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2009 Detroit: 2010 Ford Flex 3.6L EcoBoost

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The 2010 Ford Flex will offer an available 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, the first gasoline direct-injection twin-turbocharged engine produced in North America.

This all-new engine gives Flex V-8 power and performance feel with the fuel economy of a V-6.

The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 produces an estimated 355 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 350 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. In addition to the power upgrade, the 2010 EcoBoost Flex boasts segment-leading fuel economy among full-size performance crossover vehicles with 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.

The 2010 Flex has unsurpassed fuel economy in the full-size crossover segment with 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, one of a number of new Ford products delivering the best or among the best fuel economy.

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The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine requires all-wheel drive and will be available on well-equipped SEL and Limited models of the 2010 Flex, packaged with several high-demand customer features.

The EcoBoost program is part of Ford's ongoing and wide-ranging initiative to deliver fuel-efficient powertrain systems with power and performance found in larger-displacement engines.

The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 also will arrive in the Lincoln MKS and MKT in 2009. Although these are three very different vehicles that serve different needs for customers, the EcoBoost engine can handle the roles seamlessly and effectively. The 2010 EcoBoost V-6 MKT, for example, provides segment-leading fuel economy, exceeding the V-8-powered Audi Q7 by 4 mpg on the highway.

The key to the EcoBoost system is the harmony between the twin turbochargers and the direct injection fuel system. The turbochargers recover energy from the exhaust that otherwise would've been wasted and put it back in the engine to gain efficiency. Simply, the turbocharging system puts more air into the engine for more power. A compressor increases or "boosts" the pressure of the air entering the engine. An intercooler reduces the air temperature before it enters the engine.

The twin parallel turbochargers, which are water cooled and operate simultaneously, combine with a direct-injection fuel system to produce power when the driver pushes down on the gas pedal. The high-pressure fuel pump operates up to 2,175 psi – more than 35 times the norm seen in a conventional V-6 engine. The high-pressure pump is a cam-driven mechanical pump with a single piston and an electronic valve that controls how much fuel is routed into the fuel rails to the injectors.

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As demands on the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine are increased, the control system responds to maintain optimal combustion, timing and injection duration.

The fuel injectors are located on the side of the combustion chamber. When the fuel is injected into the cylinder, it evaporates and cools the air that's been inducted into the cylinder.

The direct injection of fuel into the cylinder also helps provide a well-mixed air-fuel charge, increasing engine efficiency. Direct injection provides several benefits in terms of fuel burn and lower emissions.

The spray pattern for the fuel was optimized after extensive modeling work, with the angle of how the fuel is sprayed key to the process.

The turbochargers are designed for a life cycle of 150,000 miles or 10 years.

Turbocharger "whoosh" is mitigated by electronically controlled anti-surge valves, which proactively relieve the boost in the intake, which can range up to 12 PSI. Precise software calibrations manage the pressures in the intake manifold.

Extensive durability tests on the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine ensure it will excel in all conditions. Start-up tests, with a wide variety of fuels, were made in conditions ranging from minus 40 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Altitude testing up to 12,000 feet in
Colorado also was performed.

Mated to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine is the 6-speed 6F-55 SelectShift automatic transmission, which is dedicated to the twin-turbocharger engine.

The 6F-55 transmission was developed from the successful 6F-50 transmission to specifically respond to the increased torque demands of the EcoBoost V-6 engine. Upgrades were made to the transmission's friction material in response to the higher shift energies, and a new torque converter has been optimized for performance and fuel economy.

Additionally, the 6F-55 transmission operates more efficiently. The transmission team was able to reduce the fluid level in the transmission, which in turn reduced weight and drag torque on the system. Upgrades to the transmission's thermal valve mean the system warms up quicker, reducing gear-spin losses.

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FORD'S NEW ECOBOOST TECHNOLOGY

Power and fuel economy:
The twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 EcoBoost engine produces 355 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 350 ft.-lb. of torque at 3,500 rpm. A 10-15 percent fuel-economy benefit is expected versus normally aspirated 4.6-liter V-8 engines in the same competitive class.

Engine: Base engine architecture comes from the proven Duratec 3.5-liter V-6. To handle the increased torque that EcoBoost delivers, some upgrades were made to some of the components, such as the cylinder block, crankshaft, connecting rods pistons and exhaust valves to ensure the EcoBoost V-6 engine is as robust as possible.

Turbochargers: Two Honeywell GT15 turbochargers with water-cooled bearings and operate in parallel, spinning at approximately 170,000 rpm up to 12 PSI. They are rated for a 150,000-mile, 10-year life.

Direct fuel injection:
A cam-driven high-pressure fuel pump feeds the fuel injectors at pressures ranging from 200 to 2,175 PSI (pounds per square inch) depending on customer driving. A typical port fuel injection system operates at pressures of around 60 PSI. Six sprayers in each injector target fuel into the cylinder, resulting in a cleaner and more-efficient fuel burn and better cold-start emissions.

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