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Digging the dirt

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Although many might disagree, the sealing of the gap between two fixed surfaces is a relatively simple task. Variation in loading or changes in thermal expansion may require the joint to have some form of compliance, but in general the solutions are well understood and, as such, failures should be few and far between. But when it comes to sealing the gap between a rotation crankshaft and the engine crankcase, a wholly different set of rules apply. In this case not only does the seal have...

Cast-in pipes

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Engine developers have always been regarded as 'strange' people. The reason for this is unclear, although the fact that we tend not to come across as 'straightforward thinking' people in the eyes of others may have something to do with it. But then finding non-straightforward solutions to problems is part of the engine developer's job. One of the most interesting things about an engine is that its various systems need to cooperate in order to achieve the engine's...

The Plasma Transferred Wire Arc process

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With engine manufacturers increasingly moving towards lightweight engine architectures, keeping the length of the engine to a minimum and using lightweight materials - particularly aluminium - is an obvious start. However, the process of replacing parent-metal cylinder liners in one-piece cast aluminium blocks, later on in the life of the vehicle, is fraught with difficulties. Traditionally, in less challenged times (both financially and engineering), blocks would have been re-bored and...

The split rear main crankshaft seal

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The modern internal combustion engine is a masterpiece of engineering. Whether gasoline or diesel, intended for road or race track, the complexity under the hood can be a little awe-inspiring even to those familiar with the technologies used. So why, when we have engineering development processes like FMEA, Six-Sigma and the like, do we still build engines that after only a few short months or even days can still leak oil out of the crankshaft rear oil seal? Owners of the big-block Chevy...

Drilling could be cool

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In response to my earlier articles on cylinder head cooling, two comments were posted on the website by readers. Both are written more or less from the perspective of current cylinder head material and its limitations, providing enough food for thought on alternative concepts. The major driver is to achieve sufficient cooling for the several components in the cylinder head, preferably in combination with a simple and lightweight design. Looking for alternatives, on the one hand...