Detroit Diesel 2-Stroke Engines

Equipment Intelligence

The Detroit Diesel 2-Stroke Engines are an efficient and compact engine used for main propulsion and stationary applications. Debuting in 1939, Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC), created by General Motors (GM), introduced the Series 53 Engine and Series 71 Engine. With the 53 Series two-stroke diesel engines "Detroits" found their way into automotive, marine, standby power generation and military applications. By 1925 DDC had manufactured over 1 million units.

In the 1980s, the US Government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began introduction of laws resticting emissions which directly affected DDC 2-Stroke Engines as well as others. Production ended of these workhorse engines as they were deemed old technology and not economically viable for upgrade to these new requirements, sidelined in favor of more environmentally friendly four-cycle engines. The exception to the environmental rules was for engines used in National Security such as Military Equipment. In 2006, MTU purchased the rights to off-road applications of the 2-stroke engines from DDC and continued to support these engines through their lifecycle.

Around the world, many of these "Detroits" were, and in many cases still are, in service in hard-working city buses, generators, pumps, haul trucks, aircraft ground support equipment, commercial marine vessels, high-end marine pleasure craft and most of the world's armies, air forces and navies. As of 2023, more than 250,000 2-stroke diesel engines remain in service globally.

Detroit Diesel Two-Stroke Engines
Detroit Diesel Two-Stroke Engines

Detroit Diesel 2-Stroke Series Detroit Diesel 2-Stroke Series

Detroit Diesel (2-Cycle) Common Model Codes

L
Low Profile
V
V-Block

Detroit Diesel (2-Cycle) Common Model Suffix Codes

N
Needle Unit Injectors - 4 exhaust valves per cylinder
T
Turbocharged
TA
Turbocharged Aftercooled (JWAC Jacket Water Aftercooled)
TAB
Turbocharged Aftercooled (JWAC Jacket Water Aftercooled) Bypass Blower
TAC
Turbocharged Aftercooled California Certification (JWAC Jacket Water Aftercooled)
TT
Tailored Torque (Fuel Squeezer)
TTA
Tailored Torque Aftercooled (Fuel Squeezer Plus) (JWAC Jacket Water Aftercooled)
TI
Turbocharged Intercooled
TIA
Turbocharged Intercooled Aftercooled
TIB
Turbocharged Intercooled Bypass Blower

Detroit Diesel Common Parts

Detroit Diesel Fuel Injectors

Detroit Diesel 53 Series

The original series of Detroit Diesel Two-Stroke Engines was the 53 Series. The DDC 53 Series established the design principles of the DDC 2-Stroke Engine where intake and exhaust happens on both the compression and power strokes.

The design principles are:

  • 53 cubic-inches (53 ci) displacement per cylinder
  • Supercharger to provide induction air at a pressure greater than ambient which is vital to 2-stroke operation as air is not "sucked" into the cylinder but pushed.
  • Trunk Piston design (one-piece piston)
  • Cam-Driven Mechanical Direct Fuel Injection
  • Four Exhaust Valves per cylinder
  • Wet Sleeve Cylinder Design
  • Liquid Cooling
  • Wet Sump Lubrication

The 53 Series engines were available in straight and vee applications with cylinder counts from 2 through to 12. The two-cylinder and twelve-cylinder models were less popular having only limited manufacturing runs. The 53 Series Model Numbers had a format which makes it easy to identify their configuration. Each model number starts with the cylinder count 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 or 12 followed by a dash ('-') for inline or 'V' for a vee engine. The end of the model number is 53 to indicate the 53 Series engine which has a 53 cubic-inch displacement per cylinder.

Common 53 Series Model Numbers are:

Detroit Diesel 71 Series

The second series of Detroit Diesel Two-Stroke Engines was the 71 Series developed in 1938. The 71 Series is identical in design to the 53 Series, but with a cylinder displacement of 71 cubic inches.

The 71 Series engines were available in straight and vee applications with cylinder counts from 2 through to 12.

Common 71 Series Model Numbers are:

  • 2-71N | Inline 2 | Normally-Aspirated
  • 3-71N | Inline 3 | Normally-Aspirated
  • 4-71N | Inline 4 | Normally-Aspirated
  • 6V71N | V6 | Normally-Aspirated
  • 8V71N | V8 | Normally-Aspirated
  • 10V71N | V10 | Normally-Aspirated
  • 12V71N | V12 | Normally-Aspirated
  • 4-71T | Inline 4 | Turbo-Charged
  • 6V71T | V6 | Turbo-Charged
  • 8V71T (M109/M110) | V8 | Turbo-Charged
  • 8V71TA | V8 | Turbo-Charged
  • 8V71TA LHR | V8 | Turbo-Charged
  • 8V71TTA | V8 | Dual Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 10V71T | V10 | Turbo-Charged

Detroit Diesel 92 Series

The third series of Detroit Diesel Two-Stroke Engines was the 92 Series. The 92 Series is identical in design to the 53 Series, but with a cylinder displacement of 92 cubic inches.

The 92 Series engines were available in straight and vee applications with cylinder counts from 2 through to 12.

Common 92 Series Model Numbers are:

  • 8V92T | V8 | Turbo-Charged
  • 8V92TA (HEMTT) | V8 | Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 8V92TA (HET) | V8 | Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 8V92TA (HET) | V8 | Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 8V92TA (HET) | V8 | Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 8V92TA (HEMTT) | V8 | Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 8V92TTA | V8 | Dual Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 10V92T | V10 | Turbo-Charged
  • 12V92T | V10 | Turbo-Charged

Detroit Diesel 142 Series

The fourth series of Detroit Diesel Two-Stroke Engines was the 142 Series. The 142 Series is identical in design to the 53 Series, but with a cylinder displacement of 142 cubic inches.

The 142 Series engines were available in straight and vee applications with cylinder counts from 2 through to 12.

Common 142 Series Model Numbers are:

  • 8V142T | V8 | Turbo-Charged
  • 8V142TTA | V8 | Dual Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 10V142T | V10 | Turbo-Charged
  • 10V142TTA | V10 | Dual Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled
  • 12V142T | V10 | Turbo-Charged
  • 12V142TTA | V12 | Dual Turbo-Charged and Aftercooled