# Ferrari VVT

1. Feb 5, 2006

### sid_galt

Why isn't Ferrari Variable valve timing - they have a 3d cam with variable profile along its length and shift the camshaft to provide variable valve timing, why isn't it popular?
Is it because of the cost?

2. Feb 5, 2006

### brewnog

Yeah, it's not an easy thing to do cheaply. I would imagine there are some pretty major wear and reliability issues which would you would need to overcam (sorry) to make it viable for mass production. Most cars aren't Ferraris, and if any power uprates (or rather, tuning the torque and power curves) are needed then they're generally much easier to achieve by alternative means.

It's still a nice touch though!

3. Feb 5, 2006

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
Various other variable valve-timing implementations are relatively popular. Honda has VTEC, present on quite a number of its production models, while Toyota has VVTL-i. These systems aren't true "3D" cams, but rather cams with two sets of lobes, providing two different valve timings for low- and high-rpm operation. They are relatively fail-safe: if the cam's solenoid fails to operate, you're just stuck with the low-end cam until you get it fixed.

- Warren

4. Feb 6, 2006

### Danger

I don't know whether or not any are in commercial production, but there are also hydraulic and/or solenoid operated valves that eliminate the cam entirely and can be infintely varied by on-board computer control. That sidesteps any wear issues.

5. Feb 6, 2006

### brewnog

One variant (and I'm not sure whether Lotus toyed with this for a while, it's potentially on a current Toyota engine, anyone?) is to use a secondary mechanism to hold the valves open after the nose of the cam lobe has started to fall.

6. Feb 7, 2006

### sid_galt

True but they bring a host of problems

1. High power consumption = high power alternator = high cost
2. valve seating velocities
3. plain expensive

7. Feb 7, 2006

### sid_galt

BTW, how much approxiamately does a camshaft with cams cost?

8. Feb 7, 2006

### Danger

The first item isn't a factor if they managed to perfect the 'helinoid' system. I haven't heard of it in over 30 years, but it seemed promising. It used finned, conical plungers in a conical, internally-finned, helically-wound solenoid. The stroke was only a quarter-inch or less, but a helinoid around 1 1/2 or 2 inches in diameter could pull a couple of hundred pounds that distance in a few thousandths of a second on 12VDC. There was some sort of interaction between the internal and external fins that vastly amplified the normal magnetic field. I'd have to dig through a ****load of old Car Craft and Hot Rod magazines to find the article, but I might have time one of these days.
There should be some method available to dampen the final closing speed, such as tiny hydraulic shock absorbers (which is a built-in function of the hydraulically-activated valve system).
Expensive, yes... but I'd expect that the cost could be kept within the same sort of range as selective cylinder deactivation, which is quite common nowadays.
As for the price of a cam and lifters, I couldn't begin to tell you. For one thing, prices are different here than in the US or Europe. Also, the last time that I bought one was 26 years ago. That was a Crane unit, and it cost $120. 9. Feb 7, 2006 ### brewnog A camshaft with cams, as opposed to one without?! I could buy a brand new performance camshaft for my Ford engine for about £120, but recently bought one at work which was about £4500. 10. Feb 7, 2006 ### Danger I thought that I'd just let that go by. Apparently, you're not as generous as I am. :tongue: 11. Feb 7, 2006 ### brewnog Well, it would definitely make the things much cheaper to machine and grind! 12. Feb 7, 2006 ### Danger Not to mention cutting down on lifter wear and valve spring fatigue. 13. Feb 7, 2006 ### brewnog Valve seat wear would definitely be improved. Have a funny feeling that fuel consumption and emissions would be down quite a lot too. 14. Feb 7, 2006 ### Danger Along with horsepower. 15. Feb 8, 2006 ### sid_galt Thank you for the responses. I don't think that valve seating velocities are as much of a problem in hydraulic systems (I am not sure). They are a major problem in electromagnetic system. Then again, hydraulic systems are more complex. The problem is that these things will be required to move the valves every cycle. I don't think cylinder deactivations are done on a cycle to cycle basis. Therefore they are easier to implement. 16. Feb 8, 2006 ### sid_galt Oops! £4500!!!!!!!! Was it a camshaft or a whole engine???? Seriously, what was so special about it? Was it handmade or something? 17. Feb 8, 2006 ### Stingray This information is rather old (~10 years), but Lotus was designing an active valvetrain at one point. Apparently, the electrohydraulic actuators cost about US$1000, and couldn't even manage much more than 4-5000 rpm. That's $1000 per valve! I'm sure things have improved since, but it's probably still too difficult to get cheap reliable systems to work at reasonable redlines. Maybe this could be partially worked around by first applying the technology to diesels or other engines that operate at lower speeds. Then it could be advertised as an improvement in fuel economy rather than performance. 18. Feb 8, 2006 ### brewnog It was just a prototype for a reasonably large (bigger than automotive) engine. Nothing too special though, although I think the FNC layer on our camshafts is much harder than that on an automotive camshaft; they don't need running in at all. Ahhhh, thats what I was remembering! While the benefits might be large enough to warrant the R&D work, they probably wouldn't warrant the extra cost of an engine. The American market doesn't care about emissions or economy, and as a result, if they want more power (which they always want at low torque), they just get some more cc's or cylinders. The European market isn't that hungry for every last horsepower. Look how much more a current VVT engine on a Totota costs. The extra componentry, control, and manufacturing probably wouldn't make it worth it. Would be nice technology though. 19. Feb 8, 2006 ### sid_galt Still, the Prius and Highlander are very successful in America. Is it because of fuel economy or the reputation of Toyota in reliability? 20. Feb 8, 2006 ### brewnog Yeah, but they're still sold at a loss, and the biggest market is still dominated by gas guzzling SUVs. Isn't a Highlander an SUV anyway, and isn't the Hybrid just an option? I was under the impression that it was a big V6 thing. Edit: Oh look, Toyota's own urban MPG figures for the V6 4WD Highlander, - 18MPG! And the hybrid version isn't even designed to go off road! I suspect neither, since Toyota sell far many more conventionally powered cars than hybrids, and that their hybrid fuel economy figures aren't amazing compared with a decent Diesel car. I reckon your average Prius owner in the UK at least has bought one to convey the image that they care about the environment, or that they're under the impression that they are actually benefiting the environment by owning one. Last edited: Feb 8, 2006 21. Feb 8, 2006 ### Stingray There are actually a lot of Americans who care about fuel economy. I've even seen people say that they just spent$50k on a new car to save gas money. For those types, you might be able to get away with selling a $30k engine stuck in a$20k chassis. :tongue:

Anyway, it might be useful for commercial truck diesels where a little bit of extra fuel economy would actually be worth quite a premium. But these engines are already so well-optimized that it might not make enough of a difference.

22. Feb 8, 2006

### brewnog

To be realistic, if you're after fuel economy, variable valve timing isn't the way to go about optimising it anyway. At the moment, neither is a hybrid. It's perfectly viable to get a conventional engine in a decent sized car to do 60MPG, providing the end user is willing to pay a premium on performance, and the regulatory bodies are willing to pay a premium on emissions. As with everything, it's a compromise.

I realise there are Americans who care about fuel economy, but they're not living in a country where it 7 dollars a gallon. In addition, there are Europeans who don't give a stuff (particularly if they have second 'weekend' cars), and just pay the premium on fuel and get a big V8. But in general terms, it's easy to see the difference in the market.

An engineer friend of mine has just moved to the US with work. Over here, he'd saved up for a couple of years to get a Porsche, which he adored, and being European could drive it on a daily basis and still get decent MPG out of it. He's been in the US a month now, and has already bought a brand new Mustand, and an AC Cobra replica. That's two V8s and about 8 litres of capacity. Anyone else see where I'm coming from?

23. Feb 8, 2006

### FredGarvin

I remember Germany. It really was a completely different world living there. The nice thing was the way cities in Europe are laid out. They are not like here where sprawl is the name of the game and there's miles in between destinations. I hate to think about how necessary a car is in this country.