Car Engine Types

The types of engines you'll learn about in this section include diesel, rotary, HEMI, stirling and quasiturbine, to name a few. You'll also see photos and animated images of the technologies we explore.

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Chevy 396-cid V-8 Engine

After doing surprisingly well in a 500-mile race at the Daytona International Speedway, the 396 Chevy V-8 was created as a high-performance option for the Chevelle and Corvette. Learn more about one of Chevy's milestone performance engines.

Chevy 427-cid V-8 Engine

Available for the Corvette and full-size Chevrolet in 1967, the 427 Chevy V-8 superseded the 396 with its aluminum cylinder heads with enlarged ports, hotter crankshaft, and bigger carburetor. Learn about one of Chevy's milestone performance engines.

Chevy 454-cid V-8 Engine

Chevy engineers had to bend some of their rules to get as much power out of the Chevy 454-cid V-8. America's "fuel shock" would ultimately sentence big-inch high-performance cars to oblivion. Learn about one of Chevy's milestone performance engines.

How Quasiturbine Engines Work

The quasiturbine engine takes the Wankel concept and improves on it: Instead of three combustion chambers it has four and the setup of a quasiturbine allows for continual combustion. Learn all about the quasiturbine.

How HEMI Engines Work

Even if you don't know much about cars, the word "HEMI" might still mean something to you. It's become a synonym for big, powerful engines.

What does 2.4 liter mean in the context of an engine?

This may sound silly but on the back of my car there is a little sign that says "2.4 liter" and every morning I see that and wonder "What does that mean?" So what does it mean?

How Stirling Engines Work

The Stirling engine is a heat engine that is vastly different from the internal-combustion engine in your car. It has the potential to be more efficient than most types of engines, but it hasn't made it into mass production yet. Find out why.

How Rotary Engines Work

A rotary engine is an internal combustion engine, but it's not like the one in most cars. Learn about the unique rotary setup and how it compares performance-wise to a piston engine.

Is there a way to compare a human being to an engine in terms of efficiency

Is there a way to compare a human being to an engine in terms of efficiency? For example can you calculate the equivalent "miles per gallon" (kilometers per liter) rating for a person riding a bicycle?

Is it true that a diesel engine can operate under water while a gasoline engine cannot?

Diesel powered Humvees are capable of running in "extreme" conditions, and these conditions can include deep submersion during river fording. Is it only possible to go underwater with a diesel powered vehicle?

If diesel engines are more efficient why do most cars have gasoline engines?

I have read the articles on diesel and gasoline engines. Several of my friends drive Mercedes turbodiesels and I have seen several diesel hummers. I was wondering that if diesel engines are more efficient and use cheaper fuel why don't all cars use diesel?

Is there a difference between inline and V engine configurations?

There are three different engine configurations commonly used in automobiles -- inline, V, and flat. Learn the difference and find out what designers look at when deciding which configuration to use in a car.

How Car Engines Work

It's the reason you can put the pedal to the metal and go from 0 to 60 in seconds. But to the uninitiated, an engine can look like a jumble of metal and wires.

How does a Miller-cycle engine work?

Mazda has been using this type of engine in some of its cars for several years. Learn what a Miller-Cycle engine is and how it works.

How Diesel Two-Stroke Engines Work

Take diesel-engine technology, throw in a two-stroke cycle, and you've got the basis for the huge engines found in trains and big ships. Learn about the diesel two-stroke engine!

How Diesel Engines Work

Ever wonder what the difference is between a gasoline engine and a diesel engine? Diesels are more efficient and cheaper to run than gasoline engines. Learn what makes diesel engines different!


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