An intake manifold is a component on an engine, which delivers the fuel and air mixture to each cylinder. On a vehicle with direct injection, the intake manifold will only carry air. The main function of the intake manifold is to distribute the mixture evenly to each intake port in the cylinder head. The engine will have increased performance and efficiency with a perfectly even distribution of the mixture.
The intake manifold may also serve as a mount for the fuel injectors, carburetor, throttle body, and other components of the engine. Intake manifolds are made out of steel, aluminum, cast iron, and plastic which is now being used in many vehicles with small engines. The intake manifold must have an air tight seal on the engine they are being used on. It gets this air tight fit using a series of long threaded bolts and a gasket, which ensure a secure connection.
Intake manifolds are built to align directly with the intake ports, on the vehicle's engine. The intake manifold consists of a series of hollow channels or ports. These are used to funnel the incoming air and fuel mixture directly into the engines cylinders. The air and fuel are first combined by the vehicles carburetor or fuel injection system before it enters the intake manifold.
When the carburetor or fuel injectors spray fuel into the intake manifold, some of the fuel can form into pools on the walls, of the manifold. This is inefficient for the engine, because it causes changes in the air to fuel ratio when the droplets fall off the sides. Turbulence in the intake causes atomization which helps burn off all the fuel ,and reduce engine knock. To achieve this turbulence, the surfaces in the intake and intake ports are left rough and unpolished.
The size and shape of the intake manifold plays a key role in the performance of an engine. Most factory designed intakes are narrow and flat in design, with shorter ports. With the narrow design of the factory intake, fuel flow is restricted which impedes engine performance. Most high performance aftermarket intake manifolds have wider, longer intake manifold ports ,with a higher vertical rise. All of these features increase fuel flow into the engine, which increases power.
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