VW TDI Trouble
I enjoy your comprehensive coverage of powertrain development with the annual Ward's 10 Best Engines reports (see WAW — Jan. '11, pp.18). This coverage is unlike any in the industry.
However, I take exception with the 2.0 VW TDI being on the list again. Your 2009 and 2010 review of the engine inspired me to trade in a Dodge Hemi V-8 for a '10 VW SportWagen TDI. I was very excited about the promises of fun-to-drive performance, cutting-edge technology and excellent fuel economy.
But I painfully learned early in the life of this car that VW has major problems with the integration of U.S.-specific aftertreatment and the fuel system. Problems at start-up and at the pump were common, and there were stalling problems related to exhaust-gas recirculation.
My frustrations led me to trade in the car for a 2.0T VW CC. Ironically, the turbo gas engine in the CC has a much broader power band and more usable torque at low RPMs than the diesel, a characteristic where diesels usually are superior.
I wish the U.S. and CARB would adopt Europe's NOx standards. Ours are unjustifiably strict. This makes it unattractive to introduce diesels into North America. VW should get praise for taking on the job of responding to pass-car diesel requirements, but they need to do the job right.
Are EREVs Progress?
I BELIEVE IT IS TOO EARLY TO JUDGEextended-range electric vehicles as disruptive technology (see WAW — Jan. '11, p.2). Those indicating such were also the ones singing the praises of an imminent hydrogen-powered car a scant few years back.
I do not want GM to fail. However, while GM is capable of great innovations, its demise was its own doing and resurrection a direct result of government intervention. I reject the bailout of GM, just like I reject the bailout of AIG. There is no place for such intrusion into the business dealings of an enterprise.
If GM wishes to invest in EREV technology, don't force me to invest by confiscating my money as tax dollars. If EREVs are progress, then the marketplace, not the government, will confirm this fact. Best of luck to GM.
Jon Kevin Resch
Old Is New Again
THE JANUARY ARTICLE, “DEVELOPER Advances 2-Stroke Concept,” was interesting (see WAW — Jan. '11, p.14). Besides being widely read here at Fairbanks Morse Engine, the word “concept” as applied to the 2-stroke opposed piston engine also caused a bit of amusement.
As “concepts” go, Fairbanks Morse started design work in the 1920s and first patented the 2-stroke Opposed-Piston engine in 1936. Fairbanks Morse Engine has been building OP engines since then, in several different sizes, including a number of dual-fuel and alternative fuel versions. There are hundreds of FM OP engines in operation around the world.
For vehicles, several years ago we teamed with Southwest Research Institute to offer an R&D proposal to the Army for development of a small-bore multi-fuel horizontal OP similar to the Kharkov 3TD and 6TD family of vehicle engines. Rotated 90 degrees, a cross-section view of the Kharkov machine is strikingly similar to the FM OP engine.
It often seems that everything old is new again.
Grant L. Graeber
Editor's Note: The story never says opposed pistons are a brand-new idea, but we heard from a lot of readers who think we should have mentioned opposed piston designs date back 100 years, including the German Junkers Jumo aircraft engine which entered service in 1932 and was a successful diesel aircraft engine for about 50 years.
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