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Boxer, Flat engines

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So, I've been wondering - why exactly did Porsche choose to go with boxer, flat 6 engines? I've looked around the net but so much ... well, you know, you're on the internet. I thought this the appropriate forum to look for a technical explanation as to why my 996 has a flat 6 instead of maybe an inline 6 or a V. Is there some inherent advantage to this layout? Has modern technology in other engines removed or reduced that advantage? Some time back they made that decision and have stuck with it. I'm a fan but just curious and have already tried 'search' ;) http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3551 but didn't find any good information.

If nothing else, love the way it sounds but don't figure the Porsche racing heritage was destined to provide me with a fabulous sound system.


ps - why do the lifters make that chattering noise? (the explanation given to me when I asked about the growling, chatty sound my engine makes)

pps - if that was a bad explanation 'chatty', it's my poor choice of words as I'm assured that my engine is healthy

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Porsche has traditionally used horizonally opposed or boxer motors since the '40s or since inception. Originally they were air cooled and somewhat unique. They always worked well and lended themselves to high horsepower modifications and successful racing involvement. With the tail weight bias handling, Porsche developed a kind of cult like following that loved their high tech, high horsepower and good, but quirky handling type cars. The 911 types would either handle very well or very poorly, depending upon the finnesse and ability of the driver.

So I would say the rear boxer motor has been retained for tradition. And I may get flammed here, but Subaru paid Porsche for manufacturing rights and made the design reliable. I say this because my '99 Carrera with 45k miles sits in the garage in need of a replacement motor due to poor quality manufacturing techniques.

Your lifters are noisey because they have bleed down their oil pressure from sitting idle and will refill and pump up and become quiet during operation. My Carrera and Boxster are noisy like this too, every other car I've had over the last 30+ years have been quiet. I would say a poor lifter design, as it has nothing to do with the boxer design.

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Nick,so would it be fair to say that P sticks with the boxer because they started that way and have committed themselves to constant improvement instead of a re-examination of alternate layouts? Does the boxer configuration actually lend itself to higher hp modifications than an inline or V configuration?

Hm - 5w50 for Charlotte, good to know. Thanks for the tip :)

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The biggest advantage of the flat six is that it allows the weight of the engine to be installed lower in the car, substantially improving handling through lower weight distribution. It also makes for a wider engine.

Correct........if I recall the good Dr was quoted (on the subject of weight distribution & center of gravity)........that the best place for it....... was below the pavement.

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I thought I was the only member in Charlotte, good to know you are here too. Let me know if you are interested in any work sessions or track days. I am planning to do the OBC install (4-stalk) in a couple of weeks. Don't recall from your picture if I have seen your car. I work uptown.


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