Innovative 5 Cycle Engine Boasts More Power With Fewer Emissions

The four stroke internal combustion engine has been with us for over a century, powering everything from ocean liners to automobiles to lawn motors. By now, it’s operation is fairly well understood. It is often summed up in the slogan often found on T shirts wherever Harley Davidson riders congregate — suck, squeeze, bang, blow.

5 cycle engineJeff Bonner is a mechanical engineer who lives in Florida. He has done a study of the internal combustion engine and thinks he has come up with a way to make it more powerful with fewer emissions. He notes that virtually all of the research into making better engines focuses on what happens between the piston face and the cylinder head. Almost nobody has thought about what happens below the piston.

That’s where the forces created by the explosion of fuel in the combustion chamber gets translated into vertical motion. That vertical component then gets converted into rotational motion at the crankshaft. Bonner suggests that even though the crankshaft is extremely reliable, it does a poor job of making rotational power. Also, the crankshaft does not have the ability to dwell the piston at TDC for more than an instant.

One of the significant features of the Bonner’s 5 cycle engine (patent pending) is its ability to stop the piston for about 30 degrees of rotation and facilitate true constant volume combustion. This has never been accomplished before.

Bonner calculates that during the period before and after TDC, the crankshaft experiences about 60 degrees of rotation. During this period, the engine is doing work at low efficiency. These inefficiencies
are most apparent on the compression and power strokes. To solve these issues, Bonner has invented what he calls a 5 cycle engine (patent pending). Instead of a conventional crankshaft, it utilizes a camshaft arrangement that eliminates these issues and more. That allows the engine to produce more power from each combustion event while using no more fuel than normal.

Since I am not a trained as a mechanical engineer, I am going to let Bonner’s visual demonstrate what I cannot communicate in words. Once you see how Bonner’s engine works, it makes perfect sense. “With the exception of jet and rotary engines, every single piston engine in use will have a new beginning,” he says.

Especially today, with Tesla creating an upheaval in the automotive world because of its revolutionary Model 3 electric car, many people are predicting the imminent demise of the internal combustion engine. But the reality is, they will be with us for decades to come if not longer. Among other things, they will be used to power millions of plug-in hybrid vehicles while we wait for electric car to become the dominant means of personal transportation.  During that time, the search will continue for ways to make engines with more power, greater economy, and lower emissions.

Bonner thinks his 5 cycle engine (patent pending) can do all three. He  is hoping his ideas will get noticed by one of the world’s major car companies. If you are a creative person working for an automaker who is willing to think outside the combustion chamber, Bonner can be reached at


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.