Fuel-Saving EcoTec3 Engine Builds on Chevy Small Block Legacy - Engine Builder Magazine

Fuel-Saving EcoTec3 Engine Builds on Chevy Small Block Legacy

The 2015 Silverado offers a trio of EcoTec3 engines with advanced fuel-saving technologies enabling customers to choose the performance and fuel efficiency that best meets their needs. Every EcoTec3 engine features advanced technologies such as direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management to provide power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions.

2014-5.3L V-8 EcoTec3-004When it comes to trucks, customers place dependability near the top of the list. And when it comes to truck engines, more than 100 million engines’ worth of continuous improvement and trillions of miles, support the Chevrolet Silverado V6 and V8’s claim to delivering on that requirement.

“Our latest generation of Small Block engines help customers save money at the pump with engines that have been improved and by real-world experience,” said John Fitzpatrick, Silverado marketing manager.

The 2015 Silverado offers a trio of EcoTec3 engines with advanced fuel-saving technologies enabling customers to choose the performance and fuel efficiency that best meets their needs:

  • 4.3L V-6; 285 horsepower; 305 lb-ft of torque; up to 24 mpg EPA highway
  • 5.3L V-8; 355 horsepower; 383 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg EPA highway
  • 6.2L V-8; 420 horsepower; 460 lb-ft of torque; up to 21 mpg EPA highway

Every EcoTec3 engine features advanced technologies such as direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) to provide power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions.

“The latest Small Block engines are ideally suited to Silverado and to the tough jobs that pickup customers do every day,” said Jordan Lee, global chief engineer and program manager for Small Block engines. “We give customers the power and torque of a full-size truck engine when they need it, then use Active Fuel Management and other advanced technologies to seamlessly shift to four-cylinder operation when the truck is under light loads, making the most of fuel efficiency.”

Silverado’s EcoTec3 engines are direct descendants of the original Small Block Chevy V-8, and benefit from more than 60 years – and more than 100 million engines’ worth – of continuous improvement.

“Small Block engines have been used, abused, modified and raced in almost every type of car and truck imaginable,” said Lee. “Our engineers are able to draw on that experience to build stronger, more efficient, more dependable engines for Chevy truck customers.”

The latest Gen 5 Small Block engine has endured tough testing, including a grueling performance durability procedure, where it was subjected to a high-speed/high-load torture session that simulated full-throttle blasts from the equivalent of 0 to 120 mph. With simulated transmission shift points inserted during the high-load test, the engine cycles non-stop between peak torque and peak horsepower for hundreds of hours – the equivalent of thousands of miles.

Testing on the Gen 5 Small Block that contributes to the legendary durability of the modern Small Block engines include:

  • Severe thermal cycle testing, which quickly cycles the engine between extreme cold and hot coolant temperatures to validate the durability of engine components such as the head gaskets, exhaust manifolds and more.
  • The “hot scuff” test, in which a brand-new engine – or “green” engine to the engineers – is run at wide-open throttle with no break-in period, helping test critical engine parts such as bearings, piston ring sealing and bore scuffing.
  • Active Fuel Management validation, which cycled the engine in and out of the cylinder-deactivating feature hundreds of thousands of times at a variety of engine speeds to ensure the performance and durability of its unique valve lifters.

Fuel-saving AFM technology reaches 10-year mark

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Active Fuel Management (AFM), the cylinder deactivation technology that improves fuel economy in trucks by seamlessly switching to four-cylinder mode to help save fuel during light-load driving.

Introduced in 2005, it is currently available on the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban, Camaro and Corvette.

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Valve Springs

High-frequency fatigue, also known as harmonics, are a ubiquitous challenge in racing engines and can potentially wreak havoc on the valvetrain if left unchecked. Well-designed valve springs play a pivotal role in managing this, ensuring essential stability, and minimizing wear on valvetrain components.

If you want to properly control the movement of your engine’s intake and exhaust valves, you’re going to need valve springs. Precise control over valve timing and lift is essential for optimizing engine compression and overall performance, and in high-performance engines, valves open and close at very fast speeds. For that reason, valve springs also play a significant role in maintaining stability within the valvetrain. They counteract the forces generated by the camshaft, pushrods and rocker arms, ensuring the valves follow the camshaft’s profile accurately.

The Latest on Lifters

For racing, a common trend to eliminate the problems associated with hydraulic lifters are the use of limited or short-travel hydraulic lifters. A reduction in plunger travel, which is usually about half that of a traditional full-travel lifter, reduces the amount of oil required to fill the lifter, which in turn reduces the compression of aerated oil.

What to Consider When Selecting Pushrods

Determining the correct pushrod length is often regarded as one of the most intricate aspects of the selection process due to the variability in valvetrain geometry and design.

Rocker Arm Update

Not only are customers asking for higher quality, they’re also becoming accustomed to having to wait a little while longer to get it. And, on the aluminum rocker side of things, the trend for customers has been a desire for lighter rocker designs.

Custom Camshaft Theories

If you go back to the 1900s to 1940s, the common place to start WAS the camshaft lobe. Engineers and engine designers drew one circle for the base circle, one for the nose, and then connected the two with arcs in-between. Eventually that was improved by shifting their focus to the lifter or tappet rise from the base circle.

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