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Also, the 3.4s (both the quad-cam and pushrod versions) and the Iron Duke/Tech 4 must be worse. Although generally reliable if you could keep enough oil in them, the 2.5s were underpowered, thirsty and GM's refusal to develop a volume OHC four in the 1980s was to the company's detriment.

(Yes I'm aware fo the Quad-4 but that was a rare performance engine)
While there was a Hi-Po version of the Quad-4, there was also a standard SOHC version that was the base engine in a bunch of GMs in the late '80s/early '90s, and then a milder DOHC version became the base engine in cars like the Malibu all the way up until the Ecotec in '03 or so. The problem was that even in the base engine, NVH sucked (it was bad in the Hi-Po versions too) and people still didn't accept 4-cylinders in the downsized American cars of the 80s/90s.

But to GM's credit, getting 150-180 hp from a N/A 4-cylinder in the '80s (190 hp in the '90s) was impressive. But the characteristics people cared about in '90s GM cars were really not the Quad-4's strong suit, and the cars they were fitted to were similarly lackluster so it was largely ignored.

So I disagree that GM refused to deliver a volume OHC 4, since the Quad-4 had a good 15-year run, and it is decidedly NOT rare -- well, might be rarer today since most of the vehicles it was put in ended up in the junkyard after no one wanted them, but they were fitted to a lot of vehicles from the 80s/90s like the non-SCX Achieva (SCX got the top dog 190-hp DOHC motor) and survived in the N-bodies (Malibu, Grand Am, Alero) into '03. It's similar to the story of the non-turbo Ecotec motors, they're fine from a technical and reliability perspective, but the cars they got hitched to were not that impressive. It actually makes a pretty decent swap engine into a Miata ;)
 

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You were disappointed by the H22 which is a 2.2L motor but list their worst as anything that is 2L or smaller?

One of my favourite cars was an old Honda Ballade with the 1.6 DOHC ZC motor. What's wonderful about the small motors is that they are economical and quiet most of the time but they can be fun too, that's the whole point of the small Honda motors isn't it? The best of both worlds, I'm not sure how else you could get that kind of economy and performance out of a small NA motor. They were pretty reliable too AFAIK.
Maybe I just need more acceleration than normal people but when I had my Civic 1.8 I was constantly flooring it to get up to the speeds I liked. And it was anything but quiet on the highway. You are right that that's the only way to get that performance out of a small NA motor.... but IMO there are better ways to get that performance. The heavier DOHC VTEC cars weren't even that great on gas either.
 

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While there was a Hi-Po version of the Quad-4, there was also a standard SOHC version that was the base engine in a bunch of GMs in the late '80s/early '90s, and then a milder DOHC version became the base engine in cars like the Malibu all the way up until the Ecotec in '03 or so. The problem was that even in the base engine, NVH sucked (it was bad in the Hi-Po versions too) and people still didn't accept 4-cylinders in the downsized American cars of the 80s/90s.

But to GM's credit, getting 150-180 hp from a N/A 4-cylinder in the '80s (190 hp in the '90s) was impressive. But the characteristics people cared about in '90s GM cars were really not the Quad-4's strong suit, and the cars they were fitted to were similarly lackluster so it was largely ignored.

So I disagree that GM refused to deliver a volume OHC 4, since the Quad-4 had a good 15-year run, and it is decidedly NOT rare -- well, might be rarer today since most of the vehicles it was put in ended up in the junkyard after no one wanted them, but they were fitted to a lot of vehicles from the 80s/90s like the non-SCX Achieva (SCX got the top dog 190-hp DOHC motor) and survived in the N-bodies (Malibu, Grand Am, Alero) into '03. It's similar to the story of the non-turbo Ecotec motors, they're fine from a technical and reliability perspective, but the cars they got hitched to were not that impressive. It actually makes a pretty decent swap engine into a Miata ;)
Ah, you're right I forgot about the mild 150 HP Qaud4s from the N-bodies/some J bodies. They did a SOHC version?

The pushrod 2.2, of course was the volume engine in the J-body as well as the 2wd S10- which was mediocre at best.
 

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Ah, you're right I forgot about the mild 150 HP Qaud4s from the N-bodies/some J bodies. They did a SOHC version?

The pushrod 2.2, of course was the volume engine in the J-body as well as the 2wd S10- which was mediocre at best.
Yeah, initially the 'base' Quad-4 was a SOHC but they then put out a mild DOHC version that became the standard N-body/optional J-body engine in the mid-90s.

I can think of a bunch of GM bombs (diesel 350, V8-6-4, HT4100) but I don't think I'd include the Tech IV in that list. It was designed in the 70s to be a low-buck, durable engine with decent torque (not horsepower), which I think it achieved. Again, it was hitched to some unimpressive machinery (Fiero not withstanding) but that's hardly the engine's fault. You wouldn't put a Jeep 4.0 in a Corvette and expect an exciting result, would you?

Same with the 2200, it's not a firebreather but it was a mainstay for lot of years and it did it's job as a low-cost, reliable engine. The market started to demand better...thus the Ecotec. By then, the crop of old GM fours had certainly paid their dues.

Side note: a Fiero with a 190 HP Quad 4 would've been a ripper, too bad the timing wasn't right.
 

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Maybe I just need more acceleration than normal people but when I had my Civic 1.8 I was constantly flooring it to get up to the speeds I liked. And it was anything but quiet on the highway. You are right that that's the only way to get that performance out of a small NA motor.... but IMO there are better ways to get that performance. The heavier DOHC VTEC cars weren't even that great on gas either.
I'm assuming that you are referring to a Civic powered by the R18 and not a B18?

Like others have mentioned I think the 1.6 - 1.8 motors were great in the 90s because the cars were smaller and lighter in general.
 
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