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2.0 to be Hurricaned?

by David Zatz on

A key source has told Allpar that the current “Tiger Shark” version of the World Gas Engine may soon be getting another makeover, as part of a project dubbed Hurricane. The name comes from military aircraft, along with the HellCat Hemi; Jeep, for years, used an F-head “Hurricane Four” engine (generating 70-75 hp in 1960) and an L-head “Hurricane Six” (115 hp in 1960).

The 2.0 and 2.4 liter Chrysler engines use a Hyundai-Mitsubishi-Chrysler-Mercedes block, jointly developed by the four companies; both use Chrysler “dressing,” with the 2.0 having an adaptation of Mercedes’ variable valve timing system and the 2.4 TigerShark using Fiat’s MultiAir valve control system.

Hurricane may be the long-awaited return of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to Chrysler; the company was a turbocharging pioneer during the 1980s, working with other companies to implement variable nozzle technology and reportedly building more turbocharged engines than any other manufacturer to that time. Customers were more attracted by V6 engines, however, and the company eventually dropped all its turbocharged engines, not returning to the technology until the Neon SRT4 debuted (except in Mexico, which developed its own turbo 2.4 partly to deal with Mexico City’s high altitude).

The turbocharged 2.0 would presumably be less potent than the SRT engine planned for Dodge Dart, in the now-cancelled-or-postponed Dart SRT4 project.

Hurricane may also provide direct injection, despite what appears to be long delays from original plans. The Pentastar V6 was set to get direct injection, starting with the 3.2 and 3.0 liter versions; so far these have not emerged, but engine development can be a lengthy process, and standard 3.2 and 3.0 production has only recently started. General Motors’ implementation of direct injection on its Ecotec engines, used in standard production, normally priced cars, has been a success so far.

Direct injection has been used for years by other companies; the system injects fuel directly into the combustion chamber, at high pressure. Direct injection can cut emissions or raise power, and reduces pumping losses and throttling losses. The computer can quickly choose between using “ultra lean burn,” normal, and rich modes, cutting fuel use or raising power as needed. The first company to put it into production was Mitsubishi, in 1996; Alfa Romeo started using it in 2002.  In the United States, fuel quality can be an issue for direct injection systems, and proposals for “clean gasoline” have been floated; these are promoted by the auto industry but opposed by gasoline refiners.

Regardless of what changes Hurricane may hold, it seems that Chrysler is still working on further development of its own current four-cylinder engines. Alfa Romeo also makes 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, which generate considerably more power but are also much more expensive to build.  It is likely that a new engine family is under development which would combine lessons learned from the Pentastar V6 project with current four-cylinder practice from Chrysler, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo, but production would be years off at this point.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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