Ford: Turbochargers, Direct Injection to Raise Mileage Up to 20%

2009 Lincoln MKS

Ford announced today that direct fuel injection and turbocharging, which it brands EcoBoost, will increase gas mileage up to 20% on half a million of its vehicles within five years. The 2009 Lincoln MKS is the first production vehicle scheduled to get the technology, in the form of a twin-turbo V-6 that makes 340 hp. Ford says it will be the most powerful and fuel-efficient AWD luxury sedan out there, which means it should top the likes of Cadillac’s V-8 STS AWD (14/21 city/highway) and Audi A6 4.2 Quattro (16/23).

Ford also outlined plans to build an EcoBoost four-cylinder, though spokesman Alan Hall wouldn’t say if it will share the characteristics of the 2.0-liter turbo in the Explorer America concept that was revealed last weekend.

EcoBoost will also make an early debut in the Ford Flex and Taurus, Hall said. It’s part of a “downsize and boost” strategy, by which Ford will basically offer similar power but better mileage thanks to the smaller turbo engine. Apply it down the line, and a Ford Fusion could have V-6-like power and 25 mpg in combined city/highway driving. A 2WD Expedition could get 17 mpg, while a 2WD Edge could get 23 mpg.

The technology and its benefits aren’t new. Many automakers — most notably Volkswagen — have been turning out direct-injection turbos for years. Ford says what makes its system different (and, evidently, worth the whole branding effort) is how widespread it will be. Hall said customers would see it from “top to bottom” in the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup — and, unlike some competing engines, it will run on regular, 87-octane fuel.

By Kelsey Mays | January 8, 2008 | Comments (21)

Comments 

J

How can a turbo actually achieve more power while getting better fuel economy?
In order to generate more power, they still need more fuel to burn no matter how complete they burn it.

Spanky

J,

I think Turbos help though when you aren't using it at peak power. That way when you are just cruising at say 60mph or 2500rpm the turbos haven't engauged..it's kinda like having a varible displacement motor. I do agree with you that you can have more power OR better fuel economy but not simultaneously like you mentioned.

r

compression in these engines will be higher, thus contributing to the efficiency.

chad

Tubro's use the exhaust gases to force more air into the intake. Better then a supercharger because the engine dont have to waste energy running it. With more air you get better combustion. So yes you can get better millige and fuel economy at the same time

Bowrider

It appears that before too long, all manufacturers will be offering turbos in all of their vehicles to achieve the best mix of power and efficiency. Although, I draw the line at a Smart ForTwo 1 cylinder turbo.

Amuro Ray

Not true, Bowrider. As a matter of fact, a lot of the Asian auto makers have switched from turbo engines to NA engines back in the 80's/90's to after the new millenium. Reason being that turbo engines do have several major downside vs NA engines:

(1) turbo maintenance (turbo lifespan's is MUCH SHORTER than an engine lifespan, most have found an avg of 90K - 120K if the engine is NOT being kept nicely, i.e. prolonged/cheap oil change + pushing the turbos hard) - replacing the turbos aren't cheap;
(2) turbo lag (no matter how smooth, there is still some lag, even though the turbo boost may be mild);
(3) Hassle - how many of you realize that if you own a turbo vehicle, you'll need to sit in your car for 30s - 2 min (depends on how hard you push the engine/turbo) - before you shut off your car? If you don't do that, see (1). If you put a turbo timer in there - you'll also need extra security.
(4) No way to tow or haul heavy stuff using turbo engines, so not good for SUV/Truck (thanks to infosaur & J, the exception here is turbo DIESEL engine, which doesn't look like Ford's offering on this new breed of engine).

My opinion is that you want turbo engine (petroleum) for performance cars or small cars (sub-compact, like the Fit/Yaris/Versa/etc.), and not SUVs/Trucks. It's border line for passenger vehicles, 'coz of (3), unless you don't mind the hassle.

Tom & Ray from cartalk have many funny comments on (3). However, I bet that most owners will not do (3) simply 'coz they don't know they have to, and no sales will tell them to do so.

AR,
You're simply wrong about modern day turbo engines. We're going to do some digging and fact checking and post a story about it on Ask.cars.com as well about any special maintenance you need to do for turbocharged engines.

Amuro Ray

Great, Dave T. Glad to update my knowledge on turbo engine based on your findings.

A cars.com's episode of the mythbuster? :)

Amuro Ray

Here's some add'l info (other than Tom & Ray) that I've found on turbo engines.

http://www.samarins.com/maintenance/engmain.html#turbo

Here's the info of the author:

http://www.samarins.com/author.html

Infosaur

Amuro, when I bought my WRX (my first Turbo car) I asked up and down the block, sales, websites, service department, everyone, "how should I treat my car with the turbo" Every single one of them said you don't have to do anything special, they're very reliable now a days. Just change the oil regularly. (and they recommended longer intervals than I was doing anyway.)

The only time I let it cool off was after Auto-xing. I'd leave the hood up in the pits and idle between runs.

J

Spanky,
Are you sure the compression ratio on a turbo engine is higher than a N/A?
Because as far as I know, it should be the other way around so that the engine doesn't knock.

Graham

FWIW I have over 102,000 miles on my '02 WRX, it is not gently driven but it has had its oil changed as scheduled every 7,500 (yes, 7,500) miles, and it shows no signs of imminent failure. It doesn't need any special cool-down routine, and is treated just like any other car I've owned. It has proved to be the most reliable car I've ever had, which is why my wife now drives a turbo-charged Forester. I'm not expecting to need to replace my WRX for quite a while yet (which is a good thing as I don't like the new one!)

chad

With the increase in horsepower and torque it can also allow the driver to selecet a higher gear ratio and shift less often. To get increase fuel economy.

chad

Tubro's are active all the time till there's to much boast and temperature is to high then. The wastegate opens and allows the exhaust to flow through. Then start up again when temperautre is low enough.

Spanky

J,

I said nothing of compression ratio's. You're looking at the post below mine. It's all good.

And Chad: I still believe that you can have one or the other; more power or more fuel mileage and the EXACT same time. We're not talking about the same fill up...we're talking about the exact same time. When the turbo spools up and is force feeding the cylindar with more O2, you are also spraying more fuel GUARANTEED....otherwise you'd be too lean.

Amuro Ray,

You are correct on the fact that with a turbocharged engine you do need to let it idle down for at least 30 seconds after semi-aggressive driving. I owned a Dodge Neon SRT4, and I remember the owners manual (and I think even on inside of the drivers sun visor) stated that you need to let the engine idle for at LEAST 30 seconds after aggresive driving. This is to allow the oil in the turbo to go through the cooling system and have a chance to cool down. Otherwise the oil in the turbo will gunk up and clog the turbo, ultimately ruining it. The turbo in a turbocharged car gets EXTREMELY hot in aggressive driving (I saw mine glowing slightly after some extremeley aggressive driving). If you don't idle down a car, the turbo will cook the oil. They do make something for turbo equipped cars that runs the oil through the turbo after you shut the car off. It runs for a few minutes and is supposed to save you from sitting in the car waiting for it to cool down. I don't remember what it was called, but I wonder if Ford will have this in its cars?

J

Spanky,
My bad.
So r was wrong about the compression ratio?

Amuro Ray

That thg's called a "Turbo Timer." I'm almost 100% that it is aftermarket only, as it poses a liability issue if pre-installed from manufacturer (the engine essentially WON'T shut down during the "idling period" - which is sthg that you can set - that's where car thieves can come in and take your car. During this idling period, even with your keys or whatever removed, the car will still go if wanted to as the engine is still active.)

Just a few things - I like turbo engine; so don't think that I'm anti-turbo. It's true that my turbo knowledge could be outdated, but of all the info I've found online (and the info seems legitimate even though you can rarely verify online credibility), that's what they have all said 'bou turbo engines (gasoline). Can't wait to see D.T.'s update on ask.cars.com though...

Oh, 1 last thing, as for the comment of "turbo being active all the time;" that's not true (pending verification from ask.cars.com), or else you'll have a burnt out turbo very, very, very, very quickly. Turbo's active only when sudden increase in power is desired (like when u lead foot ur turbo car). Otherwise, there's no turbo action. That's how Ford and any manufacturers can claim the fuel savings of turbo engine - yes, u can get 200 or whatever hp/torque you want, but that's when u lead foot it; any other time you can get like 2/3 of the hp/torque ratings when the turbo isn't active. So - big hp figure, small engine displacement, that equal a "fake, seems to be" fuel saving. (IOW, you can get a 300 hp car, but the fuel efficiency of like a 200 hp).

Rob

It's shocking how much incorrect knowledge is being posted about turbos on this board. First off 99.9% of all turbo's run anytime the engine is running. Secondly, I've owned at least a dozen turbo cars and to date I've only experienced one premature failure that occured before 130,000 miles (Dodge Shadow). In my mind today's best around turbo is the one in the Acura RDX. Prior to that I would say any Subaru or 2.0 Saab. I've had several Saab's go over 160,000 miles without a turbo rebuild.

Based on my experience with my wife's 2006 Explorer there is no way I would trust Ford to build a reliable engine that involved both turbo charging and direct injection. I'm sure they can pull building it, however I highly, highly doubt that it will be reliable.

JOHN

ZERO KNOWLEDGE ON THE SUBJECT OF TURBO'S, HOWEVER I BOUGHT A MAZDA 1988 MX6 GT TURBO OFF THE SHOW ROOM FLOOR IN 1988. A YEAR AND A HALF AGO IT DIED AFTER 288,000 MILES DUE TO A BLOWN ENGINE GASKET AT 70 MILES AN HOUR. IN THAT TIME I HAD CHANGED THE TIMING BELT EVERY 60,OOO MILES UP TO 180,000, REPLACED THE STRUTS AT 180,000, THE FRONT BREAK PADS TWICE AND THE CLUTCH WENT OUT AT 150,000. THE CAR ON TRIPS ALWAYS GOT 28 MPG EVEN AT HIGH SPEEDS (100) FOR EXTENDED PERIODS. CRUISE @ LEGAL FRWY SPEEDS OVER 30. TURBO LAG ONLY OCCURED ( ABET VERY MINIMAL ) IF YOU WERE TRYING TO BE SPEED RACER, AS A RESONABLE CIVILIZED HARD ACCELERATOR YOU COULD BLOW V8'S AT THE LIGHT WITHOUT LAG. THE TURBO NEVER FAILED NOR WAS REBUILT STILL WORKING GREAT WHEN THE ENGINE DIED. AS AN UNIFORMED CONSUMER I'VE BEEN CRYING ABOUT THE PUSH FOR V6'S AND 8'S FOR YEAR AND THE INSURANCE PENALTY FOR 4 CYLINDER TURBOS. CONTRARY TO CAR AND DRIVER AND OTHER CAR EVALUATORS SOME OF WANT THE SMOOTH POWER AND GREAT GAS MILEAGE BOTH, NOT NECESSARILY THE BIGGEST HORSEPOWER FASTEST THING ALIVE. AS TO ALL YOUR PROFFESIONAL ARGUMENTS, WITH MY INSIDE THE BOX EXPERIENCE FORD SHOULD DO GOOD CONSIDERING THEIR LINK TO MAZDA'S TURBO.

Steve

I'm with Rob in being shocked at how much incorrect info and misunderstanding is in this thread.

J and Spanky -- yes, the turbo can produce more power *and* better fuel economy, simultaneously. The reason is that by forcing more air (and therefore oxygen, required for combustion) into the cylinder, then more fuel can be injected and stil be (nearly) completely combusted, and you get more force on the cylinder head, and therefore more power out of every power stroke of the engine. The key here is more power *per cylinder stroke*. Since the friction force of the engine is roughly constant, no matter the speed or instantateous efficiency of the engine, it is in your interest to get as much force (power) out of every cylinder stroke. Motion of the cylinders and whole engine have to fight friction constantly, so you don't want wasted or non-maximized power coming out of the engine while all the time it is having to fight internal friction.

Have you ever turned over an engine by hand, like by putting a wrench on the main pulley? It is *hard*, it takes a lot of force just to keep the engine turning, even if it isn't firing and producing power. Or look at it this way: when you turn off your engine, does it come to a stop within a second or two, or does it slowly spin down and stop after a few minutes. Of course it stops right away! It is this significant amount of friction that quickly brings your engine to a stop after it stops firing.

A turbocharger increases the maximum power that can be produced from an equivalent size and configuration of engine.

If a turbo didn't improve fuel economy *and* maximum power, then do you really think that every long-haul truck in the USA (and the rest of the world) would have a turbo installed? Do you think they're installed there for looks??

And yes, the turbo spins constantly when the engine is running, albeit slowly at idle. The turbo speed is roughly proportional to the throttle setting, so the harder you push on the gas pedal, the faster the turbo will spin. (Lag is the initial "spin-up" of the turbo, and it lags the mashing of the pedal because it is a feedback loop -- mash throttle --> increased volume of exhaust --> spins up the turbo a bit --> increased volume fresh air into next cylinder power stroke, which in turn increases the volume of air into the next stroke, and so on. It takes a few seconds for the turbo to "catch up" and reach equilibrium with the throttle setting. (BTW, this is when you see the puff of black smoke on traditional diesel engines -- before the turbo can provide enough air to fully combust the fuel being injected, so you end up with soot and that's the puff of black smoke that only lasts second or so until the turbo "catches up".

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