|Topics||Brakes, Cylinders, Distributor, Exhaust Manifolds, Independent Suspension, Power Brakes, Powertrain Control Module, Sensors, Transfer Case, Wheel Hub|
Brakes utlize friction to slow vehicle tires. Drum brakes employ a cast iron drum that roates with the vehicle axle. When hydraulic pressure is applied to the brake assemblies at the wheels, internal pistons expand and push brake shoes outward into contact with the brake drum slowing the rotation of the axle. More powerful disc brakes operate by pinching a rotating disc betweeen two brake pads and allow for a larger surface area to contact the disc, provide more force, and are more easily cooled.
Cylinders act as a guide for the pistons that translate the heat energy of combustion into the mechanical energy necessary to move a vehicle. Piston rings seal the piston to the cylinder to contain combustion gases and also regulate the oil distribution between the piston and cylinder wall. A cylinder head closes in the top of the cylinder forming the combustion chamber which is sealed by a head gasket (head). The head provides space for air and fuel intake valves, exhaust valves, and mounts for spark plugs and fuel injectors.
The distributor is driven by the engine's camshaft and is responsible for timing the spark and distributing it to the correct cylinder. The distributor cap contains a rotor that connects the ignition coil (and its high voltage) to the proper cylinder at the proper point in the stroke cycle.
The cast iron exhaust manifolds collect engine exhaust gas from multiple cylinder exhaust valves and deliver it to the exhaust pipe. Exhaust manifolds can be generic or specially tuned (header pipes) to the engine. Header pipes deliver higher performance but are more expensive and less durable.
Most modern cars use an independent suspension system on the front wheels. This setup allows each of the wheels on an axle to move independently in response to road level variations. Independent suspension offers much better handling and stability when compared to a rigid axle suspension at the cost of being structurally weaker and more costly to maintain.
Power brakes multiply the force a driver applies to the brake pedal using a vacuum booster connected to the engine intake manifold. This provides for much higher hydraulic pressure in the braking system than could be generated by the driver alone. Antilock brakes (ABS) use speed sensors and adjust the brake pressure at each wheel to prevent skidding and allow the driver more steering control in slippery conditions.
The main computer or powertrain control module (PCM) uses pre-programmed software to analyze the input received from sensors and produce output signals to adjust vehicle performance and operation. (Engine control unit (ECU) is another name for the PCM.)
Sensors provide the data necessary for the vehicle's computer to make decisions and monitor everything from simple vehicle information like tire pressure to complexities like the chemical content of an engine's exhaust.
The transfer case splits engine power between the front and rear axles of four-wheel drive vehicles.
The wheel hub is the mounting point for the wheel and tire assembly. The wheel hub can rotate while being held stable by the steering knuckle which applies the motion of the control arms to the wheels.