Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runner

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] With a name like Cummins powering your pickups, you do not need to add much in the way of marketing to prove its worth.

    Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Feb. 9, 2014


    Last August, Nissan announced they would be installing an all-new 300 + hp and 500 lb-ft. of torque 5.0L Cummins V8 turbo diesel in its next-generation Titan full-size pickup. While massively overkill for a true maximum 10,000 lb. tow rating, the declaration certainly grabbed the attention of both competitors and enthusiasts alike. And in our realm, I was instantly imagining tall ratios, aerodynamic tweaks, and a highway fuel economy capability that should easily compare to the current generation Frontier’s 17/23 rating with its diminutive 2.5L I4 with the 5-speed AT.

    In addition, the Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel will be built at the Cummins Columbus Engine Plant, in Columbus, Ind., the company’s headquarters. The V8 program is planning to add to its 300 person workforce over the next several years and at maturity expects to employ approximately 800 workers. That is 500 new middle class jobs!

    Nissan is being dodgy with regards to an actual launch date as the Cummins engine has yet to be fully certified but I would expect to see final production prototypes by late 2014/early 2015 with dealership availability sometime in mid 2015 possibly? The all-new 2015 Titan’s powered by the 5.0L Cummins turbo diesel engine are currently undergoing on and off-road testing.

    What Nissan gains with a Cummins turbo diesel inside is instant respect. Few if anyone has ever heard of a Nissan turbo diesel although they do have them in other parts of the world. And even though they are reliable, cost effective, and somewhat fuel efficient, they do not have the instant name recognition or history that the Cummins brand brings to the table. When you see the proprietary emissions control technology being used, only Cummins with its integrated systems teams from upstream air and fuel, engine power production, and downstream emissions control is able to pull off what may possibly be the turbo diesel model of the future for all other manufacturers to follow.

    The Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Prototype and the all-new 2.8L I4 Cummins Turbo Diesel

    Just the other day we posted a story on how Cummins Provides the Power and Efficiency of Diesel for the Heavy Duty (HD) RAM pickup which included a detailed look into its rise from a garage in 1919 to S&P 100 U.S. Manufacturer status with name brand recognition recognized the world over today.

    Within I added the iconic engine manufacturers efforts in Light Duty (LD) pickup truck turbo diesel engine space highlighting both the 5.0L V8 destined for the Nissan Titan as described above and the Tier II/Bin2 rated 2.8L ATLAS DOE/Cummins collaborative turbo diesel program possibly destined for the just announced Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner LD compact pickup prototype.

    The Frontier Diesel Runner

    The Frontier Diesel Runner project truck is based on a Frontier Desert Runner 4x2 and a potential future direction for the Frontier in terms of a 2020 CAFÉ compliant pickup truck.

    Fred Diaz, Nissan’s Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Parts & Service presented the truck to the automotive press with more than just a little fanfare.
    Within maybe 30 seconds of that statement, I uploaded the following to FB, Twitter, and Instagram expressing my own enthusiasm for the project pickup.

    [​IMG]

    Nissan went on to add that this is technical study project in no uncertain terms. With emissions and certification homologation still quarters away from completion, the 2.8L Cummins engine is currently just a prototype and only a possibility for the next-generation Frontier.

    Beneath the Frontier Diesel Runner’s pretty paint scheme is a Cummins designed and manufactured 200 hp and more than 350 lb-ft. of torque 2.8L I4 turbo diesel code named ATLAS.

    What is unique about ATLAS is that the Cummins/DOE Research turbo diesel engine has already exceeded current Tier II/Bin5 emissions specifications while maintaining a healthy power output, vastly improved fuel efficiency, and all at a much reduced weight.

    The ATLAS project engine was first postulated by Cummins back in 2006 but with the 08/09 financial crisis, plans were put on hold. Those plans were renewed with the DOE/Cummins engine 50/50 cost sharing program whose targets included increasing fuel efficiency in light trucks and SUVs by 40% which in turn would reduce US oil consumption by almost 10 percent or 1.5M bbl/day! This goal was not to be achieved with an underpowered and overly expensive one-off prototype like most high efficiency projects from the past but the 40% improvement in fuel efficiency was to be achieved while continuing to offer the same capabilities pickup and SUV buyers demand today. That is one very tall order.

    To do it, a Nissan Titan mule equipped with its standard aluminum constructed, gasoline fueled, 5.6L V8 and Tier II/Bin5 compliant emission control system was to be replaced with a smaller turbo diesel and an all-new emissions control system (ECS) without a weight or performance penalty. The downsized engine needed a very high power density and an almost radical emissions control design utilizing the latest off-the shelf and out of the lab technologies that would reduce the cold and steady state fuel economy hit that all turbo diesel emissions control systems incur today.

    Cummins 2.8L I4 ATLAS Turbo Diesel - Passive NOx Adsorber Performance

    [​IMG]
    This chart is an emissions engineers dream and it is here today.​

    What I found most intriguing about the 2.8L ATLAS TD program is not just its Tier II/Bin2 emissions target (a cleaner emissions profile than a current PZEV based generation III 2014 Prius), it incorporates a very compact passive NOx Adsorber (PNA) which stores low temperature initial start NOx and releases it back into the exhaust stream when Exhaust Gas Temperatures (EGT) reaches > 200 degrees C. At that temperature and above, the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC), and a highly efficient Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) system reduces NOx almost to the point of being unmeasureable at the tail pipe! All of this plus a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) are all housed within an emissions control container no larger than the intake plenum itself. This is truly a remarkable breakthrough. Cost of the engine will be a closely guarded secret between Nissan and Cummins for well into the foreseeable future.

    NVH

    Although Cummins was not providing information on the types of injectors, Solenoid or Piezo-electric, it was understood that 8 injections per combustion event was available which in turn can provide higher combustion efficiency, reduced NVH, and lower emissions. In addition, Cummins knows that they cannot just install any engine meant for off-highway use into a modern day truck without isolation. To that end, I was told the mounts are both modern and robust and should achieve levels of refinement that will have competitors tearing down the combination as soon as they can get their own hands on one of their own.

    Cummins 2.8L I4 Turbo Diesel

    [​IMG]
    Look at the small size of the after treatment emissions control package! Add a heated DEF tank and metering pump and it is ready to go.​

    An 8-speed ZF Transmission

    The Nissan Frontier with the 2.8L I4 Cummins Turbo Diesel is mated to a highly efficient ZF 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission.

    I am sure you are thinking this is a standard slush box with all of the torque converter and internal gear set losses we have been accustomed to for decades. While still not as efficient as a manual in the right hands, it is more fuel efficient for most regardless of their driving habits.

    In 2009, ZF released a completely new 8-speed automatic that uses just four gear sets and five shift elements resulting in vastly lower drag and pumping losses and higher gear mesh efficiency. In addition, shift times have reduced to just 200 milliseconds and non-sequential shifting was also added.

    According to ZF, the 5 shift elements - multi-disc clutches and brakes in the heart of the transmission – have only 2 open in any single gear. The fewer open shift elements there are, the fewer transmission parts there are rotating relative to one another. The gear mesh efficiency was improved as well. While some energy is lost when power is transmitted through gear wheels, the new 8-speed is said to lose less than 2 percent.

    With the standard Frontier PRO-4X 265/75-16 tires, the ZF transmissions 0.667 8th gear ratio, and the Cummins/Nissan designated 3.13 final, the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner turns over at a reduced 1,324 RPM@60 mph or 1,350 RPM@60 mph in actual use. This alone should result in an easy 32 to 35 mpgUS highway rating if it were to become available in a 4x2 Frontier of the future.

    We have driven thousands of miles in a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with a 3.0L Fiat’s 3.0L EcoDiesel mated to this exact transmission with what I would deem spectacular results.

    Shell and a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Star in the #TracktoTrack Challenge

    Along with the fuel economy increase, payload and towing capacity are expected to be approximately equivalent to that of the current 3.5L V6 powered Frontier.

    Exterior/Interior Design

    While far less exciting than the Cummins turbo diesel powerplant, the Frontier Diesel Runner was designed by Nissan Design America in San Diego, CA in conjunction with Nissan Global Design Center in Atsugi, Japan. Exterior mods include a custom paint treatment and carbon fiber accents.

    A carbon film-coated chin spoiler, mesh grille, roof rack, aerodynamic full-bed tonneau cover and tailgate spoiler, the hood is made with a partially transparent acrylic hood insert window to see the engine from outside the vehicle.

    A carbon fiber engine cover features an oversize Cummins logo, with a red center, black carbon sides and hidden illumination. "Cummins Turbo Diesel badges" are also recessed into both front fenders.

    The Frontier Diesel Runner's interior mirrors the silver and red exterior design, with red accents throughout and carbon-trimmed seats and panels. The front and rear seats feature carbon-print leather appointments with grey accent stitching and black-on-black "Tracks" embroidery. The carbon film-wrapped instrument panel is highlighted by red-tinted gauges and a special black-faced diesel-specific three-gauge pod on top of the C-cluster.

    Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Interior

    [​IMG]
    The red carpet is a bit garish but it matches the Cummins brand splash.​

    The three centrally mounted gauges include an EGT, Boost, and Transmission Oil temperature. If EGT reaches over 850 degrees I am concerned. At a maximum indicated 1,400 + degrees C, I would be exiting the truck and calling the fire department. :)

    The Frontier Diesel Runner with the 2.8L Cummins will be showcased throughout the consumer days of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place, Chicago.

    I sure hope Nissan and Cummins do something special with this one as it not only focuses in on the future of internal combustion engine but provides a tip of the spear like attitude while doing it. And what about a future Power Stroke or Duramax? They pale by comparison to the name that defines heavy duty. That name being Cummins.
     
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    When did the Frontier become a full-size truck ?
     
    xcel likes this.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Hi Edwin:

    It is still a compact.

    Wayne
     
  4. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    My mother drives one. I'd call it midsized. It's not the same size as "your father's frontier" :p . Still a good chunk smaller than the Titan / Ram / Silverado / F150.
     
    xcel likes this.
  5. wxman

    wxman Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Wayne,

    Thanks for the additional information on the Cummins 2.8L!

    It is becoming clear that the strategy for diesels to meet LEV III SULEV30 and Tier 3/Bin 30 (as proposed by EPA) is to use both a NOx adsorption catalyst and SCR. BMW has done the approach with its latest automotive diesels (it appears the BMW 328d would technically meet the emission requirements for SULEV30 and T3B30; the 535d and X5 35d would come very close). The NOx conversion efficiency stated for the ATLAS engine may allow this engine to hit LEV III SULEV20 and/or T3B20!
     
    xcel likes this.
  6. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Okay, I re-read your article. I was confusing the 5.0 V-8 in the Titan and the 2.8 I-4 in the Frontier. Now it makes sense.
     
    xcel likes this.
  7. tribosessive

    tribosessive Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Keep pushing xcel! Next up, smaller diesels, more efficient transmissions, and lighter gvw. Evolution.
     
    xcel likes this.
  8. Trollbait

    Trollbait Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    The last true compact truck was the Ranger. The others had bloated up before it's demise. The EPA calls them small pick-ups, but compact pick up disappeared from their power search awhile ago.
     
    xcel likes this.
  9. tribosessive

    tribosessive Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    With all that torque, couldn't they put in a very efficient rear axle that can still tow? I would like a bare bones regular cab with a tall 6MT-not too expensive. The durabilty would be a huge plus.
     
    xcel likes this.
  10. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Heck , my buddy used to tow with his 1.3 liter Samurai with all of approx. 80 HP and oversize tires. Sure , it was just a small trailer with two dirtbikes and yes, he cruised at 55 MPH in 4th gear. It didn't blow up. It's not the worst thing in the world to have to drop down a gear when you pull a load.
     
    xcel likes this.
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Hi All:

    For a bit on the 5.0L Cummins, Diaz is at the APA luncheon today and added the following:
    Regarding Nissan as a whole,
    Wayne
     
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Hi All:

    Not sure why anyone would want to be on this list but Edmunds published it and Nissan highlighted it anyway.

    They also missed the RAM 1500 with the 3.6L Pentastar?

    Top 9 Most Fuel-Efficient Trucks for 2014

    The Titan?

    Known for its fuel-efficient sedans, Edmunds named the 2014 Nissan Frontier and the 2014 Nissan Titan among its “Top 9 Most Fuel Efficient Trucks for 2014?” The Frontier tied for second with 21 mpg combined highway/city fuel economy, while the Titan finished ninth -- last -- with 12/17/14 mpgUS city/highway/combined rating.

    Dan Mohnke, VP and Chief Marketing Manager & Marketing Operations:
    Hah???

    The full-size 2014 Nissan Titan offers a range of body, bed and drivetrain configurations and offered in King Cab and Crew Cab body styles with a choice of 4x4 and 4x2 drive configurations, along with two wheelbases and three bed lengths.

    Every Titan comes equipped with a 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque 5.6L V8.

    Now you know why Nissan needs to equip its pickups with a modern turbo diesel as they are they currently define the acronym FSP. :ccry:

    Wayne
     
  13. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    A year or two ago it seemed the compact/midsize truck market was on the verge of disappearing ... now we have the prospect of there being TWO trucks in this segment (Frontier and Colorado) with available diesels?? WOW!
     
    xcel likes this.
  14. tribosessive

    tribosessive Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Any news about Toyota getting off their anti-diesel high horse for the NA market? At one time, based on what Toyota had said, I had a confident expectation that there would be a hybrid Tacoma by now.
    The rumor is that there will be a Tacoma 2.4L I4 GDI engine with approximately 30 MPG for model year 2015.
    Meanwhile a Frontier regular cab 2WD 6MT Cummins I4 would be very high on my list. Baxk to reality I will be watching for parallel developments in Titan anxiously.
     
  15. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Wayne
    No steady 60 mph info yet?
    The Ram TD gets 34-35 at 60 mph right?
    And the 3.6 V6 got 30 mpg at 60 mph-right?

    The 3.6 RAM for the $$- is hard to beat-never thought I would see a full sized 1/2 ton spark motor -300 hp- get those numbers!!

    Oh I had a 2004 Titan-nice motor and transmission-extra cab just 4800 lbs
    But my primitive 1998 5.7 5200 lb Chevrolet gets/got slightly better- 21 vs 19- mpg on the same long highway trips-3000 miles NOLA to Flagstaff.Now they are actually a bit closer than that-I drive maybe 3mph more slowly now
    But roughly even despite being lighter-and the Titan certainly LOOKS more aerodynamic than my brick on wheels 98 suburban
    But the 235/75 15 tires- which look tiny by current standards-probably help a bit.

    In any case the 2004 Titan-sweet motor-fast-ish- but considering how modern it is-was-
    is/was a bit disappointing relative to the primitive 5.7.

    My 4.7 Tundra 2001-got even poorer mpg-same trips etc-1-2 mpg down vs suburban and Titan-

    Yeah that 3.6 Ram 8 speed AT normal price-might bury GM-especially with GMs current problems-and Fords soon to arrive 650 LB LIGHTER 1/2 TON.

    GM must be sweating-despite the 5.3 putting out good numbers-and the 4.3-
    Just don't know how much farther they can push 2 valve and pushrods.

    Well I always liked Dodge-Mopar GLAD they are doing so well
    A real tribute to the bailout and FIAT!
    Who would have thought RAM might be pushing FORD someday!!-
     
    xcel likes this.
  16. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Not as bad a handicap as people tend to think, especially for truck duty. Besides being cheaper, they're more space-efficient (useful in the Corvette), and about as efficient except at high rpm.
     
    xcel likes this.
  17. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Redy
    Right- the 4 valves OHC not the advantage many would think.
    Originally-I THINK- the 4 valves weren't for better breathing-but were because the valve springs weren't up to bigger heavier valves at higher RPMS-
    so smaller valves meant the springs wouldn't break.
    And yes-pushrods mean much less wide engine-no cam sitting on top of the valves

    But-there MUST be SOME advantage??
    Why in the world is GM the only manufacturer still using pushrod V-8s in their premier vehicles??
    Just why does EVERYONE ELSE use 4 valve OHC?
    I really can't see an actual advantage-mpg more or less the same-HP more or less the same?
    It can't be just marketing??
     
  18. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    I think Charlie's right about that. It was probably the Japanese motorcycle mfgrs that pushed that technology (and perfected it).

    But DAMN the Corvette does just fine with its pushrods !
     
    xcel likes this.
  19. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    Edwin-Redy
    Yes it is a puzzle
    I think that famous Brit engine guy-Ricardo maybe-
    showed many many years ago that 4 valves DON'T outflow 2 valves.
    Now perhaps really BIG 2 valve heads-say 110 mm or so-might be less compact or less smooth-so maybe they can make some claim to be more efficient burning??

    Now valve control should be easier with 4 smaller valves-but with current springs- at reasonable RPMS- meaning 7000 or less-that isn't a problem.

    I am just not clear WHAT the 4 valve OHC advantage is over pushrods-
    in relatively low-7000 RPM- running that is essential to get inherent FE
    Lotta RPMS means lotta friction loses

    Yeah WHY does EVERYONE(but GM) use 4 valve OHC heads?
    There MUST be a good reason?
    But GMs latest 5.3 and 4.3 seem to indicate otherwise?
    They match the 4 valve V-6's and the 3.5 TWIN TURBO
     
    xcel likes this.
  20. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Re: Best of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show: Cummins Powered Nissan’s Frontier Diesel Runn

    I think the technical advantages mainly have to do with high RPM. Smaller valves and absence of pushrods (applies to 2-valve SOHC too) means less mass to accelerate, so springs don't have to be as heavy for the same speed capability. Better breathing at high speed means less displacement is needed for the desired peak power, other things being equal (which they never are, exactly!).

    Marketing is a significant factor too, manufacturers wanting to be perceived as employing up-to-date, sophisticated technology. The 2-valve OHC engine of my present car ironically has much lower rated peak-power speed than the pushrod engine of my previous car, 5000 vs. 6400 RPM.

    Four-valve-per-cylinder OHC engines were around for many decades before they became common. Conventional wisdom was that they were too expensive for anything but racing and exotics.
     
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