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Tech illustrated: electronic wastegate turbos

Tech illustrated: electronic wastegate turbos

How an electronically controlled wastegate on engines sustains torque without lag time.

Finnish engine maker Sisu Diesel, acquired by Agco in the early 2000s, was one of the first companies to implement electronically controlled wastegates on engine turbochargers.

An e-wastegate turbo (shown here) is used to power the new 490- to 590-hp Challenger MT900 E series tractors.

Wastegates as a category have been around for a long time. They control the level of boost provided by the turbochargers so that the engine doesn’t stall out or rev too high, which burns up fuel. However, most of them are mechanically activated, meaning mechanical actuators open and close the wastegate, or valve, in response to changing loads.

Electronic wastegates, or e-wastegates, take signals from the mass airflow sensors that predict when the load is going to change, giving the tractor a much quicker response time. This gives you the power when you need it without the lag time, Agco says. Less lag means less fuel burned and longer engine life, because the engine doesn’t have to work as hard. The engine becomes proactive versus reactive.

Jon Slama, Agco HHP marketing specialist, says Agco Power Engines with electronic wastegate turbos can sustain torque, even at lower rpms. “Sustainable torque rise is a term that’s heard a lot lately, and it has to do with the lugging power of a tractor,” Slama says. “As you load the tractor down in the field, your engine’s ability to build torque and sustain it is what lugging is all about. It's all about performance and higher productivity."

The new Agco Power Engines with eWastegate are used in Agco’s new E Series Challenger tractors. The 16.8L engine shown here powers Challenger’s 900E Series, rated from 490 to 590 engine hp. Here’s how the eWastegate turbo works.

Dual twin turbochargers (two primary turbos and two secondary turbos) take in exhaust gas from the engine and use it to boost engine power. The larger primary turbo is high-volume and lower-pressure. The smaller, secondary turbo is low-volume and higherpressure.

The turbos compress the air, allowing for more oxygen to be avail able in the cylinders.

An Interstage Charge Air Cooler (iCAC) cools and condenses the hot compressed air from the primary turbo before it enters the secondary turbo, resulting in denser air that improves performance.

An electronic wastegate (eWastegate) controls the boost levels produced by the turbocharger to sustain torque into lower rpms for more lugging power. Mass airflow sensors on the engine tell the wastegate, or valve, when to open or close to match the incoming load. 

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