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antique pushrod engines
>Subject: Re: Now engine swap, was 85 UrQ!!
>I don't know why you'd want to put 60's technology in an Audi. Just my
>personal opinion. Hey American companyies did just stop making pushrod
>motors a couple of years ago!
>- -Greg schulze
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a pushrod engine! Or even with a
(gasp!) flathead engine!
Yes, it is "old" technology, but that doesn't necessarily mean "new"
technology is therefore better.
Understand that in many countries gasoline is quite expensive and cars are
taxed on the basis of engine displacement. Therefore, the manufacturer who
can produce a small displacement engine that uses little gas but still
makes lots of horsepower will sell lots of cars. Manufacturers who build
large, thirsty engines will be penalized.
To get lots of horsepower from a small displacement engine requires
complexity and "new" technology - overhead cam(s), turbochargers,
intercoolers, fuel injection, electronic engine management systems,
high-revving, small engines. etc. In short, all the items we are always
bitching about here on the Audi list.
And when the factory is all done, they get a whopping 160 or so horsepower
from 2.3 liters (5KQT). (Yes, I know we can get 225 with a chip change . . . )
And that is fine - for places where gas is expensive and cars are taxed by
displacement. The 5KQT is not a slouch, but the price for speed is
complexity and lots of money.
NOW: Jump on a plane and come to Amurrica. Gas is cheap, there's no tax on
engine displacement. Need 160 horsepower? Easy: 305" chebby V-8 (5 liters)
of antique pushrod splendor, made of Detroit Wonder Metal (cast iron),
pumped out by the millions, and it will make 160 horsepower almost forever,
and with a tenth the maintenance and at a tenth the cost. Size does matter
- if you want horsepower, bigger is better - more is more.
Add all the trick stuff to the chebby V-8 - aluminum heads, direct port
fuel injectors, roller cam, blah blah blah, an easy 550 horsepower just by
selecting and bolting on the right parts! I don't care HOW "new" your
technology is: 550 HP of "old" technology is going to blow 160 (or 225) HP
of "new" technology so far into the weeds that it may never find its way
So why has Detroit finally "forsaken" the pushrod engine? First, actually,
they haven't. Pushrod engines are still alive and well in motor city. They
just don't boast about them, because that's not what the customers want to
hear. Second, the consumer market SAYS it wants what it thinks are
"sophisticated, european-type cars", not big, dumb Detroit Iron. So Detroit
has set about imitating (with varying degrees of success) European cars -
smaller, nimbler, lighter, and with smaller engines which use "newer"
technology to get the horsepower everyone demands.
The result is vehicles that are not well suited for their intended market!
They are too small for cruising the interstate, they can't tow a trailer or
a boat, they take more maintenance than we are used to or willing to give
them, and they are expensive for what you get. And that's why Americans are
buying low tech, pushrod V-6 and V-8 powered quintessentially American
mommie-vans and SUVs just as fast as Detroit (and me-too Mercedes and the
Japanese) can crank them out - they have room for all your stuff, you can
tow your boat, you can fill them up with the whole family and all their
junk, and blast off for a 3,000 mile vacation trip, cupholders and all. And
you'll get there, too - the big, dumb pushrod V-8 just keeps running and
running and running . . .
Personally, I very much like the idea of a Buick V-6 powered 5000. I'd love
to have 250 reliable horsepower with the torque of a 250 or so cubic inch
engine. I like the idea of having room in the engine bay, of never needing
an ISV or another can of Techron again, and of blowing off all the kids in
Hyundais and on mopeds who regularly out-drag me at the stoplight grand prix.
Bob duPree's LT-1 Quattro fascinates me - I don't need the power that the
Vette' engine puts out, but I'd sure like to double MY horsepower and
double my fun!