Oversize Valves

Some tuners believe that larger size valves enhance Hi-RPM power at the expense of Low-RPM power. This has proven to be false due to the results of dyno tests and theory. Larger valves enhance Hi and Low RPM.

When a valve is closed it has no size whatsoever for a cylinder’s ability to induce air flow. A valve that is opened, 0.015”, appears to the cylinder as a small valve. Only when the valve reaches 25% of its total lift point does the cylinder actually experience anything near the true size of the valve. If a cylinder was stuffed with valves as big as possible to create a greater movement of the air/ fuel mixture and exhaust gasses and the larger valves proved to be excessive (too large), the solution of the problem would be to reduce the valve’s lift, besides reducing the air flow it would also reduce the wear and friction on the valve train. In the real world, the criterias for the intake and exhaust system for making peak HP and torque at a given engine RPM is the cross section area of the intake and exhaust ports, not the size of the valves.

The real advantage of using oversize valves is that, for a specific rate of the valve’s opening, an oversize valve will give a greater breathing area to the cylinder quicker. This is equal to as a smaller valve opened at higher rate of acceleration. Any time there is a higher acceleration rate in the valve train, more stress is created.

As long as valve shrouding is not a factor then the largest possible valve in a cylinder head will allow the engine to develop power over the widest RPM range, not just increase the flow at high lift rate. If a dyno test of a engine with a cylinder head that has oversize valves reveals a loss in low RPM power it is because the engines camshaft has to much overlap.

For carbureted normally aspirated Suzuki engines in the 9.5 to 12:1 compression ratio range the exhaust flow needs to be 75 percent of the intake flow. Overall when the compression ratio of an engine increases, in order to obtain the maximum results an exhaust valve can be made smaller in relation to the intake valve. This is due to the power developing earlier in the expansion cycle of a cylinder in high-compression engine, thus allowing the exhaust valve to be opened sooner and longer without any problems. A small exhaust valve will create the opportunity to use a larger intake valve.

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