Nissan Engine Plant Builds Latest Titan V-8

By the time Nissan’s Decherd Engine Plant turns 20 years old next year, the Tennessee operation will have produced some 11 million powerplants. The newest addition is the updated 5.6L V-8 for the Titan pickup.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

May 12, 2016

2 Min Read
Nissanrsquos sprawling engine plant in Decherd TN growing again
Nissan’s sprawling engine plant in Decherd, TN, growing again.

DECHERD, TN – Nissan’s $1 billion powertrain plant here produced its 10 millionth engine in February and built 1.18 million in 2015, making it the largest engine assembly facility in the U.S. And construction continues at the plant even as it gears up for production of the revised Endurance V-8 gasoline engine for the Titan pickup.

Some 1,600 employees crank out 4-, 6- and 8-cyl. engines for Nissan, Infiniti and joint-venture partner Daimler at the 1.1 million-sq.-ft. (102,000-sq.-m) facility that sits on 960 acres (389 ha) in central Tennessee. The plant also assembles electric motors for the Nissan Leaf and forges and machines crankshafts, heads and blocks.

Starting in 1997 as the builder of I-4 engines for the Nissan Altima sedan and Frontier pickup, the plant now supplies engines for everything from the Altima to the Murano and from the Titan to the Infiniti QX80. The plant also assembles 2.0L turbocharged I-4 engines for the Infiniti Q50 sports sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class built in Tuscaloosa, AL.

In addition to supplying U.S. plants, engines assembled at Decherd are exported to China, Japan, Russia and Spain, while crankshafts forged at the facility go to Mexico. The plant builds an engine every 19 seconds and has the capacity to assemble 1.4 million engines per year.

A recent media tour of the plant focused on the 5.6L gasoline V-8 engine as part of the introduction of that powerplant in the ’16 Titan XD and light-duty Titan pickups. Decherd has produced 1 million V-8 engines since 2003.

The engine, offered in the Infiniti QX80 and Q70 since the ’11 model year, is a heavily reworked 5.6L boasting 150 new parts that enable Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL) on both intake and exhaust valves, direct injection and better temperature control via a new Multi-Control Valve that replaces the traditional thermostat.

Compared to the same-displacement V-8 it replaces in the Titan, the new 390-hp, 401-lb.-ft. (544-Nm) 5.6L produces 63 more horsepower and an extra 16 lb.-ft. (22 Nm) of torque.

Technicians at the Decherd plant also validate engines, conducting a battery of 300 checks including a “hot” firing test performed on every V-8 built, says Jay Boyte, director-powertrain engineering. In one of a dozen test cells, an Endurance V-8 was running at wide-open throttle for 100 hours – the equivalent of 60,000 miles (97,000 km) of maximum-rpm driving.

So what’s all the building going on outside? Nissan says the Decherd plant is the midst of a 40,000-sq.-ft. (3,716-sq.-m) expansion to relocate its administrative offices to accommodate future production growth.

The automaker isn’t saying, but the added capacity likely is needed to provide more engines for Infiniti-Mercedes joint ventures, or to open up space for additional V-8 production for the rumored Nissan-built pickup truck for the German automaker.

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About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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