What is a SOHC Arrangement?

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Single OverHead Cam:

This arrangement denotes an engine with one cam per head. So if it’s an inline 4-cylinder or inline 6-cylinder engine, it’ll have one cam; if it’s a V-6 or V-8, it’ll have two cams (one for every head).

The cam actuates rocker arms that move on the valves, opening them. Springs return the valves to their closed position. These springs need to be very strong because at high engine speeds, the valves are pushed down very quickly, and it’s the springs that keep the valves in grips with the rocker arms. If the springs weren’t strong enough, the valves might come off from the rocker arms and snapback. This is often an undesirable situation that might lead to extra go down the cams and rocker arms.


A single overhead cam:

On single and double overhead cam engines, the cams are driven by the crankshaft, via either a belt or chain called the timing belt or timing chain. These belts and chains have to get replaced or adjusted at regular intervals. If a timing belt breaks, the cam will stop spinning and therefore the piston could hit the open valves.

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