The engine's individually controlled unit injection pumps deliver precise fuel injection. The fuel injection system consists of a unit pump, a short pressure tube, and a six-hole spray nozzle centrally located to enable complete mixing of fuel and air for efficient combustion. The engine also has four valves per cylinder for better engine breathing.

Noise reduction and startability are among the features of the MBE4000. The air intake manifold is isolated from the head and block, reducing noise levels. A gear-driven oil pump and special air compressor gearing also contribute to quiet operation. Cold weather startability is excellent thanks to a high engine compression ratio of 17.75:1.

Key to MBE4000's performance are its fully integrated electronics. The engine uses a distinctive two-controller system. The electronic control unit (ECU) uses sensor data about engine status to create precise instructions for fuel injection. A separate vehicle control unit (VCU) governs programmable engine parameters like speed limits, idle shutdown intervals, and cruise control, among others. The advantage of this two-controller system is that the VCU is easily accessible on the inside of the cab.

Technicians need only plug into a standard serial connection port to change engine parameters and access engine information.

The MBE4000 also is designed for maximum uptime and continuous performance. Maintenance intervals extend to 25,000 miles for oil changes with standard CG-4 oil. Use of synthetic oil pushes change intervals to 50,000 miles. Fuel filter changes only are required every 100,000 miles.

When it's time for preventive maintenance, service is quick and easy. Easy-to-reach, upright oil and fuel filters are very accessible, while injection pumps are individually replaceable, saving maintenance costs and time. The engine's individual cylinder heads also simplify maintenance.

Ensuring uptime and long life is the MBE4000's core of durable components: a cast iron engine block; induction-hardened cylinder bores, cam and crankshafts; forged steel connecting rods and a ceramic-coated piston. Valve seats are made of wear-resistant material. The cylinders are wet-sleeved, and the seal ring under the liner flange is made from stainless steel rather than copper alloy. This eliminates deformation of the seal ring under the clamp load of the high strength cylinder head bolts. A three-belt drive system provides longer life due to load reduction on each belt, while an automatic tensioning system prevents belts from loosening over time.

Freightliner will begin production of trucks with Mercedes-Benz engines in November of this year.

In the near future, Freightliner plans to offer ratings to 470 hp and 1,650 lb/ft of torque, as well as a 500-hp fire and emergency service version.

A two-year/250,000-mile warranty is standard.