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Twinforce and PowerShift

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Using the TwinForce
Ford boosts its drivetrain technology with TwinForce engines, PowerShift transmission
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By Bob Nagy | Link to Original Article @ Motor Trend


These haven't exactly been the best of times for the troops headquartered over on Blue Oval Boulevard. But a visit to Ford's Dearborn Proving Grounds for a 2008 production model preview indicated a considerably brighter future may be just around the corner. Part of the presentation by Derrick Kuzak, Ford's V.P. for global product development, also touched on a number of upcoming enhancements slated to roll out here during the next several years. Two in particular, TwinForce engines and PowerShift transmissions, could well end up being serious game changers.

TwinForce will be the first to arrive in America. Previewed on the Lincoln MKR concept vehicle at the 2007 North American International Auto Show and set to make its production debut on Lincoln's new AWD flagship sedan, the MKS, this technology combines the formidable one-two punch of turbocharging and direct fuel injection. Although currently found on several four-cylinder engines in Ford's corporate portfolio-most notably the Mazda 2.3-liter DISI (Direct Injection Spark Ignition) engines in the Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed6, and CX-7, this marks the initial application of that potent pairing on a V-6, in this instance, Ford's new all-aluminum Duratec 35.

Due to its superior combustion efficiencies, the TwinForce package can extract serious gains in output while maintaining excellent economy. The MKR's TwinForced 3.5-liter twin-turbo unit makes a stout 415 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, figures Ford contends are equivalent to those of a 6.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8. Although it offered no hard mpg numbers, the firm also claims TwinForce technology will generate roughly 15-percent-better fuel economy than an equivalent V-8, while significantly trimming critical CO2 emissions. As a final touch, TwinForce engines are capable of running on either regular gasoline or an E85 ethanol blend. No announcement yet regarding subsequent applications on other engines in its U.S. lineup, but the system has potential for any powerplant, regardless of cylinder count.

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To complement TwinForce engine technology, Ford also is preparing to launch a new dual-clutch "automated" manual transmission dubbed "PowerShift." Codeveloped with its engineering partner, Getrag, a prototype six-speed unit was first shown to the public in 2004 in the Bronco Concept SUV. The production successor, also a six-speed, will be introduced this fall in Europe on turbodiesel versions of the Volvo S40/V50 and subsequently on a number of U.S. Ford models by the end of the decade. Ford claims the PowerShift gearbox has a mechanical efficiency of 80 percent, compared with a 68-percent figure for a typical four-speed automatic-sufficient to generate a fuel-economy savings of 10 percent. Equally promising, the basic design is adaptable to all types of vehicle/drivetrain configurations, and heavy-duty versions can already handle over 550 pound-feet of torque.

Less expensive to manufacture than a CVT and more compact than a traditional six-speed manual, this computer-controlled gearbox shares much common basic design with other dual-clutch systems, most notably, VW's original DSG unit. At its core is a hydraulically activated twin-clutch module that replaces the normal torque converter. This works in consort with a dual-layshaft architecture that places even-numbered gears on one shaft and odd-number gears on the other. Each set is activated by its corresponding clutch and ultimately sends power to a common output shaft. The "powershift" nomenclature refers to the manner in which this process occurs. Under acceleration, the system fully engages one gear while preselecting the next higher cog. At an optimum rpm/torque point, the electronic control unit executes a seamless changeover, disengaging one clutch as it engages the other to deliver a quick, smooth transition with virtually no interruption of power delivery. Like other dual-clutch systems, upshifting/downshifting can take place in full-auto mode or manually through the use of F1-style paddles.

Ford still faces a number of formidable challenges on its road to recovery in the U.S. But TwinForce and PowerShift technologies appear to be significant strides in the right direction, particularly if they can be interfaced with other sophisticated engineering features like selective cylinder deactivation, advanced valve actuation and start-stop systems that are also now making their way through the corporate pipeline.

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Those are some impressive technologies that Ford's got up it's sleeve.

On a side note...this is what an engine cover should look like :P

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read about this on BON.....this bodes well for ford. but what is the wrapper gonna be? MKS only?

this is some top notch tech, but will it be mainstream in 2010 or whenever it finally makes market?

I like how they stress fuel economy is still a goal with this car.

Edited by regfootball
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Now... I don't want to knock Ford.... but what makes Twinforce so special? Direct injection with a turbo charger? Doesn't Solstice GXP and Sky-Redline have this already?

Is it special because it's the first V6 with it or because it has two turbos?

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The Mustang may also get the 3.5L V6 GTDI. There also are rumors on BON about a 5.0L V8 GTDI for the Mustang, as well as a 6.2L Hurricane V8 GTDI for the trucks.

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so when will GM get that powerplant from the centiemme into something? hehe.

this is the kind of competition that's needed, not the cafe's harsh revisement.

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This sounds excellent...

Why doesn't GM market names for it's engines and systems anymore?

Ecototech? Alloytech? Northstar? DuraMax? Vortec? VortexMax? Hydromatic?

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Sounds good, but it also sounds like pretty much the same thing everyone has/is doing. Turbo w/direct injection and a 6spd manu-matic tranny. Plus, they talk about cylinder deactivation & start-stop systems just being in the works? I mean, it's good that they're working on it, but that sounds like a game of catch-up to me...

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It's good to see Ford trying to explore different avenues and making an attempt to recover. I hope the MKS looks more interesting fully exposed than it has appeared partially covered in spy shots. Lincoln needs a distinctive, gorgeous flagship wrapper for this new technology. Keep your head up and stay alert, Ford!

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Except for maybe VW's 2.0T, turbochargers guzzle gas in the city, especially with heavier cars. They're efficient only in name or if you drive like grandma.

DSG sounds good. A GTI with DSG gets 25 mpg ('07 EPA) in the city as opposed to 23 with a manual.

Edited by empowah
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DSG sounds good. A GTI with DSG gets 25 mpg ('07 EPA) in the city as opposed to 23 with a manual.

If a normal automatic (torque converter) were available, even lower mileage might be expected.

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Now... I don't want to knock Ford.... but what makes Twinforce so special? Direct injection with a turbo charger? Doesn't Solstice GXP and Sky-Redline have this already?

Is it special because it's the first V6 with it or because it has two turbos?

Those are low volume niche 2 seaters, though...the Ford engine is going be in a lot more mainstream applications, it sounds like...

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Those are low volume niche 2 seaters, though...the Ford engine is going be in a lot more mainstream applications, it sounds like...

The upcoming 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Turbocharged SS? 2008 Chevrolet HHR Turbocharged SS?

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The upcoming 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Turbocharged SS? 2008 Chevrolet HHR Turbocharged SS?

Interesting... they will have the same engine as the Solstice/Sky?

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Interesting... they will have the same engine as the Solstice/Sky?

IIRC, yes. :yes:

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Ecoboost engines: Twin turbocharging............. flat powerband from less than 2000rpm to over 5000rpm................. regular fuel in Ecoboost applications, premium in Twinforce (performance versions) applications. 500,000 to 750,000 installed per year.

In other words, it is mainstreaming what was a niche product.............. along with tuning it to allow regular fuel.............. and letting it not having to work hard (read, use more fuel), so it can be more economical. This is real life fuel economy savings, with very short payback periods (Hybrids generally take 7-12 years to pay for themselves, vs 30 months for the Ecoboost).

In other words, they are ahead of the curve on this one. See, "they are dumb, but they are not so dumb."

BTW, the Powershift transmission is a dual clutch, automatic manual, that can be used in manual mode, or automatic............not a manumatic automatic. BIG difference.

Edited by 01LightningGal
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BTW, the Powershift transmission is a dual clutch, automatic manual, that can be used in manual mode, or automatic............not a manumatic automatic. BIG difference.

Care to explain the difference?

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Care to explain the difference?

I think it means it behaves exactly like a stick, but without the clutch or gated shifter.

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I think it means it behaves exactly like a stick, but without the clutch or gated shifter.

That's with sequential manual gearboxes, like BMW's SMG and Ferrari's F1, which are essentially manuals that automatically engage/disengage the clutch. In practice, they are generally jerky and clumsy in town.

VW's DSG is a refinement on that, by adding an additional clutch that preselects the next gear, making changes instant and seamless.

Currently in the US, you can get DSG on a TT, A3, GTI, R32, Jetta, Eos, and Veyron. Ford's PowerShift is the same as DSG, and will first be available on diesel-powered Volvos and Focii. BMW just released their version of DSG, called DMG, available on M3s. The upcoming Nissan GT-R and Mitsubishi Evo also have a version.

Edited by empowah
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