The Ultimate Repairing a Large Engine Quiz

Robin Tyler

Image: Cultura RF/Zero Creatives/Cultura/Getty Images

About This Quiz

As you know, engines come in all shapes and sizes. From the little two-stroke engine that powers an annoying sounding motorcycle to a big, growling V8 engine that you will find in a modern muscle car, each engine has its own unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies.

There is something about large engines that keeps us spellbound, and I am not only talking about the massive performance engines that you will find in a range of vehicles, from sports cars to modern performance pickups. Of course, those are the first we think of when we talk large engines.

But what do you think powers a diesel locomotive? It is certainly not a small engine. Or how about a container ship, tasked with carrying cargo around the world. Yep, you guessed it: Massive engines that produce enormous power push those vessels and their cargo through the oceans of the world. 

Now, repairing a large engine can be tricky. So in this quiz, we want to not only test your knowledge of various large engines but also what could go wrong with them and what you should do to repair them. Do you think you are up for the task? Get revving and good luck!

True or false? Because they are so powerful, large engines, the kind you would find in an American pickup for example, need to be serviced more regularly.

No matter how big or small the engine, they should be serviced according to the specifications as laid out by the auto manufacturer. Certain parts are designed to have a specific shelf life and should be replaced accordingly. This is why, at every service, your auto dealer will carry out the necessary checks according to how many miles the engine has covered.

A knocking noise coming from a large engine could be a warning sign to which of these below?

A knocking sound coming from your engine, no matter how insignificant, should never be ignored. Perhaps the first thing to check is to see if there is enough oil running through the engine. If not, metal parts do not receive the lubrication they need and they grind on each other. The engine will eventually seize, so as soon as you hear anything, take your vehicle to a mechanic! There are, of course, less serious causes of knocking sounds ... but keep an eye on the oil!

Which is the first thing you should check if the big V8 engine in your muscle car starts running roughly?

Muscle cars are fun, that is for sure! A muscle car with a coughing, spluttering engine, however, is not! So if that does happen to a big gas-guzzling V8, it may be as simple as a spark plug breaking down. And that's the first thing you should check. Isolate the cylinder that is misfiring, check the spark plug, clean it up, check the plug gap or even replace it. If that doesn't fix the problem, then start looking a little deeper.

If the spark plug is not the problem on your muscle car's spluttering V8 engine, where else could you investigate?

If the spark plugs seem fine, then a rough running engine with a misfiring cylinder could be caused by a number of other problems. Perhaps the next best place to start is to check the ignition coil. Other options include checking that fuel pressure is enough or that one of the plug leads is not breaking down.

Patches of brownish, fairly thick liquid found under a semi-trailer would indicate that it is _____?

It is fairly easy to identify an oil leak in an engine, especially if the vehicle leaves a liquid under it after it has been standing for any length of time. Oil leaking from an engine will generally be brown/black in color. It will also have a thick viscosity about it, with new oil thicker than oil that has seen a few thousand miles. If your vehicle has an oil leak, get it checked and make sure you don't run out of oil or the engine might seize.

Essential for keeping air entering the engine clean, what part is easily replaced in a large engine?

An air filter ensures the air entering the engine, which is used during the combustion process, is kept clean and free of any particles that may damage the engine. Imagine small parts of leaves, for example, entering the cylinder. They would cause havoc.

A strange smell within the vehicle cabin of your large-engine vehicle could indicate which of the following?

In modern vehicles, emissions from the engine must fall within certain levels which are governed by emission laws. For this reason, a catalytic converter is essential as part of the exhaust system on a vehicle. It is tasked with removing harmful emissions, leaving the leftover exhaust gases within allowable parameters. If you notice a strange smell in the cabin of your vehicle, it may be because the catalytic converter is acting up.

You notice that your Ford F150 with its large V8 engine has started to produce a dark blue smoke through its tailpipe while running. What could the problem be?

Blue smoke coming from the tailpipe is a sure sign that your engine is burning oil, and there can be a number of reasons for that. Mostly, however, it is down to worn engine parts like piston rings. It could also be attributed to valves that are damaged. This lets oil flow into the engine, where it burns away.

Which part from the list below would be found in the transmission system of a large engine?

The ring gear is the large outer gear in the planetary gear system in the transmission. It is tasked with delivering torque from the secondary shaft through to the differential. To replace a ring gear, you would probably need a mechanic, unless you are somewhat of a gearbox expert.

When an engine in a massive truck overheats, even in colder climates, what is the first thing to check?

The coolant system in any engine, let alone a large engine, is of utmost importance. It is tasked with keeping the engine cool, even in the hottest conditions. It does this by running coolant from the radiator, through the engine, drawing out heat from the engine. If the coolant system is leaking, not enough coolant is drawing heat away from the engine and this could lead to it overheating.

After inspecting an overheating 6.2-liter Detroit Diesel V8 engine, you discover that there is no leak in the coolant system. What else could you check?

Every cooling system on a large engine is controlled by a thermostat. It monitors the engine and regulates when the coolant is released at the exact point when the engine needs to be cooled down. A broken or faulty thermostat, however, means that coolant is not released to the engine at the correct time and that can lead to it overheating.

Which of these parts in a big engine not only helps start it but transfers torque from the engine through the transmission?

Found in manual transmissions, a flywheel does two things. Firstly, it provides tooth geared for the starter motor to engage on, rotating the engine on startup. Secondly, it is used to push torque from the car's engine to its transmission by use of the clutch.

A flashing red light on the dashboard showing a rectangular shape with a + and - in it is warning you to check which part of your engine before it fails?

In most cases, when the battery warning indicator begins flashing on your dashboard, the battery is not receiving a charge from your alternator. This could be a result of an old, faulty battery or the alternator belt may have broken, preventing the battery from receiving a charge.

A strange orange light that looks like a rectangle with dots in it has started flashing on the dashboard of your diesel truck. What is it warning you about?

Today, cars that run on diesel are just as efficient at their gas counterparts. Of course, a diesel engine can have its own set of unique problems. If this light flashes, it is best to get it checked out.

From the list below, name the part that pumps hydraulic fluid around the transmission system.

Often considered to be the heart of the transmission system, this pump, also called the automatic transmission pump, moves hydraulic fluid through the gearing system to ensure it operates efficiently.

Despite its V8 power, your old school muscle car jerks when you pull away from a standing start. What could be the problem?

As you know, fuel is stored in the gas tank. To get it from the tank to the engine, it passes through the fuel line. If you have a partial blockage in that line, it can cause your car to splutter and falter, especially when pulling away. Why is it worse then? Well, as the car is starting from a standing start, it relies on the fuel entering the engine to combust and provide power. As there is no momentum, not enough fuel is burned and therefore, not enough power created.

Which car part listed below needs to be big enough to turn the engine over to help start it?

A starter motor is an essential part of your vehicle. In early cars, the motor had to be hand cranked to start it. Luckily, in 1912, the first electric starter motors had been invented. This turned the engine over, and helped it operate under its own power.

The __________ rotates as the pistons move in a large engine, which in turn helps a vehicle move forward.

As fuel burns, it pushes the pistons within the engine, which in turn rotate the crankshaft, which then moves the vehicle either forward or backward determined by the gear selected.

Some black smoke rising up from the hood of a large truck could indicate which of the following problems?

When your car runs too rich, the engine cannot burn all the fuel effectively. Not only is it not running in an optimum way, but you are wasting gas! A good tune-up will ensure the engine runs leaner.

In a large engine, where will the oil be stored when not in use?

The oil pan is the reservoir where the oil used to lubricate the engine sits when it is not running. It is also the part of the engine that is drained of oil during an oil change. This is achieved by taking out a single bolt and letting the oil drain out of the pan.

What fuel powers one of the largest engines on earth?

Diesel is the preferred propellant for really massive engines, be they in a car, or in this case, an evening bigger machine, a massive container ship called the Emma Mærsk.

The engine found in the Emma Mærsk is called the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C. How much brake horsepower does it produce?

Would you believe it! The Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C diesel engine on the Emma Mærsk produces a staggering 109,000 brake horsepower!

And how much do you think the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C engine weighs?

That's not a typo. The Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C on the Emma Mærsk weighs a massive 2,300 tons. It is also 90 feet long and around 44 feet tall. It has to be this huge to push a massive cargo vessel at speeds of up to 30 knots.

The world's largest turbofan is the General Electric GE90-115B. It was first seen on the Boeing 777 in 1995. How much thrust do you think it is capable of?

Weighing in at 8,300 kilograms, the General Electric GE90-115B is the largest turbofan engine in the world and used primarily on passenger jets. It provides between 74,000 and 94,000 lbs of thrust in normal flight, but set a world record of 127,900 lbs in tests.

You notice a flashing red light on your dashboard. It shows a thermometer standing above two wavy lines of liquid. What should you check first to ensure your V8 engine runs correctly?

Failure to see why the temperature light on your dashboard has started flashing could cause your engine to overheat, which can harm it. As soon as you see this light, pull over at your nearest gas station and ensure the radiator is filled to its proper level. Overheating a large engine is not a very good idea. When they break, they cost plenty to fix.

The large engine on your diesel pickup is starting hard. A warning light on the dashboard showing a thin line making two ovals has also appeared. What should you check?

This light will come on when you start your engine, particularly in cold weather. If it stays on, it indicates that a glow plug, which helps to start and warm a diesel engine, is faulty.

What is the capacity of the biggest engine to ever feature on a motorcycle?

Although many motorcycles have featured car engines, the biggest true motorcycle engine ever used in a production machine was a three-cylinder, 2.3-liter powerplant from Triumph. Called the Rocket III, it produces 140 bhp and around 120 lbs of torque.

Where will the major parts of a large engine be found?

Cast out of metal, the engine block houses the crankshaft, pistons and cylinders. Also called the cylinder block, modern engine blocks have the crankcase joined to them, forming one component. Older engines saw the engine block separated from the crankcase.

A rather strange light, which is shaped like a side profile of an engine, has started blinking on your dashboard. What is it warning you about?

All cars today have systems in place that regulate vehicle emissions. Best to get it checked right away if this light comes on, as it means that the sensors are picking up a problem. In all probability, there is a malfunction with the catalytic converter, the part that ensures the gases leaving the vehicle fall within emission standards.

Which car company makes the biggest production car engine in the world, in terms of displacement?

Coming in at 8.4-liters, Chrysler produced this massive engine, which makes over 600 brake horsepower and comprises 10 cylinders. And it powers an iconic American car: the Dodge Viper.

The 1750 MWe ARABELLE is a turbine generator that converts steam into electricity at one of France's nuclear power stations. What horsepower does this behemoth produce?

2,346,788 horsepower! That's almost an unbelievable number. But that is what the French-designed 1750 MWe ARABELLE turbine generator produces while turning steam into electricity. It is huge, with each of its many rotor blades weighing 176 lbs each.

You notice a flashing red light on the dashboard of your semi. It shows a can with a handle and a small droplet. What should you be checking first?

As soon as the oil light starts blinking on your dashboard, you should immediately stop and have the oil level checked in your engine. Failure to do so could result in your engine ultimately seizing.

After experiencing problems with your car not starting, you have replaced the battery. Just a few days later, however, the problem returns. What should you check now?

The alternator is a crucial part of the electrical system on your car. One of its primary purposes is to charge the battery. If it does not do this, your battery will quickly run down.

A very annoying squeak is coming from under the hood. What should you check first?

Perhaps the easiest belt to check is the radiator fan belt. This is often the culprit. The squeaking is normally caused by the belt slipping on the pulley. If you replace it, the squeaking will stop.

Who built the largest car engine of all time?

In 1910, Fiat introduced the biggest motor vehicle engine of all time. Coming in at a staggering 28.3-liters, this four-cylinder engine produced about 300 bhp and was only used in two cars in total.

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