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PERA’S Core Corner: Understanding Chrysler’s Next Generation Controllers

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Being one of the “Baby Boomers,” I find myself at a juncture in my life where, shockingly, I have adopted much of the same mindset that my father had about change: I don’t like it as much as I used to!

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However, many of the Gen X’ers today will tell you they willingly embrace change and the faster the better: it seems like it’s just easier for the younger generation to accept change.

Today we are going to talk about change in Chrysler engine controllers. In fact, they are called exactly that: Next Generation Controllers (or NGC, as they are referred to in the engine world).
What is most important is that these changes are not only electronic but they are also mechanical and physical changes as illustrated in a past “Core Corner” column (Engine Builder, October 2003, page 20) about the 4.7L engine.

Background on why this is happening throughout the Chrysler line ultimately comes down to economics, consolidation and emissions. This change is not specific to the engine only, but the entire vehicle. Previously Chrysler used two controllers, one for the engine and one for all other controls for the rest of the vehicle. Obviously the two had to communicate with each other and with the dawn of OBD I and II and OBD III around the corner. And most recently, CAN (Controller Area Network) dictated that a common resource controller for all operations over the entire vehicle platform be in place. This certainly came with a cost savings since now there is only one controller, hence consolidations were made and an economic advantage was realized.

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The mechanical changes have occured in two areas of the engines: the camshaft timing gear(s) and the crankshaft exciter/reluctor ring. Specifically, the indexing and/or amount of pick-up windows with the camshaft timing gear(s) change with NGC.

If you’re wondering why I don’t include a number of pictures showing the differences of all the gears, it’s because it isn’t really necessary. Simply put, all you have to do is pay attention to the 3/16? tall “NGC” letters stamped into all cam gear(s) for any applications using NGC controllers.
The crankshaft exciter/reluctor ring has either different indexing or addition “cogs” on the wheel and it too will have “NGC” stamped on it. If there is no stamping other than the part number on those gears it will either be a SBEC (Single Board Engine Controller) for passenger car or mini van or JTEC (Jeep Truck Engine Controller) for Jeeps or trucks.

Just to show you that I continue to listen to your needs and preferences, “the chart” (actually, in this case “charts”) to help you determine when and where you are going to have NGC applications for the various Chrysler engines and platforms is included. I have listed some (but not all) of the vehicle applications for those of you unfamiliar with the platform designators. Cars are shown on page 24; Jeeps are explained below. You also need to pay attention to some of the mid-year or running change situations on NGC, so if in doubt have the technician verify the stamping numbers either on the crankshaft or camshaft.

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Chart 1

Chart 2

Since we are speaking of change, I hope to see many of you at PRI in Orlando, FL, next month for the unveiling of the third generation of EngineDataSource.com or EDS G3. PERA is in discussion with a major automotive web development company to further enhance the look, feel and intuitive navigation of the program. What started as a DOS-based software program is being enhanced to make access to the 13 million-plus records of casting component identification, electronic bill of materials and Mitchell 1 specification data effortless and lightning fast.

You’ll be amazed at the information available at your fingertips. Come see us along the entrance aisle area to Machinery Row in booth 4622. Hope to see many of you in Orlando!

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