Check out this stop motion video of an air-cooled 3.2 liter Porsche flat-6 taking itself apart. The people who made it originally shot 4000 pictures which turned into an 8 minute video. They felt that was too long so it was simplified to 1500 pictures over 3 minutes. Part 2 of the video is going to showcase the machining work that is going to punch this engine out to larger displacement and should be ready in the fall.
Todd Kelly from Nissan Motorsports is here to give us a tour of the Nissan VK-56 that powers the Nissan Altima that debuted in the Australian V8 Supercar series this year. The teams have faced a big research and development challenge since the VK is pretty different from what Holden and Ford run in the series in that the blocks and heads are aluminum production units and use dual overhead cams instead of pushrods. Watch the video to see what else had to be done to make the engines race ready:
This is a vintage documentary from 1952 that details the rise of the modern diesel engine. The story starts during the steam era when people first started using thermal energy to drive compression cylinder engines. From there the evolution goes to an oil burning engine and then to compression ignition pioneered by Rudolph Diesel. The first mass produced diesel engines were well suited for turning generators for electricity production but not much else due to their size and slow speeds. Once direct fuel injection was invented, the relative size of the diesel engine was decreased and it’s rotating speeds increased so that they could be used in ships and eventually tractors, buses, trucks and cars.
It’s important to understand that diesel engines are actually less efficient than gasoline engines at the same compression ratio. It’s the fact that diesels can run significantly higher compression ratios that cause their overall efficiency to be much higher. The trade off is that diesel engine blocks and components have to be built much stronger and heavier to withstand the combustion pressures of these compression ratios. That makes their initial cost and durability much higher than their gasoline counterparts. We are going to see an increase in diesel cars here in the US as automakers try to reach higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) figures. Diesel cars are already very popular in Europe, so most manufacturers will be bringing those models to us here instead of funding the expensive development of new hybrid cars. Audi and BMW have already announced extensive diesel lineups for 2013.
Motor Trend’s Johnny Lieberman gets an opportunity to tour AMG’s engine factory in Affalterbach, Germany and we get the pleasure of tagging along. He works with one of the AMG technicians to build one of the 5.5 liter twin turbo V8’s that powers the entire AMG line with the exception of the C63 AMG (the engineers thought the C63 was too light for the turbo engine’s torque so they stayed with the 6.2 liter naturally aspirated V8). The part that I found particularly interesting was the assembly and testing of the 2,000 psi direct injection fuel system. After everything is installed, they pressure test it for leaks with helium since it’s the smallest practical atom (hydrogen is smaller but more ridiculous to work with). The last thing they want is a bunch of high pressure fuel spraying all over the engine. This was a special opportunity for the Johnny unlike GM’s program where anybody can pay to assemble their own LS7 or LS9 for their Corvette or crate engine purposes. AMG actually decided not to put the engine Lieberman worked on into use. Right now it’s on a display stand where it can’t hurt anybody.
Ford’s 1.0 liter three cylinder turbocharged engine has yet to make it to American dealerships, but it’s already won an Engine of the Year award in Europe. The aim for the engine was to replace the 1.6 liter naturally aspirated engines found in the Ford Focus. With features liked dual variable valve timing, direct injection and a turbocharger, the 1.0 liter is much more efficient and a better performance engine at the same time. Fifth Gear recently drag raced an Ecoboost Focus against a 1.6 liter base model and the the Ecoboost car was significantly faster down the quarter mile. This promotional animated video from Ford talks about some of the new technologies of the 1.0 liter Ecoboost engine that allow it to have the best of both worlds.