If it Ain’t Broke: Why GM Still Uses Pushrod V8s

There’s a natural inclination among observers of the automotive industry to assume that newer technologies are better. And while new technologies often offer advantages over the old ones, sometimes the old stuff works just fine.

Enter the pushrod V8. Yes, at Chevy this technology dates back to the days when dinosaurs still walked the earth, but there a couple of very good reasons that the technology persists that Engineering Explained takes on in its latest video.

Although pushrods struggle at high rpm, their simplicity offers a couple of packaging advantages. The design means that all the parts can be better contained within the engine, meaning the weight is kept low and ensuring that the engine is compact.

On top of that, as any fan of American V8s knows in their bones, pushrod V8s offer great low end torque because they tend to only have two valves, improving air velocity at low rpm.

But maybe the single biggest reason they’ve persisted is cost. Saving about $400 per unit (in 2004) allows GM to put V8s in everything from work trucks to supercars that beat European rivals that cost several times more.

Yes, the overhead cam offers some advantages, but that’s not always enough.

Comments