75 years and counting
MTU's 2-Cycle diesel engine business owns a legendary past and a
bright future. General Motors formed the GM® Diesel Division in 1937 in
Redford, Michigan. The first engines were compact, lightweight, two-cycle
products developed to power standby generators, tanks, landing craft and
road building equipment.
Later, the company began developing heavy duty engines and by 1965 it had
produced its one millionth engine. That same year, GM® Diesel was renamed
Detroit Diesel. "Detroits" continued to be the diesel engines of choice in
North America and achieved many milestones along the way.
The 2-Cycle engine powered most of the twentieth century's diesel-driven
industrial history. By land or sea, in peace and at war, a progressively
more powerful and efficient series of "Detroits" could be found in every
industry in every corner of the globe. Around the world, these "Detroits"
are in service in hard working city buses, in lonely fields generating power
for pumps and electricity, building roads, mining, aircraft ground support
equipment, high-end marine pleasure craft, and in most of the world's armies
During the '80s, the advent of tougher exhaust emissions laws relegated
2-Cycles to the sidelines in favor of more environmentally-friendly
four-cycle engines. While many predicted the 2-Cycle engines
would quietly fade away, they have proven remarkably resilient and today
are making a comeback of sorts. When MTU
acquired the product line from Detroit Diesel® in 2006, they made a
significant capital investment to sharpen market focus and renew commitment
to customer support, including
millions of dollars to revitalize the overall support of the product line
with genuine, high-quality new and reliabilt®
Back to the future
MTU inherited a legendary series of engines that have stood an extraordinary
test of time. The granddaddy of them all is the Series 71
engine, so named because it had a displacement of 71 cubic inches per
cylinder. It was developed by GM® in 1938 for stationary power equipment,
landing craft and tanks.
By 1965, a million Series 71s had been
manufactured. Today the original design lives on in new, powerful e
ight-cylinder versions produced for the military, while remanufactured
reliabilt® models are sold by MTU for military and non-military
The same is true of the 6V53, a six-cylinder
version of the Series 53 that was introduced
over fifty years ago. New 6V53s are still
being manufactured by MTU for military applications, and reliabilt® models
are sold for all uses around the world.
The two newest 2-Cycle designs are younger by comparison but still
approaching a comfortable middle-age: Series 149
engines were introduced in 1967 and are still being sold as remanufactured
reliabilt® models to the mining, marine, industrial and power generation
customers who have sworn by their performance and dependability ever since.
If there is a greater among equals, it's the Series 92®.
First produced in 1973, the Series 92® has been sold new in 6, 8, 12 and
16-cylinder configurations to military, marine, construction, industrial,
on-highway and energy industry customers. Today it's manufactured for
military applications and in reliabilt® versions for all applications.
No substitute for experience
What's driving this resurgence in popularity in 2-Cycle engines,
parts and service at MTU? Why does the U.S. Military, arguably the world's
most demanding customer, rely on these engines and parts for vehicles in
applications where failure is not an option?
Like the engine designs themselves, there's simply no substitute for
experience, and customers seem to realize it, according to MTU's George
Polson, Director, Product Engineering and Sales Support.
Those of us who worked for Detroit Diesel® in the 2-Cycle's heyday recognized
that there was still a lot of life left in this product line," states Polson.
"When the off-highway division of Detroit Diesel® became part of the
global MTU organization, we saw an opportunity and urged MTU to also purchase
the legacy 2-Cycle division. MTU was quick to realize the importance of our
2-Cycle heritage and made a commitment to give it the same comprehensive,
long-term product support that it provides with all MTU products."
It's a commitment that the military and commercial markets have clearly
noticed, if rising sales across the 2-Cycle product offerings at MTU are any
indication. Explains Lisa Farrens, 2-Cycle Business Development Manager of
Parts Planning, "We're letting customers know that we've invested a lot of
resources and thought into ramping up production of high quality, genuine
parts so that we can continue serving our customers whenever and wherever
they need us."