Bench Life of different car engines available?

So, spartydog, you don’t envision this info being made public in a marketing campaign anytime soon?

THat’s what i was saying. The industry is not ready for that type of competition. It would be cool to know though. I guarantee some of those engines would have a bench life of 700k miles with proper maintenance and consistent driving habits taken into account.


Yea, I’d be really suprised if the manufacturers didn’t have the data and I’d be more suprisedif they ever made it public.

Think about it. Who would most want to have this data?

Did I hear someone say class-action lawyers? Bingo!!!

The class action vultures reached a settlement with Hewlett-Packard over their printers not feeding paper properly after they were a couple of years old. Think what they could do with some engine data. There was a lot of tire data that wasn’t known to the public until the lawyers started tearing into it.

Then one manufacturer opens the can of worms by saying our data shows yadda, yadda, yadda. The other manufacturer comes back with, “Well our dynos are much more sophisticated and they show, da, da, da.”

I’d say your best bet is to find someone that works in engine design, buy him/her a few beers and start talking engine durability. Then slip us the info on this board.

Now that you’ve piqued my interest I do know an engine designer. . .

[hijack]well, i see your point, but he’s only relaying his personal experience, which is with those two vehicles in particular.

but really, the same could be said for any direct competition between american and japanese manufacturers/car models that are in the same class.

Economy cars as an example.
Civic/Corolla vs. Focus/Cavalier/Sunfire/Neon

I only used the Honda and the Toyota since those Japanese makers have the best reputations for quality.

The Focus is a good car but’s been recalled to death which obviously calls into question it’s quality. The underpinnings of the Cavalier/sunfire have been the same for the last decade, and the Neon isn’t and never was a reliable car.

I don’t have my Lemon-Aid book so i’m just going from my head (no hard numbers), but I don’t remember ever reading a bad thing about Civic or Corolla reliabilty, and i can’t say the same for the american makers. This isn’t just in magazine articles, but anecdotes, used car ratings books (like lemon aid), etc.

Somewhat related to the hijack but more to the OP, in the may 2001 issue of sport compact car they had this to say about the Ford Focus engine while installing new cam timing gears:

For those that don’t know, adjusting the cam timing is just fine tuning. But the Zetec comes from the factory with such loose tolerances that any 2 Foci can have up to a 15% difference in power! I mean, good god man. Some power difference is to expected, but 15%? That says something to me about how much care Ford puts into making their product. Again, I’ve never heard of this type of thing from Honda or Toyota.

Another factor is the Big 3’s continued use of old technology. For example (flamesuit on) pushrods. (here is a good article on why OHC is superior to pushrods), and solid rear axles. Their product cycles are also much longer than their japanese counterparts. The Fox-body mustang came out in a believe 1979, and lasted well into the nineties? The cavalier and sunfire remain basically unchanged from 1993 while the civic and Corolla have already had 2 redesigns? And how long have the taurus and sebring been around in their current forms?

Is it any wonder they don’t have a reputation for quality? They show little desire to innovate and even their good products (the focus has been on Car and drivers 10 best list more than once) have serious issues. They practically have to give their vehicles away (0% financing for 5 years, $3000 cash back, even Saturn is offering $3000 dealer rebates).


additional note-SCC’s Focus made 115 peak-hp from the factory, their car ended up with 121 peak-hp.

the 15.7hp from cam timing came at 6850 RPM, that was where the biggest gain was made. they lost 3.1hp at 3600 rpm which was the greatest loss.

So their engine, when the cams were properly tuned, made 121hp, which actually means that any 2 focus could have up tp a 20% difference in power (101 ve 121hp). That’s just ugly.

THe one person i know who owns a focus had major problems with the auto tranny. While slowing down, it kept staying in third gear and stalled.

That’s a car who’s engine and related components i would like to see bench tested.

Getting back to the OP all the engines mentioned so far are just pikers.
If you want real long term duribility just ask Irv Gordon.

Now that we have moved far away from the OP in GQ (hope the mod cops are not watchin’) :slight_smile:

Most of my friends with motocycles (American made of course) have more power than the Focus, Corolla, or Civic - damn man! I thought we were talking about cars???

BTW, Push rod engines are still the most powerful

Focus, Corolla, Civic et al. are cars. They are some of the best selling cars in both the united states and Canada, and i daresay the world.

And pushrods are not more powerful engines. There are inherently less powerful because they are so inefficient. As an example, a 5.7 litre quadcam v-8 would make more power than the lt-1 or ls6 which are pushrod. There are simply too many moving parts creating friction and heat in a pushod engine.

The 2002 q45 gets 340hp and 333lb/ft of torque from 4.5 litres, as opposed to 385hp and 385 lb/ft or torque for the 2001 corvette zo6 which has 5.7L of displacement. Also remeber that the z06 is a full blown sports car, while the q45 is a premium luxury sedan, so the q45 makes more compramises in power in exchange for being suitable for a high end luxo sedan. A better example i just thought of is the BMW M5 which makes MORE HP, 394hp to be exact, and is still only 5 litres. How much more power would it make if it were 5.7L?

Another couple things to consider.

If pushrods make more power, why are ALL newly designed engines of the OHC variety? Pushrods are much cheaper to build and design. If they also made more power you’d think that manufacturers would have stuck with them. They’re obviously lacking in some area.

And, if pushrods produce more power, why is every supercar (which uses a newly designed engine and not one from a pre-existing vehicle) of the DOHC variety? Ferrari, Lambo, and all the little specialty houses like Koennigspeed (i must have spelt that wrong) use DOHC engines. The McLaren F1 costs a cool million bucks, and they use a specially designed engine built from scratch by BMW. They spared no expense in this car, even going as far as lining the engine bay with gold because of gold’s properties concerning heat. Yet that’s a DOHC design. If pushrods truly did make more power, they would have used a pushrod engine.

I will agree that pushrods will make more power cheaper if you’re doing modifications to the car. But in the end you’ll always lose because you’re starting from an inferior base. Have a read through that link I posted above. It’s very insightful.

I dislike american motorcycles as well (unless there are other brands besides Harley and Buell), but that’s a whole 'nother thread :wink:

  1. They are not cars, they are transportation things.

  2. I did not say that they make more HP, I said they are the most powerful - Top Fuel engines are pushrod engines.

  3. The BossHoss is an American Motercycle

DOHC engines are more efficient, but more expensive to produce and harder to service. Price is one of the compromises GM considers in it’s LS1/LS6’s.
btw, the Z06 makes 405 hp, and that engine has a lot more potential. The next revision of the Z06 is expected to make over 500hp.

If you really want the most efficient, why not go with a solenoid activated valvetrain :wink:

Dammit! i wrote a huge reply but it got eaten by the hamsters!!

Anyways-the 385 figure was from edmunds. here:*

even at 405HP, it makes only 11 more HP with .7litres more displacement (compared to the BMW.

I believe it’s BMW that has a prototype engine with salenoid operated valves.

Fuel-the Focus is a POS, yet it;s the best that an american company has to offer in that class. other classes are the same. The only classes where they are competitive are in classes (like full size trucks) where there is little ot no competition from foreign automakers.


99% of cars are transportation things.

top fuel Drag racing, okay, you got me. I did say “any racing series,” and those indeed are the most powerful cars. As a question though, are DOHC engines allowed, and if they are, how long have they been competing? If they are allowed and they just started, i suspect that in a few seasons they will be truly competitive and within 5 or 6 they will dominate. I do find it odd though that a Focus or Corolla isn’t a car but a top fuel dragster that can only run for a quarer mile between transmission rebuilds is a car.

BossHoss sounds like something that wouldn’t interest me. Sounds big, loud, and slow. I love the look of Buells, but the engines suck. A buell will get circles ran around it by a sportbike with half the displacement. I would buy a Buell if they would put in an engine that at least resembles something modern. The v-twin has got to go.

some things i forgot to repost in my frustration and haste.

Yes, DOHC engines are more expensive and harder to produce. Agree with you on that. Don’t know about harder to sevice because i’ve only worked on a DOHC engine.

DOHC’s advantage is power and fuel efficiency. Of 2 engines of the same power, the DOHC will be smaller and get better mileage. Of two engines of the same size, the DOHC will get more power (WAG-10%) and likely be more fuel efficient to boot.

As for potential, i know that the potential is there in the ls1/ls6 (i incorerctly called it the lt1, that was in the c4 vette right?). But consider that the big matchup right now, in street racing at least is between the vette and the supra. a 5.7L v8 versus a 3.0litre inline 6. Supras are getting into the 9’s in the quarter and some are putting down a 1000+hp at the wheels, from only 3.0 litres. They’re doing the same thing as the vette guys with almost half the size and 2 less cylinders.

As for the price, this is the crux of my arguement. The only reason pushrods are still around is that they’re cheaper. There is no performance advantage for a pushrod over a DOHC motor. The advantage is in price and ease of manufacture. If you want maximum HP, you should go for a DOHC motor (like mclaren did). if you want maximum fuel ecomony, you should go for a DOHC motor. If you want something cheap and easy to make, you go for a pushrod.

This is symptomatic of american vehicle manufacturers. They stick with old designs like the 3800 V6. And i’m not bashing the engine, it was a great engine when it came out, but it’s a marginal engine now. The 2004 Pontiac Grand Am is going to use it, not because GM has no better designs (I know they do), but because it’s cheap. They’re using the same tooling they did 30 years ago! They sacrifice performance for cost. It’s 2003 and the mustang, a supposed sports car, still has a live rear axle?!?!

People like me see this and think “Jeez, what other corners did they cut? If ant two Focus can ahve a 20% difference in power, where else can i see a 20% difference? Are the bolts holding my car together 20% off spec? The Mustang’s rear suspension is about 20 years out of date, what other technology in this car should have been replaced 20 years ago?” God, if it wasn’t for emissions and the gas crisis of the 70’s american manufacturers would probably still be seling cars with carbeurators.

Pontiac’s design philosophy (until recently thnk goodness) was to tack more plastic onto the side. You could probably build a saturn out of the side moulding on a late nineties Bonneville.

And people wonder why they don’t have a reputation for quality? Because they aren’t quality. I don’t hate domestics, I cheered when the Focus came out. Finally, an american design that I actually like. But the quality was just so poor. It was noticable as soon as you sat in the car. The difference in quality of manufacture and design between domestic and foreign automakers is apparent.

ok im gonna bump this to clear some stuff up.

  1. the LS6 makes more than 405hp. the cars put nearly that much to the wheels so figuring 20% driveline losses means a bit more than 405.

  2. the reason supras put a lot of power to the ground is because they are TURBOCHARGED. not because they are dohc. 3.0L @ 14.7psi boost is about 6.0L, most supras making huge amounts of power have race gas and nitrous… 30psi of boost means 9.0l of theoretical displacement.

  3. no a dohc motor will not automatically be better in every way… if they were then we would see dohc motors in nascar and drag racing… top fuel cars put down ~6000-8000hp and they are pushrod motors. oh i guess pushrods SUCK then.

wrong wrong wrong.
they are not using the same tooling, in 1983 the 3.8 was still the 3.8… around the 90s is when it became the 3800 series II, etc etc. the engine has great potential, gm doesnt really capitalize on it though. the SC3800’s are a good step and can be taken way farther…

and the cobra has IRS. the mustang and mustang GT are not ‘sports’ cars… they are slow and they handle like crap. the f-bodies on the other hand handle very well with a live axle.

mclaren? what does mclaren have to do with anything?

blah blah… im sure i missed some points, but i think this needs to go further.

alright here we go again


And pushrods are not more powerful engines. There are inherently less powerful because they are so inefficient. As an example, a 5.7 litre quadcam v-8 would make more power than the lt-1 or ls6 which are pushrod. There are simply too many moving parts creating friction and heat in a pushod engine.


no, there are more moving parts in a dohc motor. lets see… 4 cams vs. 1 cam. 2 long timing chains with sprockets and gear drives for both cams not to mention solenoids for variable valve timing on each head. compared to… 1 timing chain, 1 cam gear, and some pushrods/lifters. much simpler. and if its a roller valvetrain the friction difference is nil. [sarcasm] there must be more parts and way more friction in a pushrod motor [/sarcasm]

the reason motors make more power SOMETIMES is an issue of valve area… 4 valves means more air coming in and more air going out. at higher rpms more power is made sometimes. wow the 2.0l honda s2000 makes 200hp… at something like 8000rpm. guess how much torque it makes… 153ft-lb. yes… did you know horsepower isnt “real” that its only a mathematical figure based on TORQUE. did you know torque is what actually makes things happen?
did you know fuel efficiency isnt just based on the motor… vettes can get 30mpg on the highway… why? cause they are aerodynamic. etc… etc.

im tired of typing again.

here is my point. YOUR LOGIC IS ALL FLAWED BECAUSE IT IS BASED ON ASSUMPTIONS. you keep comparing apples to oranges. it doesnt work that way.

(1)I know this, I have sen many dyno charts attesting to it. No argument. But it’s only fair to use manufacturers claims, since I have never seen a dynochart for an M5. I have no idea what they put to the ground, so the fairest way to sompare the 2 is to use manufactureres HP ratings.

(2)I know this too. Obviously they don’t put down 800 and more HP naturally aspirated, This is just indicative of what can be done with a significantly smaller motor using modern tech. I only brought it up because in street racing, the “hot action” right now is between the Supra and the 'vette.

(3)A DOHC motor IS better in every way. If they weren’t why would car manufacturers choose the design that’s (a)more expensive to produce (b)more expensive to design and (3) (i guess) more difficult to service? Because their benefits outweigh their greater dollar cost.

Again, for any two motors of identical size, a DOHC motor will make more power, for any two engines of equivalent power, the DOHC engine will have less displacement.

I’m not wrong.

(4)the 3800 series v6 is at best a passable engine. I was wrong when i said that the tooling was the same as it was 30 years ago, I guess it’s “only” been about 10 years.

But as an engine it’s sad. In it’s “newest” iteration in the 2004 Pontiac grand am, it makes 200HP. The rsx-s makes that from 2 Litres and has 2 less cylinders to boot. The SC version that’s coming out for the Grand Am makes 240HP (which i know can easily be raised by changing the pulley, but how many real people are going to do that?). The 3.5 Litre v6 (.3 Litres less than the 3800 V6) in the 350z makes 287HP, 47 more than the 3800V6 and doesn’t need supercharging to do it.

Why doesn’t GM make full use of it’s decent engine designs? GM has the engines, why don’t they use them? Why not use a smaller version of the inline 6 from the Olds Bravada and stick it in the Grand Am? One word: cost. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but if the competition is showing that they have both the ability, and more importantly the desire, to put something newer and better in their cars then I’ll buy from the competition.

Question-is the SC on the 3800 a roots type? If it is, there’s only so far it can be taken before the supercharger becomes a serious limitation.

(5)I didn’t bring the cobra into it because it’s a limited production vehicle. 99% of Mustangs are gt’s and V6’s driven by teenage girls, and 99% of them have an live rear axle. Ford obviously has a design for an IRS for the Mustang, so why don’t they put it on all Mustangs? THIS is what i’m talking about. I don’t doubt their ability to make them, but why the heck aren’t they putting them on their cars?

(6)The Mclaren is an example of a car that could literally choose to design any kind of engine it wanted, in the name of ultimate performance. And they went with a DOHC design. It’s much more relevant then Top fuel drag cars. Try driving one of those on the street.

the 3800 Series II smacks most all import engines.

The HP ratings that the imports use are always higher than if they were rated by American standards

(1)I over-simplified because I’d like to keep it relevant to people who don’t know everything about engines. Yes a DOHC has more moving parts, but it has much less weight and friction. Let’s go:

In a twincam engine, there’s a cam that sits on a bucket that opens the valve. The distance between the cam and the valvestem is negligible. The cam lobes move the bucket on a vertical plane, and the buskets move vertically, and the valves move vertically.

In a pushrod engine there’s a cam located at the bottom of the engine pushing a cam follower. The cam follower pushes the pushrod. The pushrod pushes the rocker, which has to pivot on something. The rocker then moves the valve. The distance that energy has to travel is much greater. It has to go (vertically up)from the bottom of the engine to the top, then has to get transferred through the rocker (horizontally) then has to be transferred vertically down to the valve.

Add in the fact that the rocker doesn’t move perfectly up and down, it moves the valve in a slight arc. (Picture a seesaw). This is why valve guides on pushrod engines have to be replaced more often than on a twincam. On a twincam they should never have to be replaced because there is no horiziontal motion.

Salenoids don’t move :wink: and since when is variable valve timing a bad thing :confused: It clearly adds power and aids driveability.

Roller cams are quite expensive, and it says something about pushrods when you have to modify your engine to reduce the friction to a level comparable to a DOHC.

[sarcasm]but, but, but, i can make expensive modifications to the ancient valvetrain to make it comparable to a modern motor[/sarcasm]

(2)I don’t need a lecture on torque and horsepower. All i have to say is, if torque were king, the fastest things on the road would be diesels. Low RPM torque will give the “jump” when racing, but once the car get moving, high end horsepower is what matters. Even pushrod guys know that. Why else raise the rev limit? It’s not because of the torque they got up there, it’s the horsepower. Downlow torque is great for trucks, but sports cars need their peak horsies up high. This is why f1 cars go to 16000RPM, even nascar cars run up to 9000RPM. Ever see a diesel racecar? No? Because stump pulling torque @2500RPM isn’t what wins races, it’s horsepower @ the top that does.

(3)the s2k makes 240HP from 2.0 litres, not 200. The torque numbers are weak because it’s only two litres, and because it was designed that way. It’s tuned for high-end horsepower, not downlow torque. But even with those weak torque numbers it can still run 13 second quarter miles and get to 60 in 5.3 seconds (1.2seconds faster than the z3 2.8 which has 53lb/ft more torque and only weighs 70 or so pounds more).

(4)WOW :eek: You mean that the design of a vehicle makes a difference in fuel economy?!!? :eek:

:rolleyes:No kidding. All i’ve said was that for 2 engines of the same size yadda yadda yadda. I said they are LESS efficient than a DOHC motor. 10% is my WAG, meaning that if GM stuck in a 405HP (or whatever) engine into the vette that was DOHC, it would get 33MPG instead of 30.

It’s not based an flawed logic. Honda, Toyota, BMW, Volkwagen, etc. have no self-interest in pushing DOHC engines. The big 3 do have an interest in pushing pushrods (haha, pushing pushrods) because they have the tooling for them, and they can make more money selling old designs. NOBODY that designs a new engine from scratch (including the big 3) makes it pushrod, because the only advantage it offers is cost. Again, it’s the big 3 cutting corners.

caveat-the only exception i can think of is the Viper, which uses pushrods. i think this has more to do with fitting the image of “american muscule” and bragging rights (8.0 litre v-10) than any performance reasoning. I mean, 450hp out of an engine that size is pretty sad.

Also waiting for an explaination of why higher HP Jap cars that also weigh less than the lower HP 3800 pushrod cars do not turn better times than the 3.8 American cars.

BTW most of those Jap cars have more mods than the domestic cars. HuMMMMM???

I’m talkin real track times - not a magazine reader time test.

450 hp is sad?

It is the area under the torque curve that tells the story

A wha? They are rated to american standards. What are you talking about? I’m genuinely floored. In fact, the only car i can think of that didn’t whose performance numbers didn’t match the supposed ratings was the 1999(?) Ford Mustang Cobra, which had to be recalled because it’s engine was missing 30(?) horsepower.

Maybe it is all a big conspiracy :eek:


And what engines does the 3800 smack? Not nissans VQ. Not BMW’s inline 6. Not the engine in the new accord. All examples of engines that are smaller and naturally aspirated and make the same or more power then the larger supercharged 3800.

What about forced induction engines? The 2jz (toyota Supra), the VG (from the early nineties nissan 300zx TT) are both smaller by 0.8 litres, have the same number of cylinders and make more power.

the 4g63 (mitsubishi eclipse), 3s-gte (toyota mr2 and celice alltrac), and sr20det (not available in american cars :frowning: ) are four cylinder 2.0 litre (nearly half the size) engines that put out 200HP and are less than $100 and an hour of labour away from at least 240HP. Throw the WRX in there too, another 2.0 litre engine, but it makes 227HP.

BTW the 4g63 is coming out in a more potent form in the Mitsu Evolution 8 and it’s going to have 275HP. Again, a dignificantly smaller engine making MORE power.
Anyways, i digress. What engines does it smack?