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The Mercedes-Benz M271 family of in-line four-cylinder (16 valves) petrol engines consists of the KE18 ML, DE18 ML, DE18 AL and KE16 ML versions. The code designation KE stands for it. Kanal Einspritzer (intake manifold injection, compressor supercharging), DE – German. Direct Einspritzer (direct injection into cylinders, turbocharging). The engines weigh 167 kg. Gas distribution mechanism – DOHC .
Modifications of the M271 KE, which have various designations (180, 200 or 230), differ in boost pressure, piston shape, compression ratio and control unit software. On M271 DE versions, fuel is injected directly into the engine’s combustion chamber.
The cylinder block of the M271 engine is cast from aluminum with cast iron liners cast into it and is identical for the KE and DE modifications . The height of the block head is 114.9-115.1 mm. At the bottom is a Lanchester balancing mechanism (located below the engine crankshaft and driven by a timing chain) with two balance shafts and an integrated oil pump. In the area of the exhaust manifold, a channel is cast through which secondary air is supplied to purge the catalyst on the M271 KE version . In the DE version, this channel is also used for exhaust gas recirculation.
The aluminum block head for the KE and DE variants is distinguished by its design in the area of the intake manifold mating flange. In addition, on the KE version, the spark plug is located in the center of the combustion chamber, and on the DE version , between the intake ports. A direct injection engine has two intake ducts, meaning the air flow is split into two jets, while a conventional injection engine has one intake duct.
The vacuum pump is located at the rear end of the cylinder head and is driven by an exhaust camshaft. Lubrication is provided from the camshaft channel. The oil pump is integrated into the Lanchester mechanism housing and is driven from the left balance shaft via a spur gear reduction gear. The oil pressure is 2.5-3.0 bar.
The pistons differ in design for the KE and DE variants – in the first case, the piston crown is flat (piston height 29.9 mm), in the second, they have profiled grooves (height is 34.9 mm). Cooling is carried out by splashing oil under the skirt. The connecting rods are similar to those used on M112 and M113 engines with broken caps.
Unlike all previous Mercedes-Benz engines, the M271 has a continuously variable valve timing on both camshafts. The cam shapes on the KE and DE versions differ in valve lift curves. On the toe of each of the camshafts, a phase change mechanism is installed, which is driven by oil pressure through the camshaft oil channel.
The cams of the exhaust camshaft in the DE version have displaced phases due to which the valves do not open simultaneously. This approach allows you to optimize the composition of the exhaust gases before they are delivered to the catalyst. The cam shapes are different on the KE – and DE – variants – with different valve lift curves.