Haynes Build Your Own V8 Engine Review


What you need to know Read less, play more

The Haynes Build Your Own V8 Engine is an awesome kit for anyone interested in motor engines or engineering in general. You'll learn the basics of V8 engine mechanics and  end up with a fulll working model of a V8 engine - great stuff!

Haynes Build Your Own V8 EngineThe finished Haynes V8 in all its glory

Haynes Build Your Own V8 Engine Review

The Haynes Build Your Own Internal Combustion Engine was one of the surprise popular toys of Christmas 2013, and one of our favourite toys of the year. It's still a great introduction to the mechanics of the internal combustion engine, and we'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in cars, engineering or mechanics.

For those looking for something a little more advanced, there is the awesome Haynes Build Your Own V8 Engine kit.

Haynes V8 BoxFun and education wait inside!

This kit comes as over 250 separate parts, most plastic, the tools you need to assemble the engine, and most importantly a very clear and detailed instruction manual. The recommended minimum age for this kit is 10 but we think a younger child would manage no problem with a little adult supervision.

Haynes V8 partsThe Haynes V8's parts laid out ready for assembly

The engine requires 3 x AA batteries which are not included, so go find or buy some before starting assembly - believe me you will be itching to get this thing fired up once you've finished the build.

Most of the parts are connected using small screws, and the supplied small magnetic screwdriver makes it and easy task to join pieces.

Construction starts from the bottom up, starting with the crankcase, oil pan and stand, before moving onto the crankshaft, the pistons and the engine block. These steps are pretty straightforward, but the fun is in seeing the component parts come together into a working engine.

The cylinder head, valves and valve springs are where things start to get a bit trickier, into the camshafts and rocker arms - younger builders will definitely need patience, help, encouragement or all three at this stage.

Haynes V8 buildEven younger builders will need minimal help

We'll not bore you with the entire build, or spoil the experience for you, all we will say is it is tremendous fun and strangely satisfying. Yes, it's a stack of plastic parts that come with easy to follow instructions, but once you've built it, it is your V8 engine, built with your own fair hands. :-)

Once you've built the Haynes V8 engine it's time to fire her up - attach the batteries, wire up the motor, apply a little vegetable oil to lube the cylinders, and you should be away. Our's worked first time, and a nice touch is the recording of a real V8 engine that accompanies the operation.

It's not something you'll go back to time and again, but that's not the point of this toy (it's a bit more than a toy but we'll leave that for another day). The joy of these Haynes kits is in the construction, the learning and the understanding that they engender - in a world where so much of how things work is hidden from us it's a refreshing change to experience something that is all about what goes on - literally - under the bonnet.

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