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SwRI heavy-duty diesel engine benchmarking program posts first results on secure web server

San Antonio -- July 25, 2003 -- The Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) heavy-duty diesel engine benchmarking program has posted its first results, a report on lubricant durability testing, on a secure web server for subscribers. This program provides insight into how new technologies are affecting heavy-duty engines.

"As we complete a section of a report, we are immediately posting the data for our clients," said Bob Burrahm, program manager in the SwRI Engine and Vehicle Research Division. "We want to get the results to our clients as quickly as possible."

New federal emission regulations affect some of the 2002 heavy-duty diesel engines, which incorporate new emission control technologies. The benchmarking program will extensively test and assess the performance, emissions and durability of the two classes of diesel engines. These heavy heavy-duty diesel engines, 465 to 565 horsepower, and light heavy-duty engines, 275 to 335 hp, are primarily sold in the United States. Light heavy-duty trucks include pickups, sport utility vehicles and Class 3 delivery trucks.

The objectives of the durability testing of the heavy heavy-duty engine benchmarking included determining how quickly CI-4 oil deteriorates when tested under "normal" conditions in exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) engines, determining unusual engine wear caused by EGR or engine design changes, discovering short-term durability issues with the engines, particularly with new features and systems, and evaluating differences in oil deterioration among engines, particularly in comparison with the Caterpillar ACERT™ engines, which do not use external EGR.

The program is divided into heavy and light heavy-duty diesel engine benchmarking projects. The heavy heavy-duty project is testing and examining 12- to 15-liter engines, including a Detroit Diesel Series 60 (14 liter), Cummins ISX, Volvo D-12 and Caterpillar C15 (ACERT™). The light heavy-duty project is using 6- to 9-liter engines including Cummins ISB, Ford/International 6.0 liter V-8 and Caterpillar C9 (ACERT™). Subscribers access the results through a secure web server, which requires a user ID and password.

"We are seeing many differences in the engine technology and have found interesting results from the lubricant durability tests," Burrahm said. 

"Engine manufacturers and component suppliers will benefit from this data by gaining a better understanding of how the new technologies are affecting heavy-duty engines. Our secure web server allows clients to log-on to the Internet and immediately download results as they are posted."

Interested clients may still join the benchmarking program. Either heavy or light heavy-duty projects are $105,000 for engine manufacturers and $65,000 for non-engine manufacturers, such as lubricant oil and component suppliers. A client who subscribes to both projects will receive a discount. The program will be completed by December 2003.

"After we complete the benchmarking program, we will be offering additional specialty tests on these engines under single client contracts," Burrahm said.

As an independent, multidisciplinary research, development and testing organization, SwRI provides a non-biased, third-party perspective. The SwRI Engine and Vehicle Research Division achieved certification to ISO 9001, an internationally recognized quality standard, and ISO 14001 certification, an internationally recognized standard for environmental management systems.

For more information on this program, visit the SwRI website at benchmarking.swri.org or contact Burrahm at (210) 522-2019 or rburrahm@swri.org.

For more information, contact Tracey M.S. Whelan, Communications Department, (210) 522-2256, Fax (210) 522-3547, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

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