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MTU MT-883 V-12

The Engine Built to Move More Than 60 Tons of Military Might

John Lehenbauer
Feb 20, 2016
Photographers: Courtesy of the Manufacturer
MTU, a division of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, is a commercial diesel engine supplier that builds military-specific engines to power an array of vehicles all over the world. Among the largest of these powerplants is the MT-883 Ka-501, a 90-degree V-12 that makes 1,630 hp and 3,687 lb-ft torque. It’s built to power such battlefield heavyweights as tanks that weigh in at more than 60 tons. There are actually two main configurations of the MT-883 engine, the Ka-500 and the aforementioned Ka-501. The Ka-500 produces 1,500 hp with 3,352 lb-ft of torque. Both have the same basic configuration (90-degree, V-12, dry sump, liquid-cooled), but their fuel-injection systems are different. The Ka-500 has an option of either common-rail or mechanical pump-line injection, while the higher-output Ka-501 uses a more advanced common-rail direct injection. Both engines’ air induction comes from two single-stage turbochargers that use air-to-coolant intercoolers. The engines’ crankshaft spins in a counterclockwise rotation.
MTU builds the MT-883 to meet MIL standards such as “nuclear hardening” and “electromagnetic shielding.” The engine is also designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -47 degrees F (-46 degrees C) to 125.6 degrees F (52 degrees C). This range is actually a NATO requirement. If air temperature is below -4 degrees F (-20 degrees C), a built-in oil preheater helps keep the engine operational. MTU can also make the necessary adjustments to an engine to have it perform at high altitudes if the need arises.
Photo 2/3   |   001 MT883 Ka 501 Rear Side
The MT-883 engine has a very large displacement of 2.27L (139ci) per cylinder, giving the V-12 a total displacement of 27.4L (1,674ci). The engine has a dry weight of only 3,968 pounds. However, despite this comparatively small physical size, it has one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class.

MTU can supply the MT-883 Ka-501 in a Euro Power Pack, which mates the engine with a transmission, cooling system, air filtration, energy system, preheating equipment, power management, and vehicle-specific features that are all optimized to allow the engine to run at its peak. These Power Packs come ready to be added onto a vehicle. MTU uses Power Packs to help simplify the installation and serviceability of its engines.
MTU is always working to advance the company’s diesel engine technology to meet clients’ needs. An example of these inroads is the MT-883 Ka-524. The Ka-524 is a variation of the Ka-501, which is designed for use in amphibious vehicles on land and in the water.
This was achieved by using a different engine-management system and a purpose-built turbocharger setup. The ECU changes the engine output to accommodate the two different drive systems found in an amphibious vehicle: one setting for water propulsion and another for Drive Mode on land. These upgrades help the MT-883 Ka-524 produce 2,740 hp with a maximum engine speed of 3,300 rpm. That is a significant increase in power over the Ka-501’s 1,630 hp.
Photo 3/3   |   002 MT883 Ka 501 Front Side
The Ka-501 can be ordered with the MTU Euro Power Pack. The option pairs the engine with a transmission and includes a cooling system, air filtration, preheater, electrical system, and power management all in one package.

The MT-883 is a compact, light, efficient, state-of-the-art, purpose-built diesel engine. But MTU is always working to improve its engines with new engine management and common-rail injection systems that help to maximize fuel use and oil consumption. With MTU’s continued improvements, engines like the MT-883 are at the forefront of diesel technology.
SPECIFICATIONS
MTU MT-883 Ka-501
Displacement: 27.4L (1,676.4ci)
Engine Layout: V-12, 90 degree
Bore x Stroke: 5.7 x 5.5 inches (144 x 140 mm)
Power: 1,630 hp
Torque: 3,687 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Induction: Twin turbocharged
Intercooler: Air-to-coolant charge-air cooler
Cooling system: Liquid cooled
Coolant capacity: 29.05 gallons
Fuel system: Common-rail direct injection
Oil system: Dry sump
Oil capacity: 21.13 gallons (80 kg)
Dry weight: 3,968 pounds (1,800 kg)
Engine length: 59 inches (1,488 mm)
Engine width: 38 inches (972 mm)
Engine height: 29 inches (742 mm)

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