What is a cylinder head in car engine?

This blog post will answer the question, ‘What is a cylinder head in car engine? ’, and cover topics like components that make up a cylinder head, different types of cylinder heads used in car engines, cooling methods for cylinder heads, and cylinder head issues and their identification method.

What is a cylinder head in car engine?

A cylinder head in a car engine can be summarized in the following ways:

  • A cylinder head helps to seal off the engine combustion chamber from above
  • Cylinder heads make up the upper section of a car engine, while the lower section is known as the engine block
  • A cylinder head ensures a steady flow of lubricating medium inside the engine so that all the critical parts can move with ease and also get cooled by it.
  • It provides a protective housing for vital engine components like the spark plugs, the intake and exhaust valves, the fuel injectors, etc.
  • As it provides a steady lubrication flow to the engine components, it also helps in discharging most of the heat produced due to combustion in the engine cylinders.

Components that make up an engine cylinder head

Gasoline-powered engine

The engine cylinder head is made up of the following components in a gasoline-powered engine.

Ducts for intake and exhaust

The ducts are responsible for discharging the exhaust gases and permitting the optimum air-fuel mixture into the cylinder for combustion.

Camshafts

The main role of the camshafts is to control the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. They are linked to the crankshaft using a timing belt that runs on a system of pulleys.

Fuel injectors

These components are responsible for permitting the optimum amount of fuel inside the combustion chambers for proper burning with air.

Spark plugs

These components are responsible for igniting the air-fuel mixture and initiating the combustion process.

Diesel engine

The engine cylinder head is made up of the following components in a diesel engine.

Ducts for intake and exhaust

The ducts are responsible for discharging the exhaust gases and permitting the optimum air-fuel mixture into the cylinder for combustion.

Camshafts

The main role of the camshafts is to control the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. They are linked to the crankshaft using a timing belt that runs on a system of pulleys.

Fuel injectors

These components are responsible for permitting the optimum amount of fuel inside the combustion chambers for proper burning with air.

Glow plugs

These components are responsible for helping the diesel engine start during cold weather as they act as heating elements.

Different types of cylinder heads are used in car engines

These are the different layouts of cylinder heads used in car engines.

Flat cylinder head

They are also known as flathead cylinder heads and only help in protecting the cylinder block, without possessing any movable parts. They, however, lack a proper passage for airflow, thus resulting in poor engine performance.

Overhead valve cylinder head

These are the second type of cylinder head that can be produced. Their characteristic feature is that they have camshafts located right above them. 

Additionally, the valves and pushrods in this particular arrangement are all linked, thus enabling a direct and smooth passage for airflow.

Overhead camshaft cylinder heads

These types of cylinder heads are the most advanced designs and have the camshafts located right inside the cylinder heads. This arrangement thus nullifies the usage of pushrods. 

The above arrangement helps in promoting a smoother flow of air and also boosts engine efficiency.

Cooling methods used in cylinder heads

Engine cylinder heads are either water-cooled or air-cooled.

Water-cooled cylinder heads

This type of cooling method is the most advanced and popular in modern cars. In this arrangement, water is made to blend with antifreeze to prevent the formation of ice.

They are installed alongside an anti-corrosive medium as water can be corrosive. This method of cooling is very efficient.

Air-cooled cylinder heads

Air-cooled cylinder heads come with their perks as they have a simple design and are light on the wallet. They are also light in weight and easily manufactured.

The main reason for their reliability stems from their ability to cool even at freezing temperatures without the formation of ice.

Cylinder head issues and their identification method

There are defects that can arise in cylinder heads and they come with their respective identification methods.

Engine overheating is one of the most common and prominent defects that can occur in a cylinder head as it forms cracks. If a cylinder head is cracked, it can cause a leakage in the engine coolant and prevent efficient cooling of the engine.

These cracks additionally can result in engine oil leaking into the combustion chambers. This is a very serious problem and must be remedied with immediate effect to curb expensive losses.

Other defects that can arise in cylinder heads are a sudden drop in engine performance and the issue of misfiring cylinders. 

It must also be noted that water should not be added to the car radiator in case of overheating as that too can result in cracks on the cylinder head due to a sudden fluctuation in temperature conditions.

Research has shown the different materials that are used to manufacture car engine cylinder heads and their advantages.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question, ‘What is a cylinder head in car engine’.

We came to know the various components that make up a car engine cylinder head along with the different layouts of a car engine cylinder head. Furthermore, different cooling methods and certain issues in cylinder heads have also been discussed. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is a cylinder head in car engine?

How much does it cost to replace a cylinder head in a car?

An estimated cost of replacing a car engine cylinder head ranges from 3200$-3800$.

What does a cylinder head damage?

Usually, damaged cylinder heads occur due to a leakage in engine coolant thus overheating the vehicle or seepage of engine oil into the combustion chamber, causing serious issues and heavy repair costs. A damaged cylinder head can be identified by the formation of cracks on its surface. It also results in poor engine efficiency and misfiring cylinders.

Can a cylinder head be repaired?

The repair of a cylinder head is totally dependent on the severity and the number of cracks that have been formed on its surface. The methods that can be used to repair cracked cylinder heads are either pinning or welding processes.

References

https://www.buyautoparts.com/blog/what-is-a-cylinder-head-2/

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