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Honda reduced friction in the Odyssey' V6 engine to help improve fuel efficiency.
Friction reduction brings tiny mpg improvements

The more stringent CAFE standards that are looming have automakers running to find ways to improve fuel economy. The easy/cheap to implement strategies for better fuel economy have already been implemented in the past, so what’s left for automakers to try now are things that require lots of work for minimal gains.
 
One area where the automakers are looking to get tiny bits of economy is by reducing the friction inside an engine. Friction reduces the power of an engine and creates heat. If the friction can be reduced, the engines can produce more power allowing the automaker to downsize the engine for better economy without sacrificing performance.
 
Considerable effort is being put into small gains such as the 3 mpg Honda achieved in the V6 used in its Odyssey minivan. One of the things that helped get that extra fuel economy was reducing friction in the engine by 4%.
 
That 4% reduction in friction was good for a tiny 0.15 mpg increase in fuel economy according to The Detroit News. The increase seems hardly worth the effort, but automotive engineers say that it is a worthwhile gain. Every little bit will be needed to reach the CAFE goals in the future.
 
One of the places that the most friction occurs and can be reduced is in the piston assembly. Automakers are using specialized coatings they can apply to the cylinder bores to help the engine operate with less friction.
 
Mercedes-Benz is one company that has been using friction-reducing coatings in the cylinder bores as far back as 2006. The Mercedes-Benz process is called Nanoslide and according to MB, it reduced fuel consumption in the firm’s diesel V6 used in the ML350 BlueTec model by 3%. Honing the cylinders for a smoother finish is another technique. The key is making a smooth finish yet leaving grooves that can hold oil for lubrication. 
 
Changes to the engine design are also being made by some to improve efficiently and reduce friction. Ford offsets the crank from under the cylinders in the new 1L 3-cylinder engine to reduce friction. Some automakers are also moving to thinner oils and allowing engines to run hotter to keep the oil thin and easier to move in the engine. Other tech that will be needed to meet fuel economy standards will include direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and hybrid technology.
 
Chrysler's CEO has already stated the company will be forced to go hybrid to meet upcoming CAFÉ standards.

Source: Detroit News





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