Hurricane engines: dipsticks, sensors, and oil sight glasses

Hurricane engines, following a trend set by European designs, do not have a dipstick. Instead, an electronic sensing system warns drivers when the oil level falls.

The change was likely made for three reasons: most drivers no longer check their own oil anyway, given the lack of leaks and burning in most modern cars, and many who do check the oil do not give it time to drain back into the sump, which means they tend to overfill the engine. The third reason is that eliminating the dipstick prevents one source of blow-by, which might be an issue for a direct-injection high-compression engine. (There is also a cost savings from eliminating it, which is probably enough to outweigh the cost of the oil level sensor.)

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Alfa Romeo already uses “digital dipsticks” on their version of the GME 2.0 liter engine (the 2.9 liter engines use actual dipsticks). The owner’s manual states:

The engine oil level can be seen on the instrument cluster display every time the engine is started, or on the Information and Entertainment system display by activating on the main menu (MENU button) the following functions in sequence: “Vehicle Information”; “Engine Oil”.

The down side of the Alfa system, which is likely also the Hurricane system, is that after adding oil the system must be recalibrated:

Leave the car on flat ground with the engine running for approximately five minutes (temperature higher than 176°F (80°C) and shut the engine off. Start the engine again and idle it for about two minutes.

At least one Internet wag claimed there would be a sight glass, but at least one source who has seen the Hurricane engines in person disputed this.

12 thoughts on “Hurricane engines: dipsticks, sensors, and oil sight glasses”

  1. I’m sure by now, anyone that has been on Stellpower’s website and read any of my comments is well aware of my excitement of the new Hurricane power plant and the STLA “large” platform. I have been a fan of the pushrod V8 for a long time and while my love for the Charger Hellcat is definitely uncontested by any other vehicle on the road (although joined by my love for the Durango Hellcat, Jeep Trackhawk & Ram TRX) my reason for being excited for this new powertrain is simply because it means that in internal combustion engine lives on as does internal combustion horsepower and modifications and so on and so forth. I love the muscle cars of old with an absolute fondness for the first, second and third gen Chargers but if this I-6 TT combination can allow my favorite vehicle to live on with a gas-powered engine under it’s hood, even for only a few more years, then I’m happy. Not to mention both versions of this engine out perform the 5.7L and 6.4L V8 in everything but sound. Plus the fact that a hybrid version of the Hurricane HO can give the powertrain a rough combined estimated horsepower in the 630hp range. While that is shy of the Hellcat’s infamous 707hp (now bumped to 717hp), in an AWD car that is rumored to be lighter, would probably have the vehicle performing equal to a Hellcat Charger or fairly close. Throw in a base model car with a 4xe type powertrain pushing 375hp and 470lb-ft of torque and your base car out performs a 5.7L Hemi with way better fuel economy. And this all-conquering electric muscle car Tim Kuniskis speaks of could possibly be an dual motor electric car with each motor pushing out 442hp which means it would more horsepower than a Demon (840hp Demon vs a 884hp electric muscle car) with a sound that they say no one can imagine (although I’m figuring it will probably have the core sound of the Viper V10, just a hunch). The only thing is I don’t think Dodge will stop there. I think that will probably be the dual motor version but I’m sure Dodge is going to go after Tesla’s Plaid and Lucid Air and drop an 1,100hp electric car on the street. Dodge is definitely going to do the electric thing but they’re far from done with ICE. I Truly thing we’re about to see Dodge seriously take us back to the SRT4 days and Direct Connection is going to be seriously all about ensuring that Mopar performance truly lives on in that “Tear up the streets, not the planet” moniker that Tim Kuniskis promised. And if this will keep the EPA off their back and let them still do what it is that they do best, then I see no problem with it. IF we get to see vehicles like The Dakota R/T and a Dakota Rumble bee or even a Dakota Daytona street performance truck that takes the place of the street trucks of old along with a 500hp Ram Rebel, a 500hp Jeep Cherokee Chief Rubicon X or a Wrangler/Gladiator Rubicon X or any of those vehicles with a high powered gas engine with Direct Connection/Jeep/Jailbreak/Mopar performance/cosmetic upgrades and options then the world is fine by me. The Camaro died because it couldn’t transform (pun intended) to what was needed & because GM is hurting. The Mustang is dying because Ford is dragging the car’s name through the mud instead of just admitting defeat and bringing back the Falcon to be what the brand needs and putting more focus into their ecoboost performance family of powertrains. Dodge is evolving and doing what it needs to do to stay alive. And that’s a good thing.

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  2. The thing is, one would still be able to check oil levels and pressures, just without being under the hood and using a rag. Overall, I’m truly excited about this power plant. In a way, the proverbial “cat” is out of the bag with certain things about where this engine is going. Understandably, if this engine is currently in the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer, it’s also most certainly going to end up in the Ram 1500, which shares the same platform. More than likely this will compete with the 3.5L ecoboost in the F150/F150 Raptor which means the next gen Ram “Rebel” will be getting a major upgrade with a 500hp variant and probably a bit of the TRX equipment to go along with that. Prayerfully we’ll get a street performance truck as well but that maybe a hope shared only with me, myself, and I or if we do get one, it will probably with the upcoming smaller pickup on the STLA large platform that will hopefully carry the Dakota nameplate and will once again provide an R/T level street performance truck with maybe a Rumble Bee and Daytona package above that (one can only hope). While i seriously doubt this engine will make it past the 1500-series pickup, I suspect that the 6.4L Hemi truck engine will slowly phase out along with the rest of the V8 engines, leaving the 6.7L Cummins I-6 Turbo diesel as the sole engine choice for anything that’s 2500-series or higher, which to me would make sense. As far as the cars are concerned, Stellantis has clearly shown in several different ways that the Charger is destined for the future. The “EV Day” slides clearly indicate two different models of the Dodge Charger and that red car under the car cover that Tim Kuniskis is standing next to is clearly the next-gen Charger which showcases more of a quad-coupe design with a lower roof line and a more streamlined wide body design with the coke bottle shape of the ’68-’70 charger. Not to mention in the EV Day still shots, If you look closely you can see nearly all of the body line features of what is to be the next-gen muscle sedan. Although these are supposedly the “Electric” platforms, the Dodge Hornet has already been revealed and it is identical to the previews of it from the EV Day slides and it comes with hybrid and gas options as well so we can conclude this next gen charger will have electrified options as well as the Hurricane options and my guess is that the Hurricane will adopt a system similar to that of the 4XE 2.0L Powertrain which the 3.0L Inline-6 is based on at some point shortly after it’s debut. The car shown in the “performance made us do it” video captures several of the features of the new Charger such as the Fratzog logo in the center of the rear spoiler (a feature more clearly displayed in the EV day slides), the wheels seen on the performance version of the Charger in the EV slides and the all wheel drive. What isn’t fully clear is the grille/front fascia. Looking at the hood, the car shows what looks like a similar design to the ’71 Charger’s power dome hood. What I’m getting at is that no where in any of this is anything truly shown about the next gen challenger, which is leading me to believe that while some talk of the car is still swirling, I think the Challenger may be coming to the end of it’s road and the Charger is going to somewhat morph into a “Four-door coupe” more than actual sedan, which makes sense. The Camaro is gone and Ford is slowly transitioning the Mustang into something completely different. While most companies are dropping their two-door models, sedans are still holding on in alot of markets and both sedans and SUVs are becoming more coupe like and in alot of ways have more advantages. Looking at the slides, sitting next to the “Dakota” is what looks to be a next-gen Durango. I would say the Dakota, Charger and Durango are going to be the power Trio with the hurricane engines while the Hornet is really going to be the 4XE next gen version of the SRT4. Granted I feel that Direct Connection is going to really pull out all the stops for these next-gen performance Mopars and hopefully this is going to usher in a new generation of performance like never seen before.

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      • I don’t disagree with you. I’m not a fan of turbocharging in engines that I want to have for the long term. But a lot of these design decisions are made with an eye toward marketing: the automotive press loves high-tech engine designs, and pooh-poohs anything considered “old.” For example, pushrod engines have been getting vehicles down the road just fine since antiquity; there’s nothing particularly special about OHC engines, but the press will definitely go for an OHC design and call the pushrod design “old” — as if there’s something wrong with it, which there is not. This Hurricane six is the gee-whiz, super duper, star spangled techno-motor for the Chrysler of the 2020s. It’s designed to save a few pennies in gasoline, wow the automotive press with its design and features, and help along the planned obsolescence of the LX cars, of which hundreds of thousands are still prowling the highways. You’re right to be skeptical, but this is the world the OEMs live in.

        It’s a little lackluster after the Hellcat, IMO.

      • I can’t agree there. With the same grade of fuel it’s 10% better, which is really huge given it’s ONLY the engine that’s changing, and you get more power, and that power is usable over a broader range. It’s a major increase in acceleration and 10% better economy. That’s a significant accomplishment.

    • I had this problem on my 2.4L in my Cherokee. There was a recall for the computer to be flashed and since then we have traveled 6500 miles without burning a drop. We used to add about every 1500 miles. We change the oil every 7500 miles, and the Cherokee has 66,500 on it right now (overall mileage).

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    • My hemi either. Dealer told me it’s within spec if it burns a quart every thousand miles. I have card from the 70’s that don’t burn that much

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  3. I wonder what the percentage of people is who *do* check their own oil? I’m certainly among them. Honestly, an engine without a dipstick is hard for me to imagine, let alone agree to purchase.

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    • Guess I’m too old, but the thought of trusting a computer chip to protect my $10,000+ engine or even a $50,000+ vehicle is to much like letting the residents of the monkey cage pack my parachute. (Probably why I still drive my 2002 Durango, or my 66 Charger or 40 Dodge PU, lol)

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