GM expects new V-6 to boost sales of Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra

Article by Anita Panait, on September 16, 2013

General Motors expects its new V-6 engine to increase the demand for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The carmaker’s older 195-hp 4.3-liter V-6 loses in towing power and output as well as fuel economy to similar engines in the Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500. The 3.7 liter V-6 in the F-150 provides 302hp while the 3.6-liter V-6 in the Ram 1500 returns 305hp.

GM's new 4.3-liter V-6 now offers 285hp and boasts of higher torque and competitive fuel economy -- 18 city/24 highway – thanks to implementation of advanced technology like direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation. GM's new 4.3-liter V-6 also offers the best fuel economy among the similar engines in the three pickups.

GM invested $400 million to retool its Tonawanda site to build the V-6 and three redesigned V-8s, which all belong to the fifth generation of Chevrolet's small-block family.

All the engines are built on the same production line, marking the first time that GM has assembled V-6s and V-8s on the same line. GM fits the 5.3-liter V-8 in pickups and the two versions of the 6.2-liter V-8 for trucks and for the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Although the Tonawanda site is one of GM's oldest plants, it is now one of its most advanced. 

The site features giant robots lifting unmachined cast engine blocks and placing them in cells in which the bores are honed, cam bearings are pressed in and bolt holes are threaded. The site also features machines that install all the intake and exhaust valve components in about 40 seconds. Another set of machines are in place to measure the surfaces of the block and cylinder heads for imperfections.

According to GM, over 11,000 checks of each engine are done. Tonawanda site manager Steve Finch remarked that GM can build 1,600 engines per day on three shifts. V8s are expected to account for 70% of production.

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