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Old 04-05-2006, 11:14 AM   #1
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Variocam?

I cant beleive I have waited this long to ask...what is this "variocam" technology that Porsches have? I heard it is similiar to VTEC,can someone explain?

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Old 04-05-2006, 01:26 PM   #2
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Hi,

VarioCam is Porsche's Variable Valve Timing System. There are two generations of it. The 1st was used on the M96 Engine from '97 - '02 and is operated by an Electrical Solenoid. The 2nd. Generation was introduced on the '03 Models and uses a Hydraulically spun stator.

There is Valve Overlap on every engine cycle, that is, there is a time in the cycle, at the end of the Exhaust Stroke and the beginning of the Intake Stroke where all the Valves are opened. Changing this overlap (duration) changes the way the Engine behaves and the Power/Torque it produces.

Greater Overlap enhances the amount of AF which the Cylinder can take in which results in higher Torque, but also higher Emissions. Lesser Overlap increases HP and reduces Emissions, especially at low throttle and idle.

In the past, a Camshaft was always a compromise between these variables. But, with Adaptive Valve Timing, the Overlap can be made to change according the Engine Speed.

To do this, the Cam is literally shifted, that is, the Lobes are either advanced or retarded. In the 1st Gen VarioCam, the DME signals the Solenoid which shifts the Cam at a pre-set Engine Speed. It is either On or Off and the Overlap is shifted a fixed number of degrees.

On the 2nd Gen VarioCam, the Engine Speed builds Hydraulic Pressure in the Stator corresponding to Engine Speed. Unlike the 1st Gen, this allows for infinitely variable Overlap within a 40 Degree radius of the Crankshaft - it is essentially always On. It has the added benefit of eliminating the Drive Chain between each pair of Camshafts, simplifying the design, making it more reliable and eliminating some weight. Hope this helps...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 04-05-2006, 06:36 PM   #3
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It only changes overlap and not lift? Most power on a high lift cam is made from lift not overlap. Excessive overlap makes power to a point, but the effects are negated pretty quickly. I'm guessing when the cam shifts over it's also increasing lift which is really where th power comes from, keeping the valve open longer as well as farther. You can mimic overlap with adjustable cam gears and they make power to a point, but not like a bunch of lift does.
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:05 PM   #4
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i'm pretty sure that VarioCam on the boxster only varies overlap. VarioCam Plus (996 / 997) also varies lift and duration.
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:20 PM   #5
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Variocam was developed for the 968 in 1991. It used a timing chain to vary the phase angle of the camshaft, thus providing 3-stage variable valve timing. The 996 and Boxster use a similar system. This design is actually inferior to the hydraulic actuator used by other car makers (such as VTEC in your original question) since it doesn’t allow as much variation to phase angle.

I believe what MNBoxster refers to as the "2nd Gen Variocam" is known in Porsche-speak as Variocam Plus which was introduced with the 996 - 911 Turbo and is standard on the 997. "Plus" uses the hydraulic actuator instead of a timing-chain and provides continuous (infinite) variable valve timing. More importantly, as 986Jim notes, the "Plus" adds variable valve lift.
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD987
Variocam was developed for the 968 in 1991. It used a timing chain to vary the phase angle of the camshaft, thus providing 3-stage variable valve timing. The 996 and Boxster use a similar system. This design is actually inferior to the hydraulic actuator used by other car makers (such as VTEC in your original question) since it doesn’t allow as much variation to phase angle.

I believe what MNBoxster refers to as the "2nd Gen Variocam" is known in Porsche-speak as Variocam Plus which was introduced with the 996 - 911 Turbo and is standard on the 997. "Plus" uses the hydraulic actuator instead of a timing-chain and provides continuous (infinite) variable valve timing. More importantly, as 986Jim notes, the "Plus" adds variable valve lift.
Hi,

No disagreement, except that the VarioCam is Solenoid actuated and not 3-stage. It uses a change in tension of the Timing Chain (actually the Camshaft Drive Chain) to affect the phase shift. This tension is varied by an Electronic Solenoid. It effects only a change in Overlap.

VarioCam Plus is the 2nd Gen of the system. It uses Engine Speed - dependent Hydraulic Pressure to perform the Phase Shift continuously, eliminating the Chain and Tensioning components. Also, the VarioCam Plus Camshafts differ in that they have two sets of lobes, with different profiles, for each Valve - similar to Honda's VTEC system.

Additionally, the Hydraulic Lifters (Tappets) are 2-stage as well with two-stage lift on the Intake Valves. The two-stage Valve Lift function is performed by Electro-Hydraulically operated switchable Tappets. Each of these 12 Tappets consists of Concentric Lifters, which can be locked together by means of a pin. The inner Lifter is actuated by a Small Cam Lobe, while the outer ring element is moved by a pair of larger-profile Lobes. All of this is initiated and synchronized by the DME.

In addition to the Engine Performance gains, weight was reduced by eliminating the Drive Chain and increasing MPG. The MPG improvement was sufficient to reduce the capacity, and therefore size/weight) of the Fuel Tank and still achieve the same range for the Car...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

Last edited by MNBoxster; 04-05-2006 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 04-06-2006, 03:58 AM   #7
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Ahh!! Makes sense to me now. Very interesting how Porsche did it. Jim, you really seem to have some indepth knowledge of how the boxster motor works, are you a mechanic or have you hobby rebuild/raced the car or something? Generally that type of knowledge about a specific platform is only known by guys who either build the motors or race the cars.
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Old 04-06-2006, 05:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 986Jim
Ahh!! Makes sense to me now. Very interesting how Porsche did it. Jim, you really seem to have some indepth knowledge of how the boxster motor works, are you a mechanic or have you hobby rebuild/raced the car or something? Generally that type of knowledge about a specific platform is only known by guys who either build the motors or race the cars.

Hi,

Thank you for your kind words. Actually, I have been racing for almost 25 tears (SCCA Club, Spec, Formula Ford, currently Formula Vee) and have been an avid enthusiast since I was 18. I also am an avid Auto-Xer.

I never had the Free Cash to afford this, so I was forced to learn to do my own repairs just to participate. Same goes for Racing. A few years ago, just for ********************s & Giggles, I earned several ASE Certifications (6). Despite what I had picked up through the years, I still learned a lot doing this. Finally, I have been fortunate to have had several friends and associates, much smarter than I am, help me flatten my Learning Curve considerably. I've rebuilt numerous Engines in my life from Nissan L-20 Series, Lotus 900 Series, Lotus Twin Cam, Kent, Cosworth, Jag + a number of both Ford and GM SmallBlocks.

You are very knowledgeable as well, I enjoy reading your posts and learning of your own in-depth knowledge. I learn something from nearly every one of your posts.

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

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