Could you run a car with a bike engine?

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GaToR
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Could you run a car with a bike engine?

Post by GaToR » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:42 pm

Here's a little hypothetical for the tech heads.

Over the past 100 years, the raw specific power of the average I.C.E in automobiles had a relatively linear progression, until about the late 1990's when it started to taper off. Apparently the disadvantages of a good economy include backwards progression in technology due to lack of concern on fuel prices.

So perhaps it wasn't so much linear as a logarithmic curve and it seems to be flattening out. But who's fault is the lack of smaller engines with the same power? Technology or the market?

Well apparently its not technology's fault, as shown by the recent upsurge in turbocharged snowmobile engines of 1000cc or less.

Turbo Sleds

Twin-turbo Yamaha

There's an emergence of 200-350hp sleds with 2-cylinder and 3-cylinder engines. Yamaha being at the forefront, others include Polaris and Arctic Cat, which use Liberty engines, developed in partnership with FHI and Subaru-Robin :D

Along with drag bikes, snowmobiles are the obvious niche for this technology to emerge. Launching a tracked vehicle so that it starts to ride on top of several feet of snow is actually quite difficult, and they get bogged down relatively easily. And ATV companies compete way more furiously than car companies. Sorry, but updating your product every year by shaving off 1 lb off the current model? That's competition!
:canada: Side-note, cold weather seems to be a catalyst for impatience and ingenuity. I think winter sports fans are the most fanatical. If cold pumps adrenaline, you should try going 100mph in -40 weather.

Aaanyway, why would you want one in a car? How about a long-block that weighs 60kg? How about being able to do major internal work in a day, in your own garage, with only basic tools?

From the review's I've read, turbo-ing these engines doesn't hurt reliability noticeably. I'm sure it has the same risk as any other custom job.

Very few of these little engines tend to make it 100,000 miles because they become obsolete so quickly and are disposed of. That doesn't necessarily mean they couldn't. But even if they can't that's ok, because you could do an engine swap in a sled as easily as a turbo-swap in our cars. And replacement top or bottom ends will only run you a few hundred bucks.

The kneejerk reaction is to say an engine that small would blow a gasket while launching a 2000lb car. I'm not sure how much weight it could reliably push, but they are designed for that type of abuse. Sleds have centrifugal clutches. It won't move unless you reach high RPMs to 'pop' the clutch. I've been on a few of the new racing sleds, and there is no slow button. You either go fast, or sink into the powder. And they go fast on a Double-Diamond Ski slope, backwards.

Compared to a Wankel:

Same: high-revving but still wish you had more torque.

Better: even lower weight, easy maintenance, time-proven reliability, constantly updated and improved.

I'm convinced an Atom would be better off with this type of engine because there are no accessories to drive and weight is everything. I've always been a fan of the modular car concept. Smaller block means smaller radiator, smaller starter, smaller battery...

But could they be used in larger autos?

Thoughts?

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complacent
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Post by complacent » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:58 pm

Until you turn the valves on your bike engine every 24k... :(

Every high performance (read: high output) bike motor lives and dies by a much more frequent service interval. I don't see John Q. Public adhering to an maintenance schedule period.

Japan has already learned this. They build hondas for americans who feed it a steady diet of cheap gas, are either constantly lugging or redlining the motor, never change the plugs/filters and expect it to last to 100k and beyond.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen a four stroke motorcycle last anywhere near that long with the same abuse.

Personally I'd love nothing more than to see all vehicles made lighter and smaller. It has to potential to greatly reduce the amount of all resources that we consume.

That and the Hyabusa powered Smart car I read about seemed pretty cool to me. 8)
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Post by zaxrex » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:05 pm

Well, the Radical runs on a Hayabusa engine, but that is a very light weight frame...same concept that you are talking about though.

I don't know much about snowmobiles, but bike engines and transmissions are integrated into a single package, aren't they? Maybe not all, but I don't remember the engine and tranny being modular like a car's. But again, I don't do too much on bikes.

You have to ask Colin about that mode of transportation.
Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears

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Post by zaxrex » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:09 pm

Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears

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Post by Bluestreak2006 » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:13 pm

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Post by GaToR » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:39 pm

zaxrex wrote:Well, the Radical runs on a Hayabusa engine, but that is a very light weight frame...same concept that you are talking about though.

I don't know much about snowmobiles, but bike engines and transmissions are integrated into a single package, aren't they? Maybe not all, but I don't remember the engine and tranny being modular like a car's. But again, I don't do too much on bikes.

You have to ask Colin about that mode of transportation.
Snowmobile engines are very similar technology to modern bike engines, though not identical. They are stand-alone units with an output shaft and rely on the centrifugal clutch to engage and then its 1-speed driving the rubber track from there.

I believe the motorcycle bottom-end encased in the same 'block' as the transmission gearing.
complacent wrote:Every high performance (read: high output) bike motor lives and dies by a much more frequent service interval. I don't see John Q. Public adhering to an maintenance schedule period.

Japan has already learned this. They build hondas for americans who feed it a steady diet of cheap gas, are either constantly lugging or redlining the motor, never change the plugs/filters and expect it to last to 100k and beyond.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen a four stroke motorcycle last anywhere near that long with the same abuse.
I certainly haven't seen a snowmobile go that long either. In both cases, they get the hell beat out of them for half the year and then sit for long periods. Nothing about the life of a small engine is easy.

But at least you don't have to worry about the chain/sprockets in a car. It is a shame that most Americans can't take care of their cars (or children, money, etc.) But if they can't adhere to a maintenance schedule, any turbocharged or Wankel-powered car is not for them.

If you did adhere to a schedule, could a 400hp blown-snow-blower push an Elise or MR2? Or will it just lug to death?

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Post by zaxrex » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:51 pm

Anything engine is possible with the right gearing. I think what is more important is the torque that the engine puts out, that would keep things from getting bogged down. Maybe that is why some heavy snowmobiles have automatic transmissions?
Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears

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Post by GaToR » Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:28 pm

zaxrex wrote:Anything engine is possible with the right gearing. I think what is more important is the torque that the engine puts out, that would keep things from getting bogged down. Maybe that is why some heavy snowmobiles have automatic transmissions?
It depends on the size. At 240hp, I saw one dyno graph of a 500cc engine will get 137lb-ft. A 1000cc engine at the same hp got 167lb-ft. That's what I was basing it on when I said like a Wankel, it'll get about 2/3 of the torque you wish you had. :wink:. Still, 167tq is what you get from an NA suby.

Most large Quads are equipped with Automatic Transmissions now too. Probably for the same lack of torque reason. Which is fine with me if they put it in a car, so long as it was an SMG/DCG.


And now the reason: I have a friend who is a professional welder and a biker. He's one of the ones that keeps pushing me to get my motorcycle liscence, since I was supposed to be in his class and I already paid for it. But as I mentioned before, right before I was to reschedule my course I witnessed a horrific 2-casualty motorcycle accident because the bitch driving the car was talking on her cell. I freely admit I'm scared shitless of getting on the road with all these NOVA douches.

Solution: open-air car. Something I wouldn't be ashamed to go road-tripping with my biker friends with. But how much safer is the Atom/KTM/Radical? I think calling those cars is a stretch, even if they are road legal racers, they are more like carts/buggies.

So our plan was to dismantle something old and sporty. The body goes off, keeping the seat pan and suspension. tube steel goes around it. A lot of steel. Instead of the speed-bump the Atom creates for a Tahoe at an intersection and a careless mistake, I want a full roll-cage with crush zones, made from heavy-guage tube steel that'll send that same Tahoe on its roof if she runs me over.

This will naturally be heavier than the souped-up-go-carts-gone-racecars. In the neighborhood of 2000lbs I'd guestimate. And since I know more about agricultural machinery than I do about racecars, I thought a snowmobile engine would be right up my alley. Maybe Colin knows moer about the new 4-strokers than I do, but I remember the old aircooled ones being as hardy as a Kalishnikov. Engine ceases? Hit the piston with a sledgehammer and have it running the same day (true story). I could finally track a car I don't mind breaking. Modular engine and welded body. At the same hp/ton as the Atom, feeling much more secure, and on the cheap.

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Post by zaxrex » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:12 pm

So this would be a track only car? I don't think you would be able to get it registered for street use if you did build it up like that.

Maybe go and beef up a T-Rex or something that has already been classified as a vehicle?

I like where your head is at. If I can help with anything when I am around, let me know.
Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears

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Post by GaToR » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:35 pm

zaxrex wrote:So this would be a track only car? I don't think you would be able to get it registered for street use if you did build it up like that.

Maybe go and beef up a T-Rex or something that has already been classified as a vehicle?

I like where your head is at. If I can help with anything when I am around, let me know.
Thanks, much appreciated.

The legality is something I'm not 100% certain on. I've seen people in VA with T-buckets and street-buggies (i.e. a former VW Beetle) on the road (never stopped them to ask if they were legal).

But no, I was hoping it would not just be a track car. I'll have to look at how you can take an existing street car, remove 90% of the body, rebuild it as an open-air vehicle, and then get it registered. If that's not doable, perhaps your idea of doing a kit-car +1 might work. Or starting from scratch.

How does one build a prototype car and put it on the road in VA?

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Post by Tallen » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:02 am

Bluestreak2006 wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-Rex_(automobile)
Corrected link

I like these better.
They aren't so spectacular; if you ride a bike, pretty weak too. Haven't been in a higher powered one, but they do handle great.

The best part is the looks you get, esp during bikeweek in Daytona. It feels kinda like driving an elise.
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Post by Bluestreak2006 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:26 am

I saw one in person that was running a Busa engine and had some nitrous bottles bolted to the frame. Yeah its not gonna be as fast as a bike but hey its not really a bike anyways.
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Post by zaxrex » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:37 pm

It actually holds the track record time for what EVO magazine uses to test all cars on. And yes Ross, it beat a new 'Vette, plus the GT-R, GT3, and the prancing pony.

Granted, it is only a 1.2 mile course, so the smaller cars are going to have an advantage...
Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears

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