The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s LE9 Engine Integration

During Year Two, the RHIT EcoCAR 2 team elected to fully integrate its LE9 engine to run the front axle. With a strategy of starting and properly controlling the engine before installation into the vehicle, the team designed and built a test stand for an LE9 engine.  They decided to follow this strategy because debugging software and tracing wires to and from the engine was easier to do before it was mechanically placed inside the vehicle.

Year Two engine work

Year Two engine work

The electrical integration of the engine proved to be challenging. Documentation from General Motors was very helpful throughout the process, but it is always difficult to find sources for errors.  The team read a number of diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) that, according to the engine control module (ECM), were unable to be classified.

As part of the process, the team verified communication between the Hybrid Vehicle Supervisory Controller (HVSC) and powertrain controller using dSPACE HIL testing.  Team members also sent and received CAN signals from a Motohawk powertrain controller to attempt to start and stop the engine. Finally, the team implemented an essential front-axle engine swap. They removed the gasoline engine and installed a second LE9 engine, which took a significant amount of hours away from the mechanical team.

RHIT’s mechanical, electrical and controls teams were all very busy throughout Year Two as they worked to fully incorporate the engine to move the vehicle via the front axle. Though it was hard work, having each sub-team working together diligently for the same goal was a great experience for the team!