The heavy duty truck market is fierce with competition as each manufacturer continues raising the bar. HD truck customers tow big trailers and haul hefty payloads – as such, a truck’s performance is paramount, from the frame and suspension to the engine and transmission.
HD trucks must maintain a certain standard of performance, but they must also be intelligent in how they use it. To further maintain this delicate balance, Chevrolet developed a new, patented air intake system for the 2017 Silverado HD.
“The 2017 Silverado HD was engineered to provide maximum utility for our customers in even the most extreme situations,” said Eric Stanczak, Chief Engineer, Silverado HD.
Silverado HD’s new air intake feeds cool, dry air into the Duramax diesel for cooler engine temperatures and better performance. This becomes relevant during the harsh and rigorous driving Chevy’s HD trucks are accustomed to seeing. The cooler, drier air helps the engine run better under heavy loads and other situations that create excessive engine and transmission heat.
A ram-air effect is created with the incoming air at highway speeds. This sends more air to the engine while the air filter housing draws 40 percent additional air from one of the front fenders. This blends with the cooler air from the hood inlet before funneling into the combustion chambers.
The design ensures the Sliverado HD can breathe even if the hood is obstructed.
Harnessing The Hood
The hood scoop is a vital element. To maximize the Silverado HD’s long-term performance, it’s not just about having cool air; it’s about having clean and dry air too. Inside the hood scoop is a unique air/water separator to ensure only the best air is reaching the engine.
As the truck is moving, the air charge enters an expansion chamber with a sharp, 180-degree turn on its way to the air filter housing. That creates a velocity change causing humidity or mist to form larger, heavier droplets that are flung centrifugally (directed outward from center) against the outside wall of the housing. The collected water drains through a valve while the air charge continues to the filter housing and into the engine.
The system is meant to create better power delivery, despite pressures from a trailer, payload, or harsh weather or road conditions. According to Stanczak, Chevy did testing in the most adverse environments, including some at extreme elevations.
“While developing this all-new induction system, we considered our customers towing a maximum-weight trailer through the Eisenhower Tunnel on a hot, rainy summer day,” he said.
The Eisenhower Tunnel is 11,000 feet above sea level and the highest vehicle tunnel in the world, nestled in the Rocky Mountains.
Silverado HD trucks face all kinds of weather conditions that ultimately affect the engine performance. Although driving through torrential rain is difficult, the Duramax loses little sleep, thanks to the new air intake system.
“Big, heavy raindrops from a thunderstorm are relatively easy to eliminate from air,” said Kevin Dunn of GM’s Global Vehicle Performance for Splash Engineering. “The more challenging issue comes from the mist-like spray generated by semi-trucks on wet highways. Those very fine water droplets prove more challenging to separate from the air.”
According to Dunn, the air intake is an elegant solution that works well with water droplets of all sizes.
“For customers, the results deliver maximum engine performance and even greater towing confidence,” he said.
*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.