The Mathematically Boring Engine

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    You’re right on the qualitative differences but the output gap is significant. The Ferrari motors puts out over 100hp more than its Porsche contemporary despite smaller displacement. But Ferrari has always been a terrific engine shop with a car building business attached to it. That 30 year old design was (and is) pretty impressive - 110 hp per liter naturally aspirated, flat plane crank, 5 valves per (tiny) cylinder, 8500 rpm redline and quite the screamer at the top.
    That said I really enjoy the air cooled flat 6 as well, especially at relaxed speeds and partial throttle where the Ferrari is just not really enjoying itself. They have vastly different personalities and I can’t really pick a favorite (at least when you wrap the rest of the car around the engine - on a pure engine to engine basis, it’s hard not to give it to the Ferrari)

    Anyway, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy these old lumps as I drive my dad’s Taycan Turbo S around here in Florida this weekend. It’s way faster than any car I own but mine have a lot more personality and character.
     
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  2. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I identify with both of these paragraphs quite a bit. That personality and character aspect is what makes it harder for me to like newer and newer vehicles, and part of why I'm building the Cobra. You simply can't buy a new production car these days that lacks all the driver aids and refinements that reduce the personality and character.

    The enjoyment aspect is also a big one. Engine designs are give and take, and so if you have a screamer of an engine that naturally loves to be wrung out (like your Ferrari) it's generally less enjoyable if you aren't revving it up high. That's where variety is nice - pick the one that fits your personality that day.
     
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  3. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yep - IMO nothing beats the older cars for driving enjoyment on the street. This is why I have a perpetual garage space problem, we already have too many cars and there are at least 3 others I want to add...
     
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  4. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I feel your pain. That’s why I built the new shop. :)

    image.jpg
     
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  5. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    I don't care what you think about engines. But I care enough that I wasted time making this post to say that I didn't care.
     
  6. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I'll agree with you to a point. If it doesn't make sound when it's supposed to, I don't like it. If it makes sound it's not supposed to, I don't like it, but I can tolerate it more than no sound when it's supposed to.

    Nauga,
    who will go with the 30 cu. in. cylinders instead
     
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  7. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    You have a bit more space than I do... Although, I have plans for a new six car detached garage (3 wide by 2 tall with lifts) that will get me to 8 garage spots and two outdoor spots without really taking up any more space than the current configuration.
     
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  8. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That will be nice. Truthfully with the RV, the shop is already too small to fit everything in it unless we add lifts for storage purposes.
     
  9. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    So what you're saying is that I should give up my dreams of going to Germany to pick up a Cayman with its "boring" 2.0L turbo flat four, for something that will provide true driving enjoyment, like an Altima or a Camry with their 2.5 L inline fours, or a Mitsubishi Mirage, factory equipped with a 1.2 L I-3? Somehow I think my standards may be different from yours. I'm not really looking for vibration from an engine, I'd rather have adequate power and good response to the pedal.

    Horses for courses. For a cruiser style bike, a heavy truck, or an airplane there's nothing wrong with a pushrod motor. With the advances over the last 20 years in valvetrain technology, it's more than adequate in many applications. There are some pretty nice performance oriented engines that use the OHV valve setup, it's served Corvettes very well. You can get a lighter, more compact engine, especially if the cylinders are in a V shape. Many years ago, that wasn't the case, valve spring technology wasn't up to the task, but that was the 1950's when Mercedes-Benz and Ducati went with the desmodromic valve layout. Only Ducati continues with it, I assume more for heritage reasons than anything else

    I haven't driven one on the street, but I have driven the Porsche 911 GT3 on the track, and that is an amazingly good car. I can't see preferring any older car to it.
     
  10. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    When installed in a small lightweight RWD chassis, I kind of like the Toyota 4A-GE.

    The Honda B18C also had a certain appeal. It was rather inelegant but there was something attractive about how angry it got when the VTEC kicks in.
     
  11. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    conversely, I like how the GSXR doesn’t get angry as the secondary butterfly valves open up. It just keeps pulling like a freight train.
     
  12. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Actually, mentioning VTEC did remind me of something that pertains to the title of the thread: I think the 2.0L Honda F20C is less boring than the 2.2L Honda F22C1 because 9000RPM. :)
     
  13. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The problem with small engines is that the polar foils the benefit of higher rpm. Bigger is always better.

    My favorite engine certainly has a displacement of 483 per cylinder.

    483 gallons.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Prius V wagon was the best Prius. Change my mind!!

    LOL
     
  15. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    :D

    I actually thought it was weird how quickly they stopped making those. I assume it was taking sales from rav4s? siennas? something, i assume.

    I test drove one out of curiousity because i wanted something to lug tools and wing jacks around in. Man, the prius must be the perfect car for people who hate cars and/or driving. soooo flavorless and perfunctory.
     
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  16. genna

    genna Pattern Altitude

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    Wasn’t first gen S2000 2.0L I4? Not sure I would call that boring
     
  17. genna

    genna Pattern Altitude

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    A few M3s over the years had 500cc/cyl engines. E36 wasn’t exactly boring(though euro 3.2 was probably more interesting)
     
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  18. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Yup. Post #52.
     
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  19. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Indian makes a bike with almost identical displacement and half again more power.
     
  20. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    :D

    A car is just transportation. I just need it to get me where I need to go. Preferably at 50 mpg or better. I will absolutely buy a self-driving car some day.

    I don't ride motorcycles anymore, but that's where to go for fun. Cars? Meh. It's just a box. They even lean the wrong way in turns.
     
  21. RudyP

    RudyP Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is why they seem to always be clogging up the left lane...
     
  22. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Touche. Camrys are the worst vehicles on the planet to drive. :)

    In your case, I'd say that the 2.0L turbo flat 4 in the Porsche you're looking at getting is less interesting than @RudyP 's 3.5L flat 6 in his Porsche.

    I've never driven a Honda car that I liked, but I've also never driven an S2000. On motorcycles, I've owned two - VTX 1800 and Interceptor VFR 800i. I thought both of those were great engines and really liked them.

    I'll say I've never really enjoyed driving VTEC/VVTi. I've found the peaky nature and that on/off power delivery to be rather annoying personally, linear power delivery is more enjoyable (turbos are another story, and what I think of them does vary depending on a lot of factors). I'm sure I've driven other cars with more advanced variable valve timing that I've liked more and not known it because of that more linear power feel.
     
  23. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  24. genna

    genna Pattern Altitude

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    I thought the criteria was not being boring, which is different from being liked. Plenty of vehicles I consider not boring while not liking them at the same time. Same goes for engines. I'm not a VTEC fan, but personally I cannot view them as boring.

    On a motorcycle side, there are a few 1000cc twins that are not boring in my opinion. Ducati 999R(and 996/998), Honda RC51 and Superhawk come to mind.
     
  25. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Yup, I mentioned the Honda engines mainly in the context of interesting vs. boring. Overall, I'm not a VTEC fan either. But I do get the appeal.
     
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  26. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I drive a 2016 Ford F-150 Club Cab Lariat with a 2.7l twin turbo engine.

    Take THAT y'all! :)
     
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  27. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Ford doesn't make a Club Cab, try again. :) I'm sure you meant SuperCab or SuperCrew.
     
  28. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    My point more had to do with the fact that the characteristics about a 500 cc/cylinder engine being considered "ideal" for automotive use also makes the engine more boring inherently, for much the same reasons that make it ideal. That does not necessarily mean that all 500cc/cylinder engines are boring, more that if you compare them with an equivalent larger or smaller displacement per cylinder engine, that other one would be more interesting. It may also not be ideally suited for the vehicle. Looking at my Jaguar V12 example (5.3L vs. 6.0), the 5.3s were more interesting and more satisfying. The extra torque of the 6.0 did make it better suited for the XJ12s. But, I still prefer the 5.3s.

    Getting into VTEC, turbocharging, single vs. dual overhead cams vs. pushrods, number of cylinders, solid lifter vs. hydraulic, timing belt vs. timing chain vs. gear driven timing, carburetor vs. EFI, all of those play different factors in.

    Also, to be clear, I'm not sure if that 500 cc/cylinder math was ever intended to also apply to motorcycles, but as I think I said before, I think the equation would be different. 500 cc/cylinder V-twins on motorcycles are some of the more interesting engines - two of my favorite bikes were the TL1000 and RC51 I had. A Ducati 996/998 is on the list for some day, although for now they cost too much for me to be willing to spend the money.

    If we get into motorcycles, it's a completely different story. I think the most boring motorcycle engines are I4s of any displacement. V-twins, I3s, and V-4s are the interesting ones.
     
  29. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I wouldn't call my Honda 954rr boring. I doubt you would either if you had the stones to really ride it. Il Negrini might be a bit boring, you don't need stones to flog that bike. Sadly my accelerating decrepitude keeps me off the super sports. Woe is me.

    IMG_0894.jpeg
     
  30. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You're still not getting it. Some of us are not basing "boring" or "not boring" on speed, but based on the character and feel of the bike.
     
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  31. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Basically what you're saying is if you don't like it then it's boring. I tend to think a little more about what the bike does. The 954rr was the fastest super bike for it's day and for a decade thereafter. I could smoke just about anything, and did routinely. Tadao Baba's masterpiece.

    I admit the CB1000r isn't the fastest naked sport bike. Indeed far from it. It was when I bought it, though. I get a combination of Honda dependability and Italian styling (it was made by Honda of Italy in Milan). That, and it's the only one in town, which really floats my boat.
     
  32. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    No, he and Ted aren't saying that at all. This is just another one of your "if I don't own it, it's crap, and you're a loser if you don't have what I have," diatribes. You do realize there's a whole world of people out there that enjoy things you don't, right?
     
  33. genna

    genna Pattern Altitude

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    Honestly, the CC numbers are mostly product of regulations and insurances in non US markets. We just get the same engines here. US market only cars never followed that formula. For NA engines, somewhere around 550-620cc/cyl seems to be a natural limit. Beyond that it’s better to add cylinders. Space, cost, and complexity are the limiting factors of course. Below that you’re leaving power on the table
     
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  34. masloki

    masloki Line Up and Wait

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    And another tick in the too true column. I test drove the snot out of an Audi S5 (3.0L V6), top down, full pedal mashing and all that, and just so damn predictable and staid and .... boring.
     
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  35. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Audi does some nice looking cars and they do produce some decent performance numbers. But I agree - the driving experience of the ones I've driven has been quite boring. I tend to think that they engineer everything to the point of perfection (except reliability), and in doing so, create a fundamentally boring driving experience.
     
  36. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I suspect mine falls into that category. 4.0 V8, so mathematically it does. Fortunately bigger turbos and some software help tremendously, even if it is just the fastest most comfortable sofa you can buy.
     
  37. genna

    genna Pattern Altitude

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    This is something that can be said for just about any(exceptions are few and far between) car aimed at normal people now. Progress! :). Even many exotics fall into this category. Safer is fundamentally more boring.

    Edit. I think your problem may be not the mathematics of the engines, but general progress of engine/car dynamics. More reliance on electronic nannies and everything is just being objectively better... i.e. less exciting. I don't disagree. But it's called getting old and remembering good old days.
     
  38. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    All that matters is that you enjoy it, after all, it's your car. :)

    Like with any car, you can always make changes to improve the experience and make it more to your liking. I'm sure the software and turbo upgrades went a long way to improving that. On the XKR, the replacement of the Mercedes 5-speed automatic with a proper manual with a clutch would be the biggest thing to improve the experience.

    I would like to drive an R8 one day. I've heard that with the Lambo V10, that actually became a more interesting car. Although I think they also only sold them with automatics, which makes me sad. And I'm not a huge V10 fan, although I am starting to come around.

    Sadly, that's very true.

    I saw a quick snippet on Jay Leno's Garage about the Koenigsegg One:1, and Christian von Koenigsegg was telling Jay how with all of the driver aids you didn't even have to be a very good driver to drive it and enjoy it.

    That made me sad. I wouldn't ever call any Koenigsegg a boring car (not that I'll ever get to drive one), but all those aids detract from the raw visceral experience of driving a performance car.
     
  39. genna

    genna Pattern Altitude

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    It's impossible to do it any other way. 30 years ago a supercar would be something with 3-400hp and no driver's aids. Today the hypercars push 1500hp ranges with massive electric off-the-line torque numbers. Without driver's aids and other safety measures just about everyone would kill him/herself in a few seconds.
     
  40. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I take your point, although I think what that really means is we've pushed cars to the point of absurdity just because we can. I'll stick to the 30+ year old supercar with no driver aids. :)

    (not that I could afford it anyway)
     
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