Can’t shrink your truck? How about your engine?

Cannon Mug Headshot

mx11Shrinking cabin size doesn’t make sense for everyone, but there are still opportunities to go smaller under the hood.

“In many cases, an 11-liter platform engine can offer greater efficiency through a higher fuel economy and lighter weight – allowing up to an additional 400 pounds of payload,” says Kenworth Marketing Director Kurt Swihart. “The additional payload means more cargo to haul, which maximizes the earning power of the truck. One reason for the enhanced fuel economy – the engine requires fewer active regenerations since it runs optimally.”

Today’s smaller displacement engines are making more power than ever before but large displacement powerplants still have their place.

“… we have seen a shift to 13 liter configurations in day cabs,” says Scott Perry, vice president of supply management and global product management at Ryder, “but we still see an affinity for 14/15 liter for sleeper tractors.”

If you’re looking at getting closer to single digit liter size, Perry warns that decision should be made with the truck’s lifecycle in mind.

“Smaller beverage tractors are also seeing some configurations where a 9 or 11 liter engine could be utilized,” he says, “but a fleet needs to understand the long-term potential uses for that product throughout its life (cascading applications), as well as implications around residual values when making the engine horsepower/torque/displacement decision.”

Taking a step down in engine liter size isn’t necessarily a new idea, adds Steve Gilligan, Navistar’s vice president of product marketing.

“If you go back to 2010, [International] only sold a 13 liter engine for a number of years,” he says. “I think that up until probably the ‘08/’09 period, 15 liters dominated the market and 13 liters probably picked up the other 20 to 30 percent of the market.”

Ten years into the new millennium, 13 liter engines began to skyrocket in popularity.

“… almost 50 percent of the truck industry,” Gilligan says.

Just like the 13 liter began to chip away at share held by the 15 liter, Anthony Gansle, Peterbilt’s on-highway marketing manager, says Paccar’s 11 liter is poised to ignite a similar revolution as momentum continues to build in many weight-sensitive and other specific applications to spec an engine that has the right balance of power and weight.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

“The more horsepower the better is no longer the dominant mindset,” he says. “Fleets are much more willing to look at all available engine options and find the right one for their business. In the case of a smaller liter-size engine, for instance an 11-liter engine, customers can get ample horsepower, improved fuel economy and reduced weight for more payload.”

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]