Freightliner brings Mercedes power to heavy-duty trucks

Truck News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Freightliner has unveiled a proprietary heavy-duty engine line in the MBE 4000, flexing the muscle of its parent that is Daimler Chrysler.

The 12.8-litre in-line, six-cylinder Mercedes Benz engine family offers seven power ratings ranging from 350 to 450 hp, with torque rated at between 1,350 and 1,550 lb-ft. A 470-hp/1,650 lb-ft model and multi-torque ratings are to come in the near future.

“This engine raises the bar for heavy-duty power in North America,” says Freightliner president Jim Hebe. But, he adds, Freightliner has no plans to “vertically integrate” its products, which means that other engines will still be available in its trucks.

The new engines are designed for traditional linehaul applications, but are particularly targeting regional jobs, bulk haulers, grocery distribution companies and vocational applications.

The move follows the introduction of 4.3- and 6.4-litre Mercedes Benz power units that are now the standard engine in Business Class trucks.

Where other engine makers have indicated they’ll probably include Exhaust Gas Recirculation technology to meet tightened emission standards in Oct. 2002, the latest Freightliner addition won’t need to add anything, Hebe says.

Peak torque can be reached at 1,000 rpm, offering low-end power, while a high-output turbocharger helps the acceleration.

The latest engine is as much as 400 lb. lighter than some competing models, while the weight is comparable to the Cummins ISM until a compression brake adds to the weight of that model.

The MBE 4000 doesn’t need such an addition, thanks to the integrated engine brake that offers 325 braking horsepower at 2,100 rpm. With an optional turbo brake, the stopping power increases to 600 hp. That’s activated when a blade ring in the turbocharger slides forward, redirecting airflow against the turbine blade and accelerating the turbine wheel, increasing the air mass flow and power for the compression brake.

Cold weather starts are aided with the engine’s compression ratio of 17.75:1.

In terms of electronics, the engine incorporates both a traditional Electronic Control Unit and a new Vehicle Control Unit, which can be easily accessed inside the cab.

Fuel injection comes through a six-hole spray nozzle that’s centrally located, while engine breathing is aided with four valves per cylinder. Fuel efficiency is further improved with a gear-driven air compressor with an idle feature that reduces horsepower drain.

Oil drain intervals are set at 25,000 miles with the use of a CG-4 oil and 50,000 miles with synthetic lubes. It promises a life to rebuilds of 800,000 miles. Its durability comes from such things as induction-hardened cylinder bores, cam and crankshafts, forged steel connecting rods and ceramic-coated pistons.

The engine will be available by November. n

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  • 435hp. MBE4000 Mercedes diesel engine is in a truck that I am interested in purchasing.
    I’ve been researching this engine and there has been some disturbing reviews.
    My question is this, how much more life would I be able to get out of this engine? Currently at 460000.

  • I just bought a Freightliner Columbia with a 410 hp mercedes engine, it has 489000 miles on it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the engine and that other drivers love them, they hauled coal buckets with the truck. My truck seems to have great power and rapid acceleration. also with a regular oil change at 12 to 15000 miles that engine should last a million miles or better, just like cummins , caterpillar, or detroit engines. you will have problems with any engine eventually, they’re man made.