John Baxter | January 01, 2012


Ed Saxman, Volvo Trucks North America’s director of powertrain marketing, says the Volvo D16 engine is “a standalone engine.”


“We have three engines that all have the same DNA, all using parts designed with the same basic concept. Yet the engines are clearly different, with dimensions like the spacing of the cylinders changing with the size.”

The 16-liter machine has a maximum rating of 550 horsepower with 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque. The design was optimized for the 2007 engine introduction, with the block and major parts receiving a redesign to strengthen them, and the engine getting a new EGR valve, a much larger EGR cooler and a new variable geometry turbocharger.

The engine uses camshaft operated unit injectors. The camshaft is driven at the rear, another change that came in 2007. This allows the flywheel to greatly smooth out operation and reduce noise produced by the gears that drive it, in spite of helping to produce extreme injection pressures. Saxman says the injectors were replaced recently with a new design that has special internal valves that allow rate shaping. This means the rate at which fuel goes in starts out slowly to make the engine quieter and help control peak combustion temperatures, and then accelerates to reduce particulate and fuel consumption. This means less work for the DPF and SCR systems

Volvo D16

Horsepower: 500-550

Torque: 1,850 lb.-ft.

Bore and stroke: 5.76 in. by 6.64 in.

Capacity: 16.1 liters

Lube oil capacity: 55 quarts

All Volvo engines have an engine brake with an extra bump from the cam that activates the brake. This charges the cylinder with pressurized air before compression, enhancing brake performance.

Saxman says D16 owners can get plenty of power, yet use it with a 3.08 rear axle and an overdrive I-Shift transmission to lower cruise rpm below what is normally seen to optimize fuel economy.

Volvo also has the D13, sized for good fuel economy and ideally adapted for highway operation with normal loads. Although the D13 is smaller than the 15-liter engines many truckers run, the block and internal parts are designed to deliver a service life comparable with larger engines. The D13 offers up to 500 horsepower and 1,750 lb.-ft. of torque. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.