What is Engine Balancing? Factors Affecting Engine Balancing.

The engine needs to be balanced well for the better performance of the vehicle. Also, the engine needs to be tuned for better operation. In this article, I will discuss what is engine balancing factors and the effect of engine balancing.


What is Engine Balancing Factors

Because internal combustion engines have reciprocating parts like pistons and connecting rods which move once in one direction and then in the other, hence they create vibrations when the engine is running. Also, there is only one power impulse during every two revolutions of the crankshaft in the case of a four-stroke engine, which creates a fluctuation in the wheel movement.

For the smooth running of the engine, balancing the engine is necessarily required. Many problems in the engine balancing can best be solved by using a multi-cylinder engine. Engine balance and vibration are the most prominent among these problems. The firing order is interrelated to the engine balance and vibration.

Types of Engine Balancing

Engine balance may be of two types—power balance and mechanical balance.

An engine is said to be in power balance when the power impulses occur at regular intervals with relation to the revolution of the crankshaft and each power impulse exerts the same force.

An engine is said to be in mechanical balance when the moving parts, both rotating and reciprocating, are arranged so that they counterbalance in operation and thereby minimize vibration. The main reciprocating parts are the pistons and connecting rods since they move up and down to rotate the crankshaft. When an engine is in balance, it has both power balance and mechanical balance.

The rotating parts of an engine can be balanced mechanically by bringing them into static and dynamic balance. The main rotating parts to be balanced mechanically are the crankshaft and flywheel. Reciprocating parts cannot be balanced easily. Because the weight of pistons and connecting rods move once in one direction and then in the other, it produces considerable vibration. The crankshaft is subjected to shocks in bringing these parts to a stop at the end of each stroke.

These shocks on the crankshaft are called primary inertia forces. The engines also have secondary inertia forces caused by the angularity of the connecting rods which produce secondary vibration. Every piston and connecting rod in a well-designed engine is of the same weight within the accurate limit. The flywheel and crankshaft assembly also have a perfect dynamic balance. This practice minimizes the vibration.

Factors Affecting Engine Balancing

Balancing an engine can increase the savings of your account. Because the Engine is the heart of the vehicle. There are mainly two factors affecting the engine balancing- Vibration and Firing order. Let’s talk about these two factors-


Engine vibration must have to be eliminated or reduced to a minimum for smooth running. The crankshaft has torsional vibration caused by the winding and unwinding (or twisting and untwisting) of the crankshaft resulting from the application and release of the power impulses on the crank-throws of the crankshaft. This effect is greater for a crankshaft that is relatively small in diameter in proportion to its length than for a shorter and thicker crankshaft.

The crank throws that are close to the flywheel transmit their forces to the flywheel with little twisting. The longer crankshaft has proportionately increased twisting. Also, every crankshaft has an inherent natural period of vibration. If the frequency of torsional vibration caused by this twisting and untwisting of the crankshaft corresponds to its natural period of vibration (resonance condition) the vibration would become excessive. The condition may cause crankshaft breakage. The speeds at which resonance might occur are called critical speeds.

The torsional vibration of the crankshaft can be reduced by seven I al methods. One method is to design the crankshaft so that its highest critical speed is above the maximum speed of the engine and to dampen out the torsional vibration that occurs at lower speeds by natural bearing friction. In most automobile engines the torsional vibration of the crankshaft is neutralized by the use of a vibration damper or harmonic balancer.

Another type of vibration is due to the torque reaction of the connecting rods on the cylinder block as they push against the crankpins to cause rotary motion of the crankshaft. If the crankshaft rotates in one direction, the torque reaction of the connecting rod impulses lends to rotate the cylinder block in the opposite direction. Because the connecting rod impulses fluctuate in nature, the torque reaction on the cylinder block also fluctuates or vibrates.

This type of vibration is reduced by increasing the number of cylinders in modern passenger car engines, or by various methods of mounting the engine on rubber so that, most of the vibration is absorbed before it is transmitted to the body or frame.

Vibration damper


While the engine is in operation, the torsional vibration of the crankshaft causes the oscillations to build up so much that the crankshaft might break at a certain speed. To control torsional vibration the device’s vibration damper harmonic balancers are used. They are usually mounted on the front end of the crankshaft: and the fan-belt pulley is incorporated into them.

A damper simply consists of two parts, a small damper flywheel, and a pulley, bonded to each other by a rubber insert. The pulley is mounted to the front end of the crankshaft. As the crankshaft tends to speed up or slow down. the damper flywheel imposes a dragging effect due to its inertia. This effect slightly fixes the rubber insert and tends to hold the pulley and crankshaft to a constant speed. The action tends to check the twist and untwist or torsional vibration of the crankshaft. Also, it relieves the stresses in the crankshaft.

Firing Order

The sequence in which the power impulses occur in an engine is called the firing order. The firing order, or order in which the cylinders deliver their power strokes, is selected as a part of the engine design to obtain the best engine performance.

When the cylinders are in line, the cylinder nearest to the radiator is designated as No. 1, the one directly behind it is No. 2, and so on. The firing order is shown by the sequence of the number of cylinders in which the cylinders deliver their power strokes. For example, the firing order of a four-cylinder engine will be

written as                1 — 2 — 4 — 3

This means that the firing will take place in the sequence of first, second, fourth, and third cylinders respectively in a four-cylinder engine.

Engine balancing is related to firing order. One cylinder engine, working on a four-stroke cycle, has only one power impulse for every two revolutions of the crankshaft. Hence, it will not run smoothly and quietly. in spite of the compensating effect of a large flywheel. The operation will be very rough, and to withstand

it, the engine parts must be made large and heavy. Hence single-cylinder engine working on a four-stroke cycle is not used in automobiles. Scooters and motorcycles use two-stroke single-cylinder engines. Heavy vehicles adopt two-, four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. By increasing the number of cylinders, the power impulses for each revolution of the crankshaft also increase, giving a more uniform torque and smoother operation.

Above four cylinders there is no period during which some cylinder is not delivering power, and there is no time at which the flywheel must supply all the power required to maintain the engine speed. The more cylinders in an engine, the more continuous the flow of power, if the power impulses are spaced equally, the less work is to be done by the wheel in storing and releasing the energy; and the less is vibration. A lighter flywheel can serve the purpose of multicylinder engines.


So, the engine balancing is needed to eliminate the vibration of the engine, due to the power generation. To reduce the issues, some devices are connected to the engine block. In modern engines, there are various sensors are used for better engine operation.

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