A V8 Engine: Everything You Need to Know

When you are buying a car, you have to consider plenty of factors before making the final decision. When reading about the efficiency of a car, you may have heard about a V8 engine. In this article, we’ll have a look at the functions of a V8 engine.

What Is a V8 Engine?

As the name suggests, a V8 engine is an 8-cylinder configuration engine. Its cylinders are mounted on the crankcase in two sets (also called banks) of four. The two banks are set at 90 degrees to each other. But, in most cases, they are also set at an angle of 45, 60, or 72 degrees. All eight pistons of the V8 engine drive the crankshaft.

The V8 engine comprises two parallel lines with four pistons each. These pistons share a common crankshaft. This arrangement gives a V-shape to the engine, and hence the name. V8 engines in race-modified cars use a single plane crankshaft. The single plane provides an efficient exhaust system design and faster acceleration.

Who Invented the V8 Engine?

The origins of a V8 engine date back to 1902 when a 39-year-old inventor, Leon Levavasseur, applied for a patent for the first V8 engine. Levavasseur intially called the engine Antoinette in honor of the daughter of his financial backer. At that time, cars hadn’t gained much popularity. But the V8 engine became an instant hit among plane and boat manufacturers. The efficiency of the engine attracted several manufacturing companies.

Since then, the engine is considered as the most reliable way to power automobiles. The engine’s original creator died in the 1920s – around a decade before the legendary Ford perfected it.

Earlier, the V8 engine available was made by assembling two or three blocks and then bolting them together. This created an unavoidable shaking in the engine. Ford’s blueprint for the V8 engine became the only solution to this problem.

So, in 1931, a long time after the death of Levavasseur, Ford used the technology to create an engine even more efficient.

How Does a V8 Engine Work?

Have you ever rode a bicycle? You do know that the pedals on a bicycle make the bicycle move. In the V8 engine, a crankshaft works pretty much like the pedals. Each crank is attached to a piston rod. These rods make the crankshaft turn. The setup of the V8 engine is at 90 degrees. This indicates that for every 90-degree rotation of the crankshaft, a cylinder will be fired.

But this leads to another question: how do the pistons do their job? So basically, the force that sends the piston to turn the crankshafts comes from ignition and combustion of a fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber – located above the piston. This ignition is caused by the spark plugs in the car.

The V8 engine has 4 strokes: Intake, Compression, Power, and Exhaust. This means that there will be four strokes on each cylinder – leading to a total of 32 strokes. When each 90-degree rotation, one piston reaches the top. The force of this piston is balanced by the piston that is pushed downwards. The working of the V8 engine relies on the repetition of four cycles.

How Much Does a V8 Engine Weigh?

The advantages of a V8 engine are numerous. However, it is also true that many car manufacturers are not using this engine in their vehicles. This is because a typical 8-cylinder weighs around 575lb.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the V8 Engine?

The V8 engine revolutionized the automobile industry when it was reintroduced by Ford. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the V8 engine.

Pros of the V8 Engine

  • Generates little vibration [reduced shaking]
  • Produces more power
  • Comes in a compact design

Cons of the V8 Engine

  • Heavier than commonly used engines
  • A bit complex as it needs two separate cylinder heads

The Final Word

The V8 engine is the most reliable combustion engine in the world. It has a lot of advantages over its counterparts, which is why it is still being used in different automobiles to this date.

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