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NEW FUEL-SAVING 6-SPEED
TRANSAXLE TO PROPEL FORD EDGE TO HEAD OF CROSSOVER UTILITY CLASS
- Ford Edge and Lincoln Aviator to debut
next year with new class-leading 6F 6-speed transaxle
- New 6-speed delivers up to 7 percent
improvement in highway fuel economy nearly two
tanks of gas a year compared with typical 4-speed
- Ford Motor Company today is an
industry leader in 6-speeds with 24 nameplates offered
and more are on the way
DEARBORN, Mich. Nov. 9, 2005 With
consumers focused on gas prices, the market is demanding more
fuel-efficient vehicle technologies. Ford Motor Companys
innovative new 6F 6-speed automatic transaxle delivers just that
with up to a 7 percent improvement in highway fuel economy
and more refined performance at the same time.
Ford Motor Company today is an industry
leader in 6-speed technology with 24 nameplates offered
and more coming next year, including two new crossover utility
Ford Motor Company will pace the
industry in advanced transaxles, which provide increased
performance and increased fuel economy, says Barb
Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain Operations. With
the introduction of the Ford Edge and Lincoln Aviator crossovers
next year, our 6-speed leadership continues, and we have more on
the way. The new 6F was developed to cover a wide range of
vehicle applications. It initially will be teamed with the new 3.5-liter
V-6 in the Ford Edge and Lincoln Aviator CUVs. The transaxle also
is designed to handle up to 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of
torque with shift speeds up to 7,000 rpm.
The enhanced performance and fuel economy
of the 6F comes from a wide span of 6.04 between the transaxles
lowest and highest gear ratio. The high ratio span helps deliver
improved fuel economy and improved acceleration compared with a
typical 4-speed automatic.
Not only do the smaller ratio step
sizes of a 6-speed transaxle allow for better powertrain
efficiency, but they enable smoother shifts as well, says
Ram Krishnaswami, manager 6F Transaxle Systems, Automatic
The new 6F front-drive 6-speed delivers on
the two most important attributes that todays consumers
look for in a vehicle: fuel economy and maximum performance.
These characteristics are delivered by a
low 4.48 gear for satisfying acceleration at launch and a tall, 0.74
overdrive for exceptional fuel economy. Short steps between
intermediate gears enhance performance and feel by finding the
right gear for the most efficient operating conditions. The
smooth shifts reduce harshness and reduce overall NVH.
Development of the new 6F transaxle is the
result of a collaborative effort between Ford and General Motors.
Co-development of the transaxle resulted in a common approach to
design and manufacturing engineering. Despite using common
suppliers for a majority of parts to leverage economies of scale,
both companies are utilizing unique controls and calibrations to
tailor the shift feel of the transaxle to fit their brand
Improved NVH and Refinement
The elimination of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) was a
particular target for the development team. Extensive use of CAE
modeling on the transaxle case built a solid housing for the
Engineers used computer-aided analysis to
determine exactly where strengthening ribs needed to be added to
the casing to minimize radiated noise and vibration. CAE modeling
also was used to add thickness to the case in appropriate areas
for added strength.
In addition, the transaxles three
simple planetary gear sets are designed for robustness and use
low-pinion pitch line velocities to reduce noise. All gears are
cut using high-precision CNC hobbing, grinding and honing
machines. The transfer and final drive gears are hard-treated for
strength, and subsequently ground and honed to provide a more
precise fit, thus reducing gear whine.
The 6F also features the first use of an
off-axis pump for Ford. This package-enabler takes up much less
space in the transaxle. Package efficiency is further enabled by
the pumps chain drive. The pump porting also was optimized
to improve NVH.
The 6F uses only plate clutches for each
shift to deliver quiet, smooth shifts throughout the entire ratio
span. In addition, the 6F uses a Ford proprietary control
strategy that uses powerful adaptive algorithms. The 6F provides
fast, responsive shifts throughout the operating range that are
smooth yet crisp, which delivers an invigorating driving
experience to the customer.
Factory Tested for Quality
To ensure the best possible shift quality, each 6F transaxle is
bench tested at Fords Van Dyke (Mich.) Transaxle Plant.
There, the transaxle build quality is verified, detecting even
minute variations in the manufacturing process.
Using a unique patent pending process,
software programmed into the 6Fs electronic controller
individually trims and characterizes all solenoids and clutches
to eliminate the variances that would normally lead to changes in
shift feel, producing smooth, precisely controlled shifts that
improve durability and customer satisfaction.