Study shows automakers rely on steel for high-performance engines

June 8, 2004

Results from a study sponsored by the American Iron and Steel Institute’s (AISI) Bar and Rod Market Development Group show that automakers rely extensively on steel for strength, durability, mass efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in their high-performance engines, said the AISI. The study, conducted by automotive design engineering consultant Alan Hine, focused on the use of steel in the Ten Best Engines for 2004 named by Ward’s AutoWorldmagazine (Table 1).

The study focused on materials used in crankshafts, flywheels, connecting rods, rockers, drive chains, valves and valve springs, cam followers, variable timing systems, and fasteners. According to AISI Director of Bar and Rod Programs David Anderson, “In all cases, engine manufacturers cite high performance, durability, and weight reduction as the main factors for their engine design approach.” He noted that the use of steel results in structurally efficient components and a reduction in noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). “The lighter reciprocating mass generates less noise and vibration, making for a smoother-running engine,” said Anderson. “This also helps in reducing the secondary stresses in the engine, thus minimizing component fatigue and failure, as well as warranty problems.”

Table 1 -- The 10 best engines for 2004 selected by Ward’s AutoWorld

  1. Audi AG 4.2L DOHC V-8 (S4)
  2. BMW AG 3.2L DOHC I-6 (M3)
  3. DaimlerChrysler AG 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V-8
  4. DaimlerChrysler AG 5.9L High Output Cummins 600 OHV I-6 turbodiesel (Ram HD)
  5. General Motors Corp. Vortec 4.2L DOHC I-6 (GMC Envoy)
  6. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. 3L DOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
  7. Mazda Motor Corp. 1.3L Renesis Rotary (RX-8)
  8. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Infiniti G35)
  9. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Subaru 2.5L DOHC turbocharged H-4 (WRX STi)
  10. Toyota Motor Corp. 1.5L DOHC I-4 Hybrid (Prius)


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