Internal combustion engines are complex pieces of machinery, and it’s tough to learn exactly how they work with written explanations and diagrams alone. This see-through V8 replica is the perfect solution for teaching curious minds how cars turn gasoline into propulsion.
The SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel recently made a trip to Nebraska to get an up-close look at this V8 replica built by Brian King. Based on a 5.3-liter General Motors LS block, this pushrod demonstrator piece features most of the stuff you’d find in a real engine, including pistons, a crankshaft, a camshaft, lifters, springs, and valves. There’s even a functioning oil pump and real oil inside.
The casing and heads are made from plexiglass. In place of the spark plugs sit tiny flashing lights, there to signify the lighting of the plug during the piston’s power stroke. It gives the viewer a great visual of engine timing and how the piston is pushed down, in turn spinning the crankshaft and delivering power.
King went as far as to attach an electric motor to his demonstrator, allowing it to spin quickly enough to replicate the true speed of a running engine. It is here where you can get an understanding of firing order and balancing. With all of the “spark plugs” firing in quick succession, it’s also very fun to watch. If you’ve always been curious to learn how an engine works, this is the best real-life demonstration we’ve ever seen.
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