You are on page 1of 3

TECHTALK

in association with

BACK TO BASICS WITH AUTO-SOLVE


ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION (PART 1)
This months look at the electronic fuel injection system pays
particular attention to the sensors and actuators, and their resultant
inputs and outputs, to and from the vehicles electronic control
module. The following topic looks at the multi-point injection
system, with single-point being covered in a later issue.
OVERVIEW
Both the multi-point and the single-point systems operate in a very
similar fashion having an electro-mechanically operated
injector/injectors opening for a predetermined length of time. The
amount of injection period is determined by the engines ECM. This
time period will depend upon the engine's temperature, the engine
load and the information from the lambda sensor. The fuel is
delivered from the tank, via a filter, and a regulator determines its
operating pressure. The fuel is delivered to the engine in a precise
quantity and in most cases is injected into the inlet manifold awaiting
the valve's opening, therefore being drawn into the combustion
chamber by the incoming air.

on the pump is 3 to 5 amps. Fuel passing across the fuel pump's


armature will be subjected to sparks and arcing; this on the surface
appears quite dangerous, but the absence of oxygen means that
there will not be an explosion!
The majority of fuel pumps fitted to today's motor vehicles are
fitted within the vehicle's petrol tank and are referred to as
'submerged' fuel pumps. The pump will invariably be located with
the fuel sender unit and both units can sometimes be accessed
through an inspection hole either in the boot floor or under the rear
seat.
Mounted vertically, the pump comprises an inner and outer gear
assembly that are termed as the 'geroter'. The combined assembly
is secured in the tank using a series of screws and sealed with a
rubber gasket, or with a bayonet type locking ring. On some models,
there are two fuel pumps, the submerged pump acting as a 'lift'
pump to the external roller cell pump.

FUEL TANK
This is the obvious place to start in any full system explanation.
Unlike the tanks on early carburettor equipped vehicles, it is a sealed
unit that allows the natural gassing of the fuel to aid delivery to the
pump by slightly pressurising the system. It may be noted that when
the filler cap is removed, pressure is heard to escape. The fuel filler
caps are no longer vented.
FUEL PUMP
This type of high pressure fuel pump (Fig 1.0) is denoted as a roller
cell pump, with the fuel entering the pump and being compressed by
rotating cells which force it through the pump at a high pressure.
The pump is capable of producing a pressure of 8 bar (120 psi) with
a delivery rating of approximately 4 to 5 litres per minute. Within the
pump is a pressure relief valve that lifts off its seat at 8 bar to arrest
the pressure if the filter or fuel lines or other eventualities cause it to
become obstructed. The other end of the pump (output) is home
to a non-return valve which, when the voltage to the pump is
removed, closes the return to the tank and maintains pressure within
the system.
The normal operating pressure within this system is
approximately 2 bar (30 psi) and at this pressure the current draw

Fig 1.1
The waveform illustrated in Fig 1.1 shows the current for each
individual sector of the commutator. The majority of fuel pumps will
have 6 to 8 sectors and a repetitive point on the waveform can
indicate wear and an impending failure. In the illustration waveform
it can be seen that there is a lower current draw on one sector and
this is repeated when the pump has rotated through 720. This
example has 8 sectors per rotation.

Fig 1.2 shows typical current draw


access to the fuel submerged pump
Fig 1.0

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk June 2004 36

The current drawn by the fuel pump is dependent upon the fuel
pressure but should be no more than 8 amps found on the Bosch KJetronic mechanical fuel injection, which has a systems pressure of
75psi.
FUEL SUPPLY
A conventional flow and return system has a supply of fuel delivered
to the fuel rail and the unwanted fuel is passed through the pressure
regulator, back to the tank. It is the restriction in the fuel line created
by the pressure regulator that provides the systems operational
pressure.
RETURNLESS FUEL SYSTEMS
These have been adopted by several motor manufacturers and differ
from the conventional system in that they have a delivery pipe only
to the fuel rail, with no return flow back to the tank.
The returnless systems, both the mechanical and the electronic
versions, are instigated by emissions protocol. The absence of
heated petrol returning to the fuel tank reduces the amount of
evaporative emissions, while the fuel lines are minimised, thus
reducing build costs.
MECHANICAL RETURNLESS FUEL SYSTEMS
The 'returnless' system differs from the norm by having the pressure
regulator situated within the fuel tank. When the fuel pump is
activated, fuel flows into the system until the required pressure is
obtained. At this point 'excess' fuel is bled past the pressure
regulator and back into the tank.
The 'flow and return' system has a vacuum supply to the
pressure regulator; this enables the fuel pressure to be increased
whenever the manifold vacuum drops, providing fuel enrichment
under acceleration. The 'returnless' system has no mechanical
compensation that effects the fuel pressure, and it will remain at a
higher than usual 44 to 50 psi. By increasing the delivery pressure,
the ECM can alter the injection duration to give the precise delivery,
regardless of the engine load without fuel pressure compensation.
ELECTRONIC RETURNLESS FUEL SYSTEMS
This version has all the required components fitted within the one
unit of the submersible fuel pump. It contains a small particle filter
(in addition to the strainer), pump, electronic pressure regulator,
fuel level sensor and a sound isolation system. The electronic
pressure regulator allows the pressure to be increased under
acceleration conditions; additionally the pump's output can be
adjusted to suit the engine's fuel demand. This will prolong the
pump's 'life' as it is longer providing a larger than required output
delivery. The ECM supplies the required pressure information,
while the fuel pump's output signal is supplied in the form of a
digital squarewave. Altering the squarewaves duty cycle will effect
the pumps delivery output. To facilitate the changing viscosity of
the fuel with changing fuel temperatures, a fuel rail temperature
sensor is installed. A pulsation damper may also be fitted prior to
or within the fuel rail.

Fig 1.3
The held open time or 'injector duration' will vary to compensate
for cold engine starting and warm-up periods. The duration time will
also expand under acceleration. The injector will have a constant
voltage supply while the engine is running and the earth path will be
switched via the ECM. The result can be seen in the example
waveform. When the earth is removed, a voltage is induced into the
injector and a spike around 50 to 60 volts is recorded.
Multi-point injection may be either sequential or simultaneous.
A simultaneous system will fire all 4 injectors at the same time with
each cylinder receiving 2 injection pulses per cycle (720 crankshaft
rotation). A sequential system will receive just 1 injection pulse per
cycle; this is timed to coincide with the opening of the inlet valve.
As a very rough guide the injector duration for an engine at
normal operating temperature, at idle speed, is around 2.5 ms for
simultaneous and 3.5 ms for sequential.
Any electro-mechanical will of course take a small amount of
time to react, as it will require a level of magnetism to build before
the pintle is lifted off its seat. This time is called the solenoid
reaction time. This delay is important to monitor and can sometimes
equate to a third of the injectors total duration. A good example of
the delay in opening can be seen in the example waveform shown in
Fig 1.4 on the following page.
It can be clearly seen from the example waveform that the
waveform is clearly 'split' into two easily defined areas. The first part
of the waveform is responsible for the electromagnetic force lifting
the pintle; in this example the time taken is approximately 0.6 ms. At
this point the current can be seen to fall before rising again as the
pintle is held open. With this in mind it can be seen that the amount
of time that the injector is held open is not necessarily the same as

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk June 2004 37

INJECTORS
The injector is an electromechanical device, which is fed by a 12 volt
supply from either the fuel injection relay or from the ECM. The

voltage will only be present when the engine is cranking or running,


due to the voltage supply being controlled by a tachometric relay.
The injector is supplied with fuel from a common fuel rail. The length
of time the injector is held open will depend on the input signals
seen by the ECM from its various engine sensors. The held open
time or 'injector duration' will vary to compensate for cold engine
starting and warm-up periods, i.e. a large duration that decreases the
injection time as the engine warms to operating temperature. The
duration time will also expand under acceleration and contract under
light load conditions.
The injector will have a constant voltage supply while the engine
is running and the earth path will be switched via the ECM. An
example of a typical waveform is shown below in Fig 1.3.

TECHTALK

in association with

the time measured. It is not however possible to calculate the time


taken for the injectors spring to fully close the injector and cut off
the fuel flow.

Fig 1.5

Fig 1.4
This test is ideal for identifying an injector with an unacceptably
slow solenoid reaction time. Such an injector would not deliver the
required amount of fuel and the cylinder in question would run lean.
Fig 1.5 shows both the injector voltage and current displayed
simultaneously.

All the example waveforms used were recorded using a PC


based oscilloscope loaned by www.picotech.com. Other
manufacturers equipment will have different voltage ranges but the
resultant picture should be very similar.

Next month, we will look at the input signals to the ECM that
control the injector duration.

DEAR DAVE
When servicing an 02 registered Audi TT 1.8 turbo, I plugged into
the diagnostic system and noted multiple fault codes (too many to
list) stored in the engine control module. I cleared them and thought
nothing more of it until I went to reset the service interval via the
diagnostic socket. Upon logging in to the engine control unit, the
same fault codes appeared again but in a different order. I therefore
assume that the engine control will be running in "limp home mode"
and the problem will need rectifying but cannot see that all of the
faults logged can be correct as there are so many of them.
Multiple fault codes are stored within the fault memory of the
Audi TTs ECU even though these faults may never exist - this
occurs if the ECU unit temporarily loses its main power supply.
First thing to check are the ECU multi plug terminals for dry ends,
but the most common cause is the power supply relay 109 which
supplies power to the control module. It would be advisable to
replace the relay.

Motor Industry Magazine www.motor.org.uk June 2004 38

Cold starting a 1994 Ford Fiesta 1.1 has been causing problems
for about three months. The engine initially fires up but dies
immediately and takes a good five minutes to fire up again,
followed by rough running for a couple of minutes or so. Coolant
temperature sensor, plugs, leads, ECU and injector resistor have
been replaced and the EGR system blanked off.
There is a common fault with the throttle potentiometer that
causes these symptoms. This unit can be checked with a volt
meter and appears to be fine with a linear resistance increment
as the throttle is opened, but this does not always mean that the
unit is OK. The only real way of checking it is to observe the
voltage increase as the throttle is opened and closed. This
should record a steady increase and decrease of 05 volts
accordingly.
A Ferrari Mondial Quattrovalve struggles to start when left for over
two hours. I have replaced the fuel pump because fuel pressure was
not being maintained after the engine was turned off, but this has
made no difference.

A 1998 Fiat Brava 1.6 16v has been causing problems since
replacement of the inlet manifold gasket due to an intake air leak
that caused the engine to idle erratically. Although the idle speed is
not so erratic, the engine intermittently stalls and hesitates under
load something which never happened before the gasket was
replaced.
It sounds as though the fuel rail and injectors were
not replaced correctly. If the injectors are not perfectly central,
spray misses the back of the valves and runs down the side of the
inlet tract, thus preventing the fuel from atomising properly, so it
will not burn efficiently under compression.

Ever since a 1997 Citroen Saxo VTS underwent repair for an idling
fault (replacement of the idle controller and resetting the basic idle
settings), the car seems to have lost all its get up and go.
On most modern engine management systems, idle resetting calls
for the use of a diagnostic scanner, but with this particular vehicle
there is no function for doing this. As a result, I suspect the
ignition timing has been retarded by 10 degrees across the entire
rev range, causing the loss of performance.