Northstar

PM Awards GM 3.9 V-6 For Breakthrough Technology

51 posts in this topic

POPULAR MECHANICS Awards GM 3.9 V-6 For Breakthrough Technology


New York - General Motors' new 3.9-liter V-6 has been recognized for ground-breaking technology by the editors of POPULAR MECHANICS in the publication's first "POPULAR MECHANICS Breakthrough Awards." The announcement was made today at the American Museum of Natural History and will be featured in the October issue of POPULAR MECHANICS, on newsstands nationwide October 11, 2005.

The POPULAR MECHANICS Breakthrough Awards recognize ten individuals and teams, including one winner of the Breakthrough Leadership Award, that are helping to improve lives and expand possibilities in the realms of science, technology and exploration. Additionally, POPULAR MECHANICS highlighted a separate group of ten consumer products that represent milestones in design and engineering.


The 3.9 V-6 has been awarded for the innovative adaptation of variable valve timing, an industry first for overhead valve engines.

"General Motors keeps finding ways to advance overhead valve engines and the 3.9-liter V-6 used in the Impala reaches new levels," said James Meigs, editor-in-chief, POPULAR MECHANICS. "For their continued success and innovation, we're proud to recognize GM with a 2006 Breakthrough Award."

The 3.9 is part of an all-new family of advanced overhead valve, 60-degree V-6 engines. The engine is designed new from the block up and in addition to variable valve timing, incorporates a host of advanced, premium features, including a variable intake manifold, piston-cooling oil squirters, and an advanced 32-bit engine controller.

"The breakthrough development of variable valve timing for the 3.9 demonstrates the continued relevance of the elegant overhead valve engine design," said Dr. Gary Horvat, assistant chief engineer, V-6 engines. "We're honored that the editorial team at POPULAR MECHANICS recognize the significance of this technology."

The variable valve timing system incorporates a vane-type camshaft phaser that changes the angular orientation of the camshaft, thereby adjusting the timing of the intake and exhaust valves to optimize performance and economy, and helping lower emissions. Within its range of operation, it offers infinitely variable valve timing in relation to the crankshaft. The cam phasing creates "dual equal" valve timing adjustments. In other words, the intake valves and exhaust valves are varied at the same time and at the same rate.

The award-winning, 240-horsepower 3.9 V-6 is available in the 2006 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo, Malibu SS, Malibu Maxx SS and Uplander; Pontiac G6 GTP and SV6; Buick Terraza; and Saturn Relay.

POPULAR MECHANICS is published by Hearst Magazines, a unit of The Hearst Corporation (www.hearst.com) and one of the world's largest publishers of monthly magazines, with a total of 19 U.S. titles and 142 international editions. Hearst reaches more adults than any other publisher of monthly magazines (76.3 million according to MRI, spring 2005). The company also publishes 19 magazines in the United Kingdom through its wholly owned subsidiary, The National Magazine Company Limited.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The 3.9 is barely faster than the 3.5 and is barely more fuel efficient than the 5.3. The engine does not impress me.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 3.9 is barely faster than the 3.5 and is barely more fuel efficient than the 5.3.  The engine does not impress me.

[post="22236"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


ironically, popular mechanics does not impress me either...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You all know Im happy about this but wish it was the better engine to begin with - the 90*3.8. What I want to know is why are the gas economy reports so poor ? I never saw were GM ever got the 60* engines to workout as good as the Buick based 90* and I know thats now how its supposed to be but somehow that little bumble bee could fly. Well good for GM but Im still concerned.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not so sure about the 3900 being barely faster than the 3500. I haven't seen actual test numbers performed yet but the G6 GTP should be way faster than the GT model with it's 3500 and auto only trans. The 6 speed should be in the low to mid 6 second range 0-60 and the auto with it's 3.69:1 gears should be less than 7 seconds. The Impala with the 3500 uses a lazier 2.86:1 axle whereas the 3900 version uses a 3.29:1 setup which I recon will shave close to a second off the 0-60 time. Real world combined driving would give the 3900 the nod over the 5300 V8 but it wouldn't be a surprise if the V8 got about the same or better on the open road. This is often the case with bigger engines in smaller cars. A 4 cylinder Malibu gets the same highway economy as the V6 but in the real world the 4 banger will probably be a bit higher. Can't wait to see actual tests with these new engines.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The road test I read (can't remember where) showed the Impala with the 3.5 doing 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds, while the Impala with the 3.9 did 0 to 60 in 7.8 seconds. Not much of a difference, in my opinion. Maybe the rest of you disagree.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hate to say it, but I actually like the 3.9, I'm still pissed off that they couldn't have designed it off the already well-designed and well-known 90-degree 3.8L engine (which runs like a damned champ in my '01 9C1 Impala), but to each its own I guess. Good to see that at least some of GM's engines are winning awards, although it is PM instead of some of the other Auto Rags.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to say it, but I actually like the 3.9, I'm still pissed off that they couldn't have designed it off the already well-designed and well-known 90-degree 3.8L engine (which runs like a damned champ in my '01 9C1 Impala), but to each its own I guess.  Good to see that at least some of GM's engines are winning awards, although it is PM instead of some of the other Auto Rags.

[post="22308"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


The old 90 degree V6 Buick engine is a fundamentally flawed engine. It's a V8 cut to be a V6. The balance shafts the put in the motor to smooth the vibration caused by its 90 degree configuration reflect this comprimise. 60 degrees is the best angle for V6 engines. We all the know the #1 reason GM insists on making OHV engines is to save money. Since saving money is the #1 priority for them, one of the two motors needed to be put the pasture eventually. Splitting their R&D dollars on both is a waste of resources. We could say the same about having a family of OHV and OHC V6 engines.

As for GM not getting awards for their engines, they don't have many to crow about. The Corvette V8 is great for its performance and fuel efficiency. This one is legitimate. However, the truck engines are OK, but no longer the best. The Northstar has been overshadowed by other engines from Infiniti, Lexus, BMW, etc. The Northstar V series may be good, but still won't beat the best from AMG. The Ecotec is considered noisy and not particularly fuel efficient. The OHC and OHV V6 engines are all at best mearly OK. I guess the Duramax diesel is good.

Am I missing something in GM's engine porfolio that is arguably best of breed beside the LS2/LS7?

Mark
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just drove a G6 GTP yesterday and I was very impressed. I don't know about the other vehicles with the 3.9, but the G6 is great. It felt so much more smooth and refined than other Pontiacs I have driven. It will be interesting to see how the critics feel about the gtp compared to other sport coupes.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh boy here we go again, a great big company thats got more models more drivetrains and still has near record sales years doesnt have the top engine in all catagories. Im just going to go cry. BFD. 2 hp here 2 hp there, winning on the track. Gaining 6/10ths between its own engines makes it a worthless investment but if it lacks one tenth of a second off your favorite flavor of rice or kraut its a POS.

I understand the 60* V6 issue as well as not developing both but the Chevy based 60* just never accomplished what the 90* has. I just dont understand why ? So if the 90* V6 being naturally flawed is one point against the 3.8 whats that say about the 60* always comming up short ?

BTW a 60* V6 is just a 60* V 12 with 6 cylinders chopped off :P

I have held great hopes for this "new" V6 PR engine, i sure hope they get it performing correctly in the MPG and torque department. Otherwise the SC 3800 will still blow its plug wires off- perhaps that is the problem "hey, someone wanna check those plug wires !"
Posted Image Edited by razoredge
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 3.9 is barely faster than the 3.5 and is barely more fuel efficient than the 5.3.  The engine does not impress me.

[post="22236"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


you might have beat me to saying that very thing
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW a 60* V6 is just a 60* V 12 with 6 cylinders chopped off 


I'm sure you know but the ideal angle for a 6 cylinders is 120º so 60º it's the next best thing for it :P .
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh boy here we go again, a great big company thats got more models more drivetrains and still has near record sales years doesnt have the top engine in all catagories. Im just going to go cry. BFD. 2 hp here 2 hp there, winning on the track. Gaining 6/10ths between its own engines makes it a worthless investment but if it lacks one tenth of a second off your favorite flavor of rice or kraut its a POS.

I understand the 60* V6 issue as well as not developing both but the Chevy based 60* just never accomplished what the 90* has. I just dont understand why ? So if the 90* V6 being naturally flawed is one point against the 3.8 whats that say about the 60* always comming up short ?

[post="22367"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Again razor, you have missed the boat on engine design.
The reason that the Chevy 60 degree V-6's came up short is that they were designed to fit in small packages, and were mostly transverse-mounted.
That restricts the physical size that the engine package can be.

The basic problem with 60-degree V-6's is intake runner length. To make more power, you need longer runners,--- and the space in the engine compartment
that these engines are designed for just isn't there!
The other factor was manufacturing technology at the time these engines were
designed. The use of non-metallic intake manifolds had not reached the level
of sophistication that we see today. Most of these designs had metal intake
manifolds, and they were restricted by the casting technology of the day.
The 90-degree V-6's had more physical space between the cylinder banks, so naturally you could have the longer runner paths needed to achieve higher
performance. The new designs with multi-chambered runners made in plastic
for direct fuel injection systems, allows for the best of both worlds, economy and
performance-- when you need it!

AND, then there is the factor of rotating mass, i.e., counter-balance shafts to
dampen the firing pulses on a 90-degree V-6, but that is another issue.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 3.9 is barely faster than the 3.5 and is barely more fuel efficient than the 5.3.  The engine does not impress me.

[post="22236"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

I'd prefer the 3900 V-6 over the 3500 V-6 for sure, but neither one of those engines have a reason to survive when there are 2.8, 3.6, and supposedly (at least it was once planned) 3.2-liter DOHC High Feature V-6 engines. There's absolutely no excuse for the HF engines not to be in the other cars.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd prefer the 3900 V-6 over the 3500 V-6 for sure, but neither one of those engines have a reason to survive when there are 2.8, 3.6, and supposedly (at least it was once planned) 3.2-liter DOHC High Feature V-6 engines. There's absolutely no excuse for the HF engines not to be in the other cars.


Yes, there is. The 3.5 is far more fuel efficient than any of the HF V-6's. The 3.5 in the Malibu gets 22/32, while both the 2.8 and 3.6 in the CTS get 18/27. That is totally unacceptable, when the Lexus ES330 gets 21/29.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3800 > 3900 Name the ways that the 3900 is better other than the idling feel.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd prefer the 3900 V-6 over the 3500 V-6 for sure, but neither one of those engines have a reason to survive when there are 2.8, 3.6, and supposedly (at least it was once planned) 3.2-liter DOHC High Feature V-6 engines. There's absolutely no excuse for the HF engines not to be in the other cars.

[post="22417"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


yup.

if they wanted to cheap out on making cost efficient engines, why not just make simple SOHC head versions of the same HF v6's without vvt or anything. they could put those in base model cars but would still see the benefits of the smoother ohc design. Edited by regfootball
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, there is.  The 3.5 is far more fuel efficient than any of the HF V-6's.  The 3.5 in the Malibu gets 22/32, while both the 2.8 and 3.6 in the CTS get 18/27.  That is totally unacceptable, when the Lexus ES330 gets 21/29.

[post="22440"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


check those gas mileage figures of the 3900 in the G6, yeah, that's saving gas.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The road test I read (can't remember where) showed the Impala with the 3.5 doing 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds, while the Impala with the 3.9 did 0 to 60 in 7.8 seconds.  Not much of a difference, in my opinion.  Maybe the rest of you disagree.

[post="22303"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

I certainly disagree. the power needed to shave this kind of time off an already quick 0-60 is substantial.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, there is.  The 3.5 is far more fuel efficient than any of the HF V-6's.  The 3.5 in the Malibu gets 22/32, while both the 2.8 and 3.6 in the CTS get 18/27.  That is totally unacceptable, when the Lexus ES330 gets 21/29.

[post="22440"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

doesn't make much sense to compare epa figures on fuel economy, there is too much spread in the numbers, too much variation in real world driving.

It is more appropriate to google your way into real numbers, possible posted by car mags. We all know what the Japanese do with horsepower estimates....
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

doesn't make much sense to compare epa figures on fuel economy, there is too much spread in the numbers, too much variation in real world driving.


Considering the automakers are required by law to have average fuel economy of 27.5 mpg (and I think that Congress will increase this substantially within the next few years) or face substantial penalties, the EPA figures are extremely important. Anyway, most of the writers for auto magazines drive like bats out of hell and get far worse gas mileage than most drivers would. Edited by ehaase
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

check those gas mileage figures of the 3900 in the G6, yeah, that's saving gas.


The 3.9 is disappointing, but the 3.5 is a very reasonable, efficient engine, in my opinion, for value priced Impalas and Malibus. I'm probably the only person here who is not upset that the 3.5 will be used in the Saturn Aura (according to recent reports). Obviously, the 3.5 would be uncompetitive for upscale Buicks and Cadillacs.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again razor, you have missed the boat on engine design.

[post="22410"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

How in the hell did I miss the boat when my lake doesnt hold any water in the first place :lol:

Thanks for the info on intake runners. Makes since.

The 3.8 actually fit in the W bodies just as well as the 2.8&3.1 due to the overall height of the engine. then the simple low heads and valve covers followed by a no nonsence intake made for a nice tight package, not the case with the chev60*.

I actually wasnt talking about power performance anyhow but the milage issues. they got the HP figure of this complicated 60*3.9 up nice but milage is worse than forced 3.8 so somehow all this 60* still doesnt seem to be where it should in overall milage & power performance. simple 3.5 sounds like its not too bad but can it go 300,000 miles ? I know, who cares we buy new and trade at 59,000.

Reg - I dont think a simple SOHC would have any benefits over where the inblock is at this point of developement. Mileage would mostlike be down and torque would be as well.

As for balance shafts didnt I read that all these engines have balance shaft now ?

So why does this 3.9 fall short in mileage compared to older 3.8 's when it has all this variable stuff ? The fuel ecnomy issue is the one thats going to hurt it.

We still need some type of variable in engine choices with a company that has so many models and divisions. I just wish I knew why the 3.9 seems to be falling short of expectations and what would seem like practical economy numbers ?

Posted Image
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, there is.  The 3.5 is far more fuel efficient than any of the HF V-6's.  The 3.5 in the Malibu gets 22/32, while both the 2.8 and 3.6 in the CTS get 18/27.  That is totally unacceptable, when the Lexus ES330 gets 21/29.

[post="22440"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


You can't have it both ways. The ES330 also only had 225hp and 240 ft/lbs of torque. The CTS has 255hp and 252 ft/lbs of torque. That's a rather large sacrifice in power to gain 2mpg don't ya think?
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now