Ford Motor Company research claims to show that attention to powertrain refinement levels and engine sound quality is making a difference to customers.

Engineers have made a “significant” number of improvements in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) on many of the company’s 2002 engines, including the 5.4-litre Triton V8 and the 3.0-litre Duratec V6. Ford also is focusing on NVH levels in future vehicles such as the new Lincoln Aviator with 4.6-litre InTech V8.

The 260-horsepower 5.4-litre Triton V-8, available on the 2002 F-150 truck, is the best example, Ford says. NVH enhancements to the engine have led to customer satisfaction improvements on F-150 models, according to internal studies.

“NVH is one of the major customer issues with any powertrain,” says John Koszewnik, Ford’s chief engineer for V-engine engineering. “Powertrain refinement really has been the biggest single area of improvement in engine design over the past 10 years. Today’s engines are quieter than ever.”

Customers have come to expect a level of refinement to match the vehicle they are purchasing, Koszewnik said.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Reducing NVH on the 5.4-litre Triton was a goal for the powertrain engineering team for more than two years. Customer research indicated a growing demand for quiet, smooth engines, even in trucks. To reduce NVH levels, engineers employed a statistical quality tool called Consumer Driven 6-Sigma and the latest in computer-aided engineering (CAE) technology.

“Our studies show that unexpected or unwanted noise from an engine is one of the top complaints received from customers,” Koszewnik added. “Since the performance of an engine and customers’ satisfaction with their powertrain is such a large part of their overall satisfaction with the total vehicle, making improvements there is critical.”

Many of the 5.4-litre Triton V-8 engine’s NVH enhancements come from a reinforced engine block that reduced overall radiated noise by 3.1 decibels. These improvements, which were driven by sophisticated CAE analysis, reduced the overall radiated noise levels significantly across the entire operating range of the engine.

Said Koszewnik: “The key components we improved for better NVH are technologies seldom used for truck engines.”

Truck customers are expecting quieter interiors and noticing engine noise in their trucks now more than ever before, he added. This has become especially apparent with the “cell-phone generation,” the group of people who commonly make phone calls and work from their pickups and SUVs.

Other actions taken to improve the engine include:

A redesign of the Triton engine’s acoustic top cover in the 2003 Ford Expedition, which contributed another key NVH improvement. The cover is made of two materials – polyurethane foam and nylon shell. Polyurethane foam is used to absorb the sound, and nylon shell is used as a barrier to eliminate sound outside of the engine.

An added “valley stuffer” in the valley of the V in the engine. This not only reduces NVH levels, but also provides a significant benefit to unwanted high frequency noise at locations around the engine where the vehicle is most sensitive.
A change in the oil pan’s material from stamped metal to metal-plastic-metal, which dampens sound better.

A redesigned air-intake resonator, adapted to the desired sound suitable for each product powered by the Triton engine. The air-intake resonator is the componentthat directs the air into the engine to provide power.

Ford also focused on four other high-volume vehicles and made similar improvements to engine quietness.

Targeting the same types of noise and making similar changes has improved customer satisfaction on four other engines in these vehicles between four and 12 percent, according to Ford’s internal research.