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Wanting to study engines and other vehicle mechanisms

  1. Oct 2, 2009 #1
    I've always been fascinated by and wanted to know more about the internals of a car: everything from the engine to the transmission to the suspension and the chassis. Currently I am a year 1 ME student, so I don't have enough physics knowledge to study the logistics in depth in that regard. However, I would like to start studying the differents parts and mechanisms and their functions and how they all fit in together to create such amazingly complex machines.

    In a sense, I guess I'm looking for some literature, perhaps a great series of books, that future mechanics would study at a vocational school where very little physics knowledge is required. If you know of any, I'd really appreciate your recommendations.

    On another note, if you can think of something else that my time could be better spent on (besides getting an early start on the Physics, because I already have), feel free to make those recommendations a well.

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2009 #2
    For starters, if you have a car, go to your local auto parts store and buy a Chilton's or Haynes Manual for your make and model. If you do not own a car, buy a manual for the car of a friend or relative (so you will have an actual vehicle to look at as you read the manual).

    Good luck!
  4. Oct 2, 2009 #3
    Great idea. Thanks!
  5. Oct 2, 2009 #4
    It would be even better to throw the manual out and just take the car apart and put it back together, working of course. I think every ME should have ability to tear down an engine and rebuild it without to much trouble.
  6. Oct 2, 2009 #5
    Just what I did with my first scooter, then motorcycle and first few cars... of course that was before vehicles became so much more complex.
  7. Oct 2, 2009 #6


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    It depends on how basic you really want, but I'll suggest a few books. Some of these I have or have read, and some I have not but were suggested by other people. These are all what I'd consider to be beginner/intermediate books in that there's no need for any engineering/physics background.

    I'd consider this book to be VERY basic, possibly below where you'd want to start, but you may want to breeze through it. I remember picking up a few general ideas from it years ago, but nothing special.

    A basic book with lots of info on measuring, assembly procedures, machining, and basic calculations.

    It was published in the early 90s, so cylinder head technology has still come a long way, but there's tons of great info in this book. I think the combination of a little bit more in depth information, with Vizard's clear style makes it really great for a beginner.

    https://www.amazon.com/Chevrolet-Sm...f=sr_1_1/002-4919722-9619246?ie=UTF8&s=books" Another Vizard book with more clear, concise info. Again, early 90s book, but still plenty of good info.

    I've read bits and pieces of this, but not enough to give an opinion on the actual tuning advice. It appears to be a good one though.

    No personal experience, but I've heard it's a pretty good intermediate resource.

    Here's where you'll want to be, and probably will be in a couple years. There's more but I'd consider all these to be go-to references.

    The Internal Combustion Engine in Theory and Practice Vol. 1 and 2 - Charles Fayette Taylor
    Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals- John B. Heywood
    Design and Simulation of 4 stroke engines- Gordon P. Blair
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  8. Oct 3, 2009 #7

    Ranger Mike

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    welcome..i have found numerous good posts on internal combustions engines on physics forums
    i suggest using the search tab and look these up...
    good start
  9. Oct 3, 2009 #8


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    The Bosch Automotive Handbook is essential. It'll cost you mind.
  10. Oct 5, 2009 #9
    I agree with you, and I had an idea that revolves around this just the other day. A little back story: When I was 19 (2004), I bought a tight little 1987 Toyota Camry that looked and sounded like it was half its age. It cost me $500 and ran for 3 years before a connecting rod broke in half at around 375,000 miles.

    A few days ago, I got to thinking about that car and the thought came to me that, if I could get a great little car like that for $500, what kind of P.O.S. could I find for half that? I could rent a garage at some place like Public Storage for $50/month and work on it there. Tear it down and put it back together, all while fixing some issues, and selling it. I'll make a huge profit, mostly in knowledge and experience, and partly in cash.

    Thanks, a few of these look interesting.

    Dang. This book looks amazing. I'm going to swing by Auto Zone on my way home from work and see if they have any copies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  11. Oct 5, 2009 #10

    Ranger Mike

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    i would check out local high school shop class or vocational tech colleges around..see if the yhave any racing programs like local drag racing , round track racing..volunteering to be a gopher is a good way to learn essentials..cheap..is there any SCCA road course tracks close by?
    what city do you live in/near??
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