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4-cylinder full-size vans?

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What do you guys think about Mercedes offering relatively “small” 2.0L 4-cylinder gas turbo engines in Sprinters, and might it lead to Ford and RAM doing the same?

The Ford 2.3L EcoBoost makes more power and low-end torque than the standard naturally-aspirated 3.5L V6, so engine downsizing limitations may be more about something other than performance. Perhaps durability, greater fuel consumption or emissions? I don’t know. Or could it simply be that Ford marketing knows buyers are not ready for gas 4-cylinder full-size vans regardless of power?
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I have a Metris and that engine rips. Great ride and great engine.

When repairs are needed, and they will be, get ready to crash your wealth like a Black Friday.

I wouldn't mind the new 4 cylinder diesel of it is reliable.

As for diesels not being reliable, don't let DEF get too low to where crystalization occurs in the tank. Use high quality DEF(there is the Blue DEF Platinum that works great for our diesel) and don't idle them for any period of time. They need a load to maintain heat and ring seal. If they are left to idle for long periods they cool and lose ring seal and mix diesel into the oil.

Also don't shut down after a hard run on the highway. Let them idle for a couple of minutes to settle down turbo rpm and oil temps.
 

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4cyl alone shouldn't be a deterrent. A lot of heavy equipment has 4cyl.
Cummins 4bBT can go up to 400hp and 800lb-ft. But, it's 3.9l diesel.
If a car company was interested in making a super durable pickup or van, they'd stick a 4BT in it. If emissions regulations would allow it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
4cyl alone shouldn't be a deterrent. A lot of heavy equipment has 4cyl.
Cummins 4bBT can go up to 400hp and 800lb-ft. But, it's 3.9l diesel.
If a car company was interested in making a super durable pickup or van, they'd stick a 4BT in it. If emissions regulations would allow it.
I believe Ford F-350 pickups in Brazil were offered with Cummins 3.9L 4- cylinder diesels almost 20 years ago. Later Fords had 4-cylinder 3L which were 1/2 of 6L V8 diesel.

More recently, Chevrolet Express vans have 2.8L 4-cylinder diesel engines with 181 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque.

These are heavy-duty relatively heavy diesels which explains durability in spite of lower displacement. A light automobile gas or Diesel engine just 2L in displacement may not last as long under similar loads. I expect much depends on how hard they are made to work.
 

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You push a small displacement motor with turbos to make similar hp and torque to a V8 and you will have a highly stressed motor requiring more maintenance and repairs. Those old V8s were lazy and many of them are still running. A 2.0l turbo motor making 3-400 or more horses will be working hard all the time.

With a well built motor, you should get reasonable life, and potentially decent mileage, but only if you stay out of the boost.

Most of the reason they're going for smaller displacement forced induction motors has to do with emissions. And of course, European countries tax by displacement.

Imo, there is no replacement for displacement.
 

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More recently, Chevrolet Express vans have 2.8L 4-cylinder diesel engines with 181 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Back in April 2020 GM announced they were going to discontinue the 2.8 Duramax and replace it with a 2.7 Litre 4 cylinder gas motor, but so far they still show it as an option on the Colorado and the Express/Savana vans. Not sure what happened to make them reverse that decision/ That 2.7 Litre gas motor is intriguing with 310HP and 430 pound-feet of torque. There are Silverado 1500 owners getting 23mpg with that motor.
 

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Cylinder and capacity downsizing paired with increasing turbo boost levels is a continuing and successful trend. Mercedes' 2024 iteration of its monster C63 AMG will be a high boost 2'0L turbo 4 making >500HP paired with an electric motor to deliver a total of 671HP. The turbocharger is an electric hybrid turbo generator that all but eliminates lag.
 

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The Transit hasn't been a perfect replacement for the E-Series. While the EcoBoost has impressive numbers, it will never be able to tow the numbers seen with a V-10 E-350, and the GVWR is also significantly lower. The E-series chassis are still used for motorhome conversions that the Transit just can't do. And there is something to be said for the longevity and low maintenance of a large V8 pushrod motor.
The Ford 6.8L Triton V-10 is a SOHC (Single Overhead Cam) engine as are most Ford V-8s in last few decades. I think only GM is still using OHV pushrod V-8 engines.

 

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Cylinder and capacity downsizing paired with increasing turbo boost levels is a continuing and successful trend. Mercedes' 2024 iteration of its monster C63 AMG will be a high boost 2'0L turbo 4 making >500HP paired with an electric motor to deliver a total of 671HP. The turbocharger is an electric hybrid turbo generator that all but eliminates lag.
Having owned many German cars and motorcycles, I can say that overengineering has ruined them all. Needing repairs frequently and they're all expensive... it's a bad combination. My last German vehicle was great until it started becoming a slot machine of dashboard warning lights. Turn the key on, and let's see what combination of lights come on. And everything was 4-5× the repair price of a Toyota or domestic vehicle.

And coincidentally, it all started when the warranty ran out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Cylinder and capacity downsizing paired with increasing turbo boost levels is a continuing and successful trend. Mercedes' 2024 iteration of its monster C63 AMG will be a high boost 2'0L turbo 4 making >500HP paired with an electric motor to deliver a total of 671HP. The turbocharger is an electric hybrid turbo generator that all but eliminates lag.
That engine alone likely costs more than a Transit van. Not great on gas either. 😀
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
The Ford 6.8L Triton V-10 is a SOHC (Single Overhead Cam) engine as are most Ford V-8s in last few decades. I think only GM is still using OHV pushrod V-8 engines.

Ford replaced SOHC 6.8L Triton V10s with pushrod 7.3L V8s three years ago, and is now introducing a 6.8L V8 variant for Super Duty pickup trucks. RAM also has pushrod V8s which have been around a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Imo, there is no replacement for displacement.
Yes. (y)

Interesting enough, naturally-aspirated (NA) engines normally have lower brake specific fuel consumption compared to turbo engines under ideal load conditions. For trucks and vans that operate at higher percentage of engine output, NA beats EcoBoost in fuel economy provided everything else is equal. The 3.5L Transit EB no doubt has more power, but doesn’t get higher fuel economy than 3.5L Transit NA V6.

To save even more fuel, a naturally aspirated engine can operate using Atkinson cycle, which normally requires even higher displacement. I would like to see Ford modify a 5.0L Coyote V8 to Atkinson cycle, and use on light duty hybrid truck applications. I think a Transit with 5.0L hybrid engine could do over 20 MPG city or highway.

In my opinion Ford needs an Atkinson engine larger than their 2.5L I-4 for heavier vehicles. The 2.5L is great for Maverick-size vehicles, but a Transit can be twice as large as a Maverick.
 

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I remember back in the old country we take bus to town and from bus station to
final grandparents house a Taxi , all Taxis where the Mercedes Benz in those days
build like tanks and purred like a kitten, remember that sweet diesel purr like it was
yesterday

Tire Car Wheel Automotive parking light Land vehicle
 

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10-20 years from now, those of us still alive will remember all the fuss about which internal combustion engine was best, all the maintenance and repairs, etc. with no small amount of nostalgia.
 
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
What I’m questioning indirectly is how much power does a van really need if owner knows they are never going to tow, and care more about fuel economy than power?

We know eTransit is not rated for towing, and also know that most eTransit owners would not buy one to drive 75 MPH on road trips, yet some people buy them for other reasons.

For perspective, the base NA 3.5L Transit can drive comfortably at 75 MPH, even if only getting 15 MPG — hence average of burning gas at 5 gallons/hour. An EcoBoost Transit when towing can easily burn fuel at 7~8 gallons/hour or more, and nobody questions engine wearing out quickly. Fuel burn rate is a rough but good estimate of how hard engine is working.

Hence for those willing to drive slower like many RVers drive their large motorhomes, and keep speed closer to 60 MPH, fuel economy should be more like 20~24 MPG, which means fuel burn in range of 2.5 to 3.0 gallons/hour is likely. That’s a lot less than 5 gallons/hour, confirming there is room to downsize engine at least from wear standpoint.

Bottom line is that driving slower (60 versus 75 MPH) creates an opportunity to downsize engine considerably, provided owner is willing to accelerate and climb grades a little slower at times.
 

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Having owned many German cars and motorcycles, I can say that overengineering has ruined them all. Needing repairs frequently and they're all expensive... it's a bad combination. My last German vehicle was great until it started becoming a slot machine of dashboard warning lights. Turn the key on, and let's see what combination of lights come on. And everything was 4-5× the repair price of a Toyota or domestic vehicle.

And coincidentally, it all started when the warranty ran out.
You are all missing my point. Smaller capacity, high-boost engines are replacing bigger NA motors across all OEM's. I was using the AMG as an extreme example, and yes AMG has suffered with reliability, although touch wood, mine has been awesome.
 

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What I’m questioning indirectly is how much power does a van really need if owner knows they are never going to tow, and care more about fuel economy than power?
I've driven several Mercedes rental cars over the last year and most of them had this really cool graph on the center display showing the amount of HP and Torque being generated in a live stream. On cruise control at 70mph the C300 sedan was generating 15hp to maintain its speed, and I was getting 35mpg doing it. I'd be willing to give up the power of the EcoBoost for a consistent 20+ mpg on the highway, knowing it would just take longer to get up to speed.
 

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What I’m questioning indirectly is how much power does a van really need if owner knows they are never going to tow, and care more about fuel economy than power?

We know eTransit is not rated for towing, and also know that most eTransit owners would not buy one to drive 75 MPH on road trips, yet some people buy them for other reasons.

For perspective, the base NA 3.5L Transit can drive comfortably at 75 MPH, even if only getting 15 MPG — hence average of burning gas at 5 gallons/hour. An EcoBoost Transit when towing can easily burn fuel at 7~8 gallons/hour or more, and nobody questions engine wearing out quickly. Fuel burn rate is a rough but good estimate of how hard engine is working.

Hence for those willing to drive slower like many RVers drive their large motorhomes, and keep speed closer to 60 MPH, fuel economy should be more like 20~24 MPG, which means fuel burn in range of 2.5 to 3.0 gallons/hour is likely. That’s a lot less than 5 gallons/hour, confirming there is room to downsize engine at least from wear standpoint.

Bottom line is that driving slower (60 versus 75 MPH) creates an opportunity to downsize engine considerably, provided owner is willing to accelerate and climb grades a little slower at times.
For better or worse, the efficiency of the EB engines in our Transits /can/ achieve pretty good efficiency if driven 60mph. But many of us don't drive that way.

Want to try it out for yourself? Set the speed limiter. I'm not sure which years have it or don't; but our 2020 has it. You can still accelerate full-throttle but top-speed will be limited.

Want to try lower power too? Get the throttle modifier thing and go to the lowest-output limit. Those two together would likely bring some BIG increases in fuel efficiency. But less fun to drive, of course...
 
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