Can someone explain compression to me in english


Ricochet
06-20-2003, 01:13 PM
Say an engine has 10:1 compression, is that like saying 10 cubic inches of air is compressed into 1 cubic inch before combustion? I know inches aren't the measurement but I'm using it as an example.

crxlvr
06-20-2003, 01:50 PM
lets say you have a glass of water that holds 10cups when full, if you can compress that without losing any water into one tenth the size, but still have the same amount, then you have a 10:1 comp ratio.

Ricochet
06-20-2003, 01:52 PM
Cool thanks. Anybody know my compression? I think it's something crazy like 12:1...?

B16EJ1
06-20-2003, 02:26 PM
You have a B16B right? Stock compression is 10:8:1.

Ricochet
06-20-2003, 02:45 PM
okay, 10:8:1... what does the 8 stand for, or did you mean 10.8:1?

jcrx
06-20-2003, 02:57 PM
A debate that often is pondered by not only Honda enthusiasts but all import performance enthusiasts is whether one wants to go the N/A route, or boost with a turbo or supercharger. While each has their own benefits, debating this is out of the scope of this article. This article is about how boost adds power, beyond the saying "it adds more air to burn". We all know that motors use compression to make power. For example, a B16A makes 10.2:1 or 10.4:1 depending on the year. This is known as static compression. In this article, we will introduce what is known as a motor's effective compression and explain the differences in choosing a proper static compression ratio for boost.

Effective compression is the sum of the static compression, plus the additional compression added to the cylinder by a turbo or super charger, or any other forced induction tool for that matter. Effective compression is defined by the following formula:
E = C((B / 14.7) + 1)
Where E= Effective Compression, B= boost psi, and C= Static compression. Also remember that 14.7 is equal to 1 bar of boost.

Let's do an example. Let's say we have a B16A bone stock with 10.4:1 static compression who slapped on a Drag Gen III turbo kit and is now boosting 7psi. That takes care of our variables. Let's do the math.
E = C((B / 14.7) + 1)
E = 10.4((7 / 14.7) + 1)
E = 10.4((.476xx) + 1)
E = 10.4(1.476xx)
E = 15.35xxx
As you can see, we come up with an effective compression ratio of 15.3 or so. A motor in this effective compression range is easily daily driven with proper fuel and timing adjustments/upgrades.

Why will a forced induction care always make more power at the same compression level? This answer is easy to see after doing the math. Your engine will always see the effective compression level. If you are N/A, you have no additive. A B16A N/A will still make the 10.4:1 static compression, while the boosted B16A will be over 15:1 from the effective compression ratio.

When building a motor, we are all after a higher effective compression ratio. So which is better? In the next part of this article, we will weigh the pros and cons of the following combinations of static compression ratios and boost pressure:


Low static compression / High boost
High static compression / Low boost
Medium static compression / Medium boost
Low static compression / High boost

Tuning plays a big key in all boosted setups. As the static compression ratio gets higher, it gets harder to tune. Lack of proper tuning leads to detonation, which leads to blown head gaskets, thrown rods, and cracked cylinder walls. Since this setup involves low static compression ratios, it is easy to tune. Just crank up the boost a little more to make up for the effective compression that is lost from the lower static compression. This is the easiest way to get a car boosted with the least amount of tuning. This set up, however, lacks in the low end torque department due to the fact that it relies on the turbo for most of its power.

High static compression / Low boost

This setup is harder to tune than the above setup, but at the same time, its output is overall higher, due to the higher static compression. This eliminates a lot of the low end torque/turbo lag problems that the above setup has, due to the fact that the higher static compression creates more power from the engine, and relies less on the source of the forced induction to create the higher effective compression level. Proper turbo size also plays a factor but, for the sakes of argument, we will simply discuss the motor's properties.

Medium static compression / Medium boost

This setup takes the best and the worst features from both sides. It will give a little more bottom end, but makes it a little more difficult to tune. A lot of people choose this route for VTEC engines. Dropping the compression down to say 9.5:1 and running around 9psi creates this medium zone that most people who boost tend to fit in.

So why does boost always make more power than N/A?

It's a simple explanation. In order for an N/A car to hang with a forced induction car, it would have to be running 15+:1 compression ratio; a ratio that's simply not useable on anything less than 125 octane gas.

What setup do I recommend you build? It all depends on how much you know about cars, your ability to have it tuned, proper parts, and proper fuel management *cough* Hondata *cough*. If you don't have time or expertise for tuning, drop the compression, and run a standard boost level around 6 psi. Go impress your N/A friends with your new found knowledge :)

Ricochet
06-20-2003, 03:04 PM
Um, I doubt I'll ever use forced induction but thanks for some of the info.

jcrx
06-20-2003, 03:11 PM
Originally posted by Ricochet
Um, I doubt I'll ever use forced induction but thanks for some of the info.
It isn't just for boost, it is info that can be used to figure out what compression is and how it works for/against you.

Ricochet
06-20-2003, 03:14 PM
So I could achive turbo power gains just by raising compression and using 125 octane?

jcrx
06-20-2003, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by Ricochet
So I could achive turbo power gains just by raising compression and using 125 octane?
There a little more to it than that.

Ricochet
06-20-2003, 03:49 PM
hehe
But in a nutshell, in a naturally aspirated engine it's better to raise the compression, and for turbo, to lower it right? What's the highest ratio I can raise my compression without any damage, and what length rods would I need? I know it's already high on a B16B and it won't be easy to tune but is it a good way to raise power on this engine?

jcrx
06-20-2003, 04:00 PM
Your compression isn't that high, 10.8:1. You can run upto about 12.1:1 maybe a little higher on good pump gas. Rod length doesn't have anything to do with it ( it does, but not the way your thinking). Rod strength is the important factor, and cylinder wall strength.

Ricochet
06-20-2003, 04:20 PM
Cool, how much power will that give me?
With longer, stronger rods are there any other mods needed, like pistons? I have i/h/e, walboro pump, and a V-AFC (if that matters).

jcrx
06-20-2003, 04:34 PM
To run longer rods (stroking), you would need to modify your block, so that they don't slam into the side during rotation. You need to raise the compression through the pistons, thinner head gasket, or milling (bad idea since once it is gone, it is gone) the bottom of the head.

Here is a decent link to read up in http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/t15933.html


I forget the guesstimation equation for Hp to CR. I want to say it's 10 Hp per point, but I am probably way off.

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