Using fuel control systems allows your engine to operate at a steady pace, with measured amounts of fuel entering the combustion chamber to maintain optimal fuel pressure levels. In certain engines, the fuel is measured in multiple cylinders prior to being injected into the engine. Today, engines are often equipped with multiple cylinders that function independently; however, earlier electronic fuel injection (EFJ) systems functioned differently. This blog will explore how former models of EFJ systems transformed into the individual cylinder fuel control systems we see today in order for you to better understand the way fuel is measured and regulated in many modern engines.
The earlier designs of fuel regulation systems included batch-fired injectors, where all three injectors in one of two banks fired simultaneously. The second bank of injectors is known as the powertrain control module (PCM), and all six cylinders from both banks inform a single O2 sensor. When any injector lost its electrical resistance or experienced pintle distortion, it created a rich condition that would indicate high levels of O2. This was inefficient because one faulty cylinder would disrupt the whole system, so eventually designs began to include two O2 sensors. Over time, modifications were made to develop engines that could be easily monitored. In 2011, manufacturers introduced individual cylinder fuel control (ICFC) strategies, and by 2014, these were mandated in all vehicles by the government.
This design still relies on a single O2 sensor for four-cylinder engines and a single upstream sensor for each bank on V-6 and V-8 engines; however, ICFC systems also rely on an algorithm that can detect air and fuel imbalances in an individual cylinder, rather than in an entire bank. Engines equipped with ICFC strategies cannot flag the specific injector or cylinder that is causing a lean or rich condition, so certain tests and monitoring must be done to keep your cylinders firing optimally. For example, it is important to examine the history of misfire counters. Both low and high O2 values should be flagged and investigated as well as drops in pressure measured through a pressure gauge. It is important to have consistency across the individual cylinders because this allows for a steady combustion process.
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