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What is a camshaft and how does it work?

 

A camshaft is a long, cylindrical shaft with a series of oblong lobes or cams along its length. These cams have specific shapes and are strategically positioned to interact with the engine's valves. The shape and positioning of these cams determine the timing and duration of the valve opening and closing events. 

The camshaft is synchronized with the engine's crankshaft through a timing belt or timing chain. As the crankshaft rotates, it turns the camshaft at a precise ratio. This synchronization ensures that the camshaft operates in harmony with the engine's piston movements. As the camshaft rotates, the lobes on the camshaft come into contact with a series of components, such as lifters (or tappets), pushrods (in pushrod engines), or directly with the valve stems (in overhead camshaft engines). When a lobe pushes against one of these components, it forces the associated valve to open.

 

Camshaft vs crankshaft

 

  1. Camshaft

A camshaft controls when the engine's intake and exhaust valves open and close using specialized lobes. It's usually found in the cylinder head and plays a vital role in making the engine run efficiently. Different types of camshafts, like DOHC or hydraulic, exist to suit various engines and purposes.

 

  1. Crankshaft

The crankshaft's job is to convert the piston's up-and-down motion into the circular motion that powers your vehicle or machinery. It's located inside the engine block and is shaped like a cylinder with offset points. The crankshaft remains the same in most engines, regardless of design or materials used.

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