Archive for 1987 to 1991 Honda Civic Sedan Owners Club
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Honda first introduced the DOHC VTEC mechanism in the US on the 1990 Acura NSX. But a year earlier in 1989, the Japan Domestic Market got the world's first dose of DOHC VTEC in the 1989-1993 generation of the Honda Integra. The 1989 DA6 Honda Integra RSi/XSi used a 160ps variant of the B16A DOHC VTEC engine. Honda enthusiasts would recongnize the B16A engine since it is currently used in the 1999 and 2000 US-spec Civic Si and Canada-spec Civic SiR. However the B16A used in the current Civics is a second version of the original B16A. The main difference is that the newer US-spec B16A has slightly more power at 160hp.

Okay that's enough history. Lets see how DOHC VTEC works. The figure to the right shows a simplified representation of a intake-valve VTEC mechanism (the exhaust mechanisms work similarly). So for each pair of valves, there are three cam lobes. The two on the outside are low RPM lobes and the one in the middle is the high RPM lobe. The two low RPM lobes actuate the two valve rockers, which in turn pushes the valves open. The high RPM lobe actuates a follower, which is shaped like a valve rocker, but doesn't actuate any valves. The figures show the circular section of the cam lobes touching the valve rockers, and the eliptical section pointing away. Thus the valves are closed in this stage.

During low RPM operations, the two outer cam lobes directly actuates the two valve rockers. These low PRM lobes are optimized for smooth operation and low fuel consumption. The high RPM lobe actuates the follower. But since the follower isn't connected to anything, it doesn't cause anything to happen. At high RPMs, oil pressure pushes a metal pin through the valve rockers and the follower, effectively binding the three pieces into one. And since the high RPM lobe pushes out further than the low RPM lobes, the two valve rockers now follow the the profile of the high RPM lobe. The high RPM lobe's profile is designed to open the valves open wider, and for a longer duration of time, thus allowing more fuel/air mixture to enter the cylinder. The improved breathing allows the engine to sustain its torque output as RPM rises, thus resulting in higher power output

That is basically how VTEC works. As I've said before. The VTEC mechanism is nothing spectacular. DOHC VTEC is the most ambitious of all VTEC varieties in terms of specific output (except for the up coming VTEC-i). Yet as you can see, the implementation is elegantly simple. VTEC is Honda's solution to the design goal of improving engine breathing at high RPMs while retaining smooth and economical operation at low RPMs. DOHC VTEC technology is currently used in the 160HP Civic Si, 170HP Integra GS-R, 195HP Integra Type-R, 200HP Prelude base/Type-SH, 240HP S2000 and the venerable 290HP Acura NSX. And these are just the US-spec cars. Saying that VTEC is a successful design is an understatement. Forum Index -> Write Ups & Tech Info
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