VTEC ( Variable valve Timing and lift Electronic Control)
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07-06-2009, 01:33 AM

VTEC (standing for Variable valve Timing and lift Electronic Control) is a system developed by Honda to improve the combustion efficiency of its internal combustion engines throughout the RPM range. This was the first system of its kind and eventually led to different types of variable valve timing and lift control systems that were later designed by other manufacturers (VVTL-i from Toyota, VarioCam Plus from Porsche, and so on). It was invented by Honda's chief engine designer Kenichi Nagahiro.
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Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control

.docx   Variable Valve.docx (Size: 17.85 KB / Downloads: 37)

Context, and description

VTEC was initially designed to increase the power output of an engine to 100 HP/litre or more while maintaining practicality for use in mass production vehicles. Some later variations of the system were designed solely to provide improvements in fuel efficiency.
Japan levies a tax based on engine displacement, and Japanese auto manufacturers have correspondingly focused their R&D efforts toward improving the performance of smaller engine designs through means other than displacement increases. One method for increasing performance into a static displacement includes forced induction, as with models such as the Toyota Supra and Nissan 300ZX which used turbocharger applications and the Toyota MR2 which used a supercharger for some model years. Another approach is the rotary engine used in the Mazda RX-7 and RX-8. A third option is to change the cam timing profile, of which Honda VTEC was the first successful commercial design for altering the profile in real-time.


VTEC, the original Honda variable valve control system, originated from REV (Revolution-modulated valve control) introduced on the CBR400 in 1983 known as HYPER VTEC. In the regular four-stroke automobile engine, the intake and exhaust valves are actuated by lobes on a camshaft. The shape of the lobes determines the timing, lift and duration of each valve. Timing refers to an angle measurement of when a valve is opened or closed with respect to the piston position (BTDC or ATDC). Lift refers to how much the valve is opened. Duration refers to how long the valve is kept open. Due to the behavior of the working fluid (air and fuel mixture) before and after combustion, which have physical limitations on their flow, as well as their interaction with the ignition spark, the optimal valve timing, lift and duration settings under low RPM engine operations are very different from those under high RPM. Optimal low RPM valve timing, lift and duration settings would result in insufficient filling of the cylinder with fuel and air at high RPM, thus greatly limiting engine power output. Conversely, optimal high RPM valve timing, lift and duration settings would result in very rough low RPM operation and difficult idling. The ideal engine would have fully variable valve timing, lift and duration, in which the valves would always open at exactly the right point, lift high enough and stay open just the right amount of time for the engine speed in use.


Introduced as a DOHC system in Japan in the 1989 Honda Integra[1] XSi which used the 160 bhp (120 kW) B16A engine. The same year, Europe saw the arrival of VTEC in the Honda CRX 1.6i-VT, using a 150 bhp variant (B16A1). The US market saw the first VTEC system with the introduction of the 1991 Honda NSX, which used a 3-litre DOHC VTEC V6 with 280 bhp (210 kW). DOHC VTEC engines soon appeared in other vehicles, such as the 1992 Acura Integra GS-R (B17A1 1.7-litre engine), and later in the 1993 Honda Prelude VTEC (H22A 2.2-litre engine with 195 hp) and Honda Del Sol VTEC (B16A3 1.6-litre engine). The Integra Type R (1995–2000) available in the Japanese market produces 200 bhp (149 kW; 203 PS) using a B18C5 1.8-litre engine. Honda has also continued to develop other varieties and today offers several varieties of VTEC, such as i-VTEC and i-VTEC Hybrid.


As popularity and marketing value of the VTEC system grew, Honda applied the system to SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) engines, which share a common camshaft for both intake and exhaust valves. The trade-off was that Honda's SOHC engines benefitted from the VTEC mechanism only on the intake valves. This is because VTEC requires a third center rocker arm and cam lobe (for each intake and exhaust side), and, in the SOHC engine, the spark plugs are situated between the two exhaust rocker arms, leaving no room for the VTEC rocker arm. Additionally, the center lobe on the camshaft cannot be utilized by both the intake and the exhaust, limiting the VTEC feature to one side.


The earliest VTEC-E implementation is a variation of SOHC VTEC which is used to increase combustion efficiency at low RPM while maintaining the mid range performance of non-vtec engines. VTEC-E is the first version of VTEC to employ the use of roller rocker arms and because of that, it forgoes the need for having 3 intake lobes for actuating the two valves--two identical lobes for non-VTEC operation and one lobe for VTEC operation. Instead, there are two different intake cam profiles per cylinder--a very mild cam lobe with little lift and a normal cam lobe with moderate lift. Because of this, at low RPM, when VTEC is not engaged, one of the two intake valves is allowed to open only a very small amount due to the mild cam lobe, forcing most of the intake charge through the other open intake valve with the normal cam lobe. This induces swirl of the intake charge which improves air/fuel atomization in the cylinder and allows for a leaner fuel mixture to be used. As the engine's speed and load increase, both valves are needed to supply a sufficient mixture. When engaging VTEC mode, a pre-defined threshold for MPH (must be moving), RPM and load must be met before the computer actuates a solenoid which directs pressurized oil into a sliding pin, just like with the original VTEC. This sliding pin connects the intake rocker arm followers together so that now, both intake valves are now following the "normal" camshaft lobe instead of just one of them. When in VTEC, since the "normal" cam lobe has the same timing and lift as the intake cam lobes of the SOHC non-VTEC engines, both engines have identical performance in the upper powerband assuming everything else is the same.

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