IT HAS been a long time coming, but the introduction of the Caterpillar CT13 engine to the Australian heavy duty truck market marks the first new Cat engine in this country for a decade.
The new 475 hp @ 1700 rpm and 1700 lb.ft @ 1200 rpm engine replaces the older Caterpillar C13 engine in the Cat CT610 bonneted prime mover, which is aimed at the single-trailer market.
The CT13 is a technological tour de force and brings a never-seen-before combination of design innovation to the Australian market.
This includes separate cooling systems for the cylinder head and the cylinder block, a high pressure (32,000 psi multi-shot) common-rail fuel system, dual waste-gated sequential turbos with an intercooler between the turbos, an enormous jacket-water-cooled EGR system, a completely new and extremely quiet engine brake and a significantly lighter Carbon Graphite Iron (CGI) engine block.
There's even more technology sitting under these major features making the Cat CT13 a showcase engine. None of this technology would mean much if the engine didn't perform, and there's a standout aspect of the new engine that will win the favour of fleet operators - it's fuel economy is astounding.
I ran an extensive and precise fuel economy comparison between the older C13 and the new CT13 engines (both at 42 tonnes), and the new engine regularly proved itself to be at least 10% better on fuel.
It's quite an achievement to gain any improvements in fuel economy with new emission controls, but this engine has set a benchmark for future Cat engines.
It didn't matter how hard I drove the CT13 (and I pushed it very hard indeed) it still achieved 10% or more fuel economy than the C13 driven in the same manner.
The same test regime revealed the CT13 operating at around 5˚C cooler than the C13, which is again astounding, given that the new engine has EGR, which usually promotes higher operating/combustion temperatures.
- René Bueman
The Cat CT610 prime mover sits alongside its bigger brother, the CT630 prime mover, which is still powered by the long serving Caterpillar C15 engine.
Both trucks comply with the latest ADR80/03 Emission Standard. The 15-litre engine easily met the ADR80/02 emission standard and needed very little work to bring it up to the ADR80/03 level.
Australian Cat engineers managed to lever the C15 into ADR80/03 with a brilliantly simple new exhaust system that allowed the engine to breathe more as it collected and then burnt soot with in-line particulate filters without secondary regeneration systems.
As a result, the C15 is the only 15-litre heavy duty engine in the Australian market without EGR or SCR or secondary regeneration. Critics of Cat's ACERT technology now know just how good it really is, as the C15 will now live for at least another four or five years in this configuration, right through to the next change in emission standard - whenever that occurs.
No other engine manufacturer has been able to achieve ADR80/03 with so little change to an ADR80/02 engine.