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English   The birth of a legend: the 300 engine series - first unveiled in 1949 - is a major advancement
12.05.2009 von admin

Start of an international career

It was not long before Daimler-Benz was able to deliver 1000 CKD (completely knocked down) chassis to Brazil in 1950 for the L 3500, as the L 3250 with slightly increased load capacity was now called. This was the starting point for further orders of over 2000 truck and 500 bus chassis, and culminated in the establishment of Mercedes-Benz do Brasil in São Paolo, Brazil, on 23 October 1953.

In India, too, the OM 312 made a successful career for itself. Haspel initiated negotiations with Hindustan Motors, but following problems with implementation concluded the talks with Tata. On 1 April 1954, a technical aid agreement was signed with the Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company Ltd. (Telco), with a term of 15 years. It envisaged cooperation on sales and marketing and on the construction of a new assembly plant for Mercedes-Benz trucks weighing three tonnes and over. Daimler-Benz took a stake in Telco of around 12.5 percent.

In India there were eager buyers for the L 3500 engines and chassis.

The OM 312 and L 3500 were the foundation stones for the development of the group’s global presence in the commercial vehicles sector in later years.

In tandem with the production of the new engines, designers tried out new technology in the OM 312. As early as 1951, there were prototype versions with direct injection, although, as developer Wolf-Dietrich Körner remembers, “they suffered from terrible piston scuffing.”

Advent of turbocharged variants

Behind the scenes, developers were also already working on turbocharged engines. First, however, they gave the OM 312 a power boost using conventional methods: the engine in the L 4500 delivered 100 hp and the rated engine speed was increased from 2800 to 3000/min.

But then the first turbocharged engine arrived. In 1954, the engineers ushered in a new era with the OM 312 A. Even though the company would still baulk for several decades at turbocharging heavy-duty engines, the situation was very different with the 300 series. The first Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle engine with turbocharger developed 115 hp with an unchanged displacement of 4.6 litres and an additional weight of just 15 kilos. It featured changes to valve timing with much greater valve overlap, a slightly reduced compression ratio and a new burner for the pre-combustion chamber. The new turbocharging technology was as well as possible assured.

The engine was principally intended for use by fire services, which although still somewhat sceptical towards diesel engines, would now – it was hoped – be attracted by the superior power rating. Freight carriers of the day, on the other hand, had reservations about turbochargers rather than about diesel engines – and with some justification as it turned out.

At the time it was considered more important to achieve a significant increase in performance in the compact engine than to add half a kilogram to the weight of the large engines. But high-level turbocharging did not suit the pre-combustion chamber, as it resulted in overheating. Moreover, as Wolf-Dietrich Körner recalled: “The turbochargers in those days were not quite right. You needed to replace them virtually with every oil change.” And oil changes in those days were much more frequent than today. Nevertheless, at high altitudes, for example, the turbocharged engine performed extremely well, and the OM 312 A became the engine of choice for use in snow clearance machinery.

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