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Chrysler and the Environment, 1993

Material Recycling

The majority of materials in cars and trucks can be recycled, but (except for metals) generally are not. Chrysler is working within the U.S. automotive industry Vehicle Recycling Partnership to recycle other materials, which involves identifying materials for recycling and developing uses for recycled materials.
Chrysler engineers use recycled materials when they meet requirements at reasonable cost. Suppliers are encouraged to used recycled materials as well. Examples on Concorde, Vision and Intrepid models for 1993 include:

  • The main member of the Concorde, Vision and Intrepid roof system is made from a new sound insulating material called AcoustiCor@, which is primarily recycled polyethylene terepthalate (PET) soft drink bottles
  • Silencer pads for the dash, wheel houses and trunk bulkhead
  • Trunk trim pad
  • Spare tire cover
  • Intrepid tail lamp reflector bezels
  • Fascia to front cross member air seal
  • Battery thermal guard

Programs to recycle automotive materials include the following:

  • A demonstration program to determine the feasibility of recycling nylon from auto carpeting
  • Concorde, Vision and Intrepid front fenders are molded from a proprietary thermoplastic material. This is the first domestic U.S. industry use of thermoplastic material for a vertical body panel. The material is recyclable and can be recycled by melting and remolding. The fender manufacturer is constructing a pilot plant to reclaim and reuse the material.

All new and redesigned plastic components are marked for recycling when they are redesigned .e.g., the 1993 Concorde, Vision and Intrepid heater-air conditioner housing.

Flexible fuel Vehicles: Spirit and Acclaim

In 1993, Chrysler sold Spirit and Acclaim Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) which operated on unleaded gasoline or any blend of gasoline and methanol containing up to 85% methanol (M85). Methanol fuel reduces hydrocarbon exhaust emissions from gasoline fuel levels. In areas, where smog formation is influenced by the level of hydrocarbon emissions, methanol reduces smog. A joint government­industry program is making both the methanol-blend fuel and vehicles capable of using it available to the public in geographic areas that can benefit from the smog reduction. The Chrysler FFVs meet emission control requirements in all 50 states and Canada.

M85 was used, rather than 100% methanol, because the addition of gasoline improves low temperature starting. Gasoline also causes the fuel to burn with a luminous flame. Pure methanol burns without a visible flame, making fire harder to detect.

The fuel variation is detectable by the driver only in the rate of fuel consumption and in cold starting. An engine block heater is recommended to improve starting with M85 below 0° F. A larger fuel tank (18 gallons) provides an acceptable operating range. The engine and fuel system are modified extensively because methanol is more corrosive and affects organic materials differently than gasoline. Components and operating procedures that were changed for compatibility with methanol have green labels.

The engine was a modified 2.5 liter four-cylinder; it was not optimized for M85, which would cause it to have better performance under M85 but run poorly with gasoline. As a result, M85 power was slightly better than gasoline-only power; and gasoline-only power was superior to the standard 2.5 engine. Changes for fuel compatibility included:

  • Piston rings were chrome-plated since methanol attacks the molybdenum-based material more commonly used for piston rings.
  • Valve stem oil seals were methanol resistant.
  • The intake manifold was adapted from the (now discontinued) 2.5 Turbo engine, to use multiple point fuel injection and make the FFV vehicles more powerful and probably more fuel-efficient out of the gate.
  • Because of the toxicity of methanol, the filler tube included a spring to prevent siphoning.
  • Filler tube to tank grommet.
  • The fuel tank was two gallons larger and used high-density polyethylene (instead of steel), fluorinated to minimize evaporation through the tank.
  • Fuel pump.
  • Fuel level sending unit with external resistor element
  • Stainless steel fuel lines.
  • Teflon fuel line connectors with braided stainless steel protective covers
  • Stainless steel fuel filter housing

The engine power ratings were:

Horsepower

Torque

Gasoline

101 @ 4400

140 @ 2400

M85

106 @ 4400

145 @ 2400

Conventional
2.5, gasoline

100 @ 4800

135 @ 2800

Compressed Natural Gas fuel System Ram Van

Dodge dealers in all 50 states sold commercial Ram Van with a 5.2 L "Magnum" ­engine running on compressed natural gas (CNG), which sold at the equivalent of 70 cents a gallon. The engine and fuel system were developed by Chrysler engineers and the trucks were assembled by Chrysler. Warranty on the vehicle and fuel system was the same as on gasoline engine vehicles.

The CNG fuel injection system was the first application of sequential multi-point injection (SMPI) with natural gas, a major step forward in responsiveness, performance, and emission control. The fuel injection system combined an oxygen sensor to precisely con­trol fuel mixture and a specially formulated three-way catalyst for extremely low emissions, meeting future California standards. These were the lowest emission levels of any combustion engine vehicles available to the public.

Fuel was stored in three, glass-wrapped aluminum cylinders. When filled at 3000 psi they held the equivalent of 11 gallons of gasoline — enough for a typical day of service or delivery route driving. The cylinders were recharged at a CNG refueling station through a quick con­nect coupling. At a quick-fill station this took about five minutes. Slow refilling at a fleet garage can be done overnight. A home refueling unit was available through commercial outlets. A conventional fuel gauge showed fuel level. Regardless of the system used, no evaporation or loss of fuel occured during refueling.

R-134A Air Conditioning Refrigerant

R-134A air conditioning refrigerant was phased into vehicles as air conditioning systems were redesigned. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was the first Chrysler vehicle to use R-134A. R-134A was selected because it contains no chlorine, the element in Freon that is believed to cause the ozone layer to break down. However, it does not transfer heat as efficiently as Freon and is more expen­sive. This requires a larger condenser for the same cooling capacity. Other changes include a new moisture-removing desiccant material in the filter-dryer assembly, a revised flow control system, new seal and gasket materials compatible with R-134A throughout the system, and new service equipment.

Paint Processes

Chrysler-built vehicles all used water-base E-Coat primers that emit to air polluting VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  Dakota, Ram pickup, New Yorker Salon, New Yorker Fifth Avenue and Imperial used a new powder anti-chip treatment under the paint that fuses with the primer during baking. The powder anti-chip material emits no VOCs because it contains no solvents.

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