Engine enthusiasts can find a wealth of information and entertainment on YouTube. There are videos showing assembly, swaps, dyno tests, explosions, bumbling antics in addition to a lot of prideful owners showing off their bullets. There are also a number of videos designed to educate in both step-by-step, how-to explanations and high-performance theory discussions. Some are quite amateurish, so be skeptical of some of the presentations. But there are also quite a few good technical offerings with useful advice.
EngineLabs sifted through more than hundred videos, looking for a cross section of categories that would appeal to a wide range of engine enthusiasts. Some fans are just interested in explosions or the sound of a screaming engine on the dyno. Others look for insights into performance builds or the history of engines. We came up with 10 interesting videos that hopefully share most of your interests, and in some sections we offer more than one choice. Sometimes, we can’t even pick a favorite. So look for additional hyperlinks in the story and enjoy!
Leading off this compilation on top of the page is probably the most watched dyno explosion on YouTube. This diesel loses its entire bottom end. The video description doesn’t identify the engine or the cause of the failure, but numerous sharp-eyed commentators offered plenty of suggestions, including runaway diesel combustion, broken turbo shaft and spun bearings. Whatever, there’s plenty of noise, smoke and sparks that get the point across — engines have breaking points! In another well-known video, a diesel’s top end goes kaboom on the dyno. Many times the camera operators are so startled that most of the good footage is lost when an engine blows up. This shooter managed to stay steady for at least a few milliseconds after the entire top end shot upwards. And the slow-motion replay certainly helped demonstrate the amount of force needed for such a fireworks show.
Now this is an engine explosion
Those dyno mishaps are kid’s play compared to what happens to this tractor running on methanol in a European pull. The guy actually runs over the block after it’s spit out of the chassis. There are numerous YouTube uploads showing this explosion, but this is probably the clearest and also shows the leftover carnage. And if you look real hard, you’ll find another event where the European Maid blows another engine in spectacular fashion. Guy just has tough luck!
Slow it down
Now it’s time to start learning about engines and the way they’re supposed to run — not just blow up. Understanding how valve springs work and recognizing abuse they’re subjected to has been critical in boosting horsepower in recent years, especially in tightly controlled naturally aspirated applications like Pro Stock and NASCAR. Spintrons and high-speed cameras for slow-motion analysis has been key to that research. The above video is the most dramatic on YouTube, but we also found one from a NASCAR engine and one from a Spintron that are just as interesting.
Inside the combustion chamber
A peek inside the combustion chamber has also helped engineers learn more about making power in years past. Now that computer modeling has become so accurate, there’s less of a need actual video inside the chamber. Wish there was more info about the engine and research shown in the video above, and this video that shows an experimental square piston, but both give you a unique view of combustion.
The art of engine assembly
Engine assembly is an art, and this professionally produced piece combines operatic music with the artistic precision of casting the parts and assembling a Ferrari engine. It’s quite an enjoyable video. Although not as dramatic and detailed, here’s a video on the assembly of a Bugatti Veyron engine; and for a little fun, here’s a homemade engine-assembly video with some lively music and garage antics. Also, On a much grander scale, here’s a video of engine assembly at the Caterpillar marine-engine plant. Big blocks, big cranks and big everything.
Videos showing vintage engines and assembly techniques are a great way to appreciate some of today’s advancements. Here’s a Chevy-produced film from the mid-‘50s discussing the role of engineers. You have to fast-forward to the middle to see any engine work, but this video is still a great retro trip back to simpler times.
The future of engine technology is available on YouTube. The patent owners behind the Scuderi engine technology have posted numerous videos demonstrating the engine’s unique split-cycle design that separates intake and compression from combustion and exhaust. This one gives a general overview of the engine’s theory, which may prompt you to check out company’s video channel for more info. Scuderi officials have been pressing the OEMs for more consideration to its product, so it will be interesting to see how this technology plays out.
Sights and sounds of engine fury
The Wankel engine doesn’t always get the respect it deserves, but when you watch and hear this turbocharged, 4-rotor on the dyno — you’ll become a believer. This bullet is flame-spewing nasty. And speaking of boost, check out the glowing headers from this Nissan as it’s hit with 50 psi.
Here’s another great vintage video that shows how to overhaul the crank assembly of a old aircraft engine. The narration is spot-on, and the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. Check out the procedure to check connecting rod twist and straighness. There’s nothing wrong with old-school methods, and this video give a strong foundation on the basics of engine assembly, even if it’s for an airplane.
Closing out with a model engines seems appropriate as they always draw attention. Although it’s not the most viewed miniature engine video on YouTube, the above video is much more interesting as it shows the engine assembly. Just like the Ferrari video, it has a orchestral music background along with a few live sound effects. One never grows tired admiring the precision and attention to detail these modelers give their little engines.