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Cylinder Block: Collecting All Engine Parts

An automotive engine is made up of several parts, and such parts must be held together in place. The assortment of vital parts needs something sturdy and rock solid to keep them in position. It needs to be able to withstand extreme pressure and heat. And this is responded by the cylinder block.

Cylinder Block
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The Structural Framework

The engine block or cylinder box is a complex part of the engine located right in its heart. The cylinder block is a gathering of modules, which contains cylindrically bored openings for the pistons of reciprocating engines. It has an adjustment for the attachment of crankcase, cylinder head, drive housing, engine mounts, and engine ancillaries. The cylinder block also has a passageway for the coolants and lubricants. The space between the cylinder bores is permanent, otherwise it may require some extensive modification if you want the distances to be changed. However, the diameter of the bore can vary depending on the engine displacements.

Some European manufacturers make use of removable cylinder bores, a feature of their wet liner cylinder block. The bores are fitted into the block using specialized gaskets and have the advantage of being able to change it without much difficulty and without any need to re-machine the whole casting.

The bore size and the material's minimum thickness are the limiting factors if ever there is a potential displacement since there is a certain limitation with regards to the bore to stroke ratio. Cylinder blocks are generally made from cast iron, although aluminum and magnesium are now being used in modern engines.

The Cylinder Block Construction

The automobile industry has greatly transformed starting with a single cylinder engine, individually cast cylinders, to multiple cylinders within a cylinder block. There are several cylinder block types, each having its own advantages and disadvantages - the L, T, I, F, and V head engine blocks. The metal casting of a cylinder block that contains the engine's cooling ducts and cylinders is manufactured from gray iron or iron alloyed with some metals including chromium, nickel, or molybdenum. Lightweight cylinder blocks are usually made from aluminum. The cylindrical holes are machined by boring or grinding to come up with the needed true inner surface.

Taking Care of the Engine Block

Even with normal engine operation, the cylinder block or specifically the cylinder wall will eventually wear out-of-round or can crack and become scored if there is no proper lubrication or cooling. This can be avoided with the use of metal alloy liners or sleeves, which is basically resistant to wear, which is why they are used by almost all diesel engines and in many gasoline engines. The liners can be individually replaced if they have worn further than the maximum oversize eliminating the need to replace the entire cylinder block. The liners are designed in two types:

  • Wet Type. The liner has direct contact with the engine coolant. It is sealed by a metallic sealing ring on top and by a rubber sealing ring at the bottom.
  • Dry Type. This type does not have direct contact with the coolant.

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