Made In Canada Engines Power All-new Mercury And Ford Minivans
Ford of Canada’s Essex Engine Plant in Windsor will supply V-6 engines for the all-new 2004 Mercury Monterey and Ford Freestar minivans – including a new 4.2-litre engine that is the largest and highest torque motor offered in a minivan.
The Ford Freestar was unveiled today at both the Toronto and Chicago auto shows. Freestar, and the new Mercury Monterey, which debuted on February 12 in Chicago, are built by Ford of Canada’s Oakville (Ontario) Assembly Plant. Both minivans go on sale in the fall.
“When you sit in these minivans, when you take your children to school or drive on a cross-country vacation, you will see this is the most refined, most flexible, most comfortable, most powerful and highest quality minivans Ford has ever built,” said Alain Batty, president and chief executive officer, Ford of Canada.
Other major features shared by the Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey include:
Seven passenger seating
A segment-exclusive Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bag system is available that offers protection in side impact collisions and rollovers for all three rows of seating
Easy access to the third row seat, which is an all-new design that folds into the floor and disappears without needing to remove head restraints
Elegant new cabins and instrument panel designs that reflect Ford Motor Company’s major across-the-board investment for vastly improved interior quality
A new power liftgate, which will be available later in the model year
Latest generation Ford four-speed automatic transmission with fast-acting hydraulics for seamless shift quality and improved downshift response
New, larger four-wheel disc brakes with a new “Panic Brake Assist” system as standard on models equipped with Ford’s AdvanceTrac™ stability enhancement system
A 200 horsepower Essex-built 3.9-litre V-6 is the standard Ford Freestar powertrain in the U.S. The new 201 horsepower 4.2-litre V-6, which shares the same engine architecture as the 3.9-litre motor, is optional on Ford Freestar in the U.S., and standard equipment on both the Mercury Monterey and Canadian market Ford Freestars.
The 3.9-litre engine produces 240 foot-pounds of torque for confidence inspiring towing, passing and hill climbing performance. A new intake camshaft that allows more intake and exhaust valve overlap helps deliver peak torque some 500 rpm lower in the rev range than before. Fully 90 percent of peak torque is available at a very low 1,500 rpm. The power delivery of the larger engine is very similar, but torque production is even more robust, with a total 265 foot-pounds available. Final powertrain specifications and fuel economy figures will be released closer to launch.
For smoothness and refinement, both engines share free-flowing intake manifolds, a new crankshaft damper, a new structural engine oil pan and an all-new powertrain mounting system, which includes hydraulic engine mounts and a powertrain roll restrictor. Engine radiated noise is reduced by 25 percent, and the transmission of noise and vibration into the cabin is cut sharply.
The Essex Engine Plant also produces 3.8-litre V-6 engines for the Ford Mustang and 4.2-litre V-6 engines for the Ford F-150 pickup and the Econoline Van and Clubwagon. In 2001 Essex began producing V-8 crankshafts for the Triton™ 5.4-litre V-8 and 6.8-litre V-10 engines and received a 22,500 square metre (242,188 square foot) building expansion. Essex Engine also does final assembly for the new 3-valve 5.4-litre Triton V-8 engine found in the all-new F-series pickup truck. Essex Engine Plant Facts
Employment: 1,800 men and women.
Size: 1,052,183 square metres (260 acres) and the plant itself totals 204,387 square metres (2.2 million square foot).
Production: In 2002, EEP produced 546,000 engines. On average, the plant produces 2,650 engines per day and over 8 million units since it opened in 1981.
Recognition: ISO 9001 standard for quality and ISO 14001 for environmental efficiency. EEP was the first engine plant certified Q1 in 1998. It won the prestigious Shingo Award for Excellence in Manufacturing in 2001.
Customers: Ford plants in the U.S. (Dearborn, Mich., Norfolk, Va., Lorain, Ohio, Kansas City, Kan., Romeo, Mich.), Canada (Oakville, Windsor), Mexico (Cuautitlan), Venezuela, Brazil and Australia.