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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, aside from Wal-Mart lawnmowers and leafblowers, carburetors on engines have become the modern-day equivalent of the buggy whip...total anachronisms that were once ubiquitous. Pressurized delivery of fuel into a cylinder, fuel injection, is now universal in automobiles. It took quite awhile for this to happen, though. There was a false-start in the advent of FI during the fifties that is not well-known today, and IMO is interesting enough to deserve a telling of the story. I found a v. interesting short piece in a 1995 issue of the magazine "Special Interest Automobiles" about this subject, and thought that it might be good to share it with other members. Here it is, (almost) verbatim:
"Fuel injection, as a concept, is at least as old as the carburetor, with the earliest applicable patents dating from the 1880s. Pioneering aviators, including the Wright Brothers, experimented with the idea of spraying pressurized fuel into an engine. The American carburetor wizard Ed Winfield patented a continuous-flow injection system (later revived by Bosch as its "CIS" system) in 1934, and a similar system, developed by Stuart Hilborn, debuted at the Indianapolis 500 in 1949. But it was the Germans who first installed fuel injection on a gasoline-powered production car. Both Gutbrod and Goliath had Bosch einspritzen on their two-stroke motors in 1951, and Mercedes Benz followed with the first injected four-stroke in 1954, with the now-legendary 300SL .
At that point, the immediate future looked fuel-injected. As late as January 1957, the magazine Speed Age suggested that with FI, "all gas waste is eliminated...all mile-per-gallon figures will hit new highs." Modern multi-throat carburetors, the magazine continued, had become so expensive that FI would seem economical by comparison. And, incidentally, "the addition of fuel injection virtually assures Chevy of the stock car championship in 1957."
Yet by August of '57, Motor Trend magazine quipped that "eight months after announcement day drum beating, only a midget's handful of citizens are making payments on fuel-injected cars. What happened? Pontiac Bonnevilles are for "dealers only". Rambler (AMC) isn't talking. And agencies with an FI for sale are the envy of their business associates."
What happened, indeed? Despite a daunting (for the time) $500 price tag, initial demand for Chevrolet's "Ramjet" fuel injection far outpaced production. some of the earliest examples may have proven less than reliable, but the Daytona Speed Weeks in February '57 shook-out most potential problems with the system, and GM's Rochester Products division swiftly applied the appropriate fixes to the assembly line. By mid-season, by most accounts, Chevrolet's FI could match any carburetor for reliability. Yet some of the motoring magazines continued to speculate about problems that hadn't yet appeared. And when the Ramjet system did break, it confounded technicians at dealerships who were just then learning to tune multiple carburetors.
None of this could have helped FI sales. Yet we suspect that Chevrolet's (and Chrysler's and American Motors') fuel injection, like Chrysler's hemispherical head V8s, died prematurely because of what it cost to manufacture. In the days when gasoline sold for 31 cents per gallon, there were less expensive ways to make horsepower. Note that Chevrolet yanked fuel injection from the option list for its full-sized models after 1958, and for Corvettes after 1965. In both cases, the first year for a big-block V8 model signalled the last year for the smaller-displacement fuel injection engine at Chevy."
I know it's a little Chevrolet-centric, but the piece is still illuminating about the early application of injection. I hope some find it interesting.
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (mAdD INDIAN)

The way I interpret it, it wasn't actually the complexity of the machinery that brought it down. It was more the cost issues, along with field-service problems that vexed the carmakers into discontinuing it until later years. The Rochester/Chevrolet-Pontiac system, for example, was not all that complex, and clever engineering even allowed the stock fuel pump to be used with the injection engines (a secondary fuel pump, driven by a cable from the distributor, provided the delivery-pressure required at the nozzles). It was just a case of all-new and radical technology being early to the party, so to speak, and with it a cost-penalty that couldn't be overcome. Even Mercedes Benz was rather cautious with fuel injection applications in the early days. Only their most premium models offered it for many years, and their dealer technicians had as much difficulty servicing the Bosch systems as their domestic counterparts did with the Rochester and Bendix (Chrysler and AMC) systems.
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

Stupid question, but I assume this was mechanical fuel injection, not electronic.
So how does fuel injection work? From what I know in current cars, the fuel injection is controlled electronically (via the ECU) and there are mappings that dictate how much fuel to inject based on load/throttle position/airflow.
How did mechanical FI deal with that (if they did at all)? If they didn't, how did they get away with it?
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (mAdD INDIAN)

The GeeEmm Rochester system was mechanical, and beautifully simple in operation. Eight nozzles, one per cylinder, sprayed fuel continuously directly outside the intake port, with long tuned runners supplying air from a small plenum chamber. The amount of fuel delivered was controlled by a venturi, which measured the amount of air flowing past the throttle. The vacuum created by this venturi was used to operate a diaphragm that regulated the flow of pressurized fuel.
The Mercedes Benz/Bosch mechanical system was quite different, and less similar than the Chevrolet's to today's systems. A mechanically-driven injection pump delivered the pressurized fuel to the individual injectors, in pulsed fashion. The throttle-position was determined mechanically, airflow volume was also determined in a quite different manner from the Rochester method; of which I forget exactly how. Sorry.
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

In addition the the Benz/Bosch system, BMW had their Kugelfisher (sp?) sytem and Alfa Romeo had a system by thier subsidiary SPICA. These were all essentially adapted diesel injection pumps.
At least on the Alfa/SPICA system, fuel metering was dictated by a 3 dimensional cam inside the injection pump. It was a very advanced system that was basically a mechanical computer. The SPICA system, introduced in 1969, allowed Alfa to meet the new US emissions regulations without losing HP as so many other manufacturers were doing at the time.
Joe
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

Another interesting milestone in the history of Fuel Injection was Bosch's D-Jetronic. This injection system was first used on the 1967 VW Type 3: one of the first mass produced electronic fuel injection system.
The was based on the "speed-density" concept. It used a manifold pressure sensor, an analog computer, a throttle position sensor (which didn't really sense the position of the throttle). The system used electronic fuel injectors. The system is kinda fragile but was really a future shock for those who had no experience with injection: the motors had a much better powerband, better fuel economy and far better emissions. This all on a Volkswagen, not exactly a sophisticated car at the time.
From what I understand the system operates in quite a similar manner to the MegaSquirt injection system.
Brandon
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (typ3)

To add to this, I recall one quote from the Vortex years ago:
"fuel injection is a necessity, not an option, on diesel engines"

This, alas, meant that fuel-injected cars have been on the market for at least 7 decades by now
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

I remember my dad bought a brand new 1973 Volvo 145 station wagon that had electronic fuel injection. It was a Bosch system and the "computer" was below the pax side seat, it was the size of a shoe box! It did have a lot of problems of the start, but, by 1976, after replacing all the injectors (as I recall they were over $150 a piece!) and the computer, it ran pretty good until it was rear-ended and totaled.
I remember my dad's friends saying what a complicated piece of machinery it was and that nobody could do work on those things.
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (mamao)

Nice find, Larry! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
Unlike most people, I find CIS to be completely simple. To me it's as if someone took apart a carburetor and scattered the parts around the engine bay. I love it - while it's not the most high-tech thing out there, it works very well and is easy to conceptualize and work on.
The CIS I have also uses a flow sensor (float) in the form of an air plate in a venturi. The more air flow, the more the plate is deflected, and the farther open the fuel plunger (needle valve) is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (atomicalex)

The CIS system on VWs of the late seventies (Bosch's K-Jetronic) was such a revelation to so many people at the time. It took a basically crappy-running engine with multiple layers of Rube Goldbergian emissions controls tacked onto it (the VW 8V four-banger), and transformed it into a smooth, sweet, and totally enjoyable powerplant. It did this and at the same time made the car simpler to boot. It's hard to describe how exciting it was for VW fans to see these first CIS VWs back then, especially when most cars on the road still struggled with carbs and airpumps and miles of vacuum hoses. Volkswagen suddenly had a car from the future!
It was so novel that VWs labeled the cars with "Fuel Injection" on the rear badges.
We VW owners were quite smug about our high-tech wunderwagens back then. We were insufferable too.
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

Mercedes Benz and Auto Union (AUDI) had fuel injection since the 1930's.
Had GM sourced their FI system from Germany, it would have been a success. Instead they tried to copy it and were not successful. Some Studebakers had Germany sourced FI systems (I believe on the R3 and R4 engines) and Offenhauser used a Germany sourced FI system if I am not mistaken for its legendary racing engines.
Also, keep in mind that 31cents per gallon for gas is just about equivalent to $3.10 a gallon in today's money. In 1957 the average price of a house was about $18,000, the average cost of a car was about $3000, and the average professional salary was about $12,000. Multiply x 10 and you have today's national averages almost to a T.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (240nut)

"Mercedes Benz and Auto Union (AUDI) had fuel injection since the 1930's.
Had GM sourced their FI system from Germany, it would have been a success. Instead they tried to copy it and were not successful. Some Studebakers had Germany sourced FI systems (I believe on the R3 and R4 engines) and Offenhauser used a Germany sourced FI system if I am not mistaken for its legendary racing engines.
"
May I request your sources for this information? Which 1930s Mercedes Benz and Auto Union models were equipped with fuel injection (gasoline not diesel)? The R3 and R4 Studebaker V8s were supercharged, with fuel induction via carburetion. By the historic accounts that I've encountered over the years, Studebaker had little or no participation in the early fuel injection applications, in spite of their innovative nature and their association, in the final years, with Daimler Benz. General Motors, via its Rochester division, developed, entirely in-house, the injection system I recounted in the OP ("Ramjet"). I'll provide the names of the engineers in charge of the project when I get home later today, and can refer to the article again. Edward Cole, the legendary GeeEmm engineer/executive, was heavily involved in this project also. There really was no need to "copy the Germans", nor was there likely any actual "cribbing" going on. Besides, the Germans were developing entirely different systems, with incompatible engineering approaches to the American's ideas.
The Offy Indy engines were indeed fuel injected, but I need to refer to my reference sources at home later today to confirm the design/manufacturing origins that they used. I seem to remember them being equipped, at least for awhile, with a modified Hilborn system (US-sourced), but the answer will come later today, if not sooner, if someone else can help out (Taimar?).
The German Luftwaffe in WWII commissioned aero-engines from Daimler Benz that were injected, and as far as I know these engines were among the first "production" applications by the Germans of gasoline fuel injection systems. But we'll see.




Modified by vwlarry at 11:37 AM 4-14-2006
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

Both Nash and Studebaker were interested in the Bendix FI system that Chrysler attempted to use in 1957, but neither one of them ever actually built a car with it (Rambler may have built a prototype, but no production..).
The 1957 Chryslers, DeSotos, Dodges, and Plymouths could be ordered with the troubled Bendix system (by some accounts the first EFI system). But few were made and the FI was only available on the top models (Fury, Adventurer, D-500, and 300-C). Most of them were retrofitted with carburetors by the dealers after numerous complaints, but as with all things, a few escaped Chrysler anti-FI dragnet and there remain about five or six cars with the FI systems.
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

Fuel injection is one of the reasons many german fighterplanes in WW2 were superior to US fighters in constant high-g maneuvers. The injected german engines would run just as well during these maneuvers, while the US carbeurators would have problems delivering the proper mix to the engine.
I'm glad post-war german industry was allowed to continue
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (kerosenec4)

Ah, but our Amerikanischen aircraft makers had tricks up their sleeves, too. The turbocharger was one of them, on the P-38 Lightning fighter and others it was a superior way to boost the charge at high altitudes to the mechanical blowers that the Gerrys used. It all became moot though, when the ME-262 jet fighter showed-up at the end of the war, and trumped everything. Piston-engined warplanes were suddenly obsolete no matter how exotic their engines were.
Getting back to the fuel injection history stuff, wouldn't it be great to see the drawings and plans that the Wright Brothers worked-up for their fuel injection? They designed and built the entire engine in their Wright Flyer of 1903 on their own, btw. Carburetion itself was only just dawning, in the modern sense, by 1903. In earlier years, most carmakers used a v. primitive method of atomizing gasoline into the air intake-charge. They had no carburetor, and instead used a simple metal screen, mounted in the intake stream, and drip-fed gasoline onto the screen. The rush of air over this moistened screen would pull the fuel away in droplets, thus achieving a primitive atomization of the mixture. You can duplicate this effect every time you sip hot coffee from a cup. It's amazing that it took quite awhile for an inventive person to apply the already-existing principle of atomization (any perfume-spritzer of the nineteenth century demonstrated this) to the internal combustion engine's need for such a fuel/air mixture. The result of this free-association was the first carburetor.
The early, primitive-era gasoline automobiles must have been a total pain-in-the-butt to operate and drive.





Modified by vwlarry at 3:51 PM 4-14-2006
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

That's a really neat read, larry, thanks for sharing it


It's neat reading about stuff that happened so many years ago (long before I was born) that really shaped the auto industry. Things that you laugh about "A car without FI??HAHAHA".. there was such a thing!
http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
OT: I love carbs on all things small. My winter toy (1971 Ski Doo Olympique) has a Tiltson HD (or HR) carb and it's preety ****ty. But you can just spray gas in to get her going. After a carb rebuild it's real good. I know I know, new "toys" have FI but still.. I've always liked carbs
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (SteveMKIIDub)

great read, which led me to do some google research on my own. I never realized that the city I lived in played an important role in developing fuel injection. yay Rochester!
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (vwlarry)

Here's some information about Bosch's D-Jet fuel injection which was the first mass produced EFI system.
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http://members.rennlist.com/pbanders/djetfund.htm
D-Jetronic History and Fundamentals
History
The D-Jetronic system developed by Bosch in the early 1960's was the first mass-production electronic fuel injection system. It was primarily based on patents that Bosch licensed from the Bendix corporation. Bendix developed the basic idea of using an inductive element coupled to manifold vacuum as a component in a loop circuit ("multivibrator") to develop the basic injection pulse width. The system was first used on the 1967 VW Type 3 motors. Bosch continued development of the system, and it was last used in the D-Jetronic form in about 1976. Variants of D-Jetronic were used by other manufacturers (Ford, Toyota, etc.) for many years, and various forms of "speed-density" injection systems similar to D-Jetronic are still in use today. Bosch developed many more types of electronic fuel injection after D-Jetronic (L-Jetronic, K-Jetronic, etc.) that had improved characteristics, and still is a dominant force in fuel injection systems today.
 

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Re: Fuel Injection's Difficult Birth; An Early History... (James_K)

Here's some more info from Wikipedia.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...ution
Evolution
Pre-Emission Era
Frederick William Lanchester joined the Forward Gas Engine Company Birmingham, England in 1889. He carried out what were possibly the earliest experiments with fuel injection.
Indirect fuel injection has been used commercially in diesel engines since the mid 1920s, almost from their introduction (due to the higher energy required for diesel to evaporate). The concept was adapted for use in petrol-powered aircraft during World War II, and direct injection was employed in some notable designs like the Daimler-Benz DB 603 and later versions of the Wright R-3350 used in the B-29 Superfortress.
One of the first commercial gasoline injection systems was a mechanical system developed by Bosch and introduced in 1955 on the Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
An early electronic fuel injection system was developed by the Bendix Corporation, but a commercial application was impractical at the time; there did not yet exist solid-state sensors or mass-produced transistors. The patents were subsequently sold to Bosch.
In 1957, Chevrolet introduced a mechanical fuel injection option for its 283 V8 engine, made by General Motors' Rochester division. This system used a single, central plunger to feed fuel to all eight cylinders through distribution tubes. The engine produced 283 hp (211 kW) from 283 in³ (4.6 L), making it the first production engine in history to exceed 1 hp/in³ (45.5 kW/L). In contrast, Mercedes' used six individual plungers to feed fuel to each of the six cylinders.
During the 1960's, other mechanical injection systems such as Hilborn were occasionally used on modified American V8 engines in various racing applications such as drag racing, oval racing, and road racing. These racing-derived systems were not suitable for everyday street use.

Post Emission Era
Bosch developed the first production electronic fuel injection system, called D-Jetronic (D for Druck, the German word for pressure), which was first used on the Volkswagen 411 in 1967. This was a speed/density system, using engine speed and intake manifold air density to calculate "air mass" flow rate and thus fuel requirements. The system used all analog, discrete electronics, and an electro-mechanical pressure sensor. The sensor was susceptible to vibration and dirt. This system was adopted by VW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Saab and Volvo. Lucas licensed the system for production with Jaguar.
Bosch replaced the D-Jetronic system with the L-Jetronic system. L-Jetronic uses a mechanical airflow meter (L for Luft, German for air) which produces a signal that is porportional to "air volume". This approach required additional sensors to correct for barometer and temperature, to utlitmately determine "air mass". This system first appeared on the 1974 Porsche 914. L-Jetronic was widely adopted on European cars of that period, as well as a few Japanese models a short time later.
In 1975, California's emissions regulations, the most stringent in the world, required manufacturers to resort to using a catalytic converter. A catalyst promotes a reaction without itself becoming consumed in the reaction. In this case, an oxidation catalyst was designed into the vehicle's exhaust system to promote reactions of the exhaust constituents in the presence of heat. When hot products of combustion, such as unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, are exposed to the catalyst material (platinum and/or palladium), these compounds are nearly all oxidized into water and carbon dioxide.
Stricter legislation to reduce compounds called oxides of nitrogen occurred in 1980. This required a reduction catalyst (rhodium) to reduce the various nitrogen oxides into free nitrogen and oxygen. The reduction catalyst was used in additiona to the oxidation catalyst.
Eventually the two features were combined into what is now commonly called a "3-way" catalyst. The "3" comes from its ability to catalyze the three regulated exhaust emissions; unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen.
In order to take maximum advantage of a 3-way catalyst's chemical process, excellent air/fuel ratio control is essential. EFI systems improved fuel control in two major stages. The first stage was open loop fuel control, and then by 1980, the second stage known as closed-loop fuel control began to appear.
Open loop injection systems actually provided less acurate air/fuel ratio control than a carburetor due to manufacturing tolerance issues, but still provided excellent cylinder-to-cylinder fuel distribution. In order to improve the air/fuel ratio control as well, closed loop feedback control of EFI appeared in 1980.
Closed loop control is accomplished with a Lambda-Sond sensor, commonly referred to as the exhaust gas oxygen sensor, or EGO sensor, or O2 sensor. This sensor is mounted in the exhaust system nearly always upstream of the catalyst. The EGO sensor detects excess oxygen in the exhaust. Oxygen, or the lack of it, is a directional indicator of the air/fuel mixture's deviation from the desired stoichiometric air/fuel ratio.
"Closed loop" air/fuel ratio control, along with the catalytic converter, reduced exhaust emissions to less than 0.1% compared to a 1960, unregulated automobile.
In 1982, Bosch introduced a mass airflow meter on their L-Jetronic system, changing the name to LH-Jetronic (L for Luft, or air, and H for Heiße-leitung, or hot-wire), as the first true sensor for actual "air mass", not "air volume". The mass air sensor utilizes a heated platinum wire, and the rate of the wire's cooling is proportional to the "air mass" flowing across the wire. Additional temperature and pressure sensors are not required to calculate the final "air mass" with LH-Jetronic.
The LH-Jetronic system is also notable in that it was the first system to abandon an all analog Electronic Control Unit in favor of digital CPU, which is now the prevailing form of ECU. This further refined air/fuel ratio control.
The introduction of digital microprocessor controls facilitated the integration of both the fuel control and the ignition control, with combined systems first appearing in 1982 (The Bosch Motronic system, which oddly reverted to using a mechanical airflow sensor until the mid-to-late 1980s). Full engine management systems came shortly there after, with control of all powertrain sub-systems in a single digital computer.
 
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