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|3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.|
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How does a lightweight flywheel work? Amongst the majority, there are two schools of thought concerning light flywheels. The first is that they do not contribute to power output. The second is that they do. Which thought is correct? In fact both, in a way, are correct. |
If we measured the power output of an engine first with light flywheel and then again with the standard part on an engine dyno, no change in power will be seen to occur. At first it appears that the light flywheel has done nothing and was a total waste of cash. This is not the case. A dyno that shows max power at constant revs does not demonstrate what happens to an engine's power output in real life situations - like acceleration. If an engine is accelerated on a dyno (we are talking about a rate of around 2000rpm a second ) it would show a power output of around 20%-25% less than at the constant rev state.
The reason for this is that when accelerating a vehicle the engine not only has to push the total mass of the car but the internal components of the engine need to be accelerated also. This tends to absorb more power as the extra power is used accelerating the internal mass of the engine components and is why a motor accelerating on a dyno will produce less power than at constant revs. Also it must be remembered that the rate of acceleration on the engine internals is much greater that the rest of the car. This would then suggest that by lightening the flywheel, less power would be required to accelerate it and therefore more power would be available to push the car along.
Now, it may seen unbelievable that by removing a few pounds from the flywheel a noticeable difference to a 3000lb+ car’s acceleration will be made. In fact the difference is quite noticeable and the secret behind this is hidden within the gearbox. Everyone knows that cars accelerate at a greater rate in low gears, this is because a car’s gear box basically a mechanical lever and just like when using a leaver to lift a heavy object, the gearbox reduces the mass of the car that the engine sees. For example, in first gear an engine will see the car's mass as only around say 250lbs but the engine internal mass would still remain around 45lbs.
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