We love the spinning, whirring, and whooshing inside every gasoline engine, but that doesn’t mean we understand every single piece of it. That’s okay; learning new things is always good. Especially when you can learn from a fun set of videos like the Toyota Engines 101 series.
These videos break down how engines work with more detail than you might have ever wanted. And if you do want more, the series has videos on valvetrains, diesel engines, and even turbochargers and superchargers.
The Toyota Engines 101 videos have kid-friendly, simple explanations and great animations of how everything goes together. They also add enough detail that even our experts learned a thing or two. Plus, the videos are not overly brand-specific, covering features Toyota offers plus features the automaker doesn’t, like economy-boosting diesel and muscle car horsepower secret supercharging.
Toyota Engines 101: How Engines Work
First in the series is “The Basics of How Engines Work.” This video breaks down the gas engine using the example of an air pump, a great way to explain the principle. It then goes into explaining the block and cylinder head, showing where each component comes into play.
Other topics in this Toyota Engines 101 video include the four phases of a gas engine cycle, V and inline engine layouts, displacement, and a good explanation of what a pound-foot of torque really means and why horsepower is higher at high RPM.
The Differences of Diesels
Video two explains the differences between gas and diesel engines. Sure, it makes us wish Toyota sold its diesel engines in the States, but it also gives you handy information.
The video starts with the four steps of a diesel, explaining why it doesn’t need a spark plug. The Toyota Engines 101 lesson then explains the benefits of diesel and the reasons why they aren’t used in sports cars despite their benefits. The video even covers why you won’t find a throttle plate in a diesel.
Video three of Toyota’s Engines 101 playlist gets into the valvetrain of the engine, a good lesson since proper breathing is key to performance engines as well as efficient engines. This video shows you what intake and exhaust valves do, as well as how they’re driven by the camshaft and crankshaft. It also covers overhead valve and overhead cam engines, going into what each one means and why both layouts exist.
For more advanced timing, the video shows the benefits of variable valve timing and provides a rough guide on how most modern valve timing adjustment systems work. Lastly, Toyota takes us through the Atkinson Cycle — not the low-carb diet but the altered combustion cycle that trades some outright power for much-improved combustion efficiency, reduced fuel consumption, and lower emissions.
Turbo Talk That Doesn’t Suck
The last video in the Toyota Engines 101 series talks about forced induction: superchargers and turbochargers. The video explains how the two can pack more air into a cylinder, but, more importantly, it explains why you’d want to do this.
More air means more fuel which means more power, essentially simulating a larger engine. The video also gets into the details about how this can lead to lower fuel consumption when you don’t need more power.
The video showcases the benefits of a turbocharger, scavenging its own energy from the heat of the exhaust, but it also covers the downside. It does the same for the supercharger, highlighting the benefits and compromises as well. Even sequential versus twin-turbo and twin-scroll turbochargers are discussed.