What Really Makes A Car Go? The Four Stroke Cycle.

814 words - 3 pages

What really makes a car go? There are many parts to an engine that are visible, like an alternator, starter, hoses, wires and a bunch of other things. But what is in the inside and how does it work? The process is really just a mixture of parts, moving in sync in a distinct pattern called the four-stoke cycle.To understand the components of a four-stroke engine better, a little background information may be needed. 'In a gasoline engine, exhaust and intake manifolds (tunnels) and valve ports(inlets or outlets) are needed to supply air and fuel on the intake (first down) stroke of the cylinders, and to expel burned gases on the exhaust(second up) stroke. The ports are opened and closed at the proper times by the intake and exhaust valves, which close against the sides of the ports' (Doyle 128). The controlling of the valves start with a cam shaft. A cam shaft has lobes on it which are all shaped differently, but resemble an oval. On a camshaft lobe there rests a lifter. A lifter is cylinder shaped and pushes up on a push rod when the lobes are rotating. A push rod, which is connected to a rocker arm, then 'rocks' down on a spring that in turn pushes open a valve. This all happens due to the rotation of the camshaft which is geared to the crankshaft (which is connected to the pistons) which is all part of the four stroke cycle.The four-stroke cycle starts with the intake stroke. On the intake stroke, the piston moves down from its top dead center or the farthest 'up' position creating a partial vacuum which draws in the fresh air-fuel mixture from the open intake valve. Think of the vacuum like a syringe with no needle. 'If you put your finger over the end of the tube and pull back the plunger, then pop your finger off the tube, the suction will draw fresh air into the tube' (Freiburger 76). As the piston is moving towards its bottom dead center or the farthest 'down' position, 'the intake valve begins to close. The valve is kept open as long as possible to get as much air-fuel mixture into the chamber as it can' (Doyle 128). But as soon as the piston passes bottom dead center the valve closes. The exhaust valve is closed at this time (Doyle 129). So the cycle goes onto the next stroke, the compression stroke.The compression stroke is not as...

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