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End of a V6 era begins

by David Zatz on

The end of an era has arrived, with both 3.3 and 4.0 liter V6 production at Trenton Engine officially over, and the assembly lines are shut down. A single line continues, with the 3.8 liter engines in production until late Spring to power Jeep Wranglers. After that, the “old” Trenton Engine will be closed down.

The 3.3 liter engine was Chrysler’s first ever V6, engineered in the 1980s as a less expensive alternative to Mitsubishi’s 3-liter V6. The engine was known for its reliability, called “bulletproof” by many observers, and from its original rating of around 150 horsepower has steadily been made more powerful as newer technologies were applied. It was a mainstay of minivans from its introduction until the present day, and was also used in a wide variety of cars, including the revolutionary LH cars.

The Trenton Engine (North) plant started production in 1952 and was expanded in 1969. Back in 2006, Clint Norton remembered, “When I arrived back at Trenton Engine in December 1999, the place was full of life and machines for making parts. I don’t think there was any floor space left in the 2.1 million square foot building to add anything else. At that time they were making the 3.2L and 3.5L aluminum block V6 engines, the 3.3L and 3.8L V6 engines for the minivans, and the 1.8L (for export) and 2.0L Neon motors. They made all of the pistons, connecting rods, crankshafts, camshafts, blocks, cylinder heads, intake manifolds, exhaust manifolds and water pumps for each of these motors plus some parts for the 318 and the 3.9L V6 that were assembled at Mound Road engine plant.”

Department 524 made the cylinder heads for both iron and aluminum block 3.5 liter engines, and the 4-liter aluminum-block engines. Department 624 made the heads for the 3.3 and 3.8 liter V6 engines. Department 724 is still making new cylinder heads.

The Pentastar V6 engines are built at Trenton Engine South, with a second factory in Mexico.

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