Understanding automobile cylinder block

A cylinder block is widely known as an engine block. It’s considered the engine’s heart and one of the engine’s central components. it’s produced with high-quality material to achieve the intended goal of its components. Cylinder blocks play a very important role in the engine’s lubrication, temperature control and engine stability. For this reason, it must be made of high quality to avoid shortcomings.

engine block functions

The engine block is designed to withstand a variety of temperatures and loads so as to maintain the stability and lubrication of the engine. There are a number of oil galleries in engine blocks that help with the circulation of oil within the engine. Water galleries are also featured to provide cooling to the engine which controls its optimum operating temperature.

A cylinder block is designed depending on the type and specification of the engine model built. This will include its cylinder walls, cylinder sleeves and coolant passages. Finally, the cylinder block is a structure that contains the cylinders, and other engine parts of an internal combustion engine.

Read: Symptoms of a Failing Clutch Slave Cylinder and its replacement cost


Engine blocks material:

Engine block manufacturers often use grey cast iron for their production. Nickel and chromium are sometimes added to increase their properties. In order to obtain a less-weight component and performance improvement, aluminium is used. but, the aluminium blocks use cast iron or steel sleeves on cylinders. Most engine cylinder walls are designed with cast iron as it has lower wearing qualities.

Though some small engines use chromium for plating cylinder walls to reduce wear and increase their working life. Furthermore, on aluminium blocks, it maintains more uniformity of temperature due to their thermal conductivity. The block’s crankcase and head are often made of aluminium alloy and sometimes grey cast iron is used. Cast iron is used for heavy applications such as commercial engines, marine engines and rail engines. But aluminium alloys are usually quite different.

Functions of engine blocks

The engine block is one of the major components of an automobile engine. It serves a variety of purposes which will be listed below:

  • One of the greatest functions of a cylinder block is that it enclosed the piston, connecting rod, and crankshaft. Their work takes place inside the block.
  • The block supports the components of the engine including the auxiliary devices. Devices such as A/C compressor, alternator, intake and exhaust manifold, etc.
  • It features the parts for the lubrication circle such as the oil pan, oil pump, oil filter etc.
  • It also plays a vital role in the cooling circuit.

Read: Car Engine Cylinder Configurations

Major parts of a cylinder block

Below are the major parts of a cylinder block and their functions:

  • Cylinder head covers: the cylinder head is mounted on top of the engine block with long bolts. There is a cylinder head gasket between the engine block and the cylinder head. The part helps in sealing the combustion chamber and the cooling circuits.
  • Cylinder head
  • Engine block: an engine block can be a single or split in two, upper and lower blocks. It encloses the piston, connecting rod, etc. as they work in it.
  • Oil pan

Some other parts that can be seen of the cylinder include:

  • Crankshaft fixing support.
  • Coolant circuit passage.
  • Cylinder
  • Lubrication circuit passages
  • Auxiliary equipment support.
  • Threaded hole for cylinder head bolts

Below is the complete diagram of a cylinder block:

diagram of a cylinder block

Types of the engine block

Engine blocks are classified depending on the configurations of the engine. Below are the types of engine blocks:

V engine: the v engine is the popular type of cylinder available on most vehicles today. Starting from the Cadillac v16 to classic v8s even up to tiny v4s used on motorcycles carries this cylinder block.

The block has been available for a decade now, known for its reliability. The v engine also impacts nature because it uses a pair of cylinder banks that run parallel to each other.

v-16 engines lookalike like the inline-eight in length but a bit wider. The downside of a v engine is seamless, which is quite bad because the pistons are set at odd angles of the engine centre-line

Inline engine: in this type of cylinder block, a series of cylinders run in a single line. It runs from the back of the engine to the front. Vehicles with this engine block run smoothly, which is why it’s applicable where high rpm is required. This is why the configuration is ideally suited to a small-displacement engine used in most passenger cars.

Boxer engines: the boxer engine can be easily understood when a V engine is pressed flat. It results in the cylinder heads being directly opposite to each other. This engine is used on Porsche and Subaru and some other high engines.

Pistons in this cylinder block type serve as a counterweight for the other side. This is why the crankshaft does not require a counterweight on its own. For this reason, the crankshaft is shorter, lighter, higher revving and making the engine more powerful.

Read: Most Common Signs and Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket

Common cylinder block problems

Below are common engine block failures:

A leak of external engine coolant: the leak can be caused by the water pump, radiator, heater core, or a loose hose. It can sometimes be caused by the engine block itself when it cracks. A freeze-out plug could lose or rust out but can be easily replaced.

Worn/cracked cylinder: after several working of the cylinders, wear might occur in the smooth machined walls. This can cause the piston ring not to seal against the wall. The cylinder wall can develop a crack which will need urgent attention. Larger holes can be bored by the worn cylinder.

Porous engine block: the engine block failure can be caused by a contaminant that enters the metal. It often occurs during the manufacturing process. Defects in casting often will not cause this issue over a short period but eventually will begin to seep and leak. Nothing can be done to this problem because it originated with it.

That’s it for this article that contains the definition, types, material, and problems of the cylinder block. I hope you enjoyed the reading, if so, kindly comment, share and recommend this site to other technical students. Thanks!

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