When a new Ford Power Stroke diesel comes along in 2007 to replace the current 6.0-liter model, it may represent the first use of piezo injectors in a pickup truck. The Siemens-built injectors should help International's 6.4-liter twin-turbo meet upcoming emission standards while also improving upon its predecessor's spotty reliability record, as well as giving the Blue Oval oil burner an European-like level of technological sophistication.

The injectors work via the piezoelectric effect, as the name might hint. They use a small disc of quartz-like crystalline material that deforms when subjected to a high-voltage low-current source, which provides the injector opening and closing action. With cycle times as low as 0.2 milliseconds, such injectors are several times faster than conventional solenoids, which in turn is said to allow up to seven injector events during each compression stroke. The precision of each injector is also increased, with injector-to-injector variation of only a few percent.

All of this adds up to a significant improvement in emissions and fuel economy, but at a price; piezo injectors are reportedly up to twice as expensive as the traditional solenoid-based squirters. With the average pickup truck diesel engine carrying a $5,000 premium, we're guessing that there's plenty of room in the budget.

[Source: Automotive News/Autoweek]