If your tired of my "early Ford" rattling on this T forum, please don't read on....
A few recent threads have covered the six cylinder K, and just recently, the six cylinder N prototype. We've been discussing Pre Ts and other Ford "orphans" on the "Early Ford Registry" too. Many interesting photos, articles and theories have come forth as a result.
The following text is taken from a 1906 Horseless Age article. In the article, E.R. Thomas (Thomas Flyer) makes the argument for a 4 cylinder over a 6. Guess who is quoted taking the opposing view, that 6 cylinders are superior to 4. That's right, Henry Ford.
Following is a portion of the text, followed by the entire article.
Henry Ford's argument for 6 over 4 cylinders:
"Compression and speed being equal, the difference between the two will be so slight it may he considered a negligible quantity. "The six cylinder Ford motor is rated at 40 horse power. The cylinder dimensions arc 4^x4% inches bore and stroke respectively. The total piston displacement in the six cylinders is therefore 360.5 cubic inches. Four cylinders having the same piston displacement would need to have a bore and stroke of 5^x5^ inches respcclively. (Motors of these dimensions are ordinarily rated at 50 horse power.) A four cylinder motor of the above dimensions would ordinarily have a fiy wheel of 20 inches diameter and weighing not less than 140 pounds. The Ford six cylinder has a 16 inch flywheel, weighing 65 pounds.
By increasing this diameter to 20 inches the flywheel need weigh only 50 pounds, or 37 pounds if the diameter was 24 inches, the usual size in single cylinder motors. In short, the weight may be decreased to any desired amount by increasing the diameter. "Road clearance being an object a small flywheel is used. If the four cylinder maker wanted the same road clearance and so reduced his flywheel to the Ford diameter—16 inches—he would have to put 175 pounds of dead metal into it to get the same results as he gets with his 140 pound 20 inch whwl. That the six cylinder motor of same total piston displacement is lighter than the four of same power is shown by the following: The two extra cylinders in the Ford weigh, with valves and all attachmmts, exactly 56 pounds. Two extra pistons and connecting rods complete, 17 pounds. The additional length of crank shaft and aluminum base is exactly compensated for by the necessarily larger diameter of parts in
the four with its large bore and longer stroke. We then have 73 pounds of extra weight due to the addition of the two cylinders, which is, however, offset by 75 pounds reduction in the flywhwl weight ncccssary for this type of motor. This leaves an advantage of a pound* for the six cylinder. "But the larger cylinders necessary to produce the same power in four that we get from six would weigh fully 25 per cent more each than the smaller ones—they must not only be larger but the walls, water jacket spaces, pistons and other parts also must be larger. Consequently, the six cylinder motor is 25 to 30 pounds lighter than the four cylinder of same power. "An even more convincing demonstration would be to weigh a six cylinder motor on the same scale as a four cylinder of the same capacity."
I'll try this one. I'm not able to upload a better resolution copy.
Using my superior Microsoft XP technology I have ER Thomas' quotes here:
Again with the magical assistance of 1999 Microsoft computing power, we have the opposing viewpoint of Henry Ford:
Appreciate the information. We might have to send you down by Steve for a photography class however.
When designing the Model T, Henry was aiming for an economy car and 4 cylinders make more sense there. Look at all the economy cars today. They are all 4 cylinder.
Early in-line 6 and 8 cylinder cars had a problem with harmonic torsional vibration in the crankshafts. The harmonic dampener was invented to help. V8's did not have this problem, which explains why V8's won out over in-line 8's, among other reasons.
I wonder if crankshaft breakage in Model T's would be reduced with a harmonic dampener on the front of the crankshaft.
Within reason, smaller cylinders produce more power per displacement than larger cylinders. That is why you see formula 1 race cars and expensive sports cars with lots of cylinders, such as V10 and V12, although formula 1 is now limited by regulation to V8's. The reason has to do with the ratio of surface area per volume. That means the valves are more effective. Plus the rpm can be increased. Formula 1 engines now run nearly 20,000 rpm. They use highly over square bore/stroke dimensions and pneumatic valve springs.
If I could get my Model T to run 20,000 rpm, it would be going 480 mph. Highly unlikely on both counts.
less cylinders will create more low end torque and grunt, the more cylinders you have (to a point) you will have more horsepower potential in he higher rpm range.
take a look into the offenhauser engines, 4 cylinders dominated through the 70s until the cosworth came along.
i think the real reason engines have gotten away from 4 cylinders is because the more cylinders you have the smoother the engine will run.
The good news is, I am able to do all this while at my in laws. They think I'm listening to their (same old) stories while I'm actually responding to this thread on my ipad ( I couldn't get away with that using my pc).
Most of these pics are "screen shots". Then, I must reduce the resolution so much that the pics are hard to see.
Now, back to the same old stories .
Henry was known to change his mind on occasion depending on what was the advantage to him.
I read somewhere that inline sixes are naturally balanced, and V8s aren't. They play geometric games with modern V8 crankshafts to make the engines balance. And I don't understand all I know about that..
I think both sides have a legitimate argument. Thomas built some outstanding cars, the best of the pre - 1910 era. The problem with Thomas was they did not make enough cars to stay in business very long.
Ford knew he was not making enough profit to stay in business making Model K's, regardless of how good they were. So he concentrated on four cylinder cars which were easier to build and easier to sell.
I agree, until the Model T, all major manufacturers made two or more models. Only Ford settled on one model (that I'm aware of) and then stayed with it for years.
The late 08 articles I've read appear to indicate Ford will continue to make small runabouts and possibly sixes, in addition to the new Model T.
Ralph, I will say our K runs very smooth, more so than I expected.
Thanks for all the research and interesting reading
Doubt he "hated" them. No speed guy hates what makes his car go faster. He probably hated the reason he had to build them: The company backers.