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Friday
May262017

Modified Miller Cycle for VW Four

When the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan arrives in dealerships this summer, it will use the latest Gen 3B version of the Audi designed and developed EA888 four cylinder. The latest version of VW’s mainstay turbocharged and direct injected inline four is expected to offer better fuel economy  and 20% greater torque than the 1.8-liter Gen 3 EA888 available in the current Passat, Beetle, Jetta as well as the Golf.

First introduced in 2009, the EA888 features a grey cast iron block and aluminum pistons and cylinder head, each of which has been updated for the latest generation. Engineers focused on making the engine more efficient in the operating range most drivers use every day. This led to the development of a modified Miller cycle — known as the Budack-cycle — that closes the intake valves well before the end of the intake stroke. This enhancement reportedly results in a longer effective combustion cycle, and improves the mixing of the air and fuel by speeding up the flow of the incoming gasses. This required an intake variable valve timing unit that can switch between short and long valve opening depending on engine load. Thus, at idle and at partial load, valve duration is shorter. When under greater load, the unit switches to the longer duration camshaft lobe for full power and torque.

With the Gen 3B EA888 engine, the new Tiguan produces 184 peak horsepower at 4,400 rpm (400 rpm earlier than the 1.8-liter motor), and maintains this peak until 6,000 rpm. The 221 lb.-ft. maximum torque is available from 1,600 to 3,940 rpm. Displacement was increased by increasing the stroke from 84.1 mm to 92.8 mm, and a modified piston crown and combustion chamber design increases the compression ratio to 11.7:1. Maximum injector pressure from the new injectors is 250 bar (3,626 lb./in.2), and they are capable of up to three injections per stroke. In addition, brake mean effective pressure at full load is lower, and this allowed crankshaft main bearing to be reduced from 52 to 48 mm and the balance shaft chain to be narrowed.

The 2.0-liter Gen 3B EA888 will be the only engine offered in the 2018 Tiguan before finding its way across the line into other VW models. — CAS

Friday
Apr282017

Evaluating Engine Health From the Inside

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Nearly indestructible 40 kHz SenX sensors connect to a PicoScope oscilloscope on one end, and either the oil dipstick tube or exhaust pipe on the other to simultaneously test and evaluate the lower and upper engine, respectively....It was one of the most unusual demonstrations of a new technology I’d ever seen. Doug Strock, President of Predictive Fleet Technologies (PFT), suggested we meet somewhere halfway between his office and mine. That put us in the largest parking lot near the freeway exit that merges into the Flint, MI, business district. It just happened to belong to the local Hooters.

In the cold, gray winter drizzle, Strock pulls a small Pelican hard case out of his fourth-generation Chrysler minivan, and begins setting up the system. This requires hooking a thin cable and connector to each of the SenX piezoelectric sensors, and then to the corresponding inputs on the PicoScope automotive oscilloscope. As Strock clamps the blue silicon hose attached to the business end of one sensor to the exhaust pipe (to measure the upper engine), and pushes the clear tube of the other into the 3.8-liter V6’s dipstick tube (to measure the lower engine and crankcase), the drizzle turns to a cold, hard sleet. Quickly bringing the Engine Angel software up on his laptop, he selects the engine to be tested from a drop down menu, confirms there are two waveforms moving across the screen, and raises the engine speed to 1,500 rpm. When a steady signal appears, Strock presses the space bar to capture the trace, saves the file, and sends it out for an assessment. In less than two minutes, the Engine Polygraph evaluation is on the desktop. And, as if on cue, the rain/sleet combination abates.

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Friday
Apr072017

2018 Audi A8 Lightweight Tech

Carbon fiber bulkhead varies from six to 19 layers, and improves body rigidity by 33%.The spaceframe for the 2018 Audi A8 luxury sedan will use a mix of aluminum, steel, magnesium and — for the first time — carbon fiber. Compared to its predecessor, this multi-material mix increases torsional rigidity by 25%, though the weight of the body-in-white is up 112 lb. due to the need to meet ever stricter crash standards, and accommodate new powertrains. The new A8 is expected to have a 48-volt electrical system, as well as offer full hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. This required adding structure to protect the lithium-ion batteries.

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Friday
Mar102017

Weego: Rethinking the Jump Starter

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Weego's N Series family. From left to rigiht, 44, 66, 22 and 22S.Gerry Toscani is the CEO of Paris Business Products, a leading supplier of paper and business products for sale to both the general public and commercial customers. Things like DocIt organizers, PrintWorks paper, DocuGuard Security products and more. The company was established as a continuous forms producer in 1964, but has branched out since. However, its latest venture is somewhere out in left field, having nothing to do with its main line of business.

“Our business is still very strong, but the paper industry is in decline,” says Toscani. “Branching out into a new market, one with a lot of room to grow, made sense for our long-term viability.”  And that business is portable power products. Things like jump starters and battery packs. Products with very little paper, even in the packaging.

“I got into this business,” says Toscani, “because there are nearly one billion batteries in use between cars, trucks, boats, notebooks and tablets. There’s a lot of opportunity.” A lot of opportunity that you’d expect established names like Energizer and Duracell, who dominate the throw-away alkaline battery market, to take advantage of by using their size, name brands and position in the market. However, as Toscani discovered during the research phase of building his business plan, the established players were more than happy to stick to what they were familiar with, and license their brand names to others.

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Friday
Feb102017

GKN: Drifting, from AWD to eAWD

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Ford Focus RS: Torque vectoring all-wheel drive makes it fun in the dry and in the snow.Ray Kuczera, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology at GKN Driveline, has a bittersweet relationship with all-wheel drive systems. “The first complete AWD system that we supplied was in 2002 for the Chrysler minivan. I was the engineering manager for that program, and it lived for a whole two years until some clever guy invented Stow-N-Go seating, and took the space where the propshaft used to go.” Undaunted, GKN kept plugging away, getting the contract to supply the complete AWD drive unit for the GM Sigma platform, Fiat Panda, Range Rover Evoque, Jeep Renegade/Fiat 500X, and MG’s compact SUV. It also supplies the rear drive module and power takeoff for Volvo’s XC90 and S90, Cadillac XT5/GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse, and — perhaps its most well-known — the Ford Focus RS.

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