The dynamics of piston's secondary motion (lateral and rotational motion) across the clearance between piston and cylinder inner wall of reciprocating machines are analyzed. This paper presents an analytical model, which can predict the impact forces and vibratory response of engine block surface induced by the piston slap of an internal combustion engine. A piston is modelled on a three-degree-of-freedom system to represent its planar motion. When slap occurs, the impact point between piston skirt and cylinder inner wall is modelled on a two-degree-of-freedom vibratory system. The equivalent parameters such as mass, spring constant, and damping constant of piston and cylinder inner wall are estimated by using measured (driving) point mobility. Those parameters are used to calculate the impact force and for estimating the vibration level of engine block surfaces. The predicted results are compared with experimental results to verify the model. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.