Truck History: The MAN 18.3 Liter V10 – The Last On-Highway Turbodiesel Behemoth In Europe

1987 MAN 19.462 tractor

Exactly 35 years ago, Bavarian truck maker MAN unveiled a 4×2 on-highway tractor with a massive V10 underneath its tilt cab. Their F90 19.462 was born, at that point the most powerful European standard tractor unit on the market. These days, a maximum power output of 460 hp is nothing to write home about, but back then it certainly was.

The history of the brute can be traced back to the mid-seventies, when MAN and Mercedes-Benz joined forces to develop a new generation of 90 degrees V-diesel engines, from a V6 all the way to a V12.

MAN D 2840 LF/460 engine

An example of a MAN V10 creature, a D 2840 LF/460 engine. Displacement 18,273 cc, twin-turbocharged and intercooled.

At its introduction, the maximum power output of the F90-series V10 was 460 hp @ 2,000 rpm. Maximum torque 2,080 Nm~1,534 lb-ft @ 1,000 – 1,200 rpm. Compression ratio 15:1.

The Mercedes-Benz version of that 18.3 liter V10 was the OM 423 LA, which arrived in 1984; the naturally aspirated OM 423 dates back to 1980. Yet their 1988 – 1998 SK-generation of heavy-duty trucks and tractors never got that engine, the same applies to all later Actros models.

MAN F90 19.502 tractor

More horses were put in the MAN cave at the end of 1990, the number 462 in the model designation changed to 502 (the last digit refers to the vehicle’s series).

Intermezzo: let’s listen to some heavy metal now -while enjoying the scenery- played by a 1991 MAN F90 19.502 tractor from the UK (LHD though). Well done!

In 1994, the F90 was updated and it transformed into the F2000. In the meantime, several competitors had gone beyond 500 hp. But then MAN came up with an overwhelming reaction.

MAN F2000 19.603 tractor

That reaction was the F2000 19.603 with 600 hp (as you might have already guessed), introduced in 1996. The tractor as pictured has the tall and roomy Roadhousehaus cab.

MAN F2000 interior

As before, the V10 was combined with a synchronized 16-speed ZF transmission.

MAN F2000 19.603 V10 engine

I took this picture from an old magazine I still have, showing the D 2840 LF/21 engine in an F2000 19.603. The new numbers: 600 hp @ 1,700 rpm, 2,700 Nm~1,991 lb-ft @ 1,100 – 1,450 rpm. Compression ratio 17:1. The engine’s dry weight is 1,178 kg (2,597 lbs).

MAN TGA 41.660 tractor

The mighty V10 made it into the 21st century, when it had to meet the Euro 3 emission standards. By then, its maximum power output was 660 hp (peak torque unchanged), yet it was only available in the 41.660 heavy-haulage tractor, the burly member of the all-new 2000 TGA family (photo courtesy of Trucks And Cranes).

But all good things must come to an end. The V10 roared its swan song in 2007, when the TGA-series was superseded by the TGS/TGX.

MAN 16.2 liter V8

The aging D 2840 monster couldn’t cope with the contemporary Euro 4 emission standards. MAN’s compliant new king was a 680 hp, 16.2 liter V8, co-developed with the Liebherr company. Still a giant of a truck diesel, no doubt.

2008 MAN TGX 18.680 tractor

There you go, a 2008 MAN TGX 18.680 V8 4×2 tractor, back in the summer of 2016.

MAN still builds a 16.2 liter V8, but not for their own on-highway vehicles (think marine and agriculture, for example). As a matter of fact, all European truck manufacturers have turned their back on V-engines. The one and only exception to the rule is Scania with their 16.4 liter V8. And as long as there are big diesel trucks, there will be a Scania V8.