04/29/2003 – 3-Valve Technology Improves Modular V-8 Engine Efficiency, Performance

Source: Ford Motor Company

3-Valve Technology Improves Modular V-8 Engine Efficiency, Performance

WINDSOR, Ont., April 29, 2003 – The new 5.4-liter Triton™ V-8 engine that will power Ford’s next-generation F-150 is designed with three valves per cylinder, variable-cam timing and a host of other features that provide increased power along with improved refinement and fuel efficiency.


The net result is an engine that delivers 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 365 ft-lb of torque at 3,750 rpm. The all-new, aluminum cylinder head — with two intake valves and one exhaust valve per cylinder for 24 valves in total — and a new cast-iron block balance this impressive power with better fuel efficiency and quieter operation.


Key features of the new 3-valve, 5.4-liter Triton V-8 include:

  • All-new three-valve cylinder-head architecture designed to enhance both power and efficiency
  • Combination of engine technologies produces 300 peak horsepower – a 15-percent improvement in peak horsepower over the previous 5.4-liter engine
  • Seven-percent improvement in low-speed torque, and 5 percent increase in peak torque
  • Torque curve is higher across the entire rev range than competitive pickup truck engines


This new technology builds on Ford’s award-winning modular V-8 engine platform, while taking advantage of the capabilities offered by modern electronic controls.


The modular V-8 engine family is one of the most important products in Ford’s powertrain lineup. Ford produced more than 1.2 million of these engines in the 2002 calendar year.


Multiple Valves and Variable Cam Timing Improve Power
The new 24-valve engine will be Ford’s first modular V-8 to use variable-cam timing (VCT). The VCT design allows Ford engineers to optimize intake- and exhaust-valve actuation across the rev range. It represents the industry’s first mass application of dual-equal variable-cam timing that shifts the intake and exhaust valve timing together.


Variable-cam timing allows the valves to be operated at different points in the combustion cycle and provide performance that is precisely tailored to the engine’s specific speed and load at that moment. If conditions require earlier valve opening and closing, for example, to achieve more low speed torque, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) commands solenoids to alter oil flow within the hydraulic cam timing mechanism, which rotates the camshafts slightly. If the valves should open later, to generate more high-speed power, the mechanism retards the cams.


The use of two intake valves enhances fuel-air mixing prior to combustion. Multiple valves also enhance the engine’s ability to “breathe” – that is, to move large volumes of air in and out of the cylinders – which is a key to generating maximum horsepower.


With an all-aluminum head, single camshaft, magnesium cam covers and a clean-sheet design approach, Ford’s engineers could develop a three-valve head that has virtually no weight penalty over the two-valve V-8 engines. The three-valve head is actually dimensionally smaller and somewhat lighter than the two-valve design for the 5.4-liter engine, while offering more rigidity and strength. It also is easier to manufacture, with simpler drilling angles and straight-machined surfaces.


Electronics Improve Response, Efficiency
The new 3-valve, 5.4-liter Triton engine uses sophisticated electronic powertrain controls and Ford’s first V-8 application of electronic throttle control to optimize performance.


At lower speeds and lighter loads, the new three-valve engine uses an electronically controlled metal flap at the end of each intake runner. These Charge Motion Control Valves were specially shaped, through CAD modeling and testing, to speed up the intake charge and induce a tumble effect in the combustion cylinder. This causes the fuel to mix more thoroughly — and to burn quickly and efficiently — with reduced emissions, particularly at idle.


At higher RPM, they do not affect the intake charge at all. This allows undisturbed maximum flow into the combustion chambers at wide-open throttle. The CMCV motor is sound-insulated, so its operation remains transparent to vehicle occupants.


Like the improvements in overall engine performance, improvements in the new three-valve engine’s refinement result from a host of design features rather than a single breakthrough. For example, the same intake and exhaust manifolds that produce better airflow and improved efficiency also are designed to offer quieter operation.


Ford’s noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) engineers used computer modeling to design vibration-resistant ribbing and reinforcement into the composite intake manifold.


The intake manifold alone represents a host of refinements to previous models. For the first time, the manifold arrives at the assembly plant with the fuel rail, air cleaner, throttle body and PCV unit in place. This makes assembly much faster and reduces complexity. The main portion of the manifold is friction-welded together for durability. Even the air filter assembly is innovative, with a slide-out drawer offering customers quick access to the cleaner element.


The new engine’s pistons have longer side skirts than in the past, which helps to control piston movement and minimize piston noise.


At the top of the engine, new magnesium cam covers offer the vibration-resistance of aluminum at reduced weight. They are further isolated from vibration via rubber mounts. Reinforcing ribs cast into the cam covers, as well as a reinforcing plate in the underside of the covers, were both computer-designed to minimize audible vibrations.


The engine block itself is stiffer than in the past through addition of computer-designed reinforcements cast into the block sidewalls and thicker metal along the gasket surfaces. This, in combination with a new style oil pan made of a sandwich of metal around a plastic core, helps to minimize sound transmission through the bottom of the engine.


These designs were all validated through extensive measurement in Ford’s Advanced Engineering Center dynamometer cells – acoustic rooms in which developmental engines are run while surrounded by sensitive microphones.


Production
The new three-valve cylinder head will be manufactured at the Windsor (Ontario) Engine Plant beginning next year with the full engine assembled at the Essex (Ontario) Engine Plant, also in Windsor. The two plants – both past winners of the prestigious Shingo Award for Excellence in Manufacturing – combined to produce 1.1 million V-6, V-8 and V-10 engines in 2001.


Production of the new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton V-8 began in August 2002 for the new Ford Falcon, sold in Australia.


04/29/03

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