Engine Block – Basics


For many motorists and indeed car and truck owners what lies under the hood of their automobile is a deep mystery to them indeed. Yet if their vehicle breaks down on the road or highway and is towed to the nearest auto garage or dealership service center how on earth do they intend to communicate with auto service staff if they don’t have a basic understanding and comprehension of the parts of the car? It sure can be frustrating and if they have a basic knowledge of the language and lingo of the auto trades it sure will speed up efforts and get their transportation out of the service stall and roadworthy a lot quicker and faster.

Engine Blocks are Mainly Made of Cast Iron or Aluminum Metal with Sleeve Liners:

To begin with the cylinder block is the main shell of the engine. Most blocks are simple “cast iron”. More and more are being made up of aluminum, which is lighter in weight and overall conducts and transfers waste exhaust engine heat better and more efficiently. Yet aluminum metal as a power plant cylinder block choice has its dark side. Essentially because aluminum is too soft to withstand the constant, grinding rubbing of the pistons, auto makers and their mechanical engineering staff have dealt with this issue by inserting cast iron sleeves ( commonly called in the auto parts trade as “sleeves”) into the cylinders. Years ago a noted exception – which went on to great notoriety for low engine mileage life span – was the Chevrolet Vega. GM in its wisdom figured out that no metal insert sleeves were needed – and instead “specially treated aluminum” metal could be used. It proved not to be the case, so in most cases now you can count aluminum car engines have a metal insert sleeve to protect against piston wear on the cylinders over the miles and km.

Water Passages in Engine Blocks for Coolant & Heat Exhaust:

Water passages are cast into the block in order that flowing coolant can cool down the cylinders and dissipate excessive engine wearing waste heat. These are connected with the water passages in the cylinder head itself through openings in the top of the block. The block may crack if water freezes and expands in these passages. Sometimes this expansion will dislodge the core plugs – discs that seal holes required during the casting and engine manufacturing casting processes. Hence in geographic area where a cold winter climate – such as Winnipeg or Edmonton Canada – and block freezing with substandard glycol antifreeze content – these core plugs are referred to as “freeze-out plugs” or alternatively “frost plugs”. Yet it’s not wise to refer to these core plugs as a reliable safety and cold weather engine block protection device. They were never meant for this purpose to begin with and it’s no excuse to use straight water as engine coolant. A 50 / 50 glycol / water solution concentration mixture as a standard should be maintained. Come summer driving this glycol coolant mixture also has road wise advantages by raising the maximum boiling point of engine coolant – before your radiator “boils over”.

Setup of Cylinders in an Auto Engine:

Lastly the setup of the cylinders can be in various types. The cylinders can be arranged in a row (called an in-line engine), in two rows set at an angle (a V engine), or in older vintage auto in two rows arranged horizontally (a flat engine).

For Auto Service It’s Wise to Know A Bit About Car & Engine Parts & Components:

It’s wise to know some of the basic setup, composition and arrangement of engine blocks. Thus equipped you will be in a much better situation to discuss basic mechanical breakdowns and diagnostics and as well the costs of car, truck and engine repairs. Hopefully as well you can get your reliable and trusted source of transpiration back on the road sooner.

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