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Old 10-21-2001, 03:50 AM   #1
kgb
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Lightbulb NA Engine design: revs, bore & stroke, and what not

Hopefully this will become an interesting thread.

Seems to me that to get high performance out of NA, manufacturers are making engines with high-revs (sky is the limit), torque peaks near the red-line, variable valve timing of some sort (to try to bring some usable torque down low), high compression, and usually short strokes (easier to rev). Is that the only way to go? By looking at what's available, to make these car drivable, manufacturers will add displacement to generate enough torque to get the revs up. Is there an NA car that deliver high performance with low displacement, and yet can be very drivable in normal condition (ie not needing to floor the gas and shift at red line)? I don't see such a thing, and it seems NA is a compromised way to make power (lets leave Nitrous out of the equation). I might sound like not knowing what I said, but my basic question is whether NA cars can make usable power (and lots of it) without beating the crap out of the engine? Is displacement the only way, or is it revs?

What would you like in an NA engine that drive daily to work/school, and races occasionally?
(that should open a can of worms... )

Opinions are most welcome, but no flames please - Thank you
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Old 10-21-2001, 03:54 AM   #2
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In a normally aspirated car, there is no replacement for displacement. Low displacement engines just won't have much torque at the low end (or the high end, for that matter), though obviously certain engine configurations will have more than others (boxer vs I4, for example).


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Old 10-21-2001, 11:24 PM   #3
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this question has been beaten to death, but what gets me is

Quote:
Is there an NA car that deliver high performance with low displacement, and yet can be very drivable in normal condition (ie not needing to floor the gas and shift at red line)? I don't see such a thing, and it seems NA is a compromised way to make power (lets leave Nitrous out of the equation).
now... sure, most imports are high revving torque peaks very late, but if these cars weren't very driveable then you wouldn't see as many as you do on the road, now would you? how can you come the conclusion that there isn't 'such a thing' when you're describing the majority of the import market at the same time? sure, the other parts of you're argument have been touched on and are valid, but i've seen this rationalization that these high revving cars aren't driveable before and it doesn't sit well with me. oh well, my 2 cents. and there has been this discussion before, btw, might want to try a search on 'bore' 'stroke' 'displacement' blah blah blah.
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Old 10-21-2001, 11:48 PM   #4
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I didn't say they weren't drivable, I said they lack the low-end power of a boxer engine, particularly one with 2.5L of displacement. Possible reasons for the popularity of the sort of engines Honda makes are their extremely high gas mileage, their compact dimensions, their light weight, and their ease of maintenance.


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Old 10-22-2001, 01:01 AM   #5
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you guys seem knowledgeable, but are totally missing a huge aspect to what makes NA able to stand up to cheap power... efficiency

the quote, "there is no replacement for displacement" is only true when you have no idea what it is you are doing..

and anybody can take a half-assed motor that does nothing more than produce combustion and ram air doens its throat, straining the motor to produce power that it was never properly designed to produce..

a good motor builder would take that motor and learn everthing there is to know about every timing of physical events and every flow characteristic to the motor and extract as much power possible out of what is at hand, instead of maximizing power, minimize loss..

a certain company that does this best comes to mind instantly, ferrari.. if you have ever been side-by-side, (so far not lucky enough to ride in) a ferrari, you would understand what perfection is, something that is mechanically and artistically right.. pure harmonious uniform revs of a brilliantly balanced and tuned motor, not compromised with the interrupting sounds of a blast of air out a valve..

one also would instantly realize how puny attempts of making power with forced induction are if you have ever attended a Formula 1 race..

somebody asked..
"Is there an NA car that deliver high performance with low displacement, and yet can be very drivable in normal condition (ie not needing to floor the gas and shift at red line)?"

to beat the obvious, 7-800 HP out of 3.0 liters, F1

how does 400 production HPs out of 3.5 liters sound, 360 modena..

even the company that produces HP most elegantly (Porsche) with a turbo totes a normally/naturally aspirated car as their flag ship model.. Carrera® GT 550HP out of a 5.5 liter V10

have any of you felt the power from a 600 or 750cc motorcycle.. i had a 750 (GSX-R750) that made close to 140HP from the factory and would not hesitate, at all, to start from or near 0mph and break 100mph all in the same gear, and that is driveability.. very similar to the feeling of an F1 car, i so far can only imagine..

later
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Old 10-22-2001, 01:33 AM   #6
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F1 cars keep fairly constant revs... don't they? certainly that's nothing in the way of 'driveability'...

and i wasn't referring to anything that you said bsquare, to be honest, i didn't even read your post =P, it was a reponse to kgb's original post, hence the quote from him

btw, i'm not all that knowledgeable when it comes to most to do with cars which is why im not going to challenge what you said, synapse, besides the F1 thing, but i'm sure there is someone on here who would argue with you, as it seems like it's one of those unanswerable, always-two-sides-to-it topics
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Old 10-22-2001, 02:34 AM   #7
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Lightbulb

Look, I just started a can of worms.

For drivability, I guess if you are strictly talking about getting the car to move, then yes, any car is drivable. But to a certain degree, older VTEC cars exhibits some sort of lag if you push it hard (the torque slowly builds up by revving high). To keep it in the power zone, short gearing is required. Maybe newer generation (like i-VTEC) is much more drivable.

What I want to confirm, as it seems, with NA tuning, as you tune for HP, without adding displacement, you will start to move your peak torque higher, eventually you will get to a point where the you will need to rev high all the time to get that power. NA by their nature is peaky, you don't see many NA cars with a big wide torque curve (on the other hand, do you need that?).

I agree, Ferrari seems to have this down, or else they wouldn't be in F1. But F1 cars are race cars - they are built to revved high all the time, and they get tear down after each race. Besides, not a disrespect to Porsche, but if I spend that kind of money, I would rather have NA than Turbo.

I don't know about the reliablity of VTEC/VVTi cars, and most drivers don't beat the valvetrain and cylinders on a daily basis. If the drivers do, and keep the car for long, then we will know if the engine will last. I always have reservation on revs vs engine health.

On displacement front, it looks as if the proper way to extract power via added displacement is to keep cylinders small, and add more cylinders if needed. Cost is a big factor, and you will run into limits with bore size (detonation & flame front), or the stroke (usually longer stroke means lower revs, but it also depends on quality of the bottom end)

With lower cost cars, with the engine being less optimized due to cost, it's just hard (and cost prohibitive) to tune the engine to extract big power and still maintain the car's original drivability. Manufacturers built the car a certain way, and the aftermarket will be limited by it (at least for add-on and swappable parts). Am I right in saying that with strict NA tuning (for arguments sake, on <35K cars), cost will become exponential and your return diminishes once you get past about 25-30% extra power?
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Old 10-22-2001, 04:09 AM   #8
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What you are missing, synapse, is that we are not talking about racing engines, so F1 is irrelevant, and we are not talking about finicky, overpriced Italian crap. We are talking about the sort of cars that hundreds of thousands of people buy and drive every day. Sure, you can spend $50k+ making a normally aspirated engine that pushes 200hp+ per liter with small displacement, but that isn't at all the point. You can have a forced induction engine doing the same thing for 10% of the cost.

The advantages of small, normally aspirated motors are primarily those I listed above.

This has become a rather silly argument. If you want a very high output NA engine, make one. If you want a high output turbo engine, make one. Car manufacturers have a long list of requirements for their motors that has performance pretty far down. As technology advances, NA engines will put out more and more per unit of displacement, but turbo motors will similarly advance, and the trade-offs that have car makers putting fuel efficiency and cost way ahead of performance will still be in full effect.


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Old 10-22-2001, 06:54 AM   #9
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Honda motors do pretty much last forever, even if the driver beats on it with Vtec all the time. If their "idea" wasn't a good one, Honda wouldn't keep on using it.

I think for city driving the characteristics of a low displacement NA motor is not too shabby. Down low in the rpm range you don't get much power...so you just putter around town. Then when you want to really rip up the road, just open the throttle and onto higher rpms, presto. Power.

And two motors come to mind with different ideas yet pretty much the same "effect".

The Honda H22A and our very own EJ25. Both offer torque downlow, however the Honda has more pull up top. But the EJ25 has more of a flat power curve.
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Old 10-22-2001, 07:31 AM   #10
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Let me get this straight. You're asking how to get a small displacement NA engine to make a lot of torque (driveablilty) low in the rev range...

How 'bout a diesel?

Seriously, though, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Where's that torque supposed to come from? Pixie dust?
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Old 10-22-2001, 09:21 AM   #11
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i haven't even got past the first post and i must insert a post..

Elemental
F1 car, fairly constant revs??

i must say you are certainly showing your ignorance.. like i was saying, I can imagine they are similar to a race bike, they can rev to near 20,000 rpms.. schumacher has won races with only two gears and you would hardly notice it while he was on the track, would you not call that driveable..

to be blunt, i can't beleive you would call the most awesome creation of technology, not driveable.. Mario Andretti said, more or less, to see what human beings are capable of with an automobile, you must look to Formula 1
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Old 10-22-2001, 09:33 AM   #12
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as i have read the remaining posts, i can see the ignorance in here far exceeds my need to continue posting.. Italians make the finest cars and motorcycles, so i don't understand how they can be crap..

the last thing i must say, if you are belittling honda for gaining more hp out of efficiency, V-tec, oh god.. they have gone and made a motor more efficient, what a waste of time when they could of gone and strapped a big ol'blower on it.. sorry had to get that out..

the point is.. subaru just doesn't stand still, they too try to make the combustion process more efficient with active valve control in the their next generation of motors, but i guess thats bad right.. bad subaru, for research and developement.. so if you hate v-tec you might as well hate subaru too..
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Old 10-22-2001, 09:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
to be blunt, i can't beleive you would call the most awesome creation of technology, not driveable.. Mario Andretti said, more or less, to see what human beings are capable of with an automobile, you must look to Formula 1
That doesn't mean I'd want to drive it to work everyday.

And no, neither would you. Really, you wouldn't.
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Old 10-22-2001, 12:26 PM   #14
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I always marveled about how BMW could make 3XX horespower out of the 6 cilynder in the M3. I've heard it one of the most finely tuned normally aspirated engines around.

kinda makes me wish Subaru would take some notes with their H6.

-S
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Old 10-22-2001, 01:23 PM   #15
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anyone else wondering what the hell Synapse was arguing about in that last post... he seemed to be making statements in response to people disagreeing w/ him, but as far as I can tell, no one really had argued against what he defended...
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Old 10-22-2001, 03:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
kinda makes me wish Subaru would take some notes with their H6.
Umm... How much horsepower does BMW's standard 3L 6-cylinder make? I don't think that it's much more, if any, than the EZ-30.

edit:
BMW
Horsepower: 225 hp @ 5900 rpm
Torque: 214 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm

Subaru
Horsepower: 212 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 210 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm

not too bad

Last edited by Lurker; 10-22-2001 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 10-22-2001, 06:20 PM   #17
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mrbell

i was refuting KGBs and another persons statements that denote v-tec in a bad way.. i was trying to point out that honda was making steps in efficiency and subaru will now follow with their next gen motors..

conventional motors try to make do with one valve timing at all RPMs when high and low RPMs benefit from different valve timing sequences, so in effect, you can have your mild cam for a nice idle and a taller cam when you want power.. i have never experienced lag with a v-tec motor, contrary to what KGB said, its an instantaneous change in power, that is more efficient, but from a purest stand point actually takes away from driveability, due to the abrupt gains in power..

i think it is saab that is experimenting with variable compression, but i don't know much about it..

in conclusion, i think we more or less agree on the points being made..

NA Vs. FI is a great debate

my main arguement was that FI is cheap power, and KGB further made this point stating that with a price ceiling of 35k a turbo powered car has more potential.. to obtain power from further exploiting the combustion process making it more efficient and faster, requires costly research and developement, and is not practical to the consumer wishing to add more power to his or her car, you cant, under normal circumstances redesign the motor in your car to create power more efficiently besides bolt on parts, such as adding additional carbs or pistons, it is easier to strap a big ol'blower to the exhaust manifold.. However, ultimately NA is more driveable, going back to the original post..
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Old 10-22-2001, 06:22 PM   #18
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for my arguement BWM would of been a bad example, because their now retired, i believe, 745 high end luxery model is actually turbo charged from the factory..
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Old 10-22-2001, 06:32 PM   #19
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Lightbulb Just a short post for now, more to come tonight

Well, guess the question about VTEC engines reliability is answered - if someone's happy with the engine being revved that high all the time and it lasts, I'm happy.

As for BMW's engine, the 330i makes the same power as the H6 in the Outback, but the M3 (with 3.2L) makes about 120hp more, and the torque did move upwards (and the M3 revs 2000rpm higher). I bet you there is a lot of more tuning done on the block, and having double VANOS (BMW's variable valve timing system) helps flatten out the torque curve a bit, albeit it's still somewhat peaky (Max torque came at 4900). Subaru is behind in the game of variable valve timing (and we North Americans still don't get AVCS). Aftermarket will have a hard time fixing that (Big money again)

Guess the big question is how much torque you need down low so you don't feel the car to be sluggish? If you look at the S2K (with peak torque of 150ft-lb coming at ~7000, but a very light frame), I bet you no would say that car is sluggish. But in an RS (even GC8 style), 166ft-lbs at 4000 could still feel sluggish at start (to over come the inefficiency of the drivetrain). Let's forget about the drivetrain for moment (we all know how weak Subaru tranny is), but realistically, how much torque do you need down low for certain weight? Is it a percentage, or is it something else?
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Old 10-22-2001, 07:32 PM   #20
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power to weight ratio changes everying.. as does the chassi..
you can have all the power/ torque in the world, but if its not getting to the ground or is negated by tremendous mass, it doesn't mean anything.. and, if the chassi is feather light compared to others, small amounts of torque go a long way..

there are two theories of mind, torque vs. revs.. one of the best examples is in WSB (wold super bike) twins that produce gobs of torque Vs. high reving fours.. hondas new GP bike will actually be a 5 cylinder, 3 cylinders on one side and 2 on the other.. honda in nearly all aspects has been known to bank on revs..

my personal interest lies with revs, as i see KGB favors torque.. i wrecked my GSXR this summer and I'm postponing plans to turbo charge my 2.2 (hey, i'm all for cheap power) to buy a new bike.. the motors in those things are truely amazing, and give new respect to driveability.. you can cruise around town at RPMs ranging from 6to 8000.. if you want more power shift from 8 to 10 or if you are out of town shift from 10 to 12, or if your thrill of speed exceeds your fear of death shift from 12 to 14,000 RPMs.. the torque curve actually dips at that amount of RPMs, but i don't know if the angular speed of moving parts that is so high or what, but in those high revs lives all the power I could ever want.. whats more, its all between your legs.. and there is nothing like shifting into 3rd gear at nearly 15,000 RPMs already well into triple digit speed.. with 3 more equally excitable gears to go..

i think i went off on a tangent there.. =)
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Old 10-23-2001, 03:08 AM   #21
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Lightbulb

Yep, motorcycles are the best demonstration of power-to-weight ratio (makes the best use of small NA engines). They are light enough that they don't need much torque down low, and before you know it, the engine is already in the power range.

Only thing left - is there a point in tuning any NA engine with strict NA aftermarket parts for big power numbers? I guess with NA tuning, you can only go so far, and definitely need to combine weight reducing method to go fast, but I don't think you get to touch the same car with a properly tuned turbo...

This ended a bit earlier than I thought....
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Old 10-23-2001, 02:40 PM   #22
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OK, I didn't even read all of synapse's latest stuff. sorry.

but I can respond to this bsquare's comment and synapse's response of:
Quote:
as i have read the remaining posts, i can see the ignorance in here far exceeds my need to continue posting.. Italians make the finest cars and motorcycles, so i don't understand how they can be crap..
time for a reality adjustment, and we'll see who is ignorant here.

synapse, the point bsquare was attempting to make that apparently did not reach you was that your Ferrari and sportbike examples are IRRELEVANT. I have not owned a Ferrari but I feel pretty confident in stating that their service intervals are similar to sportbikes-- valve lash adjustments every 4,000-16,000 miles, top-end overhauls every 24k-36k, etc. the 360 modena makes spectacular HP/L because it spares no expense, compared to a normal production car's engine.

there is no logical basis for comparing such extreme performance engines with those that are expected to see 100k miles without serious maintenance and cost a fraction as much. your discussions about F1 are even less relevant!

____

kgb, to answer your original question without forced induction and assuming the use of current technologies (no variable compression, etc.) the torque an engine will make is determined very much by its displacement. more torque=more displacement. modern engines, both with and without the benefit of variable valve timing, seek to broaden the torque curve and increase part-throttle torque.

through gearing many engines can be made suitable for a given purpose. but generally, the more torque you can make, for a longer period of time, and the less the vehicle weighs the better it will perform.

so why does anyone bother if displacement is an easy way to get torque? take the Corvette for example, the latest Z06 powerplant makes 400HP and nearly that much torque, out of 5.7L. so why would honda and others bother with high specific output, small displacement engines? smaller displacement engines obviously weigh less and take up less space than larger displacement ones.

why not forced induction? emissions for one. there's also cost although after a certain desired HP you can get there much more easily and cheaper with FI. let's also not forget weight, a turbocharger, IC and all the plumbing isn't light.
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Old 10-23-2001, 04:09 PM   #23
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Hey all.

First, quick observation. Most high revving engines have longer strokes. If I remember right, the new SVT focus has a longer stroke than our EJ25's with its 2 liter I4. Most hondas live by the "revs are free" principle, and they all have pretty long strokes. It lets the actual combustion last longer by pushing the piston farther, thus extracting that much more power. better for high torque bands. I could be wrong on this one. I was wrong once back in '82. It was terible. I try no to talk about it. so much blood... I'm not bashing anyone on this. I Just think I might be more informed. thats all.

Second: F1 engines are great and all. I won't take away from them. uless I've been out of the loop for too long, didn't they either allow you to have a NA 6 or a turbo 4? didn't the turbo 4s kivk the NA 6s butts? again, I could be remembering wrong, but I'mpretty sure this is the case. the power-to-weight on a turbo is vastly superior to NA. also, the service intervals on the F1 engines would be horrendous. They are great pieces of machinery, but like ferraris and porches, they have no place in people's every day lives. Thusly, I'll stick to real-people cars for now.

Third: a point nobody has touched here. for the best engine performance, gas milage aside, bore and stroke have no relavence. none at all. why? the engines with the best power to weight have no cylenders. they're NA too. what are they? gas turbines. I'm not talking jet cars or anything. you can stick a gas turbine under the hood of any car. the turbine turns the transmission. sure they gobble gas, but no ferrari or anything else for that matter will ever get the same amount of power out of a reciprocation (cylender-driven) engine as you can get out of a gas turbine, given the same weight. they can rev higher than any reciprocation because they have almost no moving parts, and no reciprocating mass. also, they need no cooling system and almost no lubrication. whats more, they can run off any flammable liquid. swamp gas works great!! grandpa after eating 12 hot dogs can get you to work and back!!. they do get tererible milage and they do prefer constant revs. just another idea.

I do know quite a bit about electric engines, but I'llsave that little nugget of knowledge for a little later. I am at work after all. I'm a physicist, and I'll tell you right off that no gasoline engine will beat out a well developed electric engine. its just not possible. I'll explain later.

all that said, great debate here. just a little less arrogance being tossed around please <eyes a few specefic individuals>. C'mon now. I admitted I was wrong once.

-IggDawg
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Old 10-23-2001, 04:20 PM   #24
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Quote:
I could be wrong on this one. I was wrong once back in '82. It was terible. I try no to talk about it. so much blood... I'm not bashing anyone on this. I Just think I might be more informed. thats all.
Now that is just good comedy.

Quote:
Second: F1 engines ... didn't they either allow you to have a NA 6 or a turbo 4?
Not any more. F1 banned turbos quite a few years ago. CART is the only open-wheel league that still allows turbos, and I hear that they might be giving them up, too. Going too fast, y'know?

Quote:
the engines with the best power to weight have no cylenders
And I bet solid rocket engines beat even turbines, but who cares? NA in this case means Not Applicable. Kinda' ditto for the electric case. It's just not a very viable option currently. So we're stuck with internal combustion engines, running on either gasoline or diesel, using either a reciprocating (piston) or rotary cycle.

Mmm... Turbo diesel rotaries. Sounds kinda' neat.
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Old 10-23-2001, 04:38 PM   #25
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All good points. Electric engines are crap right now. they really are. if you know anything about E&M (Put away that whip. its an "E" not an "S"), you know what capacitors can do to a DC circuit... such as a 3 phase DC motor. more current is more better. Fuel cell electric cars will be even better. suddenly the caps are no longer one-shot. its like re-usable nitrous.

Electric will be good once the car companies run out of oil and they let out all the designs they've been holding back for years. Its not conspiracy theory. its fact. I'm a scientist. I know this. There's a design out there for a carbuerator that'll give 100 miles to the gallon. I've seen it. its crazy stuff.

as far as the here and now goes. diesels are good, but remember. we're talking practicality here. ever try to pick up a date in a diesel? They sound funny and they're smelly. "no, really baby. its supposed to stink and smell funny! really! let me explain. its real cool. where are you going? come back..." hear what I'm saying? thats just one issue. diesel availability. thats what kept me from getting one. I never get dates. I did say I'm a scientist, right? I love diesels. just no place for me to fill up.

rotary engines are just wierd. evil. evil. stay back.... give me pistons. go away.

mmm... turbo... Its cheap and it fills up the space where expensive things go. Its kinda like ramen noodles in that way. I could eat a bowl of ramen or a plate of fois gras. at the end of the night, I'm going to be just as full. A car can be turbo'd or NA. at the end of the drive, I'll be home just as fast.

As far as NA goes (now I'm finally returning to the subject at hand here), I'd say go with high revving big bore. you'll have plenty of down-low torque to play with and good HP at the high end. it'll be a little heavy and it'll chew on the gas a little, but its like relativity that way. you can only spread the speed of light across 4 dimensions. you've got to slow down somewhere to speed up somewhere else. if you want drivability and lots of power, you're just going to have to fill up more often. If you want a nice girl thats pretty and nice in bed too, you'll have to give her a few more roses a little more often to keep her. no more metaphors. ever. I promiose.

-IggDawg
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