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V6 Upgrade Updates

by David Zatz on

After our recent Pentastar V6 upgrade story, sources have said that production will start within six months, and confirmed that the engines will have direct injection and new heads.

The first “PUG” cars will be the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, whose main differences are the suspension, length, and clearance; and the Durango has three rows of seats while the Grand Cherokee has two. They also use different shifters though the powertrains are similar or identical, and only Jeep has an SRT version.

The updated V6 engines might integrate valve controls in the head, to reduce cost and size (see image). We don’t know if this system will be used, and if it is, we don’t know if it will be in the Jeep and Dodge, since the primary goal is to reduce engine size for an easier fit. It is likely that this system was developed for minivans, but may be universal to reduce manufacturing complexity.

The new engines are likely to have minor peak power gains, but with a flatter torque curve and higher fuel efficiency.

To increase city mileage, the new Jeep and Dodge are to get a stop-start system, either similar to those used on the Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200, or using a more efficient belt-starter-generator system developed within Chrysler. The system shuts off the engine under some conditions while the car is stopped, and can be de-activated by the owner.


Chrysler has filed a patent for variable width intakes, which would make their engines more efficient at low speeds by speeding airflow. This may also help city mileage, while city mileage has already been addressed via wide-range automatic transmissions and better aerodynamics.

Other changes reportedly include a heftier oil pump, possibly for MultiAir, and a revised oil cap (we don’t know why); the integrated exhaust manifold is staying. 

The engine will likely be phased into action on different cars and trucks at different times. Computers must be retuned, packaging altered, and durability and fuel-economy testing done on each car.  Production will be eased by the fact that both Trenton South and its Mexican twin plant are flexible, and that there are now even more plants making the engines and their components.

Still unconfirmed, and much longer out in time, are a supercharged V6 and a small V8 based on the same engine family.

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