3 Cylinder Car Engines – Everything You Need to Know

3 Cylinder Car Engines – Everything You Need to Know

rev up your engines, today I’m starting a
new segment, every Thursday I’m going to answer one of the viewers questions, and
make an entire video on that question and today’s question comes from Charles
737, Charles says Scotty you talk about four-cylinder engines, six-cylinder
engines, and eight solar engines, what about three cylinder engines, well I
know an awful lot about three cylinder engines because I was eyes into
motorcycles, and when I was young in 1969 triumph came out with their Trident
which is the three cylinder motorcycle engine, which kind of revolutionized
things at least for the British, but within a year or so, Honda came out with a 750
four-cylinder engine and that blew away the triumph three cylinder 750, so it’s a
very short-lived amount of speed for triumph, but it’s kind of the end of the
line too, the company soon went bankrupt but decades later, triumph came back and
now 2018 they have the Triumph Speed Triple that’s a three cylinder engine, it
puts out 140 horsepower and for only driving on two wheels and a vehicle
that weighs maybe 500 pounds it’s a lot of power, now in car engines three
cylinder engines in the past got a really bad rap because they didn’t have
much power, the first really big one sold in the United States was the Geo Metro,
that had a three cylinder engine made by Suzuki that was 1.0 litre, but that
little Suzuki engine only put out fifty five horsepower, they could barely get
out of their own way, especially if they had an automatic transmission, and those
Metros they tended to shake at idle because the three cylinder engine isn’t
inherently all that well balanced least the old ones weren’t, but if you’re
talking about modern three cylinder engines, like this Ford EcoSport, it’s got
a three cylinder engine but guess how much horsepower it puts out, and we’re
sitting here in drive and this thing idles really smooth it’s not shaking, you can
see on the tach it’s not wavering the engines not shaking I don’t feel any
vibration in the steering wheel, with modern advancements in metallurgy,
engine design, fuel injection designed these modern 1.0 three cylinder engines
are far cry from that little 55 horsepower washing machine that the Geo Metro’s had in them, now this one that Ford has you can see it’s got three cylinders, one,
two, three, but it also has gasoline direct injection, which makes it have the
most power and burn fuel the most efficiently, plus it has a very advanced
turbocharged system, here’s the intercooler here to cool the air so it
works more efficiently, so it can put out horsepower when you need it, but when you
don’t and the turbo doesn’t kick in, you get a lot better gas mileage, now you
might think hey what do Americans know about three cylinder engines they’re
never that popular here, well check out this Ford three cylinder
engine, as you can see right here, it’s it’s made in Craiova engine plant which is
in Romania, Europeans have been into three cylinder engines for quite some
times, so that thing comes from Europe they need gas savings and they need power,
they’ve been messing with that stuff for a long time so this isn’t just some brand
new thing that Ford came up, with they took an already existing technology and
made it better, with a smaller engine you can fit it into a smaller space, so the
vehicles gonna weigh less, and you’re gonna get better gas mileage and much
better handling, because the less an engine weighs, the less weight it has to
pull itself, as such a three-cylinder engine is fighting against the law of
diminished returns, if you keep making engines bigger they weigh more, then they
need more power to pull themselves, and since this is the Thursday segment where
I answer a viewers question, place your own question on the YouTube comments
below, and I’ll pick the best ones to make a single video to answer your
questions, and where else can you find a guy with 50 years experience of fixing
cars to answer your own question with a video, so if you never want to miss
another one of my new car repair videos remember to ring that Bell!

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. ⬇️Scotty’s Top DIY Tools:

    1. Bluetooth Scan Tool: http://amzn.to/2nfvmaD

    2. Cheap Scan Tool: https://amzn.to/2D8Tvae

    3. Professional Socket Set: http://amzn.to/2Bzmccg

    4. Wrench Set: http://amzn.to/2kmBaOU

    5. No Charging Required Car Jump Starter: https://amzn.to/2CthnUU

    6. Battery Pack Car Jump Starter: http://amzn.to/2nrc6qR

    ⬇Things used in this video:
    1. Common Sense
    2. 4k Camera: https://amzn.to/2HkjavH
    3. Camera Microphone: https://amzn.to/2Evn167
    4. Camera Tripod: https://amzn.to/2Jwog8S
    5. My computer for editing / uploading: https://amzn.to/2uUZ3lo
    6. Video editing software: http://amzn.to/2jv5Fhf
    7. Thumbnail software: http://amzn.to/2k7tz6C

    ?Check out my Amazon Garage to see what I use every day and highly recommend ► https://goo.gl/rwYt2y

    ?Scotty Shirts and Merch ► https://goo.gl/pTAeca

    Subscribe and hit the notification bell! ► https://goo.gl/CFismN

    Scotty on Social:
    Facebook ► https://www.facebook.com/scottymechanic/
    Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/scotty_the_mechanic/
    Twitter ► https://twitter.com/Scottymechanic?lang=en

  2. What's ur Take on the 89 SHO Ford Taurus The Ford Focus Svt Ford Próbe Gt and the Ford Conture Svt

  3. In the uk these 3 cylinder EcoBoost engines are better know as EcoBooms as they only last about 20k miles till they blow up

  4. So Scottie. I have a 97 Geo metro LOL. Should I put the Ford 3 cylinder motor in my Geo metro? LOL I'd like to have a manual though. Because right now I have the 5-speed. so does Ford make a manual transmission for the 3-cylinder? LOL thank you

  5. you mean like my 3 cylinder 92 geo metro? I'll tell you something about it…i had a state trooper not even write me a speeding ticket one time cause he said a judge wouldn't believe i was going that fast.? i had that thing flying!

  6. Absolute garbage engines, one of the most disposable engines in modern times. You gotta be nuts to buy a EcoBOOM.

  7. The year was 1989 ish. I was working at a large chevy dealership. One mechanic was working on a Geo Metro and I seen the MPG Sticker on the side window and it read 83 mpg Highway. I asked Joe, how is this possible? He said it's a 3 cylinder. But still 83 mpg highway in the late 80's?! Kinda still in disbelief but watched a video from 1981 or 1982 showing the car got 40 mpg. I think it was a LeBaron. Mid size. Oh well. Nothing's changed.

  8. hahaha, those turbo charged 1 liter 3 cilinder engines with 120 horsepower barely get 125 000 miles on them (if you are lucky) most of them don't even last a 100 000 miles !! i'm european by the way

  9. I knew the Geo Metro was a pos, but only 55hp in liters 1.0 liter engine.
    There were ok 1.0 liter 4 cylinder engines in Europe and Latin America (mostly Brazil), but mostly for hot hatches (small hatchbacks). Still they were making 50+hp and pulling less then 1900lb cars in the 80's, without a bunch of shacking. The major problem was really balancing and timing properly a Otto cycle (4 distinct stages) in 3 cylinders, of course it'll shake its panties of. FYI the 4 cylinder 1.0 liters kept being used in Brazil, but were making 60+hp in the 90's, with more the 8 valves (3 or 4 per cylinder) 70+hp and turbocharged (factory OEM) 100+hp, still in 1800-2000lb cars.
    Obviously, fuel injection helped a lot in the middle 90's onwards!
    The 3 cylinder engines got this development in Europe mostly due to more precise and fast fuel injections and ECUs mostly, so the response times to the set points with good lambda O2 sensors made it possible, but turbochargers do help a lot!

  10. Sadly, with overheating, head gasket failure and fire recall notices it would be hard to say Ford made anything better as such. Shame really – a good idea done badly.

  11. I have a 2015 Ford Fiesta with the 1.6L engine. The car would have difficulty turning on after fueling up or stall out when idiling. The car said it was unable to bleed up evap purge. I've seen suggested fixes of replacing the fuel tank, cleaning the capless fuel cap flange, to replacing the whole evap purge valve with all the connectors. However, I started putting ethanol free gasoline instead of the 10% ethanol gasoline and the problem has seemed to go away. What's the deal? Ethanol free gasoline is $ and hard to find, what do you think the problem is?

  12. How well are today's turbos built? Does the improvement oils plus the improvement in metallurgy make the new turbos reliable? Turbos are now in a lot of small engines like Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord not to mention the myriad of Fords. In 1990 I paid $2,000 more for a turbo charged car. In 1995 I got $2,000 less at trade-in because it was a turbo
    charged car. Old Honda cars would go 300,000 miles. Will a new Honda go 300,000 miles?

  13. Thell us is a AWD cars must have a all same tires and same deepness of the tire pattern??? Otherwise it will cause catastrophic transmission failure??? I bought Impreza 1.5 and find out that too late… Is it myth or true? Am I always must buy 4 tires???

  14. I had an 87 turbo Chevrolet Sprint. Bought it in 1992 with 107k. Drive it until 2910, sold for double what I paid. Hands down best car I ever owned. Reliable. Extremely fast. Miss it.

  15. I had a manual ecoboost fiesta, with only a tune, those 1.0 go up to 170hp, was a very fun car to drive but sold it before it died, heard the tiny engines don't last too long

  16. For all the geo metro specialists i have a 92 geo metro lsi convertible and its an auto if i want to change it to a manual does it directly bolt on?

  17. Hey Scotty. I was wondering if you had an opinion on the LS4 v8 in Grand Prix GXP, Impala and Monte Carlo SS, and Buick Lacrosse Super. It is a front wheel drive version of a Corvette engine basically.

  18. 3 cylinders should have perfect primary balance. Not sure why some vibrated a lot unless they were just crappy engines. And Ford didn't keep the 3 cylinder in the US because Americans don't want no stinkin' tiny cars!

  19. It's very hard to find any information about Dodge MDS system , what are Your thoughts about it? or what can You say about that dodge/chrysler invention ?

  20. Well, a question that may be interesting for everybody who get a second hand car.
    My case: I recently bought a Toyota Avensis 2.2 150hp, with less than 100000 miles. And it's going well.
    But, what should we check when we get a second hand car to set it and keep it ready?

    Great job with your videos.

  21. I had the Chevy Sprint which was basically the Metro with 5sp manual. It was a barebones car but I had zero issues with it. Put 200k on that little engine, changed oil regularly. In the end it the body rusted out but the engine still ran. Solid econo box.

  22. I bought my daughter a 3cyl 1.0L Ford EcoSport. She says that she thinks the engine is small. But yet, here in Arizona, she has no issues in the mountains with 1+4passenges and luggage. BTW, Phoenix is around 1230ft, and the White Mountains are 9400ft. Not the best gas mileage for a 1.0, but the power and pep make up for it.

  23. Hi Scotty thanx for another great share..
    I recall youve mentiobed why NOT to buy the smart car..
    isnt it worth mentioning everything wrong about one of those smart cars is alsi everyting right about the geo metros.
    Parts availabiltity simple design japanese motor.

  24. Law of diminishing returns? Car show 2 days ago I saw a original body design Camero with an engine I did not recognize. Heads were 2.5 feet long and valve covers were 6 or 8 inches wide and 6 inches high. Rear tires were super wide. Man said it was a GM racing engine. 565 emblems were on the side of car. I think this is rule that breaks your law.

  25. I’ve just bought a 2011 Toyota iQ which, of course has a 3-cylinder engine. I’ve been running it for 3 weeks and am amazed at how smooth and free-revving it is.
    Now it’s ideal for running round Bedford , England, with our narrow streets.
    The gearbox shifts very smoothly, and I’ve likened it to riding a skittish colt.
    I reckon that it’s called iQ because one needs to be extremely clever to understand how the little radio joystick works.
    Of course , for long distance trips I have my trusty Volvo XC70 diesel auto (68,000 miles genuine ) which is a superb easy , comfortable car.
    I bought it new in 2005, and , now, most trips are short journeys. So that’s one reason why I bought the iQ; the other one is that I wanted a toy.
    I think that, at 80 years old, I better enjoy a few toys – quick.

    I watch all your videos, which give me a lot of laughs, and I learn more about cars. Thanks.
    Keep up the good work.

  26. Once owned a Chevy Sprint that I bought for only $500, that 3 cylinder engine wasn't much on power but it was fun to drive!

  27. I drove a 91 geo metro for 12 years bought it for 500 bucks drove the heck out of it . And sold it for 450 . It was a 3 cylinder automatic got 42 mpg. I live so close to work now that the gas was going bad in the tank before i needed to fill it up again . I just passed it on to someone else .

  28. I start doubting you Scotty. You didn't say any word about the timing belt inside the engine which takes 12 hours to replace it, according to Ford. What a shitty design! Luckily they went back to a timing chain.

  29. introducing the dodge 3cyl eng, warrantied from the dealer do the shop. It's guaranteed to drive around the dealership and end up in the maintenance shop of the dealership.

  30. Why don't more cars have overhead cams? I work on giant 567in^3, 645in^3, 710in^3 displacement per cylinder, V8, V12, V16, V20 engines. They all have overhead cams and run for constantly for decades before failing and the cams will still look great and are usually reusable unless the engine sat for a long time and rusted pits into the cam lobes. Why don't more smaller engines have them? I know some cars do have overhead cams but why do pushrods still have a place today? To me they seem inefficient and unreliable

  31. Scotty: "Turbochargers are crap. Its just something else to go wrong. Fords are also crap, buy a Toyota."

    Also Scotty: "These turbocharged fords are great! They make power when you need it and get good gas mileage!"

  32. 5l/100km onfocus stline 1.5 150cv it's fastsmoth and good mpg while pushing it a little… lifespan of that engine who knows it looks it could make 200000 miles esily . ?

  33. I have a Geo Metro and I love it. I have a 1991 convertible, a 1994 2 door Hatchback and a 199? 4 door Hatchback. All 3 are 5 speed stick shift. They perform great for me. Yes they are not dragsters but they perform great as far as I am concerned. I live in San Diego, Calif. and travel to El Centro often to go pheasant hunting, dove and duck hunting. I have to climb a mountain of about 6000 feet or so going and coming and the cars all go up the steepest parts fine and only slow to about 45mph on these sections. The gas mileage is almost 50 per gallon on each of them, with the convertible getting the least since I think the engine is a little beaffyer. They keep up with traffic every where except on steep hills and yes will not when any races, but the ones that go past the GAS pumps since they don't have to stop nearly as often. In the convertible I get comments daily and the others weekly.

  34. So if I’ve found a lsi hatch back geo with 90k 70hp and gets 44 mpg for 1500$ that’s not a good car ? Interesting also I thought they where made by Chevy and Toyota ….not Suzuki I mean I like my bandit 1200 so ?

  35. Have driven a couple of cars with 3 cylinder engines and have been impressed with them. One was the unit used by Peugeot citreon and Toyota and the other a vw engine. Both seemed good

  36. Make a video about the Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar, which runs a majority of the compamy's products, whether you like them or not.

  37. I have a 2004 trailblazer with a 2.4 straight 6 and I was wondering if you could make a video on that engine in the trailblazer

  38. best long lasting cars i ever had was the geo metro. they lasted way over 250k had 2 of them . power was not that bad for the great gas mileage they got. if they made them today i would buy one new.

  39. I've always been curious why engines can put out, in some cases, vast differences even naturally aspirated. Or even why two cars with the same engine, such as the pontiac solstice and the Saturn Sky, perform very differently.

  40. My exwife had a Geo Metro, it was our only car for awhile. It ran great and it saved her life when a moving van hit it head on. All the crumple zones crumpled as designed and the car was totaled really bad, but she was ok, a little beat up but ok. I still to this day consider it a great little car.


  42. What about a vehicle would make it shake? I have an 89 camry, a 92 civic, a 93 civic, an 03 celica, and my moms 2015 carolla and they all shake while driving and at idle

  43. Hello Scotty,
    This is Moumen from UAE, kindly give me a good advice for the best affordable car with very good AC system to buy in UAE heat.
    thanks in advance.

  44. Scotty, I’ve heard you talk about Acura transmissions not lasting long , yet Honda makes great engines. I have an 20117 MDX AWD with 9 speed trans. Do you think I should give it back or keep it and and if the trans goes out to just replace it? Is that worth it or is the price too high? Also, can you explain more on why the transmission is worse on the All Wheel Drive?

  45. I had a V6 once. Didn't like it much. Sounded like crap and power was lacking a bit. I like having a car that has nice power. I could give a damn about gas mileage. It's the smiles per gallon that matters most and with 500+ horsepower, It makes lots of smiles. Nothing beats the sound of a nice V8.

  46. Back when I was starting out I bought a brand new Metro for the grand sum of $6700.00. Air conditioning, power brakes, and nothing else. It was the hatchback, and I'll never forget my wife and I going on a 3 day 1st anniversary trip to the mountains. Round trip with the AC blowing…$20.00 in gas. 47 mpg and I still came home with nothing but less than a dollar change in my pocket.

    But hey, young, dumb and great memories. My daughter was born 9 months later!

    I drove that car for four years, sold it to my dad (he travelled a lot selling insurance) and he drove it for four more years, then sold it to a preacher who drove it a couple years and gave it to a woman who was broke and needed a car. She totaled it, but that 3 cylinder never gave any trouble and I only remember it being a great little motor. We changed the timing belt every 70,000 miles per the manual and it just kept going.

  47. Hey Scotty…hello from lovely Ireland. Can you give us your thoughts on the Honda Fit or Jazz as it's called on this island ha ha thanks

  48. Tell us, if its better to start the car with clutch pedal on the floor or just start in neutral not touching the pedal. And if you start the engine with clutch on the floor, if it matters if you have neutral or any other gear selected. Thanks

  49. Hey Scotty will please do a video on modern diesel engines especially ones used in medium duty 3/4 and 1 ton trucks? And I know your not a fan of Dodge diesel but I own a 2005 Dodge 1 ton diesel and wanted to know your thoughts about the Diesel engine and truck combination. Thank you for all the informative videos you do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *