Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A New Pentastar is Born: FCA Improves Prized V-6 Engine

Photo Credit: FCA US

Becoming the most famous six-cylinder engine design created for Chrysler/FCA products since the Slant-6 that was produced for most than 40 years, the 3.6-liter displacement size Pentastar V-6 gained favour for being powerful, fuel efficient and universal in a single package. Topping out at 305-horsepower with the Dodge Challenger, the evolved engine allows the coupe to achieve 30 miles per gallon highway fuel economy (7.8 liters per 100-kilometer range by Canadian fuel economy measurements). For 2015, almost every vehicle of the Chrysler, Dodge and Ram division offer the modern six-cylinder powerplant. Offered as the base engine in the Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, even the Ram pickup truck and ProMaster work van make use of the power source. For 2016, the Pentastar V-6 has undergone a significant reworking that should be immediately noticed by buyers of FCA vehicles.

Introduced by Chrysler for the 2011 model year, the Pentastar V-6 engine’s technology has made it one of the most intriguing powerplants. While most auto companies were adding gasoline direct injection and turbocharging 250-plus horsepower six-cylinder engines, the Pentastar is largely a simpler but optimized power unit. The re-tweaking of the powerplant follows the modern tradition of the powerplant while creating a lighter, more efficient machine for the upcoming model year.

Making the engine more fuel efficient and even better performing on the road, the 2016 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is actually lighter than its previous version. The four-pound weight decrease is credited to shaving weight through redesigned engine components. Thin-walled die-cast pieces are lighter but do not compromise NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) performance. A two-step variable valve lift system and an enhanced variable-valve timing system are features found on the latest upgrade of the 3.6-liter engine. A new intake manifold, higher compression ratio and high-tumble intake ports are some of the immediate changes to the Pentastar V-6. With the advancement of the Pentastar V-6 engine, FCA has retained an older-style fuel injection system layout. Sequential multiport fuel injection now utilizes eight-hole fuel injectors (twice as many holes what is found on the predecessor’s engine providing better atomization). The latest iteration of the FCA engine also engineered with friction-reducing components for smoother operations.

One of the crowning achievements with the new Pentastar V-6 is the inclusion of an EGR valve. The EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve redirects some of the exhaust gases emitted from an engine into the next combustion cycle for reduced nitrogen oxide emissions. The presently available Pentastar engine originally touted the absence of an EGR valve with the use of advanced emissions technology. With the upgrade to the powerplant, the cooled EGR setup is installed for greater emissions reduction and will contribute to knock-free operations at higher loads.

Photo Credit: FCA US

Undergoing 4.7-million test miles in its development process, the latest Pentastar V-6 obtains greater responsiveness and longer potential cruising ranges. The new engine is configured to grant greater torque production at a lower range. Engine torque availability at ranges below 3,000 rpms will increase by 14.9 percent depending on the installation. Capable of going further on a gallon of gasoline, the new Pentastar V-6 engine is advertised to feature six-percent better fuel economy than the 2015 version. The use of Engine Stop Start is also mentioned as component that the new Pentastar engine technology.

The refined Pentastar V-6's first home will be under the hood of the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Expect to see the Pentastar shape infused on other FCA models in a very short time.

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