Holden has revealed its new V6 engine. The all-new, high feature Alloytec V6
is being produced at Holden's Global V6 engine plant in Port Melbourne,
Victoria. It is being introduced with the updated VZ Holden Calais, Commodore
and WL Caprice and Statesman models, replacing the ECOTEC V6 engine.
The new Alloytec V6-powered Commodores is the most refined and powerful
Holden has produced and introduces a new standard of technology to locally-built
cars and engines.
Holden's Alloytec engine is a lightweight V6 of all-aluminium
construction and 3.6 litre displacement. It belongs to a 'clean sheet' new
family of GM Global V6 engines that was developed as part of a new global
powertrain strategy based around modular design and flexible use.
There are two Alloytec engine variants - Alloytec and Alloytec 190.
Alloytec produces 175kW of power at 6,000rpm and 320Nm of torque at just
2,800rpm - which equates to 14 per cent more power and five per cent more torque
than the outgoing 152kW ECOTEC V6. Ninety per cent of engine torque is available
between 1630 and 5460 rpm, a performance attribute normally associated with
larger displacement V8 engines or European turbo engines.
The sports performance Alloytec 190 produces 190kW of power at 6500 rpm and
340Nm of torque at 3200rpm. Ninety per cent of torque is produced between 1570
and 5870 rpm - which is a 59 per cent wider rev range than the previous 171kW
Supercharged V6 performance engine. It benefits from the application of
advanced, continuously variable cam phasing and variable intake manifold
technology, among other highly developed features.
The Alloytec 190 is teamed with either a new five-speed automatic
transmission with 'Active Select' or a six speed manual transmission. The
Alloytec is mated to an improved version of Holden's current four-speed
GM’s Global V6 engine
family was conceived as an all-new family of modular V6 engines for global
application. They were to incorporate contemporary features, packaging
flexibility, multiple displacement configurations and be lightweight. At the
same time they were to be cost effective and exhibit premium performance
Holden product and manufacturing engineers have been members of a
multinational GM team involved in the development of Global V6 specifications
and designs since 1999. They were able to ensure that all Alloytec requirements
were recognised in the initial charter.
Even with the assistance of computer-aided analysis, the unique development
and localisation of the Alloytec variants took more than 200,000 hours, 143
experimental engines and 60 specific tests.
Continuously Variable Cam Phasing
The adoption of fully variable cam phasing – on both inlet and exhaust
camshafts in the case of the Alloytec 190 and on the Alloytec inlet camshafts –
provides performance flexibility, fuel economy and emissions reduction.
This electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated system enables the
camshafts to rotate relative to the crankshaft, eliminating the compromises of
‘fixed’ or ‘discrete’ camshaft positions of most conventional engines.
The Alloytecs’ cam phasers are continuously variable, allowing individual
camshaft timing through 50 degrees of crankshaft rotation (and 50 degrees for
exhaust cam adjustment in Alloytec 190).
This type of cam phasing provides greater flexibility and control of engine
breathing and translates to high specific power, excellent driveability, fuel
economy and low emissions.
In addition, cam phasing allows the elimination of the external exhaust gas
recirculation valves. By varying the intake valve timing, the cam phaser system
improves engine smoothness at idle and optimises inlet flow dynamics for maximum
performance. By closing exhaust valves later than normal, the cam phasing system
forces the desired amount of exhaust gas back into the combustion chamber for
more complete burning in the next combustion cycle resulting in improved fuel
economy and lower emissions.
Variable Intake Manifold
A dual-stage variable
intake manifold (VIM) is a feature of the Alloytec 190. The VIM incorporates an
electrically-operated valve within the manifold that partitions the plenum to
change its volume to assist resonance tuning of the inlet flow.
When the VIM valve is shut, creating less volume, the cylinders are fed from
two separate plenums. In this mode the system boosts cylinder charging in the
low to mid speed range up to 4000rpm. At higher engine speeds, the VIM valve
opens and all cylinders feed from a common plenum. This boosts ram cylinder
charging volumetric efficiency at high speeds for increased power.
Micro-Hybrid Engine Control Unit (ECU)
The engine-mounted 32-bit
Bosch Motronic ME9 ECU is one of the most powerful and sophisticated currently
available for automotive use. Its micro-hybrid design embeds all the necessary
electronic circuitry on a four-layer ‘sandwich’ substrate that reduces the size
of the unit and makes it stronger, allowing the ECU to be engine-mounted.
The ECU can withstand mounting temperatures of 110 degrees centigrade and
vibration up to 30g. Engine mounting frees space in the under-bonnet area and
eliminates attachment problems at the assembly plant.
Torque-based engine control strategy
The engine output for the
driver-determined pedal position is managed by the micro-hybrid ECU. The
torque-based control strategy calculates throttle position, variable intake
manifold position, continuously variable cam phasing positions and various other
operational inputs and then translates that information into an ideal throttle
The torque-based engine control strategy is superior to earlier
electronically controlled throttle-based engine-management systems that rely
solely on the throttle position sensor to govern throttle opening.
Electronic Throttle Control (ETC)
controlled throttle (ETC) effectively coordinates a driver’s intentions with the
actions of the various control components. ETC eliminates the traditional cable
between the accelerator pedal and the throttle body. An accelerator pedal
position sensor sends the driver’s command to the ECU, which then controls the
By eliminating the mechanical connection between the accelerator pedal and
the engine, throttle opening can be controlled to ensure precise control of all
other engine operating variables for improved driveability.
Ignition and Sensors
A coil-on-plug ignition
system delivers maximum spark energy and precise timing, contributing to lower
emissions. With fewer parts and no high-tension leads, quality, reliability and
dependability are all improved.
Extended-life spark plugs with dual-platinum electrodes have an expected
service life of 120,000 kilometres.
Multiple camshaft position sensors and a crankshaft position sensor are used
to manage camshaft and spark timing. This dual measurement system ensures
extremely accurate timing throughout the life of the engine and provides a
backup in the event that one of the two sensors fails.
Returnless fuel system
Returnless fuel system
architecture eliminates fuel system recirculation. This design minimises fuel
heating, reducing fuel tank temperatures and consequent evaporative emissions.
An integral pressure damper is used inside the fuel rail to reduce noise.
System pressure is 400 kilopascals. Fuel control, emissions, and driveability
are improved by increasing the operating fuel pressure at higher engine loads to
deliver the required fuel flow. In addition, the system sustains precise fuel
control at lower engine loads with appropriate injector sizing.
Noise and Vibration Refinement
Key noise management
- Increasing the stiffness of the forged steel crankshaft.
- Equal length intake manifold runners for cylinder-to-cylinder symmetry.
- Polymer coated pistons for smoother and quieter operation in the bore.
- A new oil pump designed to reduce aeration and pressure oscillations.
- Integral pressure damper in the fuel rail to reduce noise radiation.
- Structural oil pans with full circle mounting to add to powertrain bending
- Piston oil-jets for additional lubrication of the bores and gudgeon pins.
- Two dissimilar sized holes in the PCV valve to reduce ‘hiss’.
- Composite cam-covers incorporating isolating perimeter and spark plug tube
seals to decouple the covers from combustion noise.
- Multi-layer steel damping panels inside the timing drive cover to provide
additional stiffness and noise actuation.
Cylinder Block and Heads
The Global V6 engine is
an aluminium-intensive basic design. The deep-skirt alloy cylinder block is cast
in 319 aluminium with cast-iron cylinder liners using a precision sand casting
process. The cylinder heads are semi-permanent mould 319 aluminium castings. The
upper intake manifold is composed of 319 sand-cast aluminium, while the lower
manifold is made of 356-T6 aluminium.
The cylinder block incorporates six-bolt main bearing caps and an oil filter
Cast in inter-bay breather vents in the engine block reduce windage
losses at high speed.
Cylinder heads utilise convergent exhaust ports for maximum flow, thermal
conservation, lower emissions and reduced engine mass. Multi-layer stainless
steel head gaskets are designed for durability.
Valvetrain and Timing Drive
Actuating four valves per
cylinder, a low mass DOHC roller-follower valve train configuration operates
with very low frictional losses to improve fuel efficiency.
Hydraulic lash adjusters and a two-stage, three-chain cam drive – rather than
belts – provide improved reliability and durability. Holden has taken advantage
of advanced technology to minimise the noise associated with previous generation
Crankshaft, Pistons and Rods
A micro-alloy 1038V forged steel crankshaft of the type most commonly found
on high performance or diesel engines, is used for strength, rigidity and
improved NVH characteristics.
Sinter-forged steel connecting rods offer durability, strength and low
reciprocating mass. Aluminium pistons use fully floating 24-mm diameter pins and
polymer-coated skirts to allow tighter piston clearances for quieter cold
A dual-mass flywheel with torsional damper eliminates gear rattle and
driveline shudder in manual transmission applications.
The engine employs
a Teflon crankshaft oil seal for lifetime leak-free performance.
Lubrication is critical to any engine, and the Alloytec lubrication system is
designed to ensure mechanical protection and reliability combined with low
A crankshaft driven gerotor oil pump was designed using
specialised analysis of the pump flow to minimise oil aeration and noise.
Pressure oscillations and relief valve ‘buzz’ are minimised by using tapered
relief ports and a bypass baffle.
Pressure-actuated piston oil-jets help cool the underside of the pistons to
achieve higher power and durability. This additional oil supply reduces noise
from piston contact with the cylinder bore and from the piston gudgeon pin.
The structural aluminium 6.5-litre capacity oil pan employs a full-circle
bolt pattern for transmission attachment, improving powertrain stiffness for
reduced noise and vibration. A windage tray reduces friction losses at high
speed and ensures oil supply under all operating conditions.
A top-access, cartridge style oil filter promotes easy and low cost
maintenance. The replaceable cartridge element is more environmentally friendly
and easier to dispose of than ‘spin-on’ designs that use leaded steel
A high efficiency water
pump, a coolant jacket computer-optimised for volume and flow and an inlet flow
location for the thermostat provide the necessary cooling for the high
performance Alloytec engines. The inlet side thermostat and low volume coolant
jackets promote rapid, consistent, warm-up behaviour, channelling heat to the
passenger compartment more quickly in winter.
Extended-life coolant requires minimal service and less frequent changes.
Coolant loss protection software allows reduced-power engine operation in the
unlikely event of overheating. This feature operates the engine on alternating
pairs of three cylinders and allows the driver to reach a secure
New Alloytec and Alloytec 190 exhaust systems benefit from a design symmetry
that improves aural quality. Computational analysis was extensively employed to
gain the best possible noise quality, engine performance and durability.
Cast iron free-flow manifolds and dual close-coupled catalytic converters
minimise temperature loss between engine and catalyst. This allows fast catalyst
light-off times which reduce emissions.
Alloytec meets the current Euro 2 emissions standard and has been
designed for upgrades to meet proposed future standards.
Precise emissions control performance is achieved through the co-ordination
of advanced engine control systems among them the ECU, returnless fuel system,
variable intake manifold, electronically controlled throttle and cam phasing.
In addition Alloytec employs positive crankcase ventilation, evaporative
emission recovery systems, wide-range oxygen sensors (Alloytec 190) and
switching sensors (Alloytec).
Alloytec variants feature an Auto start function, where there is no need
to hold the key in the 'start' position - just turn key to 'start' position and
then let go.
On Alloytec manual variants the clutch must be fully depressed before starter
will engage to avoid starting the engine in gear.
Oil change intervals are 15,000km or 9 months. Spark plug changeover is
at 120,000 kms.
Global V6 Design Flexibility
The Global V6 engine family encompasses a range of displacements. In addition
to the 3.6L variant there are also 2.8L and 3.2L variants.
The range of potential displacements and configurations allows power and
torque output suited to a variety of vehicle, platform and drive configuration
The basic Global V6 engine architecture supports a range
of feature and content options, establishing a broad range of potential engine
configurations. Aside from the normally aspirated/sequential port fuel injection
‘foundation’ architecture, possible major variants include:
- A spark-ignition direct-injection (SIDI) V6 of either 2.8L or 3.2L
displacement. Direct fuel injection is a technology that can produce fuel
economy gains of about 10 per cent, with no loss of performance. To be most
responsive to regulatory and other market considerations, the global V6 engine
design has provisions for both stratified-charge (lean-burn) and
stoichiometric-charge SIDI architectures.
- Turbocharged engines of either 2.8L or 3.2L, with a variety of power and
torque outputs depending on specific content. Turbocharging remains one of the
best strategies to increase power and torque without increasing engine size.
The Global V6 was also developed to be easily configured to power an array of
platforms, drive orientations and future-technology adaptations. Engineers
anticipated many divergent uses for the Global V6 and from the start it was
designed to power:
- Front-wheel drive (FWD) platforms, in which the engine is typically situated
- Rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicles and platforms, where the engine is typically
- All-wheel drive (AWD) architectures, which can dictate either transverse or
The Global V6 engine is also suitable for parallel hybrid application.
Parallel hybrid vehicles employ a standard petrol engine and an electric motor
or motors, either or both of which can propel the vehicle. Hybrid vehicles offer
the prospect of greater fuel economy and can deliver other emission and
Alloytec and Alloytec 190
Peak Power (ECE):
3.6L 60-degree DOHC V-6
190 kW @ 6500 rpm (Alloytec 190)
175 kW @ 6000 rpm (Alloytec)
340 Nm @ 3200 rpm (Alloytec 190)
320 Nm @ 2800 rpm (Alloytec)
90 per cent of torque produced from:
1600 rpm to 5900 rpm (Alloytec
1600 rpm to 5400 rpm (Alloytec)
Bore x Stroke:
94 mm x 85.6 mm
Dual overhead camshaft
Hydraulic lash adjusters
Four-cam continuously variable cam
phasing (Alloytec 190)
Two-cam continuously variable cam phasing
Three-chain two-stage roller chain camshaft
Variable Cam Timing:
Intake: 132 degrees ATDC initial timing (Alloytec
degrees ATDC initial timing (Alloytec)
50 crankshaft degrees advance
Exhaust: 111 degrees BTDC initial timing (Alloytec
crankshaft degrees retard authority (Alloytec 190)
Engine Speed Limit:
6700 rpm (Alloytec 190)
6100 rpm (Alloytec)
Engine Idle Speed:
600 rpm (A/C off)
Sequential port fuel injection (returnless)
Torque-based; Bosch Motronic ME 9 32-bit micro-hybrid
Dual-plenum, equal-length with two-position variable volume control and
resonance tuned (Alloytec 190)
Dual-plenum, equal-length with tuned plenum communication orifice
68-mm single bore; electronic control (ETC)
Individual coil-on-plug; individual cylinder knock control
Regular unleaded recommended (91 RON)
(PULP may provide a small
improvement in performance and fuel economy)
Dual close-coupled catalytic converters (1.4L ceramic)
Exhaust-cam phasers (Alloytec
Evaporative emissions system
Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Aluminium, precision sand-cast 319 with cast-in-place iron
Cylinder Head Material:
Aluminium, semi-permanent mould 319
Upper: Aluminium, gravity die 319
Lower: Aluminium, gravity die 319
SiMo nodular cast iron
Injection compression thermoset composite; vibration
Diecast CA313 aluminium; internal multi-layer damping
Micro-alloy 1038Vforged steel
Aluminium, polymer-coated skirts, full-floating
Main Bearing Caps:
6 bolt caps, copper-infiltrated sintered steel
6.5 L capacity. Structural diecast aluminium, steel windage and baffle
Pressure-actuated piston-cooling oil jets
coolant, accessory belts
Cartridge-style, top-access oil filter
Teflon crankshaft oil seal
Wide-range oxygen sensors (Alloytec
4 speed auto
5 speed auto
6 speed manual
The Alloytec 190 variant will operate with either a new 5L40 five-speed
automatic transmission with Active Select or a new six-speed manual
The Alloytec variant will operate with the current 4L60 four-speed automatic,
to which Holden has made upgrades.
Five-speed auto transmission (5L40)
The new 5L40 five-speed
automatic uses the latest generation from GM. A team of Holden and GM powertrain
engineers based in Strasbourg invested three years of design and development
work in this 5L40 transmission. Cold testing in Sweden, altitude testing at
Pikes Peak in Colorado and hot testing in Western Australia were part of a
development and durability program.
A new separate T68 transmission controller accurately determines current
vehicle operating conditions – such as engine speed, transmission input speed,
throttle position, torque converter slip, altitude and temperature – to create a
strategy for optimum shift performance. An ability to sense and compensate for
all these variables allows this transmission to maintain consistent shift
An additional gear allows shift points to be engineered to deliver an
improved launch while delivering improved fuel economy. This is achieved by the
increased ratio spread, a taller 2.87 final drive ratio and the ability of the
transmission to shift at up to 6500rpm.
5L40 EC Cubing
The Electronic Torque Converter Clutch Control, or EC cubing, controls
the amount of converter clutch slip – the difference between engine rpm and
transmission input shaft rpm – in third, fourth and fifth gears. This increases
the efficiency of the transmission during low torque applications. EC cubing can
be activated at lower vehicle speeds, allowing fuel efficiency improvements to
be delivered earlier.
Shift Stabilisation and Performance Algorithm Liftfoot
The transmission control system continuously evaluates driving conditions
and driver inputs through the software functions Shift Stabilisation and
Performance Algorithm Liftfoot (PAL).
Shift stabilisation reacts to differing vehicle loads and is active during
constant speed driving. If the controller determines that optimum performance
would be adversely affected by an upshift at that moment, the control system
blocks this request. In real world scenarios, when driving uphill for instance,
this algorithm reduces busy shifting or hunting.
PAL also responds to driver requests or driving style. To operate it requires
greater than three quarters throttle pedal travel with a rapid release. This
function is available while in Performance mode, and it considers the current
driving style. Once the control system determines that the vehicle is being
driven in a spirited manner, the current gear is held during deceleration. This
assists with acceleration out of a corner, preventing unwanted upshifts, which
results in the vehicle being in a more suitable gear during cornering and
providing a more stable exit feel.
The 5L40 Active Select feature is for drivers who wish to take more
direct control, as it allows selection of the most appropriate gear for
prevailing conditions. Safety features in this mode include maximum and minimum
allowable engine speeds.
Four-speed auto transmission (4L60)
Upgrades to the 4L60 four-speed automatic transmission have improved
shift feel and shift-to-shift variation through a new calibration that times
shift events to ensure favourable use of available engine torque. It results in
a more integrated powertrain feel between the ETC and transmission, resulting in
better shift stabilisation and consistency.
This is made possible by new electrical architecture and the introduction of
a more advanced transmission control module and software language.
The TCM software introduces more calibration variables – 8448 compared with
625 in the previous TCM – in the new language that allows it to process larger
amounts of information, more quickly.
4L60 EC Cubing
Due to new TCM software, an upgraded 4L60 EC Cubing feature now allows
for partial lock-up or controlled slip, improving the feel and fuel economy of
an already efficient transmission
A new torque converter has been manufactured specifically for this
application to better match the new torque characteristics of the engine. A
combination of increased accuracy and a change to the coupling point of the
converter allows matching of engine torque characteristics to vehicle response,
providing improved engine-transmission integration, increased heat rejection and
improved fuel economy.
Six-speed manual transmission (D173)
A new six-speed manual
transmission replaces the current five-speed.
A lighter alloy remote shifter design and shorter shift throws improve shift
feel and result in more direct-feeling changes. The short throw and light effort
combine for quick shifting, balanced with Alloytec V6 engine characteristics.
The gate pattern has changed. Reverse is now next to first gear, the opposite
side to the Holden V8 manual.
Clutch diameter is 14mm larger at 254mm. Clutch pedal engagement is more
progressive and has been developed specifically for the ratios and torque
character of the engine. The clutch friction lining is now lead-free.
The clutch cover is self-adjusting, so that pedal effort does not increase as
the clutch wears, ensuring a more consistent feel over the life of the
component. Wear is further reduced by the use of an integrated concentric slave
cylinder and release bearing.
Ratio selection has been optimised by computer simulation, matched to the
torque curves and tyre sizes. The ratio spread from first to sixth provides a
more responsive first gear for better launch feel while allowing a sixth gear
ratio of 0.75. This produces cruising revs of about 1800 rpm at 100kmh with
resultant reductions in noise and vibration.
56 Years Of The Holden Six
Full-scale manufacture of the first Holden six began in 1948. The 2.15
litre, 45kW 'grey' engine, named for the colour of its painted block, powered
the original 48-215 Holden. Noted for its willing performance, high cruising
speed, economy and durability, the overhead valve grey engine continued, with
minor engineering changes, to power successive Holden models through the 1950s
and early 60s.
In 1963, a new Holden engine plant began producing more powerful six cylinder
'red' engines. They were the 2.45 litre '149' and the 2.95 litre six cylinder
'179', introduced with the EH model. Over their long life, the red engines
underwent numerous re-engineering programs to improve performance and fuel
With the 1980 VC model Commodore came a new range of six cylinder engines
painted GM blue. They were up to 25 per cent more powerful and 15 per cent more
fuel efficient than their predecessors. Features (2.85 and 3.3 litre) included a
new 12-port head, new manifolding, a two-barrel carburettor and electronic
In 1984, a 3.3 litre EFI engine was introduced with VK Commodore. Also
available was a 3.3 litre six with electronic spark timing and air injection.
Production of the 'blue' six-cylinder engines ceased in 1986 with the
introduction of the VL Commodore, powered by a Nissan-sourced 3.0 litre unit.
Holden chose a US-designed Buick V6 for the all-new VN Commodore and local
assembly began in 1988. The 3.8 litre, 127kW, EFI V6 was modified to suit Holden
requirements, a process which included fitment of an Australian-developed
electronic engine management system.
In 1995, a $9 million investment saw the original unit replaced by a
radically revised second generation ECOTEC V6. Utilising low friction technology
for improved performance, it was smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient.
Assembly of a 165kW Supercharged V6 variant commenced in 1996 and for the
introduction of the Commodore VT in 1997 it was modified to produce 171kW of
power. With the VX Commodore debut in August 2000, V6 engine power was increased
and fuel economy further improved.