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Old 12-20-2018, 10:11 PM   #101
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Would a turbocharged engine be affected at all by high altitude? After all, turbos were developed so that aircraft could fly higher.
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:11 PM   #102
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Would a turbocharged engine be affected at all by high altitude? After all, turbos were developed so that aircraft could fly higher.
Yes, it could be affected. A turbocharger is really a turbosupercharger, meaning a supercharger (compressor to push more air into the engine) driven by an exhaust turbine. While the compressor can make up for the loss of air density with altitude, there are still limits to both how much boost the compressor can deliver and how much drive power the turbine can provide. The engine may also be limited to the amount of boost above atmospheric pressure, so the absolute pressure supplied to the engine drops with increasing altitude. The time to build boost in response to a changing conditions (throttle opening, engine speed) could be longer in thinner air. So details of performance depend on the sizing and design of the turbocharger and the design of the control system, and the engine may lose no performance at all, but will likely lose some.

High performance piston-engine aircraft do often use a turbocharger just to make up for altitude, allowing them to maintain the same power from sea level to their maximum altitude, but that may not be much more power at sea level than a non-turbocharged version of the same engine. The Ranger's engine depends on significant boost to reach its maximum power, and may not be able to boost that much at altitude... but maybe it can. In a quick web search it appears that EcoBoost V6 owners are satisfied with high-altitude performance, but that's a different engine (with technical and branding similarities), and owners are not always great objective observers.

From an article:
Quote:
Ford Truck Communications Manager Mike Levine said that while yes, "turbocharged EcoBoost engines have the capability to deliver a similar boost level at higher altitudes when the atmospheric pressure is decreasing," this same drop in atmospheric pressure is typically the reason why both power and torque decrease in naturally aspirated engines. While maintaining the same boost level at lower altitudes, Levine noted, other limits can be encountered, like turbo speeds at higher rpms that could also result in a power reduction (at higher elevations), but still have a smaller amount or no reduction of peak torque.

Because EcoBoost engines can lose some performance, Levine said, a reduction in the GCWR is recommended if customers want to maintain the same performance level they had when driving the same truck and trailer at sea level. We would also note that, although not as significantly impacted, the bigger, torque-biased diesel engines encounter the same type of performance challenges.
This doesn't address the problem that more boost is needed at higher altitude just to get the same air density and power.

This short clip also doesn't mention that even if the engine can produce the same power at high altitude as at sea level, there is less cooling capacity (for the engine and transmission) available. Then there is less need for power to overcome aerodynamic drag. To find a precise answer is just not simple.
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:26 PM   #103
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Brian.

What about a fuel injection system. How badly is that affected say towing at 10,000’?

Thanks

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Old 12-20-2018, 11:35 PM   #104
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Real world tests

If you search “IKE Gantlet” you will find some real world test videos of many trucks towing huge weight in trailers up the same hill.

The one video I remember is of the F150 6 cylinder eco boost that out performed the largest gas Ford engine because it could not breathe at that altitude. They were very impressed. They also had to hold up on the gas pedal as it just kept accelerating...all the power they need...and all that from a 6 cylinder.

I am very impressed with my eco boost F150. This is my second one and we have an eco boost Explorer Sport for the wife. I am positive that the 4 cylinder eco boost will out perform many normally aspirated v8 trucks at altitude and blow the doors off any normal 6 cylinders.

I am sure these guys will test the Ranger as soon a possible under load up the Gantlet.

Here is a description of where they test the vehicles:

Ike Gauntlet extreme towing test. It is an 8-mile stretch of I-70 interstate from Dillon, Colorado and up to over 11,158 feet above sea level at the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels at the Continental Divide.
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Old 12-21-2018, 01:56 AM   #105
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What about a fuel injection system. How badly is that affected say towing at 10,000’?
While carburetors were affected by altitude, fuel injection systems generally are not, and everything on the market now (gasoline or diesel; turbocharged or not) has a computer-managed electronic fuel injection system that doesn't care about altitude.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:36 AM   #106
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While carburetors were affected by altitude, fuel injection systems generally are not, and everything on the market now (gasoline or diesel; turbocharged or not) has a computer-managed electronic fuel injection system that doesn't care about altitude.
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Old 12-21-2018, 10:13 AM   #107
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It would seem to me that engine designers would want constant boost to the engine at a given RPM as long as the turbo is running, regardless of altitude, and this wouldn't be that hard to achieve. After all, we're not talking 40,000 feet here.

Regarding cooling-- although cooling capacity decreases with altitude, so does the ambient temperature. This might not help the engine much, but it would help the transmission. I've noticed that my Tacoma's transmission is unusually responsive to outside temperature, in addition to what else is going on. This surprised me.
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:27 AM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
It would seem to me that engine designers would want constant boost to the engine at a given RPM as long as the turbo is running, regardless of altitude, and this wouldn't be that hard to achieve. After all, we're not talking 40,000 feet here.

Regarding cooling-- although cooling capacity decreases with altitude, so does the ambient temperature. This might not help the engine much, but it would help the transmission. I've noticed that my Tacoma's transmission is unusually responsive to outside temperature, in addition to what else is going on. This surprised me.
Harder than you think. Turbochargers relie on rpm and throttle position to generate boost. Hot exhaust gas drives the turbo. In theory a supercharger could do this but it would not be very efficient.
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Old 12-21-2018, 12:44 PM   #109
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I could be mistaken but are these the right official numbers?

Ranger 2.3 : City 20, Highway 24
F150 2.7 : City 19, Highway 24

Looks like the fuel economy advantage empty is hardly there for the Ranger...
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:15 PM   #110
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It would seem to me that engine designers would want constant boost to the engine at a given RPM as long as the turbo is running, regardless of altitude, and this wouldn't be that hard to achieve. After all, we're not talking 40,000 feet here.
I agree with Chotch - turbo speed and boost are dependent on engine load, and will not be high at low load. The other problem is that boost is normally measured and controlled relative to atmospheric pressure, so even if that is constant (with changing elevation) the absolute manifold pressure - and thus the density of intake charge - is lower at higher elevation.

Most commercial diesel engines show a very flat area of the torque curve over the mid- to low- end of the operating speed range; this is the area in which at full power operation the power is limited by the control system's limitation of boost. Beyond that range, the turbocharger's ability to produce boost is the limiting factor for power output. This behaviour is usually less distinct in cars, but it's still there. The Mustang version of the 2.3 Ecoboost has flat (presumably limited by the boost control) output from about 3300 to 5200 rpm, and beyond that the turbo can't produce enough boost. The Ranger's output will be more biased to low speeds, but maximum power will still likely be in a state where the turbo can't produce as much boost as the engine could use.
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