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Fuel Trim Info

Understanding Fuel Trim

Some of the most common Fault Codes (DTC's) pertain to fuel trim (rich mixture, lean mixture, etc.) Here is an explanation
of fuel trim and what it does for us. The EC controls !ir"Fuel mixture in order to maintain power, efficienc#, and
emissions. !"F is expressed as either a ratio ($%.&'$ for example) or as a (am)da *alue. +ith iso,octane (-ideal-
.asoline), (am)da of $./ is e0ual to $%.&'$ !"F. This is 1nown as -Stoichiometric-, a condition where there is a perfect
)alance )etween ox#.en molecules and the *arious h#dro.en and car)on )ased molecules in petroleum. +ith the
ox#.enated .asoline that most of us use, actual !"F ratio of $2'$ is closer to stoichiometric.3f (am)da is .reater than $./,
then there is a surplus of air and the en.ine is runnin. lean. 3f (am)da is less than $./, then there is a surplus of fuel and
the en.ine is runnin. rich. 3t should )e noted that the ratios are mass,)ased, not *olume,)ased.
So, wh# don't we alwa#s run at $./ all the time4 +ell, we do 56ST of the time. !t cruise and idle, mixture is held ti.htl# to
$./ to 1eep the catal#tic con*ertor at optimal efficienc#, so the emissions are minimi7ed. Howe*er, when we need
acceleration, the mixture .ets richer. +h#4 5aximum power is made )etween /.82 to /.92 (am)da ($:.2 to $%./ !"F with
iso,octane). So, under acceleration, mixtures .et richer. Sometimes #ou want to .et e*en richer under acceleration to
1eep detonation (pre,i.nition of the mixture from excess c#linder temperatures) awa#. The $.8T has a relati*el# hi.h
compression ratio for a tur)ochar.ed en.ine, which especiall# under lots of )oost, is *er# succepti)le to detonation).
So, now that we 1now that the EC wants to )e a)le to control the !"F ratio. 3t has a prescri)ed set of *alues (maps) for a
.i*en ;<5, (oad, etc. So, the EC tells the in=ectors to pulse for exactl# >>.> milliseconds and that SH6(D .et us the
proper !"F ratio that we want. +ell, if #ou tell an emplo#ee to .o do somethin., #ou want to ma1e sure the# actuall# did it,
ri.ht4 The EC has some snitches (the front 6: sensor and the 5!F, for the most part) that will report )ac1 whether or
not the desired mixture has )een attained. The rear 6: sensor is used mostl# to monitor the condition of the catal#tic
con*ertor, althou.h in some applications it also contri)utes to trim information.
?ased on feed)ac1 from the snitches, the EC learns to appl# a correction factor to its commands to the fuel in=ectors. 3f
#ou 1now that #our emplo#ees ta1e than the standard allotted time to do a specified =o), #ou will need to ad=ust for
that in #our plannin. (in=ectors are in a union, so it is tou.h to fire them ). The learned *alues .o )etween the maps in the
EC's Flash ;65 (the -chip-) and the si.nal to the fuel in=ectors. These learned compensations are 1nown as -trim-. So,
when #ou see -trim-, it means -compensation-.
-!dd- means additi*e trim, which is addressin. an im)alance at idle. +hen the EC is usin. additi*e trim, it is tellin. the
in=ectors to sta# open a fixed amount or shorter. The malfunction (e... *acuum lea1) )ecomes less si.nificant as
;<5 increase. For additi*e adaptation *alues, the in=ection timin. is chan.ed )# a fixed amount. This *alue is not
dependent on the )asic in=ection timin..
-5ult- mean multiplicati*e trim, which is addressin. an im)alance at all en.ine speeds. The malfunction (e... clo..ed
in=ector) )ecomes more se*ere at increased ;<5. For multiplicati*e adaptation *alues, there is a percenta.e chan.e in
in=ection timin.. This chan.e is dependent on the )asic in=ection timin..
@ou can chec1 #our current state of trim )# usin. A!B,C65 or e0ui*alent to loo1 in Broup /C: (in man# modern EC's,
consult #our Factor# ;epair 5anual for the specific .roup for #our particular *ehicle) in #our en.ine measurin. )loc1s. The
first two fields will ha*e The first field tells the fuel trim at idle (!dditi*e). The second field tells the fuel trim at
ele*ated en.ine speeds (5ultiplicati*e). De.ati*e *alues indicate that the en.ine is runnin. too rich and ox#.en sensor
control is therefore ma1in. it more lean )# reducin. the amount of time that the in=ectors are open. <ositi*e *alues indicate
that the en.ine is runnin. too lean and ox#.en sensor control is therefore ma1in. it richer )# increasin. the amount of
time that the in=ectors are open.
3t is totall# normal for )oth the first and second fields to )e somethin. other than 7ero. 3n fact, 7eros 3D ?6TH F3E(DS
indicates that either #ou =ust cleared codes (which will reset fuel trim *alues) or somethin. isn't wor1in. properl#. 3f *alues
.et too far awa# from 7ero, it will cause a DTC (fault code) and can set off the 53( (commonl# referred to as the Chec1
En.ine (, or CE(). Specifications for normal operation are usuall# somewhere near E", $/F.
3n .eneral, an out,of,spec *alue in the first field (!dditi*e) indicates a *acuum lea1 since it is mostl# present at idle, when
*acuum is hi.hest. !n out,of,spec *alue in the second field (5ultiplicati*e) indicates a fault at hi.her ;<5, and ma# point
to a fault# 5!F.
Here's a .ood sanit# chec1 for the status of #our 5!F. Do a full,throttle run all the wa# to redline in a sin.le .ear (second
wor1s fine). Broup //: usuall# shows air mass in ."s (in man# modern EC's, consult #our Factor# ;epair 5anual for the
specific .roup for #our particular *ehicle). @our pea1 airflow should )e rou.hl# /.8/ times #our horsepower if #ou are close
to sea le*el. So, if #ou ha*e a stoc1 $2/ hp $.8T, expect around $:/ ."s. 3f #ou see si.nificantl# less than that, #ou 5!F
ma# )e on the wa# out. !lso note that airflow will )e mar1edl# different at hi.her altitudes due to reduced am)ient air
pressure, especiall# with naturall# aspirated en.ines that do not ha*e forced induction to o*ercome that deficienc#. This
still wor1s if #ou are chipped, )ut -race- pro.rams ma# ma1e more power throu.h timin., rather than airflow. Therefore,
ta1e all readin.s with a .rain of salt.
!nd# $$'C/, 8 5a# ://G (Eastern Standard Time)
Ta1en from' http'""wi1i.ross,"wi1i"index.php"FuelITrimI3nfo, on !pril $$, :/$$.