You are at the right place to begin your lessons in how to make the most of your gasoline engine. Whether you’re a veteran mechanic or just learning, you’ve got to understand how they work to be most effective as a developer.
As with all new technologies, there is a learning curve. When talking about engine sciences (including The Gadgetman Groove modification) it can get pretty confusing when we’re dealing with changing combustion characteristics. Characteristics that have a dramatic effect on the way your engine burns fuel.
There are many things that will be affected by its application. In order to understand what’s what about that, we’re gong to start by examining the various systems that are used to control fuel delivery. We will talk about how they work so that we might have a more full understanding of the effects of The Groove on your engine’s operations.
To start with, we’ll go through the control system, and consider the role of each in determining optimum efficiency as programmed into your ECU. But we’re going to approach it from the intake to the exhaust with an eye for details.
If you don’t already have a good grasp of how a normal gasoline engine works, there’s a really great article on HowStuffWorks.com that goes over the basic principles. Here, we’re going to expand on that DRAMATICALLY! For you YouTube junkies out there, here’s a real cool video produced in 1941 by Chevrolet:
(FYI: There are instructional videos by the millions on YouTube. Simply search for what you want to learn about and watch the miracle of the internet occur!)
As much as I LOVE old information, you may find this video on how an internal combustion engine works more informative.
The crankshaft turns, starting the whole process. As the crank turns, the piston is drawn down, pulling in whatever is available to it. The air and fuel is pulled in through the valve, then it starts upward on the compression stroke. Just before the top of the compression stroke, the spark plug ignites the mixture, pushing the piston down, thus turning the crankshaft.
At this point, the piston is lifted by the crankshaft, pushing the (partially) burned fuel out of the chamber through the exhaust valve and out the tail pipe.
That’s the whole process, but there are a lot of sensors used in modern engines that are used to meter or adjust the “air-fuel ratio” or AFR. They are located everywhere through the system, from your air filter all the way to the muffler. Now, we’re going to start with the process of explaining it all and how they all work together to make your engine run.
In the old days, it was really simple, as the video above shows. Air is drawn into the engine over the venturi. Fuel was delivered in direct proportion to the amount of air the engine drew in. It is not so simple now. When the carburetor was replaced with more advanced fuel delivery systems, a computer was introduced to control and manipulate the fuel delivery to eliminate all the adjustments we used to have to make every season and at different altitudes on carburetors.
Since the fuel must be delivered in a certain proportion to the air (AFR, remember?) the amount and density of the air had to be monitored. This is handled by a sensor in the intake air stream, called either the Intake Air Temperature (IAT) or the Mass-Air Flow sensor. The names are different sometimes, as is the appearance but they serve the same function (basically).
This sensor is located somewhere between the air filter and the throttle assembly.
After that, the air enters the throttle assembly. This is a round plate on an axle that is turned by either a cable attached to the gas pedal or to the computer directly. Attached to the other side of the axle is the Throttle Position Sensor. This sends a signal to the ECU to help the computer manage other aspects of the fuel delivery system.
From there, the air enters the intake manifold, where it meets the Manifold-Absolute Pressure sensor. This device measures the difference between the intake (manifold) and the outside (absolute) air pressures to help adjust for acceleration and altitude differentials.
Think about it. As the piston descends, it pulls on the air, reducing the pressure inside the intake manifold. When the throttle plate opens, it allows air into the chamber, causing the pressure to rise. This device can only tell the differential between the two pressures and then adjusts the AFR to accommodate for the difference.
From there, the air enters the head on its way to the intake valve. This is where the fuel injectors are located, generally spraying the fuel into the port just before the valve. The downward motion of the piston draws that fuel in along with the air.
After the air/fuel mix is ignited by the spark plug, the burnt gases are pushed out of the chamber into the exhaust system, where we get to the first Oxygen Sensor (O2A).
O2A senses the amount of oxygen present in the air stream, and is the first sensor the computer monitors to ensure proper combustion. As the exhaust contains both air and fuel that has not combined (burned), the ECU can detect both the temperature and the content. With more fuel burning, the sensor heats up and the computer will reduce the amount of fuel delivered to the engine. If it’s too cool, it increases the AFR.
There is only one more sensor we have to be concerned with. The “Post Catalytic Converter Oxygen Sensor” or Post Cat O2 which is mounted either IN or just past the catalytic converter. This is sometimes referred to in your error codes as “Bank One (or two) Sensor Two”. We’ll just call it O2B for the sake of simplicity.
Here, it is (allegedly) used to monitor the efficiency of the cat as it burns off the “waste fuel”. That’s fuel that’s not consumed in the combustion process. (Sidebar: The EPA ADMITS to more than 60% of the energy in your gasoline being ‘lost’ in the exhaust. That’s 60 cents of EVERY dollar being burned your tailpipe!)
Okay. Now you have a good (albeit basic) understanding of how the modern gasoline engine works. What we’re going to be talking about next is what The Gadgetman Groove does, and how it may affect the fuel delivery.
I want you all to understand what The Gadgetman Groove can do for your engines, as well as how the ECU responds and what deficiencies you may encounter as you start to apply it to your ECU managed systems.
I invite you to add comments or refinements to this post, for it is only through sharing information that we can make this technology understood. After all, I am only a garage-level tinkerer. I want you to make me SMARTER!
Now, you’re ready to go on to Post 2- What is The Gadgetman Groove and what does it DO?
If you would like to learn this amazing fuel efficiency technology, we want to hear about it! Use this form to contact me, Ron Hatton, the developer of The Gadgetman Groove and we’ll see what we can do about that.
Email me with your questions and I’ll do the best I can!