Unintended Consequences Drive GDI Engines to Your Shops – Part 7

We heard your request and dove into turbulent waters to provide a listing of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine appearances.

For years, we’ve asserted that an educated buyer is our best customer. This is critical for industry growth because otherwise customers go elsewhere. Informed customers sometimes tell friends they know more than an intended service provider. With solid information backed by effective service, you build your reputation while capitalizing on service opportunities.

Your Request
Many of you have asked, “When did the millions of GDI engines start to appear?”

OEMs rushed GDI engines to market in an attempt to meet federally-mandated CAFE standards. As these engines age, unintended consequences increase and they appear in shops needing service.
According to Bosch, “[GDI] does change the repair process and maintenance program.”

To retain customers service providers need to know a GDI engine and address GDI service issues.

Turbulent Waters
Ever wonder why you seldom come across GDI engine listings? That’s likely because manufacturers change GDI designs frequently; while engine designs typically remain for a decade or more, we see GDI designs changed, or eliminated, in half that time or less.

With millions of GDI engines needing service, lack of knowledge both sends customers away and confirms negative industry opinions.

Understanding that readers can’t always follow frequent GDI design changes, we’ll tell you how to positively identify GDI engines and provide best-available GDI engine introduction dates.

Ford introduced their flagship 3.5L V6 Ecoboost for the F-150 in 2011. The first class-action lawsuit surfaced in 2013 along with reports of excessive intake valve deposits at low mileage. So in 2017, Ford introduced a completely redesigned 3.5-liter V6 Ecoboost engine, sharing only name and displacement with the previous engine. It’s a clean-sheet design change including a new block, cylinder heads and turbos in addition to a new intake system.

When OEMs update or replace engine designs, where do the faulted engines go? Do they drive themselves to a secret graveyard and disappear forever? Of course not; these engines live on and may enter shops for many years.

Due to increased intake valve deposits — GDI provides no intake port fuel for detergents to wash intake valves — shops now encounter engines with both GDI and port fuel injection (PFI). (Fig. 1.)

Examples of dual-injection (GDI and PFI) engines:
• Toyota – D-4S engines
• Lexus – 2GR-FSE engines
• Ford – 2017 3.5-liter V6 Ecoboost engines
• Audi – EA888 engines (also used by The VW Group)

GDI Engine Introduction Dates
Between model years 2009 to 2015, the percentage of new vehicles sold with GDI engines jumped from 5 to 46 percent. Here is some condensed info from best-available sources.
• 1902-WWII – GDI engines cut their teeth in high-performance aircraft. Invented by French engineer Leon Levavasseur, these engines made their mark in war planes.
• 1955 – The Mercedes-Benz 300SL claimed fame with the first production four-stroke GDI engine.
• Years following – factors including “… deposit problems, which could not be overcome at the time” (SAE Paper 1999-01-3690) reduced commitment to expensive GDI technology.
• 1996 – As engine control module technology advanced, GDI appeared in the Japanese market with the Mitsubishi 1.8L inline four, followed by their six-cylinder power plant.
• 1996-2001 – Mitsubishi produced more than one million GDI engines for a variety of brands, and in 2001 claimed a trademark for the acronym “GDI” with an uppercase “I.”
• I997 – Nissan introduced GDI with their Leopard VQ30DD engine.
• 1998 – Toyota introduced GDI into the Japanese market with their D4 engines.
• 1999 – Renault introduced their Essence with a 2.0L GDI engine.
• 1999 – Peugeot Citroën, Hyundai and Volvo licensed Mitsubishi’s GDI technology.
• 2000 – The Volkswagen Group introduced GDI engines, calling them fuel stratified injection (FSI) and turbo fuel stratified injection (TFSI).
• 2001 – Toyota introduced D4 GDI engines into European markets.
• 2002 – Alfa Romeo introduced their jet thrust stoichiometric (JTS) GDI engine.
• 2003 – General Motors introduced their Ecotec spark ignition direct injection (SIDI) GDI engines.
• 2003 – BMW introduced a turbocharged straight-six GDI engine.
• 2003 – Honda introduced their Stream GDI engine, sold in Japan.
• 2004 – Isuzu introduced GDI engines in US vehicles, standard in the Axiom and optional in the Rodeo.
• 2005 – Mazda introduced their own version of GDI in the Mazdaspeed6 and later in the CX-7 sport-utility, with their new GDI Mazdaspeed3 in US and European markets referred to as direct injection spark ignition (DISI).
• 2005 – Toyota introduced a new V-6 3.5L D-4S Lexus GDI engine to US markets.
• 2006 – SAE Paper 2006-01-1259 reported the Lexus 2GR-FSE adopted dual-injection with GDI and PFI.
• 2006 – BMW introduced their N54 twin-turbo inline-six GDI engine for the 335i coupe, later for the 335i sedan, 535i and 135i models.
• 2006 – Mercedes-Benz introduced its charged gasoline injection (CGI) GDI system in the CLS 350 CGI.
• 2006 – Audi introduced a V8 fuel stratified injection (FSI) technology in their R8 GDI engine.
• 2007 – GM introduced GDI in the 3.6L V6 LLT SIDI for the Cadillac CTS and STS, plus their Holden Commodore SV6.
• 2007 – BMW introduced GDI in the Mini Cooper.
• 2008 – BMW introduced a twin-turbo N63 V8 GDI engine.
• 2009 – Chrysler produces GDI for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, SRT and Mopar-customized vehicles.
• 2009 – Ferrari began selling their front-engine California with GDI, along with the 458 Italia for Ferrari mid-rear engine setups.
• 2009 – Porsche began selling the 997 and Cayman with GDI engines.
• 2009 – Jaguar Land Rover AJ-V8 Gen III 5.0L engine (introduced in August 2009 for the 2010 model year) with GDI.
• 2010 – Ford publicly introduced their turbo-boosted GDI technology labeled EcoBoost.
• 2010 – GM introduced their Gen II block 2.4L Ecotec LAF GDI engine.
• 2010 – GM introduced their 3.6L GDI engine in the Chevy Camaro, and the 3.0L LF1 SIDI engine.
• 2010 – Infiniti introduced the M56 with GDI.
• 2011 – Ford introduced their F-150 pickup with the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost.
• 2011 to 2016 – Ford sells 1 million F-150 pickups with Ecoboost engines.
• 2011 – Hyundai introduced a 2.4L four-cylinder GDI engine in their Sonata, plus a turbo-charged 2.0L version.
• 2012 – GM introduced GDI in their 2.5L Ecotec LCV and 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec LTG in a Gen III block.
• 2013 – Honda introduced their Acura RLX GDI V6 with GDI engine technology.
• 2014 – GM introduced their new LT1, a 6.2L V8 GDI engine with variable-displacement cylinder-deactivation (different from their 1990s LT1/LT4 engines).
• 2014 – Toyota introduced a sweeping makeover of their engine designs including their GDI engines.
• 2014 – Hyundai Accent introduced an aluminum block inline-four GDI engine.
• 2015-current – GDI is used on Audi, BMW, GM, Ford, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, VW and others, and reportedly all current gasoline engine development utilizes direct injection.

With frequent design changes, how can one identify GDI engines with confidence?

The fly-in-the-ointment for GDI identification appears frequently with upgraded and discontinued engines, sometimes with changed manufacturer sources.

Likely due to rushed-to-market unintended consequences, many OEMs do not label their GDI engines as such, which presents another challenge. While Ford Ecoboost engines are all turbo-boosted GDI, have you seen EcoBoosts identified as GDI or TGDI?

But, you can identify GDI engines. After removing the engine’s cover, identify GDI by the high-pressure fuel pump — cam-driven and typically visible on top. (Fig. 2) With noisy, high-pressure fuel pumps sometimes disguised under an acoustic-insulator cover, recognize GDI by the steel fuel line leading from the covered high-pressure fuel pump to the injector rail(s).

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