Seeing as it's wet and miserable outside, was reading up on a few reasonably late reviews on the different engines being touted around in today's market. What struck me particularly was the sheer amount of complaints and unhappiness with modern engines. I admit these reviews were from the Nth American market, so cannot compare, nor wish to, pitch them against the Europeans. Taking a line from roughly year 2000 on, these "bitches" were mostly dealing with Cummins and Caterpillar engines. So, before someone jumps down my throat and accuses me of some sort of bias, or how there beloved 'Yank Iron' has done a million miles plus of trouble free service, I reiterate I am only quoting the written word on some other forums.
Main postings seem to be unsatisfactory back up when it comes to complaints, blatant lying (their words, not mine!) about published performance figures, (nothing new there) and general dismay of the way things have degenerated over the past 50 odd years. We could all drag up hoary old stories of how our ancient engines gave us sterling trouble free performance (all makes) and some indeed are STILL producing, many millions of miles later. I know also that fuel consumption figures today simply cannot be equated with days of old, neither can bhp outputs. Who would have thought that our trusty old 855 or 673 cu inch engines would today be easily putting out TWICE the ratings?.
I'm neither a mechanic, nor an engineer, merely a burnt out old driver retired for some time now, who still has a passing interest in the 'game'.
Could it have something to do with they ( engine manufactures) in trying to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of a limited amount of given volume? Yes, we are light years ahead in things like variable timing/injection, the use of ceramics, and a host of other 'upgrades', yet engine overall size in linear measurement, is really not all that different from years ago.
If you are interested in going back over engine development,( both petrol and diesel where applied to toad transport) used to be the general rule of thumb to "over-engineer" an engine. Massive cubic inch to relative low (by todays standards) hp figures, very little regard to consumption OR weight). Quite a few earlier engines were built on an industrial/marine platform and stripped of some weight when applied to road use. Cost of fuel alone dictated that something had to be done, that and modern engines demanded more and better quality in fuel used, long gone are the days when we could run what was really, pretty crude fuel oils. I suppose it was inevitably a natural progression, squeeze more power, use less fuel per road miles, shave the weight down but it would seem at what expense? If these current forums are any indication at all, there seems to be a definite attitude that "they don't make em like they used to"!
The sheer cost of replacement, or new engines, should tell us that also long gone are the days of the "throw-away" units, no names, no pack drill, Yet where we could have once hoped for a million mile plus run out of a given engine, providing of course that maintenance/service was rigidly adhered to, some of these contributors to the forums are talking LESS than 50,000 miles before major surgery is required! I think they have a legitimate bitch, of course a lot of it could also be attributed to the application, driver/operator, whether they are adhering to the manufacturers laid down service guidelines, a whole raft of reasons/excuses. Maybe, it is just the way we are going these modern times, after all, just about EVERYTHING built these days, be it household appliances or whatever, seems to be built to a limited life span. Consumerism? Maybe I'm a dinosaur, expecting some things to last for infinity, but when a bloke outlays the cost of a new house (I'm only generalising here) on a vehicle whose whole design is manufactured to producing his income. I know if it were me, I'd not only want, but demand a better 'run for my buck' than what some of these guys are obtaining nowadays.
Yes, there have been many 'lemons' foisted on us over the years, not only in road transport, but that is the subject of this waffle. We can all probably remember, not all that long ago either, where a certain manufacturer launched a "UFO" upon us, which almost caused a class action to be instigated. But that is another story.
Just my two bob rant for the day, Cheers, Dave_64
It seems clear there was a quantum change in modern engine thinking.
Multiple cylinder heads (in-line engines) designed for ease of maintenance have gone, replaced by a single twin cam job that will need a crane to lift.
No more blown head gaskets or pulled head studs.
Operators can get outstanding mileage from their trucks, way better than the "good old" days.
When questioned, they invariably reply it comes down to oil and fuel filtration.
Factory equipped oil filtration is simply not good enough, particularly where a factory full flow filter will filter to around 30 micron and a decent by-pass is down to a max of 1micron.
So oil changes for those blokes are a thing of the past. A million miles on the original oil, topped up and tested at each by-pass filter change. Incredible stuff.
And our Aus fuel is just so poor, anyone with thought to their expensive injection equipment will be adding a heap of extra filtration.
There's a few you tubes of big mileage engine strip downs and the tolerances are still like new.
Like wise the US by-pass filter companies have many testimonials.
But once we're all into Euro 6, I can't see any amount of filtration reducing running costs. Burn out a DPF unit and see how the cheque book holds up.
How many of these engine failures could be put down to the EGR emissions system making an engine run harder and hotter than needed?
Also Euro manufacturers who can get big HP out of an engine, knowing that ( in Europe) it will rarely be running at this rating for extended periods. Then they arrive in Australia where somebody hangs 3 trailers on the back and drives it to Perth and back every week..
Its the computerisation of modern engines that scares me.
In the old days you went through the list, for a diesel it was fuel and air, for petrol add in a bit of ignition stuff.
Now if one of these modern engines stops it seems you need a reader to tell you what the code it throws up means, I see the heavy towing industry is going to grow, the days of a roadside repair are long gone.
Thats why I went with a coach with an old 2 stroke it it, pretty simple machine really.
84 Austral Tourmaster with 6V92 and now 7 speed Eaton-Fuller, converted to motorhome "Vanishing Point" after a favourite American movie.
3 Kw solar 800 Ah Lithium house battery pack, all engine cooling done by the sun. Water injection for hot days and hill climbs.