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The CAN'T Bus

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Don’t you just love modern day IT terminology? I mean it’s so graphic, so descriptive and often without even knowing the purpose of the feature or component, simply hearing the name gives you a pretty good idea. Thus for instance, we have floppy discs which were, at least initially – floppy, and hard discs that are well, – hard! Thus when we hear the term CAN Bus, without fully understanding what might be going on and ignoring the pre-fix, our imagination conjures up...

The Fuel Injector

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For those of you who have ever grappled with the art of carburettor ‘tuning’, the invention of the fuel injector must have come as something of a huge relief. The selection of choke sizes, main jets, emulsion tubes and air correction jets was all a bit fraught at times but once mastered and coupled with accelerator jets and something called ‘progression’, would seem to have guaranteed a job for life. Or so we thought. While the theory was always well understood it was...

Cold start / coolant temperature control

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This may mark me as some kind of ancient relic but at one time the height of engine sophistication was the part-throttle weakening device. Designed to improve fuel economy by running the engine lean when the carburettor throttle plate was away from wide-open throttle, this ingenious instrument was perhaps the pinnacle of engine management technology in its time. Injection systems were around but were predominantly mechanical in nature, very temperamental and gave very poor air fuel ratio...

Electronics v Chemistry

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Do we need electronic engine management systems? Really need them? Because controlling fuelling, ignition, even valve timing, duration and lift achievable through electronic control units doesn’t necessarily mean that is the best or even the right solution. That is a deliberately controversial statement but it is worth considering what lies behind it and what the alternatives and options are. At its simplest, an engine needs oxygen and the right amount of fuel in order to breathe....

Chip crazy

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The silicon chip has made the task of performance engine design incomparably easier. An effective revolution in engine design for both gasoline and diesel units was made possible by close control of fuel and ignition through what were and are rugged on-board computers. For the first decades of engine development, the performance characteristics of the engine were set through the original design: valvetrains, carburation, ignition timing and their relationship to engine revs were the tools...