Harley-Davidson Files Patent for New V-Twin Engine With VVT

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung
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Harley-Davidson has filed a patent for a new engine design that uses variable valve timing. Officially, the patent is not specifically for a VVT system but rather for a modular engine balancer that mounts on either side of a crankshaft. The patent does however describe how the VVT phase timing is incorporated into the balancer module.

The patent uses a rough drawing of a Fat Bob, but only as a general example of a motorcycle. The engine details, however, show clear differences from existing Harley-Davidson engines. The new engine design still uses overhead valves, but with pushrods running on opposite sides of each cylinder, which matches a design in a separate patent we uncovered last August. Both patents were originally filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in early 2019, with Harley-Davidson engineer Johann Voges as the only credited inventor, making it likely they’re for the same engine.

The drawings show air-cooling fins, though the fins have uneven contours, curving in and out at at different spots around the cylinder. There’s also no oil filter at the front of the engine. It’s difficult to get a sense of proportion in these patent illustrations, but it’s possible we’re looking at the replacement for the ancient Sportster engine.

harley davidson files patent for new v twin engine with vvt, The engine balancer unit 74 transfers the rotation of the crankshaft to rotate the two camshafts Each camshaft lifts its own pushrod one for each cylinder A second balancer unit on the other side of the crankshaft activates a second pair of pushrods
The engine balancer unit (#74) transfers the rotation of the crankshaft to rotate the two camshafts. Each camshaft lifts its own pushrod, one for each cylinder. A second balancer unit on the other side of the crankshaft activates a second pair of pushrods.

The key to this patent is the engine balance module (#74 in the diagrams and shown in exploded view below). The crankshaft is connected to gear #154 which rotates cam gear #158. The cam gear is connected to a second, smaller toothed gear #170 which rotates a chain (#178). The chain in turn spins a balancer sprocket which rotates a balance weight (#86) around the crankshaft in the opposite direction of the crank’s rotation to counteract the reciprocating motion of the pistons.

harley davidson files patent for new v twin engine with vvt, The VVT unit 98 controls the phasing of the toothed wheel 162 which drives the crankshafts 90
The VVT unit (#98) controls the phasing of the toothed wheel #162 which drives the crankshafts (#90).

A variable valve timing unit (#98) connected to the cam gear adjusts the timing of the cams, affecting the timing of both the intake and exhaust valves relative to the crankshaft. Generally speaking, adjusting the intake timing can optimize power and torque delivery at higher or lower revs, but the likely goal for Harley-Davidson is to reduce emissions.

As it stands Harley-Davidson’s existing engines, the Sportster line-up especially, will not meet Euro 5 standards, meaning they will no longer be allowed in Europe by the end of the year. Several manufacturers have asked for the deadline to be extended due to delays caused by the pandemic, which may give Harley some breathing room if the new engine is not yet ready.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

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  • Brett Trigloff Brett Trigloff on Jul 25, 2020

    Harley-Davidson Files Patent For old redesigned V-Twin Engine With VVT. Fixed the title for you. Bet it shakes and they charge 11-12 grand for a 1200cc & 50 HP motor 🤣. Indian at least is pushing in the right direction.

    • See 4 previous
    • Sayyed Bashir Sayyed Bashir on Jul 26, 2020

      Do you know anything before you post? Softail engines are counterbalanced so there is no vibration.

  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Jul 28, 2020

    This comment section just reiterates the low intelligence levels of so many readers on this site. No true motorcycle fan wants Harley to die. We want all motorcycle companies to flourish. Choices and competition are great for the industry.

    Also, it takes a ton of engineering to make an air cooled, pushrod engine meet crazy European emissions standards. Get back to me when you can do this. Too many people commenting think HD doesn’t put engineering into their bikes. I’m not a Harley guy, but I am a motorcycle loving realist.

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    • Mad4TheCrest Mad4TheCrest on Aug 03, 2020

      "Who tries to make friends on the internet?"

      Apparently one person fewer than those who try to make enemies