Chrysler Liberty Group Magic Engine

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According to Evan Boberg in Common Sense Not Required, much Liberty Group research was not measured appropriately - in short, we would not stake our reputation on the truthfulness of the following release or, if true, on the viability of the project.

June 13, 2002 - Chrysler Group researchers are using a series of small steps in engineering to produce a giant leap in fuel efficiency that could benefit consumers in the not-too-distant future.

With a series of engineering changes to Chrysler's standard gasoline-powered, 4.7-liter V-8 engine, researchers have produced an engine with 14 percent better fuel efficiency. The cost of those changes: less than $200 per engine. The project has been nicknamed the MAGIC engine, which stands for Multiple Approaches to Great Internal Combustion. The improvement in fuel efficiency was achieved with no sacrifice in emissions, power, cost, weight, engine life or other engine characteristics such as noise, vibration or harshness.

"We call it the MAGIC engine, but it's really pure engineering," said Thomas Moore, Vice President and head of the Liberty & Technical Affairs advanced technology research group in Rochester Hills, Michigan. "Our goal was to demonstrate that all these little changes actually work in the real world and add up to major improvements in efficiency. Today we can say that it all works."

Eight different design and engineering changes were made to the standard engine. "Most of these changes are not new, and individually, they produce miniscule gains in fuel efficiency," Moore said. "The idea of the MAGIC engine is to package them all together so the overall gain is significant."

As a next step, Chrysler engineers packaged the MAGIC engine into a Dodge Durango SUV with several additional design changes to enhance fuel efficiency. That vehicle, project Apollo, achieves an overall improvement in fuel efficiency of 25 percent. Total additional costs for project Apollo are only about $500 per vehicle.

Areas of improvement are:

  • Increased compression ratio (4 percent) through intake port air-gap thermal barrier (patent pending)
  • On-demand piston oil-squirters
  • Precision cooling system
  • Charge motion control (5 percent). Use of swirl control valves to enhance flame propagation during warm-up and partial load. This also enables increased EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation)
  • Friction loss reduction (4 percent). Design changes to lower friction at no extra cost: Crankshaft offset, Reduced oil-ring tension, Shortened coolant jacket
  • Parasitic loss reduction (1 percent). New design oil pump with reduced internal leakage and reduced friction

Chrysler Group engineers used the same incremental approach to fuel efficiency improvements in the Dodge Durango SUV fuel efficiency demonstration vehicle. The Apollo project includes the following enhancements:

  • A 12V alternator/restarter to allow transparent shutdown and restarting of a warm engine in stop/start traffic conditions (4 percent)
  • Improved cooling technologies, including electronic thermostat, electric water pump, transmission temperature management and multi-mode temperature strategy (5 percent)
  • Improved undercarriage aerodynamics (belly pans and air dams) and grille shutters resulting in reduced drag (1.2 percent)
  • Electro-hydraulic power steering (1 percent)

"Engineers have been improving the internal combustion engine for 130 years, so big improvements are hard to come by," Moore said. "We made the big improvement one small step at a time."

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