2000 Acura Integra -- Powertrain

The Integra features two distinct engines. The LS and GS models offer an all-aluminum, 1.8-liter, 16-valve, DOHC, 4-cylinder engine with programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI). This powerplant produces 140 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 127 lb-ft of torque at 5200 rpm.

Designed to run on unleaded regular fuel (87 octane), this powerplant combines economy with energetic performance. When coupled with a standard five-speed manual transmission, it logs EPA fuel economy of 25/31 MPG city/highway. With an optional four-speed-automatic transmission, EPA highway mileage remains unchanged, while the city rating drops by just one MPG.

The GS-R model features a 1.8-liter engine equipped with the Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system pioneered in the Acura NSX. It also features Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), a dual-stage intake system, a knock sensor, a crankshaft reinforcing bridge, oil jet piston cooling and a number of other innovations to improve reliability, durability and smoother operation. All this adds up to 170 horsepower at 7600 rpm and 128 lb-ft of torque at 6200 rpm. These impressive figures give it one of the highest specific outputs of any normally aspirated engine sold.

The Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system, first pioneered in the Acura NSX, works similar performance magic in the Integra GS-R. As the performance of the NSX has already been amply demonstrated, VTEC is an innovative solution to an age-old automotive engineering problem. It elegantly solves the trade-off between tuning an engine for either high-end horsepower or low-end torque. With VTEC, engineers no longer have to compromise between the two. VTEC-equipped engines can have the best of both, especially when the system works in conjunction with the dual-stage intake manifold.

The VTEC system uses three cam lobes and three corresponding rocker arms for each pair of valves. The VTEC system operates on both the intake and exhaust valves. The two outer cam lobes have a profile that optimizes low-speed torque and response. The middle lobe has a high-lift, longer-duration profile that is designed to optimize high-end horsepower.

At low rpm, the middle rocker arm is idle. At a predetermined engine load and speed, the middle rocker arm is activated by means of a computer-controlled hydraulic piston, which locks all three rocker arms together. The middle rocker arm forces the two outer rocker arms to follow the higher lift and longer duration profile of the middle cam lobe, allowing the engine to draw and expel more air and consequently produce more power.

This simple, yet elegant, design has proven its effectiveness as well as its reliability in both the NSX and the previous generation Integra GS-R. The changeover point between low lift and high lift in the GS-R is 4400 rpm, for excellent midrange torque and to fully exploit the benefits of the dual-stage intake manifold. By carefully balancing the 4400 rpm VTEC changeover point and the 5800 rpm opening of the second intake runner of the dual-stage intake manifold, the GS-R has an almost flat torque curve from 2500 rpm to 7200 rpm. This makes the GS-R engine responsive under all operating conditions, especially when going from part-throttle, steady-state cruising to full throttle.

The GS-R engine utilizes the latest combustion technology to provide a combination of fuel efficiency and power. Because of the low surface-to-volume area of the chamber, minimal surface area is exposed to the heat of combustion and more heat is retained in the expanding gases, resulting in increased thermal efficiency. The "squish" area around the combustion chamber is also increased, yielding increased gas turbulence, faster flame propagation and even better efficiency.

Also, the fuel injectors point almost directly toward the center of the intake valves, helping to reduce fuel condensation on the intake port walls, improving drivability and engine response.

The dual-stage intake manifold on the GS-R engine features two intake runners for each cylinder, one longer than the other. When operating under 5800 rpm, only the longer of the two runners delivers air to the cylinder. Above 5800 rpm, a butterfly valve in the bore of the short runner opens to allow the passage of additional air to the cylinder. This has the desired effect of boosting midrange and high-end power output.

In conjunction with a lightweight piston design, the GS-R engine also uses a sophisticated connecting rod design. Constructed of high-strength steel, this connecting rod is thinner and lighter than a conventional connecting rod, yet it's 26 percent stronger.

The combination of lightweight pistons and connecting rods helps to reduce reciprocating inertia and enhance throttle response significantly.

To help ensure long-term durability and reliability, the GS-R engine uses an oil jet cooling system. A jet of pressurized engine oil is directed to the underside of the piston to help dissipate the extreme heat generated during sustained high rpm operation. This technology has proven itself in Formula One and other top-level racing engines.

The Integra's first scheduled tune-up is required at 100,000 miles; during that time only routine inspections and fluid changes are required. Long-wearing platinum-tipped spark plugs are the principal technical change for 2000 that makes this longevity possible. Careful design and engineering of the DOHC valvetrain allows both versions of the 1.8-liter in-line four engine to reliably maintain proper valve tappet clearances until the scheduled first tune-up.

Acura's advancing emission control technology is evidenced in the new Integra. A new catalytic converter design allows all models to comply with TLEV standards for tailpipe emissions. All 2000-model Integras also have an On-board Vapor Recovery System-one year earlier than required by regulation.

The use of a surface-oriented crystal bearing material was pioneered in Formula One racing and has been adapted for use in the GS-R VTEC engine. Unlike the surface of conventional bearing material, the crystal bearing surface has molecules oriented into a pyramid shape. This surface traps a layer of oil and holds it far better than conventional bearing surfaces, reducing friction and enhancing reliability.

In order to maximize the performance and efficiency of each Integra model, two different 5-speed manual transmissions are utilized. The transmission used in the GS-R model features different ratios, bearing design, clutch, flywheel, second, third and fourth gear synchronizers and reverse idler gear than the transmission for the LS and GS engines. The differences were necessary to handle the higher output of the GS-R engine, to ensure durability and reliability and to maximize performance and fuel economy.

The main design goals of the GS-R transmission were to take advantage of the additional low- and midrange power and to enhance the GS-R engine's response without excessive rpm in freeway driving.

All manual-equipped Integra models feature a short-stroke shift linkage of exceptional rigidity. The system approaches the quality feel and short stroke of the Acura NSX shift linkage system.

Both manual transmissions feature a refined hydraulic clutch unit to provide progressive engagement and low clutch-pedal effort.

As in the past, all Integra models feature equal-length halfshafts, which virtually eliminate torque steer.

The optional, electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, available in 2000 LS and GS models, is a newly refined unit designed to offer a superb blend of sporty response and sophisticated manners. It features an ignition retard system to reduce shift-shock, a torque-load control shift sequence, a low-hold feature to enhance performance on driver demand, a large-capacity lock-up torque converter to reduce slippage and provide a more direct feel and the Grade Logic Control System to reduce unwanted shift hunting on up- and downhill grades.

Shifting is controlled by a new 16-bit microprocessor located in the Electronic Control Module (ECM). The new processor's greater capacity is put to use controlling a new linear shift solenoid, that in turn controls hydraulic pressure to the gear clutch packs. For optimal control of hydraulic pressure, the ECM monitors engine torque and controls transient-condition shifting. Since control is linear, the engagement is more progressive. The result is smoother shifting and power transmission over a greater variety of power and gear settings.

To help insure that the transmission always selects the appropriate ratio for the conditions, the Grade Logic Control System compares the actual driving condition with a map stored in the electronic control unit (ECU) memory. Based on the degree of variance between actual driving conditions and the map, the system either allows shifting or prevents it, in order to minimize frequent gear changes. In essence, the Grade Logic Control can estimate the grade of a hill by measuring throttle position, road speed, and rate of acceleration/deceleration to compare with the map in the ECU. The system holds the transmission in a lower gear for better uphill acceleration and also provides additional engine braking in downhill driving.

Grade Logic also uses brake pedal application as a control input. For example, Grade Logic will determine that the Integra is traveling downhill if it receives a closed throttle signal and a brake application signal. It then selects a shift map that will downshift and hold 3rd gear to allow the Integra to utilize engine braking.

Similarly, Grade Logic can use a rapid deceleration signal and closed throttle to determine that the car is entering a tight curve in the road. It then chooses a shift map that downshifts, then delays upshifting for more responsive acceleration.

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