What is Fuel Injection?
The other half of the fuel economy equation comes courtesy of electronic fuel injection. Fuel injection has been in widespread use in diesel engines since the 1920s, but it wasn’t until World War II, when aircraft engines like the Junkers Jumo 210 and the BMW 801 started experiencing the benefits of direct fuel injection that gasoline engines really started to benefit from its adoption.
Most cars utilized carburetors to mix fuel and air prior to the early 1980s. At its core, a carburetor is nothing but a hole in the intake manifold with a flap to let in air, and another hole to let in fuel, fed by a low-pressure pump. They’re simple and cheap, but they’re notoriously inefficient, dumping a not-so-specific amount of fuel into a manifold, which then distributes fuel to individual cylinders.
Fuel injection puts fuel under pressure, and then metering that fuel to high pressure injectors that spray a specific fuel-air mixture into each combustion chamber.
Early fuel injection systems were developed by Stuart Hilborn for racing applications. The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Stirling Moss drove to victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia used Bosch fuel injection, and Rochester developed a fuel injection system for the 1957 model year, in use on some 283-cu.in. V8s.
Those systems were all mechanical, and several were “constant flow” injection systems that metered fuel through a central manifold of injection lines.
Electronic fuel injection arrived the same year as the Rochester system on the AMC Rambler Rebel, and later on the 1958 Chrysler 300D, DeSoto Adventurer, Dodge D-500 and Plymouth Fury. The Chrysler/Bendix Electrojector system eventually became the basis for Bosch’s electronic fuel injection system, D-Jetronic, and later L-Jetronic.Along with the driveability benefits, electronic fuel injection offers greater efficiency, much lower emissions, greater reliability, more consistency, and even a greater acceptance of alternative fuels.
In concert with electronic ignition, electronic fuel injection will keep internal combustion engines viable for the forseeable future.
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