Archive for June, 2009

Diesel power

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

We contracted “aluminumitis” over three years ago and after much research we settled on the 23′ Safari SE Airstream trailer.  But before buying the trailer we had to decide on the proper tow vehicle that would best meet our needs.  I quickly found out that this would not be a quick and easy process.  I found a plethora of tow vehicle threads and opinions on the Airstream Knowledge Sharing Forums.  Aside from which brand to buy, it seemed that the first decision had to be which fuel-type to select, gas or diesel. So I started the thread, “Gas vs. Diesel in the New World“, which yielded 15 pages of discussion.

The selection came down to factors of power, geography/topography, and longevity.  It seemed to us that the diesel truck would be better suited to carry us, our dogs, and our “stuff” (cooking equipment, tables, chairs and mats) and pull our trailer up and over our nearby mountains, and continue to do so well into our retirement.  So it was “Diesel for me in the New World“.

dsc_0374-trailer-diesel-truck.jpg

Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913), a German engineer, designed and patented in 1892 an internal combustion engine, the diesel engine, which uses the heat of highly compressed air to ignite a spray of fuel introduced after the start of the compression stroke.

Karl Benz is generally regarded as the inventor of the first gasoline-powered automobile in 1886 and he was a pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz.  His company, Benz & Cie designed the first truck in history in 1895 and was the largest automobile company in the world in 1899.

Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900), another German engineer, invented the first high-speed petrol engine and the first four-wheel drive automobile.  Daimler and his lifelong business partner Wilhelm Maybach in 1890 founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) which began to produce the Mercedes model of 1902.  DMG merged with Benz & Cie in 1926 and adopted Mercedes-Benz as its automobile trademark along with its logo, the three-pointed star which represented Daimler’s motto: “engines for land, air, and water”.

Modern diesel engines have come a long way from the first one and are much more complex (see this animation).  Modern diesel vehicles of today have also come a long way, as seen in the Mercedes-Benz GL Class SUV, which features Blue TEC diesel technology.  This technology reportedly reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by 80%.  A blue urea solution is injected into the exhaust gas flow releasing ammonia which breaks down the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water particles in the catalytic converter.

Ken Gross tells more about the Mercedes-Benz GL and diesel power in this video of his test drive in Iceland (shown on You Tube).

Did you know that the Popemobile most often used by Pope Benedict XVI when traveling abroad is a modified Mercedes-Benz M-Class sport utility vehicle (as seen here in Brazil)?

As mentioned above, we chose a diesel truck because we haul a lot of equipment.  We are very happy with our 2006 F-250 Super Duty diesel truck, which comes with a 6.0 Power Stroke V8 Turbo diesel engine, Tow Command integrated trailer brake controller, and tow mirrors (seen on left in image below).

dsc_0084.jpg

Rich L chose the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL320 and I say, Congratulations and Welcome to the world of diesel power!

About the Author

BILL, along with partner, Larry, were first-time RV'ers when they purchased their custom-ordered 23' 2007 Airstream Safari SE. Bill (a retired RN) and Larry (a retired pediatric Occupational Therapist) enjoy bringing history alive in the area of San Diego, CA.