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Renault's Yankee Doodle Diesels


kscarbel2
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Commercial Motor / December 18, 1997

Since becoming the proud owner of Mack Trucks seven years ago, Renault has seen its US offshoot develop a range of engines that are keeping operators happy on both sides of the Atlantic. And diesels aren't the only things crossing the pond.

Renault's aspiration to become a global truck supplier has shifted up a gear with the news that Mack Trucks, its wholly owned US subsidiary, is considering offering the Premium heavy tractor in the States. Last week Mack's executive vice president, engineering and product planning, Steve Homcha, confirmed this to Commercial Motor: "It's something we're contemplating. We'll do our own test analysis, run operator clinics and do our own validation."

That program will start "next year" and if Mack likes what it sees a US Premium could be offered sporting the famous Bulldog badge and powered by Mack's latest E7 E-Tech 12-litre engine.

A Mack-badged Premium tractor has already been unveiled in Australia, equipped with the standard Renault 11 litre engine but with an Eaton 13-speed box and drive axles in place of the normal Renault driveline.

Mack is increasingly supplying more diesel engines to Renault for its European range. Its' six-cylinder E7 diesel is currently offered in the latest Magnum Integral and it would be a simple job for Mack to engineer it for the Premium— not least as the Finnish truck manufacturer Sisu already uses the E7 under a Premium cab.

According to Homcha, the cab is raised slightly to provide a better circulation of air and a larger capacity cooling system.

The US market Premium would be aimed at inter-regional and urban distribution operators although since length limits in the US were relaxed, the cabover market has suffered a marked decline.

Mack's executive vice president in charge of sales and marketing, Paul Vikner, says the potential for cabover tractors in America is still small but a truck like the Premium would offer a number of benefits, not least better maneuverability compared to bonneted tractors.

No decision has been taken as to whether Mack would take the smaller "Distribution" cab in addition to the "Long Distance" model.

Renault (RVI) is looking for greater component sharing across its US and European assembly operations—but in the short term it will be restricted to driveline components including the E7 engine.

The 12-litre straight six is used in Renault and Mack models and, while power and torque characteristics are tailored to suit the different US and European markets, both versions have the same cooling system, engine brake and turbocharger.

Among its rivals, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz have developed common cab shells for their current US and European heavy trucks.

However, Homcha says a Renault "world truck", with shared cab components, built and sold on both sides of the Atlantic, is still a long way off and that Renault and Mack have some way to go before they follow suit.

"We'll eventually do it as we go to the next generation of vehicles—you'll see us moving into that area—but it's not a pressing need."

MACK E7: RENAULT'S EUROPEAN ENGINE FOR THE FUTURE

When Renault unveiled the 12-litre Mack E7 engine for the Magnum at this year's Brussels Truck Show, it signalled the start of a program of engine development that will see the six-pot E7 become its volume heavy truck engine for Euro-3 and beyond. The Euro-2 version of E7 is currently offered in the Renault Magnum Integral at three power ratings:

• 390hp with 1,800Nm of torque

• 430hp with 2,000Nm of torque

• 470hp with 2,200Nm of torque

It has an in-line fuel pump and Mack's V-Mac electronic engine management system. However, in March, Mack introduced the "E-Tech" version of the E7 in the US market, which has electronically controlled unit pumps (EUPs). E-Tech will meet both the tough US 1998 EPA engine emission laws and Euro-3 standard which is due arrive in 2000.

"The E7 unit pump is more than just a product," says Mack's Steve Homcha "It's part of a global strategy to meet environmental demands for 1998 without sacrifices on the part of the customer. It is our building block to the 21st Century." The E-Tech E7 block has a much larger camshaft to withstand the higher injection pressures generated by the unit pumps (now up to 26,000psi from the 17,000psi on a typical pump/line/nozzle system).

For the moment, Europe will stick with a conventional in-line pump E7 with V-Mac 2 throughout 1998, but during next year small numbers of the E-Tech engine will appear before volume supply begins in 1999 in preparation for Euro-3. Mack is already planning to take the E7 even further, reports Homcha. "A joint team of Renault and Mack engineers is working to develop it to EPA 2004 and Euro-4. We're also looking at the possibility of slightly increasing the capacity of the Mack engine beyond the 12 litre threshold."

MACK E7: E-TECH SPECS

• Charge-cooled six cylinder in line diesel with electronic unit pumps (EUP)

• Displacement:12-litres

• Bore/stroke:124x165mm

• Power output:275-460hp

• Features: Mack HSI "High Swirl Injection", electronic governor using V-MAC III control system, Mack/Jacobs engine brake.

MACK E9: BULLDOG BITE IN THE RENAULT MAGNUM

Mack's 16,4 litre E9 V-8 was the first US engine to be offered by Renault when it was launched in the original Magnum. Today, the majority of E9s are supplied outside the US to Australia and Europe. Down under it's fitted in its bonneted range, particularly for roadtrain operation where it can be rated at up to 610hp with 2,050 lb/ft (2,779N.m) of torque, In Europe, it is offered in the Magnum at 560hp.

Homcha says that despite the growing use of smaller displacement in-line six engines, Mack will continue to develop the E9 which will also have the latest V-MAC III electronic engine management system. But while it's possible to adapt the E-Tech's unit pump system for the big V-8, Homcha says it would be a major strategic decision to take at a time when the in-line E7 has potential to go up to 500hp with increased capacity.

Mack Trucks currently takes the long established mechanically fuelled Renault 10-litre six-cylinder engine (used in the Premium Distribution in Europe) and a joint team of Renault and Mack engineers will soon begin working on an updated version of the engine which is currently designated "E5" in the US. Homcha says it will have a 24-valve head and full electronic control and be offered in Europe as well as the US. "We'll be seeing it from 1999 and 2000—it'll be heavily used on both sides of the Ocean."

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I was lucky enough to see a Mack/Renault Magnum with an E-tech for power here in Canada at The former Toronto Branch in 1999-2000. It was white had left hand drive, tandem axles and an auto shift transmission if I remember correctly. I thought it sported a name like "Prestige" with Mack name branding. Wish I took a picture. Never seen or heard of it after that day. Ever seen that one?

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Homcha says ......... Mack will continue to develop the E9, which will also have the latest V-MAC III electronic engine management system. But while it's possible to adapt the E-Tech's unit pump system for the big V-8, Homcha says it would be a major strategic decision to take at a time when the in-line E7 has potential to go up to 500hp with increased capacity.

The decision was made to go ahead and equip the Mack (Scania) V-8 with Bosch electronic unit pump (EUP) injection.

But in 2003, three years after Volvo had acquired Mack, the Swedish company terminated the design program to relaunch the E9 V-8 as a U.S. market on-highway engine, upgraded to Bosch electronic unit pump (EUP) injection.

Genuine Mack engineering snubbed by Volvo Group, because the Swedish company planned all along to integrate their Volvo global components into Mack-branded trucks (e.g. chassis, engines, transmissions, suspensions).

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