What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

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Thread: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

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    What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    What is Wrong With GM’s 3.0L SIDI?
    GM's latest V6 was supposed to be about MPG's, it isn't.
    www.gminsidenews.com
    August 14, 2009
    By: Nick Saporito
    Editor-in-Chief


    Back in December 2008 a lot was going on with General Motors. During that time GM was not prepping for the holidays or basking in new-product glory, they were flying to Washington DC for Congressional Hearings over potential bailout packages. There were few days that you could turn on the news and NOT see General Motors in the headlines. The company was running out of capital and was on the “brink of bankruptcy.” In the midst of all of business drama surrounding GM, they announced an all-new product that looked extremely promising: the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox. So far it has turned out that it really is a stellar crossover and sales correlate with that sentiment. However the Equinox announcement in December also brought another new item: the all-new 3.0L SIDI High-Feature V6.

    The entire “High-Feature” V6 lineup of engines at GM started back in October 2002, that is when GM formally announced them. This was GM’s first serious attempt at a global V6 engine family that was to be extremely competitive due to its overhead-cam setup, variable valve timing and numerous other high-tech engine mechanicals. GM’s original press release states that the High-Features can be as small as a 2.8L (which we already have) and can go as large as 4.0L. Obviously the most well-known HFV6 is the 3.6L that has become the mainstream V6 for many, many GM products globally in the past few years.

    One can make the argument that the 3.6L HFV6 has been a great engine. For the first few years of its life it was configured with port-injection, but it was overall a solid V6 that was well-respected in the industry. Then 2007 came along and GM nearly reinvented the 3.6L HFV6 by adding direct injection. The good ‘ole 3.6L was now called the 3.6L SIDI. That elevated the power levels to 304 HP, upped the fuel economy a couple of MPG’s and reduced the carbon emissions emitted from it. That engine has spread to numerous applications; mostly replacing the old port injected 3.6L as much as possible.

    We then come to the new 3.0L SIDI. As an insider, I have been hearing about this engine for the last three years off and on. To be honest, I was rather excited about its prospects as I knew it was going to come out of the door with direct injection and was supposed to have very decent power ratings. The entire reasoning behind this engine was to boost fuel economy without sacrificing power output. After seeing GM’s wonderful execution of the 3.6L SIDI, it only made sense to assume the 3.0L would be just as marvelous. Apparently I missed a memo somewhere.

    I first became suspicious of the 3.0L SIDI when GM blundered on the 2010 Buick LaCrosse fuel economy figures. As of lately they have been good about underestimating fuel economy versus EPA numbers. They were saying 17/27 MPG for the LaCrosse 3.0L. Well, official testing at EPA resulted in the car being rated at 17/26 MPG. Granted, that is one mile-per gallon, but still, it got me thinking. Eventually I brushed it off and thought, “Well it is a heavy car, so maybe it’s just that.”

    Not long after that I do some looking into the new LaCrosse just for my own curiosity. Upon looking I discover that the LaCrosse 3.6L SIDI, which has .6-liters more displacement and 25 more horsepower, gets BETTER fuel economy than the ALL-NEW 3.0L SIDI! What?!?! Fast-forward to today and I start digging into every product that currently utilizes the latest High-Feature V6. The more digging I did today, the more confused I became as to what is wrong with this engine? What is its direction or purpose? I’m most certainly not seeing it. Check out the below statistics for why.

    2010 LaCrosse CXL FWD

    Curb weight: 4,018 lbs.
    3.0L SIDI: 255 hp @ 6900 rpm, 217 lb-ft @ 6900 rpm
    EPA rating: 17/26 MPG
    3.6L SIDI: 280 hp @ 6300 rpm, 259 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
    EPA rating: 17/27 MPG

    There are two issues with the LaCrosse. The most-obvious is that the up level, more powerful engine gets BETTER fuel economy than the base 3.0L SIDI. What is the incentive to purchase a 3.0L SIDI here? I would assume that both the 3.0L and 3.6L cost very similar to build. The second issue is that the LaCrosse is a few MPG’s behind its competition from Lexus and Lincoln.

    2010 Cadillac CTS Sedan/Wagon RWD

    Curb weight: 3,845 lbs. (sedan)
    3.0L SIDI: 270 hp @ 7000 rpm, 223 lb-ft @ 5700 rpm
    EPA rating: 18/27
    3.6L SIDI: 304 hp @ 6400 rpm, 273 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
    EPA rating: 18/27 (note these are NEW, updated ratings for 2010 MY from EPA)

    The issue here is yet again quite obvious. The 3.0L and 3.6L both make the same fuel economy numbers. What purpose is the 3.0L SIDI playing in this application? To be fair, the 3.0L SIDI replaced the port injected 3.6L as the base CTS engine. It gained 15 hp and one MPG (for highway) over the old engine.

    2010 Cadillac SRX 3.0 FWD

    Curb weight: 4,224 lbs.
    3.0L SIDI: 265 hp @ 6950 rpm, 223 lb-ft @ 5100 rpm
    EPA rating: 18/25

    The SRX is the one application of the 3.0L SIDI that seems plausible. The 18/25 figure is very competitive for the segment (matches the Lexus RX, defeats the Lincoln MKX).

    2010 Chevrolet Equinox FWD

    Curb weight: 3,944 lbs.
    3.0L SIDI: 264 hp @ 6950 rpm, 222 lb-ft @ 5100 rpm
    EPA rating: 17/25

    My main beef with the Equinox application is that it is not competitive in terms of fuel economy. The Toyota Rav4 with the 3.5L gets 19/27 in front-wheel drive form. I also can’t quite understand why the Equinox/Terrain loses a MPG in the city to the SRX when they weigh less and are rated for lower power output.

    A reoccurring theme with all of the applications of the all-new 3.0L SIDI V6 is that its big brother, the 3.6L SIDI is much better. The 3.6L obviously has more power, but in most applications it gets the same or better fuel economy than its new sibling. The entire point of the 3.0L (at least, my impression of the point) was to push fuel economy higher. So far it has done that in one application: the 2010 base CTS. Unfortunately another BIG issue with the 3.0L SIDI is that in all applications it does not make its maximum power output until near the redline (or at it), meaning it is a fairly weak mill until the higher revs.

    With all of that said, I am seriously asking the question: What is wrong with the 3.0L SIDI V6? Why isn’t it achieving better fuel economy numbers? My guess is that it cannot handle the weight of some of the applications it is currently in, but then why does the CTS 3.6L make the same numbers as its 3.0L? It is the lightest car the 3.0L is currently in. So far I am not impressed with this 3.0L SIDI High-Feature.
    Last edited by Ghrankenstein; 08-14-2009 at 02:01 AM. Reason: minor typo... sorry :)
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    Ghrankenstein's Take:
    Anderson Johns
    GMI Staff Member since 2001

    The obvious issue with the 3.0 SIDI is torque. 217-223 lb-ft at at anywhere from 5100 to a rotary-like 6900 (!?!?) rpm is ridiculous in a way that I couldn't invent without a gigantic Van de Graf generator and a spare supply of body parts. The thing can't be geared for fuel economy without sacrificing acceleration the way the 3800 and 3900 could, much less the 3.6. This would be a good engine for a lightweight sports car into which the plant wouldn't physically fit.

    Otherwise, I see it as a testament to the quality of the hoary old 3800 and 3900 pushrod V-6 engines that made torque to spare, especially down low, and the corresponding fuel economy. Too bad everybody panned them for not being "premium" because of their "old" tech, regardless of how good they actually were. Too bad they sounded good to buyers (and reviewers) who didn't like to hear their engines at all.

    In this day and age, I the obvious choice for the entry engine would have been the non-SIDI 3.6L V-6, which would have offered enough power and torque to offset the mileage penalty. Personally, I'm still a fan of the 3.9 flex-fuel/AFM, but who am I to judge?
    Last edited by Ghrankenstein; 08-14-2009 at 02:17 AM.
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    Bumping this up.
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    There must be something in the difference between Aus and US fuel economy ratings, because in the Commodore, they are officially rated at 9.3l/100km [25.3USMPG](combined) for the 3.0SIDI and 10.3 [22.8USMPG]for the 3.6SIDI.

    Omega weighs around 1690kgs [3726lb] and the SV6 (which will be 3.6SIDI Equipped) is 1725kg [3803], so Ghrank is probably on the money. Torque is the killer. Seriously though, where do they stick 200lbs of extra weight in a LaX over a Commodore SV6?
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    That 3.0L SIDI is quickly proving to be a massive cluster****. GM better figure out what's wrong with it and fast.

    It seems as though it gets good fuel economy when it wants to and bad fuel economy when it doesn't. Case in point, Commodore.

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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    My take is that the engine is tuned for peak horsepower numbers. (Marketing won - customers lost.) Those ridiculously high RPM numbers are needed to generate HP. You'd think they could get more low end torque with VVT, but apparently not.

    We really need transmission and final drive gearing numbers to get the full picture of what is going on here. Vehicles with the 3.0 may be geared lower than vehicles with the 3.6 and end up moving just as much air/fuel through the engine.

    The secret to the 3800's great MPG numbers was low end torque. The engine usually cruised along at 1700-1800 RPM on the highway and didn't struggle to maintain it. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that the 3800 had much longer rods than the HFV6, and therefore had more rod leverage on the crankshaft. This setup is not great for high RPM operation, but is great for torque and MPG.
    Last edited by minnfang; 08-14-2009 at 07:53 AM.

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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    I wonder in real world testing if the 3.0 does produce better overall MPG's than the 3.6 - but in the lab they are the same?

    I have the Port injected 3.6 in my Enclave and I am not getting 22 mpg's on the higway like the sticker says - Im lucky to get 20 in pure higway driving form.

    Maybe the 3.0 will be able to achieve the higher end testing #s better than the 3.6 - guess we'll have to see otherwise I agree the science is baffling.
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    Does anyone remember GM's original 3.0L V-6 from the mid-late 80's, early 90's Ciera's & Century's? Probably the absolute most atrocious engine GM ever manufactured. Few made 100k regardless of maintenance. Looks like new GM is alot like old GM. The new overweight Lacrosse 3.0 has fail written all over it.
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    The idea that a problem may be that the engine is just underpowered relative to the weight of the vehicle is not really valid in my mind. The 3.0L engine actually gets pretty good power and torque ratings for its size, it shouldn't feel overwhelmed in a 3800-to-4200-lb car, especially not with a 6-speed automatic. Plus, a lot of compacts and midsizers basically have no better power-to-weight or torque-to-weight ratio than the 3.0L in its applications. For instance, the Malibu 4-cylinder has around 20 lbs per horsepower and 21,5 per lb-ft of torque, and the Lacrosse 3.0L has respectively 15,5 lbs per horsepower and 18,2 per lb-ft of torque. That's 25% better in terms of power and 15% in terms of torque. Yet the Malibu with the 4 cylinder isn't considered underpowered and it gets great fuel economy, much better than its more powerful V6 version.

    If you want an example in V6 forms, you can also look at Chrysler's 2.7L V6. It's been put in some pretty heavy cars like the Charger and the Magnum. Worse, it was attached to an old 4-speed automatic, yet even with these limitations, it still generally managed to be more fuel-efficient than the 3.5L engine that is technologically related to it that Chrysler also put in those cars, and by nearly 10%. For instance, the 2008 Dodge Magnum was rated 18/26 with the 2.7L and 17/24 with the 3.5L (with a 4 or 5-speed automatic).

    Now, maybe GM geared the transmission too low to give the 3.0L more pep in the Lacrosse and in the other cars it's been put in to compensate for its lesser power... but then again, with 6 cogs in your transmission, I don't think you're forced to choose between economy and performance the same way you were forced to when you had 4-speed automatics. It should be easy to put aside the sixth cog as strictly a cruising gear, making the engine turn really slowly on the highway like is the case with the Impala.

    Hopefully, they'll fine-tune the 3.0L so that it gets better fuel economy and start making sense. It wouldn't be the first time it has happened to GM, the 3.0L V6 from Opel they put in the Saturn L-series initially got terrible fuel economy ratings of 18/24 (20/26 in the old ratings) in 2000 and 2001, but it increased to 18/26 (21/29 in old ratings) in 2002.
    Last edited by Kchoz; 08-14-2009 at 07:56 AM.

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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    Are these the correct dimensions?

    3.6L: Bore x Stroke: 3.70 x 3.37 Inches, 11.3:1CR

    3.0L: Bore x Stroke: 3.50 x 3.15 Inches, 11.7:1CR
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    TORQUE!!!! That's what it's all about. My dad can lope around town getting 19 mpg in his 05 Yukon because the engine barely has to work, and trust me he's no hypermiler. As for me and my 98 Ranger (2WD, 4cyl, Manual Tranny) I am always having to cane the engine just to keep up with traffic and avoid being run over, meaning I get the same 19 mpg without the luxury of interior space, 4WD, or power on reserve for, you know, maintaing the speed limit. Heck, I get worse economy on the highway because of the hills around my area since the Overdrive is comically tall and pretty much useless unless you live in Nebraska.
    Last edited by vetteguy10; 08-14-2009 at 08:01 AM.

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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghrankenstein View Post
    Ghrankenstein's Take:
    Anderson Johns
    GMI Staff Member since 2001

    The obvious issue with the 3.0 SIDI is torque. 217-223 lb-ft at at anywhere from 5100 to a rotary-like 6900 (!?!?) rpm is ridiculous in a way that I couldn't invent without a gigantic Van de Graf generator and a spare supply of body parts. The thing can't be geared for fuel economy without sacrificing acceleration the way the 3800 and 3900 could, much less the 3.6. This would be a good engine for a lightweight sports car into which the plant wouldn't physically fit.

    Otherwise, I see it as a testament to the quality of the hoary old 3800 and 3900 pushrod V-6 engines that made torque to spare, especially down low, and the corresponding fuel economy. Too bad everybody panned them for not being "premium" because of their "old" tech, regardless of how good they actually were. Too bad they sounded good to buyers (and reviewers) who didn't like to hear their engines at all.

    In this day and age, I the obvious choice for the entry engine would have been the non-SIDI 3.6L V-6, which would have offered enough power and torque to offset the mileage penalty. Personally, I'm still a fan of the 3.9 flex-fuel/AFM, but who am I to judge?
    Good points Mr. Johns. I'm wondering if GM could correct how the engine is mapped to produce torque at a lower RPM and get the desired torque? If the engine is working harder to move a heavier vehicle, then this would make sense.

    However, I'm wondering if GM will eventually revisit this and make improvements -- Nick's points are very valid and the engine should be continually refined, just as the old 3.6L has been invested in since its inception.

    I also wonder if GM is waiting for and additional update that would/could possibly coincide with some kind of forced induction for this engine (and any other) which would make the engine series more flexible for other applications...

    ...a lot to think about and brings more questions than answers.
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    "3.0L SIDI: 255 hp @ 6900 rpm, 217 lb-ft @ 6900 rpm
    EPA rating: 17/26 MPG
    3.6L SIDI: 280 hp @ 6300 rpm, 259 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
    EPA rating: 17/27 MPG"

    i think the answer is obvious, look at the rpm's for the peak hp and torque. the 3.6 probably has just enough torque to keep it out of higher rpms in typical driving, like the epa would do, but the 3.0 doesn't, so it's pulling into higher rpm's, and increasing timing and lift.

    the problem isn't the engine, the problem is that 3 liters of displacement is not adequate to pull 4000 lbs of car around. no matter what kind of technology boosts things at the peak - VVTL, direct injection, or even forced induction, there really is no replacement for displacement.

    this engine should stick with strictly midsized or smaller vehicles.

    adding onto this argument, from 16-21, i drove an 88 camaro with a 2.8 mpfi and a 700r4. when i was 21, i got rid of it for an 88 camaro with a 350tpi and a 700r4. i saw no discernible difference in gas mileage for just driving around town or highway driving. Why? because the 2.8 had to work really hard to pull around a ~3200 car, whereas the 350 was at, or barely above idle in day to day driving. and on the highway, on any sort of incline at all the 2.8 car was constantly huntnig between 3rd gear and OD because it didn't have the torque to pull the hill in OD. the 350 car had no problems pulling hills in OD

    how can a new liter corvette get 16/26, and a lacrosse with less than half the displacement get virtually identical fuel mileage? low range engine torque vs vehicle weight, and ideal gearing
    Last edited by TheWraith; 08-14-2009 at 08:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goochman View Post
    I wonder in real world testing if the 3.0 does produce better overall MPG's than the 3.6 - but in the lab they are the same?

    I have the Port injected 3.6 in my Enclave and I am not getting 22 mpg's on the higway like the sticker says - Im lucky to get 20 in pure higway driving form.

    Maybe the 3.0 will be able to achieve the higher end testing #s better than the 3.6 - guess we'll have to see otherwise I agree the science is baffling.
    I can relate to the fuel economy issue. My 2008 GMC Acadia SLT FWD with the port injection 3.6L V6 only gets about 21 mpg cruising at 72 mph on the highway vs the sticker of 24. The only way I can get 24 mpg is to slow down to 60 mph (10 below the speed limit around here). In other words, I'd be just as well off having bought the Yukon XL that I wanted (19 mpg highway) and having the extra space and towing ability. Gas prices were high though and my wife wanted the Acadia...

    Quote Originally Posted by vetteguy10 View Post
    TORQUE!!!! That's what it's all about. My dad can lope around town getting 19 mpg in his 05 Yukon because the engine barely has to work, and trust me he's no hypermiler. As for me and my 98 Ranger (2WD, 4cyl, Manual Tranny) I am always having to cane the engine just to keep up with traffic and avoid being run over, meaning I get the same 19 mpg without the luxury of interior space, 4WD, or power on reserve for, you know, maintaing the speed limit. Heck, I get worse economy on the highway because of the hills around my area since the Overdrive is comically tall and pretty much useless unless you live in Nebraska.
    Actually Nebraska is REALLY hilly and I get worse mpg there than I do here in Indy (I drive it every year in my Acadia). If you want flat, go to Kansas and drive I-70 West. You won't see a hill until you hit the Rockies in Colorado.
    Last edited by ChevyRules; 08-14-2009 at 03:53 PM. Reason: please use the multi-quote function or edit post. Please do not post multiple replies in a row.
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    Re: What is Wrong With GMs 3.0L SIDI?

    Hey quick question for you all:

    This thread made me want to go to Caddy's website and check out some of the powertrain specs for the CTS and saw a glaring omission - a manual transmission.

    For non-V versions of the CTS, there is no longer a manual transmission option.

    When was this eliminated? I thought that you COULD get a manually equipped CTS when the car was redesigned. In fact, I think I remember reading a review someplace. Has that now been eliminated altogether or is it on hiatus for now?

    If its gone for good, it's a HUGE disappointment to me. If Caddy really wants to be considered an alternative to BMW and Audi, they have to offer a stick to enthusiast buyers...Damned shame.
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