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What is a Single Overhead Cam Engine (SOHC)??

SOHC engine

SOHC engine

Highly efficient in design, a single overhead cam(SOHC) engine potentially generates a higher engine speed permitting greater revolution per minute(RPM) than compared to older style pushrod-driven overhead valve (OHV) powerplants. Gaining attention like they were invented recently, today as advanced, single overhead cam engines were successfully used in racing back to the 1920s when the famous Bugatti used it on their Type 35 Grand Prix car. Find someone with an old ’60’s used Ford Fairlane that had the Ford SOHC side oiler engine for the fastest ride of your life..

While not seen in widespread production until the about 1980s, single overhead cam as well as double overhead cam (DOHC) engines have now pressed OHV engines into a declining minority.

Overhead cam relates to the presence of the camshaft located over the cylinders. The designation for single overhead cam relates to a bank of cylinders meaning only one camshaft is used on in-line engines. On V pattern engine blocks, two cylinder banks are present taking the total number of camshafts to two. Capable of directly actuating the valve’s rocker arms, this is a most efficient design over more traditional pushrod engines. Besides eliminating the weight for up to 16 pushrods in V8 engines, there is a lesser amount of energy lost allowing for faster camshaft and crankshaft RPMs.

Similar to other valvetrain arrangements, a chain or rubber belt runs from a gear at front of the crankshaft to the camshaft maintaining the engine timing. Where it differs is that the distance between the crankshaft and camshaft requires a timing chain to stretch longer. For V pattern engines, the need to control two camshafts requires an additional timing chain.

We have covered the basic function and theory of SOHC engines today. There are some really cool SOHC engines built in the past and currently being produced, check our blog for the next installment on SOHC engine application and usage..


3 Responses to “What is a Single Overhead Cam Engine (SOHC)??”

  1. […] If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Finishing up the What is a Single Overhead Cam Engine post: […]

  2. […] SL1 trim level featured a SOHC 1.9 L I4 LK0 engine that was rated at 85 hp (63 kW), which was upgraded to the 100 hp (70 kW) […]

  3. […] This unique number will insure that there will be no guessing on what particular version of the SOHC 2.0 L engine. Although the engines were the same internally, for all practical purposes, the mounts […]

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