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Ford Fiesta
Ford continues to milk the benefits of turbocharging

The automotive industry is quickly embracing turbocharging technology for gasoline engines which was once relegated to sports cars and luxury vehicles in an effort to improve fuel efficiency. Now vehicles ranging from "lowly" Chevrolet Cruze compact sedans to Ford F-150s (as witnessed by our article earlier today) are jumping on the bandwagon. 

A little over a year ago, Ford debuted its Start concept car which featured a brand new three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. While the vehicle is (and likely will remain) a concept, the engine has now been approved for production

The tiny 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine is turbocharged (obviously) and features an offset crankshaft to help improve fuel economy. It also features a split cooling system to warm up the cylinder block before the cylinder heads. In addition, other EcoBoost staples like direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing are included. The engine also weighs less than the current 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine used in the Fiesta

All of this technology means that the tiny 1.0-liter engine puts out the same or better power as a normally aspirated 1.6-liter engine while achieving “much higher fuel economy and lower emissions”. 

“No one’s ever built a three-cylinder engine quite like this," said Joe Bakaj, Ford VP of Global Powertrain Engineering

“Consumers are telling us they want to buy affordable vehicles that get many more miles per gallon,” said Kuzak. “Our new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine will give consumers looking for hybrid-like fuel economy a new, more affordable choice.” 

Ford isn't ready to provide EPA numbers for the 1.0-liter EcoBoost just yet, but the company said that it will get much better fuel economy than the already good 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway rating of the Fiesta with the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine.

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Nice idea
By SirKronan on 6/2/2011 3:40:12 PM , Rating: 5
This is bound to be much less expensive than the hybrid approach, and should be simpler to service and maintain over the long haul. I think this is a great idea.

RE: Nice idea
By mcnabney on 6/2/2011 3:57:42 PM , Rating: 3
My only worry is the higher maintenance cost / frequency of repair from the compression-driven engine. Saving money on fuel is great, but if repair bills add a couple grand over a ten year period the savings is gone.

/would replace my Sentra SE-R with one - I like the small cars

RE: Nice idea
By nafhan on 6/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Nice idea
By BZDTemp on 6/2/2011 4:14:23 PM , Rating: 2
Not certain maintenance is gonna be more expensive.

For sure the forced induction adds complexity but it is not a race car engine or anything close so the parts are not gonna be pushed to the limit.

RE: Nice idea
By themelon on 6/2/2011 6:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
And turbochargers are mechanically very simple devices. Far simpler than even a 4 cycle weed eater engine.

RE: Nice idea
By YashBudini on 6/2/2011 9:22:31 PM , Rating: 2
Turbocharger complexity is different than engines. How fast does the turbo spin? What kind of balance tolerances are we looking at? Materials used? Main bearing tolerances? Cooling requirements so that the turbo doesn't actually cook the oil and coke the bearing?

RE: Nice idea
By tastyratz on 6/2/2011 11:50:42 PM , Rating: 5
Overcome fears in 20 year old tech. They might spin near the speed of sound but balancing is not usually an issue. Cooling chra's with coolant almost eliminated hot park coking (as well as shutdown timers if needed), and journal bearings are easily produced for dollars. Even ball bearing turbo DEALERSHIP prices when brand new can be found under 700 on some imports for example.

Turbochargers can be rebuilt by a 9 year old, in fact that would make a funny youtube video. Once you have one and all the parts laid out on the table the first response is... "that's it?"

For something that spins at incredible speeds they are balanced well but the tolerances inside a journal bearing turbo are surprisingly mild.

From a consumer standpoint on most cars a used turbocharger *after warranty time* can be had for a few hundred dollars, a blow off valve maybe 50, a wastegate diaphragm 30, and intercooler if you get into an accident maybe 150. These are not service items other than a turbo. Rebuilding a turbocharger should not be needed under 1-200k miles, and even still is $100 in parts.

The complexity is really not all that complex at all truthfully and it is probably one of the simpler implementations which allow a smaller engine to replace a larger one.

The problem is that while under positive pressure you have a greater "mechanical" efficiency you do not have a greater fuel efficiency. Laying on the throttle to get the same power will in fact cost you more gas than the same power in an NA engine due to a more safe and conservative tune in a turbo car (richer fuel, less timing advance). Direct injection has GREATLY lessened this need but balance needs to be achieved where you are not requiring positive pressure for basic functionality in day to day driving. If you need boost to get up your driveway or lug a fat friend in the passenger seat then there is an issue

RE: Nice idea
By shiftypy on 6/3/2011 4:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
Very interesting read to bust some myths

You mentioned, turbocharging becomes interesting for eco-cars after introduction of gasoline direct injection
Add stratified charge combustion and you get even more efficient lean burn idle and cruise mode

But high compression... Isn't natural gas quite immune to high compression detonation? Doesn't it make sense to build such turbocharged 100% LNG car, optimized for that fuel? Hunch says it will be lighter/more powerful compared to conversion kits.
And LNG is cheaper and burns cleaner than gasoline

RE: Nice idea
By shiftypy on 6/3/2011 4:47:03 AM , Rating: 2
Apologies, I meant compressed natural gas, not liquified. Infrastructure for CNG exists in many regions

Read about Honda Civig GX. Not stellar performance. Slower and heavier than gasoline counterpart and has less range. Meh.

RE: Nice idea
By Hyperion1400 on 6/4/2011 11:48:44 AM , Rating: 1
Or, one could use the exact same engines and just run ethanol to avoid the compression issue. The only modifications that need to be made are new fuel injectors, with an ethanol friendly spray pattern, and an adjustment to the valve and firing timings.

Sure, you lose a good 2/5ths of your fuel mileage, but I bet brewing alcohol in your back yard is a hell of a lot cheaper than visiting the pump. And yes, the production of de-natured alcohol is perfectly legal.

What I wonder, is how much turbo-lag is there with such a tiny engine? I realize variable valve timing has eliminated most of the problem on 1.6s and 2.0s but still, sooooo tiny!

RE: Nice idea
By tastyratz on 6/6/2011 1:55:59 PM , Rating: 3
the lag has been mitigated quite a bit on more aerodynamic turbochargers on new cars as well as with technologies such as electronic assist and ball bearing center cartridges. As long as the turbo is not too large most transient response might only feel like 1 or 2 seconds if at all.

Ethanol presents its own issues, and if home brewing were cost effective it would be commonplace. Ethanol is corrosive to the entire fuel system and requires all compatible metals and seals. It also corrodes aluminum... and what do you do with aluminum heads and manifolds? You can't do anything but wait... Ethanol might not be as bat as methanol and nitromethane, but it will cause cars to give up the ghost sooner than later.

RE: Nice idea
By nxjwfgwe on 6/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Nice idea
By Spuke on 6/2/2011 7:15:46 PM , Rating: 3
Not certain maintenance is gonna be more expensive.
My current 2L turbo 4 engine is the lowest maintenance engine I've ever owned. All it calls for is oil and oil filter changes until 100K, then the spark plugs need to be changed. Doesn't get much lower than that.

RE: Nice idea
By Lord 666 on 6/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Nice idea
By Alexvrb on 6/3/2011 1:02:53 AM , Rating: 2
We're talking turbo vs. NA on gas motors. Turbos on diesel is a different beast. A turbo diesel is a no brainer, no real drawbacks, the cycle and the fuel makes it a given. When was the last time you even saw a brand new vehicle with a NA diesel under the hood?

With forced induction on a gas engine, they can't push them too lean or push too much boost, as someone else above stated. You need to have a decent safety margin for a stock turbo'd motor.

RE: Nice idea
By Spuke on 6/3/2011 11:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
With forced induction on a gas engine, they can't push them too lean or push too much boost, as someone else above stated. You need to have a decent safety margin for a stock turbo'd motor.
With Bosch DI, there is no overly rich, typical turbo engine tuning needed. These fuel systems run REALLY lean like 22:1 to 44:1. Try that in a non-DI turbo engine let alone non-DI NA engine.

RE: Nice idea
By Spuke on 6/3/2011 11:39:59 AM , Rating: 2
Not unless you consider a VW 2.0 TDI with zero spark plugs to chang
Never owned one so I can't say it was the lowest maintenance engine I've ever owned. But my 2.0L DI turbo 4 is by far.

RE: Nice idea
By Hyperion1400 on 6/4/2011 11:51:31 AM , Rating: 2
So uh, when the last time you changed your transmission fluid?

RE: Nice idea
By Omega215D on 6/3/2011 2:50:15 AM , Rating: 2
I have a 1985 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo motorcycle. One of the few bikes to come with a turbo from the factory and the thing is pretty easy to service yourself and the servicing part is few and far between. The whole bike is so lo-tech compared to today's machines that I can work on it myself in a matter of hours.

RE: Nice idea
By DanNeely on 6/2/2011 4:33:41 PM , Rating: 2
The other half is will the smaller less powerful engine be enough lighter to match the performance of the rival hybrids, or will it be even more sluggish?

RE: Nice idea
By Spuke on 6/2/2011 7:19:51 PM , Rating: 2
The other half is will the smaller less powerful engine be enough lighter to match the performance of the rival hybrids, or will it be even more sluggish?
If I had to guess, 110 hp sounds about right with maybe slightly more torque. It won't win races but it will be ok for those in that market.

RE: Nice idea
By BZDTemp on 6/3/2011 11:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
I agree.

I was in a Fiesta not long ago as my own car was in the shop. It is not a sports car but certainly not slow - keeping up with traffic was effort less and the Fiesta I drove had less than 100 hp. As most non-US small cars the Fiesta is light.

RE: Nice idea
By Veerappan on 6/2/2011 4:49:25 PM , Rating: 3
I've got a 10 year old 4cyl 1.8 turbo w/ ~100k miles, and the maintenance has been pretty good to me. I've gone through a few wheel bearings, a water pump, timing belt, and a few other wear and tear items, but the turbo and engine are still running strong.

Ford != VW, but I'm hoping that Ford can manage to design an equivalent/better engine than my 10 year old Jetta has.

RE: Nice idea
By omnicronx on 6/2/2011 5:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
Turbo or not, you are going to have some kind of maintenance costs over a 10 year period, so its really the delta between the two that matters.

I.E if the fuel savings is larger than the delta between the two variants, then its worth it.

RE: Nice idea
By YashBudini on 6/2/2011 5:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
My only worry is the higher maintenance cost / frequency of repair from the compression-driven engine.

It's all about the oil.

RE: Nice idea
By mike8675309 on 6/2/2011 11:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
much of the cost related to repairs on compressor driven engines (turbo or supercharger) is related to rarity. Make it ubiquitous and repair costs are driven way down. Add in the benefit of direct fuel injection (high compression with almost zero chance of detonation with proper engine management) and such an engine is a win/win.

RE: Nice idea
By Samus on 6/3/2011 1:07:45 AM , Rating: 2
Ask any VW TDI owner about the reliability of their turbo system and they'll tell you it is solid well into 200,000 miles. It's actually all the simple stuff that breaks...

Modern turbo's rarely fail. Most failures are from improper maintenance, a repair that was done incorrectly, or a modification (ie performance chip, which can be quite safe if appropriate upgrades are done.)

Crystler, GM, and to some extent Mitsubishi all gave early turbocharged vehicles a bad rap back in the 80's by improperly engineering simple things like cooling systems, wastegates, and even exhaust manifolds. They were chronically unreliable (I'm thinking Lebaron and Syclone/Typhoon specifically, but the Starion and early Eclipse' had its shortcomings)

Modern turbocharging is super reliable. Turbo's are properly cooled with oil and liquid, negating the expansion of cooling lines when hot (turbo timers are not neccessary.) Transmissions are now built with larger overdrive bands or just use dual-clutch technology to handle more torque. Wastegates and blowoff valves are electronically controlled and sensored. Fuel injection has come a LONG way since the 80's, which was most of the implementation problem back then since fuel injection and turbocharging were both new technologies for American and Japanese manufactures (Porsche had fuel injection in the early 70's, more than a decade before Ford or GM had a production fuel injection vehicle.)

You can have peach of mind that if you buy a boosted vehicle, you'll still be maintaining just the annoying simple stuff like brakes, suspension, various sensors, and tires...and with Ford, those annoying squeeks and creeks that come along the way ;)

I've owned many Ford and Mercury vehicles, and currently own TWO Focii, so I know all about the squeeks and creeks!

RE: Nice idea
By dtgoodwin on 6/3/2011 11:19:08 AM , Rating: 4
Don't ask many 1999-2003 TDI owners. Many of them, including myself, experienced snapped turbo shafts that often hydro locked the engine due to oil intake. Fortunately, I knew of the potential and when mine happened, I shut it down before enough oil made it from the damaged turbo into the engine. I was also fortunate to avoid the problem of the engine destroying itself by starting to run off the oil coming in through the intake which has also happened to some. VW finally covered the $3500 repair on mine (turbo is integrated into the exhaust manifold), but only after 2 months of arguing. Mine happened around 60K of the 100K factory power train warranty.

I also had a bad injector pump from the factory. From day one I had horrible noise, and shortly thereafter the engine started misfiring. My shop didn't ever find anything wrong until I took them for a ride. In 65K miles, I had over $5k of work done, and 21 trips to the service center (many other small items as well).

Sorry to rant, but I am STILL angry over it.

RE: Nice idea
By spread on 6/3/2011 1:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
My only worry is the higher maintenance cost / frequency of repair from the compression-driven engine. Saving money on fuel is great, but if repair bills add a couple grand over a ten year period the savings is gone.

Subaru has had rock solid engines over the years and they're turbocharged. They last long and without issue, and that's the older engines with the older tech.

This is no longer an issue and Ford has some experience with turbocharged engines and they are also rock solid.

RE: Nice idea
By Shig on 6/2/2011 4:00:30 PM , Rating: 2
Much less expensive than the hybrid approach? I'm not so sure. Are priced the same. I've also heard rumors that Ford is trying to do this with the Ford Fusion | Hybrid too.

In the press release that this was in, Ford also said they'll be ramping up production of their in house designed transmissions for hybrids. Ford is close to being completely vertically integrated to manufacture hybrids at parity with certain regular cars.

The best thing about this engine is that it can be used in both places, hybrid and standard, possibly even plug in electric.

RE: Nice idea
By Brandon Hill on 6/2/2011 4:06:35 PM , Rating: 1
A base Ford Fusion starts around $20,000. The Fusion Hybrid starts around $29,000. That's a pretty big price gap.

Now if Ford could do an EcoBoost 4-banger that could get close to 40 mpg highway for $20,000, that would be awesome.

RE: Nice idea
By Shig on 6/2/2011 4:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
True Brandon, but the Fusion Hybrid forces you to get some of those ripoff 'luxury' package items. The hybrid margin is much closer.

The true battle is this engine vs. the 1.4L 4cylinder ecotech(Cruze / Volt). Ford is basically saying we can beat you with one less cylinder.

RE: Nice idea
By FITCamaro on 6/2/2011 4:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
The Cruze and Volt are bigger vehicles than the Fiesta.

Ford says the 3 cylinder has the same power as their 1.6L which is 119 hp and 105 lb ft. Chevy's turbo 1.4L makes 140ish hp and similar torque. That's 100 hp per liter roughly vs the 120 of this 3 cylinder.

RE: Nice idea
By omnicronx on 6/2/2011 5:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
Not really, the Cruze is in the same category as the Focus, not the Fiesta.

GM does not really have any presense as it currently stands in the sub compact market.

Furthermore the 1.4L V4 found on the Cruze is a 6 speed. The new Focus has around the same gas mileage with a naturally aspired engine that puts out 20 more HP.

Ford seems to have multiple strategies and it depends on the area in which you reside. The Euro focus for example comes equipped with a 1.6L Ecoboost engine, while as previously mentioned the North American Focus comes with a naturally aspired 2.0L V4..

RE: Nice idea
By omnicronx on 6/2/2011 5:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
Forgot about the Aveo...

Though I don't think I'm the first one to completely disregard that POS ;)

RE: Nice idea
By Brandon Hill on 6/2/2011 6:34:30 PM , Rating: 1
The Aveo is being replaced by the Sonic:

RE: Nice idea
By RadnorHarkonnen on 6/2/2011 10:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
In Europe there are Turbo charged cars since the early 80s. Nowadays every car sold in Europe, whether is Diesel or Gasoline, has a form or Variant of a Turbo. My old Lancia Delta from 86 has 150HP with 1.6L Engine.

Ford is just selling there, whats being sold here for years now.

BTW, taking care of a Turbo is easy. Just start your car and wait a minute with the car running for the Turbo to warm up. Same when you shut it down, just wait a minute (stopped) with the car running so the turbo cools off. My Lancia has the same Turbo since 1986. No Problems what so ever.

RE: Nice idea
By knutjb on 6/3/2011 9:42:39 AM , Rating: 2
After the rise in fuel costs from the Carter period Ford sold turbo'd Thunderbirds in the early 80s. Ford does have a long history with turbos. Maybe not as long as GM from the early 60s or Porsche and the diesel industry. Fords modular motors applied vibration ideas learned from their early turbo experience, i.e. accessory brackets cast as part of the block. This isn't new to them.

What makes turbos so much easier now is the amazing oil quality compared to a decade ago, the materials, manufacturing tolerances, and CAD.

RE: Nice idea
By Johnmcl7 on 6/4/2011 6:07:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm glad someone pointed this out, the article is somewhat inaccurate as turbocharging small engines may be new to the US market but it's old news here. The old Smart cars used small 650cc turbocharged engines years ago and there's plenty of manufacturers also using small turbocharged engines. VW have also mixed super and turbocharging on the same engine for the Golf sized cars and more recently the hot hatches.


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