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Why Car Companies Still Use Pushrod Engines (and Other Car Questions Answered)

Illustration for article titled Why Car Companies Still Use Pushrod Engines (and Other Car Questions Answered)
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

I was always taught that there’s no shame in asking a question. Sometimes you should Google the answers to simple ones, but other times, it’s actually very helpful to have someone with knowledge walk you through a more complicated concept. It beats making up some crap and then being very, very wrong.


Last week, I asked you guys for the burning questions you’ve always had about cars but were afraid to ask. Maybe “afraid” was a bit of an exaggeration—but at any rate, I wanted to know what you’d always wanted to know but never were able to find out until now.


For example, there’s a great discussion below about pushrod motors and why they are still being used. One of their advantages is packaging—pushrod motors are smaller and easier to tuck into a low-profile engine bay, thus increasing aerodynamics.

Patrick Morgan, the guy who restores modern F1 cars and Indycars, tweeted that a pushrod motor that he’d worked on had a center of gravity that was three millimeters lower. And that it was lighter.


Carburetors? CVTs? Superchargers? Turbochargers? How does any of this stuff work? Together, we and the rest of the Jalopnik community will work to resolve your confusion.

Why Pushrod Engines Are Still Useful in 2018 (marshknute and DeWayneV8)

Why bother with DOHC?


More on Pushrod Engines (rentsdu and Vashvashvashvashvash)

Better aero, sometimes.


Don’t Go Full Lock (EssExTee’s got a hub cap diamond star halo and Justino6969)

Pushing on some tie rods.


Carburetor (mkbruin, Atlas VP and So Shiney. So Chrome! So Frunky)

Think about it like a venturi.


Vacuum Systems (Mexifinn and 2nd gear just exploded)

They are good.


Synchros (sounbwoy and GMart)

Synchros make driving a manual SO MUCH BETTER.


Turbocharger (Mini Guy- Now With Added 4-Runner and Robot Face)

I’m sure there’s witchcraft in there somewhere, too.


Wet-Sump System (LostItsWheel and GMart)

With a picture, too!


Carbon Build-Up (Beercheck and GMart)

It was bad in the beginning.


Wearing (EMF15Q and m)

Not really gravity at work here.


Over- and Understeer (albo and suhproblems)

Useful in drifting.


CTVs (elRobRex and BionicPhil)

Infinite ratios.


Dual Tach Needles (Æggs and GMart)



Clutch (Joe Squirrel and V10omous)

Smoothness is the name of the game.


Loping (TX007, Blockheads and JTSnooks)

I wondered this, too.


Back-Pressure (Aldairion, Blockheads and CobraJoe)

It’s all about balance.


Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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Short answer for me? I own approximately 60 cars (and, yes, like David Tracy, I have real “issues”). And as much as I like those fancy BMW, Audi and Mercedes engines... the reality is that I’ve never broken a pushrod.

And never have been stranded due to a failure in any of the GM LSx motors. I wish I could say the same for the German motors.

When I start breaking pushrods, then I’ll change my tune. Seems unlikely.