A fuel injector is the main component of a fuel injection system. It is used to control the amount of fuel that is released into the combustion chamber. A fuel injector uses an electrically controlled valve, to control the flow of the fuel. To withstand the constant flow and high pressure fuel, the injector is made out of a strong metal which prevents cracking and erosion. Fuel injectors are categorized by the amount of weight per hour they can handle.
Fuel injectors work directly with the fuel pump, bringing fuel from the gas tank through fuel lines to the injectors. When the fuel reaches the intake of the injector, it passes through a filter which gathers sediment, to prevent clogging, in the valve. The fuel in the injector builds up pressure, which holds down the valve and prevents any fuel from leaking, in to the combustion chamber. At the top of the valve, there is a suspended magnet, which is positioned above the spring. Surrounding the fuel injector is an electrical coil,which is raised about half an inch above the magnet, inside the injector.
When the electrical timing system in the engine decides fuel needs to be released, an electrical impulse is sent to the coils. The magnet on top of the valve is attracted to the electrical charge in the coils, which raises the valve. As the valve lifts, pressurized fuel in the injector is released and sprays out into the combustion chamber. Once enough fuel I released, the electrical charge is stopped causing the magnet to not be attracted which closes the valve and stops the flow of fuel. This process is repeated every time an electrical charge is sent through the coils.
Diesel engines and gasoline engines have different ways of injecting fuel into the engine. A standard gasoline engine injects the fuel into the intake manifold, where it is mixed with the air and proportioned out to each cylinder. Diesel engines use direct injection, which is when the injector tip is located in the combustion chamber. This way of injection does not allow the fuel to mix with air which ensures a rich mixture.
With the ability to control fuel so well, the system is precise in how it injects the fuel. Fuel can be injected into each cylinder at the same time, or it can be released into the cylinder at a specific stroke in its cycle. Being able to adjust the cycle, allows the engine to produce the same or more power, than it would otherwise. Fuel injectors can be changed in engines that have been modified to release more fuel or less fuel, depending on the modifications made to the engine.
A common misconception about fuel injectors is that they will eventually clog, which can cause them to release less fuel over time. The only part of the injector that can get clogged is the top, which houses the filter. The sediment caught in this filter can easily be removed without having to replace the injector. This cleaning method is typically done by injecting a cleaning solution in the fuel line, which eats away the sediment being held in the filter. Fuel injectors should be able to function for many years, without any need to service them.
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