Although inline six-cylinder engines have long been a favorite among truck enthusiasts who favor smooth operation and a lot of low-end torque, I-6 truck engines of the past were hardly what enthusiasts would call a technological marvel since previous I-6 powerplants were made mostly by pushrod design, sporting two overhead valves per cylinder - not what you would call state-of-the-art. Of course, these basic engines were reliable, cost-effective, and produced the amount and style of power that was ideal for commercial trucks and off-road vehicles. For model-year 2002, General Motors has taken a fresh approach to the design and construction of the venerable I-6 layout, and the result is something special: the Vortec 4200.
Slated for use in the '02 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the GMC Envoy, and the Oldsmobile Bravada, the Vortec straight-six was designed to provide the power of a small V-8 engine with the smoothness and fuel-efficiency of a sixer. High-tech innovations abound on the new straight shooter, including a double overhead cam, an aluminum cylinder head, an alloy block, a 10:1 compression ratio, variable valve timing, coil-on-plug ignition, and Multec II sequential fuel-injection. The six-shooter's output keeps with its advanced design: 270 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, numbers that are definitely in the V-8 category.
The key feature of the Vortec 4200 I-6 engine is its cylinder head. Although a DOHC design is common in exotic performance engines, twin-cam, multiple-valve engines aren't common in trucks. Basically, the DOHC design does away with in-block valve lifters, pushrods, and rocker arms, replacing that type of complicated valvetrain with a pair of camshafts - one cam for the intake valves; one cam for the exhaust valves - that operate roller lobe followers that directly actuate the valves. Airflow through the cylinder head is enhanced through the use of four valves; two intake and two exhaust valves per cylinder are able to flow more air and fuel at a lower lift than a cylinder with a single, large intake and exhaust valve. Additionally, a four-valve-per-cylinder design is light in weight for accurate valve control, the shape of the four-valve's combustion chamber enhances the combustion process, and the centrally mounted spark plug ensures a thorough burn cycle during the ignition stroke.
Big News From DaimlerChrysler
DaimlerChrysler has recently completed its purchase of the Detroit Diesel Corporation and has taken the company private, buying up all outstanding shares of Detroit Diesel at $23 per share. The Detroit Diesel Corporation, which was incorporated in 1987, is a recognized world leader in the design and manufacture of diesel engines for on- and off-highway applications. The output of various Detroit Diesel engines ranges from 22 to 11,000 horsepower, including powerplant generators, and Detroit Diesel engines are sold throughout a worldwide network of an estimated 2,700 dealers.
DaimlerChrysler also made news with the introduction of its Accelerated Corrosion Facility at the Chelsea, Michigan, proving grounds. The test vehicles are sealed in chambers where computers accurately replicate the environmental elements in any geographical location where the roads are salted to combat the effects of ice and snow. The chambers can also be warmed - as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit - with heaters and adjusted to 100 percent humidity. During the six-month-long tests, trucks are driven through snow, mud, and over gravel for 84 miles. Then they are sealed in the chamber for 48 hours in an effort to find areas on DaimlerChrysler trucks where potential rust problems may occur. When the six-month test program is complete, DaimlerChrysler engineers estimate that each truck will have been exposed to 10 years' worth of real-world driving through incredibly harsh conditions.
Ford to Increase Fuel Economy of U.S. SUV Fleet
Ford Motor Company will increase the fuel economy of its sport-utility vehicle fleet in the United States by 25 percent by the 2005 calendar year. The commitment covers the company's.entire.SUV lineup, including the Land Rover vehicles,.Ford's most recent auto-motive.acquisition. Other products in the SUV lineup include: Ford Explorer, Expedition, and Excursion, Mercury Mountaineer, Lincoln Navigator, and the newly introduced Ford Escape.
"We are taking this very significant action with some of our most popular products because it is the right thing to do for our customers and for our stock-holders," said Jac Nasser, President and Chief Executive Officer. "It is the next logical step in our Cleaner, Safer, Sooner campaign, which we began with the announcement two-and-a-half years ago that all Ford Motor Company sport-utility vehicles would be low-emission vehicles."
"SUV customers are asking for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Our strategy is to maintain and enhance the function of their SUVs while making substantial fuel economy improvements," Nasser said. "This is customer-driven environmental responsibility. We aren't asking our customers to compromise safety, performance, or functionality."
"This initiative also responds to a growing societal objective, strengthens Ford Motor Company's environmental leadership role, and supports our corporate citizenship policies," he added.
2001 Outdoor Expo
In conjunction with its annual meeting and convention, the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs will host an Off Road and Outdoor Recreation Exposition at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Wood-land, California, February 16-18, 2001.
The exposition is expected to attract thousands of outdoor recreationists, including off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, campers, hunting and fishing sportsmen, photographers, and many other groups that enjoy the backcountry.
Included in the three-day event will be outdoor vendor displays, outdoor seminars, clinics, and a series of not eable guest speakers.
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