Most cars on the road today use a specific type of engine: a four-stroke piston engine. These engines can get somewhat complicated, and because they're usually built out of metal it can be tough to see what's going on. The folks over at Warped Perception have come up with a clever solution to this problem by building an engine with a clear cylinder head.
In the video above, the team builds a piston engine and fires it up while filming it in super slow motion. The result is that you can clearly see each step of the process as the engine goes through its cycle.
There are four visible parts in this engine. On the left is the piston moving up and down. On the right are the intake and exhaust valves (this is a flathead, valve-in-block engine design). Right in between them is the spark plug, which ignites the fuel.
RELATED STORYThis is a four-stroke engine, which means the full cycle has four steps. Step one is the intake valve opening and letting air and fuel into the chamber while the piston moves down. On step two, the piston moves up, compressing the fuel. On step three, the fuel is ignited, and the force of that ignition pushes the piston down again. And finally, step four sees the piston move upward again, forcing the exhaust out of the newly opened exhaust valve.
This is how a piston engine is supposed to work. Of course, it doesn't always work this way. The Warped Perception folks experiment with using isopropyl alcohol and acetylene as fuels instead of gas, and the engine clearly doesn't care too much for those.
Courtesy of our favorite battery vendor, 'Battery Sytems,' here's some info on battery myths that we found particularly useful:
Over the years, the staff members of our different locations at Battery Systems have been asked a variety of questions about the form and functionality of the different batteries we offer. While our customers will have the customary questions we are glad to answer, batteries have evolved which leads to thoughts which were once true to now be myths. Saying that, I thought it would be a good idea to give our readers a list of traditional battery myths followed by the truth.
Myth #1: Storing a battery on a concrete floor will discharge them.
Truth: In the past, when battery cases were made out of wood, the rate of discharge was accelerated. Today, battery cases are made ofpolypropylene or hard rubber which seal better and allow discharge to longer be a problem. **Suggestion: Top of battery should be kept clean and keep the battery at a cool temperature because temperature stratification within large batteries can accelerate the internal “leakage” or self-discharge when sitting on a floor that is too cold or too warm.A little joke from one of our smart staff members regarding this myth: “They’re called ‘batteries’ not ‘bat-trees’!” lol
Myth #2: Driving a car will fully recharge a battery.
Truth: There are some factors which can affect an alternator’s ability to charge a battery. The main reasons vary from, how much current is being diverted from the alternator to the battery, the length of available current, and temperature. Note: Using your vehicle on short stop and go trips during bad weather will not recharge the battery
Myth #3: A battery will not explode.
Truth: A wet, lead acid battery produces hydrogen and oxygen gasses. However, the vent caps in batteries help prevent explosions that occur when jumping, connecting or disconnecting charger/cables, and starting the engine. Keep in mind that a battery explosion will most likely cause an eye and burn injury rather than create a Hollywood building explosion scenario. It is very important that all sparks, flames, and heat sources are nowhere near a battery that is charging or being cycled and always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment when working near batteries.
Myth #4: “Maintenance Free” batteries never require maintenance.
Truth: What happens to water on sidewalks, in cups, etc. during summer? Evaporation! The same thing occurs in batteries. In hot climates, the water in the electrolyte can evaporate due to the high under-hood temperatures. Therefore, non-sealed batteries are a nice benefit in hot climates because you can easily add distilled water when evaporation occurs. Many maintenance free, or sealed, batteries are designed so that is vented during charging collects and is “recombined” back into the battery. All batteries require that they are charged properly.
Myth #5: A larger capacity battery will damage my car.
True: A starter motor will only draw a fixed amount of current from the battery, based on the resistance of the load. A larger current capacity battery supplies only what is required but will give you more starting capacity and will not damage your car.
Myth #6: Flooded, AGM, and Gel batteries are the same.
Truth: Even though all AGM, GEL, and flooded batteries are classified as lead acid, the internal construction of the battery divides them into their respective categories. AGM are the latest batteries. AGMs are sealed and use a separator consisting of fiberglass between the plate to hold electrolyte in its place with capillary action. Flooded or ‘wet cell’ batteries are the most commonly used. Flooded batteries use the lead plates, sulfuric acid electrolyte, and plate separators but the acid flows free within the battery. Gel batteries are also sealed like AGM. However, unlike an AGM, they use a silica material to turn the sulphuric acid into a jelly like substance. This jelly is then used as the electrolyte.
Myth #7: Trickle charger is the best way to charge my car battery.
Truth: No, not very effective. One should charge the battery at 10% to 13% of the battery’s 20 hour AH capacity. Most vehicles are rated between 50-110 amp hours. Automatic trickle chargers are good to keep the battery charged in storage or for small batteries like those used for Powersports.
Myth #8: After leaving the car’s lights on, going for a drive will recharge the battery.
Truth: No, you will not fully recharge the battery by going for a drive. In fact ‘surface’ charging or continuous undercharging will lower the capacity of the battery over time and shorten its life. You could also void the warranty by not recharging it correctly. The best way to restore a flat dead battery is to use an appropriate multi-stage battery charger.
Myth #9: Tap water can be used to top off the water level in a battery if the plates are exposed.
Truth: To replace lost water in batteries, use distilled, deionized, or demineralized water. Tap water can produce mineral build-up on the plates of the battery.
Myth #10: The bigger the cold cranking amps (CCA), the better the battery.
Truth: The electrical systems on most cars are designed around a specific size battery. The vehicle’s computer systems regulate the power required for normal operation. The electrical system will only use a fixed amount of power from the battery based on the requirements of the starter motor and electrical system. A large CCA battery only supplies what is required. While it won’t damage your car, it can affect the performance of the car.
Great news for Top-End customers! We have moved to a new Shop Management System named 'Shop-Ware' and we couldn't be happier with the transition. This means that our automotive service and repair process will now be paperless unless otherwise requested. Top-End decided to move to this new platform as it enhances communication between our service writers, technicians and most importantly our customers. In addition, the software enables our customers to easily track the progress of their vehicle in the shop as well as access any of their past records.
Here's a story about Carolyn, the founder of Shop-Ware and a friend of Eric and Matt. Check it out and please let us know what you think of the new system next time you visit Top-End.
Wow! Volkswagen has just confirmed the production of the VW Microbus will be fully electric and release in 2012. Check out some photos of it here, then stay tuned for more info as Volkswagen Audi Group puts out more press information.
BMW North America just realized a quick teaser about the new M5, with a promise of an update on August 21st. Here's what we know now about the new M5:
- The vehicle will be all wheel drive (AWD)
- Engine will have over 600hp
- 0-60mph will be less than 3.5 seconds
- More info to come soon!
Check out this video explaining the new AWD system on the M5. Don't worry, purists... you can make it RWD just by changing a setting!
The folks over at Auto Express have put together a great series on Automotive Technology A-Z. This recent post explains how a limited slip differential works, particularly on Jaguar / Land Rover vehicles. In addition, they have some really interesting information on how aluminum is used to reduce weight in today's vehicles. Check it out!
Ford has recently launched a new brand named 'Omnicraft,' which will be their new line of OEM parts that will be sold throughout the US. Why does this matter? Well, one of the most common questions we get asked is 'do you use dealer parts?' The short answer to that question is: only when we have to.
You see, dealer parts are significantly more expensive than the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts that we typically install. OEM parts are essentially the same as the dealer parts, as they are made by the same company that makes the part for the Auto Manufacturer at the exact same specification. For example, BMW typically uses 'Textar' rotors on their brakes. We can buy them from BMW at a significant markup, or we can buy them from Textar at a much better price with a much better warranty; this translates in to significant savings for the customer.
Ford is aware of this issue and has decided to stop losing their parts business to the OEM Manufacturers out there, so now they are providing their own brand to compete with the rest of the market. Consider this quote from the President of the Ford Customer Service Division: "The fact is, 75–80 percent of parts that are applied to a vehicle are aftermarket. OEM commands somewhere between 20–25 percent." In other words, only 20-25% of shops out there are using the quality parts your car deserves. So when you're looking for a shop, this is something that you want to ask about.
Another way to look at it is, 'not all aftermarket parts are created equal, however all OEM parts ARE created equal.' At Top-End we use OEM parts whenever they are available. This is part of why we are able to offer a 2 year, unlimited mileage warranty on all parts installed here at Top-End. When working with precision built automobiles such as Porsche, BMW, Mini, Mercedes-Benz, Audi / Volkswagen, Jaguar and Land Rover, it is critical to have replacement parts that are the same quality and fitment as the one that is being replaced.
The Audi A8 is the flagship sedan of the German automaker's lineup and they have a whole new onslaught of technology rolling out in 2019. Motor Trend provides a good first look at the vehicle. Southern Californians will likely find the new 'traffic jam' feature extremely useful!
'As previously announced, Audi is introducing its new piloted driving technology to the A8. A feature called “traffic jam pilot” controls starting, accelerating, steering, and braking so that drivers can take their hands off the wheel when they’re stuck in slow-moving traffic on the highway.'
Check out the Article Here
When launching the new E-Pace SUV, Jaguar wanted to do something unique to announce it to the world. So they called up Guinness World Records and notified them they would be attempting the "furthest barrel roll in a production vehicle." I must say, this is pretty remarkable. While the car handled the barrel role quite nicely, we'll be curious to see how it handles 100k miles of daily driving ;)
A common failure resulting in an engine stalling and / or not starting is the failure of a fuel pump. Check out this video to gain some perspective on how today's modern fuel pumps work and where they are located. Note: this is for the Fuel Pump inside the gas tank. Many European cars such as Audi, BMW, or Mercedes Benz have additional fuel pumps throughout the fuel system.