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I think Dave and Supraa_luva got it right. We're not talking about the effects of gravity in one piston stroke here, we're talking about the effects over a decade of use. Of course gravity is going to have an effect on the wear characteristics, it wouldn't be much but over time it will add up. These engines can go forever!
 

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of course the piston never touchs the cylinder wall, the rings would be in between. But why wouldn't the weight of the piston push the ring into the cylinder wall? Once again, the extra wear would only start to show after many many years of use, there are tons of other things that would affect the wear of the engine more. Think about it, if the cylinder wall was instantly removed, what would the piston do? On a v6 the piston would instantly fall with the rod, swinging around the crank, while with the i6, assuming it was balanced perfectly, it would just sit there.
 

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Another advantage of an DOHC inline 6, much simpler construction. 2 cams and cam gears instead of 4, and a way simpler belt/chain routing. You ever do 100,000km maintenace on a v6? Ouch! A friend did on his Mazda Milenia with supercharged v6. 5 idler pulleys vs 1 for an inline 6! New idler pulleys, water pump, timing belt, labour and a few other little things set him back 2500 bucks! Mazda parts are pricy.
 
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