Key Terms And Definitions About Vehicle Engines

Oct. 26, 2021

The engine is the main source of power for the vehicle. The car engine uses fuel and burns it to produce mechanical power.


Engine classification

Engines are usually classified in three (3) main ways.



Number of cylinders

Cylinder arrangement

Displacement is the volume of space through which a piston moves in one stroke. It is calculated by multiplying the area of the piston by the length of its stroke. Stroke is the distance the piston moves up or down in the cylinder from the top (TDC) to the bottom (BDC). The vehicle engine cylinder arrangement is divided into three (3) main forms.

EURO II Vehicle Engine 6110 Series

EURO II Vehicle Engine 6110 Series     

In-line, V-shaped, or horizontally opposed. For inline, all cylinders are in one file, one after the other. v-type has half of the cylinders eccentric on one side (left row) and the other half on the other side (right row). The spacing between the two rows can be from >0 degrees to <180 degrees. When the spacing is equal to 180 degrees, this arrangement is known as horizontal opposing.


There are two other ways of mounting the engine in the vehicle. In the traditional method, the crankshaft and cylinders are aligned with the vehicle from front to rear. The transverse direction is where the engine turns sideways so that the crankshaft and cylinders are in a straight line from left to right.


Key terms and definitions

Air-fuel ratio: The air-fuel ratio is the ratio of air to fuel present in the combustion process; approximately 14.7 to 1 by weight.

Compression cycle: The movement of the piston from the lower to the upper stop where the air/fuel mixture is compressed; follows the intake stroke.

Connecting rod: the component used to connect the piston to the crankshaft.

Crankshaft: the component that converts the reciprocating motion of the piston into a rotary motion.

Displacement: the volume expelled by the piston as it moves from the lower to the upper stop.

Oval: egg-shaped, oval, or round like an egg.

Exhaust cycle: the upward movement of the piston forcing the gases of combustion out of an open exhaust valve.

Expulsion: Forced departure or relocation. Exhaust gas examples

Vehicle Engine

 Vehicle Engine

External combustion engine: An engine that burns an air-fuel mixture in a chamber outside the engine cylinder, such as a steam engine.

Horizontally opposed: an engine with two rows of cylinders placed flat or 180 degrees apart.

Intake cycle: The downward stroke of a piston that draws the air/fuel mixture into the cylinder.

Internal Combustion Engine: An engine that burns fuel within itself as a means of generating power.

Piston: The engine component that moves reciprocally within the cylinder and transmits the force of expanding gases to the crankshaft via the piston pin and connecting rod.

Power cycle: the piston stroke where both valves are closed and combustion takes place, forcing the piston from TDC to BDC.

Reciprocating motion: the up and down movement of the piston in the cylinder.

Vaporization The process of turning a liquid (e.g. petrol) into vapor is usually completed after the atomized fuel has left the injector.

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