While the architecture upon which it is crafted (GM’s family 0 engine) was launched in 1997, the automaker’s 4-cylinder, 1.4-liter engine variant features new technologies aimed at improving overall efficiency and power delivery. GM will make two versions of the 1.4, a naturally aspirated 100-hp variant used as the range-extender in the Chevrolet Volt, while a 140-hp turbocharged version will slot under the hood of the Chevrolet Cruze. The engines will be produced at a new $370-million production facility in Flint, MI, beginning in 2010.
The turbocharged variant will account for a majority of the production. The turbo is integrated with the exhaust manifold, reducing overall weight and improving performance by limiting the distance the exhaust gas has to flow to the turbine. Engineers also reinforced the crankshaft and connecting rods to support higher operating pressure levels, while the port injection system has been modified to provide flex fuel capability.
The base naturally aspirated version of the engine features a cast iron block and aluminum cylinder head; the block frame has been hollowed out to reduce weight. Dual camshafts, which have also been hollowed for weight considerations, are chain driven for improved durability. A mechanically controlled, variable-displacement flow control oil pump monitors the rotation of the engine to provide the exact amount of oil needed for various operating scenarios. An electronically-controlled thermostat delivers coolant to the engine faster at more accurate temperatures, for optimal efficiency.—KMK