The light-duty diesel-engine segment is an interesting study in advanced technologies and tepid consumer demand. Although Ram offered a six-cylinder diesel option to the half-ton market in 2014, today we’re seeing Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC jump into the half-ton diesel truck market, too. We recently drove the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel on the highway, off-road, and even towed with it—read our review here. But we also want to give you some background on the how significantly upgraded this new engine is.
“We knew this new Ram engine needed to have the most torque and efficiency we could squeeze out of it,” said Mauro Puglia, diesel engine chief engineer, about the completely redesigned engine.
Keep reading to learn about the top five upgrades that make this diesel truck the strongest, (most likely) most efficient, and quietest 3.0-liter EcoDiesel we’ve ever driven.
New Turbo Touches
The turbocharger is an all-new water-cooled, variable vane Garrett design that can spool up faster and provide more consistent power over a longer period of time. The result is less lag time and more overall efficiency, all while helping delivering better fuel economy.
Although the new EcoDiesel engine continues to utilize compacted graphite iron for block material, engine builders went through thousands of computer models to remove even more unnecessary weight and thickness where it wasn’t specifically needed. The results are 15 pounds of weight savings and less noise from the engine, in a slightly smaller (in physical size) package.
High/Low Exhaust Gas Recirculation
Clearly the favorite aspect of the engine for chief engineer Puglia, the high and low pressure EGR system is a clever way to steal as little of the exhaust gases from the turbo as possible (about 20 percent less than normal EGR setups). Additional exhaust gases are taken downstream, after the particulate filter to provide cleaner and cooler gases back into the system, which in turn delivers lower emissions and greater overall cooling efficiency.
Making a Better Burn
The new EcoDiesel engine has aluminum piston heads along with smarter and faster injectors (thanks to a more powerful Bosch computer controller), combined with a newly designed combustion chamber that delivers a better, more complete burn. The result is more low-end power and better mpgs.
Less Noise All Around
Although torque and fuel economy were engineers’ top priorities, finding ways to make the engine as quiet as possible was clearly important. Just about every material choice and newly redesigned internal piece is coated with or made from special materials to help with NVH. When looking under the hood, there is more plastic and sound-deadening foam than we’ve ever seen in any other pickup engine.