Thursday, August 10, 2023

1982 Honda Turuna adapted with a CG 125 pushrod engine

From '79 to '86, the Brazilian equivalent of the Honda CB 125 was the Honda Turuna, resorting to the OHC engine previously used in the imported CB 125S before new vehicle imports to Brazil ceased in '76, with few exceptions granted mostly in the Manaus Free Port Zone. While the Honda CG 125 was a best-seller, released in Brazil in '76 and with its OHV engine being more competitive than the OHC as an utilitarian motorcycle engine towards the 2-stroke competitors, the Turuna was supposed to be more upscale and sporty. But nowadays, with CG 125 parts being easier to find, seeing a Turuna adapted with a CG engine in order to remain in use doesn't really surprise me, at least not as much as the stock front disc brake also replaced by a drum brake which used to be a stock feature of the Honda CG 125.
Seemingly the entire front fork, headlight and instrument cluster were sourced from a late Brazilian version of the OHV-engined CG 125, which ran from late-'99 to early 2004 when the OHC-engined CG 150 was meant to become a replacement for the OHV CG 125 regular versions, and from 2006 to 2009 the CG 125 was reintroduced in the stripped-down Fan version, until a new OHC engine was fitted to the 125 starting in 2009. The extremely basic cluster, which missed the tachometer, was adapted from the OHV Honda CG 125 Fan, later also fitted to its carburettor-fed OHC replacement which soldiered on until 2016 when the OHC engine received EFI until it was phased out in 2019. Sure it would've been more appealing if this Turuna had retained the stock instrument cluster, a front disc brake, and maybe an OHC engine which would be more "accurate", but it's already better than if it had been scrapped...

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Volkswagen and some attempts to get rid of naturally-aspirated engines since 2003: why the Virtus is an example of turbocharging being far from one-size-fits-all?

The introduction of a facelift for the Volkswagen Virtus in Brazil for the 2023 model-year, along with the phaseout of the 1.6 MSI engine in a gasoline-powered trim for regional exports and flexfuel for the local Brazilian market, could fool some people to believe a turbocharged 1.0 or 1.4 TSI to be suitable for every customer. Odd enough, in India where the facelift was avant-premiered worldwide at the local introduction of the Virtus which was more recent compared to Brazil, the Virtus was always fitted with either the 1.0 or 1.5 TSI engines, yet the 1.6 MSI remains available as an export-only option. Countries such as Mexico, which switched from the Brazilian Virtus to its Indian counterpart, are more favorable to naturally-aspirated engines with a larger displacement, even though the turbocharger could be seen as a good addition because it may also provide some compensation to the effects of a quite extremely high altitude in Mexico City for instance. Other aspects which may be also worth to remind are the resort to port-injection in the naturally-aspirated 1.6 MSI engine, simpler than the direct injection fitted to TSI engines and easier to convert to some alternate fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) which is quite popular in Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil.

The presence of a turbocharger might not be a maintenance nightmare at all, yet it does have its fair share of complexity due to the high temperatures a turbocharger tends to operate and how it may require a stricter observance of the minimum specifications for motor oil. Sure using a lower-grade oil in a modern naturally-aspirated engine may not be a good recommendation at all, and neither adapting a carburettor instead of the electronic fuel injection like it often happens in Argentina as the do-it-yourself culture is still quite common there and inviting to some makeshift, even though it may lead to other electronic systems to fail considering the greater integration between the engine management system, some accessories, and safety devices such as ABS brakes and traction and stability controls. It's also worth to notice in some countries the Virtus was introduced only with manual transmission and the 1.6 MSI engine, such as South Africa where it's sourced from India and named Polo Sedan instead, and its powertrain contrasts with the all-turbo lineup and the availability of the DSG transmission for the South African Polo hatchback.