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Garage Gurus | E85 Fuel and Drivability


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    • By NAPA
      You might know how to check the fuel level, but do you know how to check fuel pressure? There’s a handy gauge on the dashboard that tells you how much fuel is in the gas tank, but if that fuel isn’t reaching the engine under enough pressure, a mechanical failure could be brewing. Let’s take a look at the process necessary to check fuel pressure.
      What Does Low Fuel Pressure Mean? link hidden, please login to view
      If fuel can’t reach the injector with enough force to atomize the fuel, then the engine won’t run right. More often than not low fuel pressure means a
      link hidden, please login to view. A bad fuel pump might limp along for a little while, but eventually it won’t build enough pressure to feed the engine.  How To Check Fuel Pressure Using A Fuel Pressure Gauge
      To check fuel pressure, you will need a
      link hidden, please login to view (also called a fuel system pressure tester). Make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area, as some fuel fumes may escape during the procedure. Turn off the engine. Open the hood. Locate the fuel rail. You may need to remove the engine cover for access. Locate the Schrader valve on the fuel rail. This is where the fuel pressure will be tested. Remove the cap from the fuel rail Schrader valve. Attach the fuel pressure tester, making sure the connection is tight. If the fuel pressure tester has a pressure relief hose, route it to a proper container to capture the released fuel. A link hidden, please login to view makes a perfect catch container, and the fuel can then be used later. Turn the ignition switch to “on,” but do not start the engine. The fuel pump will pressurize the fuel system, and you will be able to read the fuel pressure gauge. To test the fuel pressure with the engine running, leave the fuel pressure gauge attached, but place it where it will not contact any of the rotating engine accessories (fan, fan belt, pulleys, etc), and ensure the gauge will not fall due to engine vibration. You may wish to have an assistant hold the fuel pressure gauge. 
      Start the engine, and observe the fuel pressure gauge. Refer to a link hidden, please login to view for fuel pressure specifications. Once you have taken the fuel pressure reading, shut off the engine. With the pressure relief hose secured to a container, release the fuel pressure from the gauge. Properly dispose of the released fuel or reuse it. Disconnect the fuel pressure gauge from the Schrader valve on the fuel rail. Wipe up any fuel that has spilled, and dry the spill area thoroughly.  Place the cap back on the Schrader valve. Replace the engine cover, if it was removed. Close the hood. How To Check Fuel Pressure Using A Diagnostic Tool
      Wondering how to check fuel pressure without gauge access? Checking fuel pressure using an OBD diagnostic tool can perform this vehicle test. The exact procedure will vary based on the manufacturer. Refer to the user manual for instructions on how to view live data using the OBD tool. 
      In the case of the
      link hidden, please login to view, start at the Diagnostic Menu and select the “View Data” option. The tool will scan for available parameter identifications (PID) that can be read. Once the tool has read all the PIDs, it will prompt the user to “Select Data to View.” Choose “Entire Data List” for a readout of all the discovered PIDs. In that list should be a line called “FUEL PRES” or a similar term. That diagnostic reading is the current fuel pressure. For those who are more tech savvy, there are smartphone apps that can connect directly to a third-party
      link hidden, please login to view. These apps display the real-time information flowing through the onboard diagnostic system. Information like engine temperature, transmission fluid temperature, fuel pressure and oil pressure are commonly available, but will depend on the app. Monitoring Fuel Pressure
      If you are the kind of driver who prefers to keep a constant eye on what’s going on under the hood, consider installing a
      link hidden, please login to view. There are a wide variety of gauge styles to match your interior, while also delivering needed information. You can keep an eye on fuel pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature and more with an link hidden, please login to view.  If you have a performance vehicle or work vehicle, keeping an eye on engine vitals can help stop a problem before it starts. You can use a mechanical gauge attached directly to the fuel system under the hood, or a digital gauge in the cabin that uses a sending unit.
      Frequently Asked Questions:
      What Are The Symptoms Of Low Fuel Pressure?
      Common low fuel pressure symptoms:
      Vehicle will not start or keeps stalling Long engine cranking time Hesitation when accelerating Engine is low on power Check engine light is one (engine lean, misfire OBD-II codes stored) What Are Symptoms Of A Bad Fuel Pressure Regulator?
      If the fuel pressure readings are erratic or not within the specification, those may be symptoms of a bad
      link hidden, please login to view.  What Are Symptoms Of A Bad Fuel Pressure Sensor?
      If the fuel pressure sensor has gone bad, you may have an illuminated check engine light, trouble getting the engine to start due to low fuel pressure, or reduced engine power. 
      If your engine isn’t running right or the check engine light is on, then a fuel pressure check can be a good starting point for diagnosis. As you can see, the process is pretty straightforward with the right diagnostic tool. Your
      link hidden, please login to view and NAPAonline carry a wide variety of link hidden, please login to view to fit your needs.  Don’t feel like leaving the house or don’t have the time? Order on NAPAonline to get
      link hidden, please login to view on 160,000+ products. However you choose to shop, make sure to take advantage of link hidden, please login to view to receive 1 Point for every dollar you spend. When you earn 100 Points, you automatically get $5 off your next purchase!  Don’t feel like testing fuel pressure yourself or just don’t have time? You can also swing by your local
      link hidden, please login to view for a fuel pressure check. Their ASE Certified technicians have the right tools and training to diagnose any fuel related issues that your car, truck or SUV experience.  Photo courtesy of
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    • By Counterman
      The fuel system, as a whole, is responsible for delivering fuel from the tank to the engine, then metering it into the combustion chamber. It consists of the tank, the lines, the pump and the metering device. If only it was as simple as it sounds. The challenge lies in the continual changes over the last century, and how the frequency of changes has increased over recent decades.
      The heart and identity of any fuel system is the metering device or system that controls the flow of fuel into an engine. As a counter professional, you’re going to hear it all, and you’ll have to answer it all, so here’s a rundown on the major changes and differences over the years.
      Carburetion Systems
      A carburetor is a basic mechanical device, and the primary metering device used on the earliest automobiles. Carburetors held their ground until the late 1980s, when the last examples were eventually replaced by fuel injection. The job of a carburetor is to not only meter the fuel but also to properly mix it with the air flowing into the engine through the process of atomization.
      As the automotive industry began to migrate to fuel injection, a knee-jerk reaction opposing fuel injection ensued. We were familiar with carburetors, and liked the fact that they were mechanical devices that could be repaired and rebuilt using basic hand tools, and there were no electronics involved. Regardless of who made the carburetor or what style it was, an experienced technician could diagnose and repair a problem without the need for service information, scan tools or electronics.
      Though considered “simple,” carburetors are more complicated than they seem, with multiple different circuits to manage all aspects of engine operation. “Tuning” a carburetor – the art of balancing performance, efficiency and drivability – takes a considerable knowledge of engine operating principles, and the patience and precision to get it right.
      The majority of carbureted vehicles utilize mechanical fuel pumps, driven off the engine. This too adds to the attraction of these vehicles, as again there were no electronics involved. The drawback to carburetors came in their lack of ability for precise fuel control. They simply couldn’t keep up with the tightening noose of emission and fuel-economy standards that was in full force by the 1970s. As the end of their use in production automobiles came near, some electronics were incorporated into them, but ultimately proved ineffective.
      Today, any professional will admit – regardless of complexity – that fuel injection is simply superior and necessary. However, carburetion is still popular on old vehicles, partly because of its relative simplicity, but also due to the popularity of restoring old cars to their original state. While far from commonplace, carburetor rebuild kits aren’t going away anytime soon.
      Fuel-Injection Systems
      The advantage of fuel injection is the ability to precisely control fuel delivery under all operating conditions. Not only is this a necessity for emissions and fuel economy, but it also has a major advantage in drivability – an operational attribute that goes hand in hand with efficiency and performance.
      Attempts at fuel injection are as old as the internal combustion engine itself, but in the early days, too many bugs made it undependable. By the 1950s, substantial engineering efforts were applied to develop fuel injection, both in the United States and Europe. One of the more well-known systems was the original Rochester fuel injection developed by Chevrolet for the 1957 Chevrolet and Corvette.
      The idea behind developing this fuel injection wasn’t in the interest of horsepower or emission control. It was drivability, with the goal to eliminate the undesirable and unavoidable attributes of a carburetor, including fuel slosh in the fuel bowl and the transition between primary and secondary circuits. As you may expect, racers played a substantial part in all this, and the best part is they were very successful, and it unlocked horsepower as well!
      The Rochester fuel-injection system was available from 1957 through 1965, but it ultimately failed for only one reason: cost. It was an expensive option, and with the muscle-car wars in full force and much higher-horsepower carbureted engines available for a fraction of the cost, nobody was buying.
      By the late 1970s, fuel injection was better-developed, and this time emissions and fuel economy played a strong part. It began its rise to the top, and thanks to the advancements in electronic and computer technology, it got there quick. By the early 1990s, carburetion was all but gone from production automobiles.
      Fuel-injection systems can be separated into multiple categories and types, and since you’ll hear multiple terms, here’s how to tell them apart.
      Mechanical Fuel Injection
      Early gasoline fuel-injection systems were mechanical. The pumps were mechanical, and fuel was delivered directly to nozzles located in the intake manifold. The pressure of the fuel caused the fuel injectors to open. A type of air meter was necessary, but early systems relied primarily on vacuum signals or mechanical linkage between the air meter and fuel-distribution meter to determine the proper amount of fuel. Very minimal if any electronics were involved in these systems.
      Early diesel fuel-injection systems were purely mechanical as well, but the difference was the required fuel pressure. It doesn’t require much pressure to inject fuel into an intake manifold, but it requires extremely high pressure to inject fuel directly into a cylinder (such as is necessary for a diesel). Diesel-injection pumps housed a mechanical high-pressure pump to feed the fuel to the injectors.
      One of the most common gasoline fuel-injection systems to become popular beginning in the late 1970s was the Bosch Continuous Injection System (CIS). This, too, was overall a mechanical system, but an electric pump supplied the fuel, and minor electronics played a part in cold-start functions as well as fuel-mixture control.
      Electronic Fuel Injection
      Electronic fuel injection was a terminology that became well-known in the 1980s and was often indicated by the letters “EFI” on the back of a car. It seemed revolutionary at the time, and it indicated that the systems were now completely electronically controlled. It was this point in time when fuel pumps found their way into the gas tank; injectors were basically solenoids that opened the injector upon command from a computer; and the computer – along with a myriad of sensors – controlled everything surrounding the operation of the system.
      Even though EFI was an early term that would now be as redundant as saying you have antilock brakes on a new car, it’s technically still an accurate term. It’s just not used often because it’s assumed – and correctly – that everything on a new car is tied to electronics. EFI is a term that can include many different types of fuel injection.
      Throttle-Body Injection
      Throttle-body injection (TBI) refers to the fuel injector(s) being located in a throttle body that looks almost like a carburetor at a glance. This was done by design, as it was the most efficient and quickest way for auto manufacturers to make the change to fuel injection, while utilizing many of the same components they already had such as the same intake manifolds and air cleaners. TBI was most common in the 1980s and early 1990s.
      We’ve always loved fancy names. Have you ever heard of cross-fire injection? It was two throttle bodies at opposite corners of the intake manifold.
      Port Fuel Injection
      TBI was at a disadvantage because airflow was interrupted by the injector, and port injection was the next advancement in line. Port, or multi-point injection injects fuel into the intake runner just before the intake valve for each cylinder. The advantage is the ability to precisely control the fuel delivery and balance the airflow into each cylinder, leading to increased power output and improved fuel economy.
      Early mechanical fuel-injection systems were port-injection systems, sans electronic control. Seem confusing? Many fuel-injection terms cross over from new to old technology. There are just so many manufacturer-specific names that it can be confusing! Like EFI, port injection was widely advertised as the latest greatest advancement, with tuned port injection topping the performance charts. Port injection still is the most common type of fuel injection used today, but when was the last time you saw it called out? Nobody really says it anymore because it’s not new. But there’s another technology that we’re not done talking about, and that’s direct injection.
      Direct Injection
      Direct means the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber. Direct injection has been around for years in the diesel world, but it’s still relatively new for gasoline engines. The challenge with this type of injection is injecting the fuel into the high compression of the combustion chamber. Just like a diesel, it requires extremely high fuel pressure, and gasoline direct injection utilizes a typical electric pump to supply fuel to the rail, plus a mechanically driven high-pressure fuel pump to supply the necessary pressure for injection.
      The primary advantage of direct injection is that there’s less time for the air/fuel mixture to heat up since the fuel isn’t injected in the cylinder until immediately before combustion. This reduces the chance of detonation, or the fuel igniting from the heat and pressure in the cylinder. This allows a direct-injected engine to have higher compression, which itself lends to higher performance.
      There are additional advantages of reduced emissions and better fuel economy, but there also are some now-familiar drawbacks, including carbon buildup on the backs of the intake valves, low speed pre-ignition and limited high-rpm performance. For this reason, many manufacturers are combining both direct- and port-injection systems.
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