Buzz-box four

4 x 4 Australia - - Tech Torque -

IN­LINE-FOUR en­gines are enor­mously pop­u­lar, but they are also enor­mously flawed in terms of dy­namic bal­ance. In fact, of all the pop­u­lar en­gine con­fig­u­ra­tions, the in­line­four is the most com­pro­mised in terms of dy­namic bal­ance thanks to un­bal­anced in­er­tial forces that oc­cur at twice crankshaft speed.

None of the other pop­u­lar en­gine con­fig­u­ra­tions – flat-four, in­line-five, in­line-six, flat-six, V6, V8, and V12 – have this prob­lem, al­though the flat-four, in­line-five, V6 and V8 do have var­i­ous un­bal­anced in­er­tial ‘mo­ments’ or rock­ing cou­ples that pre­vent them from be­ing 100 per cent smooth.

The in­her­ent vi­bra­tion prob­lem with an in­line-four gets worse with big­ger en­gine ca­pac­i­ties and is typ­i­cally ad­dressed via the use of ro­tat­ing counter-bal­ance shaft(s), which un­for­tu­nately add com­plex­ity, weight, and en­gine size, and eat up power – so that’s not an ideal solution, ei­ther.

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