V4 engine

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1990-2002 Honda ST1100 longitudinally-mounted V4 engine Honda ST1100 engine closeup.jpg
1990-2002 Honda ST1100 longitudinally-mounted V4 engine

A V4 engine is a four-cylinder piston engine where the cylinders share a common crankshaft and are arranged in a V configuration.


The V4 engine is less common compared to straight-four engines. However, V4 engines have been used in automobiles, motorcycles, and other applications.


Most V4 engines have two crankpins that are shared by opposing cylinders. The crankshaft is usually supported by three main bearings.

Compared to the more common inline-four engine layout, a V4 engine is much shorter. Although different V angles can be used, if the two pistons are at a 90° V-angle with shared crankpins, the engine offers the additional advantage of perfect primary balance that reduces vibration. [1] The design can also result in a smaller rocking couple than an inline-four engine, and the shorter crankshaft is less susceptible to the effects of torsional vibration due to its increased stiffness.[ citation needed ]

Disadvantages of V4 engines include its design inherently wider compared to inline-4 engines, as well as the requirement of two exhaust manifolds, two-cylinder heads, and two valvetrains (thus needing two or four camshafts for overhead cam engines) rather than only one cylinder head, one manifold, one valvetrain, and one or two camshafts for an inline-four engine. [2] Having two separate banks of components increases cost and complexity.

Because V4 engines are wider than inline-four engines, incorporating auxiliary drives, inlet systems, and exhaust systems while maintaining a compact size can be more difficult. Although a 60° V4 is more compact than a 90° V4 engine, the 60° design does not have perfect primary balance (if the crankpins are not split) and, therefore, often require a balance shaft to reduce vibrations. Additionally, any (four-stroke) V4 engine with shared crankpins will fire unevenly and potentially require a heavier flywheel.

Automobile use

1960-1994 ZAZ Zaporozhets aircooled V4 ZAZ-965AE Engine.JPG
1960–1994 ZAZ Zaporozhets aircooled V4
1963-1976 Lancia V4 engine Fuoriserie 2014 131.JPG
1963–1976 Lancia V4 engine
1970-1974 Ford Taunus V4 engine (in a Saab Sonett III) Saab Sonett III Ford V4 engine.jpg
1970-1974 Ford Taunus V4 engine (in a Saab Sonett III)

The earliest automotive use of V4 engines were in Grand Prix racing (later called 'Formula One') cars. One of the pioneering V4 engines was in the 1898 Mors rear-engined car built in France. [3] [4] At the time, the lack of vibration from the V4 engine was a key selling point. [5] However, the car's V4 engine was replaced by a conventional inline-four engine by 1901.

In the 1907 French Grand Prix, the car entered by J. Walter Christie used a 19,891 cc (1,214 cu in) V4 engine, the largest engine ever used in a Grand Prix race. [6] The engine was mounted transversely in the front and the car was front-wheel drive. The car retired from the French Grand Prix after just four laps, however, it later set a speed record of 164 km/h (102 mph). [7]

The first V4 engine used in production cars was the Lancia V4 engine that was first used in the 1922 Lancia Lambda. [8] The Lancia engine was a narrow-angle design with an angle of 20 degrees between the banks and a single cylinder head with one overhead camshaft shared by both banks. It also used aluminium for both the block and head (which was unusual for the time). [9] Lancia produced V4 engines until 1976, when they were replaced by flat-four engines.

The 1960-1994 ZAZ Zaporozhets is a Ukrainian city-type car that used a rear-mounted V4 engine. [9] This engine was based on the design used in the LuAZ-967 amphibious military vehicle. It featured air-cooling with a magnesium block and was produced in displacements from 0.7–1.2 L (43–73 cu in). [10]

The AMC Air-cooled 108 was a 108 cu in (1.8 L) engine built from 1960 to 1963 for use in the lightweight M422 Mighty Mite military vehicle. [11] [12] The M422 developed was by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in the United States and specifically designed to be transported by helicopter. [13] [14]

Beginning in the 1960s, Ford's European divisions produced two unrelated V4 engines. [9] The first was the Ford Taunus V4 engine, produced in Germany from 1962 to 1981. The Taunus was a 60-degree V4 engine with water cooling and overhead valves. Initially designed for use in front-engined cars, it was used in various Ford models and also used in the front-wheel-drive Saab 95, Saab 96, and Saab Sonett models. It was also used in the mid-engine Matra 530 sports car. [15] [16] [17] The second Ford V4 engine was the Ford Essex V4 engine, produced in the United Kingdom from 1965 to 1977 and used in several Ford Corsair, Capri, Consul, Zephyr, and Transit models. [18] Although designed separately from the Taunus engine, the Essex also was a 60-degree V4 with water cooling, overhead valves, and designed for use in front-engined cars/vans.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 racing car used in the 2014–2017 seasons used a 2.0 L (122 cu in) 90-degree turbocharged V4 engine that was mid-mounted. [19]

Motorcycle use

2009 Yamaha V-Max cutaway view VMAX day 2009. Engine cutaway, side.jpg
2009 Yamaha V-Max cutaway view

One of the first motorcycles powered by a V4 engine was the 1931-1935 Matchless Silver Hawk built in the United Kingdom. [20] The Silver Hawk used a narrow-angle 16-degree V4 engine with a single cylinder head, pushrod valve actuation, and air cooling.

The 1936-1938 Puch P800 was built in Austria for both civilian and military uses. [21] The P800 used a very wide-angle 170-degree V4 engine (therefore being close in appearance to a flat-four engine) with two cylinder heads and air cooling. [22]

V4 engines were used during the mid-to-late 1980s, especially in transverse-engined Honda motorcycles that had a 90-degree V4 engine with water cooling. [23]

The majority of 2020 MotoGP manufacturers chose the V4 configuration for their bikes. These include:

Boat use

Another use of the V4 engine is in outboard motors for boats. The V4 configuration is popular for outboard marine applications due to its short engine length.

In 1958, both Johnson and Evinrude introduced 70.7 cu in (1,159 cc) V4 outboards rated at 50 hp (37 kW) and weighing 200 lb (91 kg). [24] By 1972, the same basic V4 block was producing more than double the horsepower in stock form because of the experience manufacturers gained from racing. [25] In 1988, Yamaha introduced a 130 hp (97 kW) two-stroke V4 to the US market with what was called "precision blend" oil injection. [26] Most of the outboard motors are usually two-stroke engines with a carburetor.

Other uses

In 1935, the Wisconsin Motor Manufacturing Company began producing petrol (gasoline) V4 engines for industrial, agricultural, and stationary applications, [27] with several farm equipment manufacturers using the Wisconsin V4 engines. [28] In 1968, the largest Wisconsin V4 engine was the V-465D with a displacement of 177 cu in (2.9 L) and a power output of 66 hp (49 kW) at 3000 rpm. [29] The company produced V4 engines until 2019. [30]

In the mid-1940s, Turner Manufacturing in the United Kingdom produced a diesel water-cooled V4 engine for industrial and marine uses. This engine was used in the 1949-1957 Turner Yeoman of England tractor. [31]

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries built the 4ZF, an air-cooled diesel-powered V4 engine used in the Type 73 Armored Personnel Carrier and related Japanese military vehicles since 1973. [32] [33]

See also

Related Research Articles

V-twin engine

A V-twin engine, also called a V2 engine, is a two-cylinder piston engine where the cylinders share a common crankshaft and are arranged in a V configuration.

V6 engine Piston engine with six cylinders in a "V" configuration

A V6 engine is a six-cylinder piston engine where the cylinders share a common crankshaft and are arranged in a V configuration.

Straight engine Type of engine

The straight or inline engine is an internal combustion engine with all cylinders aligned in one row and having no offset. Usually found in four, six and eight cylinder configurations, they have been used in automobiles, locomotives and aircraft, although the term in-line has a broader meaning when applied to aircraft engines, see Inline engine (aviation).

Flat engine Combustion engine using pistons facing to the sides on a common crankshaft

A flat engine, also known as a horizontally opposed engine, is a piston engine where the cylinders are located on either side of a central crankshaft. A flat engine should not be confused with the opposed-piston engine, in which each cylinder has two pistons sharing a central combustion chamber.

Flat-four engine

A flat-four engine, also known as a horizontally opposed-four engine, is a four-cylinder piston engine with two banks of cylinders lying on opposite sides of a common crankshaft. The most common type of flat-four engine is the boxer-four engine, each pair of opposed cylinders moves inwards and outwards at the same time.

Straight-twin engine Inline piston engine with two cylinders

A straight-twin engine, also known as an inline-twin, vertical-twin-0=0(2974), or parallel-twin is a two-cylinder piston engine where two cylinders are arranged in a line along a common crankshaft.

Flat-twelve engine

A flat-twelve engine, also known as a horizontally opposed-twelve, is a twelve-cylinder piston engine with six cylinders on each side of a central crankshaft.

Straight-four engine Inline piston engine with four cylinders

A straight-four engine is a four-cylinder piston engine where cylinders are arranged in a line along a common crankshaft.

Straight-six engine Internal combustion engine

The straight-six engine is an internal combustion engine, with six cylinders mounted in a straight line along the crankcase with all the pistons driving a common crankshaft.

The straight-five engine or inline-five engine is an internal combustion engine with five cylinders aligned in one row or plane, sharing a single engine block and crankcase. The justification for a five cylinder engine is that it is almost as compact as an inline-four, and almost as smooth as a straight-six engine.

Straight-three engine Type of engine

A straight-three engine is a three-cylinder piston engine where cylinders are arranged in a line along a common crankshaft.

Yamaha Motor Company Japanese motorcycle manufacturer

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles, marine products such as boats and outboard motors, and other motorized products. The company was established in 1955 upon separation from Yamaha Corporation, and is headquartered in Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan. The company conducts development, production and marketing operations through 109 consolidated subsidiaries as of 2012.

VR6 engine Motor vehicle engine

VR6 engines are V6 piston engines with a narrow angle between the cylinder banks and a single cylinder head covering both banks of cylinders.

Transverse engine

A transverse engine is an engine mounted in a vehicle so that the engine's crankshaft axis is perpendicular to the direction of travel. Many modern front-wheel drive vehicles use this engine mounting configuration. Most rear-wheel drive vehicles use a longitudinal engine configuration, where the engine's crankshaft axis is parallel with the direction of travel, except for some rear-mid engine vehicles, which use a transverse engine and transaxle mounted in the rear instead of the front. Despite typically being used in light vehicles, it is not restricted to such designs and has also been used on armoured fighting vehicles to save interior space.

Air-cooled engine Type of engine

Air-cooled engines rely on the circulation of air directly over heat dissipation fins or hot areas of the engine to cool them in order to keep the engine within operating temperatures. In all combustion engines, a great percentage of the heat generated escapes through the exhaust, not through the metal fins of an air-cooled engine (12%). About 8% of the heat energy is transferred to the oil, which although primarily meant for lubrication, also plays a role in heat dissipation via a cooler. Air-cooled engines are used generally in applications which would not suit liquid cooling, as such modern air-cooled engines are used in motorcycles, general aviation aircraft, lawn mowers, generators, outboard motors, pump sets, saw benches and auxiliary power units.

Motorcycle engine Engine that powers a motorcycle

A motorcycle engine is an engine that powers a motorcycle. Motorcycle engines are typically two-stroke or four-stroke internal combustion engines, but other engine types, such as Wankels and electric motors, have been used.

A flat-eight engine, also called a horizontally-opposed eight, is an eight-cylinder piston engine with two banks of four inline cylinders, one on each side of a central crankshaft, 180° apart.

Saab two-stroke

The Saab two-stroke was a two-stroke cycle, two cylinder, and later Straight-three engine that Saab based on a DKW design. The first version was 764 cc (46.6 cu in) displacement twin that was transversally mounted in the 1950–1956 Saab 92. It had with 25 hp (19 kW), and a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). The 1954 model engine output was raised to 28 hp (21 kW). It had some features only found in modern cars such as one ignition coil per cylinder.

V8 engine Piston engine with eight cylinders in vee configuration

A V8 engine is an eight-cylinder piston engine in which the cylinders share a common crankshaft and are arranged in a V configuration.

A big bang engine is an unconventional engine designed so that some of the power strokes occur simultaneously or in close succession. This is achieved by changing the ignition timing, changing or re-timing the camshaft, and sometimes in combination with a change in crankpin angle. The goal is to change the power delivery characteristics of the engine. A regular firing multi-cylinder engine fires at approximately even intervals, giving a smooth-running engine. Because a big-bang engine has uneven power delivery, they tend to run rougher and generate more vibration than an even-firing engine.


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