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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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RE: Virbo Wagon
By EricMartello on 6/3/2011 10:13:29 PM , Rating: -1
They can think about it all they want but the fact remains - the fewer cylinders you have on a piston engine the more its going to vibrate, and not only is this engine 3-cyl it's 1 L so you're really going to need to flog it to accelerate since it will basically have no torque.

Anyone who buys a car like this deserves its shortcomings and the mockery that follows. LOL

RE: Virbo Wagon
By lagomorpha on 6/4/2011 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
To be more specific - Inline-3 engines create end to end vibration which Ford will eliminate with a balance shaft. Inline-4 engines have a small vertical vibration that is sometimes solved with twin balance shafts but isn't vital for the engine sizes in compact cars.

At 105 ft-lbs this engine doesn't really have much less torque than many 1.5-1.6L I4s. Personally I think it'd be a better solution to just make a 1L-1.2L I4 with a turbo and no balance shafts but Ford probably thinks they can package and manufacture an I3 more cheaply. The balance issue is the reason many 660cc Kei cars use 4 cylnder engines but for people that don't care about a rougher engine as long as it's cheap I don't think it'll be an issue.

RE: Virbo Wagon
By EricMartello on 6/5/2011 9:16:42 AM , Rating: 2
It's not a balance issue alone. With more cylinders you get more power-strokes per rev. Think of it as a color gradient on your monitor with 256 colors vs 24-bit color. The 256 color gradient will have pronounced steps even if you use "diffusion dithering" to smooth it out. The 24-bit color will appear to smoothly transition from one color to another across the gradient.

The same is effectively true for piston engines, where more cylinders will yield smoother operation across it's powerband. Engines get smooth in 6-cyl configurations, with V8s and V16s being among the smoothest - which is why you often see luxury cars with V8 engines.

All crankshafts are counter-balanced...though I doubt the tolerances of this 3-cyl engine are going to be very high. 105 ft-lbs is not a lot; a lot of fuel-efficient NA 4-cyls are in the 150 ft-lbs range with 160-200 HP.

RE: Virbo Wagon
By lagomorpha on 6/5/2011 11:07:47 AM , Rating: 2
In addition to the counterweights on the crankshaft, many engines have an additional eccentric shaft to counteract the remaining vibration. For engines with end to end vibration a single counterbalance shaft is used (I3, I5, V10), for engines with vertical vibration (single, V2, I4, flatplane V8) a pair of contrarotating shafts are used which in the case of the I4 and flatplane crankshaft V8 spin at twice the engine speed.

Inline 6 and V12 engines are inherently vibration free which is why you see so many in luxury cars, especially historically. With an Inline 4 engine your companion cylinders are 1 and 4, and 2 and 3 (except for certain years of Yamaha R1...) which means almost all vibration is cancelled out. Inline 3 engines aren't nearly so nice which is why so many companies decide to make very small I4s instead of I3s.

RE: Virbo Wagon
By EricMartello on 6/6/11, Rating: 0
RE: Virbo Wagon
By lagomorpha on 6/4/2011 4:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
"the fewer cylinders you have on a piston engine the more its going to vibrate"

All else being equal, a boxer-twin or wide-angle V-twin will vibrate less than an I3 with no balance shaft, an I4 or H4 will have less severe vibration than an I5, and a cross-plane V8 will have less vibration than a V10 but for the most part that's somewhat correct.

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