Detroit--At a quick glance, buyers probably won't spot the difference, but the 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee's new 5.9l liter V8 features a plastic component that helps make the vehicle's performance even more impressive. The part: a molded functional hood louver assembly.
The assembly resulted from a coordinated effort between Jeep-Truck Engineering and the Interiors & Molded Products Div. of Cambridge Industries, Inc. (Madison Heights, OH). Consisting of two molded parts--louver and water distribution tray--the assembly keeps the engine cool while allowing zero water intrusion. Chrysler considered the combination unique enough to be patented.
The louver, which requires extremely high heat performance, is injection molded from Amodel(reg), a 33% glass-filled polyphalamide from Amoco Polymers, (Alpharetta, GA); the water distribution tray is produced from Minlon(reg), a polyamide/mineral resin from DuPont Engineering Polymers (Wilmington, DE). The louver nestles into laser-cut openings in the metal hood. The tray design and material cost-effectively disperse water to the outboard side of the hood.
The two-component assembly combines design engineering skill with production expertise for optimum performance. The louver material, processed at 625F, offers high heat resistance without distortion or sag.
Cambridge Industries served as the Tier I supplier for the project primarily because of its performance on the louver for the Dodge Viper. While the Viper component provided only air distribution, the engineering assistance and production quality insured the timely, appropriate response required for the Cherokee project, Pat Muldoon, Project engineer, reports.
"Most important," Muldoon continues, "the performance requirements--including zero water intrusion--were met, with considerable part cost savings."