GM Set To Build Vortec Inline-Four Cylinder Engine
General Motors has announced that a new four-cylinder powerplant will be built for use in compact Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs. The new Vortec engine is a four-banger, but it's high-tech in every sense of the word. The I-4 engine, which will be built at the GM Powertrain assembly plants in Tonawanda, New York, and Flint, Michigan, shares its basic design with the powerful I-6 Vortec 4200 engine that powers the '02 TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy.
The Vortec I-4 shares approximately 75 percent of its parts with the Vortec I-6. The I-4 uses dual overhead camshafts, four-valves-per-cylinder combustion chambers, electronic throttle control, Variable Valve Timing (VVT), and a coil-on-plug ignition. Sophisticated electronics on the Vortec I-4 include Multec II fuel injectors and an advanced Powertrain Control Module (PCM).
Alloy cylinder heads for the Vortec I-4 will be cast and machined at GM's Massena, New York, plant.
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NHTSA Releases Rollover Ratings For New 4x4sThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after conducting extensive analysis of model-year '01 trucks, has released a list rating each vehicle's resistance to roll over. This list is somewhat controversial, since it doesn't take into consideration driver skill, weather conditions, or road-surface conditions. Rather, the NHTSA Rollover Resistance Rating measures vehicle characteristics, such as center of gravity and track width, in order to determine a vehicle's propensity to roll over when subjected to an emergent maneuver, such as a rapid lane change
The NHTSA rating is only valid for single-vehicle crashes where no other vehicle(s) came in contact with the tested vehicle, and the study does not predict the likelihood of a crash, since driver skill, or lack thereof, vehicle condition, and weather conditions aren't taken into account during the test, and each factor has a huge effect on a vehicle's stability during an emergency maneuver.
Studies by the NHTSA over the years have led the group to the conclusion that most rollovers occur after a driver runs off the road and loses control. As would be expected, once a vehicle slides off the pavement, soft soil, a ditch, a curb, or other obstacle initiates the rollover.
The number of deaths attributed to rollover accidents were in excess of 10,000 in 1999 (the last year accident figures were available for), which is more loss of life than the total of side and rear crashes combined.
When the NHTSA compared its Rollover Resistance Ratings to real-world rollover data, the group found its data relates to the actual rollover experience of the tested vehicles. The study found that narrow, tall vehicles - such as SUVs - are more likely to roll over when they skid off the road than lower vehicles with a wide track. The NHTSA ratings reflect this data, awarding better ratings to lower, wider vehicles. Of important note is the fact that the Rollover Resistance Ratings do no take into account driver skill, which is a critical factor in accidents and the avoidance of same.
To be fair, the NHTSA report notes that a low center of gravity and a wide track aren't enough to ensure safety. For example, many sports cars exhibit a low center of gravity and relatively wide tracks, but have a higher number of rollovers than a taller, narrower vehicle such as a minivan because of the aggressive manner in which many sports cars are driven, and the relatively sedate speeds at which most minivans are operated. The NHTSA Rollover Resistance Ratings don't truly predict which trucks are likely to roll because of variables in driving conditions and driver skill, and these ratings do not necessarily reflect any truck's tendency to roll over while negotiating off-road trails.