Car Life

Mechanical Innovation '81

October 6 1980
Car Life

Mechanical Innovation '81

October 6 1980

Mechanical Innovation '81

The fortunes of the domestic car builders hit an all-time record low in 1980 model year. With the exception of a few of the all-time favorites such as Chevrolet and Ford sedans, the only cars that moved at all were some of the more fortunately-sized current favorites such as Ford's Fairmont/ Zephyr, Chrysler's Omni/Horizon and GM's X-bodied cars.

Now, as the '80 model year draws to a close, the new car sales slump continues. It's almost as though Canadian motorists were standing around waiting to see what is going to happen with cars, before they decide on whether and what to buy.

Escort/Lynx Rear suspension is fully independent with control arms, modified struts. Lack of axle beam should give the rear tires smoother control in jurns during sharp maneuvering.

Aries/Reliant Instrument panel can be dismantled with the removal ; of three screws.

GM brakes Some of the big models have brake, knuckle and hub assembly with low drag caliper and quick takeup master cylinder. When brake pressure is released, the piston seal pulls the piston back into the caliper bore for minimum contact pressure. This reduces brake drag, increases mileage.

Imperial New Imperial is an out-andout luxury car with a price tag to match, but Chrysler offers a full service warranty for an extended period, like 30,000 km, during which time even the oil changes are free of charge.

Cadillac Low-pressure throttle body fuel injection makes use of two fuel nozzles that feed fuel to the throttle. Sensors relay data to a digital processor which combines information such as engine speed, ambient temperature, coolant temperature, pressure - both barometric and manifold - and computes the fuel pulses necessary for optimum performance. System is fail soft, which means failure of a sensor causes the computer to disconnect the offending com-

ponent and substitute a nominal value. The engine keeps running well enough to , get home while a warning light tells the operator to get it checked. Cadillac engineers claim accuracy for this system is absolute and that any variations would be within a sensor only. The system adjusts its own fuel intake, idle rpm and air flow. It’s said to be tamper proof. GM engineers believe it to be the best system of its kind in existence.

zImport tide

The more immediate need that domestic auto builders had to face, however, was the need to stem the rising tide of import automobiles from manufacturers who have long been building cars for $3-per-gallon fuel and have become quite adept at it.

Biggest news in the '81 crop of cars centers around the automobiles that have been brought out to give domestic buyers alternatives to the large crop of offshore products, and probably the most important of these will be the '81 Ford Escort/Mercury Lynx.

The engine in the Escort/Lynx is a small 1.3L or 1.6L hemi-head 4-cylinder with single overhead camshaft that operates two rows of valve lifters offset

to supply lift to two rows of valves set at about a 45-degree angle to each other to facilitate the flow-through type of induction needed to give this engine an additional 15% efficiency over other valve configurations.

New application

While the principle of the hemispherical firing chamber is not new, its application as a weight-saver in a transverse mounted front-wheel drive economy car is new. A larger, heavier engine would have been necessary to deliver the same power in other configurations.

The Escort/Lynx is designed to compete head-on with the Rabbit, Accord, Tercel and the rest of the small FWD cars in the 2000-lb class and it will probably do so successfully, depending on the price sticker. Ford engineers expect it to deliver about 38 mpg Imperial in the city and 56 on the highway.

The K-car

Another significant new automobile in '81 is Chrysler's K-car-the Dodge

Aries/Plymouth Reliant. First thing that must be mentioned about the K cars is the styling. These cars are knockouts in both their two-door and four-door versions as well as the wagon. Chrysler stylists have just gone and proven again that it is possible to build a small car large enough to contain five adults without making it look like an orange crate special. True, it's not nearly as small as the Econoboxes, but is it really necessary for economical cars to be that small?

The Aries/Reliant is powered by a 4-cylinder engine of Chrysler's own design, weighing only 205 lb. That’s only half the weight of the engine used in the Aspen/Volare. This engine, too, is a cast iron block design with aluminum head and overhead cam. It will generate 84 hp at 5200rpm with 111 lb-ft of torque at 2400 rpm. A larger engine from Mitsubishi is available.

Neither the Escort nor the Aries is likely to bum up any track records with zero-to-whatever acceleration, but neither is meant to. These cars are designed primarily for economy with sufficient power for safe operation in the driving and passing modes.

projected range on remaining fuel. They call it the MPG Sentinel. ) `Cadillac New Caddy with the 6L engine will have an instant readout fuel display that will

GM big cars 4 New 4-speed automatics for the GM lines have an over drive ratio of .67. Torque con verter has a clutch that engages at cruising speeds, disengages for acceleration nd coasting. The clutch is ontrolled by a computer Nhich also controls air/fuel ilix, idle speed for maximum 3ff iciency.

Aries/Reliant, Escort/Lynx Clutches adjust automatically This means the clutch is always set up and wear is /

Aries/Reliant New 2.2L overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine weighs only 205 lb. Head is cast alumi num, block is of nodular iron. It will develop 84 hp at 5200 rpm. Engine has only two gaskets. All other joints are made with the use of sealing compounds. All service areas under the hood can be reach ed from the top.

Escort/Lynx Front wheel bearings are lubed for life, will not require re-packing.

SAAB An octane-sensing turbo system from SAAB adjust wastegate to either increase or decrease boost depending on the pressures the fuel be ing used can stand without detonating.

Escort Lynx Engine is 4-cylinder single overhead-cam hemi with flow-through induction. That is, air entering the cylinder and exhaust gases leaving ii flow in almost a straight line This is achieved by placing intake and exhaust valves a about a 45-degree angle to each other. The valves are activated by rocker arms

Escort/Lynx Radiator tanks in cross-flow rad are glass-reinforced nylon. Joints are gasketed, bolted together. Radiator fan is electric,thermostatically• controlled.

extending both ways from a centrally-located camshaft. Engine head and intake manifold are aluminum. Castings are welded using electron beams. Main bear ings are set in block aprons extending from between the cylinders down to a line inter secting the center of the crank. 1 .3L engine generates 69 hp; the 1.6L, 96 hp.