Print 73 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on Jun 16 at 4:25 PM

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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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
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