The average Powerstroke engine features a number of innovative components that not only allow it to deliver exceptional performance, but also helps it to remain compliant with state and federal emissions requirements. An EGR cooler is just one of the many components that contribute to this engine’s excellent performance. To get an idea of how EGR coolers optimize Powerstroke performance, it’s important to know how the EGR system and EGR coolers work.
EGR valves are commonly used to help reduce engine emissions, especially nitrous oxide (NOx) gas emissions. These valves reintroduce a small amount of exhaust gases into the intake manifold. This action helps reduce peak combustion temperatures by diluting the air/fuel mixture by a small degree. Reducing peak combustion temperatures also has the effect of preventing the formation of NOx gases. EGR valves are a necessity on current diesel-powered vehicles, given the stringent emissions standards they are required to follow.
An EGR cooler further promotes the efficient operation of the EGR valve by reducing exhaust gas temperatures with the help of a heat exchanger. In the majority of cases, the engine’s own coolant is used to carry away heat passed on from the exhaust gases to the heat exchanger. The cooled exhaust gas is then recirculated into the intake manifold where it is introduced into the air/fuel mixture.
EGR coolers come in a variety of forms. However, the shell and tube design is one of the most common thanks to its relative simplicity and overall durability. In this design, hot exhaust gases pass through the middle of a series of long tubes running the length of the heat exchanger. Meanwhile, engine coolant flows around the outside of the tubes, carrying away heat from the exhaust gases. There are other designs available that take advantage of unique design and materials challenges.
For the Powerstroke, the EGR cooler optimizes the engine’s performance by lowering the operating temperature of the combustion chamber to manageable levels, preventing internal damage caused by detonation. It also helps lower NOx emissions, keeping the engine in compliance with emissions standards.