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2005 Archived News from 2005

Old 13-09-2005, 09:19 PM
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All Quiet on the Ford Front

"Refinement isn't just about silencing the car. It's the science of removing the undesirable vehicles noises, leaving the driver with quality sounds they like to hear. We took this approach to the BF Falcon and SY Territory programme to produce the quietest, smoothest vehicles we've ever engineered."
- Tim Hosking, Ford Australia Vehicle Refinement Supervisor

Ford Australia today released details of the quietest, most refined vehicles to roll off its Broadmeadows assembly line.

"It only takes a few minutes behind the wheel to appreciate the outstanding levels of refinement built into this car, from the entry level XT right through to the LTD," said Product and Development Vice President Trevor Worthington.

"Attention to detail has taken what was already a very quiet vehicle and produced a vehicle boasting superb levels of refinement."

Vehicle Refinement Supervisor Tim Hosking said the team worked on achieving two goals with the BF Falcon and SY Territory programme.

"We wanted to reduce overall sound levels in the cabin, particularly targeting high frequency annoyance noises, allowing the driver to hear the pure note of the engine.

"The end result of very careful attention to detail is a vehicle that is up to six decibels quieter during wide open throttle acceleration.

"A 10 decibel reduction is approximately half as loud to the human ear, so customers will definitely notice and appreciate a six decibel improvement.

"On part throttle acceleration, the I6 engine in Territory and Falcon is three decibels quieter, while road noise sound pressure levels have been lowered by up to one and a half decibels.

"We also worked hard on improving the articulation index, or the ability to easily converse with passengers, and achieved an overall nine per cent improvement in this area," Hosking said.

"Research shows customers can perceive a two per cent improvement, making this enhancement significant in terms of producing a noticeably quieter car."

Lofted outer dash

A new feature contributing to the improved refinement levels in all BF Falcons and SY Territory models is the inclusion of a lofted outer dash, previously seen only on expensive European cars.

"The new outer dash is a two-piece part that works as an absorptive barrier to attenuate broad band noise from the engine. The lofted outer dash works in conjunction with the dash panel and firewall to help insulate the driver and passengers, particularly from high frequency annoyance noises.

"As a result, Falcon and Territory are significantly quieter during start-up, idle, acceleration and shut down.

"Fitting the new lofted outer dash was a significant factor in improving the articulation index in BF Falcon and SY Territory, which translates to a much quieter car for our customers," Hosking said.

Bitumastic pads

Further quietness has been built into the BF Falcon and SY Territory with the optimisation of sound dampening bitumastic pads.

"Bitumastic pads are added to the body to provide damping for low and mid frequency noises, making for a quieter car," said Hosking.

The pads act as a mass damper to reduce structural response to vibrations generated by road conditions and reduce the transmission of these noises to the occupants.

During development of the BF Falcon, the team ran designed experiments to optimise the position and size of the bitumastic pad package.

As a result a BF XT, Futura or XR now boasts equivalent performance to a BA Fairmont Ghia. The new BF Fairmont Ghia has been further enhanced, with a sound dampening pack targeting rear seat quietness.

"Customers will notice a reduction in overall road noise at cruising speeds, particularly in the rear of the car," Hosking said.

Absorptive roof-liner

BF Falcon now uses an absorptive roof-liner to reduce reflected noise in the cabin of ute, sedan, Fairlane and wagon.

Hosking explained the new treatment followed the same principle as an acoustically lined recording studio to improve cabin ambience, delivering lower levels of wind, road and engine noise.

Body structural improvements

Numerous body structure improvements have been made to further refine the BF Falcon and SY Territory.

Hosking explained these upgrades reduced the sensitivity of the optimised body structure parts, adding to the impressive refinement levels of the BF Falcon and SY Territory.

* Two of the important upgrades we made were the addition of a reinforcing box section to the transmission cross member and a centre bearing body reinforcement.

* The box section ties the cross member to the tunnel rail system, reducing sensitivity to structural engine vibration.

Similarly, the reinforcement bracket at the centre bearing provides robustness against driveline and engine vibration, further reducing vibration transmission.

Hosking explained the structural upgrades reduce body sensitivity to powertrain vibrational energy by a factor of three to five times.

Further refinement was added by retuning and redesigning the engine and transmission mounts, delivering a reduction in interior noise levels.

The main spring element in the engine mount has been optimised for high engine loads and the spring element in the transmission mounts redesigned to reduce unwanted responses.

* Engine mounts now perform much better when the vehicle is under heavy acceleration, reducing the potential for unwanted harshness.

"The new transmission mounts deliver improved isolation to further reduce engine vibrations being transmitted into the cabin, with a further one decibel reduction in interior noise levels," said Hosking.

Retuned exhaust systems

Careful retuning of the exhaust systems on both the Barra 190 I6 and Barra 230 V8 delivers quieter cars with an improvement in the quality of the exhaust note of both engines.

The Barra 190 features a new front resonator and retuned centre and rear mufflers, while the Barra 230 now boasts a dedicated rear muffler with larger diameter pipes.

In addition to these upgrades, all body side and exhaust side hangers have been redesigned and upgraded to isolate muffler vibration from the body.

* The new Barra 190 resonator provides an extra treatment step for exhaust gases, dramatically lowering the 80-100 hertz resonance.

* The new resonator acoustically decouples the rear of the exhaust system from high frequency acoustic pulses, lowering drive-by noise levels and further reducing interior noise levels for the customer.

Hosking said the new Barra 230 exhaust system was tailored to improve the performance of the smooth revving V8 engine.

* At BA, the 3v V8 shared the same rear muffler design as the I6 engine.

* By engineering a dedicated V8 version, we have lowered back pressure levels to liberate more power from the engine and enhance the exhaust note.

* Customer feedback told us that V8 customers wanted to hear and enjoy the note of their engine.

"The new dedicated Barra 230 exhaust system clearly delivers on that customer want," Hosking said.

'Smart' alternator

Airborne noise on the BF Falcon and SY Territory has been reduced with the addition of a new 'smart' alternator.

Standard on all BF Falcon and SY Territory models, the new alternator delivers a higher output, allowing lower rotational speeds and correspondingly lower fan speeds for a reduction in noise levels. The engine control module predicts loading and ramps in alternator operation to improve idle stability.

Hosking explained the new alternator was chosen for its ability to improve fuel economy and deliver better idle properties.

"Ultimately it provides a two-fold benefit for the customer. Fuel economy has been improved, as well as refinement levels. It's a win-win for the customer."

Static sealing improvements

* Static sealing is the discipline of ensuring body sheet metal and trim components seal the cabin against noise generated from the engine, driveline, road and wind.

* We placed significant emphasis on this part of the BF Falcon design and manufacturing processes, improving body leakage sealing levels up to 23 per cent compared to BA Falcon.

* Using new sealing techniques we pioneered with Territory, BF Falcon customers will notice a dramatically quieter car as a result, with a 5 decibel reduction in high frequency road noise at cruising speeds.

* A reduction of this amplitude means a much quieter car and makes it much easier for occupants inside the vehicle to hear each other.

"Our body static sealing is now approaching levels previously only available in imported cars much more expensive than Falcon and Territory," Hosking said.



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