In preparation for the upcoming launch of the Next-Generation Ford Ranger later this year, production of the 3.0L V6 Diesel engine that will power the top-of-the-line Ranger pickup models to be made at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria has started at the Ford Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha.
This is a part of Ford’s R600 million investment in the operations of the Struandale Engine Plant, which has also enabled improvements to the current assembly line for the 2.0L Single Turbo and Bi-Turbo diesel engines. For the Next-Gen Ranger, which will be offered domestically and exported to more than 100 international markets, design modifications and more engine derivatives have been incorporated.
In-line and V-configuration engines are produced on the same line at this factory, which is unique in the Ford global network. The same assembly line that now produces the new 3.0L V6 turbodiesel also produces the 2.2 and 3.2 Duratorq TDCi engines. Ford Struandale Engine Plant Plant Manager Shawn Govender said, “This was a major challenge for our team and required a lot of creative and innovative thinking, but our facilities were crucial to ensuring a low total investment and competitive cost per unit.”
The Struandale Engine Plant is also responsible for machining the cylinder heads for the 3.0L V6 Diesel, which is performed in a completely revamped facility using new and redeployed machines that have been updated with the latest tooling, operating, and quality control systems.
The R600-million Struandale Engine Plant investment introduced numerous changes for the latest versions of the highly rated 2.0L Single Turbo and 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engines that will be the core line-up for the Next-Gen Ranger. Around 23 design changes were implemented for the new application, while the number of derivatives produced on the dedicated assembly line for this engine program has increased from nine to 13.
Modifications were mostly made to fit the Next-Gen Ranger’s design, as well as noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics for added comfort and refinement, Govender said. “The Next-Gen Ranger will benefit from great quality, dependability, and durability combined with excellent fuel economy.”
The new 3.0L V6 Diesel and the most recent 2.0L Single Turbo and Bi-Turbo engines undergo extensive in-process and off-line testing, much like any new or updated engine program. The existing Duratorq TDCi engines have also been rigorously tested to verify that the sophisticated production processes, equipment, and technologies employed on the modernized flexible assembly line are within specification.
“The lengthy and stringent dynamometer tests are vital in certifying the training of our staff, the application of the production processes and systems, as well as the performance and durability of the engines,”adds Govender.