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Intake and Exhaust System Tuning

Intake and Exhaust System Tuning

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Published by Amir Izham
This is not my work. I found this article on the internet a long time ago. Please contact me if it is copyrighted and i will remove it immediately
This is not my work. I found this article on the internet a long time ago. Please contact me if it is copyrighted and i will remove it immediately

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Published by: Amir Izham on Nov 08, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Intake and Exhaust System Tuning©
(Ramblings on exhaust and intake system modifications)
This is a discussion of some of the factors that go into the size, length, width, openingarea, ETC., of the intake and exhaust system. It is not a how-to article, but offers a fair amount of not easily found information. This article is an updated version of one thatwas posted to the Airheads LIST: "">>>>Some time ago I promised to do an article ontuning of Intake and Exhaust systems, and then later posted that it was becoming sounwieldy that I ripped up my notes. I really wanted to avoid long engineering discussions& mathematics (which many folks dislike). After thinking about this, I decided that Icould do the article in a way that would spell out some theory and some problems, andgive some hints. ""
....This is that article
Due to VERY complex effects having mostly to do with camshaft timing and size andlength of intake and exhaust systems, including the shape and size of combustionchamber items such as port and valve sizes, angles, flow, eddies, etc...., modifications for  power or torque is a mix of science and art, even with modern computers.... needing anlarge amount of experimentation. Most folks seem to think that if the exhaust system is'opened up', that in itself will give more power, more performance. They also seem tothink that bigger carburetors will do the same. Same idea for perhaps 'freer flowing' air cleaners, or individual air cleaner elements at the carburetor mouths (and eliminating theairbox, etc.).Somechangesreally willgive improvementsacross the rpm range. Colder  air to the air cleaner, insulating the air cleaner interior. A good 3 angle valve job. Higher compression ratio within gasoline limits, and many more changes.However, some, if not many changes, will often REDUCE performance. Of course, onehas to define performance: top speed? quick acceleration to some particular speed?tractability? Torque?... so as to not needing excessive shifting? Anecdotal evidence to thecontrary,the only real way to 'prove' your "improvements" to horsepower and torque, topend performance, acceleration, etc., is either on the drag strip, or a known distancedlayout, or, better yet, on a calibrated, or at least repeatable readings type of dynamometer.Certainly you can road test for characteristics like throttle response andsmoothness, and acceleration. Dynamometer time is expensive. One could get together with some friends and build one, it need not be calibrated, just consistent. NOT expensivehere. A few hundred dollars and a fair amount of time would get you a dyno. Purchasingone is likely to cost a minimum of $3000.00, and a really good setup will cost MANYtimes that amount.
It is counter-productive to 'hop up' an engine, if the results are such that the lower andmid range torque are severely reduced....UNLESS you intend the engine purpose to beONLY racing, where you might be able to 'stay on the pipes', or keep the rpm well up, allthe time.This makes for a really bad engine for touring, even bad for sport touring.
HOWEVER, it IS possible to use a 'hotter' camshaft, which normally might make theengine 'peaky', and add exhaust and intake 'tuning' such that the resultant torque curve isreally reasonably flat and the engine hardly peaky at all. THAT is likely the goal of manymodifiers for street usage, whether they understand, or not. Doesn't hurt racing performance either!BMW designed our bikes for reliable touring under all conditions. Only the most seriousstreet rodders would put up with a truly peaky engine. That being said, the followingdiscussion will describe some of the details of engine design and tuning, and give some pointers.
Intake system:
Increasing the size of the carburetors is not always the best thing to do. AS carburetor throat (venturi) diameter is increased, it becomes harder and harder to obtain enoughvelocity through the carburetors (for that, one usually needs increased rpm and/or displacement) to enable them to atomize fuel correctly. In some cases, as some owners of R80 and R100 machines well know, the 32 mm carburetors provide better  jump/midrange, than the 40 mm. Let me get into this a bit deeper. With carburetor sizes,and this applies also to FI throat size, smaller throats give better low to mid-range throttleresponse, sometimes even upper mid-range performance. That is because high air velocity through the carburetors is needed to allow the carburetors do their job. At JUSTthe extreme top end, let us say at or near wide open throttle and high rpm, the largestcarburetors that will cause decent atomization, are the best for power output. Amanufacturer usually strikes a balance in sizes. Unless one canstayin this highthrottle/rpm range (with a more peaky cam you'd also want close ratio gears), OVERALLacceleration may suffer.The Bing CV carburetors TEND to act like a rather modestvariable venturi, but do not provide the almost instantaneous 'snap' of a directlycontrolled carburetor.It is more important than often considered, that in the mid-range of rpm, good response isneeded on a touring bike. If the carburetor is too large, all sorts of strange effects willoccur, including the engine simply refusing to accelerate smoothly when the throttle issuddenly cracked open a large amount. The CV carburetor tends to greatly minimize thateffect, but in some instances it will still be evident. Still, it is the combination of enoughquantity of mixture, AND the throat velocity, to ENABLE it to get into the cylinder thatis important. If the velocity is too low, the next intake stroke of the piston will not allowmuch mixture into the cylinder. It is the total sum quantity of atomizedmixture that getsinto the cylinder, at the right time, that is the important thing.In ALL cases, the best power is available from the coolest possible temperature of theincoming air, since the vast portion of the burning mixture by weight, and volume, is air.Cooler air has FAR more oxygen, allowing more power, if the gasoline quantity/mixtureis adjusted to match. This is a BIG effect. A definite increase in power is available fromgetting cool air to the carburetor intakes. However, if this air is not warm enough, onecan freeze up the carburetor (venturi icing). Generally that is not a problem once the
engine is warmed up. When cold, the engine may not run well as the fuel is not atomizingwell, condenses on cylinder walls and other parts, and is no longer a vapor, especiallywith cold parts. That is why vehicles have 'chokes'...for cold weather operation, allowinglots more richness, really a brute force method. Fuel injection systemscanhave far better control over these characteristics.You WILL get more power, perhaps lots more, if you find a way to get cooling air to theairbox. Itis difficultto do itneatly, and to avoid ingestion of rain, leaves, etc. A NASA type duct, including the angle separation system used on turbine motors (airplanes) workswell.
Ram air:
Forget about it unless you are planning to ride over 130mph. Below 130 mph,the effects are extremely tiny, and effects even at 130 are just barely noticeable. Theeffectsabove 150are noticeable and worthwhile.And, no, a larger scoop, does NOT mean you will see improvement. You could make a scoop/funnel the width of themotorcycle, and all it would do is likely add a lot of drag.Again, the NASA duct worksreally well.
Intake tract length:
This is a particularly difficult idea to get across to some folks, andthe same effects, in reverse, are in the exhaust system.Bear with me, I will try to explainthis.
This effect is very noticeable at all throttle settings, but the effect varies greatly withthose settings::When the intake valve is in its 'open (at least somewhat') phase, and in conjunctionwith a time just after the piston reaches bottom, and the valve is still not yet closed (weare not going to get into cam timing theory here), the air coming through the intakesystem is NOT a steady flow. In fact, at any time, intake valve open or not, there is stillsome flow into the intake system, as this flow pressurizes against itself, readying itself for the next opening of the intake valve, so to speak. This flow is varying in velocity and pressure, depending on the valve opening, and a few other more esoteric things. Pressurehere means absolute pressure, or, if you will, referenced to atmospheric. To picture thissimplified, let us start at the beginning of the intake stroke. The valve is opening, thethrottle is open a bit or more. As the piston lowers, it reduces the atmospheric pressure inthe cylinder, allowing the outside air pressure to push air/fuel mixture into the cylinder.View it as sucking the outside air/mixture inwards (if you must). The piston eventuallystops lowering, and in modern engines, the valve closes a bit later. Since this happens at afast rate, even at idle, the intake flow is in PULSES. The incoming air slows when thatvalve closes, and this slowdown occurs VERY suddenly. View this as a slug of air slamming against a closed valve, if you must think of it that way. These pulses aredescribed by engineers in a type of complex interacting mathematics dealing with'waveforms'. You can think of it as the air piling up on itself. Because of this pulse, well,really lots of pulses, one full set per 2 rev per piston, some complex things happen in theintake system, and the one that I want to discuss is the most complicated one, thereflected pulse.

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