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OT: Looking for good book on performance engines (ICE), trying to learn

  1. Nov 30, 2006 #1
    Well I have always been interested in engines and how to make them more efficient and make more power. Particularly the popular modifying of Ford and GM engines (302ci, 351ci, 350ci, etc.). I am looking for a book that could help me understand how a cam actually works, and what to tweak. Also, some info on strokes, when it becomes not as efficient (steeper rod ratio), etc...

    I know this is pretty far "out there"...but I was curious if anyone knew a good book to buy to get me on my way:smile:

    Just basic info on how a head's design, stroke of an engine, compression, bore, cam specs, etc...all effect an engine.

    Any help or suggestions would be great!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2006 #2


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    For fundamental engine operating parameters (cams, strokes, breathing, combustion, fuels, compression ratios, supercharging) then John Haywood's "Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals" (Mc Graw Hill Press) is the absolute, undisputed bible.

    It won't tell you how to tune a specific engine, but it will give you the fundamental knowledge you're after. Getting a few extra BHP out of an engine and understanding how the thing actually works are two completely separate things, and the knowledge behind all this is very involved (and interesting!). This book won't tell you how to design an engine, but it will arm you with a detailed understanding of every single principle involved in the operation of an engine.

    It's by far the best engine-related book I've ever read, and it's the one which industry professionals ALWAYS recommend first and foremost.

    Having said that, if you don't have a basic understanding of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, or solid mechanics, you might struggle a bit, but the first few chapters are excellent introductions.

    It's the best £40 I've ever spent, and in the past year of having owned it I've probably referred to it more frequently than all my other books put together.

    ISBN 0-07-100499-8, get on Amazon and order it now.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2006
  4. Nov 30, 2006 #3


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    Thanks for that tip, Brewski. Might just have to get one of those for my own self.
    5.0Stang, to supplement that, look into various Peterson Publishing books about the subject. Those are the folks that publish Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines, and their stuff is very good. It's aimed at the backyard mechanic who probably doesn't have too much of a formal engineering or physics background, but knows how to twist a wrench. It does get into theory, but is very light on formulae. If the volume that Brewnog suggested is too heavy, or doesn't cover the sort of modifications that you're interested in, the Peterson books will make good companions for it.
  5. Dec 5, 2006 #4
    IMO, there are no 'good' books that combine a summary/medium level of the physics and engineering and the performance aspects. Heywood's book is all about the fundamentals which are important. I am not a ME, but I would like to be. I went to a week long class this summer at MIT taught by Heywood and Cheng. It was good. There is simply too much information in one week particularly for a non-engineer. Also, it focuses primarily on the basics which I needed, but would have like some more performance discussion. Unfortunately, all the grant/research money is primarily in emissions management.

    You can find info on the MIT class http://web.mit.edu/mitpep/pi/courses/internal_combustion_engines.html".

    You also might want to check out these links from the University of Wisconsin. They offer several seminars/classes that last just a few days. One of them is focused on performance. I have not attended it.
    http://epdwww.engr.wisc.edu/courses...Internal Combustion Engines&myRegionHead=R-12
    http://www.erc.wisc.edu/news/seminar.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. Dec 7, 2006 #5
    I'm very much interested in this topic well. Thanks for the titles and links.
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