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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    What's GM's Plan To Solve The MPG Problem With Trucks?

    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    June 8, 2012

    Ford has been having a resounding success with the EcoBoost option one the F-150 pickup truck. With new full-size trucks on the way, you would think GM would be heading down the same route.

    Not so fast.

    "I wouldn't say that's a huge priority. I think there are other answers to that, which they don't have, for us that make a lot more sense," said GM North America President Mark Reuss.

    Reuss believes the full-sized pickup can't be all things to all buyers. He figures that fuel economy isn't that big of a concern for people who rely on them for a living.

    He puts its this way: if GM was to downsize from the current V8 engines used in the Silverado/Sierra while still offering power and towing capacity, GM would have to significantly reduce the truck's weight and powertrain.

    "So what have you really done? You've made a mid-sized pickup," Reuss said.

    GM's strategy is to offer a mid-size (Colorado) and a full-size truck (Silverado/Sierra).

    However, Reuss didn't say no the idea of a turbocharged V6 for its next generation pickups. GM is rumored to be developing one, but no one knows if that is to be the case or what vehicles this engine will go in.

    Regardless if the turbo V6 is part of the lineup or not, the next generation of GM pickups will be on a diet, get the next-generation small block V-8 engine with direct injection, and a eight-speed transmission.

    Source: Autoweek


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    Diesel is a really good option (the Duramax is a fantastic engine), but it has three problems.

    1) the perception gap - not as bad as it once was, but still there (though unwarranted).

    2) cost - the premium to buy a diesel is just plain too high.

    3) fuel - Diesel prices are not falling along with gasoline, and are absurdly high.

    I have to go back to the idea of an inline 6. They have attributes that (I think) are worth considering.

    1) They are an inherently smooth-running design

    2) They make great torque which is key in a truck engine

    3) MPG

    4) And finally, an inline 6 would set the trucks apart from the crowd a little - and nothing says that it couldn't be turbocharged. The recent Atlas engines were quite well thought of, so the tech is there.

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    Diesel is a really good option (the Duramax is a fantastic engine), but it has three problems.

    1) the perception gap - not as bad as it once was, but still there (though unwarranted).

    2) cost - the premium to buy a diesel is just plain too high.

    3) fuel - Diesel prices are not falling along with gasoline, and are absurdly high.

    I have to go back to the idea of an inline 6. They have attributes that (I think) are worth considering.

    1) They are an inherently smooth-running design

    2) They make great torque which is key in a truck engine

    3) MPG

    4) And finally, an inline 6 would set the trucks apart from the crowd a little - and nothing says that it couldn't be turbocharged. The recent Atlas engines were quite well thought of, so the tech is there.

    I agree with all but there are a few issues.

    GM will want to use an engine or in this case a 6 cylinder that could be used in more than one platform and vehicle other than a truck or SUV.

    The Atlas was a pretty good engine but there were issues with it too. While it ran great and had good power it never got the MPG the others in class got. They even played with a Turbo on the I 5 with good results but again no MPG. Add in the cost of the Atlas vs the V8 and GM just could never consider it. It was heavy and to get the front axles in they had to go through the pan.

    I would love to see a well built I 6 but right now there are too many factors against it.

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    Yes, plus there would be oodles of room on either side of the engine, so it'd be easy to get at it when you have to (a good thing for "work trucks")

    With all the money they spent on that engine, it was a shame for them not to invest in it.

    They did flirt with turbocharging it. The '02 Bel Air concept had a turbo'd Atlas I5 that put out 315hp (big news back then when most cars were fortunate to have over 200)

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    I think BMW resolves much with laying the engine over to reduce height of the engine. Also they use a much shallower pan.

    The real issue was more to do with cost. At one time they said how much that engine was to build per unit vs the V8. It would do no good to have the cost of your entry level engine cost more than the V8. It would be even worse if it could not be used in any other vehicle other than a truck.

    Now if they could do a slant 6 that would fit in the VF and keep the cost down while getting good power andf economy it would be do able.

    I wonder how much a Ecotech I6 would cost and if they could do a reliable 300 NA HP.

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    A GM version of an EcoBoost V6 in the trucks is mandatory. The free(ish) market has spoken. Full size pickup + turbo v6 = more profits and more sales.

    Diesels appropriate for the Colorado/Canyon as well as the Silverado/Sierra are great too. GM should NOT foreclose an opportunity to make more cash, even if the consumer is not 100% rational.

    I have to Dis-agree with you and others here about a GM EcoBoost V6 version. I remember the last time the industry tried to put V6 into trucks, Ford blew actually, terrible engine. Dodge has not had a pretty history either. The V8 with Auto in the Dakota was just as fuel efficient as the so called V6 with manual and if you kept your foot out of it was even better. I know as I bought a V6 with 5 speed manual and the milage sucked, for the 250K miles I had the truck, I never got better than 16 and this is a fact well known.

    A truck is a work vehicle and right now the history of V6 powered either Natural or Turbo is terrible for the US. I would rather trust a 4 Banger Diesel or V6 Diesel in a full size truck before a V6 Gas powerplant.

    I DO NOT see the V6 being better than a small block V8 in a full size truck.

    The people buying up the F150 will prove this point as I predict the engine will die of much shorter miles life than a small block V8 and the fuel efficiency will not live up to the over blown EPA numbers.

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    I could see an inline 6 in RWD cars, but in FWD models which are probably 90% of GM's output an inline 6 would be too wide for a transverse engine installation...

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    I could see an inline 6 in RWD cars, but in FWD models which are probably 90% of GM's output an inline 6 would be too wide for a transverse engine installation...

    Of course that's true.

    I just dismiss FWD because I couldn't care less about it.

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    I could see an inline 6 in RWD cars, but in FWD models which are probably 90% of GM's output an inline 6 would be too wide for a transverse engine installation...

    Of course that's true.

    I just dismiss FWD because I couldn't care less about it.

    Agreed, but unfortunately 99% of car buyers prefer FWD or don't care...

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    With the volume of full-size trucks, compact trucks, SUVs and RWD cars, the FWD thing really isn't important as a factor here.

    Still, a non-transverse FWD application would be possible.

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    With the volume of full-size trucks, compact trucks, SUVs and RWD cars, the FWD thing really isn't important as a factor here.

    Still, a non-transverse FWD application would be possible.

    Yes, but GM hasn't had a non-transverse FWD platform in nearly 30 years. Seems theoretically possible, but given the length of an inline 6, the front overhang would be substantial....I know there have been non-transverse FWD cars built w/ V8s, V6s, inline 5s, and 4cyls, but don't know of any inline 6 cyl ones...

    Anyway, as far as straight 6s, I'm a fan of them, having owned two vehicles w/ them (BMW and Jeep) and spent time driving a Mercedes w/ one..

    Back on topic, as I mentioned earlier, I think weight reduction is a criticial area that needs addressed w/ future trucks..the lightest full size trucks are around 5-6,000 lbs these days, which is insane..

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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    Where's the 2.9 V6 diesel that was developed for Cadillac? That had 400 ft-lb of torque.

    The 3.0TT is coming to the cars wouldn't take much work to make a 3.6TT for the trucks. The hardware is basically the same but use lower boost numbers. I do think that Chevy needs a turbo V6 or Atlas I6 Turbo as an option.

    But mostly l would like to see Chevy do a broad spectrum diesel release. Cruze, 'Nox, Impala, Colorado, and Silverado should all be available with diesel and in the Silverado specifically, a diesel that isn't a $7,000, Heavy Duty upgrade.

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    snapback.pngCamino LS6, on , said:

    Diesel is a really good option (the Duramax is a fantastic engine), but it has three problems.

    1) the perception gap - not as bad as it once was, but still there (though unwarranted).

    2) cost - the premium to buy a diesel is just plain too high.

    3) fuel - Diesel prices are not falling along with gasoline, and are absurdly high.

    I have to go back to the idea of an inline 6. They have attributes that (I think) are worth considering.

    1) They are an inherently smooth-running design

    2) They make great torque which is key in a truck engine

    3) MPG

    4) And finally, an inline 6 would set the trucks apart from the crowd a little - and nothing says that it couldn't be turbocharged. The recent Atlas engines were quite well thought of, so the tech is there.

    I agree with all but there are a few issues.

    GM will want to use an engine or in this case a 6 cylinder that could be used in more than one platform and vehicle other than a truck or SUV.

    The Atlas was a pretty good engine but there were issues with it too. While it ran great and had good power it never got the MPG the others in class got. They even played with a Turbo on the I 5 with good results but again no MPG. Add in the cost of the Atlas vs the V8 and GM just could never consider it. It was heavy and to get the front axles in they had to go through the pan.

    I would love to see a well built I 6 but right now there are too many factors against it.

    DI , full VVT, and a turbo or two would address those issues in the Atlas and make it more than a match for the Ecoboost.

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    Suzuki and Volvo did it in FWD vehicles right up until recently.

    Even an I6-Turboed-DI Camaro could be an interesting proposition if they can slant the engine.

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    I agree with Cubical that I do love the straight 6, I had good experiances with Jeep, but V6 I have not had good experiances with.

    It would be cool to have small 6 or 4 cylinder CNG engines or Diesels.

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    Suzuki and Volvo did it in FWD vehicles right up until recently.

    Even an I6-Turboed-DI Camaro could be an interesting proposition if they can slant the engine.

    You know that such vehicles wouldn't really be my thing - But I see too much logic in the possibilities to ignore this idea.

    You could get your E-body back...

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    Suzuki and Volvo did it in FWD vehicles right up until recently.

    Even an I6-Turboed-DI Camaro could be an interesting proposition if they can slant the engine.

    You know that such vehicles wouldn't really be my thing - But I see too much logic in the possibilities to ignore this idea.

    You could get your E-body back...

    You may have misunderstood me. Suzuki and Volvo did transverse I-6 FWD cars. Technically, so did VW, with a twist.

    In terms of packaging, the VR design is really the solution to the problem. 15 degree V, V6 makes it smooth like an inline, but not much longer than an I-4.

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    Suzuki and Volvo did it in FWD vehicles right up until recently.

    Even an I6-Turboed-DI Camaro could be an interesting proposition if they can slant the engine.

    You know that such vehicles wouldn't really be my thing - But I see too much logic in the possibilities to ignore this idea.

    You could get your E-body back...

    You may have misunderstood me. Suzuki and Volvo did transverse I-6 FWD cars. Technically, so did VW, with a twist.

    In terms of packaging, the VR design is really the solution to the problem. 15 degree V, V6 makes it smooth like an inline, but not much longer than an I-4.

    Seems I may have. But then, FWD Suzukis and Volvos are in my "beneath notice" category. I do find it interesting the Chrysler's LH cars used a north-south configuration though. Those were some of the best-looking FWD designs of their time.

    A slightly taller hood, and they could have used an I-6.

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    Suzuki and Volvo did it in FWD vehicles right up until recently.

    Even an I6-Turboed-DI Camaro could be an interesting proposition if they can slant the engine.

    You know that such vehicles wouldn't really be my thing - But I see too much logic in the possibilities to ignore this idea.

    You could get your E-body back...

    You may have misunderstood me. Suzuki and Volvo did transverse I-6 FWD cars. Technically, so did VW, with a twist.

    In terms of packaging, the VR design is really the solution to the problem. 15 degree V, V6 makes it smooth like an inline, but not much longer than an I-4.

    Seems I may have. But then, FWD Suzukis and Volvos are in my "beneath notice" category. I do find it interesting the Chrysler's LH cars used a north-south configuration though. Those were some of the best-looking FWD designs of their time.

    A slightly taller hood, and they could have used an I-6.

    I agree. I've always wondered what an LH coupe, probably a Chrysler branded one, would look like. Given GM's stumble with the E-body starting in '86, Chrysler could have snatched that market away with something like that. Technically, the drive layout is an AMC/Renault derived design going back to the Monaco.

    Another interesting North/South arrangements. The 1996 - 2005 Passat. Available with 1.8 liter 4-cylinder, a 2.8 liter V6 or a 4.0 liter W8.... all longitudinal.

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    You know, it occurs to me that with the noses on cars getting taller, packaging an inline 6 might be getting easier.

    Maybe designing to that parameter will again be more viable.

    Suzuki and Volvo did it in FWD vehicles right up until recently.

    Even an I6-Turboed-DI Camaro could be an interesting proposition if they can slant the engine.

    You know that such vehicles wouldn't really be my thing - But I see too much logic in the possibilities to ignore this idea.

    You could get your E-body back...

    You may have misunderstood me. Suzuki and Volvo did transverse I-6 FWD cars. Technically, so did VW, with a twist.

    In terms of packaging, the VR design is really the solution to the problem. 15 degree V, V6 makes it smooth like an inline, but not much longer than an I-4.

    Seems I may have. But then, FWD Suzukis and Volvos are in my "beneath notice" category. I do find it interesting the Chrysler's LH cars used a north-south configuration though. Those were some of the best-looking FWD designs of their time.

    A slightly taller hood, and they could have used an I-6.

    Interesting...didn't know Suzuki or Volvo had I-6 FWD cars...I know Volvo had I-5s (as did Audi).

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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